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Water

mineral, pure, matter, obtained, snow and distillation

WATER: in some form is essential to all forms of animal, and nearly all kinds of vegetable, life. Its consumption in liberal quantities is especially necessary to civil ized communities because of the generally dry character of the bulk of their diet— the human body requires an average of nearly 75% water, whereas bread, for example, has only about 35% and bacon 20% liquid in its composition. See general article on FOOD VALUES.

The greater part of the world's water supply is obtained from the ocean—the water being drawn up by the sun as vapor and later falling condensed and free from salt, as rain or snow, to feed the rivers and lakes.

Ocean water in its natural condition averages about 31/2% saline of which about three-fourths is common salt. The salt can be removed by distillation, and several South American towns have temporarily obtained their entire fresh-water supply in that manner.

Pure water is a combination, by volume, of two parts of hydrogen and one part of oxygen. By weight, the proportion is two parts of hydrogen to sixteen parts of oxygen.

Chemically pure water is obtainable only by careful filtration and distillation. The purest water naturally obtainable is (1) rain-water in places remote from regular human habitation, taken after the rain has been falling sufficiently long to clear the atmosphere; and (2) that obtained by melting snow that has fallen in the polar regions. Nearly as close to perfection is the water in some mountain lakes— when resulting from melting snow and resting on impermeable rocks.

Such water—and all other in which the proportion of mineral matter is less than eight grains to the gallon—is known generally as "soft water," in contrast to "hard water," which implies a mineral content of eight to ten, and more, grains to the gal lon. Water from rivers running over calcareous and clayey rocks often averages fifteen to twenty grains to the gallon.

The foreign matter in "soft water" is partly organic—animal and vegetable—and partly mineral—silica and salts of potash, soda, lime, magnesia, etc.

The mineral matter in "hard waters" varies greatly, but carbonate of lime gen erally predominates.

Water becomes solid, Ice, at 32° Fahr., and is converted into steam at 212° Fahr., boiling point.

The mineral matter found in the average water supply is not in any way detri mental to health—on the contrary, it is frequently a real benefit to the consumer. The "pure water" that every community should provide for itself is not necessarily chemi cally pure water, but Water uncontaminated by sewage of any description or in any form, for such contamination is one of the most serious menaces to health.

Spring Water is frequently regarded as the highest type of "pure water" because of its ordinarily bright and more or less sparkling appearance. This appearance is, however, generally the result of its e., the mineral ingredients it has absorbed in its passage through the rocks. In cases where the mineral ingredients are in sufficiently large proportions to be of distinct medicinal value, the spring water is classed as a "mineral water" (see article on MINERAL WATERS) .

Distilled Water

is "ordinary water" filtered, boiled in vacuum boilers to remove vola tile organic matter, converted into steam in stills (see DISTILLATION) and finally con densed. If these processes are conducted with proper care, the water obtained is free from all germs or bacteria. It must be remembered, however, that it remains pure only so long as it is kept from contact with the atmosphere, as in syphons, corked bottles, etc.