Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2019NJ180B

Resolving aesthetic issues and disinfection byproducts in drinking water through biofiltration

Institute: New Jersey
Year Established: 2019 Start Date: 2019-05-31 End Date: 2020-05-30
Total Federal Funds: $5,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $10,000

Principal Investigators: William R. Morales-Medina

Abstract: Disinfection byproducts (DBPs) are regulated contaminants and of concern in New Jersey due to consistent violations in tap water. Biofiltration is a drinking water treatment technology capable of reducing DBPs, organic micropollutants, and contaminants causing aesthetic issues. Biofiltration is in use at some NJ drinking water treatment facilities and being piloted at others. However, much remains to be understood to achieve optimal contaminant removal. I have the unique opportunity to work on a full-scale biofiltration demonstration project in Fall 2018 that I will leverage for this research. Here I propose a robust study of the microbiome of these full-scale anthracite-sand biofilters. The proposed objectives are (O1) to better understand DBP precursor removal as a function of depth and hydraulic conditions in acclimated biofilters (O2) to explore the changes in microbial diversity and manganese removal genes occurring during the acclimation period as a function of water quality. To achieve O2 we will collect samples throughout the biofilter acclimation period and perform qPCR to quantify Mn oxidizing genes. Amplicon sequencing will also be performed to study the changes in microbial diversity over time. To achieve O1, metagenomic analysis will be performed to generate a depth profile of functional genes involved in organic matter metabolism before and after a backwash event. This will give us insight into how biofilter operation can affect DBP precursor removal. The knowledge obtained from this research will help us understand biofilters microbiomes towards the ultimate goals of reducing the acclimation period and achieving optimal DBP and Mn removal.