An Innovative System for the Efficient and Effective Treatment of Non-Traditional Waters for Reuse in Thermoelectric Power Generation

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This study assessed opportunities for improving water quality associated with coal-fired power generation including the use of non-traditional waters for cooling, innovative technology for recovering and reusing water within power plants, novel approaches for the removal of trace inorganic compounds from ash pond effluents, and novel approaches for removing biocides from cooling tower blowdown. This research evaluated specifically designed pilot-scale constructed wetland systems for treatment of targeted constituents in non-traditional waters for reuse in thermoelectric power generation and other purposes. The overall objective of this project was to decrease targeted constituents in non-traditional waters to achieve reuse criteria or discharge ... continued below

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Rodgers, John & Castle, James August 31, 2008.

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This study assessed opportunities for improving water quality associated with coal-fired power generation including the use of non-traditional waters for cooling, innovative technology for recovering and reusing water within power plants, novel approaches for the removal of trace inorganic compounds from ash pond effluents, and novel approaches for removing biocides from cooling tower blowdown. This research evaluated specifically designed pilot-scale constructed wetland systems for treatment of targeted constituents in non-traditional waters for reuse in thermoelectric power generation and other purposes. The overall objective of this project was to decrease targeted constituents in non-traditional waters to achieve reuse criteria or discharge limitations established by the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) and Clean Water Act (CWA). The six original project objectives were completed, and results are presented in this final technical report. These objectives included identification of targeted constituents for treatment in four non-traditional water sources, determination of reuse or discharge criteria for treatment, design of constructed wetland treatment systems for these non-traditional waters, and measurement of treatment of targeted constituents in non-traditional waters, as well as determination of the suitability of the treated non-traditional waters for reuse or discharge to receiving aquatic systems. The four non-traditional waters used to accomplish these objectives were ash basin water, cooling water, flue gas desulfurization (FGD) water, and produced water. The contaminants of concern identified in ash basin waters were arsenic, chromium, copper, mercury, selenium, and zinc. Contaminants of concern in cooling waters included free oxidants (chlorine, bromine, and peroxides), copper, lead, zinc, pH, and total dissolved solids. FGD waters contained contaminants of concern including arsenic, boron, chlorides, selenium, mercury, chemical oxygen demand (COD), and zinc. Similar to FGD waters, produced waters contained contaminants of concern that are predominantly inorganic (arsenic, cadmium, chlorides, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel, sulfide, zinc, total dissolved solids), but also contained some organics (benzene, PAHs, toluene, total organic carbon, total suspended solids, and oil and grease). Constituents of concern that may cause chemical scaling, biofouling and corrosion, such as pH, hardness and ionic strength, and nutrients (P, K, and N) may also be found in all four non-traditional waters. NPDES permits were obtained for these non-traditional waters and these permit limits are summarized in tabular format within this report. These limits were used to establish treatment goals for this research along with toxicity values for Ceriodaphnia dubia, water quality criteria established by the US EPA, irrigation standards established by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and reuse standards focused on minimization of damage to the power plant by treated waters. Constructed wetland treatment systems were designed for each non-traditional water source based on published literature reviews regarding remediation of the constituents of concern, biogeochemistry of the specific contaminants, and previous research. During this study, 4 non-traditional waters, which included ash basin water, cooling water, FGD water and produced water (PW) were obtained or simulated to measure constructed wetland treatment system performance. Based on data collected from FGD experiments, pilot-scale constructed wetland treatment systems can decrease aqueous concentrations of elements of concern (As, B, Hg, N, and Se). Percent removal was specific for each element, including ranges of 40.1% to 77.7% for As, 77.6% to 97.8% for Hg, 43.9% to 88.8% for N, and no measureable removal to 84.6% for Se. Other constituents of interest in final outflow samples should have aqueous characteristics sufficient for discharge, with the exception of chlorides (<2000 mg/L). Based on total dissolved solids, co-management or ion reduction (e.g. reverse osmosis, nanofiltration, ultrafiltration, etc.) techniques will be needed for discharge or reuse of high ionic strength waters. Data collected from produced water experiments indicate that hybrid pilot-scale constructed wetland treatment systems can decrease aqueous concentrations of elements of concern (Zn, Cd, Pb, and Cu). Percent removal was specific for each element, including ranges of 38.4% to 99.6% for Cd, 90.6% to 99.8% for Cu, 93.1% to 99.3% for Pb, and 40.0% to 99.8% for Zn. Reuse of these waters will likely depend on the chloride concentration of the outflow samples, but with use of reverse osmosis technology, chloride concentrations can be decreased sufficiently for reuse as service water. Concentrations of arsenic, selenium, chromium, and zinc were decreased in ash basin waters by pilot-scale constructed wetland treatment systems.

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  • Report No.: None
  • Grant Number: FG26-05NT42535
  • DOI: 10.2172/948841 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 948841
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc927697

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Creation Date

  • August 31, 2008

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Nov. 13, 2016, 7:26 p.m.

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  • Nov. 29, 2016, 3:57 p.m.

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Rodgers, John & Castle, James. An Innovative System for the Efficient and Effective Treatment of Non-Traditional Waters for Reuse in Thermoelectric Power Generation, report, August 31, 2008; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc927697/: accessed July 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.