Past Research Projects




Field testing a bioreactor system to treat low-concentration perchlorate-contaminated water: PHASE 3- Testing the bioreactor in series with a Sand Filter

Funded by: American Water Works Association Research Foundation, November 2002 - 2003. $100, 000

Principal Investigator: Bruce Logan, Penn State.
Contractor for Field Tests: Camp, Dresser and McKee; Patrick Evans, project manager.

Contact information:
Phone: 814-863-7908, Email:


At Penn State, we have developed and patented a biological process to remove perchlorate from water down to levels suitable for drinking water. This process, called the PSU-O4 process, was proven at the bench scale as a part of our AWWARF Phase I project.

The purpose of our AWWARF Phase II project (Application of Bioreactor Systems to Low-Concentration Perchlorate Contaminated Water) was to confirm laboratory-derived perchlorate removal efficiencies at the pilot scale, to conduct sufficient tests to fully optimize the system over long operation periods in the field, and to continue to research in the laboratory factors that can improve operation of full-scale systems. In phase II, we demonstrated that we could successfully and consistently removal of perchlorate to less than detectable concentrations (4 ppb) using an acetate-fed packed bed bioreactor at the Texas Street well facility in Redlands, California. However, we realized that full-scale drinking water treatment using our perchlorate bioreactor would require downstream treatment to remove excess nutrients and turbidity.

In Phase III, we are demonstrating that our process can be combined with a filtration, a conventional drinking water treatment process, to produce a low-turbidity water suitable as a potable water source. In this project, we combined the tested the complete PSU-O4 process consisting of an acetate-fed packed bed reactor in series with a filter for downstream removal of nutrients and turbidity. This field demonstration project is being performed by Camp, Dresser and McKee Engineering under the director of Dr. Patrick Evans and his team.

David Jones is working on this project.

Bruce E. Logan |  Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering | 231Q Sackett Building
Phone: 814-863-7908 | Fax: 814-863-7304 
The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802