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Innovation: a promising prototype for treating polluted water

According to the Government Observation and Statistics Department published in 2015, the cost of maintaining wetlands increased four-fold between 2000 and 2013, while those of preventing pollution, especially from agriculture, increased five-fold. In addition to its environmental and human costs, water pollution incurs increasingly high economic costs.

New pollutants, such as antibiotics and endocrine disruptors, are sometimes difficult to detect and eliminate. The challenge is particularly important because water is a non-renewable resource that is becoming scarcer. To overcome this problem, an international research team is studying the potential at local level of transforming polluted water into drinking water, by using optical sensors. Given that the need for drinking water will increase by 40% from now to 2035, the stakes are particularly high.


Detection and treatment on site

The “Sense and Purify” prototype is a portable chemical process that changes polluted water into drinking water. It could be used directly on site, in farms and on agro-industrial sites where it can analyse and treat reservoirs with high discharges.

The optical sensors first detect the presence of pollutant agents in the water, triggering a flash of light. This then activates the electrochemical incineration system that destroys the organic pollutant. The water is mineralised to become drinking water.

The Sense and Purify (SPy) project therefore responds to several challenges:

– it improves the state of aquatic habitats, by destroying pollutant agents,

– it facilitates access to drinking water at local level, and can be installed anywhere in the world.

It is financed by the European call for projects JPI Waterworks, dedicated to the sustainable management of water resources, and brings together 4 international partners: France, South Africa, Spain and Ireland.

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