Following federal charges that he manipulated water sample test results to mask plant discharges, the ex-supervisor of a wastewater treatment plant in Sioux City, IA, plans to plead guilty.
Entering its fourth week and now the longest in the country’s history, the partial government shutdown is affecting a wide range of federal employees and agencies. Naturally, water and wastewater treatment operations are no exception.
In his State of the Union address on January 30th 2018, President Trump called for a $1.5 Trillion investment in infrastructure. If you’ve been around the wastewater industry for a while, you’ll know that infrastructure spending is often directed to roads and bridges first, transit needs second, and drinking water a distant third. But our industry has a pressing need for investment too.
Water quality standards introduced by Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) came under renewed scrutiny late last month as Miami-Dade’s government operations committee joined a lawsuit to challenge them.
After the Supreme Court cleared the way for an Obama-era environmental regulation to go into effect, Congress may become a hot spot for a major fight over water policy.
In laying out the U.S. EPA’s agenda for 2018, Administrator Scott Pruitt indicated that the agency would focus on scaling back Obama-era clean water regulations while ramping up the fight against lead contamination in public drinking water.
Water resource recovery facilities (WRRFs) are already aware of the idea that biosolids can be a valuable commodity. Consequently, there is opportunity to grow this market. The use of biosolids can create products that have value and generate a customer demand that ultimately leads to an economic incentive for WRRFs. There are several factors that contribute to the success of biosolid products, like the quality of biosolids and information available about how and where to use high quality biosolids.
Are your current pressure-boosting pumps the best design for your operating conditions? Are they maximizing value from your operating budget with peak efficiency? How can you know for sure, and what can you do if they are not? Here are some guidelines for evaluating performance efficiency in pressure-boosting applications and for choosing the best pump configurations for new or existing applications.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
PFC contamination is the number one drinking water issue today. So how are local and federal leaders working to put an end to it?
Last year was full of twists and turns for the drinking water and wastewater treatment industries. What can 2017’s biggest stories tell us about what’s to come this year?
Though some preliminary regulations have taken place to curb the presence of microplastics in the environment, more research is needed to determine what role wastewater treatment plants can and will play in solving the problem for good.
With water treatment plant operators around the country relying on paper and pen to record critical quality data, there is an opportunity to make life easier online.
As excess nutrients continue to pollute source water, bringing dead zones and toxic chemicals, it’s time for the disparate agencies that can make a difference to band together.
The New York City Department of Environmental Protection has compiled a report on the world’s leading stormwater management solutions and challenges. Reviewing its contents can be an opportunity for communities to build stormwater strength together.
Over the past 10 years, DC Water has become the harbinger of the modern water utility. It’s often unconventional approach to tackling age-old problems usually elicits one of two responses from other utility professionals. The first response is one of resignation — if only I had the budget that size permits, I’d be able to do similar things. And the second is one of awe — there’s no way I have the amount of gumption to convince regulators or customers that I have a better way.
If forewarned is forearmed, then monitoring risk, resilience assessment, and emergency planning are essential to keeping water flowing in the face of surprise developments. At ACE19, Bentley Systems’ Senior Product Manager Tom Walski shared how the company’s modeling software running as a “digital twin” for water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure systems is helping utilities improve daily operation resilience, noting “a little bit of work has a lot of payback.”
From the largest metropolitan utilities to the smallest water systems, leaks are a problem everywhere. Because it’s difficult to raise consumer prices to offset the losses, non-revenue water has a direct impact on the bottom line of municipal water systems. However, utility managers now have an opportunity to reverse the problem with advanced flow meter technology that combines multiple measurements.
A couple of weeks ago, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Scott Pruitt called PFAS groundwater contamination “a national priority” and pledged action at an EPA national PFAS leadership summit.
Corrosion control has always been a priority for distributing safe drinking water throughout the world’s networks of pipeline. This has become all the more critical following the outrageous lead poisoning revelations in Flint, MI — an incident caused directly by corrosion of the city’s lead-based infrastructure.
It’s common to see “BPA Free” labels on water bottles and other containers, a response to consumers who have grown increasingly wary of the contaminant. However, testing for BPAs that may have found their way into drinking water sources has traditionally been cumbersome and expensive, so municipalities could be exposing their customers to unsafe levels. The good news is that newer advancements are making it easier to use existing technologies to monitor for the pollutant.
Over the past decade, there has been a considerable effort in the water sector to address industry shortcomings through collaboration. And perhaps there’s been no greater initiative to try to help water utility managers in their day-to-day and future planning than the Effective Utility Management (EUM) Initiative.
Affordability and maintainability are two of the greatest challenges small municipalities face when constructing and managing sewer infrastructure. With these challenges in mind, it’s important for small cities to choose wisely when investing in a wastewater system that needs to last for 30-60 years.
The Mountain Regional Water District is a Special Service District of the county that was established by the Summit County Commission in 2000 to regionalize water service by consolidating several public and private water companies.
Among water treatment industry professionals, consensus is growing that small- to medium-scale decentralized desalination and wastewater treatment plants are the way forward in a water-stressed future. But governments continue to announce new water mega-infrastructure projects at an alarming rate. Because the public policy debate appears to have simply not caught up with current technology, many companies and NGOs with a focus on small- to medium-scale water treatment or renewable energy have begun to see the Caribbean as something of a new frontier.
Too many dog owners think their pets’ waste easily breaks down in nature and is helpful to plants, so they leave it on the ground. The truth is that dog poo and other pet waste is loaded with germs such as e. coli and giardia that make people sick as well as nutrients that can fuel problematic algae blooms.
On the banks of Puget Sound and in the shadow of Mount Rainier exists Tacoma, Washington. The city is home to approximately 211,000 residents, making it the third largest in the state of Washington. Tacoma’s vision is one focused on stewardship and resiliency, as outlined the Environmental Services Department strategic plan: “We believe everything we do supports healthy neighborhoods and a thriving Puget Sound, leaving a better Tacoma for all.”
Wastewater service charges vary considerably across EPA regions and States. That’s one of the key findings from the National Association of Clean Water Agencies’ (NACWA) Cost of Clean Water Index. If you live in Montana, Wyoming or the Dakotas (EPA Region 8), your average service charge of $261 a year is considerably less than the $884 your fellow Americans up in New England (EPA Region 1) are paying. As you can imagine, much of the difference is to do with population size and geography.
Salvator Mundi sold for nearly half a billion dollars. Walter Isaacson’s latest biography is a breakaway hit. Management guru Michael Gelb’s book accessing the thought techniques of history’s most accomplished Renaissance Man — in every literal and figurative sense of the word — is still a bestseller. Almost 500 years after his death, Leonardo da Vinci is still a superstar.
Lani Good, P.E., is an Asset Management Practice Leader. During her 5 years at West Yost Associates, she has specialized in Utility Asset Management. Her organization exclusively focuses on water, wastewater, and stormwater systems to ensure longevity for typical water infrastructure assets – pipes, pumps, storage and treatment plants.
Headlines in 2018 were dominated by the red tide along Florida’s Gulf Coast, which persisted for months, causing human respiratory illnesses, the deaths of dozens of Florida’s beloved dolphins and manatees, and hundreds of millions of dollars in lost tourism revenue and cleanup costs. Here are insights on how to forestall becoming the next city to make national headlines related to harmful algal blooms.
One of the great turnaround stories in the history of our nation’s water bodies is that of the Chesapeake Bay. Since 1976 when the Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) first undertook a comprehensive study of the Bay, efforts to address excessive nitrogen and phosphorous degradation of water quality have steadily improved the Bay’s complex ecosystem.
District Sales Engineer Andy Singer has spent enough time troubleshooting problems in the field that not much surprises him anymore. When it comes to dry barrel fire hydrants, though, he still gets a chuckle out of some of his more outrageous experiences. Here is his educational and entertaining take on the care and maintenance of fire hydrants, and ways to maximize a utility’s return on what potentially can be a 50+-year infrastructure investment.