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Sample Coursework Paper on the Drinking Water Process

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Sample Coursework Paper on the Drinking Water Process

Presence of water on the surface of earth plays a fundamental role in supporting life on the surface of the earth. Water is useful in aiding metabolic activities in the human body and constitutes 70% of human bodies mass. Studies by Taylor & Francis note that, nearly three quarters of earth surface is covered by water with the rest being occupied by landmass. The use of water is not only limited to body metabolism but also plays crucial role in aiding plants growth and supporting activities of human being like processing, cleaning and construction. The study further made it clear that man is faced with a threat of distinction is water resources are not managed properly. Water is found on the land and is presence in air is referred to as water vapor. (Taylor & Francis, 2006)


Sources of water

Rainwater: This is water that collects on this surface of the earth after a heavy downpour. It is inform of surface water or underground water.

Surface water: This is water, which flows freely on the surface of the earth in the form of rivers, oceans, ponds, lakes and streams. It is important to note that water in rivers and lakes originates from melting of ice on mountainous regions and rainwater. Rivers subsequently flows to the sea thus forming an expansive part of seawater.

Underground water: This is water, which is found below the earth surface through seepage of rainwater. This water infiltrates the soil via pores until it reaches the aquifer. Water in the aquifer can sprout out due to pressure or can be accessed through the sinking of an artesian well or sinking of tubes which extracts the water.


Water treatment

According to Taylor, delivery of clean and safe water to our businesses and homes if often taken for granted with people not oblivious of the dangers that awaits them if they use unsafe water. Purification of water is essential in ensuring that we avoid any possibilities of contracting waterborne diseases like typhoid and cholera. Almost 80% of diseases and deaths in the world are because of water related causes. This is as a result of contamination of our water sources due to discharging of untreated sewages or unhygienic water storage facilities. (Taylor & Francis, 2006)

There is need to provide potable water which is pure ,odorless and free from any disease causing micro organisms and dangerous chemicals argues that  water which is naturally found is not pure and has many suspended and dissolved impurities which are derived from the atmospheres the soil and various water catchment areas. Some of common impurities found in water include ammonia, Hydrogen sulfide, and oxygen, dissolved impurities like calcium carbonates, clay, sand, silt and mud. Toxic wastes from industrialization has been noted as the most hazardous water pollutant which deposits organic chemicals and metallic salts that causes serious medical complications like cancer. This calls for a need to establish proper water treatment strategy that will guarantee water users safety and a clean bill of health while consuming the important resource.


                                            Water treatment stages



This is a preliminary water treatment process, which entails physical, chemical or mechanical strategies used on water before undergoing the normal treatment procedure. Here, screens remove stones, leaves, sticks and debris. At this stage, chemicals are also added in water to inhibit the growth of algae. A pre sedimentation stage can also be put in place to settle out gravel, sand and grit from unpurified water.



This is process where suspended solid particles are conditioned to aid their agglomeration and production of large particles that can be easily removed by the subsequent treatment process. This stage also aids adsorption of organic substances, which are dissolved in water. The particles suspended in water typically vary in sizes .This process is a complex adventure and requires the use of chemicals to enhance of the particles.

The process of coagulation is accomplished by adding and mixing a number of chemicals. Those chemicals, which are commonly used in coagulation, include aluminum, organic polymers or iron salts. The chemicals are rapidly mixed with water to aid distribution of the coagulant chemical. Time taken in this process is predominantly determined with the coagulation method being in use.



This is the physical agglomeration of tiny particles in raw water into large particles that can be removed easily through the method of suspension. In most cases, flocculation must always be preceded by coagulation. This is because coagulation reduces repulsion forces between the particles while flocculation process aids in bringing destabilized particles into contact with one another to form large particles, which are easily removed in the subsequent process.

The flock particles that developed during flocculation tend to settle down at the bottom of the water reservoir while water is left to pass out over the affluent weir. The solids collect at the bottom of the water reservoir, are physically removed by the use of a sludge collection device, and direct the waste in a sludge treatment process. (United States Environmental Protection Agency, 2012)



This physical water treatment process uses gravity to eliminate physical impurities from the water. Solid particles that may be soil, silica particles or other unwanted minerals that are added to the water by the commotion of the water moving can be eliminated naturally with sedimentation in the tranquil ocean and lake water.

At this process where solid materials are removed from raw water by the use of gravity separation. Here, water is passed through large basins where it is allowed to flow at as low speed. Sludge and solid remains are allowed to settle at the bottom of the basin where it is pumped out for subsequent disposal.




This process is preceded by softening and stabilization of the raw water to maintain a balance between hardness and softness of water to prevent corrosion of pipes .During filtration, turbidity of water is achieved. Filtration of raw water removes suspended objects, which consist of micro organisms, flock, silt, iron, algae and precipitates of manganese derived from underground water sources. Filtration is achieved through passing water through a series of granular materials constituting of layers of sand, coal, gravel and garnet. (United States Environmental Protection Agency, 2012)

                                Fiji Water Company and Ice Mountain water

            Fiji Water Company manufactures the Fiji water brand and all the bottling is done at Viti Levu islands in Fiji. They provide the second largest imported bottled water variety in the United States.  The water is sourced from a natural artesian aquifer situated in the Yaqara river valley, which is replenished by rainfall. An aquifer is a saturated rock through which water easily moves. It is usually porous and includes rock types like conglomerate, limestone, sand and gravel. Volcanic rocks like columnar basalts form aquifers. In order for a water well to be useful, it has to be drilled into an aquifer. Rocks like granite and schist usually make poor aquifers because they have low porosity. However, if the rocks are well fractured, they make good aquifers. A well is drilled into the ground to infiltrate an aquifer and such water is pumped to the surface. If water is pumped from a well faster than it is replenished, the water table drops and may empty up. Groundwater usually runs downward the hill of the water table towards the well. Natural pressure is used to get the water out of its aquifer deep below the earth’s surface. The water then is bottled for sale. Ice Mountain on the other hand is a mineral water production company that sources its water from springs under the woodlands. This water percolates into the earth as rainwater or molten ice water, which is naturally filtered as it, goes down through layers of rock and soil.

            Both companies add chemical components to the water to give it unique taste and for preservation purposes. However, the chemicals vary in percentage for each company.


Inorganic minerals and Metals quantities comparison




Fiji Water

Mountain Water


150 mg/L



18 mg/L



9 mg/L



0.28 mg/L



15 mg/L



18 mg/L



99 mg/L



1.3 mg/L





Total dissolved solids

240 mg/L


Total Alkalinity

130 mg/L



280 umho / cm





As indicated in the above table, water from the two mineral water manufacturers contains the natural chemicals and contaminants. Most of these contaminants are a result of the water coming from natural sources, percolating through the earth soil, rocks and mixing with other elements in the ground before getting into the aquifer of the springs. Both water brand models report average levels of calcium, sodium, sulfates and chloride. However, due to their own distinct manufacturing procedures and product designs, they also have unique chemical components that they incorporate into their products. Mountain water use Nitrates which, in average quantities is an important body nutrient. Fiji water on the other hand adds Fluorides, which are salts that form when the element, fluorine, combines with minerals in soil or rocks and promote dental health. The fluoride components are not industrially incorporated in mountain water. The two companies target the same market with the same category of products, which it produces independently and uniquely from each other. This is by use of distinct quantities of components resulting in unique products that compete in the same market.


Procedure of Manufacture

At Fiji Water, the protected source of water is monitored many times a day to insure the water is safe and of very high quality.  The water is then bottled at the source after being pumped through a sealed delivery system free of human contact.  The water is filtered to get rid of any unwanted substances after which it is further micro-filtered to eliminate all unwanted microbiological particles. The water is then subjected to Ultra violet light to disinfect it.

Mountain water on the other hand uses high quality storage tanks to store spring water at the manufacture plant. The water is then tested to see whether it conforms to quality specifications. Like Fiji Water, Mountain water conducts Micro-filtration to filter the raw water, and then subject the water to Ultra Violet light or Ozone disinfection to destroy bacteria. To avoid possible contamination of the water, bottling is conducted under tightly controlled conditions using very good equipment.

FIJI water makes a point to test their water regularly for many of the organic and inorganic chemicals that are regulated by the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA). They also test for unregulated contaminants in the water. According to their quality report and figures, they do not surpass the maximum levels of contaminants as restricted by the FDA. In fact, the quality report shows that some of the restricted contaminants are not traced in their products. There have been no violations of the FDA Standard of Quality. Such include Antimony, Arsenic, Chromium, cyanide among others. For those that are detected, they are lower than the FDA restriction levels. For instance, Barium is not to exceed 2 units. FIJI Water reports 0.003 units. Fluoride is restricted at 1.3 units. Fiji water reports 0.28 units. Mountain water on the other hand tests the water for contamination immediately it is retrieved from the spring wells. They then take the necessary measures to eliminate contaminations or ascertain whether the water produced by a well is good enough for consumption. While some of the restricted chemicals Fluoride, arsenic, copper, lead and potassium were totally absent by account of their quality report, other restricted contaminants are traceable but to very low levels in comparison to the FDA restriction levels.

The chemical components in the two brands vary in percentages. FIJI Water and Mountain Water manufacturers source their water from sources that are both natural but different in nature. One source being spring water and the other being an underground aquifer, the levels of chemical percentages are bound to come in different quotients, even before the processing, detoxification, purification and bottling processes are done. Both companies have to follow the standard quality assurance tests but they are compelled to take different paths and subject their water to dissimilar intensities of the quality assurance procedures.  This is due to the difference in percentages of inorganic chemicals and parameters that are a result of the difference in the nature of the sources of the water they produce. Due to product uniqueness, difference in chemical component levels and marketing strategies, Fiji Water and Mountain Water bottlers add safe levels of synthetic organic material. While the two companies produce water product that are both safe and secure for consumption, the sales depends more on marketing strategies























Works Cited

Hendricks, David W. Water Treatment Unit Processes: Physical and Chemical. Boca Raton, FL: CRC/Taylor & Francis, 2006. Print.

“Surface Water Treatment Rules, What Do They Mean to You?” Surface Water Treatment Rules, United States Environmental Protection Agency, 6 Mar. 2012. Web, 8 Mar. 2015. 


Waters Nestle, “Ice Mountain Quality Report – Nestlé Waters North America”. Ice Mountain Quality Report – Nestlé Waters North America. Web, 7 Mar. 2015.


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