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Disinfection Along the Muddy MO… What Evil Lurks in these Waters?

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The Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) recently promulgated fecal coliform effluent limitations requiring disinfection of the effluent discharged to the Missouri River from municipal wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). Three plants affected by these new regulations are the Birmingham, the Blue River, and the Westside WWTPs owned and operated by the City of Kansas City, Missouri (KCMO). This paper presents the findings from a preliminary assessment of two of the most common disinfection approaches currently used at WWTPs in the United States: chlorination and ultraviolet (UV) disinfection.

The chlorination study consisted of bench testing to develop chlorination dose response curves and to collect data on disinfection byproduct (DBP) formation. The results indicated that chlorination should effectively meet the new fecal coliform limits; however, the bench scale tests also confirmed that chlorination will generate DBPs, some of which are regulated by water quality standards (WQS). In fact, MDNR has already established water quality standards for some of the DBPs that were found during the testing, namely chloroform, bromodichloromethane, dibromochloromethane, bromoform, and vinyl chloride. The adverse side-effect of DBP formation is likely to make regulators frown upon chlorination as a method of disinfection; therefore, if chlorination is chosen, it is anticipated that NPDES permit limits for DBPs would need to be developed to protect the designated use of the receiving stream.

The UV disinfection study consisted of a 30-day period of sampling and analysis for UV transmittance (UVT), during which measurements were taken during both dry-weather and wet-weather operating conditions. UVT measurements revealed different wet-weather responses for the Birmingham and Westside WWTPs (activated sludge plants) from those of the Blue River WWTP (a trickling filter plant). Transient UVT excursions at the Birmingham and Westside WWTPs appeared to stem from suspended solids carryover caused by high clarifier surface overflow rates (SOR) during wet weather episodes; however, the effluent UVT from the Blue River WWTP appeared to also suffer from soluble UV- absorbing compounds. The Birmingham and Westside WWTPs appear to be good candidates for UV disinfection, while the Blue River WWTP appears to merit further study to determine if treatment process changes are required for UV disinfection to be effective at this trickling filter plant.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2006-01-01

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