How to Filter Heavy Metals from Drinking Water: A Comprehensive Guide.

Published on : January 31, 2023

Clean drinking water is essential for everyone, but only some always have easy access to pure drinking water. Essential minerals in the water are good for health, and at the same time, the contaminants in the water are harmful to health. A good treatment system can give safe water by removing harmful chemicals from water.Generally, the municipal corporation of your city pre-treats the water, which renders it potable enough. But what about places that receive an untreated water supply? Heavy metals can be a concern when the water is not treated properly.What are heavy metals in water? Why should they be removed? How to filter heavy metals from water? Let us find out.

Heavy Metals and Their Impact on Drinking Water

Heavy metals are natural elements with a high atomic weight; their density is at least 5 times more than water. Toxic heavy metals such as mercury, cadmium, lead, arsenic, and chromium adversely impact human health. For instance, groundwater can sometimes contain arsenic, and exposure to arsenic through drinking water has been linked to cardiovascular diseases, portal fibrosis, diabetes, and hearing problems. [1]Now that you know how harmful heavy metal-contaminated water can be, let us see how to filter heavy metals from water.

How Do You Filter Heavy Metals Out of Drinking Water?

The consumption of drinking water contaminated with heavy metals is responsible for high morbidity and mortality rates across the globe. This has become a concern for the common people and healthcare professionals since drinking water is the predominant source of contamination. [2]The use of reverse osmosis has proven to be effective in removing heavy metals from water. The reverse osmosis process uses pressure to force the water through a membrane, retaining the contaminants or solute on one side and allowing the pure water or solvent to pass to the other side. The membranes in reverse osmosis comprise a dense barrier layer that only lets water pass through the membrane. [3]Of the many methods employed to remove heavy metals from water, chemical precipitation, such as lime softening, or filtration methods, like granular media filtration, can be used. However, it has been seen that granular media filtration and lime softening can remove contaminants like copper and lead but not arsenic and chromate. Only reverse osmosis effectively removes all heavy metals without needing arsenic to be pre-oxidised. Hence, heavy metal contaminants in drinking water need to be treated by reverse osmosis along with a few other processes, including ultrafiltration and microfiltration. [4]


Today, most homes, at least in cities and towns, are equipped with water purifiers to ensure the supply of clean drinking water. An RO can safely remove harmful bacteria, dissolved contaminants, and heavy metals from drinking water. If you are seeking options in RO water purifiers, you can always take a look at our A. O. Smith range of RO water purifiers.


1. Heavy Metals Toxicity and the Environment

2. Prevalence of exposure to heavy metals and their impact on health consequences

3. Heavy Metal Removal Using Reverse Osmosis

4. Removal of Trace Heavy Metals from Drinking Water by Electrocoagulation

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