Journal: Environmental Science and Technology
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Cleansing wastewater with a pinch of salt
Wastewater could be decontaminated and reused thanks to a system that simultaneously desalinates seawater.
Water is often in limited supply, and although this essential resource can be extracted from wastewater and seawater, conventional filter systems can get blocked by organic matter and salt. A team including researchers from the University of Wollongong built a system that harnesses osmosis, whereby the high salt concentration of seawater on one side of a membrane draws just water through from liquid waste on the opposite side. The remaining waste falls to the bottom of the tank to be removed as sludge. To maintain the necessary salt concentrations, the seawater is heated and pure water is extracted as vapour. The whole process removed nearly all 30 of the undesirable bacteria that the researchers tested for.
This system could be used to recycle water on ships and to reduce pollution from wastewater in coastal areas.
- Environmental Science & Technology 51, 14311−14320 (2017). doi: 10.1021/acs.est.7b02567