Solution Purifies Contaminated Water in Rural Areas, Saving Thousands of Lives Internationally
Apyron Technologies, Inc., a developer of advanced materials, announced it received the Innovative Technology Award from the Water Environment Federation (WEF). The award ceremony will take place next week at the WEFTEC conference, held at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.
WEF recognized Apyron for its Arsenic Treatment Unit (ATU) using Aqua-Bind adsorptive media. The ATU was custom designed for arsenic removal in remote areas of the world. Apyron has installed ATUs in numerous locations throughout India, Bangladesh and eastern Asia, providing safe drinking water to more than 10,000 rural citizens.
The ATU and medias inventors Bryan Kepner, Greg Gilles and John Spotts were also recognized with an R&D 100 award from R&D Magazine at a ceremony in Chicago on October 4th.
WEF, based in Alexandria, Va., is a not-for-profit technical and educational organization that focuses on preservation and enhancement of the global water environment. The organizations network includes more than 100,000 water quality professionals from 77 member associations in 31 countries.
Each year, WEF presents the Innovative Technology Award to companies that have introduced new, innovative products or services related to water pollution control in the following four categories instrumentation, process equipment, collection systems and solids handling/disposal. Apyron took the process equipment category this year.
"Arsenic poisoning is a serious issue affecting families worldwide from those in American towns to those in rural Indian villages," says Rom Papadopoulos, chief executive officer for Apyron. "The award we have won from the Water Environment Federation recognizes Apyrons commitment to putting an end to drinking water contamination."
The Arsenic Crisis Abroad
It is estimated that 200 million people in India and Bangladesh are drinking arsenic contaminated water and are at risk of arsenicosis. The culprit of this health crisis is the tube well water infrastructure, created in the early 1970s to provide bacteria-free drinking water. Unfortunately, officials now realize that many of the tube wells throughout India and Bangladesh provide drinking water from the tapped aquifers that contain high levels of arsenic.
While the effects of arsenic can be reversed at an early stage, long-term exposure can lead to death. Studies have shown that 1 in 10 people exposed to arsenic levels above 500 parts per billion (ppb) may ultimately die from cancers caused by arsenic.
In addition, arsenic is an accumulative enabler, meaning that people who are pre-disposed to various cancers, diabetes, high blood pressure and other ailments, are more likely to fall ill. Studies have also shown that arsenic may pass through the placenta, causing birth defects, and that exposure to it may negatively affect childrens intelligence levels and ability to learn.
Arsenic levels in many areas of India and Bangladesh can reach as high as 3500 ppb, which is 350 times the acceptable standard set by the World Health Organization (WHO) of 10 ppb. Early this year, the West Bengal Public Health and Engineering Department (PHED), a state agency responsible for providing contaminant free drinking water to the citizens of West Bengal, applied for funds and received a grant from UNICEF to purchase more than 80 ATUs from Apyron.
"The number of people at risk of arsenic poisoning has reached epidemic proportions," says R.K. Tripathy, principal secretary for the West Bengal PHED. "We are very pleased to work with Apyron to provide safe drinking water, along with peace of mind, to our citizens in the most affected areas."
In Bangladesh, where arsenic levels in drinking water also reach dangerously high levels, Apyron has installed six units that serve six villages and approximately 1,800 people. Apyron anticipates the installation of many more ATUs in Bangladesh this year. Additionally, Apyrons Aqua-Bind media has been integrated into a portable water filter sold for individual home use in urban Bangladesh.
How the ATU Works
Apyrons ATU is an integrated water treatment system, custom-designed to remove arsenic levels as high as 3500 ppb and iron up to 15 parts per million (ppm). It also inhibits microbial growth.
Providing water on demand at 8-12 liters per minute, Apyrons easy-to-use system has been well received within participating villages, restoring hope for a more healthy life.
The system does not require electricity, supervised operation or chemical additions to operate. In fact, local village residents perform routine maintenance, and Apyron and independent laboratories verify long-term performance on a regular basis.
The key component to the system is the Aqua-Bind media, a granular metal oxide-based media that can remove both Arsenic III and Arsenic V from drinking water. It is manufactured employing a unique synthesis technology, which greatly enhances its surface properties and chemical characteristics, thereby enabling arsenic adsorption capacities greater than conventional materials.
Apyron also provides its industry-leading Aqua-Bind MP media in a cartridge for consumer use in the U.S., where allowable levels of arsenic in the drinking water are under review. Apyrons arsenic removal solutions are already at work in more than 40 states in the U.S. Aqua-Bind MP was designed specifically for Point-of-Use (under the counter) and Point-of-Entry (where water enters a home) drinking water applications.
In addition to treating drinking water, Apyron has also utilized the Aqua-Bind product line in multiple commercial remediation and wastewater applications throughout the U.S. to remove arsenic and other heavy metals.