How It Works: Large-Scale Atrazine Removal
How It Works: Large-Scale Atrazine Removal
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How It Works: Large-Scale Atrazine Removal
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Few techniques exist to remove atrazine effectively on a large scale, but Burns & McDonnell is using a proprietary advanced oxidation process to remove the pesticide from up to 30 million gallons of water a day.

Before water diverted from the Little Arkansas River can be used to recharge the underground water reserves of Wichita, Kan., it must first be treated to drinking water standards. (See cover story.)

It sounds simple enough, but it involves removing atrazine, a commonly used herbicide that enters the river through local agricultural runoff. Few techniques exist to remove atrazine effectively on a large scale. Burns & McDonnell is using a proprietary advanced oxidation process (AOP) to remove the pesticide from up to 30 million gallons of water a day, producing effluent that meets Kansas Department of Health and Environment drinking water requirements.

In the final step before the water leaves the city’s surface water treatment plant, AOP begins with adding hydrogen peroxide and ozone to the water. The ozone oxidizes, or destroys, the atrazine.

But there are side effects. The ozone also reacts with the bromide found naturally in the water and creates bromate, a byproduct hazardous to humans. That’s where the hydrogen peroxide comes in. In addition to aiding in the oxidation of atrazine, the hydrogen peroxide controls bromate production.

“It’s the first and only application of this technology on this scale in the world,” says David Garrett, environmental engineer for Burns & McDonnell. “This AOP allows us to turn a high volume of low-quality water into a valuable water resource for Wichita. The need for a solution like this is great.”

For more information, contact David Garrett, 816-822-3139.

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