Conventional and biological treatment for the removal of microplastics from drinking water

, Cherniak Samuel, Hermabessier Ludovic, Mckie Michael, Yuan Kaya, Andrews Robert C., Rochman Chelsea.

Microplastics have been identified as an emerging threat to drinking water supplies as the risk they pose to consumers is currently unknown. Full-scale studies completed in Ontario, Canada observed removals of 60% following both conventional and membrane-based treatment. Significant changes to the particle size distribution occurred following filtration, with larger particles (¿125 µm) being more effectively removed than smaller particles (10-45 µm). As smaller particles have been observed to translocate across the gut, quantifying overall removal may not be indicative of the health implications associated with microplastic consumption. To improve removal through water treatment the mechanisms of removal regarding particle size and composition needs to be elucidated. This is the first known pilot study which examined the removal of microplastics, specifically evaluating coagulation, ozonation, filtration with two different media configurations (GAC or anthracite over sand) and operating conditions (biological or non-biological). The majority of particles observed in this study were small (10-45 µm) fibers. Polyester was the most commonly observed plastic; cellulose fibers were hypothesized to be anthropogenically derived. Coagulation was found to provide excellent particle removal (70%), particularly with respect to larger particles (¿90% for particles ¿125 µm). Ozonation provided limited particle removal (

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