WATER RESOURCES RESEARCH GRANT PROPOSAL
Project ID: MN3382
Title: A Novel in situ technology for the treatment of groundwater contaminated with agriculturally-derived nitrate
Focus Categories: Nitrate Contamination, Groundwater
Keywords: Biodegration, Denitrification, Autotrophic, Membranes, Gas Transfer
Start Date: 03/01/2001
End Date: 02/28/2002
Federal Funds: $5,000
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $5,039
Congressional District: 5
Paige J Novak
Assistant Professor, University of Minnesota
Michael J. Semmens
Professor, University of Minnesota
Many rural communities are impacted by groundwater contaminated with nitrate, primarily from agricultural activities. In numerous areas nitrate concentrations are approaching or have already exceeded the maximum contaminant level set by the Safe Drinking Water Act. An inexpensive and effective technology is needed to treat these contaminated drinking water supplies. The proposed research will use recently developed membrane technology to safely dissolve hydrogen gas (H2) into shallow aquifers for the purposes of removing nitrate from the groundwater in situ.
The use of H2 to remove nitrate from groundwater is well known, relying on microorganisms that use H2 to reduce nitrate to harmless N2. Until now, adding H2 to groundwater has been shunned because of the safety hazard associated with the use of an explosive gas. However, new membrane technology allows H2 to be dissolved without losses and with a high degree of control.
This study will evaluate the viability and technical feasibility of membranes to dissolve H2 into groundwater for the in situ treatment of agriculturally impacted groundwater. This study will provide the basic performance data required to assess the suitability of the process. The data will also assist in scale up for field scale studies.