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

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.


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.