Just how is water supplied to our homes? It seems to fall for free... Water may start as rain and fall into rivers and streams and filter through the soil, but it needs to be treated before it reaches our taps at home.
The first step to supply water to the home is a system to pump it from its original accumulation point (a reservoir or lake, river, stream or the ground) to a centre where it undergoes a number of treatment processes.
Debris such as branches of trees, sand and other particles have to be filtered out. Some chlorine has to be added to kill off any dangerous bacteria.
How Is Water Supplied? Domestic Water Treatment
The water will leave the treatment works through a system of pipes, pumps and reservoirs to arrive at the supply pipe to every home. If the water is hard - the kind that does not foam easily and leaves a scum around bath and kitchen appliances - it needs to be treated with hard water softeners.
Water becomes hard when it flows over limestone regions, where it dissolves calcium and magnesium ions. Domestic softening agents for hard water work to remove these ions in the same way as if the water were flowing over sandstones.
This is a method of reproducing in the home what happens in nature in regions such as the Yorkshire Dales. The water is hard as it flows over the limestone in the Dales and then softens as it flows through rivers over millstone grit - sandstone - to become part of the supply to urban areas.
Water Testing Kits
You can see how water is supplied and treated at in this short video by Epcor. Water companies are obliged by law to provide safe water. However, floods and accidents may affect the water’s purity over a brief period.
A wide range of testing kits can give an indication of your water supply’s purity and hardness.