2016 Progress Report: Center for Reinventing Aging Infrastructure for Nutrient Management (RAINmgt)

EPA Grant Number: RD835569
Center: Center for Reinventing Aging Infrastructure for Nutrient Management
Center Director: Mihelcic, James R.
Title: Center for Reinventing Aging Infrastructure for Nutrient Management (RAINmgt)
Investigators: Mihelcic, James R. , Cunningham, Jeffrey A. , Zimmerman, Julie B. , Yeh, Daniel H , Boyer, Treavor H. , Davis, Allen , Anderson, Damann , Shih, Jhih-Shyang , Trotz, Maya , Richardson, Nathan , Zhang, Qiong , Ergas, Sarina , Olmstead, Sheila , Kuwayama, Yusuke
Current Investigators: Mihelcic, James R. , Cunningham, Jeffrey A. , Zimmerman, Julie B. , Yeh, Daniel H , Boyer, Treavor H. , Davis, Allen , Coney, Earnest , Shih, Jhih-Shyang , Trotz, Maya , Richardson, Nathan , Zhang, Qiong , Ergas, Sarina , Olmstead, Sheila , Kuwayama, Yusuke
Institution: University of South Florida , The University of Texas at Austin , University of Maryland - College Park , Hazen and Sawyer , Yale University , Arizona State University , Resources for the Future
Current Institution: University of South Florida , Resources for the Future , University of Florida , University of Maryland - College Park , Yale University
EPA Project Officer: Packard, Benjamin H
Project Period: September 1, 2013 through August 31, 2018
Project Period Covered by this Report: January 1, 2016 through November 21,2016
Project Amount: $3,123,375
RFA: Centers for Water Research on National Priorities Related to a Systems View of Nutrient Management (2012) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Watersheds , Water

Objective:

The mission of the Center for Reinventing Aging Infrastructure for Nutrient Management is to achieve sustainable and cost-effective health and environmental outcomes by re-imagining aging coastal urban infrastructure systems for nutrient recovery and management contributing to sustainable and healthy communities.

The overall goal of the Center for Reinventing Aging Infrastructure for Nutrient Management is to develop the science behind new technology and management innovations and a deep understanding of the integrated system while demonstrating and assessing these innovations to provide new knowledge for students and other community members, policy makers, regulators, design engineers, and regulated entities. This overall goal will be met by innovating sustainable, transdisciplinary, life cycle, and systems-based approaches applicable to the management of point and diffuse sources of nutrients, over different scales, and in urban coastal watersheds.

The three research thrusts and associated demonstration projects will: (1) address point and diffuse sources of nutrients, (2) consider different scales (i.e., household, building, community, city), (3) develop and assess management options that have different technological time frames for implementation (short- and long-term), and (4) focus on innovative technologies and strategies that prioritize source reduction and reuse/recycling and seek to minimize nutrient fluxes and greenhouse gas emissions (including carbon and nitrogen).

Progress Summary:

A summary of Center accomplishments for 2016 follows:

  • Researchers completed demonstration of waterless urinals designed so that they minimize unwanted precipitation of urine-derived minerals and simultaneously maximize the potential for nutrient recovery from stored urine.
  • Researchers completed 1 year monitoring of the demonstration of a side-by-side conventional bioretention system and a modified bioretention system to better manage nitrogen in stormwater.
  • Researchers developed a GIS-based stormwater pond index that evaluates system health and identifies infrastructure characteristics that create value for the host community.
  • Researchers integrated nutrient and stormwater management research demonstrations with K-12 science education at local middle schools and at a community center, all located in under-represented neighborhoods of EPA Region 4.
  • Researchers developed and tested a new technology for removal of nitrogen in onsite wastewater treatment systems and designed a demonstration system for implementation in 2017.
  • Researchers developed a concentrically-baffled reactor (CBR)/phototrophic membrane bioreactor (PMBR) that has the potential to be used for sidestream and non-sewered sanitation applications worldwide. Two patents were filed for this new technology.
  • Researchers constructed a laboratory-scale treatment system that demonstrated removal of nitrogen from the effluent of anaerobic digesters and recovery of energy in a microbial fuel cell (MFC) while removing nitrogen.
  • Researchers completed Life Cycle Cost Analysis and Life Cycle Assessment for several nutrient management technologies for discharge and reuse scenarios for: aerobic membrane bioreactors (AeMBR), anaerobic membrane bioreactors (AnMBR), onsite wastewater treatment system, and stormwater bioretention systems.
  • Researchers completed development of the analytical hydroeconomic model of an optimal “closed system” with a point source that will allow us to conduct theoretical and numerical analyses of different nutrient removal and recovery management strategies.
  • Researchers continued development of a modeling framework to quantify watershed-scale water quality impacts of nutrient management technologies and strategies along with a decision support model to provide guidance on optimal location and capacity design of these nutrient management technologies.

Future Activities:

Research Thrust Area 1

The experimental methods and results collected in the project are going to be used as a baseline for further investigation on the collection of urine in the building scale. More specifically, an expanded testbed demonstration will be constructed at Arizona State University to test urine collection technologies under realistic conditions. The testbed will be available for further testing of other nutrient recovery technologies, membrane technologies, and pharmaceutical removal technologies.

Future work related to CBR and PMBR will target the following needs:

  • Increasing organics destruction within the CBR by adding a mixing mechanism or effluent recycle/internal recirculation from the last zone to the central zone, or adding feed pretreatment.
  • Thermophilic temperature phased anaerobic digestion (TPAD) and pathogen destruction within the CBR could be evaluated, which would be especially valuable for high-temperature wastewater streams.
  • Additional attached-growth carrier materials with higher surface areas or catalytic properties could be evaluated for their performance.
  • Different operational conditions for the PMBRs could be explored, such as higher light intensities, lower shear within the reactors, better mixing, different Solids Retention Times (SRTs), etc.
  • The combined CBR and phototrophic MBR processes could be demonstrated using real wastewater as feed, preferably using a pilot scale reactor in order to account for the increased logistical demand associated with feed procurement.

In the near future, effluent from the digester will be collected and centrifuged. The pH of the centrate (sidestream) will be adjusted to a proper range (around 8.0), and Mg2+ (e.g., as MgCl2) and seed struvite (from prior batches) will be added to stimulate the precipitation of struvite. The mass of recovered struvite will be monitored, as will be the liquid-phase concentrations of N and P entering and exiting the struvite reactor. Different process configurations will be tested to determine the most reliable configuration that provides the greatest yield (by mass) of struvite.  The performance of the system (once fully operational) will be monitored for at least 3 months. Assessment of the performance will be based on the mass of struvite recovered (per L of sludge digested), the fraction of P recovered in the struvite, the total fraction of nitrogen removed from the sidestream (including both struvite precipitation and nitrification-denitrification), the voltage and current produced in the MFC, and the net energy production (or consumption). Energy production from the MFC can be assessed without difficulty from the measured voltage and current. Energy consumption by the aeration process in the nitrification reactor will be measured directly if possible (e.g., by a standard digital electronic wattmeter), or else will be estimated based on an oxygen transfer efficiency.

Research Thrust Area 2

  • Perform tracer study before starting next round of experiments on both the modified and conventional bioretention systems with plants added and after all experiments are completed.
  • Start experiments with plants in both systems beginning January 2017 to test removal of different nitrogen species and organic carbon content on both modified and conventional bioretention systems.
  • Measure E. coli counts and calculate removal from both the modified and conventional demonstration system.
  • Encourage K-12 students to use the implemented systems for science fair projects.
  • Construct a bioretention system with interactive transparent glass box packed with the various media layers to demonstrate mechanism by which the media layers work.
  • Construct designed bioretention systems at University of South Florida Campus.
  • Investigate the effect of low ammonium inputs and long idle times on the performance of bench-scale Hybrid Adsorption.Biological Treatment Systems (HABiTS).
  • Calibrate HABiTS stage 1 model by comparison with experimental data.
  • Simulate pilot-scale demonstration performance with the combined models for two-stage HABiTS.
  • Construct and operate pilot-scale demonstration HABiTS (expected January 2017).
  • Perform E. coli and Human Adenoviurs (HAdv) batch adsorption experiments with varying doses of HABiTS media in synthetic wastewater.
  • Perform risk based assessment studies for HAdv (Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment, QMRA) on HABiTS effluent for irrigation reuse.
  • Develop post HABiTS iron oxide treatment for enhanced pathogen and virus inactivation.
  • Finalize stormwater pond index and verify its performance and applicability.
  • Use GIS to create a density distribution profile of stormwater ponds performance and community value in East Tampa.
  • Use the stormwater pond density profile to identify communities within low density areas of green infrastructure that would most profit from the implementation of low impact development (LID) technologies.

Research Thrust Area 3

  • Select a spatially relevant nutrient-loading evaluation model for the Tampa Bay area. There are two nutrient-loading evaluation models available for the Tampa Bay area, including the Tampa Bay Estuary Program (TBEP) model and Spatially Referenced regression On Watershed attributes {SPARROW) model.
  • Conduct a spatial optimization for the selected technology implementation.
  • Share the results of our Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Life Cycle Costs Assessment (LCCA) study and location analysis of OWTS with Elke Ursin, Research Coordinator of Onsite Sewage Programs, at the Florida Department of Health in Tallahassee, FL.
  • Conduct preliminary LCA analysis on the Concentrically Baffled Anaerobic Membrane Bioreactor (CB-AnMBR) based on the performance data provided by the Thrust 1(b) group.
  • Conduct a literature review on the LCA and LCCA of green infrastructure at the system level with spatial and temporal variations.
  • Continue theoretical analysis of the model of a constrained “closed system” with a point source.
  • Calibrate the optimal model to Thrust 1a data and perform simulations.
  • Wrap up nutrient load estimations for the rest of the water quality monitoring stations.
  • Develop database for the right-hand-side variables of the dynamic SPARROW model, including land use land cover, and various pollution sources, through collaboration with TBEP.
  • Develop database for the nutrient control performance and costs through collaboration with TBEP and Thrust 3a researchers.
  • Develop and calibrate the integrated water quality management model.
  • Wrap up cleaning of data on property sales and water quality. Perform econometric analysis on the data using hedonic analysis and panel data models.


Journal Articles: 15 Displayed | Download in RIS Format

Other center views: All 87 publications 16 publications in selected types All 15 journal articles
Type Citation Sub Project Document Sources
Journal Article Cornejo PK, Zhang Q, Mihelcic JR. How does scale of implementation impact the environmental sustainability of wastewater treatment integrated with resource recovery? Environmental Science & Technology 2016;50(13):6680-6689.
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RD835569 (2016)
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  • Journal Article Diaz-Elsayed N, Xu X, Balaguer-Barbosa M, Zhang Q. An evaluation of the sustainability of onsite wastewater treatment systems for nutrient management. Water Research 2017;121:186-196.
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  • Journal Article Ishii SK, Boyer TH. Life cycle comparison of centralized wastewater treatment and urine source separation with struvite precipitation: focus on urine nutrient management. Water Research 2015;79:88-103.
    abstract available   full text available
    RD835569 (2017)
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  • Journal Article Kuwayama Y, Kamen H. What drives the reuse of municipal wastewater? A county-level analysis of Florida. Land Economics 2016;92(4):679-702.
    abstract available  
    RD835569 (2015)
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  • Journal Article Lopez-Ponnada EV, Lynn TJ, Peterson M, Ergas SJ, Mihelcic JR. Application of denitrifying wood chip bioreactors for management of residential non-point sources of nitrogen. Journal of Biological Engineering 2017;11:16 (14 pp).
    abstract available   full text available
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  • Journal Article Lynn TJ, Yeh DH, Ergas SJ. Performance of denitrifying stormwater biofilters under intermittent conditions. Environmental Engineering Science 2015;32(9):796-805.
    abstract available  
    RD835569 (2016)
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  • Journal Article Lynn TJ, Ergas SJ, Nachabe MH. Effect of hydrodynamic dispersion in denitrifying wood-chip stormwater biofilters. Journal of Sustainable Water in the Built Environment 2016;2(4).
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  • Journal Article Lynn TJ, Nachabe MH, Ergas SJ. Modeling denitrifying stormwater biofilters using SWMM5. Journal of Environmental Engineering 2017;143(7):04017017.
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  • Journal Article Ray H, Saetta D, Boyer TH. Characterization of urea hydrolysis in fresh human urine and inhibition by chemical addition. Environmental Science: Water Research & Technology 2018;4(1):87-98.
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  • Journal Article Saetta D, Boyer TH. Mimicking and inhibiting urea hydrolysis in nonwater urinals. Environmental Science & Technology 2017;51(23):13850-13858.
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  • Journal Article Tong S, Rodriguez-Gonzalez LC, Feng C, Ergas SJ. Comparison of particulate pyrite autotrophic denitrification (PPAD) and sulfur oxidizing denitrification (SOD) for treatment of nitrified wastewater. Water Science and Technology 2017;75(1-2):239-246.
    abstract available   full text available
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  • Journal Article Tong S, Stocks JL, Rodriguez-Gonzalez LC, Feng C, Ergas SJ. Effect of oyster shell medium and organic substrate on the performance of a particulate pyrite autotrophic denitrification (PPAD) process. Bioresource Technology 2017;244(Pt 1):296-303.
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  • Journal Article Tong S, Rodriguez-Gonzalez LC, Payne KA, Stocks JL, Feng C, Ergas SJ. Effect of pyrite pretreatment, particle size, dose and biomass concentration on particulate pyrite autotrophic denitrification (PPAD) of nitrified domestic wastewater. Environmental Engineering Science 2018;35(8):875-886.
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  • Journal Article Wang R, Zimmerman JB. Economic and environmental assessment of office building rainwater harvesting systems in various U.S. cities. Environmental Science & Technology 2015;49(3):1768-1778.
    abstract available   full text available
    RD835569 (2014)
    RD835569 (2015)
    RD835569 (2016)
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  • Abstract: ES&T-Abstract
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  • Other: ES&T-Full Text PDF
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  • Journal Article Tong S, Rodriguez-Gonzalez LC, Feng C, Ergas SJ. Comparison of particulate pyrite autotrophic denitrification (PPAD) and sulfur oxidizing denitrification (SOD) for treatment of nitrified wastewater. Water Science & Technology2017;75(1-2):239-246.
    abstract available   full text available
    RD835569 (2016)
  • Abstract from PubMed
  • Full-text: IWA-Full Text HTML
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  • Abstract: IWA-Abstract
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  • Other: IWA Publishing-Full Text-PDF
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  • Relevant Websites:

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    TBEP Rain garden and activities Exit

    Progress and Final Reports:

    Original Abstract
  • 2014 Progress Report
  • 2015 Progress Report
  • 2017 Progress Report
  • Final Report