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Water/Waste Processing e-News / Drinking Water

Minnesota water company trials new biotech process for removing pollutants

August 27, 2013
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A Minnesota-based water company is experimenting with an advanced reverse osmosis technology designed to treat drinking water. The process uses bacteria to remove harmful pollutants, such as nitrates and nitrites, from well water.

Lincoln Pipestone Rural Water (LPRW) has been testing the technology for several months. The BIOTTTA process was developed by California-based Carollo Engineers and relies on naturally occurring bacteria in the water that converts nitrate pollution into harmless nitrogen gas, explained Mark Johnson, CEO of the water company. The ongoing pilot has been extremely successful so far, as the technology has managed to remove almost all of the contaminants from the water, he added.

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The experiment has also been carefully followed by the Minnesota Department of Health, which is currently working on regulations that could be applied to other water systems willing to try the technology. The trial will continue until authorities have concluded that results are consistent. LPRW is planning to introduce a full-scale BIOTTTA process after that.

Nitrates are the most common groundwater contaminants in the United States and the problem is particularly serious in rural and agricultural areas, the company stated. The introduction of new regulations will lay the foundation for more thorough processes for cleaning nitrates and nitrites from water and will present water companies with a cost-effective and environmentally friendly solution for water treatment, Johnson said.

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