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Drinking Water Contaminants

In addition to the Center's original mission focusing on the removal of nitrogen from wastewater, the Center has begun researching the development and evaluation of methods to remove emerging contaminants from drinking water supplies. This effort represents the initial phase of a State-sponsored, multi-year program to proactively address emerging contaminants in drinking water. The program has three interrelated objectives:

  1. providing grants to support the pilot testing of treatment technologies by water suppliers;
  2. evaluating the efficacy of pilot treatment technologies; and
  3. research and development of novel or refined treatment technologies to remove targeted contaminants from drinking water.

Toward this end, the Center’s initial focus is on removal of 1,4-dioxane from drinking waters. 1,4-Dioxane is a probable human carcinogen and a widespread contaminant in Long Island water supplies, with some of the nation’s highest concentrations detected here (up to 33 μg L -1). The Center is establishing a pilot program to test the effectiveness and feasibility of advanced/alternative water treatment technologies (e.g. Advanced Oxidation Processes (AOP) such as UV/H 2O 2 treatment) to remove 1,4-dioxane from drinking waters. In addition to the pilot program, research is being conducted to (i) understand the fate and transformation of 1,4-dioxane, and formation of other toxic reaction byproducts during AOP treatment, and (ii) test combination of other treatment techniques with AOP (e.g. Granular Activated Carbon (GAC), Biological Activated Carbon (BAC) etc.) to enhance the removal of 1,4-dioxane and their byproducts.

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