Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2016TX500B

Impact of coagulation on biofiltration: removal of trace organic contaminants to mitigate the effects of wastewater reuse on drinking water treatment

Institute: Texas
Year Established: 2016 Start Date: 2016-03-01 End Date: 2017-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $5,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $10,000

Principal Investigators: Ricardo Lugo, Mary Kirisits

Abstract: Direct and indirect potable reuse is an increasingly attractive option to mitigate the effects of water scarcity in the state of Texas. A key problem in water reuse is to find effective treatment processes to remove an increasing variety and concentration of trace organic contaminants (TrOCs) such as endocrine disruptors, pharmaceuticals, and personal care products. The benefits of biofiltration, including particle removal, biodegradation, and adsorption, make it an attractive process for addressing this problem. For optimum treatment, biofiltration must be studied holistically within the treatment train. For instance, biofiltration is often preceded by coagulation, which impacts the type and amount of organic matter entering the biofilter; this could influence microbial activity in the biofilter, with implications for the biodegradation of TrOCs. The goal of the work is to develop a holistic understanding of coagulation-biofiltration. The specific objective of the work is to examine the impact of coagulant type/dose and pH on the removal of multiple TrOC by biofiltration. To meet this objective, a 12-month project is proposed, which will be divided into two tasks. Task 1 (completed Fall 2015) is to prepare key materials for the project, including choosing a suite of TrOCs and to concentrate natural organic matter for preparing synthetic water. The use of synthetic water precludes natural season variations in water quality from complicating data interpretation. Task 2 is to examine the impact of two coagulants (ferric chloride and alum) and pH on the removal of the TrOCs by biofiltration.