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Multiple barriers essential to pollutant problem

Current technologies can't tackle every potential pollutant

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Available water treatment technologies cannot tackle every potential pollutant, according to a new report from Lux Research.

The report, Emerging Pollutants: Myth and Reality, advises technology investors to take a ‘portfolio approach’, rather than trying to identify a single all-purpose treatment technology.

“Despite interest surrounding the new crop of water treatment technologies, none of them offer a panacea with regard to the growing list of candidate pollutants,” said Heather Landis, a Lux research analyst and the lead author of the report.

The pollutants fall into two categories – chemical and microbial – and most of them cannot be removed by conventional treatment technologies like chemical coagulation or sedimentation. This has fueled interest in a host of alternative technologies like ozone, advanced oxidation processes, membranes, activated carbon, biological filtration and ion exchange.

“Pollutant occurrence varies from country to country – therefore a pollutant perceived as a problem in one country may not occur in another,” said Landis.  “A multiple barrier approach to treatment is the best strategy a facility can employ to ensure that most pollutants are removed from water. However, the effectiveness of the approach depends on the technologies selected.

“To ensure the most comprehensive solution a facility should consider the addition of ozone, biological activated carbon, or reverse osmosis to its existing treatment process.”

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