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Desert Research Unit
The Mission of the Desert Research Unit is to evaluate and promote methods for water and land reclamation/conservation in arid and semi-arid regions. Research themes include:
• Water conservation
• Wastewater treatment and reuse
• Reclamation of disturbed lands such as mines and retired farmland
• Economically viable arid lands plants
Most DRU projects are interdisciplinary in nature and collaborating units on campus include Chemical and Environmental Engineering; Soil, Water and Environmental Science; Agriculture and Biosystems Engineering; Hydrology; the Arizona Laboratory for Emerging Contaminants; the UA Water Village, and the Sarver Heart Center.
Recent and ongoing grants have supported studies on:
• The fate of emerging trace organic contaminants, including endocrine disrupting compounds, during wastewater treatment, sludge digestion, soil aquifer treatment, river transport, aquifer transport, and land application of biosolids.
• Wastewater and storm water treatment in constructed wetlands.
• Efficacy of “smart” irrigation technologies.
• Revegetation of disturbed areas such as Arizona farmlands that have been retired for water rights.
One current project is identifying the sources of a trace organic contaminant (perfluorooctane sulfonate, PFOS) recently detected in the Tucson aquifer; effluent recharge along the Santa Cruz River is suspected to be an important source. Another recent project utilized bench-scale experiments to optimize conventional biological wastewater treatment processes for maximizing removal of endocrine disrupting compounds. A White Paper was prepared in 2010 for The Nature Conservancy, in collaboration with Northern Arizona University, on the biological impacts of emerging contaminants in wastewater effluent and treatment processes to reduce risk. The DRU managed and conducted research at the Constructed Ecosystems Research Facility (CERF) for Pima County for 20 years.
Contact Person: David Quanrud
Contact Email Address: email@example.com
Contact Phone Number: 520-621-8591
Office of Arid Lands Studies 1955 E 6th Street Tucson, AZ 85721 US