Filtration Media Used in Modern Water Cleaning Systems – Their Role, Pros, and Cons

The quality of the water is highly important for our healthiness, no matter we use it for the body’s hygiene or we drink it. Depending on the situation, water can have beneficial or harmful effects on our general body and mental condition. Filtration is a well-known procedure that is used to obtain a clean and fresh water, by removing sediments, pollutants, bacteria and other dangerous elements that can be found in unfiltered water.
There are plenty of modern media systems that can be used for water filtration and we are going to discuss a little bit about them in the following lines.

How does filtration work?

The filtration process refers to the water flow that is pushed through a special material, membrane or another type of media, that is able to remove viruses, pathogens, bacteria and heavy metals from it, at a low speed. This process is repeated until there are no toxic elements in the water.

Types of filtration media used in the modern water cleaning

Activated carbon systems

Activated carbon filters are usually used for residential and also light commercial use because they are powerful filters, able to remove a wide range of unwanted elements from the water. They remove sediments, odors, organic chemicals and chlorine taste. This type of media is generally made without using chemicals or bad elements, this is why it is able to provide a natural water filtration process.


    • These filters are among the most inexpensive water filtration systems and don’t require too much maintenance;
    • They give excellent results in the water’s odor and taste;
    • The filters are generally made of coconut shell, wood or bituminous;
    • They do a great job when it comes to completely remove carbon-based chemicals, chlorine, and other microorganisms


    • They can’t remove chemicals that are not attracted to carbon, such as heavy metals or nitrates;
    • They might not be effective in removing certain pathogenic bacteria;
    • The effectiveness of the filter might decrease if the water doesn’t stay enough in contact with it

Slow sand filters

This type of media allows water flow in and out of it, removing pathogenic organisms through numerous biological, chemical and physical processes in just one step. Generally, these systems are reliable and involve low life-cycle costs.


  • They involve low operating costs;
  • They are able to instantly remove solids and water muddiness;
  • These systems use a simple technology


  • Slow sand filters can’t completely remove all bacteria from the water

Salt-based ion exchange softener filters

Hard water comes from different underground sources, meaning that on its way, it collects a lot of dissolved minerals from rocks. These minerals we can say that establish the “hardness” level of the water, which is better to remain at lower levels. The solution, in this case, is the distillation of the water, reverse osmosis or using a water softener system. Filtration of the water from a whole house may be more expensive than mounting a whole house water softener system which involves lower costs. The most popular and effective method used to obtain softener water for a complete household is the salt-based ion exchange softener, which has a simple working principle – ion exchange. Being more specific, it replaces salt with hard minerals that can be found in the water, such as iron, magnesium, and calcium.


  • It provides brighter and healthier skin and hair;
  • The appliances will have a longer life using soft water;
  • Less soap use;
  • Fewer repairs and plumbing maintenance


  • The resin bed needs replacement every five to ten years;

Ultraviolet systems

This method involves as its name suggests, exposing water to ultraviolet radiations, in order to remove viruses and bacteria from it. The water passes through a chamber containing a huge ultraviolet light source, which acts as a powerful sterilization agent. The light is able to destroy all microorganisms and contaminants and eliminates possible viral reproduction before the reverse osmosis purification.


  • These systems are environmentally-friendly;
  • They are compatible with other water filtration technologies;
  • Provide low maintenance;
  • They require little energy


  • The UV units require pre and post filters;

Ultrafiltration systems (UF)

These type of filters use a membrane that separates impurities from water, making it safe for drinking and general use. Depending on the construction of the filter, the water passes through a membrane material, leaving behind solid particles and macromolecules that are bigger than the filter’s pores. This technique is one of the vital water purification methods used to remove over 90% of the water’s pathogens, in order to make it safe for drinking.


  • UF provides a high filtration process, using little energy;
  • It works with standard tap water pressure;
  • It is capable of purifying even dirty or Turbid water


  • It can’t remove dissolved salts