Researchers develop a method to detoxify water with chlorine and ultraviolet radiation

August 9, 2018, Purdue University
Ernest R. Blatchley III, an engineering professor at Purdue University, helped developed a method to detoxify water with chlorine and ultraviolet radiation. Credit: Purdue University

Purdue University researchers have developed a method to detoxify water with chlorine and ultraviolet radiation, which may provide new hope for water-stressed areas and help promote the reuse of wastewater.

The Purdue team developed a method for selectively degrading and detoxifying amines, derived from ammonia that are common in water supplies. Amines include a number of compounds that can be toxic to humans and other animals.

"Climate change and increasing human populations are mandating changes in water use patterns, including and the use of water supplies that were previously identified as being of marginal or poor quality," said Ernest R. Blatchley III, a professor in Purdue's Lyles School of Civil Engineering and the Environmental and Ecological Engineering, who led the research. "As increase their reliance on these water supplies, the need for effective, selective water treatment methods will increase."

The novel method developed at Purdue allows for selective degradation of amines. Pre-chlorination activates amines to subsequent UV exposure, which then promotes the degradation of the compounds and the reduction of toxicity.

"Our discovery in helping to provide more people with access to clean water is taking common elements of water treatment like UV radiation and and using them in a new way," Blatchley said. "Conventional water treatment methods are generally ineffective for removal, degradation or detoxification of these compounds. Our method allows current treatments to be modified to provide cleaner and safer water."

Water reuse, the use of treated municipal wastewater as a source water for applications ranging from irrigation to drinking water, also is becoming of increasing interest in water-stressed areas, such as the U.S. Southwest. Reuse applications generally involve water sources that are compromised and likely to contain relatively high concentrations of amines.

The method developed at Purdue also may have applications for the treatment of swimming pool water.

Another unique characteristic of the Purdue method is the ability to target the in a selective way so that other necessary compounds in the water system are unaffected or minimally affected.

Explore further: Economical technique removes pharmaceuticals, chemical contaminants from public water systems

Related Stories

Double disinfection treatment for safer drinking water

March 7, 2018

In spite of good progress in water hygiene during the recent decades, contaminated water still causes millions of diseases every year. Most of these diseases are caused by enteric viruses, and better water disinfection methods ...

Approaching an ideal amino acid synthesis using hydrogen

June 11, 2018

Osaka University researchers demonstrated a reductive alkylation method for the functionalization of substituted amines using hydrogen, which is efficiently catalyzed by innocuous main-group catalysts. Their reaction generated ...

Recommended for you

Coffee-based colloids for direct solar absorption

March 22, 2019

Solar energy is one of the most promising resources to help reduce fossil fuel consumption and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions to power a sustainable future. Devices presently in use to convert solar energy into thermal ...

EPA adviser is promoting harmful ideas, scientists say

March 22, 2019

The Trump administration's reliance on industry-funded environmental specialists is again coming under fire, this time by researchers who say that Louis Anthony "Tony" Cox Jr., who leads a key Environmental Protection Agency ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.