Providing a reliable source of purified drinking water for our U.S. military as they serve our nation in the field is the focus of a research grant awarded to Virender K. Sharma, Ph.D., M.Tech, M.Sc., professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health.

The Battelle Memorial Institute has awarded a subcontract to the Texas A&M School of Public Health to develop a portable water treatment device using naturally occurring iron in the environment. According to Sharma, this iron is easily converted to an environmentally friendly chemical compound called ferrate that can be used as a water treatment disinfectant to purify water.

“In a matter of minutes polluted water contaminated with pesticides and other toxins can be purified using ferrate without possibly leaving harmful by-products currently left behind with traditional water treatment chemicals, such as free chlorine, choramines and ozone,” says Sharma.

A research group led by Sharma is conducting laboratory studies to demonstrate the efficacy of ferrate to remove a wide range of contaminants. Results of the research will contribute to the development of the device. Additional Texas A&M School of Public Health researchers working on the project are Natalie Johnson, Ph.D., Thomas McDonald, Ph.D., and Ranjana Mehta, Ph.D.

Sharma, an environmental chemist, was recently named interim department head of the Environmental and Occupational Health Department at the Texas A&M School of Public Health.

(The project is sponsored by the Defense Technical Information Center, IAC Program Office (DTIC-I), 8725 John J. Kingman Road, Suite 0944, Fort Belvoir, VA 22060-6218.  Approved for Public Release, Distribution Unlimited.)

— Rae Lynn Mitchell

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