Microvi has developed a single-step purification solution to improve access to safe drinking water and reduce disease rates associated with high nitrate contamination.

Microvi offers a cost-effective alternative for nitrate reduction from groundwater sources, allowing access to previously contaminated and inaccessible drinking water sources.

Traditional groundwater treatment plants struggled to purify sources with high nitrate levels as they were costly, space and resource intensive, and produced large secondary waste streams which also needed to be processed. Microvi’s MNE solution is based on the use of ‘stable biocatalyst composites’ which intensify nitrate-removal using microorganisms. Biocatalysts are specifically designed structures for housing high densities of naturally-occurring enzymes that break down and convert contaminants into harmless by-products. The process uses less space, chemicals, energy, and costs less compared to traditional nitrate purification plants.

Microvi partnered with WesTech to install MNE technology in Rancho Cucamonga, California. The multi-million-dollar project is expected to reduce nitrate contamination without generating biosolids, and will allow three wells to come back online, providing over 7.5 billion litres of clean drinking water every year.

Why you should care

Population pressure, climate change, and high water demand are all putting pressure on groundwater sources for drinking water. Intensive agricultural practices can compound this problem by adding fertiliser with high nitrate levels to the soil, which can contaminate groundwater. Nitrate pollution is the number one contaminant of drinking water, it is difficult to measure and control and can cause methemoglobinemia or blue baby syndrome. This results in a reduction of the body’s oxygen carrying capacity, which can be fatal in newborns. California is one state that is experiencing all of these pressures, and where an estimated 10 to 15% of wells exceed nitrate standards.

How the Global Goals are addressed

Good health and well-being

Microvi's MNE technology can help to improve access to safe drinking water and reduce rates of blue baby syndrome, caused by high nitrate levels.

Clean water and sanitation

The MNE technology can help reduce nitrate levels, which is one of the world’s leading groundwater pollutants. Their Sunny Slope Nitrate treatment project restores nitrate contimated water in California, producing 200 million gallons of clean water annually.