CARBON-BASED NANOMATERIAL AS AN ALTERNATIVE DISINFECTANT AGENT FOR WATER TREATMENT PLANTS
Axel Arroyo, Toa Baja, Abelardo Colon.
University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus, San Juan, PR.
Current U.S. water treatment plants use chlorine to disinfect water, but improper management of this hazardous gas can cause lethal effects on water-plant workers. Furthermore, disinfection byproducts (DBPs) produced by the chlorine disinfection process have raised health concerns because they can cause cancer to the population that drinks the water. Ultradispersed nanodiamond (UDD) is an interesting carbon allotrope since it has a small particle size (4 - 5 nm) and has great biocompatibility properties. These properties make this material an interesting one for antibacterial/antiviral treatments. We have carried out studies of UDD as a bactericidal agent as an alternative disinfection process for water treatment plants. We mixed different concentrations of UDD powder with river water from an urban watershed to determine the effectiveness of UDD as a biocompatible, reusable water-treatment agent. We cleaned the UDD by thermal methods and tested them again for disinfection properties after usage. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM), energy dispersive spectronometry (EDS), and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) were done for UDD surface characterization and bacteria sampling, and qualitative (normal imaging) and quantitative data (statistical analysis) were done for UDD bactericidal properties characterization. TEM results showed the presence of UDD from 4 - 10 nm size; EDS and FTIR showed no change in UDD surface composition and molecular structure. Bacteria sampling results showed strong bactericidal properties of UDD on fecal E. coli bacteria present in the river before and after UDD usage and cleaning methods. These promising results demonstrate that UDD can be used to disinfect surface water, providing a biocompatible and reusable new disinfection material for water treatment plants.