Innovations for better water quality developed in Slovenia

Velenje/Koper, 23 March - A group of researchers from Velenje has developed a prototype for sampling microplastics in small rivers, which is planned to be used to monitor its content in the rivers Paka and Savinja in north of the country. A project to improve the quality of drinking water has also been developed by the Koper-based company Nattura.

Announcing the microplastics sampling innovation, the Faculty of Environmental Protection in Velenje said the mobile system was easy to use and maintain, time- and cost-effective and also usable on other bodies of water.

Supported by the technical know-how of the College of Industrial Engineering in Celje, the group has designed and built a prototype that works based on a filtration system that uses a portable water pump.

Minor upgrades have been made to enable accurate monitoring of the physical and chemical conditions of sampling.

"The advantage of such a system is independence of measurements of the water discharge and depth of sampling," the faculty said, noting that the quantity of filtered water was also controlled, enabling more accurate and representative measurements.

Anja Bubik, a professor at the faculty, said that the monitoring of the microplastics content in the two main rivers of the Savinja-Ĺ alek region would significantly contribute to detecting potential pollution with plastics and microplastics.

"We believe that such applied projects can contribute to developing a standardised microplastics sampling methodology, which has not yet been adopted at the EU level," she added.

Meanwhile, Nattura has developed a special filter for water taps which, in addition to technology for water revitalisation, contains a special filter for microplastics.

Developed with Hakim El Khiar, a leading expert in microplastics in water, the innovation provides protection from microplastics from tap water, while also improving many biological parameters of the quality of water used for drinking, cooking and cleaning, the company said.

It noted that microplastics are present in the water from the water supply networks around the entire country.