PuriTech Ltd

Nitrate Removal by Countercurrent Ion Exchange

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Courtesy of PuriTech Ltd

Nitrate removal technology by continuous countercurrent ion exchange from potable water.

High flow capacity, low waste generation. This ICHEM award winning technology is the industry standard used in the United Kingdom. More than 20 installations installed. PuriTech's patented multi-port valve is at the center of each production skid. At average, each unit produces a maximum waste of 0,5% of the total flow. 

A major manufacturer has developed an innovative ion exchange system for the removal of nitrate from groundwater sources. These systems have become the leading nitrate removal technology in the United Kingdom, with over 50 percent of nitrate removal plants installed in 2006-09. This article describes in detail the system process.

Many water utility companies are experiencing ever increasing levels of nitrate in drinking water sources. Utilities that are heavily dependent on groundwater sources beneath arable land are particularly badly affected and in danger of breaching legal limits in many cases. Agricultural sources of nitrates are by far the most common. Fertilizer runoff, farm-animal wastes and septic tank discharge all percolate through the soil into groundwater aquifers, and ultimately contaminate water supplies. Other sources of contamination are industrial in origin, and include chemical manufacturing operations and cutting oils that contain nitrates. Sources also occur naturally and include atmospheric precipitation (as ammonia), local mineral deposits, such as potassium nitrate (saltpeter), and nitrogen-fixing bacteria in decomposing plant matter. The overall contribution made by natural sources, however, is small compared with that from human activities. 

In Europe, the maximum allowable nitrate concentration in drinking water is 50 mg/L (EC Nitrate Directive 1991), while the US EPA limits the allowable nitrate level in water to 10 mg/L measured as nitrogen, or 45 mg/L measured as nitrates.

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