Microplastics in drinking-water solve with water treatment system


CHUNKE is a supplier of microplastics water treatment equipment in China.In today's world, where plastic waste has become a global concern, the presence of microplastics in our water sources has raised significant alarm. These tiny fragments of plastic, measuring less than five millimeters in size, pose a potential threat to both the environment and human health. With the increasing need for clean drinking water, it is essential to understand the implications of microplastics and the limitations of traditional water treatment systems in removing them. In this article, we will explore the role of reverse osmosis (RO) systems, seawater treatment systems, electrodialysis (EDI) systems, and ultrafiltration (UF) systems in effectively removing microplastics from water sources.

drinking-water system

Understanding Microplastics

Microplastics are small particles of plastic that come from various sources, including plastic waste, synthetic clothing fibers, and personal care products. These particles can range in size from one micrometer to five millimeters, making them difficult to detect without the aid of a microscope. They are composed of different types of plastics, such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET), high-density polyethylene (HDPE), low-density polyethylene (LDPE), and polypropylene (PP).

The presence of microplastics in our environment and water sources is a direct result of human activities. Plastic waste, whether it's discarded improperly or enters waterways through stormwater runoff, finds its way into rivers, lakes, and oceans. Additionally, the use of synthetic materials in clothing and personal care products contributes to the shedding of microplastic fibers during washing, further polluting our water sources. These microplastics can persist in the environment for hundreds of years and pose a threat to aquatic life and potentially human health.

The Limitations of Traditional Water Treatment Systems

While traditional water treatment systems play a crucial role in providing clean drinking water, they have limitations when it comes to removing microplastics. Conventional drinking water treatment plants (DWTPs) can achieve high removal efficiencies of 70 to over 90% for microplastics larger than one micrometer. However, smaller microplastics often escape the filtration process and can still be present in treated drinking water.

The challenge lies in the small size of microplastics, which allows them to pass through the physical barriers of traditional water treatment systems. Filtration methods used in DWTPs, such as sand and activated carbon filters, are not designed to effectively capture particles on a microscopic scale. As a result, microplastics can remain in the water even after treatment, posing a potential risk to consumers.

The Role of Reverse Osmosis (RO) Systems

Reverse osmosis (RO) systems have gained popularity as effective water treatment systems for residential and commercial use. These systems utilize a semipermeable membrane to remove contaminants from water, including microplastics. The membrane's small pores, typically ranging from 0.0001 to 0.001 micrometers, are capable of capturing particles as small as microplastics.

RO systems work by applying pressure to the water, forcing it through the membrane while leaving behind impurities. This process effectively removes not only microplastics but also other contaminants, such as dissolved minerals, chemicals, and bacteria. The treated water that passes through the RO membrane is clean, pure, and free from microplastics, ensuring the safety and well-being of consumers.

Seawater Treatment Systems and Microplastic Removal

Seawater treatment systems play a vital role in providing freshwater from seawater sources. These systems utilize various processes, including pre-treatment, desalination, and post-treatment, to ensure the removal of contaminants and the production of clean drinking water. When it comes to microplastics, seawater treatment systems face similar challenges as traditional water treatment systems.

The pre-treatment phase of seawater treatment involves the removal of larger particles and impurities through processes such as sedimentation and filtration. While these processes can capture larger microplastics, smaller particles may still pass through. However, the desalination process, which typically involves RO technology, has the capability to effectively remove microplastics from seawater.

RO membranes used in seawater desalination have a similar pore size as those in traditional RO systems, making them efficient in capturing microplastics. As the seawater passes through the membrane under high pressure, microplastics are trapped, ensuring that the produced freshwater is free from these contaminants. The post-treatment phase further enhances water quality, ensuring the removal of any remaining microplastics and other impurities.

Electrodialysis (EDI) Systems and Microplastic Removal

Electrodialysis (EDI) systems are another type of water treatment technology that can contribute to the removal of microplastics. EDI systems work by using ion-exchange membranes and an electric field to remove ions and impurities from water. While the primary purpose of EDI systems is to produce high-purity water for industrial applications, they can also play a role in microplastic removal.

The ion-exchange membranes used in EDI systems can effectively remove charged microplastics through the ion-exchange process. These membranes selectively capture and remove microplastics based on their charge, ensuring that the treated water is free from these contaminants. While EDI systems may not be as commonly used for residential drinking water treatment, they demonstrate potential for microplastic removal in specific applications.

Ultrafiltration (UF) Systems and Microplastic Removal

Ultrafiltration (UF) systems utilize a membrane with larger pores compared to RO membranes, typically ranging from 0.01 to 0.1 micrometers. While UF systems are primarily used for the removal of larger particles, such as bacteria and viruses, they can also contribute to the removal of microplastics.

The larger pore size of UF membranes allows them to effectively capture microplastics in the range of 1 to 5 micrometers. By applying pressure to the water, the UF system separates particles based on size, ensuring that microplastics are removed along with other contaminants. UF systems can be used as standalone water treatment systems or as a pre-treatment step to further enhance the effectiveness of other treatment processes, such as RO.

The Need for Enhanced Microplastic Removal

While RO, seawater treatment, EDI, and UF systems have shown promise in removing microplastics from water sources, it is essential to address the need for enhanced microplastic removal in water treatment. The increasing presence of microplastics in our environment and water sources necessitates the development of advanced technologies and filtration methods specifically designed to target these contaminants.

Research and development efforts should focus on improving the efficiency of existing water treatment systems in capturing microplastics, especially those in the nanometer size range. Furthermore, the implementation of comprehensive monitoring and testing programs can help identify the sources and levels of microplastic contamination in water sources, enabling targeted mitigation strategies.


Microplastics pose a significant threat to both the environment and human health. While traditional water treatment systems play a crucial role in providing clean drinking water, their limitations in removing microplastics necessitate the use of advanced technologies. Reverse osmosis (RO) systems, seawater treatment systems, electrodialysis (EDI) systems, and ultrafiltration (UF) systems have demonstrated effectiveness in removing microplastics from water sources.

RO systems, with their semipermeable membranes and small pore sizes, are particularly effective in capturing microplastics. Seawater treatment systems, EDI systems, and UF systems also contribute to microplastic removal through their respective processes. However, there is a need for enhanced microplastic removal technologies and comprehensive monitoring programs to address the increasing presence of microplastics in our water sources.

By investing in advanced water treatment technologies and promoting responsible plastic waste management, we can mitigate the risks associated with microplastics and ensure the availability of clean and safe drinking water for future generations.

by Louisa@gzchunke.com

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