The Northwest Water Action Team Steering Committee heard an update Tuesday on a potential pilot program involving nitrate treatment of water.

Duane Smith & Associates owner Duane Smith, with whom the team has contracted for facilitation services the past few years, said Guy Sewell, a professor at East Central University, is the lead investigator, and there is now approval for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Robert S. Kerr Environmental Research Center to be involved.

“From a technical standpoint, I think that’s huge, having EPA involved in a grant application with the Bureau of Reclamation,” he said. “We thought that application would be out by now, but it’s not, so we’re waiting on that to come out. Clearly, what we would like to do is make that application. It would probably be somewhere in the late summer or fall before the application would be approved.

“What we’d like to do, is when we make the application is look for some pilot projects.”

Potential qualifying projects would be wells with a consistent history of high nitrates, that could be isolated from the water system during the test period, Smith said.

“I thought we would have a funding request announcement out, but it’s not out yet,” he said. “The big news, though, is that we now have a professor at East Central and the EPA Kerr lab on board with the research effort.”

The technology involves biological electrical treatment to remove nitrate. It vents off the nitrogen, and there is not a waste stream with it, he Smith said.

“What they would like to be able to do is put this on a skid, to where you could … run your water through this tank, and run it out the other side, and vent off the nitrate and use the water that way. It would be significantly cheaper,” he said.

While the technology has been researched in the lab, it is now about applying it in the field, Smith said.

The grant would make applying it in the field possible, he said.

Story provided by:  Enid News & Eagle

Written by:  Jessica Miller