Question: what is the best way to decontaminate water

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  1. The cheapest is to let the sun do it. I built a decom unit in high school actually. You can take the muddiest water around and if you let the sun heat it, let it evaporate and then collect that water vapour you should have very clean water. Hard to make a very large one though which is why chemicals and gravel sieves are used to decontaminate water.


  2. Hi Shaunm,

    This depends on what you mean by best, and it also depends on the type of contamination.

    Cheap methods as James has mentioned are great, but not necessarily the best if you need water for a town. Boiling water is good and may kill or make inactive microorganisms if boiled for long enough, but it will not necessarily remove other toxic compounds.

    It all depends on what the purpose is.


  3. Hey shaunm. You can also use filtration to remove bugs and other rubbish from water to help decontaminate water. We do this in a lab exercise and filter pond water, and compare the growth of bacteria from the filtered sample to an unfiltered sample.


  4. Hi Shaumn,
    That would probably depend on what you mean by decontaminate (as in what you actually want to remove from it), where you got the water from, how much of it you have, and what you want to do with it. Filtering and boiling would be pretty effective in most cases, if you are wanting to remove things like soil, dust, or metals, and to kill microorganisms. There are some bacteria that are resistant to heat, though (some of them actually prefer really hot temperatures), so you would have to be very careful.