Projects Selected for Funding in 2020
Investigation of Indicator Bacteria in Oklahoma Streams
Jason Vogel, Ralph Tanner and Grant Graves
This project will expand the limited information and research that is currently available regarding enterococcus bacteria as an indicator bacteria in Oklahoma streams and rivers. The expected outcomes of this project are to identify the factors that drive enterococcus bacteria to survive and replicate in stream and river conditions in Oklahoma. The resulting information could lead efforts to further evaluate whether enterococcus is a quality indicator species for impairment determination of freshwater bodies in Oklahoma, and potential next steps for interpretation, revision, and/or further research to effectively administer state water quality standards for pathogenic indicators.
Soil Monitoring through UAV-Assisted Internet of Things Wireless Underground Sensors
Sabit Ekin, Saleh Taghvaeian, Jamey Jacob, and John O'Hara
The proposed research is very likely to offer a more practical and reliable wireless soil monitoring system than currently available, with numerous agricultural and environmental applications and benefits. The results of this project will provide the lacking knowledge about the performance and requirements (technical and economic) of UAV-assisted IoT soil monitoring systems and how they can be used to conserve the quantity and quality of limited water resources in Oklahoma. The primary beneficiaries would be agricultural producers and water managers in rural Oklahoma.
A New Dolomite Filtration Technology to Remove Heavy metals and NORM from Produced Water
Based on the best available data from 2012, the nearly 1 million producing oil and gas wells in the USA generate approximately 21.1 billion barrels of produced water (PW) each year . Successful integration and reuse of such a vast volume of PW into industrial and agricultural uses constitutes a potential solution to the growing scarcity of underground sources of drinking water (USDW) and cost of underground disposal of PW operations. However, for PW to be successfully integrated into industrial and agricultural uses, and/or to prevent the contamination and depletion of USDW, economic technologies are needed to remove high concentrations of dissolved oil, heavy metals, and naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM) from PW.
Design of Novel Electrocoagulation Systems for Produced Water Treatment
Pankaj Sarin and Stephen Polkowski
The project promises a technological breakthrough for EC technology by development of novel, high efficiency but low cost electrodes for PW treatment. It is anticipated that with optimization of the operational parameters (such as pH, applied potential) the developed EC system will facilitate removal of oil, suspended solids, pesticides, microbes, carcinogenic hydrocarbons, and trace metals from produced water, and also reduce TDS levels to <1000 ppm making the treated PW suitable for reverse osmosis. The low-cost and effective PW treatment enabled through this research could transform PW to near fresh water levels suitable for power generation, industrial use (including O&G), agriculture, along with the potential to be discharged for aquifer recharge; thereby making PW an added benefit rather than a liability. In addition to augmenting water supply, minimization of the need for reinjection will also reduce instances of induced seismic activity. The developed technology will also be promising for treatment of seawater.
Passive Samplers for Monitoring Perfluoralkyl Substances at Contaminated Sites
Hossein Atoufi and David Lampert
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a class of organic compounds possessing very strong and short carbon-fluorine bonds that make them tenacious in the environment. These bioaccumulative and toxic chemicals have a hydrophobic and lipophobic fluorinated tail and a hydrophilic head which makes the compounds useful as repellents, thus non-stick cookware, firefighting foams, stain resistance products paints, pesticides, food packaging, and personal care products are the most important sources of PFAS in the environment. These new emerging contaminants are able to affect human beings by contact with the sources directly or contact to the polluted environment (surface and groundwater, soils and sediments, and air) by the sources. In Oklahoma, several locations suffer from the PFAS presence which most of them are air force bases. This study can apply to these spots to assess and evaluate PFAS and monitor the sediments near the locations.