How to Remove Mercury From Water?

Do you know that you could be consuming potent contaminants and toxic heavy metals with your drinking water without even realizing it? Yes, that’s right. Millions of individuals are consuming water contaminated with mercury from countless anthropogenic sources. 

Such a potent neurological toxin should not be in our water supplies. But, unfortunately, it is. If the mercury level exceeds 0.002 mg/L in drinking water, you should be well aware of the ways to remove mercury from water. Otherwise, you will be at significant risk.

mercury-free glass of water

4 Effective Ways of Removing Mercury From the Drinking Water

Mercury can contaminate drinking water via multiple routes. The existence of mercury in drinking water beyond its MCL can threaten health as it can cause severe neurological effects to individuals consuming it. 

The following four methods are highly effective for removing toxic mercury from drinking water.

Chemical Precipitation

If you want to remove mercury from drinking water most effectively and economically, this is the method of choice. It removes mercury by the addition of a chemical precipitant to the water. 

The precipitant then reacts with the mercury to form insoluble mercury elements or compounds, forming particulate solids that adsorb the dissolved mercury. The precipitation is followed by filtration to remove the insoluble solids from the water. The most commonly used precipitants are calcium hydroxide, ferric salts, and sulfides. 

It is highly cost-effective and straightforward. You can purify water at a larger scale using this method.


You can also use adsorption as an effective method of treating water from mercury contamination. It can reduce mercury concentration below two µg/L. It removes substances by passing water through an absorbent media that will attract contaminant molecules and separate them from water. 

Some absorbent media are reusable after heat treatment, or other methods. These ways desorb the previously captured contaminants making the procedure cost-effective.

Activated carbon is the most effective adsorbent material for mercury removal. The principal benefits of adsorption include no sludge formation, great selectivity for mercury, and adaptability in selecting adsorption media materials.

Reverse Osmosis Systems

If you want to remove 95 to 97% mercury from drinking water, reverse osmosis is the best option. Reverse osmosis filters contaminants by passing water through a membrane that is selectively permeable. Heavy metals are not able to cross this membrane. In this way, you get water that is free from mercury. 

Some reverse osmosis systems also come with granular activated carbon pre and post-filters. These granulated activated carbon filters further increase the efficiency of an RO system. 

reverse osmosis system under the sink filters mercury from water

Electrochemical Process

The electrochemical process is the newest method to remove mercury efficiently from drinking water. This method includes a platinum electrode that removes toxic mercury from water by electrochemical alloying. The alloy made by the two metals is truly steady, so there is no danger of mercury re-entering the water.

An extraordinary thing about this strategy is its energy efficiency. Hence, chemical and mining industries can use it to reduce their chemical waste. Moreover, this method is also highly specific. Even though there might be a wide range of substances in the water, it simply eliminates mercury. 

Each platinum atom in the electrode can bind four mercury atoms hence can remove a great amount of toxin out of water. Because of its low energy use, it tends to be controlled absolutely by solar cells. So you can use it as a portable and reusable water cleaning innovation.

What Is Mercury?

Mercury is a naturally occurring metal found in air, soil, water, and especially rocks. It combines with other elements to form inorganic toxic mercury compounds like methyl mercury, a neurotoxin that badly affects human health. 

If you live in a developing country, there is a high chance you and your family are consuming a high amount of mercury in your drinking water.  

Worse is that you cannot judge its presence in water by simply tasting or smelling it. You will have to go through proper testing to detect its existence. The amount of mercury should be below 2 PPb. Anything above this threshold is alarming and should be dealt with.

Source of Mercury Contamination

Mercury is a metal that occurs naturally in rocks and coal deposits in the earth’s crust. The level of mercury occurring naturally in groundwater is less than 0.5 µg/L. Anthropological sources like Fossil fuel combustion, municipal waste incinerators’ industrial and agricultural pollution are adding high levels of organic forms of mercury to the atmosphere.

Mercury radiated into the air sinks into water or onto land with the help of rainwater, snow, and gradual settling. When in water, certain microorganisms can transform it into methyl mercury, an exceptionally poisonous structure that develops in fish, shellfish, and creatures that eat fish. 

The most common source by which people in the U.S. and worldwide are exposed to mercury is by consuming fish having methyl mercury.

The World Health Organisation has declared mercury to be the most dangerous substance for human health. 

The Symptoms & Danger of Consuming Mercury And Other Toxic Heavy Metals

Mercury exposure results in serious health effects. It has toxic effects on almost every body system, including the nervous system, digestive system, hematological, cardiovascular, and immune systems. 

The most common symptoms of mercury poisoning include anxiety, depression, irritability, numbness, tremors, etc. Long-term ingestion of mercury can cause severe neurological effects. 

Fetuses and infants are at greater risk as small amounts of mercury can pose serious harm by affecting developing brains. So it is extremely important to keep vigilantly checking the mercury levels of your drinking water.

Long-term consumption is associated with various diseases of the heart and lungs. 

If a pregnant woman consumes this toxin through water, there is a high chance of developing neurological defects in newborns. It can even prove fatal to a child’s life.

Does Water Filter Remove Mercury?

Water containing more than 0.002 mg/L of mercury is harmful to your health. If your drinking water has this much mercury, you need to look for a water treatment option.

Fortunately, activated carbon filters are quite efficient in removing toxic mercury from water; still, we need to know other methods. RO membrane filters are also good in filtering mercury. 

Which Water Filters Are Used for Mercury Removal? 

There are a huge number of water filters in the market. Some of them can remove organic and inorganic mercury but only partially, while others straight out can’t remove this toxin metal at all. That is why we have searched for the best mercury water filter for you. Here are your choices: 

Faucet Mounted Filter

These filters are perfect for removing contaminants like chlorine, lead, mercury, and other elements. It is ideal for home usage due to its low cost, compact style, and easy installation. Multiple filtration stages provide you with quality drinking water. It can remove contaminants as small as 0.5 microns in size.

Whole House Filtration

If you want to treat the water supply of your whole house in one go, a whole house filtration system is the best choice. It is a 3 stage filtration technique that can efficiently filter all the water entering your household. 

The first filter is for the sedimentation of large particles, the 2nd filter is for reducing ions, and the 3rd filter is usually activated carbon. It can remove 99% of the contaminants and provide clean filtered water. It is way better than pitchers, faucets, and filter bottles.

whole house filtration that removes mercury from water

Water Pitcher & Dispenser

It is a drinking water filter. It is portable and small and is considered the best alkaline remineralization filter, among others. You can use it easily during your college hours or at work. Due to its small size, you can easily carry it or refrigerate it.

Countertop Water Filter

The best thing with this water filter system is installing these filters on your kitchen counter and getting contaminants-free water. They have versatile features to remove contaminants. 

Some counter top filtration systems have reverse osmosis membranes within them, while others do not. It is a portable and multistage filtration system. Also, it is the best for removing toxic mercury. This filter ensures a 94-95% reduction of mercury from the water. 

FAQs on How To Remove Mercury From Water?

Do water softeners remove inorganic and organic mercury?

Lime softeners are effective in removing heavy metals like mercury from water. It involves using calcium hydroxide as a softener, which precipitates heavy metals out as solids; hence, it helps remove dissolved mercury. It works on ion exchange technology.

Is boiling effective for mercury removal?

No, boiling is not a practical method for removing mercury. Some of it will evaporate when we boil water and leave the water rich in mercury. Hence it will add on instead of improving the quality of water. You should avoid boiling water contaminated with heavy metals.

Is distillation effective for the removal of mercury?

Yes, distillers are very effective for removing heavy metals like mercury. The distillers boil the water to convert it into steam. The heavy metals do not vaporize but stay there in the boiling pot. The steam is then condensed back into the water, which is pure and free from these contaminants.


According to the environmental protection agency, water containing more than 2 PPB of mercury is not healthy for drinking, and human activities add much to the drinking water.

The reason is the need of the hour to find better ways to remove mercury from water to make yourself and your family safe from the hazardous effects of this toxic contaminant. We hope our description was helpful for you. Do you know any better way to remove this toxic metal? Mention it in the comments below.