April 18th, 2017

Contact:  Micronic Technologies – Karen Sorber (276) 285.8970

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University – Professor Kang Xia  (540) 231.9323

Press Release


Recent studies have identified a range of “emerging contaminants” (ECs) that include pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) in public water supplies. An “emerging contaminant”[1] is defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a chemical or material that is characterized by a perceived, potential, or real threat to human health or the environment or by a lack of published health standards. A contaminant may also be emerging because a new source or a new pathway to humans has been discovered, or a new detection method or treatment technology has been developed. PPCPs are a unique group of ECs, due to their inherent ability to produce physiological effects in humans at low doses.[2] In other words, they are designed specifically to maximize their biological activity at low doses and to target certain metabolic, enzymatic, or cell-signaling mechanisms.[3] Major concerns of PPCPs in the environment are their interference with the endocrine system and the potential creation of antibiotic resistant strains in natural bacterial populations. 


PPCPs find their way into the environment through different means.  The major point source of PPCPs to the environment is by way of wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) that receive pharmaceuticals through human excretion and personal care products mostly discharged through shower waste, bathing, swimming, and sink drainage. Current WWTP technology is not fully capable of removing PPCPs during the treatment process; meaning that treated effluent discharged into receiving water bodies still contain a substantial amount of PPCP residues. There is an established process in place within the appropriate federal agencies to provide further guidance to water utilities on testing and treating for emerging contaminants. EPA has developed two analytical methods to identify and measure certain contaminants of emerging concern, specifically:[4]


  • Method 1694 for a suite of 74 pharmaceuticals and personal care products

  • Method 1698 for a suite of 27 steroids and hormones, that may be determined in wastewater effluents and influents, and sewage sludge (biosolids)


Additionally, the EPA is required every 5 years to issue a “shortlist” of 30 unregulated contaminants (Contaminant Candidate List (CCL))[5] for designated public water systems to monitor.  The intent is to help the EPA decide if the contaminants will be added to the list of contaminants for future drinking water standards.


In response to this, Micronic Technologies has been investigating the effectiveness of their novel water purification process, known as MicroEVAP™, for such EC applications. As part of this investigation, Micronic conducted joint research with Virginia Tech to assess system performance as a solution to the growing EC problem. Tests by Dr. Kang Xia’s Environmental Organic Chemistry Laboratory in the Department of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences at Virginia Tech have shown that the Micronic process was able to remove, at ~100% efficiency, all emerging contaminants that were detected in the secondary effluent from three wastewater treatment plants serving a wide range of population size and communities. Many of the contaminants tested and removed are found on the EPA lists referenced above.  Virginia Tech has summarized the results of the research effort in a final technical report which is available in the above PDF. It is anticipated that continued efforts will provide feedback with supporting data to determine the extent and severity of this problem while further proving Micronic’s innovative technology as an efficient and cost effective solution.


ABOUT MICRONIC TECHNOLOGIES: Micronic Technologies was established in November 2008 to develop, patent, and commercialize an advanced state-of-the-art water treatment system that removes myriad contaminants. Micronic’s patented water-treatment technology, MicroEVAP™ cleans contaminated water from any source providing increased throughput and significant savings in capital expenditures, operation and maintenance requirements, and waste-disposal needs compared to the competition. Independent testing has verified that water processed through the MicroEVAP™ system is effectively free of salts, bacteria, heavy metals, and chemicals.


[1] Additional information on emerging contaminants may be found at the EPA’s website or by calling the EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline at (800) 426-4791, and the American Water Works Association’s sponsored website .

[2] A.J. Ebele, et al., Pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) in the freshwater aquatic environment, Emerging Contaminants (2016),  

[3] Ibid. pg. 3

[4] Contaminants of Emerging Concern in EPA Methods 1694 and 1698,

[5] EPA Final Contaminant Candidate List CCL 4,


14570 Industrial Park Road

Bristol, VA 24202

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