U.S.-Israeli Team Finds Better Way to Keep Drinking Water Virus-Free

Israeli and American scientists have jointly developed a way to dramatically improve the removal of viruses from treated wastewater used for drinking.

Currently, the membrane used to remove viruses in non-chemical water filtration systems requires large amounts of energy. To solve this inefficiency, the researchers developed a special hydrogel coating that can be applied to the filtering membrane. This gel repels viruses in the water and prevents them from either approaching or passing through the filtration system.

“This is an urgent matter of public safety,” Prof. Moshe Herzberg of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Prof. Nguyen Thanh H. Nguyen of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who led the research team, said in a statement on Wednesday. “Insufficient removal of human Adenovirus in municipal wastewater, for example, has been detected as a contaminant in U.S. drinking water sources, including the Great Lakes and worldwide.”

The project, which is especially important for cities with limited water supplies, was funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the German-Israeli Water Technology Cooperation Program. The latter program is funded by Israel’s Ministry of Science and Technology and Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

[Photo: PROPublic Domain Photography / Flickr ]