Where is the problem?

Problem: pharmaceuticals, nitrates, microplastic etc.

The contamination of the water by medications, nitrate and microplastic is currently receiving a lot of media attention. What challenges have there been so far, are there currently and will there be in the future when it comes to ensuring clean water?

To date, it was mainly the insufficient analytical methods, which told us little to nothing about the actual degree of contamination. With the three-stage development of the municipal sewage treatment plants (mechanical, biological and chemical), it was thought that the contaminants could be conquered. However, today it is clear that there are many more factors to be considered. The improved analytics prove that. It is not only the substances with high concentrations (e.g. phosphates) which have to be removed in the sewage treatment plants in order to contain the eutrophication (upsetting the balance of the waters), but also the trace substances, the smallest quantities, which are causing more and more problems, because they are often more toxic and dangerous.

Currently, it seems that there is virtually no water shortage in most industrial countries, that the hygienic conditions are excellent and that the industries do what the state imposes in the area of water conservation and purification. A voluntary commitment to protect the environment hardly exists and it does not look as though the state will increase the pressure here in the next ten years. Unless the stresses increase in such a way that the implications for the ecosystem affect the people. In the developing countries of the world, this is completely different, however, here the “but” always comes into play, which so slows down action that people suffer.

Why not act now?

We from Wasser 3.0 always ask ourselves why we are not already taking action in all areas, for all people, where we see and recognize the implications in the environment for living creatures. Whether it is the fish, which eat microplastic instead of food; whether it is the observed feminization of sea eagles; whether it is the change to the habitats. We have a responsibility and we should be aware of it every day.

With Wasser 3.0 we are developing a method, which should be applied everywhere in the world and, after adaptation to variable problem areas, can also be used for medications, nitrate and microplastic.

Nitrate

If you inform yourself about nitrate, you recognize (similar to phosphate) that the quantity of recorded nitrate in the water has steadily increased over the years. In the case of phosphate, action was taken, for nitrate less.

While without the influx of additional nitrogen, the natural balance and the nitrogen cycle represent a perfectly functioning system, in case of increased anthropogenic input of synthetic nitrogen compounds inevitably results in a shift and sustainable disruption of the natural course. On a large scale, this also has an impact on the greenhouse effect. However, what is interesting for us is the runoff of the nitrate into surface waters due to heavy rainfall. If the nitrate is in the surface waters, solutions are needed in order to filter it out on the spot. We are still working on developing this system with recycling possibilities for the waste materials.

Microplastic

In the course of the R&D work for Wasser 3.0, we have developed a solution for microplastic, which already works very well on a laboratory scale as well as semi-continuously and could represent a quick solution for the microplastic problem in a new procedure if the sponsors play along.

Especially when washing clothing made of synthetic materials, fibers are detached from the fabric and thus enter the water system via the wastewater treatment plant and consequently come back to us very quickly.

We of Wasser 3.0 do not work with standard filter technology in our procedure, since we believe that it is not a question of filtration, but of elimination. The filter technology has clearly known limiting factors for the smallest components, so the particles can pass through.

The holistic solution is important to us. In concrete terms, this means that we, once we can, hopefully soon, implement our procedure with our partners, not only want to eliminate the microplastic particles, but also simultaneously tackle multiple stressors in combination. The approach is simple: With good chemistry and a promising method, the water can be purified in every process, no matter whether in communal treatment plants (fourth purification stage) or in an industrial production process, and in such a way that it does not disturb the ecosystem upon exiting the plant. For this reason, we are examining the purification process from A to Z. The holistic nature and broad perspective in all areas is what makes Wasser 3.0 special!