What Does Water Pretreatment Refer to?


Are you looking for a reliable way to make your water treatment process more efficient? If so, then investing in modern water pretreatment equipment is an excellent place to start.

Water pretreatment technology effectively addresses numerous challenges associated with treating contaminated or otherwise unsuitable source water, such as excessive levels of suspended solids and mineral content. In this post, we’ll lay out everything you need to know about water pretreatment technologies and how they can benefit your operation.

Pretreatment | Payson Utah

➢What is Wastewater Pre Treatment?

Preliminary treatment of water or water pretreatment is the process of treating raw water before it is injected into the main water treatment system. This process extracts aggressive contaminants and suspended materials and reduces losses to the main system.

Ordinarily, preliminary treatment entails the removal of impurities and contaminants, adjusting the pH of the water, and ensuring that it meets certain standards for use. Water pretreatment is important because it helps to protect equipment and processes from damage, and can also improve the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the primary water treatment unit.

➢Why is Water Pretreatment Necessary?

Waste water pretreatment is important. Before the raw water is refined, some preliminary treatments can be used to achieve good results in the refined treatment of the water, improve the efficiency of the water treatment process, and ensure the high quality of the produced water.

Additionally, pretreatment helps protect water treatment equipment from damage, especially costly and fragile membrane systems. This helps reduce the need for maintenance and prolongs the life of the equipment.

Water Pretreatment Necessary

➢What are The Steps Involved With the Pretreatment of Water?

After source water has been collected, it must be pretreated prior to entering a treatment system. Depending on the type of contaminants present in the source water, there are several different types of water pre-treatment technologies that can be utilized.

1. Industrial Water Softeners

Industrial and commercial water pretreatment processes basically use filtration, deionization, or water softening to pre-purify water. Water softening is the process of removing calcium, magnesium, and other minerals from hard water, usually through some kind of salt-based medium.
Using water softener in the pretreatment process instead of directly entering the membrane system can reduce the loss and use of membranes, and reduce the operating cost of the system. At the same time, the removal of minerals can effectively reduce or eliminate the accumulation of scale in boilers, valves, and other equipment. To achieve the purpose of extending the service life of filters and equipment and reducing maintenance costs.

Figure 7 Water Pretreatment Filters.

2. Reverse Osmosis System

Reverse osmosis systems are known to remove 99% of contaminants in incoming water, thereby providing healthy, safe drinking water. In industrial or commercial applications, reverse osmosis is also commonly found as a pretreatment system. Especially for applications with extremely strict water production requirements, such as the production of ultrapure water and distilled water.
Reverse osmosis is used as a pretreatment to achieve preliminary water purification before the secondary reverse osmosis system or electro deionization system. The product water enters other systems for secondary purification to obtain product water with higher water quality.

Figure 5 Ultrafiltration vs Reverse Osmosis

3. Ultrafiltration

Ultrafiltration is a type of water treatment technology that uses a membrane to remove suspended particles, bacteria, and other contaminants from water. This technology is often used as a pretreatment step in the water purification process, as it can help to remove large particles and contaminants that could potentially clog or damage other filtration systems.

Pros of Ultrafiltration
  • It is a separation process that uses a membrane to remove particles and impurities from water. This means it does not require the use of chemicals, making it a more environmentally friendly option compared to other water treatment methods.
  • Ultrafiltration is effective at eliminating numerous impurities, including bacteria, viruses, colloids, silt, and other small suspended particles.
  • The process is relatively simple and can be easily automated, making it suitable for use in large-scale water treatment plants.
  • Ultrafiltration membranes are durable and have a long lifespan, which makes the process cost-effective in the long run.
  • The process produces high-quality treated water that can be used for a variety of purposes, including drinking water, irrigation, and industrial processes.


4. Media Filtration

Media filtration is a common technique in pretreatment that uses layers of sand and gravel to remove physical contaminants from water. Media filters can be used to remove dirt, rust, sediment, and other suspended solids. They are typically used for surface water sources such as lakes and rivers.

Media Filtration

Pros of Using Media Filtration
  • It is effective at removing a wide range of contaminants from water, including sediments, colloids, dirt, and other microorganisms.
  • It is a relatively low-cost and low-maintenance water treatment option.
  • Water media filters can be easily customized to meet the specific needs of a particular water source, making them a versatile treatment option.
  • Because water media filtration uses natural materials, it is environmentally friendly and does not produce any harmful by-products.

Pros of Using Media Filtration

5. Activated Carbon Filtration

Another common type of water pretreatment is activated carbon filtration. This process takes advantage of the adsorptive properties of activated carbon to remove chemicals, such as pesticides and industrial pollutants from raw water. Activated carbon is particularly effective at absorbing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in water.

Activated Carbon Filtration

Advantages of Activated Carbon Filtration
  • Effective removal of organic contaminants.
  • Improving taste and odor.
  • Reduces the risk of waterborne diseases.
  • Easy to use: Activated carbon filtration is a simple and easy-to-use technology that can be easily integrated into existing water treatment systems.

6. Chemical Coagulation

Another type of pre-treatment technology is chemical coagulation. In this process, a chemical agent is added to the source water in order to cause suspended particles to form into larger clumps or flocs. These flocs can then be easily removed through filtration or sedimentation. Chemical coagulation is often used for water sources that have a high level of organic matter, such as agricultural runoff.

Advantages of Chemical Coagulation
  • It is a relatively simple and inexpensive process.
  • It can extract a myriad of unwanted contaminants, including suspended solids, bacteria, and algae.
  • It can be easily adjusted to treat different types of water and target specific contaminants.
  • It produces sludge that can be easily separated and disposed of.
  • It can be used in combination with other treatment processes to improve overall water quality.

Advantages of Chemical Coagulation

7. Disinfection

Another type of pre-treatment technology is disinfection. Disinfection is mainly done by using chlorine or UV light to kill harmful bacteria and other microorganisms in the raw water. This process is usually used for groundwater sources, such as wells, that have a high risk of microbial contamination.

Pros of Disinfection
  • It kills harmful bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms that may be present in the water supply, making it safe for consumption and use.
  • It prevents the growth of microorganisms in the water distribution system, reducing the risk of waterborne illness.
  • It prevents the formation of biofilms, which can harbor bacteria and other microorganisms and can cause corrosion and other damage to pipes and other parts of the water distribution system.
  • It reduces the need for additional disinfection later in the water treatment process, making it more efficient and cost-effective.
  • It improves the overall quality of the treated water, making it more aesthetically pleasing and more pleasant to drink.

8. Ion Exchange

Finally, ion exchange is often used as a pretreatment technique to remove dissolved minerals from raw water, such as for water softening. In this process, a resin material is used to absorb ions from the water and then exchange them for harmless or desirable ions. This technology is used to remove minerals such as iron, manganese, calcium, and sulfate from raw water.

Advantages of Ion Exchange
  • It is highly efficient at removing ions, such as heavy metals and salts, from water.
  • The ion exchange process is versatile and can be customized to remove specific ions from the water, depending on the application.
  • It is a relatively low-cost method for water pretreatment compared to other methods.
  • Ion exchange can be used to soften hard water by removing calcium and magnesium ions.
  • The process helps mitigate scaling and/or damaging of the main treatment systems and plumping fixtures.

Advantages of Ion Exchange

➢What Chemicals May be Added During Pretreatment?

Common chemicals used in the pretreatment process are:
Antiscalant monomer series: amino trimethylene phosphoric acid (ATMP), hydroxy ethylene diphosphoric acid (HEDP), hydrolyzed poly maleic anhydride (HPMA), polyacrylic acid (PAA), 2-hydroxyphosphorylacetic acid (HPAA) wait
Bactericide and algaecide series: dodecyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride (1227), 1427, 1827, isothiazolinone, chlorine dioxide fungicide

➢How to Choose the Best Water Pretreatment Equipment for You?

In order to choose the best water pretreatment system for you, there are a few factors that should be taken into consideration. These include:

● Feed Water Quality

The first factor to consider is the quality of water that will be used with your system. Factors like pH level and turbidity can affect the performance of your system so understanding the water quality is key. Depending on where your water comes from, different types of pretreatment systems may be needed to effectively reduce the contaminants in the water.

● System Capacity

Knowing the maximum capacity of a system you need is essential to choosing a suitable one. The size and number of filters needed for your system depend on its capacity. For instance, industrial wastewater treatment systems will necessitate more media filters or bigger ultrafiltration membranes for pretreatment.

● Treatment Technology

The choice of water pretreatment system type varies for different levels and types of contaminants. Depending on your needs, you may need a system that uses chemical treatment, UV light, membranes, or other technologies. It is important to research the type of technology used in each system and how effective it is at removing contaminants.

● Operation and Maintenance

Before purchasing a water pretreatment system, it is important to consider the operating and maintenance costs of each type of system. Factors such as filter replacement costs, power consumption, and regular cleaning costs should be included in the operating cost calculation.

● Environmental Impact

Many water pretreatment systems produce hazardous waste as a byproduct, so it is important to consider the environmental impact of each system before choosing one. If possible, try to select a system with a lower carbon footprint.


Water pretreatment is an essential step in the water treatment process, and it’s important to select the right technology for your needs. At NEWater, we offer a variety of water pretreatment systems that can meet your specific requirements. We have the experience and expertise to help you find the best system for your facility and ensure that you get maximum performance and reliability.

Contact us today to learn more about our water pretreatment plants or place an order.

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