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Physico-chemical water and wastewater treatment

Homework Set

Problem 1.
A municipal authority responsible for both water and wastewater treatment is confronted by a serious
organic contamination problem. A halogenated solvent used in the spray cleaning of bus wheels in a
municipal terminal has in the past been discharged from a floor drain to the municipal wastewater
treatment plant. New pretreatment regulations require that the concentration of this solvent in the
discharge be reduced from its current level of 1mg/L to a level of 50 g/L. some environmental
damage has already been done, however, in that losses of the solvent from the municipal sewer system
have contaminated both the shallow and deep aquifers of the region, the latter of which is used as a
source of raw water supply for the municipality. The shallow aquifer has an average level of 20 g/L
of the contaminant, and the deep aquifer a level of 5 g/L. The municipality is required to remediate
the shallow aquifer to a level of no more than 5 g/L, and drinking water regulations require no more
than 1 g/L in the treated water supply. The engineering staff of the municipality determined that the
best approach to each of these problems is to treat with powdered activated carbon.
Samples of activated carbon from three major suppliers are obtained. Adsorption isotherms are
constructed for each of the three carbons with the organic solvent (contaminant). The isotherms are
shown in the figure below.

QUESTION: Which of the carbons (identified as A, B, and C in the figure) will you select for each of
the contamination problem you need to solve: (1) pretreatment of the bus cleaning rinse waters, (2)
remediation of the shallow aquifer, and (3) meeting the drinking water regulations (deep aquifer).
Explain and justify your answer (very important !). Assume that the costs of the carbons per pound
are equal. Mention all other assumptions you have made.
Problem 2.
Iron coated clays can adsorb phosphorus (P). A municipality is considering the use of these materials
for the removal of P from the town’s wastewater prior to discharge into a lake. The following data
were obtained in a laboratory using iron coated clays and secondary effluent from the town’s
treatment facility.

P adsorbed (mg P/g clay) P in solution (mg P/L)

0.2 0.055
0.3 0.088
0.5 0.182
1.0 0.5
1.7 2.78

The concentration of P in the wastewater is 8mg/L and the waste flow is 3 MGD. The maximum P
concentration allowed in the effluent is 1 mg/L (set by regulations).

a) Determine the maximum P adsorption capacity of this clay (mg P/g clay)
b) Estimate the amount of clay required (Kg/month) to remove P in a CSTR operation.
c) Estimate the amount of clay required (Kg/month) to remove P in a packed bed (fixed
adsorber) operation.
d) State advantages of the process, and any limitations to the calculations.

Problem 3.
Treated domestic wastewater effluent is used to recharge a shallow groundwater aquifer. The
number concentration of bacteria cells reaching the ground water table is 107 per mL. A well
that is used to supply drinking water is located 100m downgradient of the recharge site.
Calculate the number of bacterial cells reaching the well. The following data are given:
bacterial cell diameter = 0.9 m; cell density = 1.0 2 g/cm3; aquifer average grain size = 0.35
mm; ground water temperature = 15oC; groundwater velocity = 10-5 m/s; Hamaker constant =
610-21 J; porosity = 0.36. Experiments showed that the attachment efficiency of bacterial
cells to aquifer matrix is 0.001.

Mention all assumption you have made.

Problem 4.
A large number of viruses has been introduced to a groundwater which recharged by a
secondary wastewater effluent. The viruses have a diameter of 40nm (0.04m) and their
charge is similar to that of the aquifer porous media (i.e., both are negatively charged). Will
the travel distance (i.e., the extent of travel or transport) of the viruses in the groundwater
INCREASE, DECREASE, or REMAIN CONSTANT with the following changes in the
system” Explain our answers~! Your explanation should be precise. Use quantitative
expressions or graphs where appropriate.

a) Increase in groundwater temperature

b) Decrease in groundwater velocity
c) Aggregation of the viruses as they move in the groundwater
d) Increase in the hardness of the groundwater
e) Increase in the concentration of NOM.