Contaminants in Drinking Water and Wastewater and Effects on Environment Research Paper

Pages: 7 (2538 words)  ·  Style: Harvard  ·  Bibliography Sources: 10  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Doctorate  ·  Topic: Transportation - Environmental Issues

In addition, it entails the assessment the alternatives available for preventing and reducing incidences of the emergence of contaminants. Epidemiological studies facilitate the success of the assessment process (Pruden et al. 2006).

Treatment and Removal Methods of the Emerging Contaminants of the Drinking water and Wastewater

There are different methods of treating drinking water and wastewater alongside removing the emerging contaminants. These techniques as stated by Mitch et al. (2003) include advanced oxidation processes (AOPs), adsorption, Reverse Osmosis Membrane (RO), and Nano-filtration (NF). However, most organizations face the challenges of using these methods efficiently due to the high investment and maintenance costs associated with the methods. Complicated procedure in treating the contaminants and massive generation of toxic wastes compounds to the challenges associated with the effectiveness and adoption of these methods. Apart from this, physicochemical treatments are considered effective in cases that do not involve the elimination of the endocrine disrupting compounds and pharmaceuticals and personal care products (Peabody, Taguiwalo, and Robalino, 2006). Empirical evidence shows that, the adsorption method of treating and eliminating emerging contaminant is more superior as compared to the other methods. The adsorption method does not add undesired by-products to the water under treatment and has a simple design that makes it easy to operate. Adsorption process is easy to operate and the insensitivity of the toxic substances it uses and/or eliminate (Levine and Asano, 2004).Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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Research Paper on Contaminants in Drinking Water and Wastewater and Effects on Environment Assignment

The adsorption method uses a mass transfer mechanism that involves the accumulation of contaminants in two phases that promote their elimination. Physisorption and chemisorption are the two key interactions that promote the elimination of the contaminant and water treatment. The adsorption method incorporates the principles of Wastewater Treatment Plants (WWTPs) in the partial removal of the micro pollutants through biological degradation, stripping, and sorption. Activated carbon, clays, minerals, and agricultural wastes as some of the adsorbent agents used to facilitate the process. The agents provide a sorption medium for many emerging contaminants (Jones, Lester, and Voulvoulis, 2005).

Reverse osmosis membrane uses a semi-permeable membrane to treat drinking water and wastewater alongside eliminating the emerging contaminants (Focazio et al. 2008). Pressure is applied to overcome the osmotic pressure, which is driven by a positive chemical potential. This removes different types of ions and molecules from the water solution. In the end, a solute is retained on the membrane side while the pure solvent passes to the opposite side. The method use straining and size-exclusion processes to eliminate the contaminants in the solution. However, this method is less effective as compared to the adsorption method since it does not eliminate endocrine disrupting compounds, pharmaceuticals, and personal care products (Chen et al. 2006). In addition, Bolong et al. (2009) added that, the process uses much water as it relies on low backpressure for its effectiveness and enhanced functioning. Thus, there is a significant wastage of water used for treating the water. This is because of a significant wastage of water (85%) used for treating and eliminating the contaminants.

On the other hand, advanced oxidation process uses hydroxyl radicals that remove contaminants in water through oxidation. The method proves effective in the elimination of non-biodegradable emerging contaminants. Altaf, Masood, Malik, (2008) states that, advanced oxidation processes are more effective in treating water contaminated with persistent organic pollutants. The method operates on different chemical principles such as the formation of the hydroxyl ions and reaction with the oxide ions of the contaminant promoting its elimination. On the other hand, Nano-Filtration (NF) removes contaminants as in the case of reverse osmosis. The method helps in the elimination endocrine disrupting compounds, pharmaceuticals, and personal care products.


Contaminants of drinking water and wastewater have numerous risks to the environment. The effects of the contaminants range from developmental, growth, and reproductive effects. The causes of these effects can be identified. Adopting the most effective strategies will contribute to the reduction of the incidences of adverse environmental effects brought by drinking water and wastewater contaminants. Therefore, it is highly recommended that interventions aiming at determining the source of contamination, and responding to the challenges should be adopted to ensure environmental safety and sustainability.


Altaf, M.M., Masood, F., Malik, A., 2008. Impact of Long-Term Application of Treated Tannery Effluents on the Emergence of Resistance Traits in Rhizobium sp. Isolated from Trifolium alexandrinum. Turk J. Biol. 32, 1 -- 8

Bolong, N., Ismail, A.F., Salim, M.R., Matsuura, T., 2009. A review of the effects of emerging contaminants in wastewater and options for their removal. Desalination 239, 229 -- 246

Chen, M., Ohman, K., Metcalfe, C., Ikonomou, M.G., Amatya, P.L., Wilson, J., 2006. Pharmaceuticals and Endocrine Disruptors in Wastewater Treatment Effluents and in the Water Supply System. Water 41, 351 -- 364

Focazio, M.J., Kolpin, D.W., Barnes, K.K., Furlong, E.T., Meyer, M.T., Zaugg, S.D., Barber, L.B., Thurman, M.E., 2008. A national reconnaissance for pharmaceuticals and other organic wastewater contaminants in the United States -- II) Untreated drinking water sources. Sci. Total Environ. 402, 201 -- 216

Jones, O.A., Lester, J.N., Voulvoulis, N., 2005. Pharmaceuticals: a threat to drinking water? Trends Biotechnol. 23, 163 -- 167

Levine, A.D., Asano, T., 2004. Peer Reviewed: Recovering Sustainable Water from Wastewater. Environ. Sci. Technol. 38, 201A -- 208A

Mitch, W.A., Sharp, J.O., Trussell, R.R., Valentine, R.L., Alvarez-Cohen, L., Sedlak, D.L., 2003. Relative importance of N-nitrosodimethylamine compared to total N-nitrosamines in drinking waters. Environ. Sci. Technol. 47, 3648-3656

Peabody J.W., Taguiwalo M.M., Robalino D.A., F.J., 2006. Disease Control Priorities in Developing Countries 2nd edition. In: Disease Control Priorities in Developing Countries 2nd Edition. pp. 1293 -- 1307

Petrovi?, M., Gonzalez, S., Barcelo, D., 2003. Analysis and removal of emerging contaminants in wastewater and drinking water. TrAC Trends Anal. Chem. 22, 685 -- 696

Pruden, A., Pei, R., Storteboom, H., Carlson, K.H., 2006. Antibiotic Resistance Genes as Emerging Contaminants: Studies in Northern Colorado -- . Environ. Sci. Technol. 40, 7445 -- 7450

Richardson, S.D., 2003. Disinfection by-products and other emerging contaminants in drinking water. TrAC Trends Anal. Chem. 22, 666 -- 684

Richardson, S.D., 2009. Water Analysis: Emerging Contaminants and Current Issues. Anal. Chem. 81, 4645 -- 4677

Richardson, S.D., Ternes, T.A., 2005. Water Analysis: Emerging Contaminants and… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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