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Carrie W. Capuco
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ccapuco@werf.org
 
 
WE&RF Awards Research Contract to Tailor Effluent Quality for Water Reuse Application

(Alexandria, VA) - The Water Environment & Reuse Foundation (WE&RF) recently awarded a contract to Virginia Tech to tailor effluent quality to match the intended water reuse application. The researchers will study the fundamental dynamics driving biologically active carbon (BAC) filtration performance. The research team led by Dr. Amy Pruden will use a pilot-scale facility at the Hampton Roads Sanitation District in Virginia to fill key knowledge gaps on operational factors that govern effluent quality. The researchers will examine the taxonomic and functional gene composition of BAC filtration and its microbial community as it relates to the influent water chemistry through various stages of treatment. The results should enable future enhancements in design operation and process control.
 
The research will address three research objectives:

  1. Enhance trace organic carbon (TOrC) removal by determining the effects of advanced oxidation process pre-treatment, nitrogen content from chloramines residual, co-substrate addition, and filtration rate on the composition of microbial communities colonizing BAC filters.
  2. Profile total bacteria, microbial community composition, biological activity indicators, and organic carbon content along a BAC treatment train and benchmark relative to a range of wastewater and water reuse treatment processes to illuminate the fundamental dynamics driving BAC filtration performance.
  3. Explore factors influencing the occurrence of gene markers for pathogens, virulence, and antibiotic resistance along with the effective removal of TOrC compounds of emerging concern through the BAC treatment train.

Ultimately, the research will provide improved understanding of the factors influencing performance of BAC filtration for potable water reuse, not only as a more cost-effective alternative to reverse osmosis, but also potentially as a more appropriate technology for matching the level of treatment to the intended application. The researchers will produce materials that support the design and testing of effective alternatives to costly membrane treatments.

The research team officially began work in March 2017 and the project is expected to be completed early 2019.
 
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The Water Environment & Reuse Foundation (WE&RF) is a nonprofit (501c3) organization officially formed in July 2016 as the result of the merger of  the Water Environment Research Foundation and the WateReuse Research Foundation. The merged research foundation, with a combined research portfolio representing over $200 million, conducts research to treat and recover beneficial materials from wastewater, stormwater, and seawater including water, nutrients, energy, and biosolids.