IET-Community: Alternative water treatment - Effects, mechanisms and perspectives on water quality - English Summary

Alternative water treatment - Effects, mechanisms and perspectives on water quality

Lasse Johansson
Institute of Ecological Technology
Forskningsrapporter - 2 (in Swedish), 2005

English Summary

This report surveys alternative water treatment, and different kinds of alternative water treatment devices, e.g. vortexers, indirect water treatment and magnetic water treatment. Reported physical, chemical, biological and more general ecological effects on treated drinking water and on plants watered with treated water is discussed extensively.

This includes effects on water appearance, turbidity, dissolved gases, washing effect, concrete strength, lime scale and effect on crystallisation processes in general, effects on absorption and on some redox related ions. There are extensive reports on effects on growth, resistance and durability of vegetables and fruit (and flowers) from commercial farmers. Other reported effects include decrease of bacterial count and algae and decreased chlorine dosage needs. There are also some more ecological effects, such as en effect on ponds, liquid manure and compost.

Reported effects point towards an effect on calcium carbonate and crystallisation processes in general, on oxygen and redox levels and on colloids in water. Some questions need to be clarified further before any clear conclusions on underlying mechanisms can be drawn.

What is known of the functioning of the treatment devices, of the propagation of the effects, and of influence effects between treatment devices and water, and between different waters, is discussed.

In the same way an overview is given on alternative measurement methods, such as Kirlian photography of water and different crystallisation images. The potential of the methods for the discrimination of treated and untreated water, the possibility of correlating them with other variables (physical and chemical properties), together with their potential as quality indicators of the water in general, is discussed.

There are common features of reported practical effects, when it comes to possible underlying mechanisms for the alternative measurement methods --- mainly an effect on crystallisation processes and crystallisation nuclei (colloids and dissolved gases, small bubbles). Some effects point towards an effect on electromagnetic properties in the water.

Some of the central questions are identified and some interesting areas to study further are outlined, e.g. effects on oxygen levels, redox states, surface tension, colloids and dissolved gases, turbidity, absorption processes, Kirlian properties, plants and on sedimentation and effective hardness. The question of criteria for treatable waters is touched upon.

Of the alternative measurement methods Kirlian photography (gas discharge photography) has been selected and studied closely. The natural variation and covariation of Kirlian properties, surface tension, turbidity, redox states, oxygen level, pH, conductivity and more properties have been charted in natural waters and drinking waters.

Kirlian properties are strongly correlated with conductivity, but there are probably also other factors that are affecting the process. The variation of surface tension in natural waters and drinking waters is very low, in the range 0.5 dyn/cm, and far from values reported from e.g. Hunza water.

Redox measurements, in combination with turbidity measurements, indicate the presence of reductive colloids in some waters --- many medicinal wells/springs are distinguished by somewhat lower measured redox (even in those that are not pronounced acid/iron wells.) The results are compared with values from a number of municipal drinking waters, which in general have significantly higher redox. The question of what we mean with water quality is discussed.

From the different kinds of alternative water treatment, the groups vortexers and indirect water treatment were selected to be studied more closely. Effects on oxygen absorption, pH, conductivity, redox, surface tension, turbidity and Kirlian properties, together with water absorption in beans, have been studied in flow-through experiments. Different kinds of natural waters, with different levels of oxygen, hardness and organic materials have been used in the experiments, which have the character of being a survey.

An effect on among other things oxygen absorption and pH from alternative water treatment is indicated, and should be investigated further. Especially interesting is the fact that some indirect water treatment devices seem to show an effect compared to control treatment, which lacks established explanations. Possibly, a somewhat higher oxygen absorption for oxygen deficit waters and a somewhat lower absorption for oxygen rich waters is indicated.

Kirlian methodology needs to be developed further, but indicates a possibility to detect differences caused by alternative water treatment. No significant effect on surface tension has been detected in the experiments. Redox and turbidity should be investigated further, under somewhat different conditions. Above all, experiments with circulating treatment and treatment over long time should be performed. More experiments need to be done with absorption of beans. The conditions for installations at field, especially which waters have shown treatability, should be investigated further.

The relation to research on memory effects in water is discussed extensively - including magnetic treatment of hard water, effects of electromagnetic water treatment, the question of the existence of nanobubbles in water and the relation to hydrophobic interactions, together with research on homeopathic dilution and healer treated water.

A lot of things support the hypothesis that there are at least some common underlying mechanisms involved with these phenomena. Effects on crystallisation processes and the question of nanobubbles in water seem to be interesting candidates.

Many questions regarding mechanisms, and especially regarding the modes of propagation of the effects, remains to be answered. There is a large potential to study the area further, and a number of possible directions are outlined.