Hydrothermal/Thermal Decomposition of Perchlorate

EPA Contract Number: 68D99032
Title: Hydrothermal/Thermal Decomposition of Perchlorate
Investigators: Li, Lixiong
Current Investigators: Li, Lixiong , Coppola, Edward N.
Small Business: Applied Research Associates Inc.
EPA Contact: Richards, April
Phase: I
Project Period: September 1, 1999 through March 1, 2000
Project Amount: $69,978
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (1999) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Watersheds , SBIR - Water and Wastewater , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)


Perchlorate has become a serious problem in the western United States and affects the drinking water of more than 23 million people. Applied Research Associates (ARA) developed a drinking water treatment process for perchlorate that combines ion exchange with a thermal destruction process. Ion exchange demonstrations in the San Gabriel Valley and at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, have shown that ion exchange is a practical and efficient approach for removal of perchlorate ions from groundwater. One potential drawback of ion exchange is that salt for resin regeneration could cost hundreds of dollars per acre-foot of treated water. Preliminary experiments conducted by ARA established that thermal treatment of the brine would completely decompose the perchlorate ion and enable the brine to be reused. Efficient heat, brine, and by-product recovery make the combined processes very economical. The process offers many benefits over other technologies; it is a nonbiological process that negates contamination concerns; it does not use expensive catalysts or reducing agents; it is not subject to fouling; it enables complete reuse of ion exchange brine; it destroys perchlorate to nondetect concentrations; it removes and destroys nitrate; and it generates small quantities of nontoxic emissions.

The objectives of this project are to demonstrate two different thermal treatment approaches; both surrogate and actual ion exchange brines will be used. Process variables will be evaluated, and destruction efficiencies and rates will be determined. Preliminary process designs and costs will be developed.

The proposed process will remove and destroy perchlorate for any drinking water contamination problem. ARA estimates as many as 200 specific applications in the United States. This flexible process also can be applied to groundwater remediation problems and industrial wastewater treatment. The broad need, coupled with low treatment costs and high destruction efficiencies for this process, results in high potential for commercialization.

Supplemental Keywords:

small business, SBIR, water treatment, engineering, EPA., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Toxics, Water, Geographic Area, Waste, Chemistry, Contaminant Candidate List, Engineering, Drinking Water, Engineering, Chemistry, & Physics, West Coast, Groundwater remediation, hydrothermal decomposition, industrial wastewater, nitrates, perchlorate, hydrothermal decompostion, treatment, drinking water treatment, water treatment, other - risk management, ion exchange

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report