Multiple Barrier Treatment for Indirect Potable Reuse: Considerations for Trace Contaminants of Emerging Concern

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The Logan Township Municipal Utilities Authority was awarded a $4.1-million grant from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection based on a proposal, developed by Metcalf & Eddy to design an indirect potable reuse treatment and injection system to replenish potable groundwater supplies, the first of its kind in the northeastern US. The treatment train was selected based on an alternatives evaluation, with finished water quality goals set to meet or
exceed drinking water standards. The multiple barrier treatment train incorporates membrane bioreactors; reverse osmosis; and an advanced oxidation process with UV-light and hydrogen peroxide. The product will be 750,000 gpd of water that meets or exceeds primary drinking water quality standards prior to injection into a potable drinking water aquifer.

The proposed treatment train was pilot tested at LTMUA in 2005. Effluent was tested for the Environmental Protection Agency-regulated primary and secondary drinking water contaminants. It also included sampling, in partnership with the US Geological Survey, of both the pilot plant and the existing full-scale wastewater treatment plant for chemical and in vitro analyses of a broad suite of trace organic wastewater contaminants including natural and synthetic hormones, household and industrial chemicals including commonly used pharmaceutical and personal care products in order to determine the presence of compounds of concern, and their associated estrogenicity, in water intended for indirect potable reuse. Groundand surface-water samples were also collected for comparison of the reclaimed water with existing public water supply sources.

This project aimed to exceed water quality expectations by looking beyond conventional indicators to trace contaminants to improve understanding of their removal through a state-of-the-art reclamation system. A description of the proposed system upgrade, the pilot study and findings are the focus of this paper.

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