Scientists test effectiveness of "shocking" wastewater

Scientists in France are testing whether sending electric pulses through wastewater will effectively disinfect it.

April 11, 2003 -- Scientists in France are testing whether sending electric pulses through wastewater will effectively disinfect it.

The research is being done by Professor Hubert Romat and others at the University of Poitiers with the intent of exploring substitutes to the chemical disinfection of water or wastewater, according to the European news organization Edie.

The scientists found that sending a pulsed arc through water does three things:

• the high voltage creates free radicals that trigger a chain reaction
• photons which are emitted in the UV range of the arc have a simiar effect
• pressure waves emitted by the pulsing start a third, and equally lethal attack on pathogenic bacteria and viruses.

The group is working on making the system work more reliably for use with a range of microbiological agents which would be found in contaminated water. They believe the system could be used on a large scale.

More in Disinfection