HOUSTON - (Aug. 6, 2018) - Rice University scientists are developing technology to remove contaminants from water - but only as many as necessary.

The Rice lab of engineer Qilin Li is building a treatment system that can be tuned to selectively pull toxins from drinking water and wastewater from factories, sewage systems and oil and gas wells.

"Traditional methods to remove everything, such as reverse osmosis, are expensive and energy intensive," said Li, the lead scientist and co-author of a study about the new technology in the American Chemical Society journal Environmental Science & Technology.

"For many applications, we can leave non-hazardous ions behind, but there are certain ions that we need to remove," she said.

"For example, in some drinking water wells, there's arsenic.

And in industrial applications, there are calcium and sulfate ions that form scale, a buildup of mineral deposits that foul and clog pipes."

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