OSMOsis-Driven ReclAmation of Water (OSMODRAW)

EPA Grant Number: SU839457
Title: OSMOsis-Driven ReclAmation of Water (OSMODRAW)
Investigators: Sadmani, Dr AHM Anwar , Villarruel-Moore, Angel , Tanelus, Johnci , Olimattel, Kunal , Smith, Susanna
Current Investigators: Sadmani, Dr AHM Anwar , Villarruel-Moore, Angel , Tanelus, Johnci , Smith, Susanna , Olimattel, Kunal
Institution: University of Central Florida
EPA Project Officer: Callan, Richard
Phase: I
Project Period: January 1, 2019 through December 31, 2019 (Extended to April 30, 2020)
Project Amount: $15,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2018) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: P3 Awards , P3 Challenge Area - Safe and Sustainable Water Resources


This proposal suggests a potentially feasible approach to reclaim water from urban runoff using a novel polyelectrolyte based multifunctional FO membrane. Polyelectrolyte multilayer films (PMFs) will be deposited on FO membranes through a layer-by-layer deposition of polyacrylic acid (PAA)/polyallyamine hydrochloride (PAH), followed by synthesizing zero valent iron nanoparticle (nZVIs) within the PMFs. It is hypothesized that the PMFs will serve as a hindrance toward urban runoff-derived contaminants including nutrients, metals, and various organic pollutants, and the rich functional groups on membrane surface and polymeric matrix will render the membrane more hydrophilic and reduce membrane fouling because of enhanced electrostatic repulsion by the modified membrane surface. The integration of nZVIs within the PMFs will contribute to fouling reduction as well as nutrient removal by promoting denitrification and heavy metal remediation via sorption and reduction. The proposed OSMODRAW treatment scheme can be viewed as an approach to treating two impaired quality waters simultaneously: urban runoff (feed solution of FO) and concentrate from brackish water RO plants (draw solution), which would otherwise be typically discharged into the environment with little or no treatment. In response to global water scarcity and increasingly stringent regulations, this project contributes to partial remediation of surface water pollution and protection of aquatic environment. The project will also contribute to resource security by aiding the recovery of water from unconventional sources. The modified membrane will offer reduced fouling and increased water flux, thereby ensuring lower operating and maintenance costs when compared to pressure-driven membranes that are energy intensive. Thus, this project relates to the three aspects of sustainability: people, prosperity, and the planet. Through the execution of the proposed innovative study, an interdisciplinary team of students will learn about a sustainable approach to manage water resources. This research will further provide valuable educational materials for outreach activities.


Water reclamation has gained significant attention as a feasible strategy to augment potable water supply in addition to be reused for nonpotable applications. Urban runoff is one of the impaired-quality sources that can be utilized for water reclamation, especially when considering an integrated approach to treatment and disposal of urban runoff and partial remediation of surface water pollution. Urban runoff is typically managed and treated via various "Best Management Practices" (BMPs); however, the removal of target nutrients, trace metals, and organic micropollutants is highly variable. Forward osmosis (FO) is a promising technology that has demonstrated comparable performance to that of nanofiltration (NF) and reverse osmosis (RO), but exercises significantly lower energy consumption when compared to RO or NF. The overall objective of the proposed research is to investigate an integrated approach to treat an impaired quality water, urban runoff while utilizing another impaired quality water, brackish water desalination concentrate using a novel polyelectrolyte-zero valent iron nanoparticle (nZVI) functionalized FO membrane.

Expected Results:

The expected results of this work will be an assessment of the efficiency of a polyelectrolyte functionalized FO membrane in reclaiming water from urban runoff and brackish water desalination concentrate. A successful completion of this research will lead to a FO membrane with a versatile platform of multiple barriers to urban runoff-derived contaminants. The FO membrane modification is anticipated to render fouling resistance and prolonged membrane runtime, lowering membrane cleaning costs.

Contribution to Pollution Prevention or Control:

The project relates to pollution prevention/control by proposing an innovative integrated approach to remove pollutants from two impaired quality waters (urban runoff and concentrate from brackish water desalination plant) that would otherwise be typically discharged into the environment with little or no treatment. The objective of this study can be linked to EPA's authorizing statute CWA: Clean Water Act--Section 104.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 1 publications for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

Forward osmosis, membrane, feed solution, draw solution, polyelectrolyte, zero valent iron nanoparticle, reclamation, brackish water

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2019 Progress Report
  • Final Report