Singlet Oxygen Disinfection of Drinking Water

EPA Contract Number: 68D99049
Title: Singlet Oxygen Disinfection of Drinking Water
Investigators: Thomas, Rhys N.
Small Business: Fayette Environmental Services Inc.
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: I
Project Period: September 1, 1999 through March 1, 2000
Project Amount: $70,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (1999) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Water and Watersheds , SBIR - Water and Wastewater , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)


A new catalytic polymer has been synthesized that has immediate application to drinking water treatment. Upon exposure to low-intensity visible light, the polymer catalyzes the production of singlet oxygen from the dissolved oxygen in the water. Singlet oxygen is a potent disinfectant, known to disable a wide range of bacteria and viruses. The use of this catalytic surface would reduce, although not eliminate, the need for chlorine as a disinfectant. Residual chlorine still would be needed to maintain disinfection in the distribution system. The polymer, as a fluidized bed or as a series of baffles, may be installed at either the water treatment plant or the water towers, or both. As a side benefit, the same catalyst may be cast on an electrically grounded substrate to catalyze the dehalogenation of organohalides. Without the grounded substrate, the dehalogenation catalytic function is deactivated.

The proposed project has application in the disinfection and synthetic organic removal steps of drinking water treatment. The primary users will be the water utilities of municipalities and military installations. Small-scale users also are anticipated in less developed countries for the continuous disinfection of cisterns.

Supplemental Keywords:

small business, SBIR, engineering, chemistry, EPA., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Water, Wastewater, Chemistry, Drinking Water, Engineering, Engineering, Chemistry, & Physics, wastewater treatment, bacteria, exposure and effects, viruses, water utilities, organohalides, exposure, municipal water, treatment, municipal wastewater, dehalogenation, municipal wastewater treatment, microbial risk management, drinking water treatment

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report