It is no secret that a large portion of the drinking water infrastructure in the United States is near or past its intended design life. Our nation’s water infrastructure needs an overhaul, and the cost of doing so is climbing rapidly. The American Society of Civil Engineering’s 2017 Infrastructure Report Card graded the nation’s drinking water infrastructure a D. According to the American Water Works Association, an estimated $1 trillion is necessary to maintain and expand drinking water service to meet demands over the next 25 years.
Between December 2014 and September 2015 there were three clusters of Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks in the Bronx, New York City. Legionnaires’ disease, a severe form of pneumonia, is caused by inhaling aerosolized water containing certain pathogenic strains of Legionella bacteria. Legionella thrive in warm, stagnant water with low disinfection residuals such as hot water tanks, hot tubs, cooling towers, decorative fountains and showerheads.
New York City is home to more than 8 million people, making it the most populous city in the United States. The majority of New York's drinking water is supplied by the Catskill/Delaware watershed, located approximately 100 miles outside the city. Historically, NYC has not filtered the water from this system, nor did they require any additional barriers to microbial contaminants due to the pristine nature of the watershed.
Ever since the introduction of centralized water treatment and distribution systems, leaks have been the bane of their existence. Finding a way to make reliable repairs rapidly and without having to disrupt service goes a long way toward satisfying customer and utility concerns. Here are some strategies and tips for making the right choices easier, quicker, and less expensive, even in the midst of an emergency.
In Canada and the western United States, long treated water transmission lines are frequently utilized to convey potable water to rural communities. These long transmission lines combined with chlorine for water disinfection can often create the requisite conditions for the formation of undesirable disinfection-byproducts (DBPs). One of the most common DBPs is a family of volatile compounds called Trihalomethanes (THMs) which are regulated in Canada to a level of 100 ppb (part-per-billion) annual average and in the US to a level of 80 ppb.
Deep in the Apalachicola National Forest in the Florida panhandle where U.S. Route 319 makes a crank-handle turn lies the community of Sopchoppy. It’s an Indian name that means “dark water” or “twisted river.” In fact, the Sopchoppy River is one of the most pristine in the whole state and it attracts a crowd for boating, kayaking, and fishing.
Located in the San Joaquin Valley of Northern California, an area hit hard by recent droughts, the City of Merced’s Water System Division appreciates the value of water and successful water management. Strict water mandates, put into effect across California after the historic droughts of 2014 and 2015, along with continuing population growth, made the city’s need for flexible and efficient water management solutions more critical than ever.
The Jacksonville JEA water district had a problem. Its measurements showed that it was distributing significantly more water than it was removing from its wells.
The use of Ultra Violet (UV) technology within process industries has grown tremendously in recent years. Water, fruit juice, syrup and brines are increasingly seen as the largest volume ingredient in many food products, and the need to protect human health, whilst reduce the level of chemical preservatives, and to extend shelf life leads to the incorporation of UV systems within the food manufacturing process.
Santa Fe, the capital of New Mexico, has a scarce and precious water supply. In 2013, Santa Fe’s Water Division became aware its drive-by meter reading system was failing. The Water Division implemented the BEACON Advanced Metering Analytics (AMA) managed solution with ORION Cellular endpoints and E-Series Ultrasonic meters from Badger Meter.
Looking back on 2015, severe droughts, flat budgets, and insights on decreased reading system life have affected the way utility managers make decisions about water metering systems. As utilities plan for 2016, managers should consider four key water metering technology trends predicted to help utilities meet their water management initiatives in 2016 and beyond
A single operational oil and gas refinery produces millions of gallons of contaminated wastewater a year, leading to environmental pollution concerns. Ion exchange resins are a metal- and ion-removal solution to help clean this wastewater for plant reuse or safe disposal. This application guide explains how resins can be used to demineralize refinery water in process, boiler, and cooling water applications.
Osmosis is the phenomenon of lower dissolved solids in water passing through a semi-permeable membrane into higher dissolved solids water until a near equilibrium is reached
Facility administrators will find the advanced ST100 Series Thermal Mass Air/Gas Flow Meter from Fluid Components International (FCI) helps them improve the accuracy of specialty gas point of use and sub-metering operations to achieve accurate billing in their labs for better cost tracking and control.
In a number of water, wastewater and industrial process applications, pH is one of the most critical and highly sensitive analytical measurements. Examples of critical pH applications include: Reverse Osmosis (RO) systems in which a controlled feed of caustic solution is typically added to the feed stream in order to convert a portion of dissolved carbon dioxide into bicarbonate precipitate allowing for removal by the RO membrane. By Rafik H. Bishara, Steve Jacobs, and Dan Bell
SUEZ Water Technologies & Solutions designs and manufactures Sievers Total Organic Carbon (TOC) Analyzers that enable near real-time reporting of organic carbon levels for treatment optimization, quality control & regulatory compliance. TOC has a wide range of applicability at a drinking water plant, and therefore any drinking water utility — large or small — can measure TOC in their laboratory or online in their treatment process.
Water quality laboratories across the nation are faced with both a rising level of water quality awareness amongst the general public, as well as rising costs in water quality monitoring. As a result, laboratories are looking for more efficient ways to provide higher quality monitoring.
The water municipality at a mid-size city in the Western region of the U.S. serving a population of about 180,000 people needed to address a chlorine disinfection system problem at one of its water treatment plants.
Two new particle detecting technologies have been developed to help optimize filter performance at water treatment plants (WTP).
A new pipe-repair solution promises to save time and money, while also being sustainable, long-lasting, fully scalable, and safe for workers.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
When water and wastewater plant operators can’t get accurate flow measurements or analytical readings — or lack confidence in their instruments’ readings — it creates challenges with the process. When substandard water goes to homes and causes a boil order, or discharge pollutes a lake or reservoir, the resulting bad press, fines, and potential lawsuits erode public confidence. Avoiding these kinds of problems is rooted in good preventive maintenance habits.
In most developed countries, drinking water is regulated to ensure that it meets drinking water quality standards. In the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administers these standards under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA).
Drinking water considerations can be divided into three core areas of concern:
Drinking Water Sources
Source water access is imperative to human survival. Sources may include groundwater from aquifers, surface water from rivers and streams and seawater through a desalination process. Direct or indirect water reuse is also growing in popularity in communities with limited access to sources of traditional surface or groundwater.
Source water scarcity is a growing concern as populations grow and move to warmer, less aqueous climates; climatic changes take place and industrial and agricultural processes compete with the public’s need for water. The scarcity of water supply and water conservation are major focuses of the American Water Works Association.
Drinking Water Treatment
Drinking Water Treatment involves the removal of pathogens and other contaminants from source water in order to make it safe for humans to consume. Treatment of public drinking water is mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the U.S. Common examples of contaminants that need to be treated and removed from water before it is considered potable are microorganisms, disinfectants, disinfection byproducts, inorganic chemicals, organic chemicals and radionuclides.
There are a variety of technologies and processes that can be used for contaminant removal and the removal of pathogens to decontaminate or treat water in a drinking water treatment plant before the clean water is pumped into the water distribution system for consumption.
The first stage in treating drinking water is often called pretreatment and involves screens to remove large debris and objects from the water supply. Aeration can also be used in the pretreatment phase. By mixing air and water, unwanted gases and minerals are removed and the water improves in color, taste and odor.
The second stage in the drinking water treatment process involves coagulation and flocculation. A coagulating agent is added to the water which causes suspended particles to stick together into clumps of material called floc. In sedimentation basins, the heavier floc separates from the water supply and sinks to form sludge, allowing the less turbid water to continue through the process.
During the filtration stage, smaller particles not removed by flocculation are removed from the treated water by running the water through a series of filters. Filter media can include sand, granulated carbon or manufactured membranes. Filtration using reverse osmosis membranes is a critical component of removing salt particles where desalination is being used to treat brackish water or seawater into drinking water.
Following filtration, the water is disinfected to kill or disable any microbes or viruses that could make the consumer sick. The most traditional disinfection method for treating drinking water uses chlorine or chloramines. However, new drinking water disinfection methods are constantly coming to market. Two disinfection methods that have been gaining traction use ozone and ultra-violet (UV) light to disinfect the water supply.
Drinking Water Distribution
Drinking water distribution involves the management of flow of the treated water to the consumer. By some estimates, up to 30% of treated water fails to reach the consumer. This water, often called non-revenue water, escapes from the distribution system through leaks in pipelines and joints, and in extreme cases through water main breaks.
A public water authority manages drinking water distribution through a network of pipes, pumps and valves and monitors that flow using flow, level and pressure measurement sensors and equipment.
Water meters and metering systems such as automatic meter reading (AMR) and advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) allows a water utility to assess a consumer’s water use and charge them for the correct amount of water they have consumed.