Advancing Potable Water Infrastructure through an Improved Understanding of Polymer Pipe Oxidation, Polymerâ Contaminant Interactions, and Consumer Perception of Taste
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Research was conducted to address these challenges using analytical chemistry, environmental engineering, food science, polymer chemistry, public health, and material science principles. This work was enhanced by collaborations with sixteen American water utilities and the National Institute for Standards and Technology. These efforts were funded by the National Science Foundation, American Water Works Association, and the Water Research Foundation.
Research results are unique and provide important scientific contributions to the public health, potable water, and material science industries. Particular achievements include the: (1) Evaluation of linkages between minerals, water palatability, and health useful for water production and public health decisions; (2) Creation of a novel infrastructure and water quality surveillance tool that has begun water utility implementation in the USA; (3) Development of an accelerated chlorinated water aging method with stable water pH, free chlorine, and alkalinity concentration that enables interpretation of polymer pipe surface and bulk characteristic changes; (4) Discovery that polar compounds are 2â 193% more soluble in PEX than HDPE water pipes; (5) Finding that several polymer and contaminant properties can be used to predict contaminant diffusivity and solubility during sorption and desorption in new, lab aged, and water utility PE pipes; and the (6) Discovery that chlorinated water exposure of HDPE and PEX pipes increases polar contaminant diffusivity during sorption by 50â 162% and decreases diffusivity during desorption as much as 211%. Outcomes of this work have domestic and global significance, and if engaged, can greatly improve public health protection, potable water infrastructure operations, water quality, sustainability, and regulation.
- Doctoral Dissertations