Panorama of Tropical waterfall Phnom Kulen, Cambodia

Various Water Filtration Media and Their Benefits

We all love drinking clean water. Nothing can quite match the feeling of ice-cold clean filtered water pouring down your throat. Have you ever wondered how water is cleaned? Water is drawn from the earth after all. So, by all reasoning, it should have some amount of dirt in it. Therfore, to clean water, it needs to be filtered. But, are you aware that water is often filtered through what is known as a Media?

In this article, we will go over some of the common water filtration media and find out how they filter water to make it clean and safe for consumption.

Anthracite

Anthracite is mined from coal that has high carbon content. It is black and glittery and is the densest type of carbon. It is an excellent filter for water filtration. Mines are the preferred sources of good quality Anthracite due to the presence of high carbon content in them.

Anthracite can be used either domestically or for an industrial filtering process. Anthracite is one of the most commonly used water filtering media. Its unique shape helps it hold particles in the depths of the filtering bed. One of the interesting features of Anthracite is its ability to hold solid particles, making it an excellent media for both single bed filtration and multilayered filtration.

Benefits of Anthracite

  • Anthracite allows a higher flow of water than sand filters.
  • In the use of anthracite, there is less pressure drop when compared to sand filters.
  • Anthracite allows for a faster backwash, (i.e. pumping water backwards through the filter media) than most filter media.
clean filtered water being poured

Activated Glass

Another name for activated glass is activated filter media. It was developed to replace classical sand filtration methods. It is made from glass sourced from recycled glass bottles. The glass is granulated into the right sizes for the job with the appropriate manufacturing process. The glass is then activated to increase its surface area significantly. The surface area is then introduced to negative charges, so it attracts organic and smaller particles in the water.

Activated glass can be used for both domestic and industrial filtration processes. It is widely used in sewage treatment plants as a substitute for sand. The activated glass has permanent metal oxide catalysts which make the glass self-cleaning.

Benefits of Activated Glass.

  • Activated glass is cheaper and lasts longer than sand filters.
  • Its unique density allows it to be easily combined with other filtration media.
  • It is also self-restoring, which means bacteria will find it difficult to survive on it.
sewage treatment plant
water treatment plant

Silica Sand

Silica sand was first used as a water filtering media in 1804, by John Gibb. The use of this media took over two decades to polish to perfection. The United Kingdom currently uses four ranks of silica sand for its water filtration processes.

Silica sands that are appropriate for filtration have a sub-angular or round shape. This shape makes it the perfect water filtration media for drinking water. It works by capturing solids that are left suspended in water. The nature of silica makes it very durable and hard to wear down. This means it can be graded effectively for quality filtering. Silica is however limited in it’s application and being replaced with activated filter media and activated glass filter media due to its longer lifespan and finer micron filtering potential.

Water filters. Concept of three glasses on a white blue background. Household filtration system.

Benefits of Silica Sand.

  • Its unique nature allows it to be used across various industries such as paper processing, chemical processing, and power generation.
  • It can also be used in wastewater treatments.
  • Silica is readily available, making it a cheap medium of water filtration.

Activated Carbon

An activated carbon filter is made from powdered or granular carbon. This carbon is treated to be very porous. It is made to be hollow and has a large surface area. The large surface area allows it to adsorb contaminants better than regular carbon. Adsorption occurs when the organic contaminant chemically bonds with the activated carbon. As a result, the water is made cleaner. The porosity of the activated carbon is directly proportional to the number of contaminants it can remove.

Activated carbon can also be used for air purification. It helps prevents the triggering of allergies and traps allergens and impurities such as hair, lint, and dust.

In regards to water filtration, activated carbon can be used in two ways; Bed Filtration and Secondary filtration. Bed filtration involves outfitting existing filter units with a new bed or replacing the filter medium in a bed with activated carbon. Secondary filtration involves using activated carbon as a second means of filtering water after using the main method of filtration.

Benefits of Activated Carbon

  • Activated carbon filters are not only cheap, but they also remove the metallic taste of tap water.
  • They are also quite easy to maintain.
  • Activated carbon does not filter healthy minerals from the water flowing through it.
water droplet

Maddox

Maddox is popularly referred to as a type of Green Sand. Maddox has been developed over many years for the original green sand into a ion exchange catalyst which has a lot more applications and more effective. It is called Green Sand because it contains a large percentage of the mineral Glauconite. The chemical is usually greenish-black or bluish-green. The compound was first noticed to have water filtration abilities in the 1900s.

The use of Maddox was encouraged as it was found to be a more efficient filter for dissolved salts. The salts it dissolves include iron, arsenic, manganese, and alumina. South Africa prevalently uses Maddox as its primary water filter media due to large deposits of salts in the country’s water bodies. Most of the country’s water treatment processes use Maddox to help with the filtration.

Benefits of Maddox

  • Maddox is a highly effective media for removing certain elements and their salts from water.
  • Maddox is very useful for both the filtration and removal of tannins, chlorides and iron.
  • Cost effective compared to alternatives in the market while having a long lifespan with regeneration possible for the media.
filling glass with clean filtered water
glass of water from tap

Magnetite

Magnetite is a naturally occurring ore of iron. It is black and can be found in aggregates in nature. Besides from being used as a water filtration medium, it is also used in coal washing processes. Likewise, it is integral for making compasses and other navigation devices.

Magnetite has a positive surface charge. This positive surface charge attracts the negative charge of the materials present in the water. Thereby eliminating the turbidity of the water and removing the harmful elements in it. Magnetite is often used in conjunction with other filter media, such as quartz sand and anthracite. It is generally used to provide support for the mixed layering.

Benefits of Magnetite

  • Magnetite’s sorbent nature makes it great for removing arsenic from water.
  • It is also very effective for removing metals and their oxides from water.
  • It also allows for the easy backwashing of water.
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Depathex

Depathex is a water filtration application which removes dangerous pathogens from water, making it safe for drinking. Safe drinking water increases human life expectancy and therefore water purification is a high priority. Not only is it used to purify drinking water for humans, it has also been used for agricultural uses, cleaning contaminated water which has had negative effects on the life of animals.

For over a period of 5 years this product has been researched extensively and tested, which revealed that Depathex completely removes Coliforms and E-Coli.

Benefits of Depathex

  • Cleans and purifies hazardous water for human use
  • Thoroughly tested and proven to eliminate a broad spectrum of known pathogens
water filtration media