A variety of advanced water treatment methods are available for utilities to use for removal of a variety of contaminants, including pollutants originating from AFOs. These alternatives include ultraviolet (UV) disinfection, membranes, alternative oxidants, and other specialized treatment. Use of these methods is becoming more common. For example, recent improvements in UV and membrane systems have made the systems more reliable, simpler to operate and maintain, and more cost-effective to operate. In addition, regulatory pressure requiring compliance with the USEPA Long Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule (LT2ESWTR) and Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule (DBPR) is influencing utilities to look more closely at these technologies. Situations where chronic or acute releases of contaminants from AFOs are a potential problem may provide a further incentive or justification for employing these technologies.
Several utilities have installed activated carbon adsorption, UV disinfection, advanced oxidation, or membrane filtration at least in part for treatment of contaminants originating from CAFO operations, including five of the 30 water utility respondents to a survey for this research project that had CAFOs located in their source water area.