Bernie Beemster, president of ASA Analytics, talks to Water Online Radio about the aspects and advantages of chloramination, the essential parameters in monitoring the chloramination process, and why the ChemScan UV-2150/S is a cost-effective solution.
Todd Schnick: We’re coming to you live from Dallas, Texas. This is day three of AWWA ACE 2012 and Water Online Radio. I’m your host Todd Schnick, joined by my colleague, Todd Youngblood. Todd, this next guy is going to be a handful.
Todd Youngblood: And did you hear the cheering? Right as we started the show the cheering started up, the applause came on.
Todd Schnick: They love this guy. I want to welcome Bernie Beemster, who is the president of ASA Analytics. Welcome, Bernie.
Bernie Beemster: Thank you, Todd.
Todd Schnick: We’ll, it’s our pleasure to have you. Bernie, before we get into it, do take a few seconds and tell us a little bit about you and your background.
Bernie Beemster: I had my photo taken yesterday for being a 30-year-plus veteran of the industry.
Todd Youngblood: Outstanding, congratulations.
Bernie Beemster: We founded ASA Analytics close to 20 years ago now, to take advantage of a technology that we originally developed for NASA for monitoring hydroponics. We didn’t make you say that either.
Todd Schnick: Thank you for that. I don’t even know what hydroponics is.
Bernie Beemster: If you’ve been through the tour at Epcot Center where you get on the boat and you see the vegetables being grown, no soil – that’s hydroponics.
Todd Youngblood: Well, tell us more about ASA Analytics. I want to hear about how you are serving and helping your marketplace.
Bernie Beemster: We make analytical instruments and systems for monitoring water and wastewater treatment processes. So our equipment is typically embedded into the process and is automatically monitoring key parameters from the processes that are used to make an adjustment or feed a chemical, or open a valve, or recirculate water to a different location.
Todd Youngblood: Bernie, tell us how you get form hydroponics to chloramination.
Bernie Beemster: It’s a long and strange journey.
Todd Youngblood: Somehow I thought so.
Bernie Beemster: But basically it involved nutrients. You need nutrients to grow plants. We were inventing a system, essentially for NASA, that would automatically monitor 15 different key nutrient components in these solutions that are used in the hydroponics systems.
We began to look around for applications that had a bit more volume and the nutrients turned out to be the same sorts of things that water plants and wastewater plants are interested in monitoring and controlling.
Todd Youngblood: Bernie tell us what the ChemScan UV-2150/S and the role that that plays with utilities and chloramination.
Bernie Beemster: Okay, and there’s a little NASA story that goes along with that too. I’ll get to that in a minute, but this is one of the best applications we think of our technology. Our technology is capable of monitoring multiple parameters in rapid sequence and it’s also capable of monitoring multiple locations in the process with one central analyzer.
The chloramination analyzer, the UV-2150/S, monitors free ammonia, total ammonia, monochloramine and total chlorine – those four parameters, which are the four parameters that are essential for monitoring this chloramination process.
Chloramination is actually the use of chlorine and ammonia, combined together, and that forms chloramine. And chloramine is the disinfectant that’s used out in the distribution system. So the plant may use some other disinfectant for primary disinfection, but the secondary disinfectant – what actually gets sent out through the pipes and to the customers – is chloramine.
Todd Youngblood: Bernie, from a water quality standpoint what you’re saying makes absolute perfect sense to me. At the end of the day, I really care about dollars and cents – especially if I’m managing a municipal water supply, I’ve got a heck of a tight expense budget and capital budget. What’s the financial impact of all this technology?
Bernie Beemster: The financial impact is better control; less flushing of water in the distribution system because the chemistry can be stable and stabilized once it’s monitored and controlled properly; a better overall quality in the distribution system – fewer complaints from end users because of taste or odor problems in the water, and those are the sorts of things that can get out of control very quickly.
When chloramine is used – it is much more difficult to chloraminate than it is to chlorinate – but the main reason that plants chloraminate is because of disinfection byproducts that are caused just with the combination of chlorine and organic matter.
So the chloramines are much less reactive when they come in contact with organics anywhere in the system and fewer disinfection byproducts are formed by chloramine than by straight chlorine.
Todd Youngblood: Is ChemScan difficult to operate and maintain?
Bernie Beemster: No, it’s an automatic system. It does its own maintenance essentially. It’s connected to a source of deionized water, usually in a jug stored below the instrument, so it automatically calibrates itself against that zero standard. It automatically cleans itself when necessary. It knows what to do to take care of itself. So all an operator really has to do is keep the analyzer supplied with reagent and with the standard solutions.
Todd Youngblood: If I’m an executive in a water utility, just the nature of my responsibility makes me a little bit conscious – particularly when I’m thinking about implementing some new technology that the vendor says is automatic and runs itself (I don’t mean to be a wise guy); because of the amount of money involved and responsibility involved, a lot of folks are reluctant to adopt a new technology. How do you get folks to see the value, in addition to that the lack of risk in implementing this kind of system?
Bernie Beemster: Well, it’s pretty hard. There are other solutions that are out there that are not as sophisticated as the one that we offer. We find that a lot of plants have tried something else and have been disappointed in the results, and then have come to us looking for a more reliable solution and something that actually works for them.
We end up going into a lot of plants after some other equipment has been there and not been able to do the job properly.
Todd Schnick: How are things going for you at ACE12 so far?
Bernie Beemster: Excellent, very good. We are very happy with traffic that we have through our booth. The hall is up and down in terms of visitors but we seem to have a steady flow.
We are fortunate that we have 35 sales representive firms helping market our product in North America. Many of them attend this show and many of them bring their customers through to visit us and find out what’s new.
Todd Schnick: Outstanding. Well, Bernie, I hate to say it but we are out of time. Before we let you go how can people get in touch with you and more improtantly where can I get more information on the good works of ASA Analytics?
Bernie Beemster: Well, the website is asaanalytics.com and that’s the easiest way to get a very comprhensive volume of information on all of our products and all of our applications. Or they can call us at 1-800-665-7133.
Todd Schnick: Oustanding. Bernie Beemster, president of ASA Analytics, it was great to have you. Thanks so much for joining us.
Bernie Beemster: Thanks, Todd.
Todd Schnick: Alright. Well, that wraps this segment. On behalf of our guest Bernie Beemster, my cohost Tood Youngblood, all of us at Water Online, I’m Todd Schnick. We’ll be right back with our next guest.