Viral Water Extractions

By 2035, the Pure Water project will supply one-third of San Diego’s drinking water by directing wastewater flows away from wastewater treatment facilities that discharge into the ocean and using advanced water treatment technologies with surface water augmentation. In these facilities, such as the North City Pure Water Facility (NCPWF) in San Diego, several water purification strategies are used in series to effectively treat wastewater, including ozone (O3), biological activated carbon (BAC), micro- or ultrafiltration (MF/UF), reverse osmosis (RO), and a UV-based advanced oxidation process (UV/AOP).

This will be the first facility of its kind in California, and one of few in the world to use indirect potable reuse via surface water augmentation. While these demonstration facilities have been successful in producing water conforming to federal and state drinking water quality standards, no studies have yet characterized the microbial and viral communities that exist at each step of the process. This project aims to use metagenomic analysis to describe these communities and how they are affected by each step of the purification process.

In collaboration with the Roach, Verbyla, and Gersberg labs, students Maria Mora and Jason Baer in the Dinsdale Lab are performing bacterial and viral extractions on water samples collected from each step of the purification process at the NCPWF demonstration facility. Following extraction of the DNA, the team will shotgun sequence each of the samples using the Illumina MiSeq platform, ultimately leading to a taxonomic and functional characterization of the bacterial and viral communities present along the wastewater treatment process. This will lead to a better understanding of the success of the purification process as well as lend support for a novel and efficient system of wastewater treatment.