Cleaning of Muddy Water

  Our Objective:

To study how to clean muddy water

  The Theory:

Before using a substance, it is necessary to separate harmful or useless substances that may be mixed with it. Sometimes, we separate even useful components if we need to use them separately. Often, one technique is not sufficient to separate the different substances present in a mixture. In such a situation, we need to use more than one of these methods. Some of the processes are: 


The filtration is a physical process in which suspended solid particles are separated from a liquid using a filter with pores that allow liquid particles to pass through but prevent heavier solid particles from passing through. The liquid that passes through the filter is called the filtrate. A muslin cloth or a filter paper is used as filters. In a piece of cloth, small holes in between the woven threads acts as pores. A filter paper has even minute pores on them. 


The process of settling of the heavier component in a mixture under the influence of gravity when left undisturbed is called sedimentation. It is one of the simplest method of separation. 


Decantation is the process of pouring out or removal of upper layer of liquid into another container. By using this technique, it is possible to separate two immiscible liquids or the top liquid layers without disturbing the sediment or lower liquid layers.  

Sometimes, water supplied through taps may be muddy. The water collected from ponds or rivers may also be muddy, especially after rains. Such water cannot be consumed on its own or used for other purposes directly. We can use the above mentioned methods to clean muddy water. 

Suspended impurities of muddy water are separated by filtration. The very fine particles that are smaller than the pores of the filter will come through. Treatment with alum help in settling down the fine mud particles suspended in water, which could not be removed by filtration. The sediments can then be removed from the water by decantation. These process only helps in removing suspended solids, the water can still contain disease causing pathogens. When water boils, the temperature rises and excessive heat kills the bacteria. This is the reason why you are usually advised to drink boiled water and eat cooked food. 

Many areas around the world, the available water is unsafe for drinking. It has been reported that more than one billion of people have no access to safe drinking water. Water must be treated before drinking. Water can be cleaned with the help of simple processes such as filtration, treating with alum, boiling, etc. In fact, alum is used as a clarifier in many waste water treatment facilities, in addition to other water treatment processes such as filtering. 

  Learning Outcomes:

  1. Students learn about simple cleaning process such as filtration, alum treatment, boiling etc.