Improving Water Reuse for a Much Healthier Potomac Watershed

EPA Grant Number: R835825
Title: Improving Water Reuse for a Much Healthier Potomac Watershed
Investigators: Pramanik, Amit , Aga, Diana S. , Duan, Shuiwang , Grizzard, Thomas J , Iwanowicz, Luke , Kaushal, Sujay S , Murthy, Sudhir , Rosenfeldt, Erik
Institution: Water Environment & Reuse Foundation , District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water) , Hazen and Sawyer , United States Geological Survey , University of Buffalo , University of Maryland , Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Current Institution: Water Environment & Reuse Foundation , District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water) , Hazen and Sawyer , United States Geological Survey , University of Buffalo , University of Maryland , Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
EPA Project Officer: Packard, Benjamin H
Project Period: November 1, 2015 through May 1, 2020
Project Amount: $750,000
RFA: Human and Ecological Health Impacts Associated with Water Reuse and Conservation Practices (2014) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Water , Health

Objective:

The Potomac River, which is one of the primary sources of drinking water for over 6 million people and is a critical component of the Chesapeake Bay watershed and ecosystem, receives substantial flows from wastewater treatment plant effluents, which can make up 20% or more of the river flows during the dry summer months. Already home to the first planned indirect potable reuse system in the US, population growth and resource constraints are driving Potomac water utilities to expand non-traditional supplies, such as wastewater reuse, rainwater harvesting, and conservation measures. However, emerging contaminants are a concern for both public and ecological health, but regulations designed to manage pollution do not address them. As communities invest in new water supply alternatives as well as expanded pollution reduction strategies to meet the Chesapeake Bay TMDL, it is currently unclear how these changes will impact water quality as it relates to human and ecological health, and the overall river water resources budget.

Approach:

This study aims to elucidate the impact and outcomes of reuse and conservation measures on ecological and human health. This research combines a suite of state-of-the-art techniques to actively identify contaminant hot spots (emerging contaminants and related biological activity, advanced geochemical indicators), assess the impact of those hot spots on human and ecological health endpoints (including drinking water sources and sensitive ecological areas), and quantify the impact of reuse and management solutions on these endpoints. Specifically, we propose to: 1) use multiple analytical, biological activity, isotopic, and fluorescence tracers to identify and track spatial and temporal variability in “hot spots” of EDC and nutrient sources at a large watershed scale, 2) use case studies to examine impacts of advanced wastewater reclamation, stormwater reuse, and agricultural best management practices on source controls of nutrient and co- pollutants, and 3) utilize a sustainable approach to quantitatively analyze the costs, impact, and benefits of the reuse and management strategies for achieving human and ecological health improvement.

Expected Results:

Results will facilitate prioritization of reuse and management strategies and actions for the Potomac and beyond, by building a framework for informing federal agencies, local governments, water utilities and other stakeholders as they shape future management approaches in large human-impacted watersheds.

Supplemental Keywords:

Hot-spot analysis, contaminant source tracking, emerging contaminants,

Progress and Final Reports:

2016 Progress Report