Most people in the US use water filter systems at home to make sure the water they drink is safe. Most water filters do just that: filter the water. However, there is more to water treatment than that. It goes through several steps before it even gets to the main water pipes to homes.
One of these steps is flocculation, which is provided by firms such as Ashton Tucker Water Treatment. Here is a brief description of what it is and how it helps in making water safe to use and drink.
Flocculation, or to flocculate, comes from the Latin word flocculus, which means “little tufts of wool.” IT helps filter water by making suspended particles larger and heavier so they will settle to the bottom of the water. It involves adding chemicals called flocculants to the water and a bit of stirring.
The most common flocculants are iron, calcium, magnesium, and aluminum.
Flocculants target the bits of dirt and other stuff floating in untreated water called colloids. Flocculation is actually the second step in the water filtration process. The first step is coagulation, which involves adding chemicals with a positive charge to the colloids, which have a negative charge.
When colloids have a neutral charge, they can now stick together. That is when flocculants come in. They cause the colloids to bond together to form balls or clumps called flocs that are visible to the eye. Once the flocs form and settle, they are easier to remove from the water through sedimentation and filtration.
Most treatment plants for public drinking water in the US use flocculation as part of the process. You do not generally need to use flocculates in your home water system as a result. With untreated water, however, a point-of-use flocculation system may be necessary.
It is very likely you have benefited from flocculation if you live in the US or other countries where the water is pre-treated. Few people ever see or know about this part of the water treatment process, yet it plays an important role in keeping people healthy and safe.