Water Filtration Particle Sizes and Composition for Contamination Control

For aqueous media such as drinking water, here are some reference charts which compare ranges of relevant pollutants and suggest different filtration mediums which are relatively effective in removing these contaminants. Water pollutants include bacteria, protozoan cysts, spores, viruses, particulate matter, silt, mud, etc.

A recent development in important water contaminants is the presence of microplastics (primarily from food processing and packaging) and other classes of chemicals known as PFOS / PFAS / PFOA. (Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid, Per- & polyfluoroalkyl substances and Perfluorooctanoic acid respectively) These were are known as “forever chemicals” because of the very strong covalent bond caused by the electronegativity difference between fluorine and carbon / hydrogen atoms which severely retards chemical degradation and breakdown.They bioaccumulate in the environment and cause health issues ranging from hormone disruption to cardiovascular disease, liver damage and cancer.

As of April 2024, the EPA has put a limit on these forever chemicals as shown in this PDF:

https://www.epa.gov/system/files/documents/2024-04/drinking-water-utilities-and-professionals-technical-overview-of-pfas-npdwr.pdf

Particle sizes thin film membrane filtration

Water particle sizes: thin film membrane filtration

*NOTE – There is an error in this chart at the very top. For sizes of different contaminants such as protozoan cysts and bacteria, the correct unit should be in um or micrometers (microns) instead of pm which is traditionally for picometers. (a much smaller size that is on the order of atomic / subatomic distances)

 

Water Filtration vs Particle Size

Water Filtration vs Particle Size

 

Water Filtration Particle Size Chart Common Contaminants

Water Filtration Particle Size Chart Common Contaminants (“Save Image As” for full size)


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