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Algal blooms have taken place in Lake Mead, Nevada, and a major bloom occurred in 2001. One reason for algal blooms at Lake Mead is excess of nutrients from runoff water discharge during rainy seasons. Algal blooms in lakes and rivers are a sign of eutrophication - an excessive growth of plant life that leads to death of animal life from lack of oxygen. In addition, algal blooms impact the use of water as a drinking source because of the presence of algal toxins. Nutrients that cause algae bloom include ammonia, nitrate, and phosphorus. The objective of this research is to implement a passive system that removes nutrients from runoff water. If successful, such a system could be integrated into runoff street gutters to remove nutrients.

To test the viability of this system, a dual-media consisting of zero-valent iron (ZVI) and zeolite, was built. A synthetic runoff water solution is fed to the columns using a peristaltic pump. The synthetic runoff water composition mimics that of a typical runoff in Las Vegas. The system can be operated at retention times of 30 -180 minutes. The influent and effluent water to the column are sampled daily and the concentration of nitrate, phosphorus, and ammonia are analyzed to determine the effectiveness of the system. It is expected that ammonia will be removed in the zeolite and nitrate will be reduced by ZVI. In addition, microbes growing on the media might be able to remove phosphorus.

Publication Date

Fall 11-15-2021




Water Treatment; Ziolite; ZVI; Urban Runoff

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2000 KB


Faculty Mentor: Jacimaria Batista, Ph.D.


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Zeolite/ZVI System TOF The Treatment of Nutrients in Urban Runoff