December 2010, Vol. 22, No.12

Tapping into waste heat

Vancouver’s False Creek Energy Centre provides an adaptable, renewable, and innovative energy solution

Baber art Chris Baber

The False Creek Energy Centre in Vancouver, British Columbia, was responsible for generating the heat and hot water for the Olympic Village at the 2010 Winter Games, as well as for the rest of the new Southeast False Creek community. What’s unique is that most of this energy was extracted from the wastewater flowing underneath the neighborhood’s streets.

This “green” technology is truly innovative — False Creek is the first utility in North America to capture and use waste heat recovered from untreated urban wastewater. Read full article (login required)


Four steps to energy self-sufficiency

A road map for U.S. wastewater treatment plants

Kang art S. Joh Kang, Kevin P. Olmstead, and Thomas A. Allbaugh

With increasing operating costs and concerns regarding climate change, most wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) are under pressure to reduce the net energy used to treat a gallon of wastewater. WWTPs can pursue the goal of energy self-sufficiency by operating more efficiently, as well as producing energy via digestion and power generation, through a combination of alternative philosophical approaches and innovations. Read full article (login required)


Get a grip on digester foaming

Recent research identifies facility, process, and operations changes that can keep bubbles in check

Shimp art Gary F. Shimp, Hari Santha, Patricia Scanlan, and Ed Kobylinski

Once thought of as a problem limited to initial startup, digester foaming has become a more widespread occurrence. An increasing number of wastewater utilities are reporting significant disruption of plant operations as a result of digester foaming episodes and, in some cases, costly structural damage to their digesters.

Armed with a better understanding of this phenomenon, wastewater utility managers can make informed decisions about how best to get a grip on digester foaming and mitigate its disruptive effects on plant operations. Read full article (login required)


Operations Forum Features

Virginia teams dominate Operations Challenge 2010

Terminal Velocity wins Division 1; Team HRSD’s wins Division 2

Operations Challenge art Jennifer Fulcher with Steve Spicer and Steve Harrison

The infectious excitement during Operations Challenge 2010 hit a peak as Terminal Velocity from the Virginia Water Environment Association finished its final event of the competition. With a shout of pure joy, one team member hoisted another to pump his fist in triumph after a good run.

Terminal Velocity — Donnie Cagle, Paul Cubilla, Stephen Motley, Jason Truitt, and coach Bobby Williams — took first place in Division 1 at the 23rd annual Operation Challenge held Oct. 4–5 at WEFTEC 2010 in New Orleans.

Division 2 winners, Team HRSD from the Virginia Water Environment Association, placed in every event. The team — Laura Shields, Eric Washbon, Chuck McMahon, and Tim Scott — earned second place in the Collection Systems Event, third place in the Safety Event, and first place in the Laboratory, Process Control, and Wilo Maintenance events. Read full coverage and see the Operations Challenge slideshow in WEF Highlights (coming soon).


Wastewater resource extraction

Recovery of carbon and struvite enhances sustainability at a biological nutrient removal plant

Kelly art Harlan G. Kelly, Bonita Dirk, Al Gibb, Fred Koch, and Don Mavinic

As wastewater treatment plants are upgraded to provide biological nutrient removal (BNR), the demand for supplemental carbon and volatile fatty acids (VFAs) increases. The need to remove phosphate and ammonia from recycle streams also increases.

The traditional solution to these challenges is to truck in various chemicals. Supplemental carbon sources are used to maintain nutrient removal, and coagulants ensure phosphorus removal from recycle streams. But with the right configuration of processes, wastewater treatment plants can recover and use VFAs from the wastewater they are already treating and remove excess phosphorus while producing a saleable fertilizer product. Read full article (login required)


Sludging it out

Improving circular clarifier efficiency

Schneider art Jeff Schneider

The circular clarifier is a major component of the operation of almost all water and wastewater treatment plants. Yet because of its quiet demeanor and perceived minimum maintenance requirements, it is often passed over in the plant’s annual process review and mechanical inspections. However, as with all mechanical assemblies, circular clarifiers require annual maintenance to maintain and extend their service lives and to prevent future operational problems. Clarifiers also require a check of their original design capacities against the plant’s current flow patterns — some clarifier designs are flow-sensitive.

Read on for an operator’s guide to structural items to check during annual inspections and some insights into the innovations and upgrades available to improve clarifier performance. Read full article (login required)


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