World Water Day 2015: Purdue researchers pursuing technologies to address water safety, drinkability

To commemorate World Water Day, held on Sunday, March 22, researchers from Purdue University have announced that they are continuing to develop technologies that could address water safety and drinkability.

WEST LAFAYETTE, IN, March 16, 2015 -- To commemorate World Water Day, held on Sunday, March 22, researchers from Purdue University have announced that they are continuing to develop technologies that could address water safety and drinkability.

An estimated 1.8 billion people worldwide drink water that is contaminated by human and animal waste, according to the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Program for Water Supply and Sanitation.

In 1993, the United Nations General Assembly declared March 22 would be observed annually as "World Day for Water." This year's topic is water and sustainable development. Other water-related topics have included women and water, water for health, coping with water scarcity, and sanitation.

The technologies that Purdue researchers are continuing to pursue include:

  • An inexpensive and reliable technique to fabricate plastic optical fiber sensors to monitor water delivery systems for ammonia (click here). Plastic optical fibers are more flexible and mechanically stronger than glass optical fibers, which traditionally are used to monitor ammonia. The fabrication technique was developed by George Nnanna, director of the Purdue University Calumet Water Institute and head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University Calumet.
  • A method to clean membranes and improve their performance in water filtration systems (click here). The method uses an enzyme to degrade the buildup of deposits on membranes and could replace the use of expensive chemical cleaners that damage membranes. It was developed by Dong Chen, associate professor of civil engineering at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne.
  • A system that continuously disinfects water using solar ultraviolet (UV) radiation (click here). Solar UV radiation damages waterborne pathogens' nucleic acids and proteins so that they cannot replicate or cause infections. The system controls water flow without requiring electrical energy (see "Disinfection Prototype Harnesses Sunlight, Aims to Provide Clean Water to Developing Nations"). It was developed by Ernest "Chip" R. Blatchley III, professor of civil engineering and environmental and ecological engineering, and Bruce Applegate, associate professor of food science and biological sciences.

See also:

"USGS awards $1M in water study grants to four university programs"

"New partnership to propel U.S. water pollution reduction programs and goals"

###

More in Potable Water Quality