Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2015SC101G

Human and Ecological Health Impacts Associated with Water Reuse: Engineered Systems for Removing Priority Emerging Contaminants

Institute: South Carolina
USGS Grant Number:
Year Established: 2015 Start Date: 2015-09-01 End Date: 2016-08-31
Total Federal Funds: $250,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $250,771

Principal Investigators: Susan Richardson, Dionysios Dionysiou, Daniel Schlenk

Abstract: Human and Ecological Health Impacts Associated with Water Reuse: Engineered Systems for Removing Priority Emerging Contaminants PIs: Susan D. Richardson, University of South Carolina; Dionysios Dionysiou, University of Cincinnati; and Daniel Schlenk, University of California-Riverside; Collaborators: Keith Loftin (USGS, Lawrence, Kansas), Gianluca Li Puma (Loughborough University, United Kingdom) Period of performance: September 1, 2015-August 31, 2017 Project Summary: (1) Objectives: The overall goal of this project is to (1) investigate the potential human and ecological health impacts from exposure to priority emerging contaminants from water reuse systems using engineered systems, and (2) optimize advanced treatment technologies to minimize human and ecological toxicity. The basis for the group of priority emerging contaminants chosen to study comes directly from a recent evaluation by two Science Advisory Panels convened for the purpose of recommending chemicals of emerging concern for monitoring programs in both potable reuse and for aquatic ecosystems. The main hypothesis is that priority emerging contaminants from wastewater effluent mixtures will be removed/transformed to a different extent in the advanced oxidation technologies vs. advanced wastewater treatment plants and that the resulting toxicities will be different, due to the contribution of different contaminant levels and species. Specific objectives are to: (a) measure the priority contaminants before, during, and after treatments, (b) identify any transformation products formed in these processes, (c) measure the potential toxicity resulting from these processes, and (d) optimize advanced treatment technologies for removal of chemicals and toxicity. (2) Experimental Approach: The removal and fate of priority emerging contaminants will be studied in (1) advanced oxidation processes under controlled laboratory and pilot-scale conditions, and (2) a full-scale advanced wastewater treatment plant that utilizes microfiltration (MF), reverse osmosis (RO), and advanced oxidation for indirect potable reuse. Advanced oxidation processes will include UV-C/H2O2, TiO2 photocatalysis, and solar photocatalytic processes, which will be tested at the pilot-scale. These processes will be examined separately and together with MF and RO membranes. The removal of these priority contaminants will be investigated, along with the potential formation of transformation products. The reaction mixtures will be further disinfected with chlorine to simulate drinking water and wastewater treatment, and the potential formation of disinfection by-products will be investigated. Sublethal indicators of human and ecological health of the wastewater mixtures before, during, and after these treatments will be measured. Finally, laboratory-based advanced oxidation treatments will be optimized for toxicity removal. (3) Expected Results: The results from this project will provide the first information on the ability of advanced treatment processes to reduce the toxicity of mixtures of priority emerging contaminants that have been deemed a potential human health and ecological health risk for water reuse. It is anticipated that this project will lead to the development and implementation of sustainable treatment strategies for water reuse, resulting in the production of safe, high quality drinking water and water that is safe for ecological health.