Teaching An Old Plant New Tricks: How Turbidity Meters Modernize Operations

Source: GF Piping Systems
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Jeff Bronowski, water supply bureau manager for the city of Akron, OH, sits down with Todd and Todd of Water Online Radio to discuss the trials and tribulations associated with keeping an aging plant and treatment process (both are 100 years old) in compliance with overall safety regulations and the turbidity standards set forth by the EPA — while simultaneously maintaining customer satisfaction. Listen in as Bronowski explains how the plant overcame those challenges and the benefits it reaped as a result.


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The following is an excerpt from the Q&A. Click on the video player to hear the full interview.

Water Online Radio: Tell us a little bit about the problem the plant was facing.

Jeff Bronowski: We operate a 100-year-old plant with a 100-year-old treatment process, yet we must ensure that it meets the expectations of the year 2013. You can imagine how those expectations have changed dramatically from the day the plant opened.

Water Online Radio:  Brian, was this a 6-month trial?

Brian Labell, Director of Business Development, Water Treatment, and Energy at GF Piping Systems: Often times a 60-day trial is sufficient and sometimes a 90-day trial is sufficient. But in a case like Jeff’s, it certainly was not a problem for us to accommodate him, and we knew that the city was learning what they needed to learn about the instrument. I feel it was a very prudent approach.

Water Online Radio: Turbitimeter replacement was a big piece of your modernization project. Please explain.

Jeff Bronowski:  We embarked on the turbidity project because of EPA regulations. In 2012, Akron was required to comply with two new turbidity rules. The first rule relates to combining filter effluent. We were required to reduce our 95% compliance level for turbidity from 0.3 to 0.15 MPUs. Literally overnight — from March 31, 2012 to April 1, 2012 — we were required to have a 50% reduction in our combining turbidity. The second turbidity rule stated that we were required to maintain a 95% compliance of 0.15 MPU.

No utility can afford to have meters that are providing bad information or fail on a regular basis. We chose the GF6 Signet 4150 from GF Piping Systems as our turbidity meter. We were able to reduce formazin from 8,000 ML to 300 ML.