NSF Grant Studying Drinking Water Treatment Byproducts Awarded to Mines Assistant Professor

Posted on: March 20, 2024   |   Categories: Announcements, News & Updates
Drinking Water Byproducts Grant For Web

Article by Gray Hughes, South Dakota Mines.

Pictured: Tao Ye, Ph.D., (second left) stands with his graduate students who are helping him study the mitigation of disinfection byproducts in drinking water thanks to a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation.

Tao Ye, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at South Dakota Mines, is Mines’ primary investigator on a recently awarded three-year grant from the National Science Foundation, which will study the mitigation of disinfection byproducts in drinking water.

Chlorine has been used to disinfect drinking water for more than a century. When chlorine reacts with other compounds in untreated water, it creates byproducts that can cause elevated cancer risks in humans. As these byproducts were studied in the 1970s, the Environmental Protection Agency developed regulations used today in municipal water treatment. During continuing studies, scientists recently detected another byproduct, created when chlorine reacts with a chemical used in x-ray contrast media, which are substances that, for a short period of time, temporarily change the way x-rays, MRIs, CT scanners and other imaging tools interact with the body.

“We can’t eliminate these chemicals – we can only reduce them,” Ye said.

Ye’s research will focus on mitigating water treatment byproducts using ferrate, which is an environmentally frieldny chemical for water treatment, ozone and ultraviolet light. Water from Rapid Creek and other water sources across South Dakota will be used, and the results will vary, based on the compounds found in each water source, Ye said.

The grant also includes South Dakota State University primary investigator Guanghui Hua, Ph.D. Hua and Ye intend to collaborate with South Dakota water treatment professionals to address these challenges.

Media Contact:
Gray Hughes, 605-394-2554,

Find South Dakota Mines online at and on FacebookTwitterLinkedInInstagram, and Snapchat.