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Water Quality & Drinking Water Treatment Exploratory Essay

This reflective report analyses New York City’s drinking water quality and the treatment process. The paper identifies the contaminants in New York City water and analyzes these contaminants through a broad spectrum approach.

The New York City Water Report

The fluoride contaminant violated the maximum requirement level in the New York drinking water. The fluoride content of 2.2 mg/L in this water is almost double the concentration level of 1.0mg/L as situated by the New York City Health Code.

The calcium contaminant was very close to violating the maximum contaminant levels in the New York City drinking water. The concentration of calcium contaminant was recorded at 5.3 mg/L against an average of between 4.4 and 6.7 mg/L.

Contaminant detected: Nitrate

Name of the Contaminant MCL Physical properties Sources of contamination Health effects Treatment methods
Nitrate 0.12mg/L Molecular formula is NO3−.
The weight is 62.0049 g/molecule.
It is soluble in water.
Overspill from used fertilizer.
Leakage from water treatment tanks.
Sewage runoff.
Natural erosion from deposits.
Toxicosis: may lead to methemoglobinemia (blue baby) condition characterized by lack of enough oxygen in the vital body organs.
May lead to death of animals when the concentration in drinking water over 70%.
Oxidation of excess nitrate is necessary in water treatment.
The oxidizing agent that can be used is the ozone. The ozone will oxidize all the nitrites in into the less toxic nitrates.

Water Treatment Plant Configuration

Water in its natural source is often subject to fecal contamination, primarily derived from processes of decomposition of organic nitrogenous material present in water.

While ammonia (ammonium) and nitrites indicate an organic contamination, there are several harmless contaminants present in water such iron and calcium among others. The diagram below represents a typical water treatment plant summarizing the processes involved in water treatment.

Schematic water treatment diagram

Schematic water treatment diagram

Steps involved in the water treatment

Step 1: Screening

The raw water is passed through a sieving screen to eliminate relatively large pieces of foreign material such as rocks, leaves, and sticks. At this stage, Potassium permanganate chemical may be used when the raw water has traces of algal bloom.

Step 2: Coagulation

This involves passing the raw water into a coagulation tank where visible particles that remained after the screening stage are separated and channeled to an ejection tank for farm use.

Step 3: Sedimentation

The water is then moved to a special tank that is designed to allow for any remaining particle in the water to patch up at the base of the sediment tank.

Step 4: Filtration

The dual media in the filtration tank consisting of anthracite and sand ensures that all the visible pollutants are eliminated.

Step 5: Disinfection

Regulated amount of chlorine is passed into the water to inactivate any pathogens that might have passed through the previous steps. At this stage, controlled quantity of fluoride ingredient is added to the disinfected water to reduce incidences of tooth discoloration and decay upon use of this water.

Step 6: Storage and distribution

The fully treated water is then channel to storage tanks for a while before being distributed to the final user.


Water treatment is carried out by using special purification equipments that measured the 4 parameters of contamination (nitrates, phosphates, chlorides and sulfur). However, the concentration of each parameter detected varies due to the conditions and flow of water from its source. There are significant differences between the parameters, pH, temperature and dissolved oxygen in different water sources.

This exploratory essay on Water Quality & Drinking Water Treatment was written and submitted by your fellow student.
This paper has been submitted by user Marc Shelton who studied at the University of California, Santa Barbara, USA, with average GPA 3.59 out of 4.0.
You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.

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Shelton, M. (2019, July 8). Water Quality & Drinking Water Treatment [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Work Cited

Shelton, Marc. "Water Quality & Drinking Water Treatment." IvyPanda, 8 July 2019,

1. Marc Shelton. "Water Quality & Drinking Water Treatment." IvyPanda (blog), July 8, 2019.


Shelton, Marc. "Water Quality & Drinking Water Treatment." IvyPanda (blog), July 8, 2019.


Shelton, Marc. 2019. "Water Quality & Drinking Water Treatment." IvyPanda (blog), July 8, 2019.


Shelton, M. (2019) 'Water Quality & Drinking Water Treatment'. IvyPanda, 8 July.

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