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Current Projects

The following is a partial list of current projects:


NWRI Research Projects


Developing a Simple, Rapid Molecular Method to Test for Ammonia Oxidizing Bacteria for Water and Wastewater at the Irvine Ranch Water District
Principal Investigator: Dr. Betty H. Olson and Dr. Hun-Kung Bae, University of California, Irvine


Ammonia oxidizing bacteria (AOB) are a critical component of wastewater treatment when complete or partial nitrification is sought. However, ammonia oxidation often falls below optimum because AOB organisms are easily inhibited or killed by chemicals that can enter the wastewater stream or by suboptimal operating conditions. This project will investigate developing a rapid method for measuring AOB using molecular techniques. The goal is to enhance operations, which improves cost-effectiveness, saves energy, and help maintain compliance.


Fecal Indicator Bacteria Source Tracking in the Middle Santa Ana River

Principal Investigators: Dr. Stanley Grant, University of California, Irvine; Dr. David Sedlak, University of California, Berkeley; and Dr. Patricia Holden, University of California, Santa Barbara

The Universities of California Santa Barbara, Berkeley, and Irvine are collaborating to better determine the sources and occurrence of fecal indicator bacteria in the Middle Santa Ana River during dry weather periods. To do so, the research team will assay for gene markers associated with Bacteroids (bacteria found in human waste) and Enterococcus (bacteria that is not human-specific), as well as assay for the human pharmaceutical, Propranolol, and other raw sewage tracers.


Reuse of Graywater
Principal Investigator: Dr. James Crook, Environmental Engineering Consultant (Massachusetts)


Water agencies in the southwest are interested in evaluating graywater as a potential source water to decrease the demand on potable supplies. However, information is needed on water quality, health considerations, regulatory standards, and the use of untreated graywater by homeowners for outside irrigation purposes. NWRI is developing a White Paper to address these issues, which will help water and wastewater agencies make informed decisions when evaluating the use of graywater.


Salinity Management Study Update

Project Partners: U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Southern California Salinity Coalition


Evaluating Approaches for Implementing Direct Potable Reuse: Treatment and Public Perception

Project Partners: WateReuse Research Foundation and Mark Millan of Data Instincts


Onsite Reuse of Graywater and Stormwater: An Assessment of Risks, Costs, and Benefits

Project Partners: National Academy of Science and National Research Council


Conservation Potential of Salinity Mitigation Strategies

Principal Investigator: S. Tariq Hussain, URS



NWRI Independent Advisory Panels


Groundwater Replenishment System

2004 - Present

Agency: Orange County Water District (Fountain Valley, CA)


Santa Ana River Water Quality Monitoring Study

2004 - Present

Agency: Orange County Water District (Fountain Valley, CA)


Groundwater Replenishment Project Review

2010 - Present

Agency: Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (Los Angeles, CA)


Evaluating Potable Reuse

2013 - Present

Agency: Santa Clara Valley Water District (San Jose, CA)


Groundwater Recharge Scientific Study

2013 - Present

Agency: LOTT Clean Water Alliance (Olympia, WA)


Hexavalent Cromium (Cr[VI]) Removal by ToxSorb's NP2 Media

2013 - Present

Agencies: Carollo Engineers and ToxSorb (Walnut Creek, CA)


Monterey Peninsula Groundwater Replenishment Project

2013 - Present

Agency: Monterey Regional Water Pollution Control Agency (Monterey, CA)


Padre Dam Municipal Water District’s Full Advanced Water Treatment Demonstration Project

2013 - Present

Agencies: Padre Dam Municipal Water District via Trussell Technologies, Inc. (Santee, CA)


CDPH Surface Water Augmentation and Direct Potable Reuse

2013 - Present

Agency: California Department of Public Health (Sacramento, CA)


Developing Potable Reuse Guidelines

2013 - Present

Agency: WateReuse Association (Alexandria, VA)


San Vicente Reservoir and Otay Reservoir Studies for Reservoir Augmentation with Recycled Water

2013 - Present

Agency: City of San Diego (San Diego, CA)


Developing Proposed Direct Potable Reuse Operational Procedures and Guidelines

2013 - Present

Agency: New Mexico Environment Department (Santa Fe, NM)



For more information:

Click here to learn about our Research Program.

Click here to view past projects.

Click here to learn how to apply for research funding.