Different Types of Water Explained
(1) Potable Water
Potable water is water that is safe to drink or use when preparing food. Canada maintains strict country-wide regulations for drinking water quality; this involves maintaining microbiological, chemical, and radiological quality guidelines wherever potable water is accessed.
Modern water treatments range from advanced commercial systems that supply water to thousands of households, to small residential collection systems that purify water for individual use. Any products that individuals are using to purify water for their own use, even in situations like camping, should be thoroughly vetted prior to use to ensure contaminants are not ingested.
For more information on water quality, visit the Health Canada Water Quality & Health page here. View Aboveground Vertical Potable Water Tanks, Low Profile Potable Water Cisterns, and Large Outdoor Rainwater Storage Tanks on our website!
Rainwater is exactly what is sounds like - precipitation that hasn't touched a ground surface. Often, rainwater is collected via roof surfaces that drain through a pipe system and are filtered, finally being collected in a tank or barrel. Rainwater is used for large- and small-scale applications, and in a variety of settings (i.e. commercial or residential).
Collection and use of rainwater is subject to Provincial property rights in some Canadian provinces and territories. Check first to see if there are provincial or municipal regulations that guide how and when you can collect rainwater for use.
Interested in rainwater harvesting? Curious about how much water your household uses each day? Check out this link here for a short guide from CBC on calculating water use!
Stormwater is rainwater and snowmelt that has come into contact with the ground or runs into nearby sewers, streams, and other bodies of water. Runoff includes water from activities such as washing cars or watering lawns. This water must be treated differently, and is treated and managed by stormwater management systems.
Stormwater is managed and treated to maintain ecological health, to mitigate flooding and erosion both in urban settings and in nature, and to take advantage of re-use opportunities. Stormwater treatment usually involves treating and diverting water, which can be done with many different types of systems. Systems like the Graf EcoBloc Stormwater Blocks can be used for infiltration or retention of stormwater, which helps control water flow and prevent flooding, among other benefits.
(4) Grey Water
Grey water is water that has been used in sinks, showers, baths, dishwashers, or washing machines in living or work spaces. Grey water does not have fecal or urine contamination and is generally safer to handle and treat for re-use. The criteria for re-use depends on what the water was initially used for, as it may contain household chemicals from cleaning or other activities. Using biodegradable soaps and detergents can help create an environment that allows the re-use of your grey water.
Once treated, grey water can be re-used for non-potable purposes like toilet flushing or landscape and crop irrigation. Grey water treatment and re-use is environmentally friendly, resulting is less energy consumption and efficient re-use of precious resources.
Grey water systems can also be installed for residential or small building purposes. Consultation with an expert is recommended, especially for systems such as the Klaro Wastewater Treatment System or the One2Clean Wastewater Treatment System.
(5) Black Water
Once-used water discharged from kitchen sinks and toilets and may contain fecal/urine contamination. Black water cannot be treated or re-used in any way as it contains bacteria and disease-causing pathogens. There is too high a risk of contamination to treat black water and it is disposed of.
(6) Surface Water
Surface water is any body of water found on the Earth's surface; this includes oceans, lakes, rivers, and streams. Surface waters, especially perennial surface water and man-made sources such as dams, are relied upon heavily for human use. Typically, this is where drinking water and mass farmland irrigation water is sourced from. This water undergoes advanced treatment processes of ultrafiltration and/or clarification in order to be suitable for human use and consumption.
Large water treatment plants typically take on the bulk of a municipality's water treatment needs, and ensure that it meets the microbiological content requirements for safe consumption.
(7) Ground Water/Well Water
Ground water is the water that is present beneath the earth's surface, such as in wells or aquifers. Groundwater is predominantly used for irrigation purposes (both individual and large commercial and agricultural uses). Groundwater is sometimes collected via wells; well water is a great way to save on household water use costs when used correctly. BARR provides accessories and pieces for safe well maintenance so customers can make use of existing access to well water.
Always contact a professional or specialist if you're unsure of how to correctly treat and use well water!
Information for private well owners in Canada: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/publications/healthy-living/water-talk-information-private-well-owners.html
Want to learn more about water treatment and use? Visit our main website to discover all the possibilities for water storage, treatment, transportation, use, and other handling!