Energy-neutral Green Infrastructure for Treatment of Pathogens in Urban Drool and Dry Weather Flows

NREL PI: Scott Struck (Integrated Water Systems/Systems Engineering) Mines PI: John McCray (Civil & Environmental Engineering)

Virtual via Zoom

Tuesday, December 12, 2023 at 1PM

Nexus-Seed-Presentations-SU23-McCray-Struck-232x300 Nexus Seed Project Presentation, December 12

Urban stormwater is generated from rain and snowmelt events that flow over impervious surfaces, picking up pollutants from urban land surfaces and conveying them into rivers, lakes, and coastal waters. Pathogens are a pollutant of concern within urban runoff which can lead to receiving water impairments that impact people’s health, hurt the economy, and reduce opportunities for recreation. Health-care costs attributed to waterborne pathogens in the United States are estimated at more than $1 billion annually.

Stormwater management infrastructure is the primary tool used to manage urban runoff and is considered by the US EPA as the “best available (passive) treatment technology.” However, use of these techniques is falling short of 

meeting many water quality standards, especially for pathogens. Literature has pointed to the development of targeted engineered treatment media as a recent advancement that can lead to improved quality of urban stormwater runoff.

This proposal will develop a competitively funded submission that would incorporate engineered media as pre-treatment prior to low power ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (LP-UVGI) within piped infrastructure. Renewable power sources such as solar arrays and battery storage can provide the needed energy supply for LP-UVGI to destroy pathogens. If successful, the technology may result in a novel approach to treat urban dry-weather flow with minimal disturbance and use of existing drainage infrastructure.