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IIT-G technology makes drinking water free from contaminants

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati (IIT-G) have developed a technology to provide drinking water free from iron, arsenic, fluoride, and other contaminants especially for the rural people of Assam.

drinking water

Sentinel Digital Desk


Contaminants Free Drinking Water Equipment: Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati (IIT-G) have developed a technology to provide drinking water free from iron, arsenic, fluoride, and other contaminants especially for the rural people of Assam.

Arsenic and fluoride contamination in drinking water is growing concern among the rural people — not only in Assam but also in major parts of the country.

IIT Guwahati's technology will go a long way in achieving the significant goal of the Government of India to provide contamination-free drinking water to the people. This innovation is significant on the 'World Water Day' that is observed on March 22 every year. It celebrated water and raises awareness on the serious and growing crisis of water across the globe. The focus is to achieve 'Sustainable Development Goal' (SDG) of water and sanitation for all by 2030, stated a release.

The technology has been developed by Prof. Purkait, along with his PhD scholar Dr Aparajita Goswami of the Department of Chemical Engineering, IIT Guwahati.

Prof. Mihir Kumar Purkait from the Department of Chemical Engineering, IIT-Guwahati has developed various types of prototype units (based on nanotechnology, adsorption, and electrocoagulation techniques) for the treatment of drinking water that is contaminated with Iron, Arsenic and Fluoride. After treatment, such water can be used for household and community purposes. Prof. Purkait has also installed many water-treatment plants in schools and temples besides rural areas where piped water supply is not available.

Water Case study 1

The Lathiabagicha Primary School in Guwahati is located in an area that is highly contaminated with Iron, high COD (Chemical Oxygen Demand) and the water also has odour (a distinctive unpleasant smell). The school was facing issues to provide fresh drinking water for their students.

Prof. M.K. Purkait installed a water-treatment plant (capacity: 300 Litres per hour) in the school premises. The plant can treat COD (Chemical Oxygen Demand), BOD (Biochemical Oxygen Demand), Iron, Arsenic and turbidity from the contaminated water and bring the levels to much below the BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards) limit.

Now, the treated water is also used for cooking the midday meals in the school. More than 120 students of this primary school and the villagers of Lathiabagicha are now able to access good drinking water throughout the year.

Case Study 2

Successful treatment of contaminated water in the "Doul Govinda Temple", North Guwahati. The installed plant can treat drinking water contaminated with COD (Chemical Oxygen Demand), BOD (Biochemical Oxygen Demand), Iron, Arsenic, Fluoride and turbidity.

This treated water is used by the temple authorities for their day-to-day drinking water requirement in the temple and their guest house. Villagers living near the temple now have access to contaminant-free drinking water. More than 5000 people are using this water every day for drinking purposes now.

Speaking on the 'World Water Day', Prof T.G. Sitharam, Director, IIT Guwahati said, "Supply of contaminant-free drinking water to the villagers is a major problem in most of the States of the country, including Assam. Now, the technology adopted here can be useful for the citizens — both in the rural and the urban areas for getting contaminant-free drinking water. The initiatives undertaken by Prof. Mihir Kumar Purkait of IIT Guwahati to supply contaminant-free drinking water to the schools and temples in the remote areas will definitely improve the rural health and fulfil the sixth 'Sustainable Development Goal' set by the Government."

Speaking on the occasion, Prof. M.K. Purkait, Department of Chemical Engineering, IIT Guwahati said, "Fluoride contamination is a worldwide problem nowadays. Our technology is based on the adsorption principle using Nanomagnetite-aggregated schwertmannite as an efficient adsorbent."

These water treatment plants are installed as a part of DST (Department of Science & Technology)-sponsored project on 'Centre for Technological Excellent in Drinking Water Purification'. The centre is virtual in nature within IIT Kharagpur, IIT Guwahati, Jadavpur University, National Institute of Technology Delhi and Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Hyderabad.

Other than this, for over a decade, the 'Water Quality Research Group' of the IIT-G has played a major role in solving various issues in the Rural Drinking Water sector across Assam.

Following a rapid assessment for drinking water quality back in 2005, it was decided to have a partnership to facilitate the Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) in the successful implementation of sustainable drinking water security in the rural areas of Assam. The joint partnership of UNICEF, IIT Guwahati and Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) initiated the 'Arsenic Screening and Surveillance Programme' in Assam covering the period 2005-2011.

The UNICEF-IITG-PHED partnership was successful in achieving some of the key milestones during the cycle spanning from 2005-2012, and IIT Guwahati was instrumental in bringing in these outcomes, added the release.

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