In January 2018, the NJDEP adopted a Groundwater Quality Standard of 0.4 parts per billion (ppb) for 1,4-dioxane, a synthetic organic chemical that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has labeled a “likely human carcinogen.” While there are currently no federal or state drinking water standards, the state’s Drinking Water Quality Institute has proposed a drinking water standard of 0.33 ppb.
Historically, 1,4-dioxane has been used as a solvent in adhesives, degreasers, resins, oils and waxes, and in the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals, plastics, and other products. Unfortunately, it is one of the contaminants most challenging to remove from water and cannot be removed by conventional filtration.
Several years ago, H2M architects + engineers began studying the science of 1,4-dioxane removal from water and, working with water supply clients, performed more than 40 pilot studies to assess a system known as Advanced Oxidation Processes (AOP) to treat drinking water.
While AOP has been used for groundwater remediation projects, more commonly in western states, it has not been widely performed for drinking water systems. However, with pending drinking water regulations possible in New York, New Jersey, and likely many other states, cost effective, efficient, forward thinking solutions will be necessary to comply with potential regulations and be implemented quickly.
H2M has arrived at a model solution that utilizes low pressure ultra-violet (UV) reactors and hydrogen peroxide as the primary oxidant. Adjusting UV and peroxide dosages to match specific water chemistries, H2M has developed raw water quality specific designs that, coupled with commonly used treatment systems such as granulated activated carbon and packed aeration towers, can provide regulatory compliant solutions.
Based on site-specific assessments, AOP systems for removal of 1,4-dioxane from drinking water can be used in similar remediation efforts for groundwater in New Jersey and elsewhere.
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