Riverbank Filtration Removes EDCs and PPCPs, WRF Says

Heightened regulatory and public interest in pharmaceutical and personal care products (PPCPs) and endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) in drinking water have prompted water utilities to explore new water treatment options to remove these compounds. In response, the Water Research Foundation researched the effectiveness of riverbank filtration in removing these organic compounds.

“Riverbank filtration is a water treatment process that runs water through the banks of rivers into production wells of a water utility,” said Robert C. Renner, executive director of the Water Research Foundation. “It is cost-effective because it does not require energy or processing chemicals.”

Findings from "Removal and Fate of EDCs and PPCPs in Bank Filtration Systems" (project/order #3136), released this month found that riverbank filtration is effective in removing organic compounds such as PPCPs, EDCs, and industrial chemicals.

“Utilities in Germany have been using riverbank filtration for years to treat their drinking water, yet this method is relatively new to many U.S. water utilities,” Renner said. “We are encouraged by our recent findings because it provides utilities a low-cost, environmentally friendly treatment option for the removal of a variety of pollutants.”

Although EDCs and PPCPs are currently not regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Foundation has been studying these constituents in drinking water for several years. Previous Foundation studies, specifically, "Toxicological Relevance of Endocrine Disruptors and Pharmaceuticals in Drinking Water" (project #3085), found that concentrations of pharmaceutical drugs and endocrine-disrupting compounds in public drinking water are likely too low to impact human health.

Founded in 1966, the Water Research Foundation is an international, 501c(3) nonprofit organization that sponsors research to enable water utilities, public health agencies and other professionals to provide safe and affordable drinking water to the public. With more than 950 subscriber members who provide water for 80 percent of the U.S. population, the Water Research Foundation has funded and managed more than 1,000 projects.

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