Some evident reasons of water pollution such as plastics and algal blooms that pollute lakes, rivers, and marine environments are in plain sight. But some other contaminants are not readily evident that make impact potentially to be more dangerous. Uranium is one such invisible substance. The leaching of these pollutants from mining operations, natural subterranean deposits, or nuclear waste sites into water resources has now mixed into water flowing out of taps.
Meanwhile, in the U.S., a number of geographical areas are affected by uranium contamination. This includes Central Valley and High Plains aquifers that supply drinking water to 6 millin individuals. This contamination is associated with present and near-term danger. The concentration of uranium in small amounts in these sources is bad for human health.
To present a solution to eliminate uranium from drinking water, a team of researchers have developed a highly efficient method for the same. If electric charge is applied to graphene oxide foam, uranium could be captures in the solution, which is precipitated as a condensed solid crystal. The foam is suitable to be used seven times without affecting its electrochemical properties. In a matter of few hours, the process can purify large quantity of drinking water within uranium limits set by the EPA.
The work was published in a recent paper in the Advanced Materials.
In fact, the project was launched three years ago initiated as an effort to find improved approaches for the cleanup of the environment from heavy metals of mining sites. Till date, remediation methods for metals such as cadmium, chromium, lead, radium, and arsenic have proven to have limitations and are expensive.