Most water utilities should have effective treatment methods for the filtration of arsenic, iron and manganese from drinking water sources. However, as ammonia becomes increasingly concentrated in groundwater throughout the U.S., many utilities around the country are searching for ways to successfully treat the contaminant, while also meeting U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards for arsenic, iron, manganese and other contaminants naturally present in groundwater. There are several approaches to ammonia treatment, with biological treatments now available to provide a safe and cost-effective solution.
Current Options for Ammonia Removal
Currently, there are several treatment approaches available for the removal of ammonia from drinking water sources, including breakpoint chlorination, ion exchange, reverse osmosis and air stripping. However, many of these treatments options fail to reduce ammonia to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) maximum contaminant level recommendation of 0.2 mg/L. In addition, these approaches require chemicals and operator attention, have high operating costs and/or pose safety concerns due to the handling of hazardous wastewater.
NoMonia biological treatment provides a simple, safe and cost-effective option for the removal of ammonia from groundwater, while also exceeding EPA standards for arsenic, iron and manganese filtration. The dual-stage biological treatment process relies on naturally occurring bacteria to achieve complete nitrification — the conversion of ammonia to nitrate without the presence of nitrite.
In the first stage of the treatment process, precise levels of nutrients and dissolved oxygen are added to the water in the aerobic contactor – a gravel-filled atmospheric vessel. This addition addresses the oxygen requirement for waters with high ammonia levels, to convert ammonia into nitrate. Most of the microbial activity takes place during this stage. In the second stage, water passes through the media filter – a pressurized filtration media vessel — where polishing bacterial activity and filtration of oxidized metals takes place. After the treatment, water passes through post-disinfection and is distributed to the network with non-detectable levels of ammonia, arsenic, iron and manganese.
Because NoMonia uses no chemicals, the process produces very low, non-hazardous waste and high water recovery. The NoMonia process also requires simple monitoring, most of which can be performed by the water utility on a daily and weekly basis.
Making a Filtration Decision
As ammonia becomes an increasing groundwater concern, drinking water utilities have to find a way to address filtration. Utilities that do not adequately handle these concerns may experience pipe corrosion, biofilm generation, poor taste, foul odors and elevated nitrate levels due to ammonia-generated nitrification. In addition, ammonia can interfere with the removal of contaminants like arsenic, manganese and iron. NoMonia is proven to provide an efficient, cost-effective solution that meets all filtration needs.
(Image by Zerbor from Adobe Stock)