Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2020WA099B

Fate and Transport of Micro- and Nano-scale Plastics in Washington State

Institute: Washington
Year Established: 2020 Start Date: 2020-03-01 End Date: 2021-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $29,993 Total Non-Federal Funds: $60,834

Principal Investigators: Indranil Chowdhury

Abstract: Accumulation of plastics in the environment has recently become a global environmental threat.Plastic pollution is also a major concern in the State of Washington and many areas of the UnitedStates. A recent study found micro- and nanoscale plastics in 94% of samples in tap water in US.Hence, there is a critical need to understand the fate, transport, and removal of nanoscale plasticsin water treatment plants. In this proposed project, fate and removal of micro- and nanoscaleplastics will be investigated during coagulation, flocculation, and sedimentation processes intreatment plants. This work is a fundamental study of micro- and nanoscale plastics behavior inthe assessment of conventional water treatment technologies in their capacity to properly removeand dispose of plastics prior to distribution to people. Controlled batch experiments will beconducted in a jar test under a range of relevant conditions as appropriate to simulate coagulation,flocculation, and sedimentation processes. Initially, main focus will be given on polyethyleneplastics. Subsequently, other types of plastics will be investigated. The fate of plastics in variouswater conditions will be investigated in complex environmental conditions. Natural surface waterwill be collected from Columbia River Water. The team will share findings with the stakeholdersfrom several agencies in Washington. This project will provide support for one Ph.D. student.Additionally, this project supports the mentoring of Assistant Professor (Dr. Chowdhury) by asenior faculty member (Dr. Flury). The work performed will provide the basis for subsequentpublications and proposals on plastics pollution.