Orange County Water District receives $118,000 to research trace organics

The Orange County Water District was recently awarded a $118,000 grant from EPA to conduct research on low-molecular-weight trace organic compounds.

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., June 26, 2001 — The Orange County Water District (OCWD) was recently awarded a $118,000 grant from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) to conduct research on low-molecular-weight trace organic compounds — or compounds with a very low detection level — commonly found in wastewater environments.

During 2001, the District's Water Resources & Technology Department will focus on two specific research projects.

Numerous state-of-the-art ultraviolet (UV) technologies will be assessed for their ability to remove the low-molecular-weight trace compounds such as methyl tertiary-butyl ether, otherwise known as MTBE. Specific objectives to be addressed include reviewing the quantity of UV exposure needed in the design and operation of future water purification plants.

Reverse osmosis (RO) membranes will also be evaluated for their ability to remove similar compounds. Since the development of the RO membrane, numerous improvements have been made in the design and use of new synthetic membrane materials. The treatment of low-molecular-weight trace compounds by RO membranes is particularly challenging due to their very small size. The ability of RO membranes to remove these compounds will be evaluated using a rapid and inexpensive testing protocol currently in development by OCWD's Technology Department.

OCWD has a long history of water quality research to ensure public health and safety. For more than 25 years, OCWD has sampled and tested the groundwater to ensure high quality water is being provided to north and central Orange County cities. The OCWD Water Resources & Technology Department conducts basic and applied research leading to the development of new, more effective technologies to protect OCWD's groundwater.

Orange County Water District is a special agency that was created by the California State Legislature in 1933 to maintain and manage the groundwater basin under northern and central Orange County. OCWD's groundwater basin supplies 75% of the water needs in Anaheim, Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Cypress, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Irvine, La Palma, Los Alamitos, Newport Beach, Orange, Placentia, Santa Ana, Seal Beach, Stanton, Tustin, Villa Park, Westminster and Yorba Linda.

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