How Is Water Filtered in Nature?

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Underground Filtration

  • Water soaks into the ground, which is called infiltration. Underneath the surface of the Earth, the water is naturally filtered as it moves through soil and rock, which is called groundwater flow. Think of the soil as a natural filter pad. The tightly packed particles that make up the soil filter out impurities, and certain ecosystems, such as wetlands, are especially good natural filters, absorbing excess nutrients such as nitrogen or phosphorous from the water. The water makes its way slowly but surely toward either a river or stream or the ocean itself. By the time it reaches this larger water source, it has been filtered by the ground it has passed through.

In the Air Filtration

  • From the river, stream or ocean, much of the water evaporates into the air. Evaporation is a further natural filtering process because only water vapor rises into the sky, leaving any impurities on the ground.

Back To Earth

  • Clouds and water vapor form in the sky. This water is carried through the air by air currents. When enough cloud and water vapor has been collected and the air has cooled, precipitation follows in the form of ice, snow or rain. Fresh, clean water that's been filtered by soil and air, falls back to the ground, ready to begin the process of natural filtration anew.

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