Nature-inspired methods of water purification – a literary review
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Water is an indispensable component of any form of life on Earth. It is an abundant resource, but due to its potent solvent properties, it often contains contaminants that make it unsuitable for human consumption or even agricultural or industrial use. The most common pollutants include insoluble suspended particles, dissolved organic compounds, toxic metal ions, excess salts, and pathogenic organisms. The expected growth of the human population is associated with increased production of wastewaters and increased demand for clean water. To address the issue of water purification, this literary review provides examples of various water treatment methods. For each method are explained the general operation mechanisms with its’ benefits and drawbacks. These methods can be combined in a modular fashion to generate designs of water purification systems. Such designs can be attuned to local environments’ specific needs and opportunities, reducing economic and environmental costs and generating additional value in the form of biogas, biomass, fertilizers, or recovering metals.