Overview

  • Pure water, also known as ultrapure water, is highly treated to remove most impurities, leaving mainly H₂O molecules. Unlike regular drinking water, it lacks common impurities, making it essential for specific industrial and medical applications.
  • Tap water's safety varies regionally, depending on the source, treatment processes, and local conditions. Factors like pollution, water scarcity, and management strategies impact its quality. While often safe, in some areas, alternative sources are advised.
  • The ultrapure water market, crucial for industries like semiconductor manufacturing, is growing rapidly, projected to reach $13.76 billion by 2027. Its purity is vital for removing various pollutants during manufacturing stages.
  • Producing pure water involves multiple steps like distillation, ion exchange, reverse osmosis, electrodialysis, and filtration. These methods are essential in industries requiring high water purity levels.
  • Many countries' water supply meets international standards, including WHO's, ensuring safe consumption. However, pure water is mainly used in industries rather than for everyday drinking purposes.

Contents


What is Pure Water?

Pure water, also referred to as ultrapure water, is water that has been treated to remove most impurities and ions, leaving essentially only water molecules (H₂O). While regular drinking water, including bottled mineral water, still contains some impurities, they are typically not harmful to health. In Taiwan, the water supply is tested and certified by the Environmental Protection Administration to meet the "Drinking Water Quality Standards," which are in line with international standards such as those set by the World Health Organization, ensuring its safety for consumption. Hence, for everyday use, drinking pure water is not necessary. Pure water is mainly used in specific industrial applications and medical equipment, such as semiconductor wafer manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, optical lenses, and cleaning medical syringes.

The ultrapure water market is a significant sector, growing from $9.07 billion in 2022 to $10.05 billion in 2023, and is expected to reach $13.76 billion by 2027. This growth is driven by its increased use in industries like semiconductor manufacturing, where it's crucial for removing pollutants, minerals, microbes, and trace organic and nonorganic compounds during various manufacturing stages

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Is Tap Water Safe to Drink?

When considering whether tap water is safe to drink, it's crucial to understand that water quality can vary significantly between different regions. Various factors, including the source of the water, the treatment processes it undergoes, and local environmental conditions, affect the safety and taste of tap water.

Water Sources and Treatment: Tap water typically comes from surface water or groundwater sources. It undergoes several treatment processes to remove contaminants and pathogens. These processes include filtration, sedimentation, and disinfection. In regions where water sources are heavily polluted or where treatment facilities are inadequate, tap water may not meet the safety standards for drinking.

Regional Variability: The quality of tap water can vary greatly depending on the region. For example, in some Caribbean Small Island Developing States, the main sources of water vary by topography and geology. Some islands rely on groundwater, while others depend on surface water. The decline in surface water quality due to contaminants from agricultural and urban runoff, industrial activities, and inadequate wastewater treatment is a significant issue in these regions.

Water Scarcity and Stress: In areas experiencing water scarcity or stress, the quality of tap water may be compromised. For instance, in the Caribbean, some islands face absolute water scarcity, making it challenging to meet basic water needs and maintain quality standards.

Water Markets and Management: Water markets and management strategies also play a role in determining water quality. These strategies include supply augmentation, demand management, and the implementation of water markets to manage scarce water supplies effectively. The efficiency of these strategies can influence the availability and quality of tap water.

In conclusion, while tap water in many regions, especially those with advanced water treatment facilities, is safe to drink, it's important to consider local conditions and regulations. In areas with known water quality issues, alternative sources such as bottled water or water purification systems might be necessary. It's always a good idea to check local water quality reports or consult with local health authorities for the most accurate and up-to-date information about the safety of tap water in your area.

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Pure Water Treatment Process

Pure water systems are essential in industries like semiconductors, LCD manufacturing, and precision electronics, where product circuitry demands highly purified water. Any impurities in the cleansing water can significantly reduce product yields. In particular, the semiconductor industry requires ultrapure water (cleaner by a factor of 1000 compared to tap water) for processes like photomask cleaning, wafer washing, etching, and mechanical polishing.

Pure Water Treatment Process

The preparation of pure water typically involves a combination of multiple technologies to ensure its high purity. Common steps include:

Distillation: A process of heating water into steam and then condensing it back into liquid, removing impurities and ions. It's an effective but energy-intensive method.

Ion Exchange Resins: These resins remove ions from water and are commonly used in water treatment. Mixed bed ion exchangers further combine cation and anion exchange resins for higher purity.

Reverse Osmosis (RO): RO uses a semipermeable membrane to filter impurities and ions, widely applied in producing highly pure water, especially in labs, pharmaceuticals, and electronics manufacturing.

Electrodialysis: This technique separates ions from water using an electric field and is typically used in deionizing water.

Filtration: Microfiltration removes tiny suspended particles and contaminants, further enhancing water purity.

The pure water industry encompasses various sectors such as equipment manufacturers, treatment technology developers, and companies involved in delivering clean water. This diverse industry contributes significantly to providing clean water for various uses, including high-precision manufacturing processes.

[4]

Application of Flow Meters in the Pure Water Industry

In the pure water industry, flow meters are used to monitor and regulate the inflow and outflow of water in the water purification process. When combined with control panels, they ensure efficiency and water quality standards, especially when the inflow includes filtered water sources and chemical agents. Flow meters with electronic signal output enhance monitoring accuracy and contribute to the optimization of the pure water production process.

Flow meters monitor liquids in real-time at the pure water treatment plant

Case: Major Water Treatment Equipment Manufacturer in Central Taiwan

Situation: The company initially used Swiss-brand insert-type paddlewheel flow meters in their water treatment equipment. However, these flow meters lacked screens and real-time flow monitoring capabilities. The customer wished to install a flow meter that would allow on-site personnel to monitor liquid flow conveniently.

Solution: LORRIC's AxleSense Patented Paddlewheel Flow Meter
The AxleSense paddlewheel flow meter features the advantage of an LCD/LED dual-screen design. It can provide clear readings of pipe flow even in low-light environments or when the machine is separated by plastic panels. Additionally, this flow meter can simultaneously monitor instantaneous flow, cumulative flow, instantaneous flow velocity, and provide daily accumulated records of positive/negative/net flow for the past 14 days. This not only meets the customer's requirements but also allows on-site personnel to access more detailed flow data.

 

EchoSense ultrasonic flow meters monitor liquids and record data on reverse osmosis equipment

Case: Reverse Osmosis System Manufacturer in Northern Thailand

Situation: The company, specializing in producing and integrating reverse osmosis systems, primarily used area flow meters, which lack data logging capabilities and struggle to meet modern digital monitoring needs. With technological advancements and increasing demands for precise flow monitoring, the client sought a flow meter that could facilitate real-time liquid flow monitoring on-site and integrate with a PLC control panel.

Solution: FU-ES EchoSense Clamp-on Ultrasonic Flow Meter
LORRIC provided the FU-ES clamp-on ultrasonic flow meter, which features advanced electronic measurement technology for real-time flow monitoring and digital output, suitable for integration with PLC systems. Additionally, the meter supports data logging through a digital interface, aiding the client in better analyzing and adjusting their production process. The client expressed satisfaction with the FU-ES's performance and plans to expand the use of such equipment to meet growing market demands.

References

  1. ^ Ultra Pure Water Global Market Report 2023 - GLOBENEWSWIRE
  2. ^ Water resource sustainability: Challenges, opportunities and research gaps in the English-speaking Caribbean Small Island Developing States - PLOSWATER
  3. ^ Assessing water markets around the world - GLOBAL WATER FORUM
  4. ^ A Review of Challenges and Opportunities Facing the Water Business - ULTRAPURE
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