The Drinking Water Handbook, Second Edition: 2nd Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Drinking Water Handbook, Second Edition

By Frank R. Spellman, Joanne E. Drinan

© 2012 – CRC Press

388 pages | 37 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781439866900
pub: 2012-05-22
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When you open the tap to fill your glass with drinking water, you expect the water to be of good quality. But is the water from your tap really safe? The second edition of an industry-wide bestseller, The Drinking Water Handbook explains the many processes employed to make water safe to drink. Starting at the source, it evaluates the quality control of drinking water through treatment and distribution to the tap, and its use and reuse by the consumer.

What’s in Your Glass of Water?

Engaging and accessible, the handbook covers important concepts and regulations and identifies current problems with the water supply. In addition to the traditional physical, chemical, and microbiological parameters that affect water quality, it discusses trihalomethanes, Cryptosporidium, viruses, carcinogens, pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs), and other pollutants.

Solutions for Safer Drinking Water

The book also addresses the challenges faced by practitioners striving to provide the best drinking water quality to the consumer. It outlines techniques and technologies for monitoring and water treatment, from preliminary screening to filtration and disinfection, as well as advanced processes for specialized water problems. Recognizing the importance of protecting water infrastructure, the authors include a comprehensive chapter on security requirements for waterworks.

This user-friendly handbook puts technical information about drinking water in the hands of the general public, sanitary and public works engineers, public health administrators, water treatment operators, and students. Thoroughly updated to reflect current science and technologies, it takes a close look at what can be found in many tap water supplies and the measures taken to ensure the health and well-being of consumers.

What’s New in this Edition

  • Updates to every chapter, reflecting advances in the field
  • Expanded material on sick water related to PPCPs
  • Discussion of the latest treatment technologies
  • Coverage of individual contaminants
  • Current regulations related to drinking water


"This book walks the reader through the important aspects of water, ranging from its importance to human survival (not to mention its cruel side, e.g. being a vector for contaminants) to its quality and how we improve, test, and protect it. The chapters are designed for every type of reader and even the seasoned water treatment operator will enjoy reading a chapter on something he/she is unfamiliar with, without having to find the details buried in a more complex reference book or on-line. This book brings so many important topics together and focuses on the essentials to inform the reader in a very well-balanced way while not bogging down the reader with mathematics and other topics more reserved for specialized engineering books."

—Adam Eyring, Philadelphia Water Department, Pennsylvania, USA

"The authors have much to offer in terms of experience and exposure. They write in a friendly, down-to-earth style. There is a lot of interest in water and the book should be a valuable addition to the literature."

—Windsor Sung, PhD, PE, Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, USA

"… College students, practitioners and any concerned with drinking water quality and management will consider this reference a solid resource."

Library Bookwatch, November 2012

Praise for the Previous Edition

"… a sound book describing the issues associated with the delivery of safe drinking water to the public. … The handbook's best features are its definitions of scientific vocabulary and jargon associated with water treatment, management, distribution, basic science, engineering, and drinking water regulations. Recommended for libraries serving students enrolled in engineering and technology programs, training programs for operators of water treatment facilities, and environmental science degree programs, as well as for journalists covering environmental affairs and local government."

—McNeese State University, in CHOICE, 2000

Table of Contents


Setting the Stage

All about Water: Basic Concepts

Earth’s Blood


The Water Cycle

Water Supply: The Q and Q Factors

Drinking Water Q and Q Vocabulary

Clean, Fresh, and Palatable: A Historical Perspective

Drinking Water Regulations

Regulation Nation

Why Regulate?

Clean Water Reform Is Born

Clean Water Act

Safe Drinking Water Act

Drinking Water Supplies


Water Sources

Drinking Water Conveyance and Distribution


Surface Water and Groundwater Distribution Systems

Microbiological Drinking Water Parameters


Microbiology: What Is It?

Waterborne Diseases





Physical Drinking Water Parameters


Taste and Odor









Chemical Drinking Water Parameters


Organic Chemicals

Total Dissolved Solids


Heavy Metals


Water Pollution


Sources of Contaminants


The Chemical Cocktail

Groundwater Contamination

Drinking Water Monitoring


Is the Water Good or Bad?

Designing a Water Quality Monitoring Program

General Preparation and Sampling Considerations

Test Methods

Dissolved Oxygen and Biochemical Oxygen Demand







Total Solids


Total Alkalinity

Fecal Bacteria

Apparent Color


Water Treatment







Hardness Treatment


Nonconventional Water Treatment Technologies


Water Treatment of Organic and Inorganic Contaminants

Upgrading Security


Consequences of 9/11

Security Hardware and Devices


The Bottom Line on Security



All chapters include references and recommended reading, and most chapters include a summary.

About the Authors

Frank R. Spellman, PhD, is a retired U.S. Naval Officer with 26 years of active duty, a retired environmental safety and health manager for a large wastewater sanitation district in Virginia, and a retired assistant professor of environmental health at Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia. He is the author or co-author of 75 books, with more soon to be published. Dr. Spellman consults on environmental matters with the U.S. Department of Justice and various law firms and environmental entities around the globe. He holds a BA in public administration, BS in business management, and MBA, MS, and PhD in environmental engineering. In 2011, he traced and documented the ancient water distribution system at Machu Pichu, Peru, and surveyed several drinking water resources in Amazonia, Ecuador.

Joanne E. Drinan is a retired administrative coordinator for a large wastewater treatment sanitation district in Virginia Beach, Virginia. She is the author or co-author of more than 12 environmental science books and holds a BS from Saint Leo University in Florida.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Environmental / Water Supply