Beyond Pipes and Drains: Plumbers’ Expertise in Water Treatment and Filtration Systems



When you think of plumbers, you likely think of them handling pipe- and drain-related issues. However, plumbers play a valuable role beyond the traditional services they are known for.

Many plumbers work in the exciting field of water treatment and filtration systems. These plumbers help ensure homes and businesses have clean drinking water.

The demand for skilled plumbers in water treatment and filtration systems continues to increase. As a result, there are ongoing opportunities to specialize in this niche market.

Discover how plumbers’ expertise in water treatment and filtration systems can lead to exciting career opportunities.

Conventional Water Treatment Method

Many water treatment plants combine coagulation, sedimentation, filtration, and disinfection to clean the water. This process provides safe drinking water to the public.

Coagulation Process

During the coagulation process, plumbers add iron or aluminum salts to the water. Examples include aluminum sulfate, ferric sulfate, ferric chloride, or polymers.

Plumbers rapidly mix the water to circulate the coagulant:

  • Iron or aluminum salts are coagulants that have a positive charge.
  • The dissolved and suspended particles in the water have a negative charge.
  • Combining the charges results in a neutral charge.
  • When the positive and negative charges react, the particles bind together or coagulate.
  • Because the larger particles are heavy, they quickly settle to the bottom of the water supply.

Plumbers may filter the coagulated water through a medium filter, a microfiltration membrane, or an ultrafiltration membrane. Or, the plumbers might move the water to a settling tank so the heavy particles settle to the bottom and can be removed:

  • The coagulation process removes a substantial number of organic compounds that may give the water an unpleasant color, odor, or taste.
  • These compounds may include natural organic matter, dissolved organic carbon, and inorganic precipitates.

Water Filtration Process

During the filtration process, plumbers pass the water through a porous filter to remove viruses and bacteria. The filtration system typically is made from sand, gravel, and charcoal to create varying sizes of pores for the water to pass through.

Plumbers may use slow sand filtration to clean the water:

  • Bacteria create a community on the top layer of sand.
  • The bacteria clean the water by digesting the contaminants as the water passes through the filter.
  • The filters are cleaned every 2 months to facilitate the water flow rate.
  • Filtering resumes after the bacteria have time to reestablish a community.

Or, plumbers might use rapid sand filtration to clean the water:

  • Several sizes of filters are used to vary the pore size and retain more material.
  • Suspended solids are physically removed from the water.
  • Backwashing is used to clean the filters twice daily.
  • The filters are immediately put back into operation.

Rapid sand filtration has significantly higher flow rates and requires substantially less land than slow sand filtration. Therefore, rapid sand filtration is more commonly used than slow sand filtration.

Build a Plumbing Career in Water Treatment and Filtration Systems

Work with CCS Construction Staffing to build a plumbing career in water treatment and filtration systems. Visit our job board to get started today.

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