I checked out the EPA website (link below) and this is what they had to say: “When it gets to the treatment plant, water suppliers often add chemicals called coagulants to the water. These act on the water as it flows very slowly through tanks so that the dirt and other contaminants form clumps that settle to the bottom. Usually, this water then flows through a filter for removal of the smallest contaminants like viruses and Giardia.”
Often the water is treated with chlorine and/or carbon.
Water treatment often has 3 to four stages. The first is settling, which often takes place in large ponds. In the case of waste water, this water is often treated with bacteria that helps dissolve waste solids. The water is then chemically treated, often with chlorine, to kill any remaining bacteria. The treated water is then passed through a series of filters (occasionally using reverse osmosis) in order to filter any remaining bacteria and viruses. The water may then be chemically treated again to remove some of the chlorine, and is sometimes exposed to UV rays in order to further purify and treat it. The water is then ready for drinking and general human use.
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