August 2010, Vol. 22, No.8

From the Editors

Operations Forum Editor's Note

Note Constant Mixing

A well-mixed biological process can teach us something about life and work: Constant motion yields the best results. The opposite also is true: stagnant things usually decline in quality and fail.

The phrase “ever forward” is often associated with this idea. It works as a platitude, but it fails as a strategy. To really move forward, we need to fully understand where we started, which requires retracing our steps and revisiting old decisions.

New ideas, technologies, and opinions are always emerging, and it makes good sense for each of us to consider these new options from our unique points of view. In short, making a decision doesn’t mean never thinking about the question again.

The articles in this issue demonstrate the benefits of questioning past decisions and making changes to move forward. In “Two-Stage Media Filtration Meeting 21st Century Requirements,” the New York City Department of Environmental Protection needed to meet microfiltration standards at some wastewater treatment plants to protect downstream drinking water. The straightforward solution was to install membrane units, but a close evaluation of a simpler, easier-to-use technology proved it to be perfectly suitable.

Shifting the Paradigm” uses the example of a Massachusetts treatment plant to re-examine the question: What flow is needed at a plant to make anaerobic digestion and combined heat and power systems cost-effective? The article looks at ways to reduce the costs of the processes needed to offset energy use, or even generate energy, while reducing solids volume and disposal costs.

Finding the balance between reviewing past decisions and moving ahead to tackle new ones can be difficult, but it’s well worth the potential benefits.


— Steve Spicer, editor


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