Newsletter #2
View this email in your browser

News from the National Centers for
Innovation in Small Drinking Water Systems

Free Technology Webinars from U.S. EPA

If you're like us, there's so many conferences you wish you could attend. But alas, the travel funds are just not there. Fortunately webinars are helping us all stay up-to-date on the latest research from the comfort of our desks.

EPA's own series of technology-focused webinars for small systems has been immensely popular, with 900+ attendees. CEUs are granted for attendance, too. The next event is scheduled for October 27.

Did you miss the first issue?

The DeRISK and WINSSS centers are the two National Centers for Innovation in Small Drinking Water Systems. The goal of this newsletter l is to connect state program staff, technical assistance providers, engineers in the private sector, and our fellow academics with plain-language information about the research activities at each center - and beyond. While we will focus on the efforts of the DeRISK and WINSSS teams, we specifically hope to highlight work being done across the country (and the world) by our broader community of colleagues.

Project Update from the WINSSS Center

The Water Innovation Network for Sustainable Small Systems (WINSSS) Center at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst is led by Dr. David Reckhow.
The WINSSS Center brings together a national team of experts to transform drinking water treatment for small water systems to meet the urgent need for state-of-the-art innovation, development, demonstration, and implementation of treatment, information, and process technologies in part by leveraging existing relationships with industry.
Fluoride and Small Water Systems
PIs: Isabella Gee1, Mitch Bartolo1, Jon Herrboldt1, Lynn Katz1, Desmond Lawler1

1University of Texas at Austin
(Corresponding Email:
Concentrations of fluoride that exceed the safe health levels in surface drinking water sources are rare though not easily treated.  The U.S. MCL is currently 4.0 mg/L, but EPA has announced that this limit is under reconsideration. It seems possible, and perhaps likely, that it will be lowered to either the current secondary limit of 2.0 mg/L or the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended limit of 1.5 mg/L due to concerns associated with fluorosis. If a lower standard is promulgated, many small utilities are likely to require some fluoride removal; we at the University of Texas at Austin are investigating how that might be done most expeditiously at utilities that are already using alum treatment.  

Fluoride interacts with aluminum solids either through adsorption or co-precipitation such that it can be removed as part of the sludge from a water treatment plant.  Natural organic matter (NOM), which is associated with the production of disinfection-by-products (DBPs), also interacts with aluminum solids produced during alum coagulation. The presence of both fluoride and NOM in a water leads to a competition that reduces the effectiveness of aluminum to remove both.  Our research is designed to investigate this competition and come up with guidelines to help small water systems with excessive fluoride concentrations meet acceptable levels of fluoride removal without compromising DBP goals.

The current project team includes graduate students Isabella Gee, Mitch Bartolo, and Jon Herrboldt along with professors Lynn Katz and Desmond Lawler. In late summer, the students traveled to Manitou Springs, CO to perform pilot scale studies of the alum treatment process for removing fluoride.  Manitou Springs, near Pikes Peak, has naturally occurring fluoride at a level that occasionally exceeds the MCL. The small pilot facilities, shown in the accompanying figure, included a rapid mix tank and a four-compartment flocculation unit, as well as pumps for dosing alum and controlling the pH with sodium carbonate addition. 

Six different concentrations of alum ranging from 20 mg/L to 300 mg/L as alum were tested at the pilot scale with pH controlled at 6.5. Steady-state fluoride removal began at 15% using 20mg/L alum, and rose with each successive dose increase to a maximum of 80% using 300mg/L alum. For this water, containing 2.74 mg/L of fluoride, 50 mg/L of alum were required to achieve fluoride levels below 2 mg/L (1.77 mg/L) and 100 mg/L of alum achieved a fluoride concentration of 1.26 mg/L, well below the current WHO standard. Additionally, increasing the pH from 6.5 to 7.5 reduced fluoride removal from 70% to 50% at the 200 mg/L alum dose, emphasizing the importance of pH control. 

This project is now being extended to consider other inorganic ions and how they might also be removable with alum or iron coagulation; in particular, we intend to look at chromium, arsenic, and manganese.  Of particular interest will be arsenic, as it is often found together with fluoride in natural waters.  
(click image to enlarge)
Pilot study set-up in Manitou Springs, Colorado

Project Update from the DeRISK Center

The Design of Risk-reducing, Innovative-implementable Small-system Knowledge (DeRISK) Center at the University of Colorado-Boulder is led by Dr. Scott Summers.
The DeRISK Center’s overall objectives focus on applying principles of risk reduction, sustainability and new implementation approaches to innovative technologies that will reduce the risk associated with key contaminant groups and increase the chance of adoption and sustainable use in small systems.
Applying MP UV with Low Wavelength Monitoring for Regulatory Compliance
PIs: Rachael A. Kenny1, lyson Packhem1, Jihyon Im2, James P. Malley, Jr.3
1Graduate student, Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of New Hampshire (UNH)
2Project Engineer, CDMSmith, Boston, MA
3Professor and PI, EPA DeRISK Center, Director of UNH Environmental Research Group

(Corresponding Email:

Adenovirus requires a very high UV dose of 186 mJ/cm2 (normalized to 254nm wavelength) to achieve a 4-log inactivation credit (USEPA, 2006; 71 FR 654, 2006) when compared to viruses such as polio, hepatitis, and rotavirus which were the basis of prior rulemaking. This high UV dose requirement has led to technical and economic challenges for small systems wishing to use UV disinfection for virus disinfection credit. Therefore, many small systems using surface waters, GWUDI or ground waters, which could achieve significant microbial risk reduction from the implementation of UV disinfection, have avoided its use. In addition, UV disinfection also reduces the chemical risks from DBPs and lead and copper corrosion by avoiding the need for a strong chemical oxidizer/disinfectant such as chlorine. Recent research shows that innovative polychromatic UV technologies that emit wavelengths other than 254nm may inactivate adenovirus in a more sustainable manner if those other wavelengths can be reliably monitored.

For this research project, a group of small system stakeholders has been assembled including state regulatory personnel from the NH Department of Environmental Services, managers of three drinking water utilities ranging from small (3000 people) to very small (83 people), a town engineer, a consulting engineer specializing in small system work, innovative UV technology manufacturers, three small system drinking water operators and town's people who represent a water board. ach of these small systems have an array of the managerial, financial and technical challenges and all need to comply with either the LT2ESWTR or GWR and the DDBPR. UV facilities will be provided to each utility to demonstrate the effectiveness of low UV wavelength monitoring, validation of LPHO UV for 4-log adenovirus credit and the combination of UV disinfection for Giardia, Crypto and virus followed by chloramines. The use of UV followed by chloramines for small systems to cost effectively achieve simultaneous compliance with LT2ESWTR and DDBPR is an innovative approach that has been traditionally viewed as inappropriate for small systems. In addition to the three pilot facilities, the project is also monitoring the full-scale UV-chloramines facility in Hillsborough, NH that has been in operation since 2014. The research project will develop a protocol for implementing and monitoring chloramine use in small systems and attempt to demonstrate the viability of this innovative approach.

(click image to enlarge)
MPUV system with conventional DVGW and low wavelength monitoring sensors installed at a 50 gpm small system treating groundwater in Kingston, NH.

Upcoming Events

A listing of webinars, symposia, and conferences relevant to this work.
Water Technology and Management Seminar
November 4, 2015 | Bryan, TX
The Water Technology and Management Seminar led by TAMU faculty will feature emerging topic information about the future of the water industry. AWWA/AMTA Membrane Technology Conference & Exposition
February 1-5, 2016 | San Antonio, TX
This annual co-sponsored event explores how the latest developments in membrane technology can enhance water reliability and quality.

Industry News

NEWT Center to Use Nanotechnology to Transform Economics of Water Treatment
DeRISK team member Dr. Paul Westerhoff is also part of $18.5M, NSF-funded consortium to develop cost-effective technologies.

Global Water Center: Water tech research, development is name of the game
Wisconsin-based water accelerator uses start-up model to bring together stakeholders and advance technology innovation.

Clemson awarded grant to develop filter to improve drinking water
Research team to use university's supercomputer to help determine the optimal specifications for a new membrane filter.
The two National Centers for Innovation in Small Drinking Water Systems, based at the University of Colorado-Boulder and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, are collaborative research groups charged with examining and reducing the barriers of innovative treatment technology implementation at small drinking water systems. The funding for the centers comes from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as part of its Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program.
Copyright © 2015, All rights reserved.

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp