Sustainable sand pulls pollutants from stormwater

phys.org | 8/30/2018 | Staff
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UC Berkeley engineers have developed a mineral-coated sand that can soak up toxic metals like lead and cadmium from water. Along with its ability to destroy organic pollutants like bisphenol A, this material could help cities tap into stormwater, an abundant but underused water source.

The team's findings were published recently in the journal Environmental Science: Water Research & Technology.

Researchers - Minerals - Sand - Contaminants - Pesticides

Researchers knew that the naturally occurring minerals they coated onto sand could react with organic contaminants like pesticides in stormwater. However, the ability of the coated sand to also remove harmful metals during filtration could unlock urban water supplies that had been written off. Cities with Mediterranean climates, like Los Angeles, could store stormwater underground during wet winters, where it could serve as an inexpensive, local supply during the dry season. But this resource has gone mostly untapped because stormwater picks up toxic chemicals as it runs through streets and gutters.

"The pollutants that hold back the potential of this water source rarely come one at a time," said study lead author Joe Charbonnet, who conducted this research as a graduate student in civil and environmental engineering. "It makes sense that we fight back with a treatment technology that has these impressive double abilities to take out both toxic metals and organics. We suspected that the mineral-coated sand was special, but the way it continues to impress us with multiple capabilities is rather extraordinary."

Cities - Stormwater - Pollution - Contamination - Lead

Cities often discard stormwater as pollution because it picks up contamination like lead...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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