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Yorkshire Water and the Environment Agency for England are funding a pilot project using technology developed by Ionex Research of Lafayette, Colorado. The secret technology involves more efficient electrolysis of nitrate-polluted water that results in substantially lower levels of waste.

The technology is being tested at Yorkshire Water’s Kilham site in East Yorkshire. The new ion exchange system has been designed to produce only 0.002% nitrate and chloride-rich waste, as opposed to current methods that produced between 3 and 5%.

As nitrates levels in water have risen, so too have the costs of removing it and tankering away the waste to sewage works. “If this process works, we not only win environmentally, we win financially too by saving on operating costs,” said Derek Wilson of potable water process manager for Yorkshire Water.

The prospect of more efficient nitrate removal is of importance on a European level as well. The European Commission’s most recent assessment of its environmental progress (see story in the European section of this edition of edie) highlights continuing problems in many member states with implementation of the Nitrates Directive.

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