UMR professor to lead international clean water group

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On May 18, 2006

Dr. Craig Adams, the John and Susan Mathes Chair of Environmental Engineering at the University of Missouri-Rolla, will begin his term as chair of the Adsorption Specialist Group of the International Water Association (IWA) this month.

“I am excited about this opportunity to work with scholars from around the world to help foster sustainable methods of providing safe and clean drinking water, which is in increasingly short supply,” says Adams, who is also director of UMR’s Environmental Research Center for Emerging Contaminants.

As chair, Adams will coordinate the activities of international experts that use advanced water treatment technologies to purify drinking water worldwide. The 400-member group consists of engineers, scientists and policy-makers from 48 countries on five continents. This specialist group holds conferences, develops research priorities for funding agencies, and fosters international communication and collaboration between researchers and practitioners.

“There are tremendous pressures across the globe, including in the United States, in providing safe drinking water to the public,” Adams says. “Adsorption technologies such as activated carbon, synthetic resins, and natural adsorbents need to play an increasingly important role in taking toxic compounds out of drinking water.”

Activated carbon has been used for many years in drinking water, but there is still “a lot of misunderstanding and misinformation regarding when and how activated carbon can be effective or ineffective in specific situations,” he adds.

A significant part of Adams’ research focuses on understanding and optimizing the use of adsorbents such as activated carbon to treat a wide variety of emerging contaminants, endocrine disrupting compounds and pharmaceuticals in drinking water.

In collaboration with international experts, such as Dr. Padma Amarasignhe, a Fulbright Scholar from Sri Lanka currently visiting UMR, Dr. Doug Ludlow, acting chair of the chemical and biological engineering department at UMR, and other UMR researchers, “we are starting to develop the use of low-cost natural materials such as coconut coir as adsorbents for removing toxic heavy metals such as lead and cadmium from drinking water,” Adams adds.

The initial meeting of the Adsorption Specialist Group will be held at the IWA biennial conference scheduled for September in Beijing, China.

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On May 18, 2006. Posted in News