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Improving Understanding of the Relationship between Weather and Municipal Water Treatment Processes

Primary Investigators:
Janey Camp
Brief Description of Project:
This research is intended to develop an understanding of the relationship between weather and climate conditions driving changes in source water quality and the use of carbon additives to reduce taste and odor in the municipal drinking water treatment process.  Individual water treatment plants collect and record data daily on characteristics of the intake water, dosing of chemicals to treat the water, weather conditions, etc.  These reports are submitted to the state for subsequent reporting to the EPA.  Some municipalities have electronic records dating back as far as 10 years.  However, the data analysis has not yet been done to identify correlations between chemical usage (especially carbon addition) and intake water quality to help plan for future weather impact to the treatment process under anticipated climatic changes.   The dosing of carbon appears to be ad hoc once taste and odors are observed in finished water with dosing increasing daily until the issue is resolved (potentially overdosing significantly); therefore, a more efficient means of identifying how much carbon is needed to remove taste and odors is needed such as a robust model.  This project is focused on performing statistical analysis of large quantities of data across multiple plants to determine if trends exist across regions, etc.

Desired Qualifications: 
Strong written and verbal English skills
Ability to work in teams and also work independently
Strong organizational skills
A good understanding of data cleaning, management, and processing
Interest in resilience and infrastructure systems
R programming expertise would be ideal 

Nature of Supervision:
We will have weekly (or more frequent as needed) project meetings with PI and monthly calls with broader project team. The student will also be mentored one or more graduate students in the VECTOR research group.
A Brief Research Plan (period is for 10 weeks):
* Become familiar with Monthly Operating Report (MOR) data sheets and format
* Gather corresponding weather data for water treatment plant region and time periods of MOR report data
* Perform data cleaning/wrangling
* Perform data analysis for one plan
* Repeat data cleaning and analysis for other plants 
* Attempt to identify relationship between weather and chemical usage over time
* Prepare report and poster on findings 

Number of Open Slots: 1
Contact Information:
Name: Janey Camp
Department: Civil and Environmental Engineering