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Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
Biological Removal of Nitrate and Perchlorate from
Groundwater

 


 

The city of Pasadena, a member agency of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (Metropolitan), has groundwater wells contaminated with perchlorate and nitrate. Typical treatment processes such as reverse osmosis and ion exchange generate brine waste streams that require disposal. As a result of a congressional mandate, Metropolitan was awarded federal funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to pursue a 3-year research study entitled: "Biological Treatment for Perchlorate Removal from Groundwater." As the prime recipient of this award with oversight responsibilities, Metropolitan retained the services of WQTS to complete the activities planned under this project, which included an extensive literature review, bench-scale testing, and an 8-month pilot study of hydrogen-based autotrophic biological treatment for the removal of perchlorate and nitrate from the City's groundwater. The by-products of the biological process are merely nitrogen gas, chloride ion, and water. The testing was conducted at one of the City's wells using a packed column reactor designed and constructed by WQTS. The study demonstrated that the packed column reactor was capable of effective and reliable nitrate and perchlorate removal.

 
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