A Brief History of Water Treatment. Tom O’Connor, PE. 2000 B.C.E. Sanskrit Writings. The Sus’ruta Samhita “impure water should be purified by being boiled over a fire, or being heated in the sun, or by dipping a heated iron into it,
Tom O’Connor, PE
The Sus’ruta Samhita
“impure water should be purified by being boiled over a fire, or being heated in the sun, or by dipping a heated iron into it,
or it may be purified by filtration through sand and coarse gravel and then allowed to cool.”
The Sanskrit Ousruta Sanghita
“It is good to keep water in copper vessels, to expose it to sunlight, and filter through charcoal.”
Select the most health-giving source
“for water contributes much to health”
“should be boiled and strained;
otherwise, it will have a bad smell
and cause hoarseness.”
a cloth bag (later called Hippocrate’s sleeve)
Arabian alchemist, Geber - Distillation
“purification of liquid matter from its turbulent feces, and conservation of it from putrefaction.”
Persian physician, Avicenna - Boiling
Boiling (efficient);Straining through cloth;
Aeration, either by gravity or agitation.
Italian Physician - Luc Antonio Porzio
Mass Sanitation - for soldiers in the field
Straining, sedimentation, followed by multiple (downward-flow) filtration through sand was a “very efficacious method of correcting the bad qualities of water”.
Parisian Scientist La Hire - 1703
Rain Water Cistern with Sand Filter
covered to exclude light and prevent freezing. Water will keep for years without spoiling (becoming mineralized through contact with the soil).
Italian Oceanographer, Marsigli - 1711
Sea water is not made drinkable by filtering!
Marsigli filtered sea water through a 6,000 foot-long glass tube filled with sand.
Scotch Physician, Dr. Francis Home - 1756
‘Experiments on Bleaching’
first scientific experiments on water softening.
London Physician, Dr. William Heberden - 1767
“The common people of England successfully
use alum to purify muddy water -2-3 grains per quart
making the dirt very soon flocculate then slowly precipitate”.
French entrepreneur, Joseph Amy
First book on filters: Nouvelles Fontaines Domestiques
First filter patent application: 1745
First filter manufacturer: substituted sponge for sand
Poisoned by copper, Amy exposed the menace of copper poisoning. He used lead, pewter or earthenware instead.
James Peacock, first English filter patent: 1791
-- novel concept of upflow filtration with reverse-flow wash
Filtered water supply for Paisley, Scotland: 1804
Piped water to consumers in Glasgow, Scotland: 1810
Scottish Engineer, Robert Thom, slow sand filter: 1827
-- false bottom filter cleaned by reverse flow
English Engineer, James Simpson, slow sand filter: 1829
-- deep filter cleaned by surface scraping
American Inventors, Patrick Clark, John Hyatt: 1880
mechanical filtration, backwash, surface wash