Evaluation of Contaminant Removal Through Soil Aquifer Treatment by a Lab Scale Soil Column Experiment Including a Trace Contaminant Spike Test

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Virginia Tech

Soil aquifer treatment (SAT), the removal of contaminants during percolation through soil, is a strategy employed in managed aquifer recharge (MAR), one method of indirect potable water reuse. As part of Hampton Roads Sanitation District's (HRSD) MAR project, The Sustainable Water Initiative for Tomorrow (SWIFT), a soil column study was performed using four columns filled with sand taken from the Potomac Aquifer System (PAS) as well as water from various stages in SWIFT's 1MGD demonstration facility. Two pairs of two columns were operated in series, simulating 3 days and 1 month of travel time through aerobic to anaerobic conditions. During Phase 1 of testing, each pair of columns was fed from different stages in the SWIFT treatment process. During Phase 2 of testing, one set of columns was spiked with a conservative tracer bromide, and several contaminants of emerging concern (CECs). The contaminants monitored during both phases included total organic carbon (TOC), nitrogen species, and the disinfection byproducts bromate and NDMA. During Phase 2 of testing, CECs, iron, arsenic, bromide, and sulfate were monitored in addition to those monitored during Phase 1. About 50% of the TOC was removed within 3 days of travel time, with no additional removal observed in 1 month. Nitrate was conserved in the 3-day columns, but completely removed after 1 month, indicating denitrification. Bromate and NDMA were reduced significantly in the 3-day columns and mostly non-detect in the 1-month effluent. Many of the spiked CECs were reduced significantly in the 3-day column indicating degradation. Three compounds exhibited some retardation through both columns but were not degraded. A few compounds, notably perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), showed no retardation or degradation.

Indirect potable reuse, soil aquifer treatment, soil columns, managed aquifer recharge