Recent Advances in Selenium Treatment Technologies, Application to Emerging Wetlands, and Pilot Project Implementation Plan in the Salton Sea, California

Project ID: 22066
Principal Investigator: Angel Gutierrez
Research Topic: Water Quality
Funded Fiscal Years: 2022 and 2023
Keywords: None

Research Question

Our project focuses on reviewing recent advances in technologies for Se removal from water in an effort to understand their applicability to conditions in the Salton Sea, California. Such technologies range from physical engineering, chemical and biological solutions and operate based on a wide variety of principles. While some existing treatment technologies have proven highly effective at Se removal (CH2M Hill 2010), it is unclear how these treatments might be applied and how they would perform to reduce Se in wetlands fed by irrigation drain water. Specifically, our literature review will focus on the following research questions: 1) What are recent (over the past 10 years) advances in Se removal treatment technologies? 2) How applicable is each technology to Salton Sea playa wetlands based on scalability, cost, and effectiveness at reducing Se hazards to aquatic and detrital food webs? We hypothesize that technologies that increase direct Se removal and disposal from water before entering wetlands or that include high volatilization of Se to the atmosphere will be most applicable to the Salton Sea. Such processes are expected to lower Se bioavailability by reducing the amount of Se entering the base of the food web through detrital pathways (Maher et al. 2010). Our review will build on previous efforts to evaluate Se removal and disposal in agricultural drain water and wetlands in California (Frankenberger and Benson 1994, Frankenberger and Engberg 1998, Frankenberger et al. 2004, Department of Water Resources 2005, Higashi et al. 2005, CH2M Hill 2010) and will incorporate new information from studies such as Stefaniak et al. 2018, Yu et al. 2020, Li et al. 2021, Zhang et al. 2021, Zhou et al 2021, and other sources identified through literature searches and interviews with experts in Se remediation. The end product will be a pilot project implementation plan that will provide a clear path forward for testing Se remediation treatments at the Salton Sea.

Need and Benefit

This applied research addresses the Environmental Issues for Water Delivery and Management (EN) Research Area, specifically under Water Quality Needs Statement #2. Develop or improve methods to predict, manage, and monitor effects of hydrologic variability on water quality. The proposal was coordinated with Mike Horne, the EN Water Quality Coordinator via email, and he agreed the project would fit into his research area.

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Last Updated: 6/22/20