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Characterization and Treatability of TOC from DPR Processes Compared to Surface Water Supplies

RFP Open Date: December 11, 2015
RFP Close Date: January 28, 2016
Utility Participation List

Project: 15-04
Type: Scientific Investigation
Program: Principal
Budget: $466,666 (Cash: $350,000; Matching Funds: $116,666)


Purified water total organic compound (TOC) requirements vary between potable reuse projects.  Full-scale projects in Virginia (Upper Occoquan Service Authority) and Georgia (Gwinnett County) require chemical oxygen demand (COD) of 10 mg/L and 18 mg/L, respectively (roughly 3-4 mg/L TOC). Florida regulations require a TOC of less than 3 mg/L. EPA provides guidance that TOC concentrations be less than or equal to 2 mg/L for reclaimed water of wastewater origin that will be used for indirect potable reuse. This federal guideline applies to reclaimed water for augmentation of potable aquifers by surface spreading or direct injection and for augmentation of surface water supply reservoirs. The EPA guidance is applicable to Indirect Potable Reuse and therefore further guidance on appropriate TOC limits for Direct Potable Reuse projects is necessary.

Goals and Objectives

The intent of this research is to identify the acceptable organic carbon concentration quality of purified water of wastewater origin for use in Direct Potable Reuse without focusing on the treatment technology available to achieve it. This research will coincide with related Foundation Research Projects currently in progress. The objectives are as follows:

  • Develop framework for determination of site-specific total organic carbon (TOC) guidelines for utilities considering DPR
  • Determine the range of acceptable TOC concentrations and characteristics from alternative advanced water treatment approaches on potable water reuse projects
  • Characterize organic matter for drinking water source, potable water, secondary effluent, and non-RO based purified water treatment (e.g., O3, BAC, GAC, UV, Cl2) for each geographic location studied
  • Evaluate TOC removal and subsequent disinfection byproduct (DBP) formation as compared to Surface Water Treatment Rule (SWTR) requirements based on alkalinity and TOC classification bins
  • Determine recommended TOC, dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and assimilable organic carbon (AOC) concentrations for potable reuse product waters that will be blended with other raw water sources entering a potable drinking water treatment plant or that will be blended with other finished potable drinking water in the potable water distribution system going directly to consumers

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