Removal of inorganic trace contaminants by electrodialysis in a remote Australian community

15 November 2010

Water provision for developing countries is a critical issue as a vast number of lives are lost annually due to lack of access to safe drinking water. The presence and fate of inorganic trace contaminants is of particular concern. Trace inorganic contaminants have been found in elevated concentrations in drinking waters supplied directly from brackish groundwaters in developing countries. Desalination and the removal of trace inorganic contaminants from bore water sources from a remote community in Australia using electrodialysis (ED) were investigated. The influence of applied voltage on the removal of the trace contaminants was evaluated. While the results from this study demonstrated that ED is an effectual method for the removal of total dissolved solids and a number of trace inorganic contaminants from brackish groundwaters to below drinking water guideline levels, the deposition of trace contaminants on the membranes (fouling) influenced the ED process in relation to ionic flux and the effectiveness of trace contaminant removal.