State Water Resources Research Institute Program

Project ID: 2007DE111B
Title: Evaluating the use of zerovalent iron to remove pathogens from water
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 6/01/2007
End Date: 2/28/2008
Congressional District: At large
Focus Categories: Water Quality, Treatment, Toxic Substances
Keywords: pathogens, contaminated water, zero-valent iron treatment technology
Principal Investigators: Jin, Yan; Handlin, Jennifer
Federal Funds: $ 1,750
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 3,500
Abstract: Pathogen free potable water is a major concern of this generation. The current methods for treating drinking water and wastewater are not always sufficient to obtain the quality needed. The current filtration systems are typically very effective for the removal of larger bacteria and protozoa; however viruses are much smaller and can pass through the filtering systems much more easily. The use of chlorination to kill pathogens is also less effective for removing viruses; therefore development of alternate technologies is necessary to ensure an adequate water supply. The use of zerovalent iron technology to treat contaminated water has been well documented for several years and shown to have several benefits. First, it provides a more effective method for the removal of waterborne pathogens especially viruses. Second, zerovalent iron has also been shown to remove dissolved organic matters, which are precursors for the formation of disinfection by-products that are hazardous, including known human carcinogens. And finally, the hazards involved with the use of chlorine transportation and storage may be reduced or eliminated all together. Chlorine storage facilities are a known terrorist target and eliminating these targets would be beneficial for everyone involved. If sufficient research can be completed, it may be possible to reduce our use of chlorine in disinfecting water and wastewater, and increase the health of the water supply. Despite past work, some factors related to the use of this technology for pathogen removal have not been researched sufficiently, and various factors involved such as pH, dissolved oxygen, and nutrients in water are not fully understood. This study will utilize a saturated column containing a layer of iron particles in treated sand, which was used in the previous study involving 2 bacteriophages. The water will be filtered, collected, and analyzed for pathogens. The overall goal is to test the effectiveness of this technology at removing human viruses from wastewater in conditions that would be found in nature, i.e. high or low pH, dissolved oxygen, or phosphates in the water, and how these factors affect the iron oxy-hydroxides that have been found to remove pathogens.

Progress/Completion Report, PDF

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