Designing For Extremes - Climate Change Impacts On Process Selection And Treatment


  • Andre Dieffenthaller, Mark Bishop, William Becker, Ben Stanford - Hazen and Sawyer

Extreme weather-related events are of primary concern to drinking water utilities in that they may potentially affect both the supply and quality of drinking water, service reliability, regulatory compliance, consumer perception, and costs. Extreme weather-related events include altered precipitation patterns, major storm-related events affecting power and infrastructure integrity, and changes to source water flow volumes, temperatures and contaminant loading into surface and groundwater supplies.

Water utility infrastructure and operations procedures are generally designed to enable utilities to reduce the risks from typical, region-specific extreme weather events to an acceptable level, but a thorough understanding of the potential risks and the boundary conditions through which treatment processes are capable of performing is necessary for proper planning.

In this presentation, we will present current state of knowledge on process selection and use in light of extreme events. Weather events create a wide array of issues such as high turbidity, algae, pathogens, organics, manganese, color and many other constituents. It is important to understand the robustness of conventional and advanced drinking water technologies for handling extreme weather events.

Many advanced processes such as ozone, BAC, GAC, ion exchange, membranes and AOP/UV might be considered in the planning for extreme events and source water excursions. Each can have certain advantages depending on the issues of concern for a particular region of the US. The paper and presentation will provide water utilities with planning guidance with consideration of future treatment processes to provide multiple barriers to contaminants, and handle source water quality excursions.

For more information, contact the author at

Hear about new publications with our email newsletter

We will never share your details with anyone else.


Newsletter Newsletter

Horizons Fall 2017 (pdf)

Horizons showcases significant water, wastewater, reuse, and stormwater projects and innovations that help our clients to achieve their goals, and can help you achieve yours. Articles are written by top engineers and process group leaders, demonstrating and explaining the beneficial application of a variety of technologies and tools.

View previous issues »