Dr. Steven Duranceau
Professor and Director of the Environmental Systems Engineering Institute
Room: Engr II
Phone: (407) 823-1440
The Environmental Systems Engineering Institute is the drinking water treatment research facility that is affiliated with the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Central Florida. ESEI specializes in the study of drinking water treatment using membrane filtration techniques, including reverse-osmosis, nanofiltration, and microfiltration. ESEI also is involved in the study of coagulation and flocculation techniques.
The Institute is under the direction of Dr. Steven J. Duranceau, P.E., an Associate Professor in the Civil, Environmental and Construction Engineering Department at the University of Central Florida, in Orlando, Florida. Dr. Duranceau’s research focuses on advanced water treatment process cost, performance and mass transfer investigations, distribution system water quality and corrosion control. Some of his work has been published in Journal AWWA, Journal Aqua, Synthetic Communications, Desalination and Florida Water Resources Journal.
He currently serves on the editorial advisory board for Journal Desalination. He serves as the President of the American Membrane Technologies Association (2008-2009) and is one of the founding members of the Southeast Desalting Association (SEDA) and Southwest Membrane Operators Association (SWMOA). He is past chair of American Water Works Association’s (AWWA’s) Desalting, Membrane Processes and Inorganic Contaminants Committees. He is a past Trustee for the Florida Section AWWA, and has been recognized by receiving several distinguished service awards. He was chair of AWWA’s 1995 and 1997 Membrane Technologies Conferences.
Dr. Duranceau has 20 years of water treatment and distribution engineering experience, having performed bench-pilot studies, design, permitting and construction activities for many water communities, research organizations and government agencies. He has worked on projects funded by the U.S. EPA, U.S. Navy, and the Awwa Research Foundation. He has served as peer reviewer for the U.S. EPA’s Equipment Technologies Verification program for modular water treatment systems under a contract with NSF International. He has performed numerous water distribution system corrosion control studies across the country. Dr. Duranceau serves as an adjunct instructor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for the Department of Engineering for their Professional Development Program and provided instruction in several workshops on retrofitting and optimizing the operation of drinking water facilities. He has instructed at the university level in theoretical chemistry, laboratory procedures, and environmental engineering coursework.
He is a graduate of Florida State University, with a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry, and of the University of Central Florida with a Masters degree in Industrial Chemistry and a Doctorate in Environmental Engineering. He is a registered professional engineer in the state of Florida, and is a certified chemical engineer through the American Institute of Chemists.
Dr. Duranceau has produced 17 peer-review publications since 1986, and has participated in the development of over a dozen books and government documents. He has presented over 125 times and published close to 100 articles in proceedings of conferences and symposiums that focus on drinking water quality, treatment and distribution topics. He has published many documents and presented many times on topics related to water quality and treatment. He has participated in 7 expert workshops.
Several faculty at UCF have worked with the Institute on a wide array of projects with many environmental interests. Many of the faculty and staff within the UCF Civil and Environmental Engineering Department as well as from other UCF departments, have collaborated with ESEI. UCF maintains a healthy relationship with utilities as well as local industrial and commercial entities.
In addition, ESEI supports the ongoing research of several Masters or Doctoral students in CEE’s graduate program.
ESEI Facilities and Laboratories
ESEI is located in Engineering Building II on the UCF main campus in Orlando, Florida. It also conducts research at several remote sites on and off the UCF campus. These facilities have included the City of Tampa Water Department, the on-campus Field Lab (CEEFL), and others. Currently, ESEI occupies space in five laboratories on the top floor of EN2: The Drinking Water Laboratory, the Organics Analysis Laboratory, the Chemical/Biological Process Laboratory, the Metals/Inorganics Analysis Laboratory, and the Microbiology Lab.
The Drinking Water Laboratory houses equipment that ESEI uses for membrane characterization and performance studies. Flat-sheet test units of two varieties can be found here, along with several bench-scale membrane testing units. Membrane characterization instruments are also housed here. The electrokinetic analyzer measures conductivity across a membrane surface. The goniometer measures the hydrophobicity of a membrane surface. The NPDOC analyzer is also housed here.
The Organics Analysis Laboratory contains equipment and bench space used in contaminant analysis. Four gas chromatographs used for a variety of organics determination. An Agilent 6890N is dedicated to THM and HAA analysis. Three Shimadzu GC-14s are available for volatile fatty acids, SOC species, and other analyses. Read More..
The Process Laboratory serves as a general purpose laboratory for “wet” chemical analyses (like alkalinity and hardness titrations, for example), and a wide array of benchtop instrument measurements (turbidity, conductivity, pH, UV254, true and apparent color, etc.). Softening and coagulation jar testing is also carried out here. This room is also home to one of the two TKN arrays owned by the department. Experimentation on small scale requiring strict environmental control (temperature, humidity) can take place in our environmental chamber. Samples for much of the department’s water research are stored in the walk-in cooler here. Read More
The Metals/Inorganics Laboratory is currently equipped with a Unicam/TJA 969 Flame Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer for high-level metals. A Hitachi Z9000 Graphite Furnace Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer is used here for low-level metals analysis. A Dionex DX-120 Ion Chromatograph provides anion analysis capabilities. The Institute will soon be acquiring an ICP Spectrometer which will improve sensitivity and increase throughput on all inorganic analysis. Read More…
The Microbiology Laboratory is fitted with a culture hood and equipment to measure HPCs, Coliforms and other biological parameters vital to water analysis. A Shimadzu RF-1501 Fluorimeter, a luminometer, and a Zeiss epifluorescent microscope are key to the function of this laboratory. Read More
ESEI is heavily involved in research of water treatment design and modeling. Its studies involve bench-scale system design and analysis, field sample collection and study, as well as pilot system design and operation. Some of the equipment actively used by ESEI to conduct its research and to support CECE Department teaching efforts includes the following.
- Accumet pH meters (AR50 and others)
- Anton-Paar Electrokinetic (EKA) Analyzer
- Barnstead/Thermolyne Muffle Furnace (2)
- Barnstead MP6A distillation unit (for reagent water) (2)
- Dionex DX-120 Ion Chromatograph
- Dohrmann Phoenix 8000 Dissolved Organic Carbon Analyzer
- Hach DR4000U UV/Visible Spectrophotometers (4)
- Hach 2100AN Ratio Turbidimeter
- Hewlett-Packard 6890 Gas Chromatograph with ECD
- Hiac-Royco Model 8000A Particle Counter
- Hitachi Z9000 Graphite Furnace Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer
- Labconco TKN distillation arrays (2)
- Mettler and Sartorius Analytical Balances
- Perkin-Elmer High Performance Liquid Chromatograph
- Rame-Hart 100 Goniometer (Membrane Contact Angle Measurement)
- Shimadzu GC14 Gas Chromatographs (3) with FID/TCD/ECD
- Shimadzu RF -1501 Spectrofluorimeter
- Turner Designs TD 20/20 Luminometer
- Unicam/TJA 969 Flame Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer
- YSI Dissolved Oxygen Meters and Probes (Model 58)
The ESEI has numerous bench-scale units to evaluate water treatment processes. While bench-top units are primarily used for prescreening processes the efficient use of these units can save significant time and money by reducing operational variables evaluated during pilot testing. The bench-top units are convenient in that either source water is transported to the laboratory or the units can be move and operated on-site. A list of bench-scale units available for operation and evaluation for this project are summarized below with pictures associated with selected units.
- Two ozone units for evaluation batch and continuous flow studies of disinfection, disinfection by-product formation and color, taste and odor removal.
- Two bench-scale GAC test units designed for rapid small-scale column testing (RSSCT) for evaluating waters under the Information Collection Rule.
- Ion exchange batch testing units for evaluation of general or selective ions and natural or synthetic organic removal.
- Phipps and Bird jar test units for conduction softening and coagulation, flocculation and settling studies. The units are used to gain preliminary design information and to optimize existing plant processes.
- Two flat-sheet bench top membrane units capable of withstanding pressure to 150 psi. These units are capable of evaluating two flat-sheet films simultaneously. They are used in laboratory studies of nano- and ultra-filtration, initial screening of pretreatment processes and membrane film selection prior to pilot operations.
- Three Osmonics flat-sheet bench top membrane units capable of withstanding pressure to 1000 psi. These units are capable of evaluating two flat-sheet films simultaneously. They are used in laboratory studies of brackish and salt water desalination, initial screening of pretreatment processes and membrane film selection prior to pilot operations.
Several pilot plants are available at UCF for utilization on various projects. These pilot plants are summarized in the following List.
A 25,000 gpd three-stage high pressure reverse osmosis pilot plant equipped with stainless steel pressure vessels capable of withstanding pressures to 1200 psi. This pilot plant is equipped with automatic monitoring, control of pH, conductivity and temperature, and can be operated with or without recycle in each stage. This pilot has three different high-pressure pumps and can be operated as two two-stage pilots and one one-stage pilot for the investigation of different pretreatment or membranes simultaneously. Flow and pressure can be monitored in and out of every pressure vessel. Each pressure vessel can contain from one to three 4”X40” membrane elements.
A 10,000-gpd two-stage nanofiltration pilot plant capable of withstanding pressures to 250 psi. This pilot plant is equipped for monitoring and control of pH, conductivity and temperature and can be operated with or without recycle in each stage. Flow and pressure can be monitored in and out of every pressure vessel. Each pressure vessel can contain from one to three 4”X40” membrane elements.
A 5000-gpd two-stage nanofiltration pilot plant capable of withstanding pressures to 250 psi. This pilot plant is equipped for monitoring and control of pH, conductivity and temperature and can be operated with or without recycle in each stage. Flow and pressure can be monitored in and out of every pressure vessel. Two first stage pressure vessels can contain from one to three 4”X40” elements. The second stage can contain from one to three 2.5”X400” elements.
Three single element nanofiltration pilot plants capable of withstanding pressure to 250 psi each. These pilots are equipped for monitoring and control of pH, conductivity and temperature and can be operated with and without recycle.
Two ion exchange units capable of treating more than 5 gpm are used for evaluation of general or selective ions and natural or synthetic organic removal.
A four foot diameter GAC/rapid sand filter. Multiple four inch diameter test columns for settling or filtration studies.
Chemical feed pumps, tanks and other field equipment for support of membrane pilot studies in the field.
Softening and Flocculation/Coagulation Jar TestingESEI is also capable of investigating pre-treatment of source waters prior to membrane treatment. Softening serves to reduce hardness in source waters, while coagulation removes NPDOC (including DBP precurors) from the water. ESEI can conduct specific jar tests to determine an optimum pre-treatment plan for water to be membrane treated, or as a stand-alone treatment.
Figure 1. Softening and Flocculation/Coagulation Jar Test Unit
General Water Quality Needs
The ESEI laboratories are outfitted with state-of-the-art analytical equipment capable of facilitating many standard water quality tests as well as carrying out cutting-edge environmental and chemical analyses. ESEI personnel have extensive experience with standard EPA and ASTM techniques.
The quality control-quality assurance plan for ESEI can be found here
Specific Analytical Applications
Applications of techniques that ESEI uses on a regular basis include:
Disinfection By Products and their Formation Potential. ESEI is capable of conducting formation potential analysis that can assist with prediction of disinfection byproducts (trihalomethanes, haloacetic acids) that form as a result of chlorination. Field water quality analysis, initial chlorine dissipation studies, and saturation pH determination all assist with determination of ideal chlorine dosing for a given source water. These chlorine doses can then be administered to samples of the source water, which can then be incubated at selected temperatures for fixed periods of time. After incubation, samples are then measured for DBP content on an Agilent 6890 Gas Chromatograph.
Figure 1. Agilent Technologies HP6890N Network Gas Chromatograph with 7683 autosampler and ECD detector
Dissolved Organic Carbon analysis. DOC provides insight on many topics, ranging from the presence of DBP precursors to the effectiveness of treatment processes, including coagulation and membrane filtration.
Figure 2. Tekmarr-Dohrmann Phoenix 8000 Total Carbon Analyzer
- UV/Visible Spectroscopy
- Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy (Flame, Electrothermal)
Figure 3. Hitachi Z9000 Electrothermal Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer for analysis of low-level metals
A study such as this usually involves acquiring samples of the membrane of interest from the manufacturer, and then conducting laboratory scale filtration tests with them. ESEI is capable of testing membranes of interest on various small scales, in order to “approximate” the performance of a full-scale element in a full-sized water treatment plant. Flat-sheet testing is done with a small portion of membrane material that is cut from a large element and mounted into a testing apparatus capable of holding it in place while challenging it with water at selected hydraulic conditions (pressure, flow, etc.). Single element testing is done using a pilot membrane plant and an individual (but complete) membrane provided by the manufacturer. In either case, samples of permeate, concentrate, and feed water are collected and analyzed for water quality.
Figure 1. Flat Sheet Test Unit
Figure 2. Single Element Test Unit
Then, the surface of the membrane sample itself is studied to determine its morphology (surface charge, etc.) before, during, and after fouling. This morphology can be assessed in one way by conducting a surface analysis using an electrokinetic analyzer (EKA). This apparatus determines the charge density or distribution over a membrane surface at the interface between that surface and the liquid it is in contact with. This measurement provides information on the characteristics of that surface, such as the chemical and/or physical structure and composition of the surface and of the liquid itself. This information then provides insights on what chemical processes are going on at the interface, such as adsorption of a film onto the surface, ionic interactions, and others. These processes are used to deduce mechanisms of the filtration process, such as membrane fouling.
Figure 3. Electrokinetic Analyzer (EKA)