Native Plant-Based Phytoremediation of Atrazine in Surface Waters Using a Floating Raft System
Lincoln, Ashley R.
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Water systems in the 21st century have improved drastically compared to historical precedents due to the implementation of multi-stage treatment systems. In spite of such progress, issues with contamination still remain. Persistent contaminants, such as the herbicide atrazine, plague surface water systems well outside the bounds of American farming regions and have established a constant presence in raw and treated drinking water. Despite being monitored as a regulated contaminant by the US Environmental Protection Agency, ‘healthy’ exposure levels are still the subject of debate among water protection and health watchdog groups. This thesis utilizes a review of water system literature to identify a potential solution for atrazine contamination using phytoremediation treatment technology deployed in floating raft systems to reduce the impact on surface water. Extensive study of precedents, hydroponics, boat design, biomimicry, and human factors considerations informed a design process for the development of a raft system prototype. A study of the prototype was conducted using 30 novice users to identify areas of improvement in terms of human factors considerations, functional attributes, and subjective characteristics. Along with gathering primary research into a possible connector unit design, this study sought to evaluate the potential for project success using a comparative analysis against a leading market competitor. This thesis concludes that the project shows promise, but requires additional testing in a large scale, longitudinal study to ensure future implementations are met with success.