Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2016AZ552B

Sunlight-driven reactive oxygen species production for natural attenuation of wastewater trace organic compounds

Institute: Arizona
Year Established: 2016 Start Date: 2016-03-01 End Date: 2017-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $9,999 Total Non-Federal Funds: $20,092

Principal Investigators: Robert Arnold, David Quanrud

Abstract: In Arizona and other water-stressed areas of the United States, there is ever increasing pressure to identify and develop waters, sometimes of impaired initial quality, for inclusion in respective water resources portfolios. Impediments to potable reuse of wastewater include the presence of trace organic contaminants (TOrCs). Wastewater TOrCs that manage to evade conventional and advanced (engineered) treatment processes can be removed via natural processes that occur in the environment, however, efforts to determine the removal mechanisms for these compounds following their discharge to surface waters have to date been only partially successful. There is evidence that solar driven processes involving organic intermediates can generate a variety of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and that these are a potentially important phenomenon contributing to in-stream reductions of residual TOrCs. The proposed experimental program represents the first stages of a concerted effort to sort out the roles of sunlight, effluent organic matter components, and ROS in the natural attenuation of TOrCs in surface waters influenced by the discharge of treated municipal wastewaters. Project results will be of particular interest and value in areas where wastewater reclamation and reuse are destined to be an important, although expensive component of projected water balances, as in Arizona and other states in the Lower Colorado River Basin.