No items found.

How Nature Purifies Water (and How to Do It Yourself)

Access to clean drinking water is an important part of your health. And besides treatment plants and Brita pitchers, there are some natural water filter systems that clear fluid of contaminants before it ever reaches your tap or water bottle.

Here's everything you need to know about natural water filtration, including how plants and ecosystems purify water and how to clean your water when you're out in nature.

What Is Meant by Water Purification?

Purification can mean a few different things depending on whether you're talking about man-made purification systems or natural water filters.

Here, we're talking about how nature purifies water and how to create potable fluid while you're in the great outdoors, rather than water that is up to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) purification standards for manufactured products and bottled water.

How Does Nature Purify Water?

Before water ever makes it to a treatment plant, ecosystems have their own water filtration processes. Here's how water is naturally purified:

1. Through the Soil

Soil filters water naturally by physically removing large debris and particles as water percolates down through the soil layers, according to Michigan State University. Bacteria and microorganisms in the soil further purify water by breaking down chemicals and contaminants.

2. With Wetlands

Wetlands also act as natural water filters. They do this primarily through three processes, according to the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

The first is sediment trapping. During this process, the dense plant life in wetlands naturally filter water by slowing its flow. This allows impurities like metals to sink down to the bottom of the wetland and, over time, become sequestered from the environment they settle deeper into the ground, per the DEC.

Another natural water filter system in wetlands is called nutrient removal, which is when the wetlands capture pollutants like nitrogen and phosphorous before they flow into larger bodies of water like lakes or rivers.

The third natural water filtration process in wetlands is chemical detoxification, which is when pollutants get buried in the sediment layer or plants convert them into less harmful chemicals altogether, according to the DEC.

If you interested in ways you can access and purify water, find Kathleen Ferraro's complete article here


October 7, 2023

Written by
Photo thumbnail Blog Author

Live Strong

Media Mentions from Live Strong

We strive to help all people make informed decisions about their health. We’re a team of experienced health journalists who believe everyone should have access to trustworthy, science-backed health information. We rely on high-quality research and our network of experts to make the trustworthy, authoritative destination for people wanting to live their best lives.

Explore More Content

Media Mentions

Give the gift of tick prevention this Father’s Day with a bottle of Sawyer Permethrin. It’s odorless after drying and can be used to treat a variety of fabrics like clothing, gear, and tents. Just one application of this insect repellent treatment is effective against mosquitoes and ticks for 6 weeks or 6 washes.thing, boots, gear, etc.

Brodie Swisher

Media Mentions

I went out looking for turkeys and found ticks!

News from Sawyer

Media Mentions

Sawyer Products 20% Picaridin Insect Repellent Top-pick bug repellent