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Terms & Synonyms

Official WHO Definition

Heating a liquid to the point that it changes to a gas, causing the liquid to bubble vigorously (WHO et al. 2003).

Other Definitions


Interpretations and Explanations

Boiling or heating of water with fuel has been used to disinfect household water since ancient times. It is effective in destroying all classes of waterborne pathogens, such as viruses, bacteria and bacterial spores, fungi and protozoans and helminth ova, and can be effectively applied to all waters, including those high in turbidity or dissolved constituents. Although some authorities recommend that water be brought to a rolling boil for to 1 to 5 minutes, the WHO recommends bringing the water to a rolling boil as an indication that a high temperature has been achieved. These boiling requirements are likely to be well in excess of the heating conditions needed to dramatically reduce most waterborne pathogens, but observing a rolling boil assures that sufficiently high temperatures have been reached to achieve pathogen destruction (WHO et al. 2003).


WHO and IRC Water and Sanitation Centre (2003) Linking technology choice with operation and maintenance in the context of community water supply and sanitation: A reference document for planners and project staff, World Health

WHO Lexicon page (translations and examples)

See also

External Resources


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