Evaluating Filter Material and Water Chemistry for Potential of Promoting Bacterial Growth Resulting in Clogged Drains

Project ID: 7101
Principal Investigator: Audrey Rager
Research Topic: Condition Assessment
Funded Fiscal Years: 2015
Keywords: embankment dams, drainage, merl, cost savings, filter,petrography

Research Question

Bacterial grown in the drainage systems of embankment dams can clog drains resulting in costly repairs. What conditions promote this bacterial growth in drainage systems of embankment dams and how can we modify our evaluation of filter material and water chemistry to prevent or lessen bacterial growth?

Need and Benefit

During 2013, several samples from clogged dam drains were submitted to the MERL Petrography Lab to determine the cause of the clogging. In most cases, the problem turned out to be sludge and mineral precipitates from iron and sulfur bacteria which thrive under certain conditions. I propose conducting a literature review to summarize the conditions (water chemistry and mineral types) that would induce bacterial growth and set for acceptable levels of these minerals.

Contributing Partners

Contact the Principal Investigator for information about partners.

Research Products

Bureau of Reclamation Review

The following documents were reviewed by experts in fields relating to this project's study and findings. The results were determined to be achieved using valid means.

Evaluating Filter Material and Water Chemistry for Potential of Promoting Bacterial Growth Resulting in Clogged Drains (final, PDF, 228KB)
By Audrey Rager
Publication completed on September 30, 2015

The goal of this S&T project was to develop recommendations for future studies into the conditions that promote bacterial growth in toe drains. An experiment was outlined to test how various filter materials and water chemistry conditions result in bacteria growth. The experimental methods were outlined and submitted to the Research and Development office for funding during FY2016 (Project ID: 3125). The research proposal was not funded. This report is a summary of that proposal and experiment.


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Last Updated: 4/4/17