WRF Releases Biofiltration Guidance Manual

The project, led by Carollo Engineers, advances biofiltration best practices for improved water quality

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The Water Research Foundation has published its Biofiltration Guidance Manual for Drinking Water Facilities, which gives water utilities a standard set of guidelines and best practices for improving overall water quality and customer satisfaction. 

Developed as part of WRF Project 4719 and led by Carollo Engineers’ Principal Investigator Jess Brown, Ph.D., PE, the manual is considered a definitive resource for biofiltration design and operation.

“We are thrilled to present this much-needed manual to the industry,” says Grace Jang, Ph.D., WRF research program manager. “It will enable utilities to optimize their water treatment processes, effectively manage emerging contaminants, further protect their distribution systems and provide high-quality water to their communities.”

Biofiltration is increasingly being used throughout the United States to enhance drinking water treatment plant performance and improve finished water quality. Biofilters can remove not only organic carbon and disinfection byproduct precursors, but also trace organic contaminants like taste and odor compounds and algal toxins, as well as inorganic constituents like ammonia and manganese. However, to optimize performance and limit unintended consequences, biofilters should be designed and operated with consideration for both filtration and biological activity. 

Over the last 15 years, considerable research has been done to advance the science and engineering of surface water biofiltration. WRF Project 4719 combined that research with extensive biofilter design and operating experience across the water industry to develop a consolidated set of guidelines for the design, operation, maintenance, testing and monitoring of biologically active rapid‐rate gravity filters.

“Throughout the project, broad stakeholder input — including expertise from utilities, regulators, academics, manufacturers and engineers — ensured that the final product would be comprehensive and robust,” says Brown, Carollo's research and development practice director and WRF's 4719 principal investigator. “I am proud to have been a part of this important research and this dedicated team, and to see this manual finally come to fruition. It’s been a long journey but worth the work and the wait.”

The guidelines are geared toward existing biofiltration plants, filtration plants that intend to convert to biofiltration and future greenfield biofiltration plants.


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