Clean and safe water is a fundamental human need for multi-faceted development of society and a thriving economy. Brisk rises in populations, expanding industrialization, urbanization and extensive agriculture practices have resulted in the generation of wastewater which have not only made the water dirty or polluted, but also deadly. Millions of people die every year due to diseases communicated through consumption of water contaminated by deleterious pathogens. Although various methods for wastewater treatment have been explored in the last few decades but their use is restrained by many limitations including use of chemicals, formation of disinfection by-products (DBPs), time consumption and expensiveness. Nanotechnology, manipulation of matter at a molecular or an atomic level to craft new structures, devices and systems having superior electronic, optical, magnetic, conductive and mechanical properties, is emerging as a promising technology, which has demonstrated remarkable feats in various fields including wastewater treatment. Nanomaterials encompass a high surface to volume ratio, a high sensitivity and reactivity, a high adsorption capacity, and ease of functionalization which makes them suitable for application in wastewater treatment. In this article we have reviewed the techniques being developed for wastewater treatment using nanotechnology based on adsorption and biosorption, nanofiltration, photocatalysis, disinfection and sensing technology. Furthermore, this review also highlights the fate of the nanomaterials in wastewater treatment as well as risks associated with their use.
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