Wednesday, 7 November 2012



If you must drink from a biologically contaminated water source, boiling kills 100 percent of the dangerous pathogens in your drinking water. Experts disagree on how long to boil drinking water, as heating to temperatures below boiling also kills most bacteria and viruses. If you heat water to only 165 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes, you kill most organisms in the water. Because your water could contain spores of heat-resistant pathogens such as cryptosporidium, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends bringing the water to a rolling boil for one minute, and for three minutes if you live 6,562 feet or more above sea level.

2.Improving Quality

Boiling water forces out dissolved gases. Oxygen and carbon dioxide in water give the liquid a pleasant flavor, but gases formed as byproducts of decomposition cause unpleasant smells and tastes. If your original drinking water smells or tastes bad, boiling water often improves the water quality. You can restore flavor by pouring water back and forth between containers several times, mixing oxygen and carbon dioxide back into it. Boiling helps preserve safe drinking water, but you must sterilize the storage container, as well. The same canning methods used for long-term preservation of acidic foods also work for boiled water. Boiled water in sealed mason jars heated in a boiling water bath can store safely for years.

3.Precipitating Minerals

Dissolved minerals could give your water a bad taste. If you boil hard water, some dissolved minerals precipitate out, forming a hard layer on the inside of the container used. Two classes of mineral salts cause hard water problems: calcium and magnesium, as carbonates, bicarbonates and hydroxides form a hard mineral layer that accumulates inside containers used for boiling drinking water. Magnesium and calcium sulfates and chlorides cause permanent water hardness. If your water's off taste comes from these mineral salts, boiling only concentrates the solution by evaporating some of the water and leaving the dissolved salts behind.

4.Reducing Contamination

Boiling reduces the volume of some chemical contaminants such as benzene and toulene, which boil at a lower temperature than water. Boiling does not always reduce chemical pollution. If you live in an agricultural area where nitrates from fertilizers or manures leach into the groundwater, boiling increases the problem. As water boils away, the percentage of nitrates in the remaining liquid rises. Healthy adults tolerate nitrate concentrations as high as 45 mg per liter, according to the Colorado State University Extension. Buying clean bottled water to mix with the well water could make your water safe for drinking and cooking.

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