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It separates mechanically suspended matters in the water that are too large to pass through the pores of the filtering material, and it also acts chemically by means of the oxygen of the air in its pores, when, as the water flows downwards through the filtering material, it percolates through by means of a number of very small streams, and so is brought into the most immediate contact with the oxygen of the air in the filtering material. Thus, the organic matter and ammonia dissolved in the water are oxidized with the production of nitrates and carbonates, and it is certain that by this means a considerable quantity of organic matter is reduced to a harmless condition. Domestic filters, clearly, ought not to be required. The water ought to be delivered sufficiently pure to drink.
And here I would remark that the average quality of a drinking water supplied to a place is not the matter of most importance, and, indeed, is rather a fallacious guide. What we want to know
is the quality of the worst sample that the public are likely to be supplied with at any time. But it is not only because the water supplied varies in purity, in most instances, sometimes considerably, that domestic filters are useful, but because, as I have before remarked, especially where the intermittent system of supply is in vogue, the water, even if delivered pure, is rendered impure in the houses themselves by being stored in filthy receptacles. The majority of the filters in domestic use rely upon the principle of downward filtration. In a few the water is passed upwards through a filtering material. The chief materials used are animal charcoal — vegetable charcoal is not a good material for filtering purposes—silicated carbon, carbide of iron, spongy iron and sand. When animal charcoal is used, it must be specially prepared and well burned. If any of the animal matter be left in it, it becomes, as has been shown by the Rivers Pollution Commissioners, a breeding place for myriads of small worms which terials mentioned, there is, of course, no risk of this, as they are made of burnt shale, or taken from the interior of blast furnaces. Some filters are placed inside the cisterns, so that all the water that is drawn off has to pass through them. These are placed on the main water pipes themselves, or in the taps. One of the former kind known as “the selfcleansing filter,” in which the suspended particles in the water are prevented from getting at the filtering material by a ring of compact silicated carbon, and the water itself is made to wash the outside of the block of filtering material through which it has to pass. My experience through the spongy iron, it is made to pass through a layer of prepared sand afterwards, with the view of removing this, and then, in order to aerate it, it is delivered through a very small hole in a fine stream into the pure water receiver. It will thus be seen that it is rather more complicated than some of the other forms of domestic filter. The slight trace of iron that remains in the water can hardly be considered a disadvantage, at any rate in large towns.
under water, cease to purify the water after a time, unless means are taken for aerating them, and in many instances I have known water to be rendered more impure by its passage through a filter which had been used in this way for a considerable time. Of forms of domestic filter, the glass decanter with a solid
Lastly, I must notice the filter made by the General Sanitary Engineering and Ventilating Company. In this, by an ingenious contrivance, the air passes to and from the filtered water chamber through the filtering material itself, and not by means of a small channel in the china or earthenware vessel holding the filtering material, as is the case in other filters. The water first passes through a silicated carbon block, and then falls in the form of a shower on to the surface of a layer of some loose silicated carbon supported upon a perforated plate which