These heavy metals are varied and come from many places. Their proliferation can be caused by human activities or naturally.
Obviously, like many other types of pollution, human activities are the source of many types of heavy metal contamination. Whether we think of industrial activities, domestic products, agriculture or the medical sector, the various uses of heavy metals can sometimes cause problems. As mentioned above, heavy metal contamination can also come from natural activities. These include volcanic eruptions or soil erosion.
Although the proliferating sectors of heavy metal contamination are varied, mining activities are at the top of the list. This is primarily due to acid mine drainage from the production lines of these companies. This acid mine drainage (AMD) is a scourge on the environment and is generally highly concentrated in heavy metals.
While some of these elements are hazardous in nature, other heavy metals such as iron, magnesium (and many others) are necessary for various biochemical and physiological functions. Insufficient intake of these micronutrients can sometimes lead to health problems. On the other hand, most heavy metals are not good for consumption and therefore usually have to be removed.
Since there are a wide variety of heavy metals and most are harmful to consumption, it is important to monitor their concentration in water. In general, the most common heavy metals found in water are arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, nickel, lead and mercury.
Since the extraction of heavy metals is very complex and the situations where these contaminants are found can be very different from one another, the technologies allowing their extraction are varied. In general, ion exchangers adapted with special media, reverse osmosis or fine filtration are able to remove certain contaminants from the heavy metal family.