The Different Types of Water Treatment Chemicals

Water treatment chemicals are often overlooked.

Water treatment chemicals play a huge role in the production of clean water for residential and commercial purposes. Less thought about is the consequences of unclean water on the human body.

In water systems, there are several types of chemicals you may see. The most common are disinfectants, algaecides, and scale inhibitors. But let’s cover more than these.

We’ll be breaking down the different types of water treatment chemicals and their uses.


Antifoams are used to treat water for industrial and environmental purposes as well as for drinking water. These chemicals remove foam produced during water treatment. This of which may be caused by mechanical agitation or air entrapment.

They do not react with the water and have minimal reactivity with other chemicals used in the water treatment process. Antifoams can help reduce energy costs associated with water treatment. This is by reducing the bubble size in the water which results in less energy used to move the bubbles to the surface.


Algaecides are a type of chemical used to control, reduce and eliminate the growth of algae in water bodies and systems. Algaecides can be applied to stationary, non-circulating water sources. These are ideal for reducing algae growth in areas with limited or reduced water flow.

They work by disrupting a variety of algae’s normal metabolic processes. This of which inhibits their growth and reproduction.

Algaecides are widely used in:

  • potable water systems
  • recreational applications
  • special purpose applications
  • industrial processes
  • agricultural settings

When selecting and applying algaecides, it is important to consider the life of the chemical, water pH levels as well as other factors that may affect the efficiency and effectiveness of the algaecide.


Biocides are an important tool for controlling microbial growth in industrial water and wastewater systems.

The biocides help prevent biofouling and stop the spread of:

  • bacteria
  • viruses
  • fungi
  • other microorganisms

These biocides come in many forms and are chosen based on the specific application.

Common biocides include:

  • chlorine
  • bromine
  • formaldehyde
  • halogens
  • organic compounds

They are added to water systems to control the growth of unwanted microorganisms, and to help maintain safety compliance with local health regulations.


Coagulants are specialized chemicals that can remove suspended solids from water. These chemicals are used to destabilize colloids and reduce their electrical charge. Thus, causing them to bind together and form aggregates that can then be filtered or settled out.

Coagulants are regularly used in wastewater treatment to remove:

  • metals
  • color
  • silts
  • oils
  • small particles

They can also be used to reduce organic micro-pollutants, such as pesticides and pharmaceuticals. Coagulants work effectively in a wide range of pH, from 7-12, and can be used in several ways,

such as:

  • solo
  • dissolved
  • solid formulations
  • powdered

Coagulant treatment is a critical step in physical-chemical water treatment, helping to ensure that water is safe for consumption, and without the presence of suspended solids, the water can be more effectively disinfected. The use of this chemical also relies on if you are choosing a water purification system suitable for its use.

Learn About Water Treatment Chemicals

Given the importance of water treatment chemicals, we must have a clear understanding of how they work and their role in the water treatment process. By taking active steps to learn more, we can provide clean and safe water to our homes and communities.

For more information contact your local water treatment specialist today!

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