Monitoring for Microconstituents in an Advanced Wastewater Treatment Facility and Modeling Discharge of Reclaimed Water
Jess Brown, Ph.D., P.E., Carollo Engineers, P.C.
Advanced wastewater treatment (AWT), which includes filtration, carbon adsorption, phosphorus removal, and nitrogen removal, can effectively remove the majority of pollutants. However, the remaining microconstituents (including potential endocrine disrupting compounds, pharmaceuticals, and personal care products) in reclaimed water may raise public health and/or aquatic health concerns. Although certain microconstituents may persist following wastewater treatment, current research suggests that advanced treatment technologies can effectively remove them to concentrations below human health risk levels.
The objectives of this study were to evaluate the removal of microconstituents through AWT facilities, investigate the potential impact of microconstituents to aquatic organisms, and examine the fate and transport of select microconstituents from a hypothetical canal discharge location to a drinking water aquifer with a hydrodynamic and water quality model.
The results indicate that almost all microconstituents were effectively removed by RO in AWT facilities and that RO effluent posed no hormonal threat to tissue cultures and live fish. The observed toxicity to aquatic organisms was likely caused by chloramines, which are used to prevent membrane fouling, and not by the presence of microconstituents. Furthermore, toxicity was significantly reduced after quenching (dechlorination) of chloramine. Hydrodynamic models and water quality models can help us evaluate the fate and transport of microconstituents and the impact of discharged reclaimed water.
(2010, 120 pages, 06-019-1)
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