Innovative Applications of Peracetic Acid for Wastewater Recycling

PI: Ning Dai

Co-I: Lauren Sassoubre, John Atkinson, Blaine Pfeifer

Funding Source: New York State Pollution Prevention Institute

Background: Wastewater recycling is critical for the sustainable development of the New York State (NYS) economy. Its implementation is, however, impeded by high treatment costs and concerns about the quality of recycled wastewater, especially regarding pathogens and trace organic contaminants.

Objectives: The proposed project will develop innovative peracetic acid (PAA)-based disinfection and oxidation technologies for wastewater recycling to simultaneously improve the quality of recycled wastewater and reduce treatment costs. The specific objectives are to:

1.      Determine the disinfection performance of PAA and PAA combined with ultraviolet light (PAA/UV) to inactivate pathogens and minimize disinfection byproduct formation;

2.      Evaluate the performance of PAA and PAA/UV as oxidants for the removal of trace organic contaminants of concern;

3.      Assess the cost and environmental impacts of PAA and PAA/UV technologies.

Methodology: This is a collaborative project between the University at Buffalo and PeroxyChem, a global manufacturer and supplier of PAA with primary manufacturing facility located in Tonawanda, NY. The Interested End-users supporting this project include wastewater utilities (Erie County Division of Sewerage Management and Amherst Water Pollution Control Facility), engineering consulting businesses (AECOM and GHD), and a non-profit organization (Insyte Consulting).

This project will incorporate laboratory investigation, field sampling (supported by participating wastewater utilities), and pilot-scale testing (supported by PerxoyChem) to develop and validate two models that predict the disinfection and oxidation performance of PAA-based systems, respectively, as a function of wastewater characteristics. PAA-based technologies will be compared against the industry standard technologies: chlorine disinfection and UV/hydrogen peroxide oxidation. The cost of the PAA technologies will be assessed using operational data provided by the wastewater utilities and the environmental benefits will be assessed via life cycle assessment.

Expected Outcome and Potential Impacts: The models developed in this study will be the first to quantitatively predict the disinfection and oxidation performance of PAA systems with a wide variety of wastewater characteristics. It will allow wastewater utilities to quickly identify optimal PAA application strategies. The cost analysis and LCA will highlight the feasibility as well as economic and environmental benefits of PAA technologies.

If successful, the proposed project will enable PAA to replace the current disinfectant and oxidant, enabling safe wastewater recycling at a reduced cost, which will benefit the NYS environment and the operation of wastewater utilities. The market created for PAA in NYS and beyond will lead to revenue income for PeroxyChem, as a global leader in PAA manufacturing. Using the PAA technologies, NYS consulting businesses will be more competitive in wastewater recycling projects on both the local and national levels.