NoMonia: A Process to Remove Ammonia from Drinking Water

Award Year 

Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets maximum contaminant levels that apply at the entry point into a distribution system rather than within the distribution system. Because monitoring contaminants is not normally conducted at the consumer's tap, their presence can go undetected. If nitrifi cation resulting from elevated ammonia levels in the source water occurs in the distribution system, elevated and potentially dangerous levels of nitrites and nitrate can reach (more) the consumer. In October 2014, the EPA’s National Risk Management Research Laboratory in Cincinnati, Ohio, partnered with AdEdge Water Technologies, LLC, of Duluth, Georgia, to develop and commercialize an EPA-designed and -patented technology that brings the process of oxidizing ammonia in drinking water to the point of practical application. Together, the EPA and AdEdge have collaborated to evaluate a two-stage aerobic treatment system for the removal of ammonia from drinking water. The treatment approach enhances the natural nitrifi cation process during which, in the presence of oxygen, ammonia 3 is converted to nitrite and then to nitrate. AdEdge licensed the technology and is marketing it as NoMonia, an innovative water treatment technology to remove ammonia, arsenic, iron, and manganese. Many regions in the United States have excessive ammonia in their source waters as a result of natural or agricultural sources. While ammonia in water does not pose a direct health concern, nitrifi cation of signifi cant amounts of ammonia may. Ammonia in water may create high chlorine demand for disinfection (if addressed by breakpoint chlorination). In the presence of total organic carbon, excess chlorine is a concern due to the creation of disinfection by-product. High ammonia levels may interfere with the removal of other regulated contaminants such as arsenic, iron, and manganese. Ammonia in raw water may also result in nitrifi cation in the distribution systems, and can cause corrosion, poor taste, and odor issues. Legacy treatment approaches for the removal of ammonia, such as ion exchange or reverse osmosis, generate high total dissolved solids (TDS) wastewater, a challenge that the NoMonia biological treatment process eliminates. As a product of the collaboration, a pilot demonstration is being conducted in Gilbert, Iowa, with the intent to implement a design for a full-scale system in areas where ammonia is an issue.  Winners: Sarah Bauer Kathleen Graham Laura Scalise Dr. Darren Lytle Daniel Williams (less)