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.
A ‘Save the Rain’ solution
Twenty-three years ago, pollution in Onondaga Lake was the subject of a Clean Water Act lawsuit. The resulting judgment required Onondaga County, N.Y., to take certain steps to reduce pollution from the Metropolitan Syracuse (N.Y.) Wastewater Treatment Plant (Metro) and lower the impact of combined sewer overflows (CSOs) on the lake and its tributaries. As the understanding of the problem and how best to solve it evolved, the consent judgment was amended four times.
In November 2009, a new plan approved using “gray” storage facilities to address wet weather flow in the combined system and innovative “green” infrastructure to prevent wet weather from entering the sewer system in the first place.
A history of success
Since Bremerton, Wash., adopted its first combined sewer overflow (CSO) reduction plan in 1992, it has made tremendous strides toward compliance. The benefits of aggressive action became apparent as the volume and frequency of CSO events plummeted. A major milestone was attained in 2009, when the city constructed its final CSO reduction project and achieved 99% reduction in CSO frequency.
The East Side Facility, completed in 2001, serves as the cornerstone of Bremerton’s CSO reduction initiative. The East Side Facility was the first and is one of only a few limited-use satellite treatment facilities in the United States designed solely to treat CSOs using high-rate clarification (HRC). During 10 years of operation, Bremerton’s operators have learned a great deal about how to best operate and maintain this type of facility.
Patenting a new identity
Water and wastewater utilities are not only operations that provide an important public works service to customers. Some also are trying to redefine themselves as business enterprises. They are seeking money-making opportunities outside of rates and finding better ways to make their operations more efficient and cost-effective. Many of these innovative utilities are accomplishing these goals by patenting in-house technologies and partnering with companies to manufacture and market their products.
Coming in the next issue:
Wastewater biosolids and residuals present opportunities as well as challenges. Read about how the Region of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, has begun updating its biosolids master plan to include energy recovery systems. The plan’s developers are using life-cycle assessments to evaluate and rank different management strategies.
About 32 km (20 mi) apart, two very different types of asset mapping have been put to use. In Newark, N.J., the utilities department is applying asset management and master planning concepts to create a sewer system master plan. This plan enables the utility to demonstrate to city officials the need to improve critical infrastructure in the face of several difficult financial realities, including a shrinking workforce, rising nondiscretionary costs, and a reluctance to raise rates.
In New York City, the Wards Island Water Pollution Control Plant is using an asset mapping tool to help minimize construction costs. The tool will create an accurate 3-D map of 70-year-old underground utility tunnels to avoid problems and costly change orders during the installation of a new heating source for the buildings and the plant’s anaerobic digesters.
Also in the March issue:
- Determining the most effective air extraction point needed to depressurize sewers — and ultimately, control odors — at Austin (Texas) Water Utilities
- Using World Water Monitoring Challenge™ materials internationally to teach students, test water, and encourage public interest in water quality
- Narrowing the gap between wastewater treatment plants’ energy needs and energy production
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