Colloid transport through basic oxygen furnace slag as permeable treatment media for pathogen removal
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Basic oxygen furnace (BOF) slag media were studied through a series of laboratory, modeling and field studies as a potential treatment material for use in on site wastewater disposal systems. Microsphere enumeration methodology was examined in a factorial experiment to evaluate the minimum density and minimum number of microspheres that should be counted to ensure accurate and precise estimations of concentration. The results suggest that to minimize variability at least 350 microspheres should be counted and a microsphere density of 25-40 microspheres field-1 is necessary. A review of existing methodologies for high-titer bacteriophage production was conducted and an amalgamation of existing methodologies was chosen that reliably achieves elevated concentration and ensures a purified suspension. A combination of batch and column studies was conducted to evaluate the removal of the bacteriophage, PRD-1, and virus-sized fluorescent microspheres by BOF media, and to delineate the relative contributions of the two principle attenuation processes, inactivation and attachment. In the batch studies, substantial removal of PRD-1 does not occur in the pH 7.6 and 9.5 suspensions, but at pH 11.4, removal of the virus was 2.1 log C/C0 day-1 for the first two days, followed by 0.124 log C/C0 day-1 over the subsequent 10 days. Two column studies were conducted after 60 and 300 days of saturation with artificial groundwater at a flow rate of 1 pore volume day-1 using two BOF mixtures. After 300 days of column saturation, microsphere concentrations approached input levels, indicating a removal of 0.1-0.2 log C/C0 and suggesting attachment processes were negligible. PRD-1 removal was more pronounced (1.0-1.5 log C/C0). The reduction of PRD-1 is likely the result of a combination of virus inactivation at elevated pH (10.6-11.4), and attachment processes. Geochemical factors controlling microsphere attachment were compared between the two sets of experiments after 60 and 300 days of column saturation. Differences in attachment efficiency may be due to higher influent DOC concentration in the second experiment, conversion of amorphous iron phases to more crystalline forms over time, reductive dissolution of preferable attachment sites on iron phases, or precipitation of calcite. Hydrus-1D, a one-dimensional numerical model, was used to quantify transport processes, inactivation and attachment/detachment, occurring in the column experiments by model inversion. Fitted microsphere breakthrough closely matched observed data, whereas PRD-1 breakthrough with realistic parameter values does not closely match the peaked nature of the observed curves. The model achieved improved fits for microsphere and PRD-1 breakthrough when both strongly- and weakly-binding sites are represented. A unique set of parameter estimates could not be determined because of overparameterization of the inverse modeling for the experimental systems. An alternative latrine incorporating BOF slag media was constructed in a periurban community located near São Paulo, Brazil. Pathogen indicator removal is approximately 4-5 orders of magnitude in less than one meter of vertical transport through the BOF slag media. In a control latrine, constructed with similar hydraulic characteristics and inert materials, comparable reductions in pathogenic indicators were observed over three meters of vertical transport.