We cannot live without water, it is absolutely essential for our survival. It’s important to understand that its existence on earth is what ensures life, and that caring for it goes together with our prolonged time in the world. One of the greatest current issues is that we use oceans, rivers and seas as a dumping ground for rubbish, chemical waste and toxic products. All of these elements have severely affected the quality of our water. In this post, we’ll cover the importance of water and its quality, how we should treat it and prevent its contamination.

Water management

Water management quality has progressively deteriorated in our country. One of the most serious problems is the result of our incapacity to manage our wastewater. This is undoubtedly what is causing issues in health and environment.

In Spain, our desalination plants only utilise 18% of their capacity, meaning that this type of resource is not suitable. As for wastewater systems, 40% of them are practically obsolete, which causes problems in our rural areas.

Wastewater treatment plants cannot eliminate common contaminants from the water. There is clear evidence of a lack of management in Spain, resulting in a severe decrease in the quality of our water.

Water quality

The contamination level in waterways increases as they run through urban and industrial areas, often becoming very degraded in the end.

One of the reasons for water contamination originates from nitrates, something that affects us as an island and also most of the Mediterranean. Greenpeace recently announced that only 11% of Spanish river water and 16% of aquifers are of acceptable quality.

The World Resources Institute positions Spain as the 30th country to suffer major hydric stress by 2040. This data affirms the fact that people working in the agricultural sector will eventually be forced to abandon their livelihoods and move to towns and cities, aggravating the general situation even more.

However, when it comes to drinking tap water, what is Spain’s water quality like?

The best and worst water in our country

Why does city water taste awful when it has either no taste or tastes good elsewhere? Its taste can be unpleasant in some cities due to the concentration of minerals in a certain amount of water, such as magnesium salts and calcium. When water has a high content, it is classified as hard, while if it contains less of these elements it is known as soft. What is certain, according the Ministry of Health, is that 99.5% of our tap water in Spain is safe to drink. The hardest water is found in the Mediterranean, with its taste also affecting the type of soil. In our case, on the islands, we have brackish water. Nevertheless, the end quality of tap water depends on the supply source, how it is treated to make it drinkable, and also buildings’ installations.

How can water quality be improved?

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There are several systems available to improve the quality of water for human consumption, such as water purification, domestic water treatment plants or taking advantage of rain water.

Water purification

Purifying the water in our homes kills any bacteria and parasites and prevents illnesses. What methods are available?

  • Disinfection by boiling: water just needs to be boiled for between 15 to 30 minutes to be safely used in food consumption.
  • Disinfection with chlorine: chlorination is a quick, economical and efficient system that eliminates bacteria in water. The amount of chlorine to be added depends on the concentration in the water. It is worth noting that the supply is already chlorinated by the network, meaning that if we add more it could taste unpleasant.
  • Activated carbon filtration: water is purified by filtering through an activated carbon filter that contains millions of microscopic holes which capture and break up molecules in contaminants.
  • Ozone purification: ozone is a very effective gas which breaks down live organisms without leaving chemical residue that may affect health or alter the taste of water.
  • Disinfection with ultraviolet light: in this case, the water passes through a filter which retains the particles. Then it goes through an activated carbon filter which eliminates any unpleasant taste, smell and colour of water. Finally, the water is purified by an ultraviolet light which destroys the bacteria.

Treatment of drinking water

Buying bottled water for drinking is not the only solution at home. In addition, it is worth considering that its purchase may result in harm to the environment. Water purifiers for home use provide a solution to suit every type of home.

  • Reverse osmosis for the home: eliminates all contaminants in water and reduces the presence of microorganisms to minimum levels. This type of technology is widely used in homes.
  • Water Softener: one of the problems that many experience in their homes is hard water. Not only does lime build up in pipes and domestic appliances, but also on our skin and hair. Water softeners are easily installed at the mains water input and allow for the elimination of these substances.
  • Water filters for home use: water filters separate by means of a porous mechanical process that strains the solids. There are also filters available for showers in the event that the water is causing itchiness and dryness in the skin and hair.

Taking advantage of rain water

nullRain water that is collected, filtered and stored in the right way can be a great alternative for a good quality source of drinking water for some purposes. Water catchment should be considered as an environmental and economical solution too. With what it costs, we should not waste water on unnecessary uses. In order to store rain water, it’s important to filter it and get rid of particles, leaves, small animals etc.

Therefore, rain water should essentially be collected from rooftops, as they are not used for transit which means that the water is of better quality. Please keep in mind that you will not be able to use water collected on roofs with asbestos cement or lead inside your home. About 50% of the water we use does not have to be drinkable. You can used filtered rain water for watering purposes.

Wastewater treatment

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Isolated houses that are not connected to a sewage plant system should have their own individual system that duly collects, treats and evacuates wastewater, or is kept in a sealed septic tank. This ensures that the public water supply system is safe, i.e. all water in aquifers, streams and coastal water areas etc.

The quality of aquifers has been affected by uncontrolled discharge coming in from badly maintained or sealed septic tanks. Unfortunately, this has resulted in water contaminated by coliforms including faecal matter, in addition to nitrates.

Point 3 of Article 81 of the Water Management Plan of the Balearic Islands, in Annex no. 4, clearly establishes the purifying systems that guarantee the conservation of our quality of water.

Here at Jaype, we strongly recommend the ecological water purification system of NECOR total oxidation made by the firm Remosa. This system is based on biological purification using activated sludge with a culture fixed on a fluidised bed, and which complies with the current wastewater disposal regulations RD 606/2003 for treated sewage to be safely discharged again into the environment without affecting aquifers or surface water.

The Necor system has 3 compartments:

  • Decantation tank: This is where most of the suspended matter in wastewater is decanted and sedimented. Anaerobic bacteria metabolise the majority of the organic matter, using a gasification, hydrolysation and mineralisation system. The decantation tank also separates typical greases found in homes.
  • Biological reactor: This processes the different reactions necessary for the biochemical decomposition of organic matter. In order for these to happen, oxygen is needed to maintain the aerobic conditions in the reactor and create the required circulation to keep the biomass suspended.
  • Clarifier: The sludge from the reactor is decanted to stop the discharge of suspended matter. Then the sludge is recycled back to the main decantation tank.

Jaype stocks all the latest technology products for water treatment, providing our customers with personalised and sustainable solutions to ensure drinkable water in individual or collective homes, hotels, industries and towns; We will be delighted to assist you at our store or you can contact us directly.

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