Frequent Questions

When and why did humans first start to treat their water?

According to Twenty-Five Years of the Safe Drinking Water Act: History and Trends (EPA816-R-99-007), "People first treated water to improve its aesthetic qualities. Methods to improve the taste and odor of drinking water were recorded as early as 4000 B.C. Ancient Sanskrit, and Greek writings recommended water treatment methods such as filtering through charcoal, exposing to sunlight, boiling, and straining. Visible cloudiness (turbidity) was the driving force behind early water treatments, as many source waters contained particles that had an objectionable taste and appearance. To clarify water, the Egyptians reportedly used the coagulant alum (a chemical that causes suspended particles to settle out of water) as early as 1500 B.C.
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