Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2013AZ516B

Sequential advanced oxidation and soil-aquifer treatment for management of trace organics in treated wastewater

Institute: Arizona
Year Established: 2013 Start Date: 2013-03-01 End Date: 2014-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $10,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $19,995

Principal Investigators: Eduardo Saez, David Quanrud

Abstract: The reliability of water supply to communities in Arizona and in other southwestern states is threatened by population growth and climate change. In future years, these communities will need to rely on water resources of impaired initial quality to balance supply and demand. Potable reuse of reclaimed water is an almost certainty in the future. Conventionally treated municipal wastewater contains an assortment of pharmaceuticals and personal care products along with a myriad of other trace organic contaminants (TOrCs) at sub-part-per-billion levels that are sometimes poorly attenuated during wastewater treatment. There has, however, been relatively little research to evaluate interactions between specific engineered processes and natural attenuation mechanisms in terms of overall reduction to either specific TOrCs or the biochemical properties of treatment residuals. This project will begin to fill that void by examining potential synergy between advanced oxidation (UV/peroxide) and simulated soil-aquifer treatment (SAT) for removal of a representative suite of TOrCs that routinely survive conventional wastewater treatment. Advanced oxidation includes a variety of engineered processes that have in common the ability to generate hydroxyl radicals that indiscriminately oxidize reduced chemical targets, including the vast majority of TOrCs in treated wastewater. SAT encompasses processes such as sorption and biochemical transformation that result in contaminant attenuation during the infiltration and underground storage/transport of treated wastewater. It is anticipated that advanced oxidation will transform a number of otherwise persistent contaminants into forms that are more readily attacked by processes that contribute to SAT. Furthermore, the combination of engineered and natural processes is likely to provide water quality benefits for protection of human and environmental health at a cost that is much lower than engineered processes alone. Project results will support larger grant requests from sanitation engineering research foundations.