What are the Different Types of Water?
What are the Different Types of Water?
Water, nature’s most abundant resource, comes in many forms from many places. What types of water are out there? How do we know what sort of water we’re even dealing with? Read on to find out more about this seemingly plain liquid that has a whole lot more going on than you may think.
Types of water
How many types of water are there? Good question, this will depend on what you are looking for when it comes to “types” of water. Potable water vs. Grey Water vs. Black Water? Bottled water vs. Tap water? Seawater vs. freshwater? What makes all these different types of water different is determined by what they contain, truly pure water is nearly impossible to find in nature, and depending on its travel from source to sample can contain a wide variety of impurities from simple minerals to full-on wastewater. We can determine the type of water using the above water quality parameters, as well as where the water sample was sourced.
Alkaline Water – What is alkaline water? Alkaline water is water that has a pH typically higher than 8. The scale of pH goes from 1 to 14. Water that is below 6 is considered acidic and water above 8 is considered alkaline.
Artesian Water – What is artesian water? Artesian water is the same as groundwater the difference being is it is brought to the surface by natural pressure.
Blackwater What is Blackwater? Blackwater is a type of Wastewater also known as Sewage, specifically wastewater with high levels of contamination from toilets. Due to the high level of various bacteria, diseases and other unsavory elements Blackwater requires careful treatment and disposal.
Brackish Water – What is brackish water? Brackish water Is a term used to describe water that is more saline than freshwater but less saline than seawater. A commonplace to find brackish water is an estuary, which is the place where a river meets the sea or ocean.
Deionized Water – What is deionized water? It is water that has had all mineral ions removed from it and is pure water.
Distilled Water – Is Distilled Water different from Purified Water? Yes and no, although purified water has had most contaminants removed it still contains various minerals, salts, and residual chemicals. Distilled water is water that has been heated to a vapor, leaving the nearly pure H2O to rise as steam to be re-condensed back to a liquid leaving most minerals and salts behind. Through multiple distillation steps, you can achieve virtually pure H2O.
Exclusion Zone Water (EZ water) – Discovered by Dr. Pollock of the University of Washington and is called the 4th phase of water. EZ water is a thin layer of water that naturally forms by hydrophilic surfaces this layer of water becomes viscous and pushes all TSS and TDS out of it. This is considered the purest form of water and matches the water you find in the cells of your body. You can learn more about it here:
Grey Water What is Greywater? Greywater is wastewater from sinks, washing machines, and other appliances that while containing contaminants, does not include any wastewater from toilets. Most Greywater sources contain far fewer bacteria and diseases than Blackwater and allow for reuse with minimal treatment. This is especially important in drought areas with limited access to freshwater. Reuse or reclaimed water can reduce the amount of freshwater needed for irrigation, or cooling tower make up water for example.
Hard Water – Hard water is water that has dissolved ionic compounds in it that are above 60mg/l. For more comprehensive information about hard water please read: What is hard water? Hard Water Facts
Mineral Water – What makes Mineral Water different from the rest? Mineral Waterfalls under the category of Well Water but is specifically sourced from a clean underground source. These sources are chosen because they contain a desirable mix of minerals such as calcium and magnesium and often have a subtle flavor to them. The taste and mouthfeel of mineral water will vary depending on the exact type and concentration of minerals it contains.
Potable Water – What is potable water? Potable water is water that has been treated and tested as safe for human consumption, otherwise known as drinking water. This includes tap water, bottled water, filtered water, and any other water considered safe for drinking and food preparation. This does not necessarily mean the water is “healthy” as that is an entirely different subject with many different opinions involved, but rather that the water is safe for consumption. Potable water can be further broken down into various types of drinking water.
Purified Water – What does purified water mean? Purified water can mean a lot of things but usually indicates that any contaminants have been filtered out and the water is safe to drink. Tap water can be considered Purified water as it has been filtered and treated for bacteria by the water district, although it still contains some residual chlorine and chloramines from treatment and in the United States often contains Fluoride. Some people prefer to further filter out those chemicals and then consider the water to be purified.
Seawater – Can you get seawater from an ocean? Yes, seawater Is water that originates from an ocean or a sea and typically has a salinity of 3.5%.
Soft Water – Soft water is water that has less than 60 mg/l of dissolved minerals in it according to the USGS. To learn about the different methods of softening water please see our blog: Water Softening Systems and The History of Water Softeners.
Sparkling Water – How do we end up with Sparkling Water? Sparkling Water is a man-made creation and is water that has been carbonated with CO2 to make it bubbly. You might be more familiar with the name carbonated water. Much like a soda or champagne the water “sparkles” in the glass. The water itself could be filtered tap water, very specifically sourced mineral or spring water, and everything in between. What sets Sparkling Water apart from the rest is simply the bubbles.
Springwater – What is Springwater? Springwater starts off as groundwater but is unique because it has been pushed back to the surface to form a puddle or Spring. Springwater is typically safe to drink because it has been filtered naturally as it is pushed up through the ground, barring any contamination on the surface of course. Spring Water is one of most popular types of drinking water because of its fresh clean taste.
Tap Water – The most available and lowest cost drinking water across the USA comes straight from the tap. Although there are plenty of people who don’t prefer tap water due to taste and particular health concerns, tap water is safe to drink across most of the United States as it is closely regulated. Often a simple filter is used to remove things like residual chlorine to improve tap water flavor. Tap water sources vary depending on region and typically include both well and surface water sources.
Wastewater – What is wastewater? Wastewater comes from many sources with the majority coming from post-human usage like sewage. Wastewater is considered waste when it has become contaminated with, excrement, chemicals, and other pollutants. Wastewater typically requires treatment to become usable again.
Well Water – What is well water? Well water is water that is sourced from underground via a well. Wells can vary from shallow surface wells to deep wells that source water from aquifers (underground lakes). Large municipal wells supply water that is treated and delivered to customers via the tap, but smaller private wells are common in many areas and can even be untreated. Using untreated well water can be risky as many groundwater sources have become contaminated with various chemicals and bacteria. Private well owners must test their water periodically to ensure it is safe to drink as is or needs additional treatment first. Aside from contamination the natural qualities of well water can vary drastically depending on location due to local geology. As the water slowly filters through the earth to the aquifer it picks up various minerals along the way. For example, in the Pacific Northwest, we have naturally soft water (little mineral content) where areas such as Utah have very hard water (high mineral content) due to filtering through soft limestone rather than hard granite.