Jan 09, 2014

WRF Project Evaluates Biological Filtration

Project provides assistance for utilities looking to boost understanding of biological filtration

Water Research Foundation Project Biological Filtration Toolbox Manual

The Water Research Foundation (WRF) is helping water utilities improve their understanding of monitoring and controlling biological filtration (BF) through a recently completed research project that resulted in a guidance manual that describes and evaluates current BF monitoring and control techniques.

BF is an affordable, effective, but not commonly used water treatment process that reduces multiple contaminants and increases the biological stability in distribution systems while minimizing the production of waste streams and the formation of disinfection byproducts. Other more common water treatment techniques must first isolate and then remove contaminants, which results in waste and can be more costly and energy intensive.

Historically, drinking water utilities in North America have underutilized BF because of the prevailing perception that it is most suitable for wastewater treatment. Utilities interested in utilizing BF do so without the support of industry-accepted design, operations and treatment guidelines and with limited monitoring and control tools.

WRF’s research project “A Monitoring and Control Toolbox for Biological Filtration” (Project #4231) provides a BF monitoring and controlling toolbox that contains practical, innovative and standard monitoring tools for utilities looking to boost their technological understanding and application of BF. The guidance manual describes the tools in the toolbox — their pros and cons, how they are applied, typical measurement ranges, recommended monitoring frequencies and related costs.

“Biological filtration can play a key role in helping water utilities meet the increasing demand for high-quality water,” said Rob Renner, executive director of WRF. “While BF has been in use for decades, its adoption in North America has been fairly limited. This research project provides a comprehensive collection of information and tools to help the water community understand and apply related best practices.”

As part of this study, BF practices at 21 utilities in the U.S. and Canada were evaluated resulting in the development of benchmarks for design, operations and monitoring, as well as the identification of optimal control methods.