May 2010, Vol. 22, No.5

From the Editors

Operations Forum Editor's Note

The Right Perspective

It’s easy to fall into the mindset that every new project is a burden. Keeping up with the never-ending influent flow is tough enough, right?

It may sound naive, but looking on the bright side of a problem can turn an obstacle into an opportunity.

For example, at the James River Treatment Plant in Newport News, Va., keeping up with nutrient requirements required a switch to an integrated fixed-film activated sludge system. It was a major project that would require construction on each of the plant’s activated sludge trains.

The engineers and operators involved took advantage of the project’s 16-month full-scale trial to put the system through its paces, ensure it could perform as needed, and find ways to make it work even better. (See “Testing a Nutrient Removal Option”)

Another example comes from Southern California. When a utility’s biosolids disposal option was shut down by a voter initiative, the utility saw the required change as a possibility to create a more reliable solution.

A Biosolids Process With a Renewable Power Bonus” explains how the utility found a way to stop hauling its biosolids long distances, create a useful product, and generate extra electricity. In this case, the key to success was finding the right physical location; and it’s a solution that exists in many cities nationwide.

In the end, finding the right perspective can make all the difference.


— Steve Spicer, editor