Application of a green and economical technology for safe drinking water supply in small and rural communities in NL

Lay Summary 

Exceeded disinfection by-produced (DBPs) in drinking water is one of the biggest concerns of small communities in rural Newfoundland and Labrador (NL). Rural water treatments lack capacity to maintain good water quality, especially when an elevated concentration of natural organic matter (NOM) is introduced to source water from insufficient protection and/or flooding, thus resulting in very high levels of trihalomethanes (THMs) and haloacetic acids (HAAs). Removal of NOM in source water is key to decreasing the level of DBPs. Photocatalytic oxidation has proved to be a highly effective, green and low toxicity technology that removes organics (e.g. NOM) from drinking water and addresses disinfection related concerns. Use of graphitic carbon Nitride coated titanium dioxide nanotube arrays as photocatalysts can increase the utility of solar energy thus reducing energy consumption. The increased degradation effectiveness promotes the complete transformation of NOMs into water, salt and carbon dioxide which requires no additional waste disposal. The application of self-cleaning material (catalyst) would further significantly reduce the operation and maintenance cost, making the technology more affordable in small and rural communities. The introduction of the photocatalytic microreactor is to maximize photon and mass transfer rate in the system, thus intensifying the degradation of organics. This study targets the removal of NOM and/or potential emerging pollutants by solar-induced photocatalysis and would provide an affordable upgrade option of current potable water practice. In addition, the investigation of the existence, composition, and distribution of emerging pollutants in water supply system helps address the future risk of rural drinking water safety.

Faculty of Engineering & Applied Science
Harris Centre - RBC Water Research And Outreach Fund
St. John's
Newfoundland and Labrador
Water quality
Municipal Water Sewer & Roads
Water Supply
Industry Sectors 
Water, Sewage and Other Systems
Start date 
1 Jul 2017
End date 
1 Jul 2018