Ground-Water Quality at Rapid Infiltration Site

by James V. Olson, (A.M.ASCE), Sr. Environmental Engr.; Creegan & D'Angelo, San Jose, Calif.,
Paul E. Levine, Geologist; Ecology and Environment, San Francisco, Calif.; formerly, Soil Scientist, Metcalf & Eddy, Inc., Palo Alto, Calif.,
Ronald W. Crites, (A.M.ASCE), Project Mgr.; Metcalf & Eddy, Inc., Sacramento, Calif.,

Serial Information: Journal of the Environmental Engineering Division, 1980, Vol. 106, Issue 5, Pg. 885-899

Document Type: Journal Paper


The ground water quality beneath a 30-yr old rapid infiltration was studied over a 12-month period. The system receives primary effluent and treats it to a very high quality through the land treatment process. The flow of treated water passes through 10 m to 20 m of permeable sands and then moves laterally off the site. This shallow ground water is not used as a water supply and does not affect the deeper, separate aquifers. A 96% BOD and TOC removal was achieved. Because of the high BOD to nitrogen ratio, the relatively low loading rate of 15.4 m/yr, and the moderate climate, nitrogen was removed by nitrification and denitrification in the soil. The average nitrogen removal was 93%. Phosphorus removal was 30%. Trace element removal varied, but shallow ground-water levels were generally lower than guidelines established for unrestricted irrigation.

Subject Headings: Groundwater quality | Nitrogen | Infiltration | Soil treatment | Permeability (soil) | Effluents | Water flow | Soil water

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