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Mobile Workshop: Arisu Water Purification Center

The Seoul Metropolitan area has around 10 million inhabitants. Providing clean drinking water to all of them is a substantial operation. Not content with achieving this, however, Seoul Metropolitan Government has worked hard to drive innovation into the water purification process. In a mobile workshop attended by a number of World Congress participants, we found out how.

The Arisu Water Purification Center is one of six purification plants in the Seoul Metropolitan Area. It takes water directly from the Han River, which flows through the city, and is located on the banks. Each day the center takes in around 700,000 cubic meters of water for treatment. The water comes from up to 21 kilometers away.

While the water produced and delivered by the center has always been of high quality, the Seoul Metropolitan Government has had to counter the distrust on the part of many citizens of tap water. When the government conducted a survey, it found that 43.9% of citizens were unlikely to drink tap water because of a “vague distrust”. Others said that they disliked the taste or were worried about impurities.

To counter this distrust, the Arisu Water Purification Plant implemented a new process for purifying water. This process is based on ozone and Granular Activated Carbon. The use of ozone decreases the levels of chlorine, removing the unpleasant taste to which many citizens objected, while the Granular Activated Carbon removes tastes and smells more generally.

The result of this process is a water that is as clean as boiler water. In blind taste tests, citizens were unable to tell the difference between the Arisu water and bottled mineral water. In addition, the water is the cheapest in the world.

All of this has been achieved thanks to the foresight and long-term planning of the Seoul Metropolitan Government, which has invested over one trillion Korean Won in the center – particularly in the Research and Development part. This is with a view to providing the best quality water to Seoul citizens for the next 100 years.

After a presentation on the Arisu plant, we were given a tour of the building. Check out the photos below!