Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2015VI251B

Engineered Pervious Layer for Rooftop Rain Harvesting and Solar/Dark Inactivation of E. coli

Institute: Virgin Islands
Year Established: 2015 Start Date: 2015-03-01 End Date: 2016-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $30,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: Not available

Principal Investigators: Sangchul Hwang, Henry Smith

Abstract: Rain harvesting and reuse have been a principal source of potable water for the residents in the United States Virgin Islands (USVI). It should be noted that rainwater is not contaminant-free. Engineered pervious layer (EPL) to be developed and tested in this proposed study would benefit many communities that rely on rainwater as their potable water source (e.g., USVI). EPL has two-fold benefits. First, the pervious property of EPL will be served as rainwater drainage with additional potential for the reduction of large particles and organic and inorganic contaminants. Second, pathogens potentially present in rainwater will be removed and inactivated with the topical photocatalytic reactions of nano-titanium dioxide embedded in EPL with sunlight in daytime and the antimicrobial inactivation by nano-zinc oxide even in nighttime in depth of EPL. During the past first-year research, structural, mechanical and hydrological properties of EPL were evaluated as a construction material. In continuing efforts to develop the EPL, the removal and inactivation of pathogens will extensively be assessed during the proposed second-year period with the model indicator microorganism, Escherichia coliforms. Specifically, different levels of nanomaterial amount, EPL slope, and sunlight intensity and duration will be tested for their influence on E. coli removal and inactivation. The Principal Investigator has strong background and previous experience related to the proposed work. A graduate student in pursuit of an advanced degree in Environmental Engineering and more than three undergraduate students will get hands-on experience in the proposed study. Results will be disseminated at a professional conference(s), in a peer-reviewed journal article and as a graduate thesis. The Principal Investigator will pursue additional funding for the third-year project for field demonstration and recalibration of the developed EPL.