onderwerp

Detecting and removing emerging contaminants

New materials and technologies

Detecting and removing emerging contaminants calls for advanced materials and technologies. KWH develops knowledge about new materials and technologies to detect and remove emerging contaminants in the water cycle. We also disseminate this knowledge, enabling its valorisation. When monitoring water quality, the water sector can thus respond to any changes in a timely and accurate manner.

Detecting and removing polar substances

As a result of an ever-increasing use of chemicals in our society, contaminants continue to emerge in the water cycle. Besides the need to assess the risks involved, it is important that technologies be developed to detect and remove these substances. In particular, substances that are polar and persistent or mobile in treatment systems can pose a problem. Advanced technologies are required to trace them, as are materials to which the substances can bind in order to be removed from the water.

affinity chromatography.

Schematic illustration of affinity chromatography. Source: ivtnetwork.com

New materials and technologies

KWH develops, disseminates and valorises knowledge about new materials and technologies aimed at detecting and removing water-soluble emerging contaminants in the water cycle.

To this end, we investigate qualitative and quantitative methods, such as:

  • Non-target screening: a new method to interpret large sets of measurement data and identify a broad range of chemical substances in water. The method uses a combination of liquid chromatography, high-resolution mass spectrometry and software.
  • Combinations of bioassays and chemical identification (e.g., effect-directed analysis).
  • Testing of new analytical technologies, such as NMR, Ion Mobility Spectroscopy and new ionization techniques in MS.
  • Development of alternatives to affinity-based separation technologies, such as chromatography, and to plastics as a bonding material (e.g., silicone rubber).
  • Removal of emerging contaminants through water treatment processes such as:
    • Reverse osmosis and (capillary) nanofiltration, using perm-selective barriers (membranes), can retain emerging contaminants driven by a pressure difference
    • Oxidation processes: UV/peroxide and ozone processes can either transform or breakdown emerging contaminants based on reactive radicals
    • Adsorptive processes: Activated carbon filtration will adsorb predominantly apolar emerging contaminants
    • Biological processes: biological active sand filtration and biological active activated carbon filtration processes will either adsorb or degrade emerging contaminants.

 

Removal of dissolved substances by a membrane or adsorption materiall

Removal of dissolved substances by a membrane or adsorption material. Source: freedrinkingwater.com

Improved analysis and removal technologies

With the advent of new materials and technologies, water utilities, Water Authorities and industry can improve and extend the analysis and removal methods for emerging contaminants. When monitoring water quality, they can thus respond to any changes in a timely and accurate manner. This allows them to continue complying with the demanding requirements for the supply of safe, reliable and sufficient (drinking) water.