Almost 70% of the entire Earth is water. Ditto for our human bodies.
To maintain the best output for both. Water is an essential ingredient.
Water is available in different forms on the Earth’s surface. Oceans, lakes, rivers, springs and ponds.
The human made storage options add to these resources. Over-head tanks, wells, tube-wells, hand-pumps. These are the most common examples.
That adds up to a lot many sources of water. A lot many for all the living beings on this plant. But both you and I know the truth. That not all of these resources provide potable water.
Sea water is high on salt concentration. Lakes and rivers accumulate wastes dumped into them.
Hand-pumps in many parts of the World are a source of toxicity. The toxins leach into the ground water through the soil.
Assimilation of such an information staggers. A commodity as essential as water is so rare in its purest form.
So, what does one do to quench their thirst in the safest way?
The best solution possible seems to boil drinking water for purification.
Yes. That sounds wise, easy and obvious. But does that ensure healthy drinking water?
Does boiling water remove all contaminants
YES. NO. OR MAY BE.
All 3 are correct answers to the question. It depends on a handful of factors to determine which one holds true in which case.
Those factors are the contaminants, temperature of boiling, and the altitude where you boil.
There are numerous of contaminants in water. From the ones those are visible to the naked eye. Like the stones, insects, organic and inorganic residues.
The others are that we cannot see. Cysts, microbes, viruses and toxic elements are unseen in water. These are minute in size and dissolve in water.
Most of these turn inept with their damage causing capabilities through boiling. Though, except for the toxic elements.
Fluoride, Arsenic, Lead are the most common toxins dissolved in water. They are resistant to high temperatures. Hence, boiling has no effect on them.
In fact, due to boiling, their percentage in the water increases. The volumes of water lost due to heating increases their concentration.
If the utensil used to boil is of aluminium. Then the resultant water will have more toxicity than in its erstwhile pre-boiled state.
A membrane based filtration system works better for them.
2. Temperature of Boiling
The perfect temperature to boil water for its safety varies. That is because the contaminants have different threshold of mortality.
To destroy them, the rules of pasteurization come in handy.
Most of the pathogens cannot survive at temperatures around 70 degrees centigrade. The time frame of that temperature also plays a role here.
So, water boiled at around 70 degrees centigrade for 30 minutes is a good rule of thumb.
Since most of the households do not have a cooking thermometer,it is difficult to determine the temperatures.
Hence, for the maintenance of actual safety and mental satisfaction levels, an estimated time frame of boiling water for 30 minutes at a high temperature is good.
By that time huge sized bubbles form in water. That also serves a good estimate.
3. Altitude where you boil
As you go up the sea-levels. The longer it takes to reach a certain boiling temperature.
Hence, on higher altitudes like the mountainous and hilly terrains, pasteurization will take longer time for the same quantity of water, vis-a-vis on the grounds.
In Conclusion: How to purify water?
With the wastes dumping activity on an increase, the groundwater has high concentrations of contaminants of all kinds.
Hence, the water available for drinking may seem pure. But may not be.
Boiling remains the most popular ways to purify water for drinking.
Boiling is fatal for most of the pathogens. Though filtration is better for water purification for dissolved toxins like Fluoride and Lead.
How long to boil water to purify depends upon 2 factors. The altitude of the location and the temperature of boiling.
Temperatures between 70–100 degree centigrade is best for boiling water to kill bacteria.
At ground levels, 10 minutes of boiling at such temperatures is good. For hilly areas, one can add 5 more minutes to that time frame.
One should also place a lid on the boiling utensil. That would bring in savings to fuel, water and time; along with best water for drinking.
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