Doctoral Student wins “Best Presentation Award” at Water Quality Symposium

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Doctoral Student, Pratik Kumar, working under the supervision of Dr. Satinder K. Brar in the Department of Civil Engineering was recently honoured with a “Best Presentation Award” at the 55th Central Symposium for Water Quality at Ryerson University.

The presentation, titled Evaluating Microcystin-LR and other water pollutant removal: A mass balance approach using laboratory-made Drinking Water Treatment Plant micro-model (SAP-1©), looked into a method for treating water containing Microcystin-LR (MC-LR), a toxin defined by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Congratulations to Pratik for representing Lassonde so well at a large-scale symposium.

Below are the full details of Kumar’s research along with results.

Details

An automated drinking water treatment plant (DWTP) micro-model named: SAP-1 © was created in the laboratory to treat polluted lake water containing Microcystin-LR (MC-LR). The treatment chain consists raw water tank, oxidation tank, coagulation tank, sedimentation tank, filter units as well as the disinfection tank.

It can treat 2 litres of polluted lake water in less than 100 minutes and is expected to treat more than 60000 m3 in 24 hours at an actual scale, to offer a clean, safe and drinkable water. More than 12 water pollutants (WPs) can be removed including one deadly algal toxin: MC-LR. Why we are concerned about MC-LR? It is because the WHO guidelines for this “toxin” in drinking water is < 1 µg/L. A Graphitized-sand filter was retrofitted into an existing DWTP micromodel to evaluate these WPs. Generally, in a DWTP, sand is used as an adsorbent media.

Here, we used more potential adsorbent: graphitized sand. The graphitization was achieved using brewery waste effluent that contained sugar. By graphitization, we mean complete coating of sand with carbon (sugar to carbon!). This offers a sustainable solution to the drinking water.

Result summary

In general, all water pollutants tested showed enhanced removal of 20%-40% when graphitized sand filter was used as compared to the sand filter. Sand filter showed removal of just 20%-25% MC-LR (initial concentration: 50 µg/L).

On the other hand, graphitized sand filter showed complete adsorption of MC-LR for both commercial as well as algal-release toxin (complying WHO guideline). Graphitized sand filter can also be used as a stand-alone filter for household purpose.

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