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Silver nanoparticles are used in a wide variety of consumer products and are therefore rapidly becoming ubiquitous in the natural environment; they can be expected to be found in the natural waters used as drinking water supplies. This research investigated whether such particles could be expected to be removed in conventional water treatment plants such as flocculation and filtration. Both flocculation and granular media filtration experiments with citrate-capped silver nanoparticles were performed at different ionic strengths and in the presence and absence of natural organic matter. The results were generally consistent with theories of particle destabilization that have been developed for larger particles (greater than 1 mm), suggesting that silver nanoparticles are likely to be removed in conventional treatment processes.


This is the authors’ peer-reviewed final submission to the publisher. The published version of record is available from the publisher at Copyright © IWA Publishing 2013. All rights reserved.