Nanotechnology is revolutionizing many fields of applications, and has great potential to change the traditional water supply and wastewater treatment paradigm. The unique properties of many nanomaterials can enable novel technologies for contaminant removal, microbial control, sensing and monitoring, and resource recovery. The super high surface area, high reactivity, and catalytic properties of nanomaterials are expected to greatly enhance the kinetics and efficiency of various chemical and physicochemical processes used in water and wastewater treatment, and therefore reduce system size as well as chemical and energy consumption. These unique features have the potential to enable the paradigm shift towards distributed wastewater treatment and water supply, a much needed change in large metropolitan areas facing challenges of rapid population growth and aging infrastructure. On the other hand, like any new family of materials, the potential impact of nanomaterials on human health and the environment is unclear.
The IWA Nano and Water specialist group (SG) provides an active forum for water professionals and researchers interested in the application or implication of nanotechnology. Specifically, the Specialist Group aims to: 1) Stimulate research and provide objective information towards water utilities, policy makers and the general public on the environmental fate and transport, and possible health risks and environmental effects of nanomaterials; 2) Provide a platform and create a network for exchanging knowledge and expertise on the development and application of nanotechnology for drinking water and wastewater treatment; 3) Stimulate the development of nanotechnology from lab scale to technological scale for drinking water and wastewater applications and minimize the associated risks; 4) Form “eyes and ears” for the water sector on the development of nanotechnology in other fields.