A. Research Projects

a. Emerging technologies and approaches to minimize discharges into Lake Michigan

The purpose of the PWI-Argonne study is to screen emerging technologies that could help BP and other Great Lakes area industries to address wastewater treatment challenges resulting from new and more stringent permit limits. The PWI-Argonne study will also generate a comparative analysis of municipal, industrial, and non-point source discharges to the Great Lakes Basin. BP will review the study results in evaluating whether there are new technologies and processes that could be implemented to treat the refinery’s process waste stream before it reaches the wastewater treatment facility, and/or at the facility itself.

b. Sensor Technology (Don Gray, George Nnanna, and Hal Pinnick)

Distribution Systems have been recognized as the part of water supply systems that is most vulnerable to deliberate contamination. In order to be truly innovative, new monitoring systems need to be able to operate unattended, online, in real time and be integrated into a distributed sensor network that minimizes false positives and negatives. The term “Sensor” is used to generally to describe methods for detecting small molecules, cations (such as Na+, Ca2+ and Hg2+), and anions (such as Cl- and oxyanions such as AsO33- (AsIII) and AsO43- (AsV)).

The PWI has embarked on two major sensor projects: a) Multi-parameter sensors where a suit of sensors (PH, turbidity, conductivity, dissolved oxygen) will be instrumented in a water distribution piping network to detect changes in physiochemical and thermal properties of water in the presence of contaminants. In this effort, a lab-scale model of the City of Hammond, IN, water piping network will be designed and built, and sensors attached to pre-selected locations will monitor the variations in contaminant concentration and properties. b) Quartz Crystal Microbalance (QCM) is a miniature scale which weighs the presence of target ions or molecules. The crystal is excited electronically and made to oscillate. The targets, the ions or molecules, are attracted to the QCM that are deposited on the surface of the crystal.  The weight or mass of the target on the receptor chemistry slows down the oscillations on the crystal indicating the presence of the target.  Presently, PWI is collaborating with Quansor Corporation located at the Purdue Research Park in this effort.

c. Mathematical Model of Contaminant Transport (George Nnanna)

One of the fundamental problems in online water monitoring system is determination of the optimum location of the sensor in order to effectively detect the contaminant at high concentration. This study is to develop a MATLAB code which will predict the concentration of any contaminant which might be introduced into the drinking water system. MATLAB is a powerful software package with many built in functions useful in almost all engineering applications. Mass balance equations are solved to get a governing equation which contains concentration ‘C’ as a function of distances in ‘x’, ‘y’ and ‘z’ directions and time ‘t’.