People in the UK have been facing the problem of grey water since a long time thanks to lazy sewer system and bad plumbing. The water coming out from washing machines and dishwashers ends up in rivers leaving the river water badly contaminated.
There were a few hi-tech solutions to this problem; however, all of them were extremely expensive. Now, experts have come up with a more effective and cheaper option in form of tampons.
Finding out the source of grey water is not very easy; often the process turns out to be time-consuming and expensive. When testing a particular building and seeing whether it’s the cause of the grey water, you can apply some dye to the source. Other ways of locating the source include frequent water sampling and use of costly fiber-optic cables.
However, due to the presence of a particular category of contaminants in grey water, there’s a much easier solution to this problem. Laundry detergents contain optical brighteners that play the role of effective whiteners; these compounds carry out their job by absorbing invisible ultraviolet light and then reemitting the light as a bluish white color. Another noteworthy characteristic of these special compounds is their tendency of sticking to fabrics.
Presence of these optical compounds in the contaminated water means if a piece of untreated cotton is dipped into it, the water will be glowing under ultraviolet light. A team of researchers representing the University of Sheffield did exactly that.
They took some tampons and stuck them onto 16 water sewers; the tampons were tied to sturdy bamboo poles by means of strings. Out of the 16 samples, nine glowed when UV light was applied to them. So, it took just a few minutes to confirm the grey water problem in Sheffield.
The toughest part of solving waste water issues is identifying the contaminated sewers. Once that is done, testing the upstream progressively and finding the particular house/houses responsible for the problem appears to be much easier.
This makes tampons a great tool for fixing an extremely serious issue; this also proves that tampons are much more useful than what we thought them to be.