Water Environment & Technology (WE&T) is the premier magazine for the water quality field. WE&T provides information on what professionals demand: cutting-edge technologies, innovative solutions, operations and maintenance, regulatory and legislative impacts, and professional development.
Data? Why do we need that?
The days of relying on complaint calls to drive the daily work of collection systems operations and maintenance groups are gone. With so much pressure today from environmental advocates and unfunded federal mandates, as well as a weak economy forcing departments to do more with less, operations and maintenance groups must rethink their processes.
A large part of this involves becoming more aware of the data collected, how these data can be better utilized, and the technology tools available to assist with that process.
Nothing to fear
Following a series of newspaper articles in 2008 on pharmaceuticals in drinking water supplies, a screening assessment helped an Ohio utility put the risks of pharmaceuticals and personal care products in perspective for the public.
Clipping stormwater pollution
Faced with the challenge of meeting strict new limits on nutrient loads in Chesapeake Bay, watershed managers are taking aim at stormwater runoff. States are enacting lawn fertilizer bans to make quick and cheap nutrient cuts. And a growing number of cities are adopting plans to “green” city landscapes to treat urban runoff at the source, before it hits stormwater pipes.
Coming in the next issue:
The weight of the world
As populations grow and water supplies are reused and recycled, the demand grows for wastewater treatment plants to produce cleaner effluent. These expectations can feel like the weight of the world pressing down. Ironically, the actual weight of the world — gravity — often provides the energy to produce these results. From gravity-operated membrane bioreactors to slow sand filters, gravity can provide the push needed to increase effluent quality.
Read how a Georgia utility used decentralized pump-assisted gravity membranes to produce reclaimed water and take the pressure off potable water supplies. Also, find out the results of a series of full-scale stress tests on a group of tertiary sand filters to determine which factors most affected filter capacity and backwash frequency.
Making good decisions requires good data. When working with multimillion dollar budgets and tens of thousands of customers, laying hands on the right information at the right moment is essential.
Sometimes better data management is the goal. The June article about a utility selecting and launching a new combined customer information system and computerized maintenance management system explains the steps taken to head off acceptance issues by staff.
In other cases, new information confirms previous decisions and prompts quicker action. That’s what happened in Pensacola, Fla., in 2004 when Hurricane Ivan roared ashore. The storm battered and submerged the local wastewater treatment plant and reinforced what the utility already knew: the wastewater treatment plant had to be moved.
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