How Does a Water Filtration System Work?

Every business wants its staff to be happy, healthy and productive. But there is an often-overlooked way to help your workers stay productive – hydration.

To work at their best, our bodies need water. How can you keep your workers hydrated in a way that’s also kind to the planet? Bottled water is not the solution – a water filtration system is.

Exactly how does a water filtration system work? Let’s take a closer look.


As it goes through its amazing journey through the water cycle, water absorbs a lot of invisible elements.

In the process of treating tap water, chemicals such as chlorine are added. As it moves through aging pipes, it can also pick up contaminants, including heavy metals.

Contaminated water is bad news for everyone’s health.

Water filtration uses a few different methods to remove these toxins and leave you with clean, pure drinking water.


Filtration systems begin by removing the big stuff. It’s usually not big enough to see, but tap water can contain dirt particles and sediment that it picks up along its journey.

There are different types of filters that manufacturers can use to remove these large contaminants. Everything from simple mesh to more fine ceramic filters


The next stage in a water filtering system is to force the water through an activated charcoal filter.

Activated charcoal acts like a carbon sponge. It’s full of places to remove chemicals as they pass through the filter. This process is called adsorption.

Adsorption is the process of atoms of one substance sticking to a surface by chemical attraction. Activated charcoal is full of holes at the atomic level. This gives it a huge surface area that can bond with impurities in water.

It’s excellent at trapping chlorine, fluorine and radon. However, it allows other substances like sodium, nitrates and bacteria to pass right through. 

In time, the filter will become full and need to be replaced.


The word osmosis probably takes us back to our school days when we learnt about osmosis in the body. Rather than allowing things through, reverse osmosis blocks microscopic contaminants. It uses an extremely fine membrane.

This process requires the water to be forced through the membrane under pressure. A pump makes this happen. That’s why when you start a water filtration system, you’ll hear a familiar whirring sound.

Reverse osmosis filters remove pollutants from the water like sodium, lead, copper, and chromium. However, it can’t remove everything. It’s not as effective at removing biological components.

A downfall to a RO system in the amount of water wastage. While letting all the good filtered water through it discards all the water that is considered “bad”.


The next key process of water treatment systems is water softening. The water supply varies in hardness across South Africa, and it is not in itself a health hazard.

But ion-exchange helps to remove the taste of certain elements in water that many people find unpleasant. In the ion exchange process, the water flows through crystals which exchange ions of magnesium and calcium for sodium ions. 

This doesn’t change the water quality and it doesn’t take away bacterial contaminants. But it does make the water much more enjoyable to drink.


You’ll have noticed that while the systems above all remove contaminants, none of them tackles biological invaders. This is where ultraviolet purification is useful. 

It uses UV light to kill living organisms in the water. There is no mechanical filter involved, the water simply passes through the light. It removes:

  • Bacteria
  • Viruses
  • Parasites
  • Fungus

If there are large particles in your water, they can block the UV light from reaching all of these contaminants. That’s why the UV system normally forms the final part of any water filtering system. The water has already been cleaned up before the living contaminants are eliminated.


Whether your business operates in an urban or rural area, the standard of tap water varies throughout South Africa. Bottled water is also not the solution, as it often sits around in the sun for a long time before reaching consumers.

This can cause the plastic to degrade and leach into the water. Plus, plastic is not a sustainable option, and will not boost your company’s green credentials.

A water filtration system will help keep your workers free from contaminants. Parasites, bacteria and viruses could pose an immediate threat to their health. It also helps to reduce exposure to heavy metals that could lead to long-term health complications. 

Finally, when water tastes great, everyone wants to drink more. By offering a hot water system as well, your team will taste the benefits in their tea and coffee too.

Adding sparkling water is truly the jewel in the crown. This will keep your workers coming back time and time again, keeping them hydrated and healthy.


Adding a water filtration system to your business premises is an ideal way to keep your workforce feeling sharp and refreshed all day long. Providing the added benefit of chilled, sparkling and hot water on demand is a work perk your team will thank you for.

At Topia, we have crafted a range of water filter systems for professional settings.

Our range includes rapid fill options for high-traffic environments. Consider our touch-free system for the highest standards of safety. Our premium-feel glass water bottles are both premium and sustainable.

Give us a call on +27 (0)21 551 5740 or simply request a quote.


The Topia Team


Scroll to Top