Access to clean water is vital to human health and as such, it has been recognized as a basic human right and an essential component of effective health policy. Despite worldwide efforts, the supply of clean water remains a challenge confronted by both municipal organizations and industries. Traditional water treatment systems target microorganisms and key chemical contaminants, disregarding many compounds that are not regulated or are difficult to measure. Decisions by government regulators on what to measure, how often and the thresholds requiring mitigation, are driven by evolving understandings of the contaminant’s effects and the availability of detection and treatment methods. New technologies are starting to provide for better detection and treatment options for a wide range of regulated and emerging contaminants (e.g., disinfectant by-products, pharmaceuticals, personal care products, etc.). To mitigate the new (and old) challenges in water quality assessment, a monitoring system must be able to: concentrate very low levels of compounds, be selective for the particular analyte, and be deployable as part of an in situ detection program.
The vision of the AIF project MIP-Based System for Water Quality Monitoring is to provide portable, selective and sensitive solutions for the characterization of water contaminants of concern. In alignment with this vision, the goals of the project are: 1) to translate the molecularly imprinted polymer (MIP) -based platform technology developed by the Bottaro Group at Memorial University from technology readiness (TRL) 6 (prototype demonstration in a simulated environment) to TRL 9 (technology proven through successful deployment in an operational setting); 2) to develop a strategy for a start-up company that will spin-off from Memorial University and commercialize the project’s outcomes; and 3) to test and validate the translational research methodology so that it can be used for other innovations created at Memorial University.
This two-year project is being conducted by principal investigators Dr. Christina Bottaro (Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science), Dr. Kelly Hawboldt (Department of Process Engineering, Faculty of Engineering & Applied Science), Dr. Carlos Bazan (Department of Civil Engineering, Faculty of Engineering & Applied Science) and Dr. Stefana Egli (Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science) and it is funded by Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency under the Atlantic Innovation Fund program, Research & Development Corporation Newfoundland and Labrador under the ArticTECH program, Chrom4 GmbH and Memorial University of Newfoundland