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Hungary: breakthrough in water purification

Smaller settlements will benefit from the new technology

  • January 28, 2020 18:30
  • Author Plamen Petrov
Medium elte  faculty of science
Source: Faculty of Science / elte.hu

Researchers at Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE) have come up with a revolutionary wastewater treatment technology that can significantly improve the quality of surface water. The research was supported by the National Office for Research, Development and Innovation.

The technology, developed at the Faculty of Science of the Budapest-based university, ensures the removal and disinfection of organic micro-contaminants in wastewater that has already been biologically treated. The process is carried out in specially designed containers and is easy to operate. The innovative technology can significantly help smaller settlements in wastewater treatment.

Preserving natural habitats

"It is well-known that UV filtering and activated carbon treatment improve the efficiency of wastewater treatment, but there is no such combined plant based on this principle," said Bence David, a biotechnologist at M1 Blue, quoted by  hirado.hu.

Our equipment helps to remove organic and inorganic substances in wastewater. The accumulation of these in natural receptors unfortunately promotes the spread of inferior organisms that seal the water surface and the sunlight, valuable nutrients do not reach the deeper layers of the water, and we see fish dying, ” he added.

Removing drug residues

The technology can remove the most common drug contamination, including antibiotics, diabetes medicines, and pain and anti-inflammatory drugs. In Hungary, there are roughly twenty to thirty types of drug residues that are constantly being detected by researchers in wastewater treatment plants. The situation is worse in the United States and Canada where more than a hundred drug residues are spotted in various surface waters, says Gyula Záray, professor at the Department of Chemistry at Eötvös Loránd University. He explains that at the end of a long chain, treated wastewater enters surface watersResidents of Budapest and other localities along the Danube and Tisza are fortunate because the rapid river flow dilutes the stable drug molecules, but small towns need an additional purification technique to get rid of such.

Container solutions can help with drinking water supply

“We design mobile containers and would like to implement them together with our partner. This type of container can be placed, for example, at a well in a developing country, and this system can provide two thousand people with drinking water of adequate quality, taking into account the daily water demand of three liters per day, ” added Gyula Záray, quoted by the Hungarian news agency.

It is not only in wastewater that Hungarian researchers have discovered drug derivatives in recent years. These contaminants have been detected in Lake Balaton and its catchment areas, albeit in very low concentrations. But, since drug use is on the rise on a global scale, innovative water purification solutions like the one developed by ELTE can prove to be crucial – both for the environment and human health.   

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