Question: what chemicals are put in our water dams??

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  1. After the water comes out of the dam it usually goes through a treatment plant where a number of things can be done, and it differs in different parts of Australia and the world, and depending on conditions (like drought and after heavy rain). There is usually a filtration step, and some form of sterilisation (like chlorine or ozone treatment). In most parts of Australia we add fluoride to the water top help protect our teeth from decay. There is also regular testing of the water to look for nasty bugs and contamination

    Did you know that in Sydney (and probably other places) all the drinking water flows through a special testing tank with live fish in it to make sure it is safe to drink. The fish are very sensitive to any contminants so if they get sick they stop the water supply and look for a problem.


  2. There really aren’t a lot of chemicals that are put in our water reservoirs. It’s most just rainwater and groundwater that has been collected over alarge space. Some dams might have a layer of anti-evaporating agent put onto it, to prevent too much water loss through evaporation, but it’s not commonly used in large-scale drinking water dams in Australia. Smaller dams on farms and properties might use chemicals to make the water clearer – these are called flocculents, and anti-evaporative agents. But the water from these dams isn’t usually used for drinking water.

    Drinking water from reservoirs has to go through a treatment plant before we can drink it, though. The water is first filtered to get rid of any particles, this is often done by passing the water through sand or even charcoal. Charcoal is terrific at getting rid of stuff in water. Then the water goes through a sterilisation process to kill any harmful bacteria and parasites (pathogens, disease causing organisms) that may be lurking. This is usually through cholorination. The water is usually safe to drink once the pathogens are removed. In Australia, fluoride is also added to the water to prevent tooth decay – this doesn’t mean you stop brushing your teeth, though. The water is tested at each stage for safety, and to make sure that the pathogens have been removed.