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The Water Treatment Technology Program Newsletter - No. 6 - Winter 1996


The Water Treatment Technology Program (WTTP) was established in 1992 as a research effort to work in partnership with academia, private industry, and local communities to address a broad range of research related desalting and water treatment needs. The WTTP originally consisted of nine Tasks. Those Tasks were recently restructured in an effort to streamline the program, combine overlapping tasks, eliminate completed tasks, and address funding issues. Each restructured Task objective is directed toward a specific research emphasis area. Following are the six restructured Tasks within the WTTP:
  • Task A: Small and Native American Treatment Systems
  • Task B: Membrane Process Development
  • Task C: Western Water Projects
  • Task D: Innovative Concepts
  • Task E: Wastewater Reclamation and Reuse
  • Task F: Technology Transfer

Projects within these Tasks continue to develop and apply new technologies related to water treatment for water supply augmentation, water quality improvement, and water quality protection. For more information about the WTTP, contact Kevin Price at 303-445-2260. Or, visit the WTTP website at: http://www.usbr.gov/pmts/water/

Following are some of the collaborative (Federal/Non-Federal) projects which received funding at the start of the fiscal year, in October 1996. All are 50/50 cost-shared.


As a result of a recent Broad Agency Announcement (BAA), an award was made to the University of Colorado at Boulder, Dr. Bob Davis, to study "Novel Water Treatment Systems with Reduced Fouling." This project will involve a unique and innovative combined approach using polymer chemistry to develop new foulant-resistant membrane materials, and fluid dynamics to further develop and analyze a rapid backpulsing strategy to yield an effective membrane-based system for water pretreatment. The study has three primary objectives: polymeric membranes will be synthesized with functional groups to reduce foulant-membrane interactions; the new synthesized membranes will be tested for their fouling characteristics in both static and dynamic tests using aqueous solutions containing various foulants which irreversibly foul most commercial membranes; and the new membranes which show the most promise in the irreversible fouling studies will be used in a crossflow microfiltration device with rapid backpulsing to prevent reversible foulant deposition.


As a result of a recent BAA, three awards were made:

CLF Technologies, Inc., will continue the study "Water Treatment for Metals with Microalgal Bioadsorbents." This project will further study the use of biomass from microbial sources, particularly the microalgae, to absorb heavy metal ions as part of remediation efforts. This technology involves use of specific types of biomass which can be tailored to specific applications which require processing of waste streams with multiple contamination, and/or wide ranges of concentrations, using dead immobilized algae biomass as an ion exchanger. The project will further develop this technology by performing bench-scale studies to establish feasibility, investigate potential application to particular sites where the technology is worth testing, and concentrate on demonstrating the feasibility of this advanced approach to metals remediation. This study hopes to address the increasing need for low-cost and efficient remediation technologies for toxic metals, both from low concentrations in rural water supply systems, or from polluted environments such as Superfund sites.

City College of the City University of New York will study "Comparative Evaluation of the Effects of Various Disinfectants on Attached Bacterial Growth in Drinking Water." This project will involve determining the effect of chlorination and chloramination, in combination with ozonation, on the potential of water to support growth of bacteria attached on surfaces. The study will compare the optimum disinfectant doses on bacterial growth in a distribution system, and will provide time dependent measurement of bacterial colony growth in the water following application of the disinfectants. The project will also focus on the effects of seasonal water quality changes on optimization of disinfectant doses for minimal attached bacterial regrowth.

New Mexico State University will study "Removal of Arsenic from Drinking Water Using Proprietary Filtration Media." As a result of proposed changes by the USEPA to the Safe Drinking Water Act, the level of arsenic allowed in public water supplies will be drastically reduced. Low tech, inexpensive methods for removing this contaminant are not currently available. This project will investigate a standard water treatment technology for the application of removing arsenic. The study will investigate research into evidence that arsenic (co-precipitated with iron) can be removed with iron and manganese by means of a manganese greensand filtration system. The project will provide proof of this concept, explore efficiency issues, and make an effort to elucidate mechanisms of arsenic removal on the media surface.


As a result of a recent BAA, an award was made to the City of McAllen TX, in cooperation with CH2M Hill, to study "Membrane Separation Processes for Wastewater Reclamation."

McAllen is located on the US-Mexico border about 40 miles upstream from the mouth of the Rio Grande. Poor water quality is due to many factors, and the availability of water sources is extremely limited. Water recycling is one of the few tractable options available for expanding the water supply in this region. In many cases, indirect potable water reuse has the potential to offer an attractive water supply development alternative to remote, conventional water supply development. The City of McAllen is specifically interested in indirect potable water reuse by reclaiming its treated wastewater to a quality safe for reintroduction into its Rio Grande surface water supply.

The objectives of this indirect potable water reuse research include: demonstrate that a novel membrane filtration method (ZeeWeed), either alone or in conjunction with other treatment techniques, can successfully process secondary effluent to a quality suitable for reuse; demonstrate that ZeeWeed can produce a treated effluent suitable for further processing by reverse osmosis where removal of solids is a concern; confirm the applicability of the Memcor CMF process for McAllen's wastewater treatment and compare the cost of treatment with those established for similar municipalities; and compare the operating characteristics of ZeeWeed with the more commercialized Memcor membrane filtration technology with respect to treated water quality, operability, reliability, and cost.


Water from Water is published by Reclamation's Water Treatment Engineering and Research Group - Susan Martella, Editor. For more information about the DesalR&D program, contact Kevin Price at: Bureau of Reclamation, 86-69000, PO Box 25007, Denver CO 80225; phone (303) 445-2260; or e-mail a message to MPrice@usbr.gov.