Research Topic

Removal of Contaminants of Emerging Concern with Low-Cost Materials

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About this Research Topic

Freshwater is a basic requirement for humans and other living organisms, and the availability of safe drinking water is of importance to maintain healthy lives. However, while combined changes in global water demand and climatic variability increase annually, several forms of contamination have compromised potential water sources. In particular, pollution by contaminants of emerging concern (CEC) including heavy metals and organic micropollutants is a growing concern in the developing countries, where insufficient water and wastewater treatment coupled with increasing industry has caused severe deterioration of rivers, lakes, and ground water. The contaminated water resources are harmful to humans through exposure to pathogens or toxic compounds via irrigation of plants with polluted water, the consumption of toxins in aquatic organisms, or the use of contaminated surface water for recreational purposes (e.g., swimming).

In developing countries, the impact of growing pollution and industrial development is particularly problematic because these populations do not have the appropriate resources and systems for the effective remediation of surface and ground waters or the access to reliable water distribution systems, which supply treated water to their homes. In addition, conventional methods for the removal of such contaminants from various water resources, including membrane filtration, adsorption by activated carbon, and electrocoagulation, would not be feasible for the developing countries due to the costs of construction and operation of treatment facilities. As a result, a significant amount of research should be conducted on the development of low-cost materials to achieve high removal efficiency of CEC at a low cost.

This Research Topic welcomes research into recent advances in both experimental and modeling works on the development of low-cost materials for the removal of CEC from water and wastewater. The low-cost materials may be included in the following major categories: 1) agricultural waste; 2) naturally-occurring soil and mineral deposits; 3) aquatic and terrestrial biomass; 4) other locally-available waste materials; and 5) any other materials not included elsewhere. Articles on different themes related to fate and transport of CEC, toxicity of CEC on aquatic life, and perspectives or review on the effectiveness of low-cost materials for the removal of CEC are also welcome.


Keywords: Water treatment, Developing countries, Adsorption, Oxidation, Organic contaminants, Heavy metals


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Freshwater is a basic requirement for humans and other living organisms, and the availability of safe drinking water is of importance to maintain healthy lives. However, while combined changes in global water demand and climatic variability increase annually, several forms of contamination have compromised potential water sources. In particular, pollution by contaminants of emerging concern (CEC) including heavy metals and organic micropollutants is a growing concern in the developing countries, where insufficient water and wastewater treatment coupled with increasing industry has caused severe deterioration of rivers, lakes, and ground water. The contaminated water resources are harmful to humans through exposure to pathogens or toxic compounds via irrigation of plants with polluted water, the consumption of toxins in aquatic organisms, or the use of contaminated surface water for recreational purposes (e.g., swimming).

In developing countries, the impact of growing pollution and industrial development is particularly problematic because these populations do not have the appropriate resources and systems for the effective remediation of surface and ground waters or the access to reliable water distribution systems, which supply treated water to their homes. In addition, conventional methods for the removal of such contaminants from various water resources, including membrane filtration, adsorption by activated carbon, and electrocoagulation, would not be feasible for the developing countries due to the costs of construction and operation of treatment facilities. As a result, a significant amount of research should be conducted on the development of low-cost materials to achieve high removal efficiency of CEC at a low cost.

This Research Topic welcomes research into recent advances in both experimental and modeling works on the development of low-cost materials for the removal of CEC from water and wastewater. The low-cost materials may be included in the following major categories: 1) agricultural waste; 2) naturally-occurring soil and mineral deposits; 3) aquatic and terrestrial biomass; 4) other locally-available waste materials; and 5) any other materials not included elsewhere. Articles on different themes related to fate and transport of CEC, toxicity of CEC on aquatic life, and perspectives or review on the effectiveness of low-cost materials for the removal of CEC are also welcome.


Keywords: Water treatment, Developing countries, Adsorption, Oxidation, Organic contaminants, Heavy metals


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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