Orange County Water District Awarded Two U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Grants for Water Purification Research

Emerging Issues, Resource Recovery

The United States Bureau of Reclamation recently announced its selection of sixteen research projects to receive funding under the Desalination and Water Purification Research Program (DWPR), two of which will be conducted in part by Orange County Water District’s (OCWD) research and development staff. Of the $3.5 million that the DWPR awarded, $350,000 will go to OCWD research.

“OCWD’s research and development staff research promising new technologies to improve water quality and increase efficiencies in water purification and groundwater recharge operations,” stated OCWD president Denis Bilodeau. “They conduct applied research to evaluate technologies and develop new processes and methods, often through collaboration with top universities and leading experts. We are very honored to be awarded this funding to help make further advancements in potable reuse.”

The Orange County Water District partnered with Trussell Technologies, Inc. to propose research into novel online surrogates to monitor reverse osmosis (RO) performance in water reuse applications. When purifying water for potable reuse, pathogen removal credit for RO systems is dependent upon proving continuous integrity of the membranes, usually through online monitoring of a surrogate for virus rejection. In order to obtain greater log removal credits, new surrogates are necessary. The results of this testing will be key to lowering barriers to potable reuse, which serves the DWPR’s goal of increasing water supplies by treating impaired and otherwise unusable waters. This project was awarded $150,000 and will be conducted at OCWD via field testing in the OCWD RO facility. The study will take 18 months to complete, with an estimated completion date of February 2020.

The second project involves a partnership between OCWD and the University of California, Riverside to develop innovative water reuse systems harnessing chloramine photochemistry for potable water reuse. The project received $200,000 in funding and will proceed at the pilot-scale level, which allows testing of the technical, practical and economic viability of a process in a manner representative of a larger scale. The testing will be conducted at OCWD. The overall goal is to increase water supply and reduce operational costs, energy consumption and environmental impacts of water reuse systems. The length of the project will be 24 months, with an estimated completion date of September 2020.