Mines News

Release Date Tuesday, February 20, 2024

NSF Grant Studying Drinking Water Treatment Byproducts Awarded to Mines Assistant Professor

Tao Ye, Ph.D., (second left) stands with his graduate students who are helping him study the mitigation of disinfection byproducts in drinking water thanks to a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation.

Tao Ye, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at South Dakota Mines, is Mines’ primary investigator on a recently awarded three-year grant from the National Science Foundation, which will study the mitigation of disinfection byproducts in drinking water.

Chlorine has been used to disinfect drinking water for more than a century. When chlorine reacts with other compounds in untreated water, it creates byproducts that can cause elevated cancer risks in humans. As these byproducts were studied in the 1970s, the Environmental Protection Agency developed regulations used today in municipal water treatment. During continuing studies, scientists recently detected another byproduct, created when chlorine reacts with a chemical used in x-ray contrast media, which are substances that, for a short period of time, temporarily change the way x-rays, MRIs, CT scanners and other imaging tools interact with the body.

“We can’t eliminate these chemicals – we can only reduce them,” Ye said.

Ye’s research will focus on mitigating water treatment byproducts using ferrate, which is an environmentally frieldny chemical for water treatment, ozone and ultraviolet light. Water from Rapid Creek and other water sources across South Dakota will be used, and the results will vary, based on the compounds found in each water source, Ye said.

The grant also includes South Dakota State University primary investigator Guanghui Hua, Ph.D. Hua and Ye intend to collaborate with South Dakota water treatment professionals to address these challenges.


About South Dakota Mines  

Founded in 1885, South Dakota Mines is one of the nation’s leading engineering, science and technology universities. South Dakota Mines offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees and a best-in-class education at an affordable price. The university enrolls 2,493 students with an average class size of 24. The South Dakota Mines placement rate for graduates is 98 percent, with an average starting salary of more than $70,036. For these reasons  South Dakota Mines is ranked among the best engineering schools in the country for return on investment. Find us online at www.sdsmt.edu and on FacebookTwitter, LinkedInInstagram, and Snapchat.

Contact: Gray Hughes, 605-394-2554, Gray.Hughes@sdsmt.edu

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