This month's topics: Odor and corrosion control • Thickening and dewatering • Algae treatment • Grit removal

June 2017 • Volume 29 • Number 6

This month's featured content


 Bouncing back after a flood

When a severe storm hit the City of Houston and left its facility flooded, staff used airboats to get to work dealing with the damage
Felicia Rhymer, Shannon Dunne, Reginald Glover, Ray Belton, and Aisha Niang


Putting the squeeze on
Exploring the best and most sustainable wastewater solids dewatering processes
David W. Oerke


How much does grit cost?
Totaling the benefits for process and maintenance efforts
Marcia Sherony


Sniffing out the culprits
Innovative odor control master planning sets the stage for targeted foul air treatment
Tadeo Vitko, Carla Dillon, Scott Cowden, Zeynep Erdal, Jay Witherspoon, Yubin Zhou, and I.H. (Mel) Suffet





Bouncing back after a flood
When a severe storm hit the City of Houston and left its facility flooded, staff used airboats to get to work dealing with the damage
Felicia Rhymer, Shannon Dunne, Reginald Glover, Ray Belton, and Aisha Niang

The City of Houston’s Southwest Water Resource Recovery Facility (WRRF) is Houston’s second largest. It collects and cleans wastewater from an estimated 3 million people, including the city, several municipalities, and unincorporated communities in the metropolitan area. The WRRF was designed to meet the high-quality effluent standards set by the Texas Water Commission for discharges into Brays Bayou, which runs adjacent to the facility. When a storm caused the bayou to swell, it overtook the facility, and staff had to figure out how to get a facility submerged underwater back up and running.


Putting the squeeze on
Exploring the best and most sustainable wastewater solids dewatering processes
David W. Oerke

The handling and reuse/disposal of biosolids is an increasingly costly portion of water resource recovery facility (WRRF) operation. Therefore, choosing the best and most sustainable biosolids dewatering systems should include economic accountability, process efficiency, and reduction of energy, polymer, operational labor, and overall operation and maintenance costs for dewatering processes.


How much does grit cost?
Totaling the benefits for process and maintenance efforts
Marcia Sherony

Most water resource recovery facility (WRRF) operators might accept that wastewater grit is a drain on their resources. They may have little doubt that downstream grit deposition results in lost treatment efficiency and places a burden on maintenance and equipment replacement. Most accept the cost of grit to be part of their routine maintenance and operating expenses. But exactly how much does grit cost these facilities? How many operators are able to put a price on the head of the miniscule grit menace? 


Sniffing out the culprits
Innovative odor control master planning sets the stage for targeted foul air treatment
Tadeo Vitko, Carla Dillon, Scott Cowden, Zeynep Erdal, Jay Witherspoon, Yubin Zhou, and I.H. (Mel) Suffet

The Orange County Sanitation District (OCSD; Fountain Valley, Calif.) approached its odor control master plan (OCMP) differently than usual. OCSD used the knowledge that odors are caused by compounds in addition to hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and embarked on a wide sweep of sampling and analysis of all facility process areas to determine the top offending odorants at their two facilities. These facilities sit adjacent to a densely populated, sensitive residential and commercial community.


Turning less water into more wine
California wineries embrace innovation to turn an unsustainable industry into a model of efficiency
Justin Jacques

Adding up grape irrigation, ingredient processing, and equipment sanitation, the winemaking business demands a notoriously large amount of water. According to the Water Footprint Network (Hague, Netherlands), each gallon of wine requires 3300 L (872 gal) of water to produce. That means California vineyards and wineries used somewhere around 1.8 trillion L (479.2 billion gal) of water in a single year.

To keep profits high, burdens on state water supplies low, and wine-lovers satisfied, the California wine industry is calling for more sustainable practices and technologies — and corporate and academic innovators are answering that call.


Finding the right fit
Researchers develop different versions of an algae treatment system to fit customer needs 
LaShell Stratton-Childers

Advancement in wastewater treatment involves more than just research and development and tireless hours of experimentation. It also involves partnerships among academic, municipal, and sometimes, industrial entities.

Working with partners has helped Zhiyou Wen, a professor in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Iowa State University (Ames), and his graduate student Martin Gross refine a new algal treatment system. They developed this technology 4 years ago and subsequently created Gross-Wen Technologies to deploy it commercially. Because the team has used the technology in both municipal and industrial treatment facilities with varying wastestreams, it has enabled Wen and Gross to tailor the system to fit their partners’ specific treatment needs.

Splash Shot

Atlanta’s Driller Mike digs into expanding regional water supply

The Atlanta Department of Watershed Management last year unveiled a 400-foot long tunnel boring machine as a key part of its ongoing Water Supply Program. Measuring 3.7 m (12 ft) in diameter, the machine is tasked with connecting the Chattahoochee River and the Hemphill Water Treatment Plant (Atlanta) to a new 9-billion L (2.4-billion gal) water reservoir via an 8-km (5-mi) conveyance tunnel.

Atlanta residents were invited to submit possible names for the $11.6 million machine during a contest held last summer. Beating out finalists “The Peach Beast” and “Scarlett,” the tunneler was dubbed “Driller Mike.” The moniker honors the Grammy award winner, rapper, and hometown hero Michael “Killer Mike” Render.


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From the Editors

Deciding on the path

Disasters strike and expectations and situations change. Each of these situations require thought and action. For disasters, quick reactions can mitigate dangers and protect people and property. For expectations and situations, the best response often is to forgo speed for consideration.

This issue discusses both disasters and changing conditions. “Bouncing back after a flood” (p. 26) shows how mobilizing and adapting quickly can best fix a dire situation. This utility reacted and went from a submerged facility to full operation in 3 days. (Who knew airboats could be so useful?)

On the other hand, the features on dewatering (p. 31), odor control (p. 42), and grit removal (p. 36) all take a longer view. It takes time to truly understand the needs and goals of a project. But the time spent understanding up front, lead to a smoother path when it comes to application.


— The editors


Acting now to lead the way

To the editor:

Thank you for publishing Joe Lagnese’s “call to arms” (WE&T February 2017) and the responses to his contention that WEF should more forcefully advocate for a cleaner water environment. The diverse opinions expressed illustrate why broad-based organizations like WEF confront change deliberately: to ensure that all voices are heard.

Nonetheless, it is hard to argue with Mr. Langnese’s point that growing opposition to government regulation calls for a corresponding commitment to environmental protection. While our organization as a whole grapples with this challenge, there are some things concerned members can do now.

Internally, we can tackle sustainability-related subjects within our existing committees. Working on problems like full-cost evaluation of regulations and low-impact solutions to nonpoint pollution will give WEF leadership a stronger technical basis to advocate on these issues.

In addition, motivated members can join forces with environmental organizations outside WEF to inform their positions on water-related issues. These groups welcome the help of professionals who can lend their technical expertise to the development of appropriate policies and programs. In return, WEF will benefit from their support on issues where we find common cause.

The recent merger of Water Environment Research Foundation with the WateReuse Research Foundation [to create the Water Environment & Reuse Foundation] confirmed the importance of wastewater treatment to the production of sustainable water supplies. As we continue to work together we can help WEF assume its proper role as a leader in the development of sustainable water policy as well.

— Eric Rosenblum, PE BCEE
Water resource consultant, Envirospectives (San Jose, Calif.)

Research Notes

Capturing nutrients from wastewater

A new method for capturing nutrients from wastewater for reuse is moving to the pilot-scale stage. Researchers at the Aalto University (Espoo, Finland) developed a patent-pending process to extract nitrogen and phosphorus from different liquid wastes and to use these nutrients in fertilizer.

The method, designed to be energy-efficient and economically profitable, uses calcium hydroxide or calcium-containing alkali to convert ammoniacal nitrogen into ammoniacal gas. A semi-permeable membrane separates the gas from the liquid. Then, the gas reacts with an acid and forms an ammonium salt. During the process, phosphorus is precipitated with the help of calcium.  

Laboratory studies found this method capable of extracting 99% of nitrogen and between 90% and 99% of phosphorus in liquid waste. Researchers also were able to produce crystal ammonium sulfate and phosphorus precipitate calcium, which could be suitable for fertilizers. Increasing the efficiency of nutrient capture can benefit the environment and waterways while reducing the cost of wastewater treatment.

Construction of pilot scale equipment at Aalto University’s Water and Environmental Engineering laboratory to test this technology was scheduled to begin in the fall. The university is searching for partners who could use the method to create products and market the process.  

Who: Aalto University (Espoo, Finland) researchers

What: Patent-pending method uses semi-permeable membrane to capture nutrients from wastewater.


  • The process converts ammonium nitrogen into ammonium salt.
  • Research has shown the method is capable of extracting 99% of nitrogen, 90% to 99% of phosphorus from suitable liquid wastes.
  • A pilot scale system for the technology is scheduled to be constructed at the university in the fall.


Also in this section:

  • Conserving water has potential to become a new popular trend

  •  Advancing detection of pathogens in wastewater and recreational waters

  •  Assessing the risk to workers from Ebola in wastewater


Reused water from California oil and gas operations may impair public health

Water used in the extraction of oil and gas has been reused for agricultural purposes in California’s Central Valley since the mid-1990s, with recent expansions of the practice into additional water management jurisdictions.

To strengthen scant data on whether the use of “produced water” eventually may carry hazardous chemicals into edible crops and marine environments, the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board (Rancho Cordova, Calif.) last year ordered seven oil and gas companies in the area to divulge information about the chemicals they use in their extraction procedures.

A recent technical report by researchers from PSE Healthy Energy (Oakland, Calif.), Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley, Calif.), the University of California at Berkeley, and the University of the Pacific (Stockton, Calif.) identifies 173 unique chemical constituents involved in Central Valley oil and gas extraction operations.

Of those, 66 chemicals were considered “trade secrets” and unable to be positively identified. Of the remaining 107, 10 are known to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (Lyon, France) as either carcinogenic or possibly carcinogenic to humans.

All told, while researchers found that no identifiable chemicals were in the highest category of toxicity to mammals and only five were in the second-highest category, 39 chemicals were ranked highly for their potential detriment to the environment. 


Also in this section:

  • ASCE releases 2017 infrastructure report card 

Problem Solvers

Applying chemical metering pump for water treatment at Camp Pendleton

Problem: Diaphragm-metering pumps started vapor locking as well as requiring costly repairs.
Install patent-pending pump that facilitatescontinuous injection, saving energy, costs, and time spent on difficult repairs. 

Camp Pendleton, a major base of the U.S. Marine Corps located in San Diego, maintains a self-sustained drinking water system to serve a population of 70,000. But when drinking water pumps began requiring costly and complicated repairs, the base began looking at new systems. 

The base had been using two diaphragm-metering pumps to inject sodium hypochlorite into well water to pre-chlorinate drinking water. The diaphragm pumping cycle consists of a suction and discharge phase. During the suction phase of this cycle, such gaseous chemicals as sodium hypochlorite began causing vapor lock that resulted in the pumps losing prime. The pumps also started requiring complicated and messy repairs that took a full day to complete and required the use of $1200 repair kits.


Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (Washington, D.C.) appointed John M. Stanton president and CEO of the organization effective Jan. 3, 2017.

The Water Environment & Reuse Foundation (WE&RF, Alexandria, Va.) elected Chris Hill and Ken Lykens to its board of directors. Hill serves as the vice president/regional value proposition leader at ARCADIS (Amsterdam). He brings more than 20 years of experience in municipal drinking water quality, treatment, and water resource recovery facility design to the board. 

Angela MacKinnon joined HDR Engineering Inc. (Omaha, Neb.) as water business manager for its Nevada and Utah firms. MacKinnon will be responsible for business development, operations, staff development, project management, quality and control for the multidisciplinary Nevada water section, and will coordinate those efforts with national and regional leaders. 

Hubbell, Roth & Clark Inc. (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) named Daniel W. Mitchell president. Mitchell has been with the firm since 1990 and served as principal in-charge of all field services. 

AUC Group L.P. (Houston) hired John Croom to their team of water resource recovery facility experts as senior business development manager. 


Also in this section:

  • Singer Valve (Surrey, B.C.) 
  • Dewberry (Fairfax, Va.) 
  • August Mack Environmental Inc. (Cleveland) 
  • Gannett Fleming (Harrisburg, Pa.)

Water Volumes

Hydrology and Water Resources Systems Analysis
Maria A. Mimikou, Evangelos A. Baltas, and Vassilios A. Tshirinitzis (2016), CRC Press, 6000 Broken Sound Parkway, NW, Suite 300, Boca Raton, FL, 33487-2742, 459 pp., hardcover, ISBN-13: 978-1-4665-8130-2.

Hydrology and water resources are difficult topics to keep confined within a single textbook. The authors have prepared a valuable reference document for critical aspects of water resources: precipitation, surface hydrology, groundwater hydrology, urban hydrology, stormwater management, sediment transport, and hydrologic design. These topics are important for the practicing civil engineer as the issues of water supply, water quality, stormwater management, and flood control are becoming more prevalent in the modern world.

In each of the topic areas, the textbook maintains a consistent tone, writing style, and an even level of detail. A water resources specialist or general engineering practitioner can use the equations and references to perform engineering analysis in each aspect of the overall water cycle.

The textbook represents a snapshot of the historical practice of water resources engineering through present times, and, therefore, does not break any new ground or discuss what the future of hydrology may look like. For this reason, the book is most valuable as a reference to the water resources practitioner.


Singapore’s national water agency, PUB, selected CH2M (Englewood, Colo.) to be the project manager for the Tuas Water Reclamation Plant a key component of PUB’s Deep Tunnel Sewerage System project.  

The facility will be located in the west of Singapore. This water resource recovery facility will have the capacity to treat an average dry weather flow of 650,000 m3/d of domestic and 150,000 m3/d of non-domestic water collected in distinct deep tunnels and conveyed by gravity to the facility. The facility will employ advanced treatment processes to minimize energy consumption and solids production while maximizing biogas production for the generation of electricity.

Domestic and non-domestic wastewater will be segregated and treated in dedicated treatment trains. Biosolids treatment will include anaerobic digestion and thermal hydrolysis. The Tuas facility will convert wastewater into NEWater and industrial water for reuse predominantly by industry, a key element of PUB’s holistic approach to managing the water cycle.

The facility is expected to be complete in 2025.


Also in this section:

  • Parsons (Pasadena, Calif.) 
  • Xylem (Rye Brook, N.Y.)
  • DC Water (Washington, D.C.) 


Product focus: Process control

Web server module

The Sinamics V20 Smart Access web server module is designed to mount directly onto the drive, transforming a mobile device or laptop into a virtual operator panel. By providing a Wi-Fi hotspot, the wireless connection on this module facilitates setup, programming, commissioning, production monitoring, and maintenance on a variety of machines and production equipment. A simple, embedded graphical user interface enables easy use of the system in every phase of operation. A built-in, multi-color LED provides quick communication status readout. Security features enable limit/restrict operator access and control functionality. Siemens Industry Inc. (Elk Grove Village, Ill.).


Flow switch

The FlexSwitch® FLT93 flow switch reduces pump repair and extends pump life by detecting dry running conditions. The dual alarm monitors the flow and temperature of liquids, gases, and slurries. The system is ideal for pump wet/dry detection, where sudden, unexpected reductions in media flow rates may leave pumps vulnerable to overheating conditions. With no moving parts, the switch offers a highly robust scheme for pump protection with its dual alarm capability. Alarm 1 detects a low flow situation between 0.01 and 3 ft./sec. (0.003 to 0.9 m/sec.) This can be regarded as a pre-warning signal for the control system or operator. Alarm 2 occurs because the feedline to the pump is running dry. Fluid Components International (San Marcos, Calif.).



Model CA6 colorimetric analyzer is an online sequential sampling analyzer designed to monitor Chromium VI in drinking water. It can be configured to measure Chromium VI in three separate ranges: 0 to 1.0 mg/L, 0 to 10.0 mg/L, or 0 to 50.0 mg/L. The analyzer’s sequence of sampling, analysis, and results processing is performed and repeated using colorimetric methods for high accuracy and reliability. This technology relies on an LED light source and a heated colorimetric cell designed for measuring trace amounts of manganese, iron, and other analytes in water. The analyzer is available with up to four channels (optional), each from a separate sample point. A simple, user-friendly menu structure and touchscreen interface make it easy to access information or customize analyses. Electro-Chemical Devices (Anaheim, Calif.).


Wall-mount enclosures

The HN4WM series gasketed wall-mount enclosures are sealed to Underwriters Laboratories Inc.508 Type 4; Canadian Standards AssociationType 4; International Electrotechnical Commission 60529; and ingress protection 66; providing protection where the enclosure may be hosed down, installed in wet or dusty conditions, or be used in outdoor applications. The enclosures are designed to house a wide variety of electrical, electronic, hydraulic, or pneumatic controls and instruments. Other features include a removable inner panel. The center post between the doors provides added structural rigidity and is removable for easy installation of the inner panel. A grounding stud is provided in the enclosure, and a bonding stud is provided on the door. Hammond Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (Guelph, Ont., Canada).


Imaging technology

The FlowCam® Cyano automatically detects, images, and identifies thousands of individual algal cells in a sample in minutes and differentiates toxic cyanobacteria from harmless algal cells. Proven effective for early detection of blue-green algae in lakes, reservoirs, rivers, and coastal regions, the patent-pending system enables research scientists, municipal water engineers, and other water quality professionals to quickly determine whether blue-green algae are present and begin treatment before it becomes a widespread, potentially dangerous algae bloom. The system characterizes each high-resolution, full-color, algal cell image based on size, shape, color, phycocyanin fluorescence, and nearly 40 other measurement parameters. Fluid Imaging Technologies Inc. (Scarborough, Maine).


Chemical-resistant containment

The ProChem® PailVault™ secure top can connect tubing directly from pails to pumps. Chemical pails have an optional rigid suction tube with tubing connection and foot valve. Anchoring points on the modular connecting rings for securing your system to any flat surface and locking bolts are available to prevent unauthorized access to chemicals. The system can be configured in single or multiple units in series and provides everything needed for best practices safe management and oversight of hazardous chemicals. Peabody Engineering (Corona, Calif.).


Grout rehabilitation systems

CUES offers a full line of portable truck-and-trailer-mounted grout rehabilitation systems for mainline, manhole, and lateral joint sealing. The systems include closed-circuit television equipment and decision support software. The system is designed to consolidate all the valves and electrical controls into an instrumentation cabinet that can be mounted in any location. The graphical user interface leads users intuitively through the grouting process and provides help files and tool tip descriptions. Because the grout panel is a computer user interface, it is no longer physically tied to the grout process equipment and can be located virtually anywhere a computer connection is available, wired or wireless. CUES (Orlando, Fla.).



The Jerguson® LumaStar™ EPL-316 offshore illuminator provides high-contrast, white LED light for any transparent glass level gage. With its 316 stainless steel construction, the illuminator is well-suited for offshore or other severe service environments. Its LED lights are essentially maintenance-free and are rated to approximately 100,000 hours, or more than 10 years of service. It is approved for use in Class I, Div. 1; Group B, C, and D; and Zone 1 and 2 environments. A single explosion-proof power supply with intrinsically safe lighting circuit can service illuminators up to 58 in. long. The illuminators are field-upgradeable to fit any glass gage.Clark-Reliance Corp. (Strongsville, Ohio).


Flusher gate

The HYDRAPULSE™ is a flusher gate mechanism in four different specifications that controls the flow of effluent to minimize the buildup of fats, oils, and grease; silt; and other deposits in sewers and storm drains. Complementing HYDRAPULSE™ is the TRAP, a sampling device and sensor platform placed in the sewer manhole chamber that can identify the source of high-risk items, such as nonflushable wipes, that could cause blockages. Tellus Utilities (Newcastle, England).


Linear lights

The LM45 and LM75 are a series of compact linear lights with MultiDrive™ and OverDrive™ strobe technologies. The industry-standard 5-pin M12 quick-disconnect cable makes for simple wiring. Each series features overcurrent protection, plug-n-play ability, negative–positive–negative strobe input, and continuous operation or strobe mode. With housing just 51 mm long, the LM45 puts out unprecedented levels of light in a small footprint. The mini-linear lights come standard with a narrow lens and include four high-output LEDs compared to LM75 eight LEDs. Smart Vision Lights (Muskegon, Mich.).



The JetCam™ 19 is a low-cost, high-speed camera with fiber or CoaXPress interfaces. The camera supports full high-definition (1920 × 1080) high-quality video at rates up to 2400 fps. The camera incorporates a 10-µm global shutter sensor and a direct lens control without the need for external devices. With compact outline and low power design, the camera can fit into tight spaces. The 3G serial digital interface output enables connection of local monitor as viewfinder or as an installation aid. KAYA Instruments (Haifa, Israel).


Hydro excavator

Hi-Vac Corp. has added additional design options to its X-Vac X-8 Hydro Excavator. For applications that require increased weight-bearing capacity, the X-8 now offers increased power and an increased payload. The system features an 8-yd³ debris tank with a dished front head; a 4000 ft3/min, 27-in. Hg high-performance blower; a cyclone separator capable of greater-than-10-µm filtration; and a 24,000-lb payload capacity. The excavator also is engineered to offer an optional heated enclosure that makes it a good fit for cold-weather applications. Hi-Vac Corp. (Marietta, Ohio).


Wall-mounted enclosures

Designed to enclose electrical and/or electronic equipment and protect against harsh, industrial environments for wall-mount applications, the Eclipse Range complies with NEMA 3R, 4 and 12, and IEC60529 IP66. These enclosures feature many standard options. The handles can be quarter-turn, tool-operated slot, or a key-lockable. Based on a rigid formed structure, these units are manufactured from either 14- or 16-gauge steel with smooth continuous seams and hidden hinges. They are coated with a high-quality recoatable powdered paint finish. The door seal is a seamless poured-in-place gasket, and for additional protection against the ingress of flowing liquids, a formed lip further reduces the possibility of liquids entering the housing. The doors are easily removable. Hammond Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (Cheektowaga, N.Y.).


Ion exchange resins

DOWEX MARATHON™ ion exchange resins include a comprehensive suite of strong and weak acid cation exchange resins, and strong and weak base anion exchange resins for use in both packed-bed and layered-bed systems. Different combinations will result in various efficiencies. The lineup enables operators to use the best combination with their vessel type to achieve extremely low unit cost of demineralized water, high regenerability, and reduced waste volume. Other features of the product family include solutions that help operators minimize corrosion, protect equipment, and reduce scaling and operational downtime. Dow Water & Process Solutions (Edina, Minn.).


Liquid handling platform

The Rainin BenchSmart 96 is a new semi-automated 96-channel liquid handling platform. This unit combines the speed and flexibility of a manual system with the precision and higher reliability of electronic pipetting. It is particularly suitable for the research environment, where experimental conditions change quickly and frequent modifications to the protocol are the norm. The system’s small footprint also makes it easy to move to wherever it is needed, and the large touchscreen keypad and intuitive graphic interface make it easy to design, save, and retrieve any protocol from simple one-step procedures to complex, multi-step experiments. METTLER TOLEDO (Oakland, Calif.).


Bushing device

ETP-EXPAND® is a device that connects to a hollow shaft, locking the impeller/lobe wheel of the pump motor into position using just one actuation screw. The device is a patented precision bushing, designed for pump applications. Its unique design configuration accurately expands the outer dimension of the device when a single actuation screw is tightened. The bushing aligns precisely without axial movement as it is tightened. The positioning is very accurate and takes just seconds. Another feature enables it to be actuated thousands of times with repeatable accuracy and without any axial movement. Zero-Max (Plymouth, Minn.).


Gas detector

The benzene gas detector TA-2100 is suitable for indoor/outdoor installations and is optimized for fixed, continuous monitoring applications in industrial environments. The detectorprovides low parts-per-million detection limits as a critical part of an early warning system. The volatile organic compounds detector ultra-violet lamp life is 12 months under normal operating conditions, depending upon environment. Various applications include oil refining, chemical processing, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, laboratories, and many more. Mil-Ram Technology Inc. (Fremont, Calif.). 


Editor’s note: WE&T assumes no responsibility for claims made in product descriptions. Interested companies should send press releases and photos to [email protected]

Defect Detective

Understanding lateral access points
Jerry Weimer

This installment focuses on the proper use of PACP language to describe lateral access points — that is, the connection between laterals and main lines or other entrance points to laterals. It is important to use the correct access point code when starting and ending lateral inspections. The same codes are used for lateral access points as for PACP with the addition of the following unique lateral terms described herein.


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