All Publications

  • Holistic Sustainability Assessment of Riparian Buffer Designs: Evaluation of Alternative Buffer Policy Scenarios Integrating Stream Water Quality and Costs. Sustainability Ghimire, S. R., Nayak, A. C., Corona, J., Parmar, R., Srinivasan, R., Mendoza, K., Johnston, J. M. 2022; 14 (19): 1-33


    Riparian buffer zones (RBZs) have been shown to be effective best management practices (BMPs) in controlling non-point source pollutants in waterbodies. However, the holistic sustainability assessment of individual RBZ designs is lacking. We present a methodology for evaluating the holistic sustainability of RBZ policy scenarios by integrating environmental and economic indicators simulated in three watersheds in the southeastern USA. We developed three unique sets of 40, 32, and 48 RBZ policy scenarios as decision management objectives (DMOs), respectively, in Back Creek, Sycamore Creek, and Greens Mill Run watersheds (Virginia and North Carolina) by combining the RBZ-widths with vegetation types (grass, urban, naturalized, wildlife, three-zone forest, and two-zone forest). We adapted the RBZ-hydrologic and water quality system assessment data of instream water quality parameters (dissolved oxygen, total phosphorus, total nitrogen, total suspended solids-sediment and biochemical oxygen demand) as environmental indicators, recently published by U.S. EPA. We calculated 20-year net present value costs as economic indicators using the RBZ's establishment, maintenance, and opportunity costs data published by the Natural Resources Conservation Service. The mean normalized net present value costs varied by DMOs ranging from 4% (grass RBZ-1.9 m) to 500% (wildlife RBZ-91.4 m) across all watersheds, due primarily to the width and the opportunity costs. The mean normalized environmental indicators varied by watersheds, with the largest change in total nitrogen due to urban RBZs in Back Creek (60-95%), Sycamore Creek (37-91%), and Greens Mill (52-93%). The holistic sustainability assessments revealed the least to most sustainable DMOs for each watershed, from least sustainable wildlife RBZ (score of 0.54), three-zone forest RBZ (0.32), and three-zone forest RBZ (0.62), respectively, for Back Creek, Sycamore Creek, and Greens Mill, to most sustainable urban RBZ (1.00) for all watersheds.

    View details for DOI 10.3390/su141912278

    View details for PubMedID 36406588

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC9671129

  • N-Nitrosodimethylamine Formation during UV/Hydrogen Peroxide and UV/Chlorine Advanced Oxidation Process Treatment Following Reverse Osmosis for Potable Reuse. Environmental science & technology Szczuka, A., Huang, N., MacDonald, J. A., Nayak, A., Zhang, Z., Mitch, W. A. 2020


    Chloramines applied to control microfiltration and reverse osmosis (RO) membrane biofouling in potable reuse trains form the potent carcinogen, N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA). In addition to degrading other contaminants, UV-based advanced oxidation processes (AOPs) strive to degrade NDMA by direct photolysis. The UV/chlorine AOP is gaining attention because of its potential to degrade other contaminants at lower UV fluence than the UV/hydrogen peroxide AOP, although previous pilot studies have observed that the UV/chlorine AOP was less effective for NDMA control. Using dimethylamine (DMA) as a model precursor and secondary municipal wastewater effluent, this study evaluated NDMA formation during the AOP treatment via two pathways. First, NDMA formation by UV treatment of monochloramine (NH2Cl) and chlorinated DMA (Cl-DMA) passing through RO membranes was maximized at 350 mJ/cm2 UV fluence, declining at higher fluence, where NDMA photolysis outweighed NDMA formation. Second, this study demonstrated that chlorine addition to the chloramine-containing RO permeate during the UV/chlorine AOP treatment initiated rapid NDMA formation by dark breakpoint reactions associated with reactive intermediates from the hydrolysis of dichloramine. At pH 5.7, this formation was maximized at a chlorine/ammonia molar ratio of 3 (out of 0-10), conditions typical for UV/chlorine AOPs. At 700 mJ/cm2 UV fluence, which is applicable to current practice, NDMA photolysis degraded a portion of the NDMA formed by breakpoint reactions. Lowering UV fluence to 350 mJ/cm2 when switching to the UV/chlorine AOP exacerbates effluent NDMA concentrations because of concurrent NDMA formation via the UV/NH2Cl/Cl-DMA and breakpoint chlorination pathways. Fluence >700 mJ/cm2 or chlorine doses greater than the 3:1 chlorine/ammonia molar ratios under consideration for the UV/HOCl AOP treatment are needed to achieve NDMA control.

    View details for DOI 10.1021/acs.est.0c05704

    View details for PubMedID 33185421