Exploring the Reuse of Drinking Water Treatment Residuals as a Capping Material for Metal-Contaminated Sediments

Sam Wallace, Northwestern University

During the drinking water treatment process, turbidity is removed from source waters, generating a waste material known as drinking water treatment residuals (DWTRs).  These DWTRs are a mixture of organic and inorganic material, including substances traced back to source waters and chemical additives used at the drinking water treatment plant. The metal-sorbent properties of DWTRs offer untapped applications for their reuse, including capping metal-contaminated sediments. We explore this use case, focusing on the chemical processes that drive metal sorption to a suite of DWTRs from across the United States. First, the properties of these materials are characterized, including their surface area, mineral composition, and elemental concentrations. Using x-ray absorption spectroscopy, the speciation of metals within (Mn, Fe) and sorbed to (Cu, Hg) DWTRs is probed and connected to the additives used in the drinking water treatment process.

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