10 WATER BORNE DISEASES

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Cholera:

Cholera is a waterborne disease and is diarrhoeal in nature. A person can get affected by Cholera by drinking water or eating food contaminated with the cholera bacterium. It can happen to both children and adults and some of the symptoms of cholera include vomiting, abdominal cramps, watery bowels, and fever.

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Diarrhoea:

Diarrhoea is one of the most common waterborne diseases that mostly affect children under the age of 5. Some of the symptoms of diarrhea include dehydration, severe dizziness, loss of consciousness, pale skin and bloody stool, little or no urination.

Typhoid:

It is another disease that gets transmitted by drinking contaminated water that carries ‘Salmonellae Typhi bacteria’. Some of the symptoms through which you can understand that you are being affected by Typhoid are prolonged fever, loss of appetite, headache, constipation, exhaustion, sleepiness, and nausea. It can also be transmitted by close contact with the infected person.

Amebiasis:

Amebiasis is a kind of parasitic infection in the intestine that is caused by the protozoan Entamoeba histolytica, or E. histolytica. The single-celled protozoan usually enters the human body when the person swallows cysts through food or water. Some of the symptoms of amebiasis are the loose stool, stomach pain, and abdominal cramping.

Legionellosis:

Also known as legionnaire’s disease, this particular type of illness is caused by the Legionellabacteria. Unlike previously-mentioned waterborne diseases which target the digestive system, this one chooses another venue to attack – the respiratory system.

Japanese Encephalitis:

Japanese encephalitis is a water related disease that is caused by the Culex Tritaeniorhynchus and Culex Vishnui type of mosquitoes. Therefore, Japanese encephalitis is majorly found in the agricultural regions of India. The Japanese encephalitis virus attacks children the most and in some cases this water related disease can lead to death. The symptoms of Japanese encephalitis include fever, vomiting, headaches and in acute cases, coma, seizures and finally death.

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Filariasis

Filariasis is a parasitic disease and affects people who live near unsanitary water bodies or sewages. Filariasis is spread by mosquitoes that breeds in fresh and stagnant water bodies and is the host of the filarial nematode worm. This worm affects humans and leads to elephantitis. Although Filariasis can be treated and prevented with oral medicines, lack of medicines in rural India leads to severe disfiguration in many cases.

Dysentery:

What is dysentery, you may ask? It is probably one of the most common waterborne diseases around, having killed around 600,000 children who have not yet reached the age of five coming mostly from developing countries. The bacterial disease is caused by the microorganism called Shigella, and just like the cholera bacterium, this little dude attacks cells in the large intestine, resulting to abdominal cramps, anal pain, and bloody stool.

Botulism:

The bacterium, Clostridium botulinum, is the culprit behind botulism. Infection begins with fatigue, problems with eyesight, and slurred speech, something that water diseases are quite known for. Eventually, it progresses to weakness of the facial muscles, and this weakness spreads to the arms and legs. If not treated with antibiotics and/or an antitoxin, the poison of C. botulinum could lead to death as this little beast could even affect breathing and the production of saliva.

Vibrio Illness.

Strains of the Vibrio bacteria are usually found in saltwater, and can be carried by several marine animals like crabs, prawns, and shellfish. If you ingest it, this waterborne illness can manifest cholera-like symptoms. If it enters the body through an open wound, a nagging infection and skin ulcers may occur.

Toxin from the Vibrio bacteria can be lethal, and a visit to the doctor for the necessary antibiotics is highly recommended.

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Water scarcity in India

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Reason behind the water scarcity in India

The water scarcity is mostly man made due to excess population growth and mismanagement of water resources. Some of the major reasons for water scarcity are:

  • Inefficient use of water for agriculture. India is among the top growers of agricultural produce in the world and therefore the consumption of water for irrigation is amongst the highest. Traditional techniques of irrigation causes maximum water loss due to evaporation, drainage, percolation, water conveyance, and excess use of groundwater. As more areas come under traditional irrigation techniques, the stress for water available for other purposes will continue. The solution lies in extensive use of micro-irrigation techniques such as drip and sprinkler irrigation.

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  • Reduction in traditional water recharging areas. Rapid construction is ignoring traditional water bodies that have also acted as ground water recharging mechanism. We need to urgently revive traditional aquifers while implementing new ones.

 

  • Sewage and wastewater drainage into traditional water bodies. Government intervention at the source is urgently required if this problem is to be tackled.

 

  • Lack of on-time de-silting operations in large water bodies that can enhance water storage capacity during monsoon. It is surprising that the governments at state levels has not taken this up on priority as an annual practice. This act alone can significantly add to the water storage levels.

 

  • Lack of efficient water management and distribution of water between urban consumers, the agriculture sector and industry. The government needs to enhance its investment in technology and include all stakeholders at the planning level to ensure optimization of existing resources.

 

  • Fresh water deficit:

    Along with the strain on surface water, the country is also facing great stress with freshwater. Lack of strict state regulation on ground water development has caused a strain on the amount of freshwater available. Indifference from bureaucratic powers and constant neglect has caused the problem to intensify. In hand with the lack of government interference and continued industrial waste deposited into major rivers, most freshwater entering the bodies of water is defiled. The approximation of the untreated water entering the water sources such as rivers and lakes is 90 percent and only furthers the problem.

    Solutions to overcome water scarcity problems:

    • We are drawing more ground water than the amount of recharge through rains. Farm ponds and rainwater recharge is the only way to move forward. We are disrespecting the rain water by allowing the water flow into the sea. That is why we see frequent floods. Unless we decentralize and incorporate local storage of water by creating more ponds check dams we will keep seeing more droughts every year. After all source of water for the ground water is rain water.

     

    • A simple addition of a ‘water free’ male urinal in our homes can save well over 25,000 liters of water, per home per year. The traditional flush dispenses around six liters of water per flush. If all male members including boys of the house use the ‘water free urinal’ instead of pulling the traditional flush, the collective impact on the demand for water will reduce significantly. This must be made mandatory by law and followed up by education and awareness both at home and school.

     

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  • The amount of water that is wasted during dish washing at home is significant. We need to change our dish washing methods and minimize the habit of keeping the water running. A small step here can make a significant saving in water consumption.

 

Waste water treatment and recycling for non-drinking purposes. Several low cost technologies are available that can be implemented in group housing areas.

Very often, we see water leaking in our homes, in public areas and colonies. A small steady water leak can cause a loss of 226,800 liters of water per year! Unless we are aware and conscious of water wastage we will not be able to avail the basic quantity of water that we need to carry on with our normal lives.

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[UPDATED] WATER PURIFICATION PROCESS

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Water purification plays a key role in ensuring access to safe drinking water. Safe drinking water positively impacts the health of the entire community. Systems are in place to ensure ongoing water quality, including water quality testing. The testing helps ensure the water treatment process results in a product that meets federal water quality guidelines. Water analysis involves looking for several kinds of contaminants, including unsafe levels of organic, inorganic, microbial and/or radioactive contaminants.

water purification process

There are several steps in Water purification process,

  • Screening
  • Coagulation and flocculation
  • Sedimentation
  • Dissolved air flotation
  • Filtration
  • Membrane Filtration
  • Removal of ions and other dissolved substances
  • Disinfection
Screening:

The first step in purifying surface water is to remove large debris such as sticks, leaves, rubbish and other large particles which may interfere with subsequent purification steps. Most deep groundwater does not need screening before other purification steps.

Coagulation and flocculation:

After getting the water from screening process enter into the coagulation process. In this water purification processes is the addition of chemicals to assist in the removal of particles suspended in water. Particles can be inorganic such as clay and silt or organic such as algae, bacteria, viruses, protozoa and natural organic matter. Inorganic and organic particles contribute to the turbidity and color of water.

The addition of inorganic coagulants such as aluminum sulfate  or iron  salts such as iron chloride cause several simultaneous chemical and physical interactions on and among the particles. Within seconds, negative charges on the particles are neutralized by inorganic coagulants. Also within seconds, metal hydroxide precipitates of the iron and aluminum ions begin to form. These precipitates combine into larger particles under natural processes such as Brownian motion and through induced mixing which is sometimes referred to as flocculation. The term most often used for the amorphous metal hydroxides is “floc.” Large, amorphous aluminum and iron hydroxides adsorb and enmesh particles in suspension and facilitate the removal of particles by subsequent processes of sedimentation and filtration.

In the literature, there is much debate and confusion over the usage of the terms coagulation and flocculation—where does coagulation end and flocculation begin? In water purification plants, there is usually a high energy, rapid mix unit process where the coagulant chemicals are added followed by flocculation basins where low energy inputs turn large paddles or other gentle mixing devices to enhance the formation of floc. In fact, coagulation and flocculation processes are ongoing once the metal salt coagulants are added.

Sedimentation:

Waters exiting the flocculation basin may enter the sedimentation basin, also called a clarifier or settling basin. It is a large tank with low water velocities, allowing floc to settle to the bottom. The sedimentation basin is best located close to the flocculation basin so the transit between the two processes does not permit settlement or floc break up. Sedimentation basins may be rectangular, where water flows from end to end or circular where flow is from the centre outward. Sedimentation basin outflow is typically over a weir so only a thin top layer of water—that furthest from the sludge—exits.

Inclined flat plates or tubes can be added to traditional sedimentation basins to improve particle removal performance. Inclined plates and tubes drastically increase the surface area available for particles to be removed in concert with Hazen’s original theory. The amount of ground surface area occupied by a sedimentation basin with inclined plates or tubes can be far smaller than a conventional sedimentation basin.

Dissolved air flotation (DAF):

When particles to be removed do not settle out of solution easily, dissolved air flotation is often used. After coagulation and flocculation processes, water flows to DAF tanks where air diffusers on the tank bottom create fine bubbles that attach to floc resulting in a floating mass of concentrated floc. The floating floc blanket is removed from the surface and clarified water is withdrawn from the bottom of the DAF tank. Water supplies that are particularly vulnerable to unicellular algae blooms and supplies with low turbidity and high colour often employ DAF.

Filtration:

After separating most floc, the water is filtered as the final step to remove remaining suspended particles and unsettled floc.

There are two types of filters are available,

  • Slow sand filter
  • Rapid sand filter
 Slow sand filter:

Slow sand filters may be used where there is sufficient land and space, as the water must be passed very slowly through the filters. These filters rely on biological treatment processes for their action rather than physical filtration. The filters are carefully constructed using graded layers of sand, with the coarsest sand, along with some gravel, at the bottom and finest sand at the top. Drains at the base convey treated water away for disinfection.  Filtration depends on the development of a thin biological layer, called the zoogleal layer on the surface of the filter. An effective slow sand filter may remain in service for many weeks or even months if the pretreatment is well designed.

Rapid sand filter:

The most common type of filter is a rapid sand filter. Water moves vertically through sand which often has a layer of activated carbon or anthracite coal above the sand. The top layer removes organic compounds, which contribute to taste and odour. The space between sand particles is larger than the smallest suspended particles, so simple filtration is not enough. Most particles pass through surface layers but are trapped in pore spaces or adhere to sand particles. Effective filtration extends into the depth of the filter. This property of the filter is key to its operation: if the top layer of sand were to block all the particles, the filter would quickly clog.

Membrane filtration:

Membrane filters are widely used for filtering both drinking water and sewage. For drinking water, membrane filters can remove virtually all particles larger than 0.2 μm. Membrane filters are an effective form of tertiary treatment when it is desired to reuse the water for industry, for limited domestic purposes, or before discharging the water into a river that is used by towns further downstream.

Removal of ions and other dissolved substances:

Ion exchange: Ion exchange systems use ion exchange resin to replace unwanted ions. The most common case is water softening consisting of removal of Ca2+ and Mg2+ ions replacing them with benign (soap friendly) Na+ or K+ ions. Ion exchange resins are also used to remove toxic ions such as nitrite, lead, mercury, arsenic and many others.

Precipitative softening: Water rich in hardness is treated with lime and soda-ash to precipitate calcium carbonate out of solution utilizing the common-ion effect.

Electrodeionization: Water is passed between a positive electrode and a negative electrode. Ion exchange membranes allow only positive ions to migrate from the treated water toward the negative electrode and only negative ions toward the positive electrode. High purity deionized water is produced continuously, similar to ion exchange treatment. Complete removal of ions from water is possible if the right conditions are met. The water is normally pre-treated with a reverse osmosis unit to remove non-ionic organic contaminants, and with gas transfer membranes to remove carbon dioxide. A water recovery of 99% is possible if the concentrate stream is fed to the RO inlet.

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Disinfection:

Disinfection is accomplished both by filtering out harmful micro-organisms and also by adding disinfectant chemicals. Water is disinfected to kill any pathogens which pass through the filters and to provide a residual dose of disinfectant to kill or inactivate potentially harmful micro-organisms in the storage and distribution systems.

There are five types of disinfection methods are available,

  • Chlorine disinfection
  • Chlorine dioxide disinfection
  • Chloramine disinfection
  • Ozone disinfection
  • Ultraviolet disinfection
Potable water purification:

Potable water purification devices and methods are available for disinfection and treatment in emergencies or in remote locations. Disinfection is the primary goal, since aesthetic considerations such as taste, odor, appearance, and trace chemical contamination do not affect the short-term safety of drinking water.

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