Superfund Research Program
Anode Modification to Target Pb Removal for Drinking Water Purification using Inverted Capacitive Deionization
Project Leader: Lindsay Boehme
Grant Number: R43ES028171
Funding Period: Phase I: July 2017 - February 2019
Lead contamination in drinking water is a serious health hazard and pervasive problem across the U.S. At least 18 million Americans were at risk of drinking lead-contaminated water in 2018 and more than 5,000 community water systems violated a federal lead rule. The current U.S. Environmental Protection Agency action level for lead in drinking water is 15 ppb; however, no amount of lead exposure is considered safe. The most commonly used filters for residential point-of-use (POU) lead reduction, zeolites, and ion exchange fall short – they have limited effective lifetimes and do not specifically target lead.
PowerTech Water (PTW) has developed an electrochemical device that removes lead from drinking water with high selectivity, achieving as low as 0.05 ppb lead after filtration from tap water samples containing 5 to 10,000 ppb lead. In this project, PTW demonstrated that their capacitive coagulation (CapCoTM) system permanently traps lead species within a specially designed carbon filter by applying low voltages (less than 1.5 V or a AA battery). Because of this innovative approach, the PTW system is not inhibited or saturated by other contaminants in the water, yielding a device that can treat larger volumes of water than state-of-the-art products in the marketplace.