Final Report: 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

Objective:

Drinking water quality is of primary health concern for small rural communities. Disinfection by-products (DBP), which are 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 designated to target reduction in organic matter. DOC/DON in surface waters recently has been 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. 

Summary/Accomplishments (Outputs/Outcomes):

The overall goal of this project was to improve drinking water quality for small rural communities in Missouri through identification of water quality issues and development of cost-effective strategies and treatment technology to address the identified issues. Three small drinking water treatment systems in rural Missouri communities were selected as research and demonstration facilities. Water samples were collected quarterly during the first year from these three water facilities to identify major water quality problems facing the small water systems. Then, the justifications of treatment management strategies and novel treatment technologies were developed and tested through lab and pilot-scale studies to improve the water quality issues in each drinking water treatment system. Water sample characterization has revealed the major water quality issues facing each small water treatment system: including high ammonia, iron, and bromide in source groundwater; high dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in reservoir source water and insufficient DOC removal; and high seasonal variation in river source water.

Based on the water quality problems identified, the research team investigated a number of laboratory experiments and pilot-scale tests to develop cost-effective treatment strategies and novel technologies aimed at the identified drinking water quality issues for each facility. The studies included the adjustments of treatment processes, feasibility studies of peracetic acid (PAA) as an alternative disinfectant, zeolite treatment to remove or minimize ammonia and bromide from source water, and tests of various activated carbons, enhanced solids contact, and advanced oxidation processes for effective DOC reduction.

PAA treatment as an alternative disinfectant instead of chlorine would result in no significant formation of regulated disinfection by-products (DBPs) in drinking water. The application of combined mordenite and powder activated carbon (PAC) adsorbents was demonstrated to be a good treatment strategy for the reduction of ammonia and N-nitrosamine precursors during the alum coagulation process. The polyester fabric inclined settling screen has shown to be effective on sedimentation enhancement and the reduction of turbidity, DOC, and UV254. Coconut-based activated carbon could perform better than the coal-based activated carbon for removal of DOC or DBP precursors. Advanced chemical oxidation using hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) in the presence of ferrous iron would enhance the DOC removal and reduction of DBP formation potentials. In addition, a rapid and sensitive high-performance ion chromatography—tandem mass spectrometry method—also was developed for a simultaneous determination of iodo-, bromo-, and chloro-acetic acids and related halogenated contaminants.

In an effort to reduce TTHM formation in compliance with the EPA DBP regulation, the three treatment modifications—adding chlorine at the later treatment step, using chloramines in finished drinking water for distribution system, and decreasing the retention time of finished water in storage tank—have been recommended and tested at specified small water systems.  The water quality monitored after the modifications indicated that TTHM concentration was in compliance with the EPA regulation limit (<80 µg/L).

Conclusions:

The treatment technologies or management strategies developed through this project could help small water systems comply with the current EPA drinking water DBP regulations as well as lower drinking water production costs. The research findings have been disseminated to water operators and professionals through posters, webinars, and oral presentations at national, regional, and local meetings or conferences.  


Journal Articles on this Report : 4 Displayed | Download in RIS Format

Other project views: All 20 publications 4 publications in selected types All 4 journal articles
Type Citation Project Document Sources
Journal Article Hua B, Mu R, Shi H, Inniss E, Yang J. Water quality in selected small drinking water systems of Missouri rural communities. Beverages 2016;2(2):10 (11 pp.). R835173 (Final)
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  • Journal Article West DM, Wu Q, Donovan A, Shi H, Ma Y, Jiang H, Wang J. N-nitrosamine formation by monochloramine, free chlorine, and peracetic acid disinfection with presence of amine precursors in drinking water system. Chemosphere 2016;153:521-527. R835173 (Final)
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  • Journal Article Xue R, Donovan A, Shi H, Yang J, Hua B, Inniss E, Eichholz T. Rapid simultaneous analysis of 17 haloacetic acids and related halogenated water contaminants by high-performance ion chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry 2016;408(24):6613-6622. R835173 (Final)
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  • Journal Article Xue R, Donovan A, Zhang H, Ma Y, Adams C, Yang J, Hua B, Inniss E, Eichholz T, Shi H. Simultaneous removal of ammonia and N-nitrosamine precursors from high ammonia water by zeolite and powdered activated carbon. Journal of Environmental Sciences (China) 2018;64:82-91. R835173 (Final)
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