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Apr 4, 2017

Prof. Bérubé's water treatment system uses bacteria to purify water

A UBC Civil Engineering-developed system that uses bacteria to turn non-potable water into drinking water will be tested next week in West Vancouver prior to being installed in remote communities in Canada and beyond.

The system consists of tanks of fibre membranes that catch and hold contaminants—dirt, organic particles, bacteria and viruses—while letting water filter through. A community of beneficial bacteria, or biofilm, functions as the second line of defence, working in concert to break down pollutants.

“Membrane treatment can remove over 99.99 per cent of contaminants, making it ideal for making drinking water,” said project lead Pierre Bérubé, who developed the system with support from the federally funded Canada-India research organization IC-IMPACTS.

Membrane water treatment is not new, but Prof. Bérubé says the modifications developed by his team, described recently in Water Research, produce an even more effective solution.


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