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Bio-filter blasts nitrates out of the water

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Sunday, January 8th, 2012

As reported in Israel21c:

Rainstorms wash away what nature can’t clean up, but this often comes at a price. Runoff from agricultural fertilizers, animal waste and human sewage are poisoning wells and aquifers with nitrates. These compounds cause harmful algae blooms and pose health risks for pregnant women and formula-fed newborns.

Water companies currently deal with the problem in a very rudimentary way because getting the nitrates out by reverse osmosis is too expensive. They simply dilute the nitrate-laden water, explain professors Amos Nussinovitch and Jaap van Rijn from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The two scientists have developed a novel low-tech solution to take nitrates out of water in a cost-effective, environmentally friendly and non-toxic way.

Nussinovitch, an expert in biological carriers, and van Rijn, a specialist in bacteria, paired up to develop a bio-filter composed of tiny Styrofoam-like white beads that carry nitrate-eating bacteria. When added to a water well, aquifer or aquarium, the bio-filter does its job effectively and cheaply.

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