Fate of organics during soil-aquifer treatment: Sustainability of removals in the field

David M. Quanrud, Jennifer Hafer, Martin M. Karpiscak, Jianmin Zhang, Kevin E. Lansey, Robert G. Arnold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Scopus citations


A 5-year program of study was conducted at the Sweetwater Recharge Facilities (SRF) to assess the performance of surface spreading operations for organics attenuation during field-scale soil-aquifer treatment (SAT) of municipal wastewater. Studies were conducted utilizing both mature (∼10 yr old) and new infiltration basins. Removals of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) were robust, averaging >90 percent during percolation through the local 37-m vadose zone. The hydrophilic (most polar) fraction of DOC was preferentially removed during SAT; removals were attributed primarily to biodegradation. Reductions in trihalomethane formation potential (THMFP) averaged 91 percent across the vadose zone profile. The reactivity (specific THMFP) of post-SAT organic residuals with chlorine decreased slightly from pre-SAT levels (60 vs. 72 μg THM per mg DOC, respectively). Variations in the duration of wetting/drying periods did not significantly impact organic removal efficiencies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3401-3411
Number of pages11
JournalWater research
Issue number14
StatePublished - Aug 2003


  • Dissolved organic carbon
  • Soil-aquifer treatment
  • Trihalomethanes
  • Wastewater effluent

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecological Modeling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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