WaterWorld Weekly Newscast, July 30, 2018

July 30, 2018
A transcript of the WaterWorld Weekly Newscast for July 30, 2018.
Singapore start-up launches 3D-printed membranes; Monitoring algal blooms with AI technology; Finding precious metals in wastewater just got easier; China makes progress on water quality but has far to go

The following is a transcript of the WaterWorld Weekly Newscast for July 30, 2018.

Hi, I'm Angela Godwin for WaterWorld magazine, bringing you water and wastewater news headlines for the week of July 30. Coming up...

Singapore start-up launches 3D-printed membranes
Monitoring algal blooms with AI technology
Finding precious metals in wastewater just got easier
China makes progress on water quality but has far to go

Nano Sun, a water technology start-up founded by a scientist from Singapore's Nanyang Technological University, has launched a 3D-printing facility to manufacture a new type of water treatment membrane.

Nano Sun's process 3D-prints millions of nanofibers layered on top of each other, compressed into a thin membrane.

The result is a membrane with a pollutant rejection rate comparable to traditional polymer membranes, but with a faster water flow rate.

Nano Sun says the new membrane is also more resistant to breakage and biofouling.

Two of Singapore's largest semiconductor manufacturers will be among the first customers to use the membrane, as well as a new municipal wastewater treatment plant in China.

Researchers at the University of Waterloo have developed artificial intelligence software that can identify and quantify different kinds of cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae.

The system uses software in combination with a microscope to automatically analyze water samples for algae cells.

The inexpensive process takes about one to two hours, as opposed to one to two days for the traditional method of sending samples out to labs for manual analysis.

Since testing can be done more quickly and frequently, the AI software could provide an early warning system for potential cyanobacteria threats.

The researchers believe the technology could make monitoring at water treatment plants cheaper and easier -- and help safeguard public health.

Wastewater contains an abundance of resources, even precious metals like gold and platinum.

But it can be difficult to analyze wastewater for these elements, especially if they are in very low concentrations.

Scientists from Japan's Kanazawa University and Fukushima University have developed a compact and portable instrument that is able to analyze wastewater samples for gold, platinum and palladium in just 15 minutes.

The underlying technology combines liquid-electrode plasma-optical emission spectrometry with a solid-phase extraction system.

In tests, it led to the recovery of more than 95% of precious metals from both reference and actual samples.

China's environment ministry said last week that overall water quality in the country has improved in the first half of this year.

About 70% of the groundwater samples were within acceptable limits for human use - -that's up from about 68% last year.

But progress is slow, particularly in more rural areas that lack the financial resources to invest in infrastructure improvement.

Environmental officials in China estimate an investment need of about $148 billion dollars to implement necessary wastewater treatment and conveyance systems -- including some 250,000 miles of sewage pipe.

Under China's comprehensive "Water Ten Plan" released in 2015, the amount of badly polluted water in urban areas is not to exceed 10%. Cities have until 2020 to meet that goal.

For WaterWorld magazine, I'm Angela Godwin. Thanks for watching.

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