The availability of safe freshwater is diminishing at an alarming rate globally. Increasing human population is stressing water supplies and contributing to water pollution. Population density increases and climate changes including epic droughts in certain parts of the world have led to the utilization of non-conventional water resources. These resources include desalinated sea water and recycled water to meet potable water needs. The water quality in many parts of the world is changing. The burgeoning human population taxes not only water resources but also food supplies, leading to rising demands for irrigation water and consequently to greater potential for water contamination by pesticides, fertilizers, and naturally occurring constituents. The public perception of water is shifting, with growing public awareness of certain groups of contaminants due to media coverage and non-government organization (NGO) concerns. Modern analytical technology has permitted the discovery that minute concentrations of contaminants of distinctly human origin occur in the water cycle. Many of these so-called “contaminants of emerging concern” have been, and will continue to be, detected in potable water supplies. Without question, the propensity for the contamination of fresh water will rise as human population continues to grow. Water treatment technology also continues to evolve. Advanced water treatment processes can provide effective and efficient contaminant removal. This presentation will describe the history, current status, and future implications that the detection of endocrine disruptors and pharmaceuticals will have on water and energy sustainability, with a particular emphasis on water treatment technologies.
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