New High Tech Water Filtration from Mitsubishi

By JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH

(April 18) - Polluted wells on the Coastal Plain, from Hadera to Gedera, are to be reclaimed with Japanese knowhow. In elective electrodialysis, water is forced between, not through, thin plastic films, and electrodes attract the positively and negatively charged particles of chlorides, sulfates, sodium and other salts. It costs just a quarter of the price of desalination.

The final details of the $50 million deal are being discussed by Clal-Israel, Nitron and the Asahi Glass Company (a subsidiary of Mitsubishi), with participation by Mekorot officials.

According to Dr. Motty Perry of Nitron, the process is very useful for cleaning well water cheaply but isn't cost-effective for desalinating sea water because that requires more energy.

Some 100 wells have been polluted over the years by seepage from unregulated use of fertilizers along the coast. Since the country's water supply is dwindling quickly, the reclaimed water will go mostly to farmers whose water allocations have been cut drastically. This will free higher-quality water for drinking.

The first 25 wells treated could provide 25 million cubic meters of water.

The increasingly poor quality of Israel's groundwater, due to infiltration by nitrates, chloride and heavy metal, poses a health danger, Perry said. In high enough concentrations, the pollutants can cause suffocation in babies and cancers in adults.

Israeli standards for drinking water are lower than those in Europe. According to the UN, some five million people around the world die each year from drinking polluted well water.