Beneficial Reuse and Waste Minimization of Hexavalent Chrome Ion Exchange Brine

Project ID: 9085
Principal Investigator: Miguel Arias-Paic
Research Topic: Desalination and Water Treatment
Funded Fiscal Years: 2016 and 2017
Keywords: None

Research Question

Hexavalent chromium occurrence in potable water sources is of concern to water utilities due to
undetermined human carcinogenicity and toxicological effects. EPA is currently reviewing health
assessments to determine if new federal standards need to be set for chromium. Independently,
California's department of public health set a drinking water maximum contaminant level for
chromium at 10 µg/L. Many utilities impacted by chromium regulations are in remote locations
with limited disposal options for concentrated chromium brine waste. Options for minimizing
chromium brine are beneficial to all utilities to reduce both environmental impacts and costs.
Ion exchange (IX) is currently applied at the full-scale for chromium removal. If strong base
resin is used, a concentrated chromium-containing brine stream is the waste residual. High
costs associated with brine disposal are a major challenge for chromium treatment processes.
Separation of brine into fractions for beneficial reuse, such as for subsequent regenerations and
for recycling back to the ion exchange plant headworks, could significantly reduce the costs and
environmental impacts associated with full-scale chromium treatment.
Minimizing the brine waste generated by ion exchange processes for beneficial purposes
through membrane filtration with and without additional chemical addition allows for simpler
regeneration processes and decreased operator expertise requirements. Novelty of process
could result in publication of patentable intellectual property, and a provisional patent will be
pursued in the meantime as data is collected for a full process patent.
The research question to be answered is: Can a system that is simple to operate and inherently
contains multiple barriers to chrome release be used to address chromium contamination in
potable water sources?

Need and Benefit

This section contains Intellectual Property and it cannot be displayed. If you wish to view this
content, contact Miguel Arias-Paic to request the additional information.

Contributing Partners

Contact the Principal Investigator for information about partners.

Research Products

Independent Peer Review

The following documents were reviewed by qualified Bureau of Reclamation employees. The findings were determined to be achieved using valid means.

Regeneration of pilot-scale ion exchange columns for hexavalent chromium removal (final, PDF, 1.4MB)
By Miguel Arias-Paic, Julie A. Korak, Richard Huggins
Research Product completed on April 01, 2017

This research product summarizes the research results and potential application to Reclamation's mission.

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.

Beneficial Reuse and Waste Minimization of Hexavalent Chrome Ion Exchange Brine (final, PDF, 2.3MB)
By Miguel Arias-Paic, Julie Korak, Anthony Kennedy
Research Product completed on September 30, 2018

This research product summarizes the research results and potential application to Reclamation's mission.


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Last Updated: 4/4/17