Sulfate Removal From Ground Water

Author(s): Bricka, R. ;  Stokes, B.

A process to remove sulfates from ground and surface water to meet required drinking water standards has been completed. Several options were researched, including ion exchange, electrodialysis, electrodeionization and other membrane technologies. In evaluating each process, economical, environmental, health and safety issues were considered. A primary concern during assessment was the feasibility of scaling up a bench scale process to a system that can produce hundreds to thousands of gallons. While many of these are innovative technologies, ion exchange is a more commonly accepted process and is suitable for large scale production because of the lower operation costs.

This paper describes the process by which ion exchange technology occurs as well as the recommended design for scale up. The prototype design includes two columns packed with anion exchange resin. For the chosen set-up, one column will purify water, and the other column can be regenerated without interrupting continuous production. Multiple equilibrium and dynamic tests were performed to calculate the sulfate absorption capacity of the resin and determine the optimum treatment rates for maximum efficiency. The Environmental Protection Agency has numerous regulations and standards providing recommended contaminant levels of sulfates in drinking water. These standards provide a basis for testing and design. The process was scaled to purify 120,000 gallons of water per day while minimizing the concentrations of sulfates and other dissolved solids. All equipment, product, and operational costs were calculated and evaluated. Several waste treatment options were also evaluated, and a recommended design to employ evaporation ponds was chosen based on geographic location and arid climate. In the chosen waste treatment option, all regenerative waste is sent to an evaporation pond to recover and dispose of excess salt. The process of ion exchange successfully removed an adequate amount of sulfates and was proven to be a feasible solution for water treatment in areas with high sulfate concentrations.


Technical Presentations

  • Delta Water Quality
  • Delta Water and Agriculture
  • Wetlands
  • Water Quality
  • Sediments
  • Non-Point
  • Management and Sustainability
  • Wood Treatment
  • Modeling
  • Soil and Water Treatment


Responsible Site Design: Implementing Innovative Stormwater Management Strategies

The primary goal of the workshop is to create a dynamic learning experience that examines the role of stormwater management in the built environment. The workshop will focus on integrating ecologically sound water management approaches into site design. After the workshop, attendees will be familiar with the following concepts and technical issues:

  • Knowledge of the stormwater treatment chain
  • Knowledge of the impact of land use codes on stormwater management
  • Application of a design process that mitigates the effects of stormwater on-site
  • Knowledge of the relationship between land use codes and design for innovative stormwater management


For information contact:
Jessie Schmidt
Box 9680
Mississippi State, MS 39762