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Point-of-entry treatment of petroleum contaminated water supplies

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Contamination of individual wells in rural areas from leaking petroleum storage tanks poses unique problems for regulatory agencies, utilities, and potentially responsible parties. A potential solution is the use of point-of-entry (POE) treatment techniques. Results indicate POE systems using aeration followed by granular activated carbon (GAC) are a viable, cost effective, short-term solution while ground water remediation is performed or an alternate drinking water supply is secured. Selection and design of POE systems should consider variations in water usage and contaminant concentrations. Iron and manganese did not affect POE system performance at the ten sites studied. However, iron precipitation was observed and may pose problems in some POE applications. Increased concentrations of nonpurgeable dissolved organic carbon consisting primarily of methy-t-butyl ether (MTBE) and hydrophilic petroleum hydrocarbons were found in the raw waters but did not affect volatile organic chemical (VOC) removals by aeration or GAC. Microbial activity as measured by heterotrophic plate count significantly increased through four of the ten POE systems studied. Reliability of the POE systems will best be achieved by specifying top quality system components, educating POE users, and providing routine maintenance and VOC monitoring.

Keywords: activated carbon; diffused bubble aeration; iron; microbial activity; petroleum contamination; point-of-entry

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 1993

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  • Water Environment Research® (WER®) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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