Government of Nova Scotia Government of Nova Scotia Nova Scotia, Canada


Drinking Water

Removing Uranium From Drinking Water Using Distillation

What is distillation?

Distillation is a water treatment process that results in nearly pure water. Distillation units boil the water, gather the steam, and cool it, which turns it back into water again. The heat kills bacteria, and the minerals stay in the boiler.

Can I use it to treat my entire water supply?

Distillation units are typically used to treat only enough water for drinking and cooking.

How effective is distillation?

Distillation can remove 100 per cent of the uranium in drinking water.

Is the distillation unit reliable?

Yes, distillation has been used for many years to treat water supplies and is a reliable method of removing uranium.

Does raw water quality affect how well the distillation unit works?

No, water quality will not affect how much uranium the distillation unit can remove from drinking water.

How practical is it to operate and maintain?

The distillation unit is simple to operate and practical for household use. People who use it like it. Maintenance includes cleaning the boiling chamber from time to time.

How much does the distillation unit cost?

You can expect to pay between $2000 and $2500 (2004 prices) for a distillation unit that treats your drinking water.

How much does it cost to use?

The only known operating cost is for electricity.

How long should the distillation unit last?

The unit has a long life. Commercial sellers say that the heating element and fan motor will probably need to be replaced every 10 years, depending on the raw water quality passing through the system.

How much waste water does the distillation unit create? How do I get rid of it?

The unit makes very little waste water. Waste water can be flushed to your sewage disposal system when the boiling chamber is cleaned.

Does the distillation unit also remove other substances?

The distillation unit removes almost all substances you might expect to find in drinking water.

What happens to the substances in the water?

They are left in the stainless steel boiling chamber, but cannot get into the treated water.

Does distillation have any side effects?

Distilled water can corrode or wear away plumbing, but this is not a problem in households using the unit to treat drinking water. Some people find that the unit is too noisy to use under the kitchen sink.

Where can I get a distillation unit?

In Nova Scotia, water treatment companies sell the distillation unit.

You asked about... is a series of fact sheets produced by Nova Scotia Environment. For additional copies, contact the regional or head office nearest you.

Bedford: 902 424-7773
Halifax: 902 424-3600
Kentville: 902 679-6086
Sydney: 902 563-2100
Truro: 902 893-5880

Labs that test for uranium in drinking water

QEII Health Sciences Centre
Environmental Chemistry Laboratory, Halifax

Maxxam Analytics Inc., Bedford
(902) 420-0203

Maxxam Analytics Inc., Sydney
(902) 567-1255