Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

How is water cleaned?

Right-click and save to download

Detailed Description

Listen to hear the answer.




Public Domain.


[music fades in]

Welcome to CoreFacts, where we're always short on time and big on science. I'm Brian Campbell. Today's question is …

How is water cleaned?

There are many different kinds of treatments depending on what contaminant is in the water. Biological contamination is usually treated by heat (boiling) or by filtration. Inorganic contaminants dissolved in the water can be removed by distillation or chemical exchange. Organic contamination has been treated by biological and chemical remediation, and new treatment methods are being tried every day.

And now you know.  Join us again every week for a new CoreFact.  For other CoreFacts, or for CoreCast, our in-depth science podcast, go to  If you’d like to have a question featured on our show, give us an e-mail at or a phone call at 703-648-5600.  Remember, long distance fees do apply.  CoreFacts is a product of the U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior.

[music fades out]

Show Transcript