Rising Water Pollution: Are POE water purifier the solution?

According to United Nations, approximately 663 million people across the globe do not have access to clean drinking water. While many efforts have been made in increasing access to clean water facilities, billions of people, mostly in rural areas still face the brunt of consuming dirty water due to lack of accessibility. Recreational or contaminated drinking water leads to water-borne diseases such as cholera, typhoid, dysentery, hepatitis A, etc., which are responsible for taking up more than 3 million lives every year, making it the world’s leading killer. Safe and clean drinking water is crucial for public health, whether it is used for drinking, cooking, domestic use, basic sanitation, or recreational purposes. In 2010, UN recognized the human right to sufficient, continuous, acceptable, and physically accessible clean drinking water for personal and domestic consumption.

Water is not only elemental for human survival but also for accelerating economic growth of a nation. Clean drinking water mean less expenditure on health as people are less likely to fall prey to water-borne diseases and are better able to remain economically productive. Access to clean and affordable water sources also results in better health and attendance of the children at school, which also results in positive long-term consequences for their lives. However, climate changes, increasing water scarcity, rapid urbanization and industrialization are some of the challenges for clean water supply systems. With the scarcity of water resources, it has become utmost important to device strategies for improving the quality of contaminated water, managing water resources properly, and supplying clean drinking water to improve water facilities.

Chlorine is the most used water disinfectant worldwide for treating drinking water due to its low cost, ease of use, ability to kill pathogens, wide-scale availability. While chlorine reduces the risk of some water-borne diseases, some researchers have linked chlorine to incidences of bladder, rectal, and breast cancer. The perceived negative aspects of chlorination have shifted great focus towards point-of-entry water filtration systems, designed to purify water for its safe consumption. Point-of-entry (POE) water purifier systems are installed at the main line where water enters the home therefore these systems are also known as “whole home” systems. The POE water purifier is designed to remove odours, eliminate unwanted taste, and any other contaminants producing water safe for everyday use. Processing high volumes of water, POE water purifiers are generally easy to maintain and durable, needing replacement of its filter every 5-7 years.

While individual commercial facilities have employed POE water purifier for many years, it is increasingly becoming popular for small residential communities since the past decade. The emergence of new technologies in POE water purifiers such as ultraviolet disinfection equipment, Reverse Osmosis systems, etc. have reduced maintenance frequency and increased reliability.  

How does Point-of-entry water filtration system work?

The Point-of-entry water filtration system combines many important features and functionalities that helps to remove contaminants such as dirt, pathogens, bacteria, etc. from water. A multi-stage POE water purifier ensure that only clean water gets to household or any commercial facility.

Stage 1-Sediment Pre-Filtration

The water flows into a sediment prefilter, which is designed to eliminate the contaminants such as sand, sediment, silt, clay, etc. The mesh-like filter acts as a sieve to remove the contaminants and turbidity from water (cloudiness caused by heavy presence of sediments). However, the filter does not remove any harmful chemicals, pathogens, or particulate matter and only acts a defensive filtration method.

Stage 2-Mineral Filtration

The filtered water then passes through a copper-zinc and mineral filtration media, which removes most of the remaining metals and heavy metal contaminants from the water. In some cases, manufacturers can utilize Kinetic Degradation Flux (KDF) media in carbon filter to destroy the pathogens. KDF process media use a redox reaction to catalyse the formation of radicals that can hinder the microorganism’s ability to function.  Besides removing heavy metal such as nickel, copper, mercury, etc. the KD filter also removes dissolved chemicals such as hydrogen sulphide, iron, chlorine, and other harmful compounds. KDF filters also help to prevent bacteria build-up in pipes and fixtures, thereby reduces maintenance costs. 

Stage 3- Activated Carbon Filtration

In the next step, the water enters the activated carbon media with wide porous surface lined with deep ridges. The activation process generates a network of pores and cavities that becomes a path for water to access the extended internal surface. The activated carbon with large absorption capacity acts like a sponge to absorb the contaminants, depending on the hydrophobicity (inability to dissolve in water) of the molecules. The hydrophobic substances bind better to the carbon surface than hydrophilic particles due to the polar nature. Some manufacturers inculcate catalytic coconut shell carbon with high adsorbent properties and predominant microporous nature. Removing a wide range of organic chemicals and contaminants such as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), halogens, and disinfection by-products, the catalytic coconut carbon controls taste as well as odour.

Stage 4-UV Purification (Optional)

The UV water purification alters the DNA of pathogens present in the water, ceasing their ability to reproduce and spread diseases. Once the pathogen is exposed to UV light, the bacteria or virus cannot infect water. In a way, UV filters eliminates the need of treating water with chemicals and serves as an eco-friendly option.

The POE water systems are extensively used to treat water at private wells, campgrounds, hotels, agriculture, hospitals, cottages, restaurants, breweries, laboratories, marine vessels, pharmacies, dairy farms, water treatment plants, etc.

According to TechSci Research report on Global POE Water Purifiers Market By Type (Activated Carbon, Mechanical Filter, and Others), By Application (Residential, Commercial), By Sales Channel (Direct, Distributor), By Region, Competition, Forecast & Opportunities, 2015 – 2025”, Global POE water purifiers market valued at USD17.5 billion in 2019 and registering a CAGR of 11.72%, the market value is set to reach USD31.14 billion by 2025. Rapid urbanization and industrial activities are leading to contamination of water resources and contributing to rising incidences of waterborne diseases. Increasing awareness about health and rising personal disposable income is pushing the demand for POE water purifiers through 2025. Additionally, government initiatives to provide access to clean water to vulnerable groups and increasing awareness about health are fuelling the growth of Global POE water purifiers market.

 

 

Benefits of Installing POE filtration system

  • Enhanced quality of water
  • Better tasting water (absence of chlorine)
  • Low maintenance of household appliances
  • Cost-effective water filtration system
  • Eco-friendly solution to reduce the production and transportation of plastic water bottles
  • Faster installation

Government Initiatives for Clean Water Access

Rural Water Supply and Sanitation (RWSS) Project

The World Bank approved a USD500 million credit for RWSS program under the National Rural Drinking Water Program to provide access to clean water in 33 districts of Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, and Uttar Pradesh. The project is expected to benefit around 7.8 million rural population who have the lowest coverage of tap water. The World Bank has been supporting the government of India to scale up RWSS program since 1991, benefitting around 24 million rural households. The aim of the program is to integrate water supply and sanitation facilities, promote health and sanitization measures and promote solid waste management practices. The project will pilot programs to ensure 24/7 water supply combining new technologies such as solar energy.

One WASH National Program

The world bank has provided financial assistance of nearly USD300 million to the Government of Ethiopia to establish an integrated implementation of water supply, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) activities. Ethiopia has made a significant progress in increasing access to clean and safe drinking water, but recurrent droughts, floods, and rising temperatures have made management of water resources challenging. Addressing these challenges, the project aims to increase access to WASH services and improve the quality of clean water supply sanitation services while strengthening the capacity for water resources management.

Viet Nam Setting National Standards

Viet Nam has successfully exceeded Millennium Development goals of providing access to clean water and improve sanitation in the country, providing improved sources of water to almost 98% population of the country. With the support of WHO, UNICEF and the World Bank, the Government of Vietnam managed to work towards universal access to water and sanitation under a three-phase National Target Programme. In 2008, Vietnam issued regulations to implement water safety plans to ensure elimination of contamination of the water source and prevent recontamination during distribution and storage. 

Conclusion

With the rising incidences of water-borne diseases around the world, especially in developing countries, the adoption of POE water systems has become a need rather than a choice. However, increasing awareness regarding consumption of safe drinking water and growing focus of consumers to maintain hygienic conditions is likely to propel the demand for POE water systems in the coming years. 

According to TechSci Research on “ASEAN Water Purifier Market By Product Type (Under Sink, Counter Top, Faucet Mount & Others {Tankless, Smart Purifiers etc.}), By Sales Channel (Retail, Distributor and Others), By Country (Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, Singapore, Myanmar, Cambodia), Competition, Forecast & Opportunities, 2026”, ASEAN water purifier market is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 9.71% during the forecast period owing to factors such as growing urban population and stringent government measures for providing access to safe and portable water. Moreover, rising incidences of waterborne diseases and depleting natural water resources are adding to the growth of ASEAN water purifier market through 2026.

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