History of water disinfection
| History of drinking water disinfection |
The link between water quality and health has been known since the early ages. Clear water was considered clean water. Swamp areas were associated with fever.
Disinfection has been applied for centuries. Two basic rules dating back to 2000 B.C. state that water must be exposed to sunlight and filtered with charcoal and that impure water must be purified by boiling the water and than dipping a piece of copper in the water seven times, before filtering the water. Descriptions of ancient civilisations were found about boiling water and water storage in silver jugs. To realize water purification copper, silver and electrolysis were applied.
Disinfection has been applied for several decades. However, the mechanism has been known for only one hundred years.
In 1680 Anthony van Leeuwenhoek developed the microscope. His discovery of microorganisms was considered a curiosity. It took scientists another two hundred years before they started using the microscope to distinguish microorganisms and other pathogens.
The first multiple filter was developed in 1685 by the Italian physician Lu Antonio Porzo. The filter consisted of a settling unit and a sandfiltration unit. In 1746 the French scientist Joseph Amy received the first patent for a filter design, which was applied in households by 1750. The filters consisted of wool, sponges and charcoal.
Figure 1: John Snow Figure 2: contaminated water pump spreads cholera
For the past centuries humans have suffered from diseases such as cholera and the plague. The origin of these diseases was misinterpreted. It was said that the diseases were a devine punishment or were caused by impure air or the alignment of the planets.
More information on water disinfection?:
What is water disinfection? Necessity of drinking water disinfection History of water disinfection Waterborne diseases Factors that influence disinfection Conditions of water disinfection Regulation drinking water disinfection EU USA