CENE 281L Water Quality Lab, Is Reclaimed Water Contaminating Groundwater?

CENE 281L Water Quality Lab

Final PracticaL – Is Reclaimed Water Contaminating Groundwater?

Spring 2016

Purpose and Objective

The purpose of this final laboratory practica is to allow you to apply what you have learned in this class to address a specific question concerning water quality.  The overall objective is to reinforce the planning of sampling and analyses important in the design of an effective and efficient experiment.  This practica requires that you develop a plan and design an experiment for a water system. This satisfies the ABET outcome for “experimental design”.

Problem Background

In areas where water resources are limited, such as the southwest United States, the reclamation of wastewater for non-potable uses is common.  The most common uses for reclaimed water include irrigating golf courses, parks and athletic fields, and for dust control at construction sites.  Additionally, some areas indirectly use reclaimed water as a renewable source for drinking water by reintroducing it into the water supply aquifer.  In Flagstaff, Arizona, reclaimed water is used predominantly for irrigation, but is increasingly being considered for waste conveyance in buildings (such as in the Engineering building on the NAU campus) and for manufacturing process water.  Each of these uses represents an offset from using fresh water resources.

Some uses of reclaimed water do not represent a direct offset of fresh water supplies.  One example is sustaining a body of water for aesthetic reasons.  Recent restoration activities at the City of Flagstaff’s Frances Short Pond included sediment excavation and providing reclaimed water as a supplemental water source.  Objectives of the restoration included creating favorable habitat conditions for fish, wildlife, and migrating birds.  Providing educational opportunity for environmental studies was also an objective.

The reclaimed water which is not ultimately reused for another purpose is discharged into the Rio de Flag ephemeral channel. The discharge of treated effluent into the Rio de Flag ephemeral channel is done under the; NPDES, AzPDES, and the APP, permits. The flow of effluent flows for a few miles as surface flow until it is either evaporated into the atmosphere or infiltrated and percolated into sub-surface flow. Due to the fractured nature of the Kaibab Limestone, the geologic layer through which the flow percolates and infiltrates, there is concern that the reclaimed water is contaminating drinking water supplies.

The primary question this practica intends to address is whether the water pulled from a shallow aquifer, down grade potentiometrically, from the Rio de Flag effluent channel, is suitiable for human consumption.

Experimental Data Needs

Using only methods selected from those introduced to you during the course of this semester, a focused preliminary study is needed to determine whether there is any reason to consider the well water as non-suitable for human consumption. The client is a local homeowner with limited funds.







You work for a water quality environmental engineering firm. You have worked under different engineers learning the components of water quality analysis. Your boss has decided to put you on this project as the lead engineer. The deliverables from your boss are posted below. Because the client has limited funds, your boss has agreed to first providing a plan for the collection and analysis of the data. In addition to the list of deliverables for the experimental design, you are requrested to deliver a cover letter to you boss introducing the report you are handing over.

Deliverables:  Prepare a report which satisfies the following deliverables:

  1. Introduction
    1. clearly restate the main objectives and questions of the study
  2. Experimental Design
    1. Identify the goal of the study
    2. identify the parameters of interest of water quality to be determined
      • what will you test for to determine water quality?
    3. identify the test methods you plan to perform
      • what method will you use for the analysis of II.-b. above?
    4. identify what testing equipment you will need
      • discuss field testing needs and lab testing needs
  • Samples
  1. state when and where you plan to collect the samples
    • define the boundaries of your study
    • justify “when”
  2. identify the sample volumes that you believe are needed
  3. provide any other details about the sample you plan to collect and test
  4. identify what data and information you will obtain from your samples
  5. QA/QC
  6. identify the necessary QA/QC measures that will be followed
  7. identify the QC check samples that are needed
  8. describe how you plan to assess the quality of the data
  9. discuss the data quality objectives you are prepared to meet
    • make sure that each of the iterative steps is included in the process
  10. discuss documentation requirements
  11. Data Analysis
  12. sample size (this is different than III.-b.)
  13. state the null and alternative hypothesis for each parameter you test
  14. include any statistical analysis you feel is pertinent
  15. Conclusion
  16. discuss how the parameters you test for will sufficiently satisfy the main objectives of this study
  17. discuss whether there are any other water quality parameters you should consider even though you may not have included them as a cost saving means.
  18. Recommendations
    1. Make a recommendation for additional testing based on potential findings.
      • Two recommendations as a minimum:
        1. 1 for positive findings
        2. 1 for negative findings





This is intended to be a professional report. Provide all of the information that you feel would be pertinent to your boss’ liking. If you have any questions please feel free to ask. This report is 10% of your total grade, so put some effort into it. Include a works cited section.

This EPA document is gold: http://www.epa.gov/ogwdw/disinfection/tcr/pdfs/stepguide_tcr_smallsys-3300.pdf

This EPA document has the DQO:




Methods used in this course are

1- Nephelometric Method: SM#  2130 B

2- 2320 B. EDTA Titration Method

3- HACH Water Analysis Handbook Method: 8221

4- Standard Methods

Method 2340 C. Titration Method

5- HACH Water Analysis Handbook Method:

8226-Total Hardness

8222-Calcium Hardness

6-  Standard Method # 2540

7- Standard Method #2540 D & C

8- Test N’ Tube Salicylate Method

HACH Method # 10031

9- Test N’ Tube Persulfate Method

HACH Method # 10071

10- Acid Persulfate Digestion Test N’ Tube ProcedureMethod #10127

11- OUR and SOUR

Standard Method # 2710B

12- HACH Method 8074

USEPA Membrane Filtration Method






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