Revolutionizing Water Purification: A Breakthrough Filtration System Tackling Aesthetic Preferences, Cyanotoxins, and Beyond

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Grant No:


Principal Investigator

Prof. Pathmalal Manage, University of Sri Jayewardenepura 

Project Title

Scale-up of the developed domestic water filter for removal of geosmin, 2-MIB, cyanotoxins, and antibiotics in the drinking water 

In the ongoing battle to provide every citizen with access to pure, unpolluted drinking water, significant challenges are faced. Customer preferences for aesthetics over critical health benefits has created persistent issues, manifested in an earthy-musty taste and odour caused by the coexistence of geosmin and 2-methylisoborneol (2-MIB). In addition, hazardous cyanotoxins, particularly CYN and MC-LR, pesticides, antibiotics, and heavy metals have contaminated drinking water supplies which cannot be purified by conventional treatment methods.

The Centre for Water Quality and Algae Research of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, with funding from the National Science Foundation, Sri Lanka, initiated a project in 2022 to scale-up a water filter developed through a previous NSF funded grant to address these challenges. The research employed a multimodal strategy combining photocatalytic degradation processes and adsorption, to scale-up a residential water filter using water originating from different sources. The focus was on evaluating the contaminant removal efficiency of the filter, with a particular emphasis on areas in Sri Lanka affected by Chronic Kidney Disease in unknown aetiology (CKDu).

The three-tiered filter system integrates a membrane filter to eliminate high debris, a UV filter for photocatalytic degradation, and a coconut shell-based activated carbon filter for efficient pollutant removal through adsorption. Results from test trials with artificially contaminated water samples showcased the filter's prowess, achieving impressive removal rates for various contaminants. Real water samples from rural Sri Lankan test locations further affirmed the system's efficiency indicating substantial removal percentages for various parameters. Beyond purification, this innovative filter system holds potential economic promise, becoming a viable business model, generating job opportunities, and addressing the water challenges faced by rural communities.

This innovative water filtration system serves as a beacon of hope, providing a practical solution to the issue of securing access to clean and safe drinking water, a topic of global relevance. The project is in progress with the patent application number: LK/P/20615.


Figure: I. Front and back view of the proto-type of the developed water filter. Figure: II. Water sample collection team. Figure III. Water sample collection.