Clean and Pure: Using ELNs to Help Meet Demand for Water Treatment Chemicals


The need for water treatment chemicals is certain to rise in the coming years. How can ELNs support specialty chemicals firms?
The need for water treatment chemicals is certain to rise in the coming years. How can ELNs support specialty chemicals firms?
Image source: Flickr CC user davebloggs007

Despite living on a planet where 71% of the surface is covered with water, we have long been facing a supply issue. While some regions are in more dire situations than others, the writing’s on the wall: demand for clean water is going up.

Let’s consider the West Coast of the United States. Record-breaking droughts have resulted in water restrictions. These kinds of limitations aren’t anything new, however. My parents live in Florida, where water restrictions are common. For example, they can only water their lawns on certain days of the week or else face a fine. But given that the U.S. West Coast is facing a rainfall deficit that doesn’t look like it’ll be filled anytime soon, other measures need to be taken.

When traditional water sources aren’t enough, people look to unexpected places. After all, we need water to live. In the Southwest U.S., they’ve turned to purified wastewater to augment their existing supplies.1 One city has used recycled wastewater in its irrigation systems for decades, but now they intend to add it to their drinking water supply—with further purification, of course.

The Quest for Clean Drinking Water

Many people would balk at the thought of drinking recycled wastewater. However, considering our changing climate, it’s imperative that we get creative when it comes to preserving our clean water supplies.

Studies predict that the water treatment chemicals and technology market will be worth $176 billion by 2022.2 Increased demand for water isn’t the only reason for the increase either. More stringent environmental regulations are also fueling demand.

I doubt the U.S. Southwest will be the last area to adopt such a radical wastewater purification plan. With more regions and countries turning to recycling and reusing wastewater, we’ll need more aggressive chemicals for our treatment plants. After all, the requirements are purifying wastewater to make it suitable for drinking are definitely more stringent than treating it for safe disposal!

ELNs Can Aid Firms in Developing Specialty Chemicals to Treat Water

Using chemicals to treat wastewater in order to make it safe to drink raises other questions. Are they non-toxic? What about dosage? Are these chemicals safe for the environment? In addition, water treatment plants require all manner of chemicals—not just ones that purify the water but also ones that maintain the equipment used during the process.3

Specialty chemicals firms can capitalize on this kind of opportunity. It’s ripe for innovation. Their research and development divisions can make use of electronic lab notebooks (ELNs) to come up with new answers to purifying wastewater. For example, if dosage is a concern, perhaps a solution rests in creating a compound that more efficiently removes contaminants so that it can be added in lower concentrations.

Digital tools like ELNs make this kind of scientific discovery possible. Their tagging capabilities allow users to categorize experimental data and information, which makes results easier to search later. Collaborative tools let colleagues communicate when one step of the R&D process is complete. Best of all, ELNs aid automation. While water treatment technologies will grow increasingly necessary in the future, they can be expensive to implement and maintain. Specialty chemicals companies don’t need to replicate that burden on themselves! Instead, adopting ELNs can lower costs and boost productivity by letting them interface directly with existing laboratory equipment. For example, experiments can be run overnight during non-productive hours, freeing up time for analysis, idea generation or experimental design.

As our natural resources decrease, we’ll need to rely on innovation to find new solutions. People may scoff at the idea of drinking purified wastewater but as more municipalities give it serious consideration, we need to develop products to make this process more feasible and efficient. With the support of ELNs, it’s not out of the realm of possibility.

Is your specialty chemicals firm interested in developing new products to treat water for drinking or other use? Please contact us today to learn more about the BIOVIA Notebook, which can support your R&D needs with its many features that support data analysis, collaboration and automation.

  1. “Texas Cities Recycle Wastewater Into Drinking Water to Boost Dwindling Supplies,” September 28, 2015,
  2. “Water Treatment Chemicals and Technology Market Worth $175.77 Billion by 2022: Grand View Research, Inc.,” September 24, 2015,
  3. “Water Treatment Chemicals Demand to Reach $7.5bn in 2019,” August 5, 2015,

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