Enhanced Membrane System for Supplying Quality Drinking Water Contaminants in Drinking Water: While many of the traditional waterborne diseases (cholera, typhoid) are now uncommon in the developed world, the continue to be a major cause of disease in developing countries and waterborne disease kills more people worldwide than all forms of violence. Waterborne disease outbreaks continue to occur within the US and the etiological agents vary considerably. A variety of bacteria such as Salmonella, Campylobacter and toxigenic E. coli are frequently implicated in waterborne disease outbreaks as are noroviruses and the protozoan parasites Giardia intestinalis and Cryptosporidium. Additionally outbreaks of Legionnaires Disease are relatively common, and although these are usually not linked directly to potable water, the organisms can often be found in buildings supplied with water from municipal systems. Based on these concerns, new treatment methods or techniques are needed that increase removal of these contaminants from existing drinking water treatment plants. An overlying challenge is to develop an effective disinfection technology that is convenient for relatively small communities and is also easily retrofitable into existing infrastructure and space limitations. Background: Chlorine dioxide and other halogens are routinely used for oxidation. In particular, chlorine is used extensively as a disinfectant to remove organics and biological materials from drinking water. Although it has a low cost and reasonable disinfecting capability, many problems are associated with chlorine. One is that it is a hazardous material that must be shipped and stored at the site where it is to be used. Another problem is chlorine's limited effectiveness in attacking cyst and spore forming organisms like Cryptosporidium and Microsporidium. Additionally, chlorine combines with natural organics like humic acid to produce carcinogens such as THMs (trihalomethanes). Chlorine is also less effective at killing viruses. Innovation: While there is significant effort to move from chlorine t enhanced oxidation chemicals (EOC) for sanitization and disinfection of water, the growth of EOC is significantly limited by the high cost of supply. To date, no one using membranes to enhance the supply of EOC can effectively reduce the major cost of supply. This program proposes for the first time significant reductions in EOC cost by the utilization of EOC resistant membranes for supplying EOC. This program will greatly enhance the utilization of EOC for water disinfection. This greater utilization of EOC will dramatically increase destruction of viruses as well as reduce the production of trihalomethanes (THM's). Product Concept: It is proposed to construct novel polymer membrane systems for the generation and use of EOC as a reagent for effecting purification with minimal environmental hazard. Compact Membrane Systems (CMS) will fabricate an integrated membrane/EOC system for production of drinking water. CMS, in Phase I, will first fabricate the system and then demonstrate the destruction of appropriate contaminants (e.g. E. Coli, Enterococcus Faecalis, MS2 bacteriophage Poliovirus, Cryptosporidium parvum, Legionelle pneumophila, and Salmonella enterica plus specific chemicals, phenol, and humic acid), Cryptosporidium or appropriate surrogate. Long term testing and appropriate forms of the membrane system will also be evaluated. Finally, economic evaluations will be completed to make sure proposed system is economically competitive. NIH: There is broad value for this product within NIH. First reduction in THM will reduce cancer. Second enhanced disinfection will reduce infectious diseases. Third it will be of value to environmental health and occupational health activities.

Public Health Relevance

Enhanced Membrane System for Supplying Quality Drinking Water Compact Membrane Systems will develop a novel disinfection system for production of drinking water based on enhanced oxidation chemicals for sanitization and disinfection of water with minimal environmental hazard and need for non-renewable energy sources. This results in low cost and high quality drinking water from contaminated sources.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
Small Business Innovation Research Grants (SBIR) - Phase I (R43)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-IMST-M (13))
Program Officer
Shaughnessy, Daniel
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Compact Membrane Systems, Inc.
United States
Zip Code