This month's topics: Stormwater • Aeration • Instrumentation • Smart water

July 2019 • Volume 31 • Number 7

This month's featured content

Open-Storm Detroit Dynamics
Real-time stormwater controls reduce combined sewer overflows and defer millions in capital investments
Gregory Ewing, Abhiram Mullapudi, Sara C. Troutman, Branko Kerkez, and Wendy Barrott

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Integrating Aeration Control Solves Underperformance
Problem aeration systems need a systematic approach to correct control and process shortcomings and to optimize performance and energy savings
Henryk Melcer, Tom Jenkins, David Redmon, Adam Klein, and Amanda Summers

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Digital Resource Recovery
New thinking in smart water systems, looking beyond SCADA & automation
Mahesh Lunani and Zaki Shalhout

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From the Sensor to the Controller
Reliable signal transmission in limited spaces 
Ralf Hausmann, Dave Eifert, and Jack Coghlan

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Features

Open-Storm Detroit Dynamics
Real-time stormwater controls reduce combined sewer overflows and defer millions in capital investments
Gregory Ewing, Abhiram Mullapudi, Sara C. Troutman, Branko Kerkez, and Wendy Barrott

Real-time control of stormwater has the potential to improve system performance for a fraction of the cost of new construction. Through a utility-university partnership, the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) and the University of Michigan are applying state-of-the-science technologies within a testbed of the Greater Detroit Regional Sewer System (GDRSS). Initial results from this effort are a real-time control algorithm simulation study that demonstrates the potential to reduce combined sewer overflows (CSOs) and a prototype implementation of a decision support dashboard powered by this real-time algorithm.

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Integrating Aeration Control Solves Underperformance
Problem aeration systems need a systematic approach to correct control and process shortcomings and to optimize performance and energy savings
Henryk Melcer, Tom Jenkins, David Redmon, Adam Klein, and Amanda Summers

Secondary aeration is the core of the treatment process in most municipal water resource recovery facilities (WRRFs). Unfortunately, the promise of advanced process and control technology is not met in some facilities. Process and aeration systems fail to meet design objectives or projected energy consumption values. Operators struggle to maintain stable operation. These problems often are compounded by discrepancies between design and current loads.

A procedure has been developed to determine and implement corrective measures for these problems. A combination of data collection, analysis, and control implementation has proven successful in providing stability and efficiency.

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Digital Resource Recovery
New thinking in smart water systems, looking beyond SCADA & automation
Mahesh Lunani and Zaki Shalhout

In the coming decade, the U.S. municipal water and wastewater sector is expected to spend between $15 and $20 billion on information technology and related hardware upgrades. Much of this money will be used to pay for new sensors, adding to the mountains of data (flows, pressures, levels, chemical concentrations, etc.) currently generated, stored, and secured by water utilities. Despite the high cost of current telemetry infrastructure management and the scale of planned upgrades, this fact remains true: Across the water sector, operational data is a largely untapped resource.

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From the Sensor to the Controller
Reliable signal transmission in limited spaces 
Ralf Hausmann, Dave Eifert, and Jack Coghlan

Water and wastewater treatment processes involve many electrical and data connections between the central control room, distributed areas throughout the facility, and across the distribution and collection systems. Hence, failsafe equipment operation becomes progressively more critical as system designs become more sophisticated. Equipment manufacturers have responded with modern surge protection devices that include models measuring just 3.5 mm (0.1 in) wide.

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News

As White House and Dems Agree on Need for Water Infrastructure Package, Other Issues Disrupt Talks
Both parties leave the question of how to pay unanswered
Amy Kathman

In a surprising move, President Donald Trump and congressional leaders met in April to discuss a possible $2 trillion infrastructure package that would address U.S. infrastructure needs. Trump, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and House Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) agreed during the meeting that repairing crumbling U.S. infrastructure along with lowering drug prices and providing disaster relief are the few issues that both parties believe must be addressed in the 116th Congress.

After the bipartisan meeting held at the White House, all emerged agreeing to work toward the development of an infrastructure plan. Specific details were not determined or, at least, made public following the April meeting These unresolved details include what forms of infrastructure will be included and how to cover the cost.

However, by mid-May talks between Trump, Pelosi, Schumer and other congressional leaders broke down due to unrelated issues, including whether or not to continue congressional investigations into the president. How or when meaningful bipartisan discussions on infrastructure will resume is not clear at press time — but what is clear is the critical need for an infrastructure package.

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Researchers Design a New Way of Absorbing a Common Hazardous Material
Arizona team develops polymeric sorbents to remove PFAS from groundwater
LaShell Stratton-Childers

Researchers at The University of Arizona (Tucson) are using a $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program to develop a new method for removing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contaminants from groundwater.

According to a press release from the university, PFAS has some of the most stringent concentration standards for water contaminants under U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations. The federal health advisory limit for the sum of both perfluorooctane sulfonate and perfluorooctanoic acid — two widely used types of PFAS — is 70 parts per trillion.

But removing PFAS to the extremely low levels needed for safety can be challenging, particularly because PFAS is so pervasive.

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From the Editors

Making Sense of the Data Deluge

The water sector is awash in data. It metaphorically flows into and out of infrastructure like runoff during a heavy storm. The challenge we face now is controlling and processing all those numbers into relatable information that describes what’s happening. This information can create the basis of insights into how to do things better. Some utilities and companies are demonstrating these gains now.

In Detroit, the Great Lakes Water Authority partnered with the University of Michigan to apply state-of-the-science technologies within a testbed of the Greater Detroit Regional Stormwater System. Together, they created a real-time control algorithm simulation study that demonstrates the potential to reduce combined sewer overflows. The work led to implementation of a decision-support dashboard to help operators maximize existing collection system and treatment capabilities. This better use of capacity could enable the authority to defer or avoid as much as $500 million in construction work. Read “Open-Storm Detroit Dynamics” on p. 28 for the full story.

Similarly, “Digital Resource Recovery” on p. 44 describes five case studies that highlight applications of big data techniques. Big data can help transform after-the-fact analysis into live insight delivery and real-time advice generation. Tools like these can help leverage machine learning and artificial intelligence into improved performance, higher water quality, smarter preventive maintenance, and greater efficiency.

— The editors

Research Notes

Antibiotic Resistance Can Spread from WRRFs into the Environment 

When humans consume antibiotics, trace amounts of those drugs end up in water resource recovery facilities (WRRFs). If those antibiotics encounter bacteria used during biological wastewater treatment, the bacteria gradually build up antibiotic resistance.

According to new research led by the University of Southern California (USC; Los Angeles), antibiotic resistance can pass from WRRF bacteria into the environment via effluent and biosolids application. Further, bacteria exposed to only small concentrations or just one type of antibiotic can develop resistances to a broad range of antibiotics.

That bacteria, once released into the environment, can pass its antibiotic resistance onto future generations of bacteria, and in some cases even to others within the same generation, the researchers write in Environmental Science & Technology. If enough bacteria gain resistance, antibiotics eventually may no longer be able to treat infections and diseases.

The bacteria’s ability to gain resistance to several antibiotics after exposure to just one type of antibiotic, as well as their ability to transmit resistance into the environment, could have something to do with plasmids, the researchers hypothesize. Plasmids — gene elements that are about 1,000 times smaller than most bacteria — can carry multiple resistance genes and are small enough to float through conventional WRRF filtration systems.

To arrive at their findings, the researchers fed a test-scale anaerobic membrane bioreactor simulated influent containing various concentrations of the common antibiotics sulfamethoxazole, erythromycin, and ampicillin. The team is now working with such partners as the U.S. Department of Agriculture to examine how other waste streams —animal waste, for example — affect environmental antibiotic resistance, according to a USC press release.

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Also in this section

  • Green Algae Successfully Remove Organic EDCs from Wastewater Effluent
  • Coral Samples Reveal WRRF Contributions to Maui Nutrient Pollution

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Waterline

Colorado School of Mines Opens Hub for Groundbreaking Water Technologies

This spring, Colorado School of Mines (CSM; Golden) cut the ribbon on a new, 930-m2 (10,000-ft2) research center. The center is outfitted with facilities tailored to help researchers solve today’s most pressing water quality and supply issues. Known as the Water-Energy Education, Science, and Technology (WE2ST) Water Technology Hub, the center will enable more robust collaboration among academia, industry, and government, said WE2ST Managing Director James Rosenblum, in a press release.

“To better partner with industry and municipalities and help them solve the real-world water treatment challenges they face, we needed more space than is typically available on a college campus,” Rosenblum said. “We’re excited to get to work at a much larger scale than ever before.”

WE2ST, located in Denver, occupies the space of a former industrial facility owned by NGL Energy Partners (Denver), who donated advanced equipment valued at approximately $800,000 to CSM. In addition to analytical and wet laboratories, amenities at the center also includes a fabrication facility and a research bay capable of holding up to 113,500 L (30,000 gal) of water. Railway connections to the hub also enable WE2ST staff to import water samples from across the U.S.

A $1.5 million gift from the ZOMA Foundation (Denver) also will support programs at the facility as well as fund several graduate and undergraduate research fellowships.

Research at the center will kick off before the end of 2019 with a collaboration between CSM and the University of California Los Angeles focusing on solar desalination technology. The project is funded by a $700,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. Other topics WE2ST researchers plan to study  include

  • treating produced water from mining and industry operations;
  • addressing emerging contaminants, such as poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances;
  • remediating pharmaceuticals and personal care products from wastewater;
  • managing saline and hypersaline waste streams; and
  • exploring sustainable water reuse applications.

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Also in this section

  • World Water Innovation Fund Spurs Global Collaboration on Water Research
  • U.S. Department of Energy Funds Better Way To Treat Fracking Wastewater
  • Ohio Researchers Create Promising Plastic Packaging Substitute

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Facility Focus

Fred Hervey Water Reclamation Plant

Location: El Paso, Texas
Startup date: 1985
Service population: 130,000
Number of employees: 27
Design flow: 45,000 m3/d (12 mgd)
Average daily flow: 24,800 m3/d (7.5 mgd)

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The Fred Hervey Water Reclamation Plant, which serves Northeast El Paso, Texas, was one of the first facilities in the U.S. to reclaim water to drinking water standards and use it for aquifer recharge.

From 1985 to today, the facility has returned almost 114 million m3 (30 billion gal) of water to its local aquifer through injection wells and infiltration basins. This effluent also irrigates a local park and a golf course and is used at nearby power facility. This reuse reduces the amount of water pumped from the Hueco Bolson aquifer or diverted from the Rio Grande.

To spread the word about its treatment efforts, the facility welcomes visitors year-round. Some of the most frequent visitors are from area schools and the El Paso Council of International Visitors. For its stellar wastewater treatment efforts, the facility, in 1994, won second place in the No Discharge Category in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Operations and Maintenance Excellence Awards. In 1998, it received the American Water Works Association (Denver) Conservation and Reuse Award. The facility also has received nine National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA; Washington, D.C.) Gold Awards and two Platinum Awards for perfect program compliance under the expanded NACWA Peak Performance Award program since 2006.

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Problem Solvers

Grit in the Pit
A North Carolina WRRF Replaced Traditional Bar Screens To Improve Employee Safety and Reduce Maintenance Time and Costs

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Problem: Forty-year-old bar screens were costly to maintain and operate and often created perilous situations for maintenance crews.

Solution: The utility installed a new bar screen system that requires less crew attention to operate properly and costs less to maintain.

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In early 2016, the maintenance staff of the Water and Sewer Authority of Cabarrus County (Concord, N.C.) determined that four existing bar screens at the main pump station leading into the 100,300-m3/d (26.5-mgd) Rocky River Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant needed to be replaced.

These bar screens had been installed in 1978 when the water resource recovery facility (WRRF) was built. Their replacement also provided a welcome opportunity to address serious operational challenges related to employee safety. The facility also saw this upgrade as a chance to reduce maintenance costs and times for the bar screens.

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Business

The American Membrane Technology Association (AMTA; Stuart, Fla.) announced that Palm Beach County Utilities (Boynton Beach, Fla.), Brunswick County Utilities (Bolivia, N.C.), and the Procter and Gamble Co. (Cincinnati) have become AMTA members. They join more than 60 membrane-using utility and end user members. AMTA is an advocate for the use of membrane technology in water treatment. Membership includes utilities, end users,

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In recognition of his outstanding contribution for several projects including his technical expertise and professionalism, Tom Ison, electrical engineer at Sulzer (Winterthur, Switzerland), has been awarded the 2018 Electrical Apparatus Service Association (EASA) Karsten Moholt Exceptional Achievement Award.

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Elena Smith, a chemical engineering student at the University of Wisconsin–Madison received the 2018 WWEMA/W&WD Scholarship Award from the Water and Wastewater Equipment Manufacturers Association (WWEMA; Leesburg, Va.) and Water & Wastes Digest (W&WD; Arlington Heights, Ill.) at WWEMA’s 110th Annual Meeting in Manalapan, West Palm Beach, Fla.

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Sauereisen Inc. (Pittsburgh) promoted Michael J. Briglia to associate materials scientist. Briglia will be responsible for new product development, contractor training, technical assistance, inspections on job sites throughout the U.S., and in-house quality control testing.

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The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) Board of Commissioners selected Brian A. Perkovich to serve as its executive director. Perkovich has 25 years of experience working in the company’s maintenance and operations department. 

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Also in this section

  • Freese and Nichols Inc. (Fort Worth, Texas) 
  • CHA Consulting Inc. (Albany, N.Y.) 
  • Endress+Hauser Group (Reinach, Switzerland)
  • Dewberry (Fairfax, Va.)
  • Spectro Scientific (Chelmsford, Mass.)
  • Danfoss (Nordborg, Germany)
  • McMillen Jacobs Associates (Boise, Idaho) 
  • Nanostone Water (Waltham, Mass.)
  • Tarlton Corp. (St. Louis)

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Projects

The Lower South Platte Water Conservancy District (Sterling, Colo.) and other stakeholders selected Brown and Caldwell (Walnut Creek, Calif.) to lead the South Platte Regional Water Development Study. The study will advance the South Platte Regional Water Development Concept, an initiative that will bring municipal, environmental, and agricultural stakeholders together in new ways to manage and use the water supply more effectively. It is potentially a pivotal step toward achieving the goals of the South Platte Basin Implementation Plan and Colorado’s Water Plan.

The analysis will focus on partner outreach and the identification of supply alternatives that consider timing, amount, and location of stakeholder water needs, possible organizational structures, water treatment strategies, and other drivers deemed critical to the potential success of the project. The final report will equip water providers with the information required to advance the concept in a collaborative and transparent way.

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The City of St. Cloud, Minn., awarded Lystek International (Cambridge, Ontario, Canada) a contract to install its low-temperature thermal hydrolysis process as part of the city’s Nutrient Recovery and Reuse Project at the NEW (Nutrient, Energy, and Water) Recovery Facility. The project was partially funded through a point source implementation grant made possible by the Minnesota Clean Water Legacy Act.

Lystek completed the installation of the system in January.

The new system is helping the city reduce biosolid volumes, solving pressing storage challenges while saving millions in infrastructure and operational costs. The solution also facilitates the recovery of valuable organic matter and nutrients from the city’s wastewater biosolids to create a Class A quality biofertilizer product that is now available to the local, agricultural market.

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Water Volumes

Water Supply in a Mega-City: A Political Ecology Analysis of Shanghai
Michael Webber, Jon Barnett, Brian Finlayson and Mark Wang
Elgar Publishing ©2018 Michael Webber, Jon Barnett, Brian Finlayson and Mark Wang, ISBN 978-1-78643-392-3 (cased), ISBN 978-1-78643-393-0 (ebook)

This is a fascinating book. It tells the inspiring story of water supply and consumption in Shanghai from a non-technical perspective. The authors are all professors in geography or researchers in this field. Their book is the result of an Australian project wherein they studied the interaction between different water actors: water bodies, governments, infrastructure, and people. Shanghai is an interesting case because it enables the study of the dynamic interactions among these different actors within the context of the enormous changes experienced by the inhabitants of this megacity in the last three decades.

The first observation of this book is that there is an enormous contradiction between what is perceived and what reality could be. The assumption for Shanghai is that water supply is not secured; water availability as well as water quality are assumed to be at risk. The authors demonstrate that this does not concur with the huge potential of the Chang Jiang River Basin, which has an annual discharge of about 70 times the total annual water use in Shanghai. In addition, Shanghai is a modern city with the necessary technological solutions for upgrading water quality.

To find the truth, the authors use hard facts and figures. Water availability in the Chang Jiang is described in detail, acknowledging that there are changes that are threatening the water supply. The construction of dams, among them, the well-known Three Gorges Dam, is probably the most dramatic change that could lead to water stress. From an external point of view, it is shocking to learn that five more reservoirs — each the size of the Three Gorges Dam — are planned on this stream. This factor — the role of building huge infrastructures, such as dams and reservoirs — as well as the risk of salt intrusion, are elaborated in separate chapters, worth reading as independent stories.

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Products

Detector
Markland Specialty Engineering Ltd. (Georgetown, Ontario, Canada); www.sludgecontrols.com

The Automatic Sludge Blanket Level Detector enables water and wastewater treatment facilities to measure, monitor, and control solid-liquid interface levels in clarifiers and sedimentation basins, including dissolved air flotation units; sequencing batch reactors; the constricted area of lamellas; and automate the removal of primary, secondary, and backwash silt/sludge. The detector enables users to program de-sludge pumps to operate only when necessary, reducing energy usage, wear-and-tear on pumps, and downtime for maintenance. In addition, it helps in preventing carryover and optimizing feed density for enhanced dewatering. The detector automatically adjusts the beam power intensity of the LED-phototransistor sensors in its vertical probe, enabling it to accommodate thick or thin biosolids concentrations, or light flocs, such as in the overlying cloud layer. No calibration required. 

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Telehandler
Bobcat (Seoul); www.bobcat.com

The Bobcat TL43.80HF is a compact telehandler with a width of 2.30 m and a length of less than 5 m from the rear to the fork face. It offers a range of 15 different rigid frame telehandler models, covering maximum lifting capacities between 2.6 and 4.3 ton, and maximum lifting heights from 6 m to 18 m. The system provides a new solution for heavy lift handling applications found in general industry, manufacturing, building materials, warehousing, quarrying, and mining. It also is ideal for heavy duty, high-productivity segment of the agricultural market, taking lift capacity, lifting height, and breakout force to unprecedented levels. It is available with a choice of three different AGRI packs for the farming market. 

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Water Meter
KROHNE Inc. (Beverly, Mass.); www.krohne.com

The WATERFLUX 3070 is the first all-in-one water meter with integrated pressure and temperature sensor. Simplified installation, integrated diagnostics, a long battery lifetime, remote communication options, and low overall maintenance make the meter ideal for installation in remote locations. The updated meter now offers a main power option with battery backup, and a Modbus RTU communication option for transmission of readings, meter status, and alarms. The polycarbonate converter housing with protection class IP68 rating is now standard for both compact and remote versions. The meter features IP68 waterproof plug and play connectors that don’t require wiring onsite, and a small installation footprint to fit into electrical cabinets.

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Adsorbents
CycloPure (Encinitas, Calif.); www.cyclopure.com

The DEXSORB line of cyclodextrin-based adsorbents selectively target and remove hazardous micropollutants from drinking water. The substance’s flexible formulations allow for its broad use in water treatment systems that serve communities, businesses, and households for applications that range from filtered water bottles to large municipal facilities. Derived from renewable corn-based cyclodextrin, the adsorbents represent a new class of water treatment adsorbents that safely eliminate such harmful chemicals as polyfluoroalkyl substances and perfluorooctane sulfonate, pesticides, and pharmaceutical compounds.  

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Adhesive
Master Bond (Hackensack, N.J.); www.masterbond.com

Master Bond has developed a formulation of opaque colored compounds, which represents a breakthrough in ultraviolet (UV)/visible light curing adhesive technology. These unique innovative environmentally-friendly products possess the capability of curing in a wide range of colors while offering the same combination of beneficial properties exhibited by transparent curing systems. They require no mixing, cure in seconds upon exposure to an appropriate commercial UV/visible light source, have excellent adhesive strength, thermal stability, chemical/moisture resistance, and electrical insulative properties. LED401 white is opaque white in color. It is a one-part system that cures fully upon exposure to a 405 nm wavelength light source.

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LED Lighting
Larson Electronics LLC (Kemp, Texas); www.larsonelectronics.com

The EPL-LP-48-LED-SFC.LP is a Class I, Divisions 1 and 2, Class II Divisions 1 and 2 rated extra low-profile LED light fixture that provides 13,520 lumens of high-quality light drawing just 104W. This integrated linear LED uses special positioned boards within the fixture to provide wide area light without sacrificing quality or output. The LED produces a brilliant wide flood beam with 100º horizontal and 140º vertical spreads and has a standard 5000K color temperature to produce colors and details more accurately than traditional luminaries. The light operates on 100-277VAC, 50/60Hz current without any modifications and comes equipped with terminal strips for wiring. 

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