Improving Drinking Water Quality for Small Rural Communities in Missouri

EPA Grant Number: R835173
Title: Improving Drinking Water Quality for Small Rural Communities in Missouri
Investigators: Yang, John , Hua, Bin , Inniss, Enos , Shi, Honglan
Institution: Lincoln University-MO , University of Missouri - Columbia
EPA Project Officer: Page, Angela
Project Period: December 1, 2011 through November 30, 2016
Project Amount: $499,996
RFA: Research and Demonstration of Innovative Drinking Water Treatment Technologies in Small Systems (2011) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Drinking Water , Water


Drinking water quality is of primary health concern for small rural communities. Disinfection by products (DBP), suspected carcinogens, in drinking water such as trihalomethanes (THMs) traditionally generated from chlorination of dissolved organic matter (DOM), mainly measurable as dissolved organic carbon and nitrogen (DOC/DON), are primary concerns in small drinking water treatment systems. These systems use various sources of surface water from rural terrestrial ecosystems and are not designed to target reduction in organic matter. DOC/DON in surface waters has been recently reported as being elevated above natural levels due to increased agriculture and other human activities. Therefore developing innovative low-cost, easy to operate, and energy efficient treatment technologies that reduce the forming potential of DBP in small water treatment systems is critical for safeguarding rural residents from surface water contamination associated with elevated DOC/DON levels.


Missouri is an agricultural state in which the majority of drinking water treatment systems are small systems serving <10,000 residents. A large percent of these drinking water systems use vulnerable surface water (rivers and lakes) as their water source. Most of these rural small drinking water systems have limited resources, prohibiting the use of advanced treatment technologies. This project is to address the potential drinking water issues for selected small rural communities in Missouri with an integrated approach to identify THMs and N-nitrosamines associated with elevated DOC/DON in surface water supplies, develop novel, cost effective water treatment technologies that reduce the health threats, and transfer and implement such technologies (primarily improved activated carbon and enhanced solids contact) for small drinking water treatment plants. This project will provide guidance on best management practices of various surface water supplies for DOC/DON control and help small water treatment systems meet the Stage II requirements of the EPA drinking water regulations.

Expected Results:

This project will combine expertise of three Missouri universities. led by Lincoln University of Missouri - an 1890 Historically black College & University (HBCU), with an integration of field and laboratory studies and technology transfer and staff training for selected small treatment facilities. This project will integrate research, education. and extension to address drinking water problems in rural communities. The multi-institution collaborations and multi-disciplinary integration will strengthen the capacity of participating universities to advance water research and technology, train undergraduate and graduate students, especially minority or underrepresented students, and enhance outreach activities for public water awareness and education.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 20 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 4 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

Improved solids contact technology, Activated carbon baffle walls, Peracetic acid, Awareness of drinking water quality. Onsite water characterization

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2012 Progress Report
  • 2013 Progress Report
  • 2014 Progress Report
  • 2015 Progress Report
  • Final Report