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1. Describe some current challenges with drinking water in the US.

Higher Percentage of lead and copper in the drinking water. Environmental Protection Agency reveals
that only nine U.S. states are reporting safe levels of lead in their water supply.
Moreover, the increasing percentage of containments, Marcellus shale containing high salts and
unremoved pharmaceuticals also possess a potential threat to drinking water but currently the main
challenge lies in the water distribution as pipes exposed to corrosion harms the clarity and purity of

2. Define the Safe Drinking Water Act including defining primary and secondary standards,
enforceable and non-enforceable standards, MCL, MCLG and TT, chemical standards,
microbiological standards and radionuclides.

The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) is the federal law that protects public drinking water supplies
throughout the nation. Under the SDWA, EPA sets standards for drinking water quality and with its
partner implements various technical and financial programs to ensure drinking water safety.
There are two categories of drinking water standards:
Primary Standards are enforceable and based on healthrelated criteria
Secondary Standards are unenforceable based on aesthetics (taste, color, odor, color) and non
aesthetics (corrosivity, hardness)

MCL: Maximum Contaminant Level. The highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking
water. MCLs are set as close to the MCLG as feasible using the best available analytical and treatment
technologies and taking cost into consideration. MCLs are enforceable standards.
Example: 0.01 ppm for arsenic, 0.005 ppm for TCE 500 ppm for TDS (total dissolved solids)

MCLG: Maximum Contaminant Level Goal. A non-enforceable health benchmark goal which is set at
a level at which no known or anticipated adverse effect on the health of persons is expected to occur
and which allows an adequate margin of safety.
Example: There is no safe concentration of carcinogens so they all have a MCLG of zero, even though
that is very difficult to achieve

Chemical Standards: Chemical contaminants of drinking-water are often considered a lower priority
than microbial contaminants, because adverse health effects from chemical contaminants are generally
associated with long-term exposures, whereas the effects from microbial contaminants are usually
immediate. Nonetheless, chemicals in water supplies can cause very serious problems.

Chemical Standards 1. Inorganic chemicals

a. Arsenic: MCL = 0.01 ppm
b. Nitrate: MCL = 10 ppm
c. Lead: TT if 10% of samples exceed 15 ppb, take action
d. Copper: TT is 10% of samples exceed 1.3 ppm, take action
TT: Treatment Technique. A required process intended to reduce the level of a contaminant in
drinking water.
Example: most microbiological contaminants are too difficult to measure in concentrations so the
standard specifies that they are treated a certain way.

The National Primary Drinking Water Regulations (NPDWRs or primary standards) are legally
enforceable standards that apply to public water systems. Primary standards protect public health by
limiting the levels of contaminants in drinking water. Visit the list below of regulated contaminants
for details.

Microbiological Standards
1. Measurements:
a. use indicator organisms such as coliform
b. typical feces has 50 million /gram SO
c. absence of coliform indicates a lack of other pathogens
2. Standards:
a. For population > 10,000, no more than 5% of samples can show coliform
b. For population < 10,000, test 40 samples a month, < 1 sample can test positive

1. Radioactive compounds
a. Combined Radium226 and Radium228
b. Strontium 90 (from nuclear weapons)
c. Uranium: 0.03 ppm

3. Describe the difference between groundwater and surface water include the types of
contaminants found in each and the types of treatment used for each.

Water is generally classified into two groups: surface water and groundwater. In
general: Groundwater is located underground in large aquifers and must be pumped out of the ground
after drilling a deep well. Surface water is found in lakes, rivers and streams and is drawn into the
public water supply by an intake.

Groundwater contamination occurs when man-made products such as gasoline, oil, road salts and
chemicals get into the groundwater and cause it to become unsafe and unfit for human use.
Atmospheric Contaminants, Chemicals and Road Salts, Landfills, Uncontrolled Hazardous
Waste, Septic Systems, Storage Tanks are the potential source of ground water contamination.
Surface water includes natural water found on the earth's surface, like rivers, lakes, lagoons and
oceans. Hazardous substances coming into contact with this surface water, dissolving or mixing
physically with the water can be called surface water pollution

Two processes are commonly used to treat surface water:

- Conventional treatment including clarification (coagulation/flocculation, sedimentation or dissolved
air flotation), sand filtration, activated carbon adsorption and disinfection.
- Advanced treatment based on ultrafiltration technology
Surface Water treatment:
Ground water Treatment

4. Put the following processes in order in a water treatment plant: chlorination contact tank,
flocculation tank, settling tank (clarifier), sand filter, screens and grit chamber and explain the
reason for the order

a): Screens and Grit Chamber

b): flocculation tank
c): settling tank (clarifier),
d): sand filter
e): chlorination contact tank

1. Given the size and density of particles and the flowrate of water, design a clarifier to
remove these particles (e.g. find the diameter of a cylindrical clarifier or given the L/W ratio,
calculate the L and W required).

Clarifiers are settling tanks built with mechanical means for continuous removal of solids being
deposited by sedimentation

5. Describe how flocculation works and how it aids in removing particles.

Flocculation is considered to be part of the coagulation process and can take place in different
types of equipment. A simple mechanical stirrer can be used for flocculation or a specially
designed channel with baffles to create the desired flow conditions can also be used to flocculate
the particles in the water. The basis of the design of a flocculation channel is that the flow
velocity of the water has to be reduced from a high initial value to a much lower value to enable
large, strong flocs to grow. If the flow velocity is too high the flocs may break up again, causing
settling of the broken flocs to be incomplete.
The objective of the flocculation step is to cause the individual destabilised colloidal particles to
collide with one another and with the precipitate formed by the coagulant in order to form larger
floc particles. Flocculation involves the stirring of water to which a coagulant has been added at a
slow rate, causing the individual particles to collide with each other and with the flocs formed
by the coagulant. In this way the destabilised individual colloidal particles are agglomerated and
incorporated into the larger floc particles

6. Describe two ways to remove hardness from water.

There are a number of methods to remove the hardness present in water. One those methods are being
followed, the hard water gets converted to soft water. Some of the methods to remove hardness from
water are,
Chemical Process of Boiling Hard Water
Adding Slaked Lime (Clark's Process)
Adding Washing Soda
Calgon Process
Ion Exchange Process
Using Ion Exchange Resins
Ion Exchange Process (Permutit Process)

Permutit or sodium aluminium silicate is a complex chemical compound, which occurs as a natural
mineral called Zeolite. Permutit or zeolites are insoluble in water and have the property of exchanging
ions present in them with the ions present in the solution.
Permutit or zeolites are packed in a suitable container and a slow stream of hard water is passed
through this material. As a result, calcium and magnesium ions present in hard water are exchanged
with sodium ions in the permutit (Na+Al-Silicate). The outgoing water contains sodium salts, which do
not cause hardness.

This is the basic concept of ion exchange and hardness removal.

Adding Washing Soda

Calcium and magnesium ions present in hard water react with sodium carbonate to produce insoluble
carbonates. The water now contains soluble and harmless sodium salts.

7. Describe the goal of chlorination of drinking water.

Chlorination is the process of adding chlorine to drinking water to disinfect it and kill germs. Different
processes can be used to achieve safe levels of chlorine in drinking water. Chlorine is available as
compressed elemental gas, sodium hypochlorite solution (NaOCl) or solid calcium hypochlorite
(Ca(OCl)2 1. While the chemicals could be harmful in high doses, when they are added to water, they
all mix in and spread out, resulting in low levels that kill germs but are still safe to drink 2.
As a halogen, chlorine is a highly efficient disinfectant, and isadded to public water supplies to kill
disease-causing pathogens, such as bacteria, viruses, and protozoans, that commonly grow
in water supply reservoirs, on the walls ofwater mains and in storage tanks.
8. Explain how the effectiveness of chlorine changes with pH.

The disinfectant power of Free Chlorine is relative to the pH of the water.

As pH increases, the chlorine becomes less effective. As pH decreases, the chlorine becomes more

pH Effectiveness of Free Chlorine

6.0 97%
7.0 75%
7.2 63%
7.5 49%
7.6 39%
7.8 28%
8.0 3%
9. Source: NSW Health Advisory Dec 2012
10. BUT if the pH is too low (acidic), the water will be corrosive to the pool surface and it will
sting the eyes and irritate the skin.
To reduce pH, add acid
To increase pH, add Buffer

9. State the advantages and disadvantages of the following disinfection strategies:

chlorination, UV light, chloramines, ozone.

The advantages of water chlorination:

1. Controls Disease-Causing Bacteria: Disease-causing bacteria may enter the well during
construction, repair, flooding or as a result of improper construction. Proper chlorination will kill these
2. Controls Nuisance Organisms: Chlorine treatment will control nuisance organisms such as iron,
slime and sulfate-reducing bacteria. Iron bacteria feed on the iron in the water.
3. Mineral Removal: Large amounts of iron can be removed from water by adding chlorine to oxidize
the clear soluble iron into the filterable reddish insoluble form. Chlorine helps remove manganese and
hydrogen sulfide in the same way.
The disadvantages of water chlorination:
1. No Nitrate Removal: Chlorine will not remove nitrates from water. The claims of some water
treatment firms imply that nitrates can be removed by chlorination. This is not true. Adding chlorine
may prevent nitrates from being reduced to the toxic nitrite form; however, nitrates are not removed
from water by chlorination.
2. Causes Smell and Bad Taste: Chlorine in water is not poisonous to humans or animals. However, if
the concentration is great enough the water will taste bad so consumption may be reduced. Some
people object to the smell and/or taste of very small amounts of chlorine. In those cases an activated
carbon or charcoal filter may be used to remove the chlorine from the drinking water.
3. Trihalomethanes (THMs) are organic chemicals that may form when chlorine is used to treat water
supplies that contain humic compounds. Humic compounds form as a part of the decomposition of
organic materials such as leaves, grass, wood or animal wastes. Because THMs are very seldom
associated with groundwater, they are primarily a concern where surface water supplies are used.
Lifetime consumption of water supplies with THMs at a level greater than 0.10 milligrams per liter is
considered by the Environmental Protection Agency to be a potential cause of cancer. THMs can be
removed from drinking water through use of an activated carbon filter.

Advantages of UV water purifier

Cost effective, inexpensive. UV rays source bulb uses approximately 60 watts of power which quite
equivalent to normally used a light bulb.
Dont use any chemicals. Therefore, water taste and colour unaltered.
Gives instantly purified water. Just you have to switch on electricity supply and get purified water
instantly, whereas other water purifiers take much more time to purify.
Disadvantages of UV water purifier
Not removes dissolved impurities: UV water purifier kill bacteria and viruses but does not remove
dissolved impurities such as pesticides, rust, arsenic, fluoride etc. Does not convert hard water to
sweet, soft water.
No water storage tank: Most of the UV water purifiers dont have water storage tank. The user has
filled water in the external bottle.
Requires electricity: UV water purifier requires electricity to run. If in your area has frequent
electricity cut off and water purifier dont have storage tank then you dont have any source for
purified water until electricity came.
Not effective on muddy water :UV water purifier is not effective when water contains muddy. In
case muddy water, first water passes through any other purifier system then pass through the UV water
UV light shutoff: As UV light is invisible, its very hard to know whether UV purifier is working or
not. If UV purifier stops working and user unable to find out, results UV water purifier delivers
impure water. Thats why most of the experts suggest replacing UV water purifier tube should have to
replace once a year.
UV rays does not remain in water once water is purified. In the case of UV rays miss any
microorganism while purifying, that remaining microorganisms increase their population and impure
the water. It is advisable to use chlorination after water purified through the UV

Primary Advantages to Ozone

1. Ozone is effect over a wide pH range and rapidly reacts with bacteria, viruses, and protozoans and
has stronger germicidal properties then chlorination. Has a very strong oxidizing power with a short
reaction time.
2.The treatment process does not add chemicals to the water.
3. Ozone can eliminate a wide variety of inorganic, organic and microbiological problems and taste
and odor problems. The microbiological agents include bacteria, viruses, and protozoans (such as
Giardia and Cryptosporidium).

Disadvantages to Ozone
1. There are higher equipment and operational costs and it may be more difficult to find professional
proficient in ozone treatment and system maintenance.
2. Ozonation provides no germicidal or disinfection residual to inhibit or prevent regrowth.
3. Ozonation by-products are still being evaluated and it is possible that some by-products by be
carcinogenic. These may include brominated by-products, aldehydes, ketones, and carboxylic
acids. This is one reason that the post-filtration system may include an activate carbon filter.
4.The system may require pretreatment for hardness reduction or the additional of polyphosphate to
prevent the formation of carbonate scale.
5.Ozone is less soluble in water, compared to chlorine, and, therefore, special mixing techniques are
6.Potential fire hazards and toxicity issues associated with ozone generation.

11. Describe the challenges with sand filtration, reverse osmosis and activated carbon.
Sand filtration is a frequently used very robust method to remove suspended solids from water.
The filtration medium consists of a multiple layer of sand with a variety in size and specific
When the filters are loaded with particles, the flow direction is reversed and the flow is increased to
clean the filter again. This step is called a backwash. Biggest challenge is Clogging in filtration.

Reverse Osmosis works by using a high pressure pump to increase the pressure on the salt side of the
RO and force the water across the semi-permeable RO membrane, leaving almost all (around 95% to
99%) of dissolved salts behind in the reject stream. The amount of pressure required depends on the
salt concentration of the feed water. The more concentrated the feed water, the more pressure is
required to overcome the osmotic pressure
Activated carbon filters can remove dissolved organics
Goal of activated carbon filters: removes organics, especially those that create color and
Odor or for VOCs, SOCs

12. Given the dimensions and properties of a contaminant, determine whether it will be
removed with: settling, sand filtration, reverse osmosis, and activation carbon.
Particles greater than 1 micrometer settle down and less that are treated through coagulant tank and
flocculation tank. Large pathogens are filtered. Activated Carbon filters remove organics especially
those that create color and odor or for VOCs, SOCs
Reverse osmosis remove soluble solids.

13. Put the following processes in order in a wastewater treatment plant: chlorination contact
tank, primary settling tank (primary clarifier), secondary settling tank (secondary clarifier),
activated sludge tank, screens and grit chamber.

The order of processes is as following

Screens and grit chamber,
primary settling tank,
activated sludge,
secondary settling tank,
chlorination contact tank

14. Describe the purpose of the following processes (especially what they are designed to
remove): activated sludge tank, primary clarifier, secondary clarifier.
Primary Treatment is physical treatment to remove suspended solids.
Secondary Treatment converts BOD into SS and then removes SS: Microbes convert wastes into
stabilized low-energy compounds (e.g. CO2, water, methane
Activated sludge plant involves:
1. wastewater aeration in the presence of a microbial suspension,
2. solid-liquid separation following aeration,
3. discharge of clarified effluent,
4. wasting of excess biomass, and
5. return of remaining biomass to the aeration tank.
In activated sludge process wastewater containing organic matter is aerated in an aeration basin in
which micro-organisms metabolize the suspended and soluble organic matter

15. Describe the difference between an activated sludge tank and a trickling filter.
Trickling filters require more area, costly to construct, odor problem, less sensitive to shock loads,
Activated sludge is credited with ability to produce high quality effluent, quicker response to control
measures, difficult to operate, unstable and unreliable and excessive sludge production,

16. Explain in words why the F/M ratio should be low in the activated sludge tank.
A high F:M ratio means there is a greater quantity of food relative to the quantity of microorganisms
available to consume that food. When the F:M ratio is high, the bacteria are active and dispersed and
they multiply rapidly. But with a high F:M ratio the bacteria will not form a good floc.
17. Given the description of a wastewater treatment plant, draw a diagram of the plant and
label all streams with S,
X and Q (when