Water Purification And Water Filtration: Is There Truly A Difference?

In today’s world, people tend to not give much thought to the water around them. For many, it’s a simple convenience to merely turn on the tap or buy bottled water from a nearby store, and have the drink they need. Water has become quite mundane that the different methods of making it potable—whether through filtration or purification—have flown under the radar and are often confused for each other.

Glass of water

That said, it’s not uncommon for someone to mistake water filtration for purification, and vice versa. These two methods are quite different in a lot of ways, some of which are explored here.

Of the two, purification is less understood. When people hear the term ‘purification,’ they believe that water is made ‘pure’ by the process—that is, any extra compound in the water is taken out, leading to completely untainted H2O. This isn’t really the case. Taking a closer look, the root word ‘purify’ by definition doesn’t necessarily denote the removal of all extraneous matter per se, but rather the removal of unwanted elements, such as contaminants that can cause sickness.

The difference with filtration is mainly technical in nature. According to Webster’s Dictionary, filtration is the act or process of filtering; or the mechanical separation of a liquid from the undissolved particles mixed with it. Think of water filtration as running water through a strainer—a filter with tiny holes in it which block undesirable elements, separating the contaminants from the water itself. Taken in an industry perspective, today’s water filtration systems, such as those offered by Highland Rim Springs, are pretty powerful, capable of blocking even microscopic organisms such as protozoa which may harm health.

In other words, the main difference between purification and filtration can be summed up this way: purification is the process of actively removing unwanted contaminants from water, while filtration deals with preventing impurities from entering a water system. Still, a gray area exists in this sense: adding chemicals which cause contaminants to sink can be considered filtration since the pollutants are prevented from passing through, and a mechanical filter with ultra-fine pores which restrict even viruses can be classified as purification since most impurities are removed.

Bottom line is, both water treatment methods have served a good number of people well through the years, and shall continue to do so with technological and process improvements along the way.


Water Filtration Vs. Purification: What’s The Difference? Daily Caller, February 27, 2012

What’s The Difference Between Water Purification And Filtration? eBay.com, June 9, 2014

What Is The Difference Between Filtered And Purified Water? PureWaterSystems.com

Water Filtration Versus Purification, FoodStorageMadeEasy.net

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