Industrial production of drinking water and, particularly, of bottled drinking water is a multi-stage process. First, it involves monitoring of the quality of water from the initial source – artesian chink, wellspring or centralized water supply. This stage is crucial for the assessment and selection of water treatment methods. The most important parameters to be assessed are those related to purity and safety of the initial water, i.e. its toxicological, radiological, microbiological, and organoleptic characteristics.
In addition, it is necessary to determine if this water meets the criteria of “physiological adequacy”.In other words, to find out if this water contains vitally important macro- and microelements in concentrations adequate to physiological requirements of man. Comprehensive evaluation will help to determine whether the specific water treatment technology is adequate to the specific water quality.
Technology of Bottled Drinking Water Production
Industrial drinking water production is almost inevitably associated with technological treatment of water. Of course, sources of water meeting all the quality criteria do exist on the planet; such water requires next to no technology except bottling. However, such ideal sources are quite rare. Therefore, drinking water production in most cases starts with employment of different methods to clean the primary, “raw” water. A variety of purification methods have been developed, including mechanical filtration, cation and anion exchange, absorption technologies, nanofiltration, and reverse osmosis. Appropriate application of these methods provides pure and safe drinking water. It may even have acceptable organoleptic characteristics.
Should we expect anything else from our drinking water? Definitely yes. After all, drinking water is not just a liquid set of H2O molecules. As a universal solvent, water is an indispensable source of most important minerals and microelements, including calcium, magnesium, potassium, fluorine, etc. Hence, in drinking water production, it appears necessary to use processes and methods ensuring adequate physiological value of the end product. Numerous studies of researchers from different countries have shown that table water used on a daily basis should contain adequate amounts of biogenic elements. The absence of minerals and microelements in drinking water aggravates the wide-spread deficiency of micronutrients in the modern diet. Even cooking food in demineralized water is undesirable, as it leads to substantial losses in the mineral composition of food products.
A man cannot adapt or “get used” to a lack of biogenic elements, because his requirements in these elements are determined genetically and do not depend on the area he lives in, on the quality of his tap water, or on the set of water treatment methods used for bottled water production. It appears that water production and water treatment technologies should adapt and get adjusted to man’s needs, and not vice versa.