Membrane Bioreactor Testing Facility
ESE's Advanced Water Technology Center (AQWATEC) partnered with Aqua- Aerobic Systems, Inc. and CSM's Small Flows Program to explore the viability of a new hybrid treatment system using sequencing batch reactors (SBR) with submerged ultrafiltration membrane bioreactors (MBR). The demonstration system is designed for small communities or clusters of homes, providing an effluent quality that is suitable for onsite reuse. The system is treating domestic wastewater generated by the Mines Park student housing complex (~400 apartments). Primary work focuses on the optimization of the process for biological nutrient removal (BNR), optimization of membrane operation, and recycle rates for constant and diurnal flow patterns. Advanced wastewater treatment systems produce higher-quality effluent water that is suitable for direct discharge to streams or for reuse on site. Specifically, in areas that either lack suitable subsurface conditions for infiltration or are water-stressed, reusing wastewater effluents locally can offer opportunities for landscape irrigation, toilet-flushing, car washing or stream flow augmentation. MBR represent a new technology that can provide an effluent quality that commonly exceeds the water quality of large centralized, conventional wastewater treatment plants. MBRs are increasingly used to replace conventional plants, and when considering their small footprint, they provide a great opportunity for decentralized treatment of municipal wastewater.
AQWATEC is a new research center at the Colorado School of Mines. The center was established in 2006 to support the advancement of the campus' thrust areas of water and renewable energy. The Mission of the Center is to advance the science of emerging water treatment processes/hybrids enabling sustainable and energy efficient utilization of impaired water sources for potable and non-potable water supplies.
Center for Experimental Study of Subsurface Environmental Processes
The Center for Experimental Study of Subsurface Environmental Processes (CESEP) was established in 2001 with the central mission to enhance environmental quality through innovative research of subsurface remediation techniques for the clean-up of environmental contaminants leading to improved methodology and decision-making. This center emphasizes the multi-disciplinary nature of subsurface remediation technologies by integrating the fundamental sciences of chemistry, biology, geology, hydrology and physics with applied geotechnical, civil and environmental engineering sciences. The Center currently has a number of university and industry collaborators from US and abroad.
CSM/Golden Water Treatment Pilot Plant
This facility was established as a joint effort between ESE and the City of Golden – Public Works Department. The pilot plant is designed to simulate the existing full-scale water treatment process at Golden's Water Plant which consist of oagulation/flocculation, sedimentation, multi-media filtration followed by disinfection. The pilot plant is designed to treat 4 gpm (15 Liter/minute) and is currently operated at 2 gpm. Currently, the pilot facility provides access to six unit operations including coagulation/flocculation (consisting of rapid-mix reactor, flocculator, plate settler, and a multi-media filter column), granular activated carbon (GAC) filter column, low- and high-pressure membrane units (microfiltration, ultrafiltration, nanofiltration, and reverse osmosis). The pilot plant is equipped with a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition System (SCADA) allowing process control and monitoring of key process parameters using the graphical interface LabView (National Instruments). Scada data are fed into a webpage allowing users to access the facility at any time through the World Wide Web. The facility is also equipped with web-cameras to provide real-time images through the web.
Environmental Biotechnology Laboratory
Environmental Biotechnology Laboratory houses current Division activities in the detection and manipulation of microbial genomes. These efforts are directed toward understanding microbial activities in natural and engineered environments as well as modifying microbial activities to yield environmentally beneficial results in bioremediation and renewable energy (H2) production. The laboratory is equipped with thermocylers, protein and DNA electrophoresis apparatus, including DGGE apparatus, an autoclave, darkroom, transilluminator, ion chromatograph, laminar flow hood, and floor-scale and microcentrifuges. In addition, an accessory room is equipped with a Leica confocal and epifluorescence microscope, Nikon camera, and Syngene gel imaging apparatus.
Environmental Engineering Pilot Lab
The Environmental Engineering Pilot Laboratory is located in Coolbaugh Hall. This facility provides 2400 ft2 of high-bay laboratory space with an underdrain floor system for secondary containment of any spillage. The Pilot Laboratory houses larger scale apparatus and associated equipment and instrumentation for conducting experimentation regarding water treatment, wastewater reclamation, contaminant transport processes, and site remediation technologies. The main floor of the Pilot Lab provides open space, benches, and wall-mounted rack systems which enable research with a variety of test apparatus. Pilot-scale test units are available to study nanofiltration/reverse osmosis, electrodialysis, chemical oxidation, soil-aquifer treatment, and biotreatment technologies. The Lab includes four adjoining rooms, which provide space for instrumentation and analytical measurements of water, soil and gas composition. The Lab is currently equipped with two gas chromatographs, a flow-through hydrocarbon analyzer, a UV/VIS spectrophotometer, wet chemistry instruments, and multi-channel computerized dataloggers.
Environmental Microbiology Lab
The Microbiology Lab is a multi-disciplinary, multi-user facility designated for microbiological studies. Research ranges from fundamental studies of environmentally relevant virus, bacteria and protozoa to more engineered, microbially enriched soil systems. Access to this Biosafety Level 2 facility may be obtained by contacting Dr. Junko Munakata Marr.
Laboratory for Applied and Environmental Radiochemistry
The Laboratory for Applied and Environmental Radiochemistry (LAER) is located in Coolbaugh Hall and houses instrumentation for the analysis of environmental and trace level radionuclides. LAER is licensed by the State of Colorado for a using a broad range of radionuclides. Instrumentation in the LAER is available for use by contacting Prof. Bruce D. Honeyman.
Mines Park Water Reclamation Test Site
Infrastructure for water and sanitation is essential for a healthy standard of living and it must be effective in protecting public health and environmental quality while being affordable, socially acceptable and sustainable. There are many situations within the U.S. and developed nations around the world where onsite and decentralized approaches and technologies are critical to achieving these goals. In developing countries, the needs are huge and the impacts to be realized are life sustaining. Onsite or satellite water and wastewater systems involve an array of technologies such as bioreactors, soil and wetland systems, and membrane units that can mimic natural processes to achieve treatment objectives while minimizing energy and chemical use and enabling beneficial reuse of water and nutrients. Approaches involving ultra water conserving fixtures and source separation methods can enhance water infrastructure by minimizing demands and maximizing reuse in buildings and developments spanning rural, peri-urban, and urban areas. In support of the Small Flows Program at CSM (www.mines.edu/research/smallq/), the Mines Park Test Site was established in 1998 to enable controlled field research to (1) determine the treatment mechanisms that can be exploited to purify water by removal of pollutants, chemicals, and microbes of concern, (2) quantify the design and performance relationships for different onsite treatment unit operations, and (3) develop mathematical relationships and models for aiding system selection and design. Treatment methods and technologies being investigated at the Test Site include conventional and emerging confined treatment units (septic tank, sand filter, textile biofilter, membrane bioreactor, constructed wetland) and soil treatment units (subsurface infiltration, rhizosphere drip dispersal). Monitoring and process control methods are also being studied.
Water Technology Lab
The Water Technology Laboratory is located in Coolbaugh Hall. This lab houses bench-scale apparatus and testing equipment for conducting experimentation regarding advanced water technologies and contaminant transport processes. Current research conducted in this facility is directed towards the fate of endocrine disrupting compounds in water reclamation systems, fate and transport of bulk organic carbon in groundwater recharge systems using advanced organic carbon characterization techniques and biomass/bioactivity measurements, and rejection efficiencies for organic micropollutants during high-pressure membrane applications. The lab is equipped with instrumentation for the analysis of bulk organics, inorganics, and trace levels of hormones, pharmaceutically active compounds, and personal care products in water samples.