There’s a big difference between pipe and a true piping system, according to Brian LaBelle of GF Piping Systems. His insights from this Water Talk interview captured at ACE19 in Denver highlight the advantages of ever-advancing plastic piping capabilities that are helping the water industry engineer and fabricate resilient alternatives to aging infrastructure by using customized polyethylene, polypropylene, and PVDF piping systems.
Advanced technology and more widespread acceptance are driving a growing number of municipalities to adopt the practice of wastewater reuse. Ultrafiltration (UF) has been proven a key in this process, but operators have struggled to keep up with repairs or having to replace older hollow-fiber membranes. Recent advancements in manufacturing have produced more durable membranes that accomplish the task at a lower cost based on the total lifecycle.
Rising temperatures and precipitation combined with increasing nutrient runoff from human activity are elevating challenges in water treatment efforts. In some cases, that means increased threats to drinking water quality. In others, it means increasingly stringent nutrient discharge levels. Either way, taking the nutrient monitoring battle out to the field can help in waging a better fight at the treatment plant.
The U.S. House has approved an amendment to the annual defense spending bill that would target per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
Technology is on pace to reach a milestone of 26 billion devices connected through the Internet of Things (IoT) by the end of 2019. In the water industry, IoT capabilities are enabling utilities to leverage meter reading data collected via secure private cellular networks to satisfy multiple purposes — increasing its value exponentially. In this Water Talk interview, Kristie Anderson from Badger Meter discusses how advances in smart solutions, smart water, and smart city technology are delivering real-world benefits that seemed like futuristic promises just a few short years ago.
This month I would like to celebrate and honor a dear colleague and friend who recently lost a short but heroic battle with cancer. Bridget O’Grady was just two days shy of her 70th birthday — the date that she had set for retirement. What makes Bridget remarkable is that much of her life and career was dedicated to making drinking water safe and secure for all of us; and she worked to the end to make that a reality.
Are “ghost forests” a sign of things to come? Rising sea levels and superstorm tidal surges are already impacting coastal areas, with rising salinity levels affecting some drinking water sources. Coastal water utilities are not the only ones that have to worry about salinity, however, as high concentrations of winter storm road treatments, gas drilling, and mining can also generate elevated salinity levels in surface water sources.
Authorities are investigating a tragic incident that led to the death of two sewer workers in Aldan, Pennsylvania.
Everyone wants good-tasting water, but most water treatment plants (WTPs) are hostages to the composition of their local source water supplies. One of the components involved in taste is total dissolved solids (TDS), which can affect both the acceptability of finished water taste and its likelihood to corrode or clog pipes and fixtures. Here’s how to quantify the problem and what to do about it if it is excessive.
As with most things in life, there are those water utilities that have and those that don’t. According to the EPA, less than 3% of the 150,110 operational public water systems (PWS) in the U.S. serve more than 10,000 people. And those 4,500 systems serve 79% of the population. Not that being big means living trouble free. Many of these water authorities serve cities plagued by under investment over decades in their water systems. And yet with large rate-bases comes the means to spread the investment in modern technology across many households and water consumers.
In water treatment applications with varying flow rates, keeping chemical dosing rates in proportion is critical for minimizing chemical costs while still achieving optimum treatment levels. A new plastic-bodied ultrasound flow meter delivers high precision at extremely low flow rates — down to 0.15 gph (10 ml/minute), about one-third of the 0.50 gph rates offered by most other chemical flow meters.
Using a calendar to determine when maintenance is needed for pumps, blowers, and other equipment no longer gets the job done. That’s because the ability to harness data to drive condition-based maintenance is now available. Understanding how your assets are performing, versus how they should be performing, is a key step towards predictive analytics. In this Water Talk interview, Manuel Parra, business development director for water and wastewater solutions with AVEVA, discusses industrial software for asset performance management that is allowing water managers use data to reduce the cost of their maintenance and extend the life of those critical assets.
There are a variety of technology vendors serving the water and wastewater industry, and many offer products and prices that are very comparable. Sometimes the differentiator comes down to the service, which is driven by company culture. In this Water Talk interview, Rich Cavagnaro, CEO of AdEdge Water Technologies, and Fariha Hassan, a project manager with AdEdge, discuss the positive ways to impact company culture and how that can go a long way toward impacting performance and innovation.
Many owners and operators of traditional decentralized municipal wastewater treatment plants, also referred to as on-site or off-grid treatment, are acutely aware their systems are at risk of becoming obsolete.
There’s been talk lately about empathy, its components and its general decline. A decline in empathy concerns me as an assistant professor in the University of Saskatchewan’s School of Environment and Sustainability: I study how people cope with water problems or learn to share scarce resources, like water, gas, oil, and energy.
In the mid-to-late 1800s, chlorine had been used sporadically to help control infection in hospitals and drinking water. Common water treatment did not start in the U.S. until the early twentieth century when increasing cases of waterborne illnesses prompted many large cities to begin large scale filtration of water supplies.
Aging infrastructure is shaping up to be an enormous burden on municipalities. The next 30 years will require a $1 trillion investment just to keep up with the replacement curve for water distribution pipes. At the same time, leak targeting and physical condition assessment of existing networks is an expensive proposition. In this Water Talk interview, Doug Hatler, chief revenue officer for Fracta, discusses the application of artificial intelligence in advanced screening solutions to bring those evaluation costs down.
Flow meters are not just hardware anymore. Advanced flow meters act as a data collection tool that can gather and relay valuable information for engineers and technicians trying to be more proactive in the operation of their water systems. In this Water Talk interview, Dave Baker, a regional sales manager for McCrometer, discusses advanced flow meter capabilities that are more user friendly as well as the importance of selecting the proper meter for specific applications.
The goal of water plant operators is almost universal: to ensure they're providing quality water to customers while detecting leaks, running at optimal energy usage, and maintaining systems. The problem is traditional controls and SCADA systems have gotten so complex they can actually make the job more difficult. In this Water Talk interview, Malcolm Thompson, the chief financial officer of XIO, and Kevin Liscovitz, the chief operating officer of XIO, discuss newer technology making water plant controls as simple as possible for operators while providing better insight into asset management.
A watershed isn’t typically tied into a water system’s SCADA system, but students and others observing the health of the resources may have information that can be of great value to plant operators. This is just one example of when there is a need to enter remote manual data into a SCADA system. In this Water Talk interview, Dave Spencer, technical sales with VTScada from Trihedral Engineering, discusses advanced technology that promote improved oversight by allowing the transfer of data into, and out of, SCADA systems.
Advanced oxidation is a rather complex wastewater treatment process. The general concept of how the process works can be difficult to grasp at first, and the number of possible oxidation methods can seem daunting. Therefore, you turn to the internet for information, and try to analyze together all the information you find using various online resources. However, everything doesn’t always fit right, and you come up with ideas that may not be quite true.
The idea of combining two systems into one sounds like a common-sense solution to simplifying operations. Wastewater treatment plant operators have been experimenting with this concept by combining waste activated sludge with primary and septage waste streams with the goal of lowering system complexity. The reality of these efforts is proving, in many cases, to be problematic.
Smart water technology, which produces mountains of data, has the potential to improve water system operations and widely impact consumer habits. The latter, however, is only effective if the information is embraced by individuals. In this Water Talk interview, Ian McLeod, vice president of marketing for Master Meter, discusses how a newer method of connecting smart water solutions to a popular tech device will likely boost ratepayer engagement and lead to behavioral changes.
Manmade chemicals — most notably PFAS and 1,2,3-trichloropropane, or TCP — are emerging as a serious threat to water sources that municipalities at some point will need to address to meet regulations and provide quality water. PFAS has been rearing its head across the U.S.; and while TCP is mainly a California issue, it could prove to be more expansive. In this Water Talk interview, Jim Knepper, vice president and general manager of the Resinex division of Jacobi Carbons, and Mike Bickel, a municipal sales manager with Jacobi, discuss how activated carbon technology is helping water plant operators tackle looming problems such as PFAS and TCP.
As Midwest states struggled with record spring flooding this year, the Southwest was wrestling with the opposite problem: not enough water. On May 20, 2019, federal officials and leaders from seven states signed the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan, a sweeping new water management agreement for this arid region.
Water loss is a massive problem for municipalities as distribution system leaks, metering inaccuracies, and theft combine to waste an average of 30 percent, or more, of treated product. While progress is being made on the issue — also known as non-revenue water, or NRW — there is still plenty of room for improvement. In this Water Talk interview, Jeff McCracken, a director of operations and management solutions for Itron, discusses advanced technology that digs into data to help locate both the real and apparent losses facing water managers.
Management of wastewater sludge is a core responsibility of treatment plant operators. With this responsibility comes common challenges that must be overcome. These include controlling odors so as to have a minimal impact on the surrounding community and minimizing hauling costs for its disposal. Getting a handle on both of these responsibilities and more can be much easier with the proper sludge-thickening equipment.
The dramatic rise in algal blooms, and increases in other contaminants, has left many municipalities struggling to get a handle on their source water. However, there are effective ways to manage those problems ahead of intake to stabilize the process inside of water treatment plants. In this Water Talk interview, Justin Voty, a marketing and commercialization manager with Innovative Water Care, and Jackie Schramm, a sales manager with Innovative Water Care, discuss the benefits of taking a more preemptive approach to treatment and disinfection. Innovative Water Care, formerly part of Lonza, became a standalone business unit earlier this year.
As regulations become more stringent and increased demand is putting pressure on sources, traditional sampling to maintain water quality just isn’t cutting it anymore. Relying on periodic samples analyzed in a laboratory means water managers aren’t in touch with potentially large swings in the organic load and other problems flowing into their treatment plants. In this Water Talk interview, Kerim Kollu, an applications research scientist for Real Tech, discussed the emerging technology that is enabling municipalities to reliably perform continuous monitoring.
Water utilities with highly successful monitoring programs tend to share a common trait: they have a well-defined plan for calibration that emphasizes frequency and tracking. However, when done properly, this process is time-consuming and often leads to unnecessary labor and downtime. The good news is that advanced metering technology is available for plants to get a better handle on the instrument’s performance with significantly less effort.
Polymers — the chemicals used in wastewater to thicken sludges and facilitate the removal of water — are critical to the operational efficiency of sludge-thickening equipment. Unfortunately, it’s common practice at treatment facilities to order and install equipment before even considering what the ideal polymer might be for the sludge produced at the specific plant. This flawed process is time consuming, disruptive to plant operations, and can become very costly.
For those in the drinking water and wastewater treatment space, the climbing temperatures in summer months can bring with them an obstacle that seems to get worse every year — harmful algal blooms.
Digital devices provide two-way communication, so they can be programmed from the control room. However, the bigger benefit is that they can be part of a system offering assured interoperability to provide a seamless flow of information. This type of integration between key components of the water treatment and distribution process improves decision-making and overall equipment optimization.
Innovation is vital in the water industry and continually moving ahead is a must — even if the company you're trying to surpass is your own. By listening to a wide range of customers and distribution chain partners, Mazzei Injector Company upgraded its revolutionary Pipeline Flash Reactor (PFR) and introduced it to the marketplace with great impact.
Polymers used in wastewater treatment represent one of the most expensive operating costs for municipalities. By providing an optimal environment for the activation of these polymers, plants can improve efficiency by as much as 20 percent or more. At the same time, drinking water plant managers face enormous pressure to control the disinfection residual. In this Water Talk interview, Matt Boeh, director of sales for UGSI Chemical Feed, discusses the advanced mixing technologies that can be used to improve polymer usage as well as address drinking water quality issues in distribution systems.
Water utilities around the country are trying to get a handle on their PFAS problem. While the presence of legacy PFAS is well known, lesser understood replacements such as short-chain PFAS are emerging as a major issue. The short-chain compounds are particularly important because they can be more difficult to remove. In this Water Talk interview, Adam Redding, technical director for drinking water solutions for Calgon Carbon, discusses the science and economics behind effective solutions for treating water for short-chain PFAS and other contaminants.
Aging infrastructure is major headache for municipalities across the country, and many will need to keep their systems working for years before funding is available for improvements. Insertion valves, which allow for tapping into a main without shutting it down, are helping water managers maintain these older systems without disrupting customers. In this Water Talk interview, Chris Vazzana, president of Hydra-Stop, discusses the newer expansion of insertion valve products to fit a growing number of main sizes as well as the addition of smart technologies into those valves.
Population growth, combined with a lack of land for new clarifiers, is putting a strain on wastewater plant operators in a number of places across the country. Smaller, more efficient clarifiers can provide the solution in a cost-effective manner. The key to their performance is rooted in flow control while optimizing detention times, energy inputs, and the use of coagulants. In this Water Talk interview, Tom Grubb, technical sales manager for Meurer Research, Inc. (a Parkson brand), discusses the advanced technology that is helping wastewater treatment plant operators in growth centers to address their requirements.
Solaris Water Midstream, LLC (“Solaris Water”), a leading provider of water-related infrastructure to the oil and gas industry, announced recently it has launched operations at its expanded Lobo Ranch Produced Water Recycling and Blending Center, a large-scale produced water recycling and non-potable water blending facility in Eddy County, New Mexico.
Water Alliance will present a new initiative during the international trade fair Aquatech Amsterdam: The Holland Innovation Park (HIP). HIP has the aim to provide a platform for relatively young companies with promising innovations, at one of the most important water technology events in the world.
Aries Clean Energy has received all approvals required to construct New Jersey’s first biosolids-only gasification facility.
Engineers who need to optimize boiler efficiency for electric power generation will find the MT100 and ST102A Multipoint Thermal Mass Flow Meters from Fluid Components International (FCI) help them accurately measure recycled hot air from stack gases in order to reduce the consumption and cost of fuel.
Battelle is focused on the human health and environmental impacts of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and has invented a new digital tool to determine where these substances are going once they have been introduced into groundwater.
The Water Environment Federation (WEF) has taken another step to increase the reach, value, and profile of WATER’S WORTH IT by translating the campaign fact sheets, ads, and social media graphics into Spanish and French.
How can water companies, suppliers and regulators work together to support innovation?
In a joint effort to protect Nassau County’s precious but finite water resources, SUEZ and Nassau County have completed the County’s newest water reuse system at the Cedar Creek Water Reclamation Facility in Wantagh that will now allow for the reuse of treated wastewater in the plant’s operation.
Plastic should not be found in the environment. In order to estimate for the first time the exact extent of plastic pollution in Switzerland, the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) has mandated Empa researchers to calculate how much plastic gets into the environment.
Bison, Oklahoma's largest water infrastructure, logistics and solutions provider, today announced that it has entered into a 15-year Water Gathering and Disposal Agreement with Marathon Oil Company, a subsidiary of Marathon Oil Corporation (NYSE: MRO).
Biwater Inc. has successfully completed the shipment of its three 2.25 million gallon per day (MGD) reverse osmosis trains to support the Water Treatment Plant Replacement Project for the Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station in North Carolina, USA.
NOAA and its research partners are forecasting that western Lake Erie will experience a significant harmful algal bloom (HAB) this summer.
Join us in Chicago, Sept. 21-25, to engage with water professionals from around the world, participate in prestigious programming, enhance your professional development skills, and discover innovative technology and solutions to the water sector’s most important issues. Register by July 12 to save.
Our passion for clean water drives our company to apply and deliver water purification technologies that improve the quality of people's lives, enhance the environment, and grow economies throughout the world. We seek to steward the knowledge, resources, and blessings we have received to serve others and our community.
Christine Ballard, Group Manager, Water Resources
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