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Design of High-Purity Water Systems

Charles D. Riley, Jr., P.E.

Course Outline

This course examines the specifications for high purity water as established by various standards setting organizations such as The American Society for Testing and Materials, National Committee for Clinical Laboratory Standards, and the US Pharmacopoeia. In addition, the course examines the nature of water, the types of contaminants in water, and treatment methods for the control of contaminants in water. The design of most high purity water systems consists of a number of treatment methods integrated together to achieve the water quality objectives. The course examines common high purity water system process designs used to meet the various water quality specifications.

This course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.

Learning Objective

At the conclusion of this 2-hour course, the student will be familiar with:

Course Introduction

Water is an exceptionally aggressive solvent that attacks most of the substances it contacts. More substances dissolve in water than any other solvent. Most of the known elements can be found dissolved in water, some in high concentrations and others only in trace amounts. As water moves through the natural hydrologic cycle, it dissolves substances it contacts. Contaminants include atmospheric gases (oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide), dissolved minerals and organic substances, and suspended colloidal matter. Water also provides an ideal environment for the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms if the necessary nutrients and conditions for growth exist.

Depending on the type and concentration of contaminants, most natural waters are not suitable for potable use much less for most research and industrial applications. Most all municipalities and other purveyors of potable water provide some level of water treatment to make the water suitable for consumption. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has established legally enforceable National Primary Drinking Water Regulations (NPDWR) for public water systems. These regulations are published on the U.S. EPA website (

Most high-purity water systems use potable water as a feed water source and provide additional treatment to remove residual contaminants to meet the water quality specifications for the given application. Reagent grade water specifications have been established by such organizations as the College of American Pathologists (CAP), National Committee for Clinical Laboratory Standards (NCCLS), and the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).

The United States Pharmacopoeia (USP) establishes specifications for compendial water used in the manufacturing of drug products. The two major compendial water types are USP purified water and USP water for injection.

The ASTM and Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI) have established specifications for electronics grade water used to manufacture microelectronic devices. The Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) has established water quality standards for water used in hemodialysis applications. Many industries have established unique water quality standards specific for their use.

Course Content

The course content is in a PDF file (97 KB) Design of High-Purity Water Systems. You need to open or download this document to study this course.

Once you finish studying the above course content you need to take a quiz to obtain the PDH credits.

Take a Quiz

DISCLAIMER: The materials contained in the online course are not intended as a representation or warranty on the part of or any other person/organization named herein. The materials are for general information only. They are not a substitute for competent professional advice. Application of this information to a specific project should be reviewed by a registered professional engineer. Anyone making use of the information set forth herein does so at their own risk and assumes any and all resulting liability arising therefrom.