Electrocoagulation: a popular approach to wastewater treatment

One of the basic facts of human beings is that we need water to survive. Unfortunately, because of the rising population across the globe, and the impacts of climate change, the amount of drinkable water is becoming scarcer. It is for this reason that we need to find a way to effectively treat the water. We need a way that not only makes large quantities of water safe, but that are also cost-effective and doesn’t do a large amount of harm to the environment. One of the more popular options for doing this is Electrocoagulation.

Electrocoagulation is the process in which an electric current is added to a water source in order to remove contaminants. The idea was patented back in 1906, but over the past several decades it has become even more popular. Electrocoagulation systems remove water contaminants such as foodstuff wastes, dyes, oil wastes, and organic matter from landfills, mine wastes, and so much more. Over the years the amount of electricity needed has been reduced, along with the size of the equipment needed, making it the affordable waste water treatment process of choice around the world. While some areas have a hard time affording the electricity needed to make this process a reality, the costs are going down all the time, making it available to more and more places.

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So how does it work? Electrocoagulation is performed by submerging two metal plates in the water, then running an electric current between them. Since things like heavy metals, organics and inorganic are held together primarily by their electric charge, introducing another charge destabilizes this bond and separates them from the clean water. These disassembled particles then coagulate to form a mass, which can easily be removed. This process in its current form can allow up to 20,000 gallons of water to be processed in a minute. The size and the set up of the system will depend on its application.

Because of the simplicity of electrocoagulation, it has become increasingly popular. We are now well aware of our impact on the environment, and many are working to negate that as much as possible. This means introducing fewer chemicals into the water, and using less oil to power treatment centers. In the world we live in we cannot afford to waste any water, and electrocoagulation allows us a simply way to turn our wastewater into something safe to drink.

There are about half a dozen companies in the US alone working with this technology. Most of them are focusing on industrial wastewater streams and water management, but there is the potential for it to grow into a lot more. Proponents of electrocoagulation say that water is a resource that we need to reuse, and this is the best way to go about doing that. In the coming years, they expect the popularity of this process to grow, and for it to have multiple applications. For the good of not only our planet, but our people, hopefully more countries and more large companies will get on board with this simple, yet effective, method for cleaning our water.