December 2011, Vol. 23, No.12

Are you burning nonhazardous waste?

Owners of wastewater solids incineration facilities face stricter air emissions limits and may have to upgrade or reconsider incineration as they feel the impact of the new MACT emission limits

MACT art.jpg James Rowan, James Welp, Ajay Kasarabada, Patricia Scanlan, Gustavo Queiroz, Frank Dachille, and Webster Hoener
The recent designation of biosolids incinerated at publicly owned treatment works (POTWs) as “non-hazardous solid waste” by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will have a considerable impact on facilities with sewage sludge incinerators (SSIs). Under the new definition, the limits for incinerator emissions will be established using maximum achievable control technology (MACT) provisions under the Clean Air Act (CAA) Sec. 129 waste incineration regulations. The application of Sec. 129 regulations to SSIs requires POTWs to meet more-stringent emission limits. Read full article (login required) 


Changing paradigms

By understanding the barriers to technological improvements, water professionals can help to transform wastewater treatment into resource recovery

Daigger art Glen T. Daigger
Despite the availability of feasible technologies and approaches, the wastewater treatment profession has been slow to adopt options for reducing energy use and recovering nutrients. This slow pace of adoption results from many factors, including the silolike nature of educational and regulatory systems, professional organizations, and relevant institutions. Codes and standards also inhibit innovation. Economic factors historically have not encouraged practices related to energy reduction and nutrient recovery in the wastewater profession because of prevailing energy and nutrient costs. However, this situation is changing. Analytical procedures used to compare evolving, innovative technologies and approaches with more conventional options often contain biases against the newer methods. Indeed, the innovation process itself often includes systematic barriers, such as the time required for users to familiarize themselves with and adopt a new technology. Read full article (login required) 


Operations Forum Features

2011 Operations Challenge

Full coverage of the competition, the winners, and the significance of the 24th annual Operations Challenge

OpsChall Art2.jpg Jennifer Fulcher with Steve Spicer and Steve Harrison

This special section of the magazine includes articles on the battles for the Division 1 and 2 titles as well as reports on each event and a large influx of new teams to the challenge. Also new this year, links to videos of the teams in action!

  • Virginia’s Terminal Velocity repeats as Division 1 champs
  • New England’s Seacoast Sewer Snakes take first in Division 2
  • Process Control Event helps operators learn all aspects of wastewater treatment
  • Laboratory Event provides operators with new hands-on experience
  • Safety Event provides operators with a real-world, valuable lesson
  • Wilo Maintenance Event requires operators to roll up their sleeves and work together
  • Collection Event adds evaluation to repair
  • New teams show a commitment to the competition

Read the full article (no login required) 


Thicker solids automatically  

Automating the thickening system is better for both solids and operators

Bartel Art Bruce Bartel and Nathan Qualls

Like many other U.S. wastewater treatment agencies, the Green Bay (Wis.) Metropolitan Sewerage District has had to reduce its staff during the last decade and yet keep its facilities operating efficiently and within permit limits. So, the district has been automating process monitoring and other basic operator tasks.

The district recently automated its waste activated sludge (WAS) thickening process. Automating this process improved operations while reducing the time that operators physically have to be in the thickening building. Read full article (login required) 


Small changes add up to big savings  

Sustainable opportunities for lowcost energy conservation

Loud Art Philip N. Loud

The cost of supplying energy to water and wastewater facilities (3% of all energy use in the United States) has not always been managed and controlled in balance with labor, chemical, and equipment costs. But now, with energy costs typically rising at a faster rate than inflation and severe budget constraints brought on by the recession, the need to address energy usage and associated costs has never been more critical.

A significant but underdeveloped and sustainable area for significant energy savings begins with operations and maintenance control. These measures, characterized as low cost, typically require changes in operational control or strategy, cost less than $500 to implement, and have been proven capable of providing cost savings of 10% to 25% in many facilities. Read full article (login required) 


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