Now EC is seeing increasing use in another world entirely – the treatment of contaminated water including groundwater, landfill leachate, industrial wastewater, oily bilge water, greywater and blackwater from ships, municipal sewage, and household domestic greywater for reuse. Recently, Golder has started to apply this technology in the mining, solid waste and transportation sectors.
Recent research has shown the ability of EC to be modified to remove specific contaminants in the water – anodes made with magnesium, for example, have been shown to be successful in removing ammonia nitrogen during an EC-assisted struvite (a molecule made of equimolar concentration of orthophosphate, ammonium and magnesium) formation process. Also, major improvements have been made in recent years in anode and cathode cleaning methods in order to displace contaminants and debris from the anode and cathode surfaces, so that they retain their abilities to release cations, hydroxyl and hydrogen bubbles. EC can remove contaminants that are soluble as well as in suspension, and it works with a wide range of contaminants. That includes many contaminants that are difficult to remove by other methods, including cyanide, fluoride, sulfur and phenols. This makes EC a good solution particularly when there is a waste stream with many different contaminants, and where there is a need to treat the water with a single process.