Researchers Develop Special Sand Making Stormwater Drinkable

Saturday, September 1, 2018 - 10:20

Researchers from University of California Berkeley have developed a kind of material which is actually just regular sand that cleans up road-polluted liquid so it can be used for drinking water.

Researchers developed the material which is actually just regular sand that's been mixed with two types of naturally-occurring manganese. These react with one another to become manganese oxide, which is harmless to humans and the environment, New Atlas reports.

When water contaminated with organic pollutants such as herbicides, pesticides and bisphenol-A (BPA) is run through the sand, those chemicals bind with the manganese oxide. As a result, they're either removed from the water, or they're broken down into smaller pieces which are less toxic and more biodegradable – a secondary purification system, used in tandem with the sand, could then likely take care of them.

Although the effectiveness of the manganese oxide does diminish over time, it can be completely "recharged" by running weakly-chlorinated water through the sand. It is estimated that a half-meter-deep (1.6-ft) layer of the sand could be revitalized by running such water through it for about two days, at a chlorine concentration of 25 parts per million.

Ultimately, it is hoped that the sand could be placed over underground water-storing aquifers, with stormwater runoff percolating through the material before entering them. In the immediate future, though, the scientists plan on testing the technology on stormwater from a creek in Sonoma County.

A paper on the study was recently published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

Source: University of California Berkeley

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