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Climate Change and Water Quality

Impacts and Adaptation Strategies for NYS Utilities

UMass Research Team: Dave Reckhow PI, Patrick Wittbold (Grad RA), Ran Zhao (Grad RA)
Ben Coleman (Ugrad), Will Schaetzke (Ugrad)

The goal of the project is to analyze the causal relationships of turbidity and NOM concentration and character to climate sequences with a focus on multiple temperature and precipitation extremes.  Laboratory and field analysis will explore how turbidity, NOM, and algal growth depend on critical temperature and concentration loadings, so that mathematical models for changing conditions can be developed and calibrated for various regions of the state.  Historical data mining from participating utilities, information from a detailed literature review, and intensive water quality sampling data will be compiled to develop two types of models.

Model 1 will correlate turbidity, NOM, and algae with temperature and precipitation patterns for various regions in the state.  Model 2 will correlate these constituents to operational impacts (e.g., increased energy consumption, increased chemical requirements) for various water treatment processes.  The two tiered model framework will then be applied to various regions in the state under multiple climate change scenarios in order to project drinking water treatment system impacts, in particular increased energy costs associated with installation of more complex treatment processes, and help guide the decision-making process associated with operating drinking water treatment plants in order to improve DBP removal and finished water quality

This project is funded by New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) under agreement #28266. The prime contractor is Hazen & Sawyer.

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