Water, an element that is the basic necessity of life, should be in the purest form possible when used for drinking. Nowadays water is being contaminated through various means quite frequently. One cannot expect to get water absolutely free from all the possible contaminants and because there is no real alternative to water, many ways have been developed to purify the water obtained from natural sources.
The most commonly used forms of water are tap water and spring water. Â Spring water is basically obtained from underground sources and is usually found in areas encompassing more natural resources and having rivers, streams and other natural water reservoirs like those found in the Caribbean region. Tap water, on the other hand, is basically the water that is being supplied to each and every household of the area through pipelines in more developed countries. There are huge differences in the components of both these waters depending on the source from which they are obtained.
Components of Spring and Tap waters
A large number of organic and inorganic elements are part of these water types. Some of them are found naturally while some are added manually.
Spring water is thought to be the purest form of water on Earth. It has the perfect balance of minerals and other essential elements. It also tastes much better than other water source. As the spring water keeps on flowing and passes through many hurdles during its journey, it constantly gets agitated by every obstacle and minimum amount of impurities can be expected in this water form. This technique is being used effectively by the companies making bottled mineral water.
On the other hand, tap water is often subjected to contaminations through different means. Although it does contain many useful elements and minerals, but if any of these exceeds a certain limit, tap water creates extremely adverse effects on the users. Chlorine, lead, fluoride, arsenic, nitrates and sulphates are most commonly occurring components of tap water.
Advantages of Spring water over Tap water
Both spring water and tap water are found to offer some advantages and disadvantages after crossing a certain limit. But spring water still has more advantages to offer which are sufficient enough to override the disadvantages offered by it. Some of the good qualities of spring water are as follows:
- Spring water has calcium that is well-known for making bones and teeth stronger. Apart from that, this calcium also helps out in hormone secretion and also improves blood clotting at the sites of skin punctures or similar openings.
- Natural salt called sodium chloride is also found in spring water which helps improve digestion.
- Chromium found in spring water improves sugar breakdown in the body and helps prevent diabetes.
- Boron dioxide found in spring water is very beneficial for preventing tooth decay and making bones stronger and denser.
- Potassium found in this water prevents dehydration, creates a balance in body fluids and can aid in the fight against cancer.
- Some minerals and chemical elements are found in trace amounts like cobalt, germanium, iodine, lithium, magnesium, manganese, silica, zinc, hydrogen carbonate and sulphate. They improve different body processes, from better circulation and digestion to improving the overall physical and mental conditions of the body.
Keeping these advantages in mind, spring water is being sold separately in bottles in many retail outlets in the Caribbean markets and many other western countries. Many restaurants and cafes have also started offering spring water in the form of mineral water to their customers.
Disadvantages offered by Spring and Tap water
Innumerable pollutants are added to tap water on its way to the final destinations, i.e. faucets in the houses. Lead, asbestos, halogens, nitrates, nitrites, sulphates and high levels of sodium and potassium in these water supplies can cause serious health hazards like skin problems, respiratory disorders, general weakness, cholera, chest congestion and sometimes even promote cancer development in different parts of the body.
The disadvantages of spring water include Arsenic as one of the biggest threats found in these waters. It is thought to be carcinogenic and keeps on accumulating in the body without being noticed. It generally causes cancers and can even lead to death. Copper accumulation found in spring water causes heart diseases. Nitrates hinder the regular flow of gases, especially oxygen in the body. Exceedingly high levels of potassium result in fatigue, nausea and overall weakness of the body.
Treatment of Tap water in the Caribbean Region
In the Caribbean region, generally spring water is available. Different treatments are necessary for making the tap water portable. This water is then used domestically as well as for industrial purposes. The following categories give a brief account of the water treating techniques used in the Caribbean:
- Physical methods like boiling, filtration, sedimentation and distillation are used for separating out the visibly present impurities mostly in solid forms.
- Biological processes like slow sand filters and introducing active carbons into the water under treatment are useful for removing the microscopic impurities. The process of addition of biologically active carbons also helps to remove the undesirable colours and odors that some of the impurities might add to the tap water.
- Chemical processes like chlorination, use of electromagnetic radiations and flocculation are used on larger scales for water treatment. Addition of active chlorine into the water kills all the germs present in it. Flocculation involves addition of clarifying agents into the contaminated water and flakes of colloid impurities are separated out. Electromagnetic radiations are used to kill all the bacteria and other microscopic creatures present in the impure water.
Unlike the Caribbean region, North America has access to tap water because of the huge distances present between the natural water reservoirs and populated areas. Tap water has to be treated through processes effective for being used on larger scales before this water is supplied to houses and industries. Usually chemical processes are employed for making the water drinkable in North America.
Spring water appears to be safer to drink than tap water as it is natural and free from many added impurities. Even if you donâ€™t treat it in any way, you can still drink it without the fear of getting sick.
By Liya Das