Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2012MT268B

Student Research Fellowship: An Investigation of Natural Treatment Systems in Cold Climates

Institute: Montana
Year Established: 2012 Start Date: 2012-03-01 End Date: 2013-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $750 Total Non-Federal Funds: $330

Principal Investigators: Katie Davis

Abstract: The challenge of cold temperature is one that nearly all wastewater treatment facilities in Montana must manage for at least some portion of the year. For 5 years, students from MSU have monitored and studied the Bridger Bowl wastewater system with Dr. Warren Jones with the objective of improving the nitrification/denitrification process for nitrogen removal by methods that can be used within the constraints of the current system. The investigator will continue to collect data on system efficiency as well as monitoring the test sites established last winter with modifications on aeration and temperatures at the second site. The goal is to be able to pinpoint a temperature change or aeration level that will produce a significant improvement in nitrogen removal. Through careful observation of the system, it may also be possible to look for better methods for fertilization of the system during the offseason to maintain the various microbes needed for the nitrogen removal process. During the 2012-2013 season, the project team will be studying the pilot system’s efficiency and making comparisons of the expanded system to the current system. Through careful monitoring and modifications, they hope to establish a wetland natural treatment system that can withstand the cold temperatures we experience in Montana as well as maintain efficient nutrient removal with higher constituent concentrations.