This month's topics: Funding • Fracking • Technology adoption • Thickening & dewatering

November 2018 • Volume 30 • Number 11

This month's featured content

What to consider before you co-digest FOG
Co-digesting organic high-strength wastes with municipal sludge offers environmental and economic benefits, but the decision requires consideration of many associated issues
Scott Carr, Ed Kobylinski, Jorj Long, Rachel Swezy, and Doug Nolkemper

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A chilling effect
Environmental factors that affect dewatering of anaerobically digested biosolids
Jose R. Bicudo, Samantha Morris, Amber Klassen, Wayne Parker, and Matt Higgins

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Designing the National Technology Testbed Network
Stakeholder feedback needed for test bed concept to succeed
Seth W. Snyder and A.J. Simon

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Features

What to consider before you co-digest FOG
Co-digesting organic high-strength wastes with municipal sludge offers environmental and economic benefits, but the decision requires consideration of many associated issues
Scott Carr, Ed Kobylinski, Jorj Long, Rachel Swezy, and Doug Nolkemper

Co-digestion of organic high-strength wastes (HSW) with municipal sludge is becoming more widely practiced in the U.S. as more agencies seek to keep grease out of collection systems and liquid stream processes, generate more biogas for energy recovery, and divert organic wastes from landfills. HSW includes fats, oils, and grease (FOG) from restaurant grease traps as well as industrial wastes, such as food- and animal-processing wastes. These wastes have high organic content and low inert-solids content, which make them ideal for co-digestion and generating biogas with limited effects on solids production.

Before charging ahead, however, it’s important to consider common issues and solutions from existing programs. Codigestion programs can add significant operational difficulties for operators and managers; the diversity of these wastes, irregularity of deliveries, and contaminants sometimes present in FOG and other HSW can make co-digestion a daily challenge.

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A chilling effect
Environmental factors that affect dewatering of anaerobically digested biosolids
Jose R. Bicudo, Samantha Morris, Amber Klassen, Wayne Parker, and Matt Higgins

The Region of Waterloo owns and operates 13 water resource recovery facilities (WRRFs) that combined serve more than 500,000 people. Solids are anaerobically digested at four of the region’s WRRFs — Waterloo, Kitchener, Preston, and Galt. The resulting biosolids are dewatered at three locations — Waterloo, Kitchener, and Galt — and most are applied to agricultural lands or beneficially used for mine tailing pond reclamation. Dewatered biosolids currently correspond to approximately 75% of all the biosolids produced at the region’s 13 WRRFs. In 2017, approximately 28,000 wet tons were removed from the three dewatering facilities operating in the region.

To help reduce polymer use, bench-scale tests that employed a modified centrifugal technique were conducted to obtain insight into the factors that may influence dewaterability of Kitchener’s solids. The tests evaluated the effect natural cooling has on anaerobically digested biosolids (ADB) in storage tanks prior to dewatering using either emulsion or dry polymer. 

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Designing the National Technology Testbed Network
Stakeholder feedback needed for test bed concept to succeed
Seth W. Snyder and A.J. Simon

Water infrastructure typically is among a municipality’s oldest investments. Existing infrastructure was designed solely to treat wastewater and remove pollutants. As the U.S. wrestles with increasing water challenges — scarcity in some regions and flooding in others — advancing water resource recovery infrastructure is considered a core opportunity in both the public and private sector.

New technology can offer several improvements — recovering resources in wastewater, reducing the cost and energy required for wastewater management, and improving the resilience of water resource recovery systems. In short, water resource recovery is a locus of opportunities to improve energy and water security.

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News

Federal dollars bridge the funding gap
U.S. EPA and USDA announce money for water, wastewater, and stormwater projects
LaShell Stratton-Childers

Though utilities and municipalities continue to seek such financing methods as public–private partnerships and bond offerings to fund capital improvement projects, federal funding remains a tried and true route. The Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds are mainstays for the water sector. However, this year the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) Program, which provides up to 49% maximum portion of eligible project costs, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which offers funding through its Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program, also are offering water and wastewater funding. 

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A deep dive into a growing dilemma
A steep increase in water used for hydraulic fracturing means much more wastewater and potentially less water supply in some areas
LaShell Stratton-Childers

For almost a decade, hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has made headlines. Both fears related to fracking wastewater disposal’s impact on environmental and public health and how the deep well injection process may be leading to an increase in earthquakes have been examined. Now the fracking process, which involves injecting liquid at high pressure into subterranean rocks to force open existing fissures and extract oil or gas, is back in the spotlight for a very different reason.

In August, Duke University (Durham, N.C.) scientists showed that despite worries from the public, hydraulic fracturing continues to expand rapidly. According to their study, published in Science Advances, the amount of water used per well for hydraulic fracturing surged by as much as 770% between 2011 and 2016. The volume of brine-laden wastewater that these oil and gas wells generated during their first year of production also increased by as much as 1440% during that same period, the study shows.

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Extra

Wastewater Treatment Fundamentals by the numbers

WEF’s new operator education series is written and reviewed by operators for operators. Book I covers the liquid stream from headworks to final effluent and includes beautiful full color photographs and graphics, nearly 1000 practice questions, chapter summaries, and clear, easy-toread explanations. Chapters include example process control calculations that clearly show each step — it’s easy to follow along. Walk through troubleshooting scenarios and apply learned concepts to real-world situations. Prepare for your certification exams with a resource that was prepared in partnership with the Association of Boards of Certification (ABC) — the organization that writes the exams for most states.

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Letters

Unfortunate headline

As a long-time WEF member, I was really disappointed with the headline I saw in the September 2018 WE&T magazine on p. 43. Women have made great strides in our business since I was starting out, so it’s a little jarring to see a throw-back headline line this. Perhaps it can be revised for the on-line version of the magazine to reflect the fact that there are thinking women as well as thinking men in our industry. I understand the colloquial use of the catch phrase “thinking man,” but words matter, especially these days.

Thanks for listening, and for the important work you and your colleagues do every day.

Elisa M. Speranza, President
Seventh Ward Strategies LLC 
(New Orleans, La.)

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The editors respond:

We apologize for any bias in this headline. The use was, as Ms. Speranza notes, the case of using a colloquial term. We are dedicated to encouraging and empowering diversity in the water sector (and beyond).

In fact, the December issue of WE&T will include a story that examines the many events and programs that occurred at WEFTEC® 2018 in New Orleans to foster and celebrate diversity in race, gender, and age in the water sector.

Looking farther ahead, WE&T also has been collaborating with the WEF Water Leadership Institute since May to produce articles that explore the topics of diversity in the workplace as well as overcoming unconscious bias. These articles are in process to be published in January 2019.

Splash Shot

Get a close-up look at the action of Operations Challenge at WEFTEC 2018

The 31st annual Operations Challenge featured several new faces. Eleven new teams joined the fray from the U.S., Canada, and South America. This included the first-ever allfemale team, Charlie’s Angels from the Water Environment Association of South Carolina (shown here). In total, a recordhigh of 44 elite wastewater teams met at the New Orleans Morial Convention Center for the ultimate test of their skills. The competitors learned not to mess with Texas. Two teams representing the Water Environment Association of Texas, the Trinity River Authority (TRA; Arlington) CReWSers and the North Richland Hills Water Pooseidons, took first place in Division 1 and Division 2, respectively.

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From the Editors

Follow the money

The idea that everything is driven by money can be depressing, but it’s an inescapable reality that lower-cost options often win out just because they require fewer dollars. However, two things can bring some optimism to following the money.

First, it often works out that investing some money can lead to a greater return. Infrastructure spending provides a great example of this. Improved and enlarged sewer service helps an area grow with new businesses and job opportunities. On p. 18 the article, “Federal dollars bridge the funding gap,” describes how a federal investment of $834 million in two massive projects will turn into 4000 construction jobs as well as stop wastewater overflows and produce thousands of tons of biosolids.

Second, sometimes money is simply the measure used to quantify the success of a project. The article, “What to consider before you co-digest FOG,” on p. 24 details the pros and cons of developing a high-strength waste co-digestion program. The benefits include more energy production; less fats, oils, and grease in the collection system; and collecting additional tipping fees from waste haulers. These things either reduce facility expenses or bring in direct revenue. However, the flip side is that such a program requires extra staff time, equipment, and maintenance tasks throughout the facility. The article explains how to prepare for each challenge to ensure that collectively they do not outweigh the benefits.

— The editors

 

Research Notes

Plasma-based treatment shown to remove pervasive pharmaceutical from water

Ibuprofen is one of the most commonly available pharmaceuticals worldwide. While the human body excretes only about 15% of the drug through urine, ibuprofen’s ubiquity and difficulty of removal by traditional wastewater treatment processes mean large concentrations often end up in water supplies. Ibuprofen and other pharmaceuticals in water could harm aquatic wildlife and pose potential threats to human health.

A recently studied technique involving cold plasma and ozone has proven able to remove 100% of ibuprofen from water supplies within about 15 to 20 minutes, according to a research team from Romania.

The researchers used a combined plasma-ozonation system, in which ozone was produced by exposing pure oxygen gas to nonthermal plasma. They then applied a pulsed corona discharge to various concentrations of the ibuprofen-water solution for durations between 50 and 430 nanoseconds to determine whether, and to what extent, the method could remove the drug. To ensure adequate mass transfer of the ozone, researchers bubbled effluent gas from the plasma through the solution.

While all tested pulse durations successfully removed ibuprofen from the solution, shorter durations were found to be more energy efficient without sacrificing removal results. Researchers observed an energy yield of 20.2 g/kWh for pulses spanning 50 nanoseconds, more than one order of magnitude higher than the value for the longest pulses.

Starting solutions with denser concentrations of ibuprofen improved energy efficiency, but required more time to fully remove ibuprofen, according to the study.

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Also in this section:

  • Data interpretation method enables accurate, real-time monitoring of groundwater contamination

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Waterline

Flushing contact lenses in the U.S. creates more than 20 tons of microplastics each year, ASU research finds

Arizona State University (ASU; Tempe) researchers have discovered the environmental hazards of a common product used by some 45 million people in the U.S. alone: contact lenses.

Most contact lenses on the market are made of an unusual combination of polymers that result in a soft plastic that lets oxygen pass through to the eye. Environmental monitoring studies that focus on the fate of plastics once they are discarded generally miss contact lenses, which usually end up in water resource recovery facilities (WRRFs) when dropped in sinks or flushed down toilets, according to study co-author Charles Rolsky.

“We began looking into the U.S. market and conducted a survey of contact lens wearers. We found that 15 to 20 percent of contact wearers are flushing the lenses down the sink or toilet,” Rolsky said. That amounts to about 1.8 to 3.36 billion lenses flushed per year, or about 20 to 23 metric tons of plastic waste, according to the team’s results.

After tracing the fate of 13 different contact-lens brands made from nine different types of plastic polymers, researchers concluded that microbes commonly used in WRRFs interact with the surface chemistry of the contact lenses, weakening bonds and breaking them down into hard-to-remove microplastics. Microplastics often are mistaken for food by aquatic animals, spelling health defects that can move up the food chain and potentially affect human health, according to the study.

The researchers are now calling on lens manufacturers to take steps to limit the environmental impacts of their product, according to an ASU press release.

“A simple first step would be for manufacturers to provide on product packaging information on how to properly dispose of contact lenses, which is simply by placing them in the trash with other solid waste,” said co-author Rolf Halden.

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Also in this section:

  • Global model projects where wastewater nutrient reuse could be most impactful

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From the Field

Water Environment & Technology Watershed Moments Photo Contest

From June 1 through July 29, WE&T asked readers to share photos of when they dig deep and get their hands dirty to ensure rivers, lakes, and oceans remain clear and safe to enjoy. These Watershed Moments take water professionals outside the laboratory, water resource recovery facility, and boardroom to get up-close-and-personal with the local environment.

Congratulations to Justin Brown, public affairs specialist for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD), who received the most votes for his photo of one of the district’s state-of-the-art research vessels hard at work monitoring water quality on the Chicago River.

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Behind the lens  

Measuring 9 m (30 ft) in length, the smaller of MWRD’s two pollution control boats was custom-built in 2014 to survey the Chicago River. The vessel, which is used by MWRD staff to keep tabs on the health of one of the city’s best-recognized natural features, is short enough to pass beneath Chicago’s low-hanging bridges. Under the waterline, the boat is built to navigate the shallowest parts of the Chicago River system that would be inaccessible to conventional vessels, Brown said.

Other features include retractable stairs that provide technicians access to MWRD’s network of stationary water quality sensors and a winch and tuna door that enhance the crew’s ability to study fish.

Combined with gradual improvements to MWRD’s water reclamation process and new tunnels and reservoirs to keep pollution from reaching the river, the boats have helped MWRD staff rehabilitate a waterway once among the most impaired in the U.S.

“Water quality in the Chicago River has seen great improvements since the MWRD began monitoring Chicago area waterways in the 1970s,” Brown said.

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From the Field gives you the chance to share a snapshot of your crucial contributions to the water sector. Submit your own photos and vote for your favorites.

Photos that get the most votes will be published here and a gallery of selected images can be found on WEF Highlights.

The focus area will change seasonally. To learn more and enter, visit www.wef.org/photo-contest.

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Operator Essentials

What every operator should know about belt filter presses
Ken Schnaars

Belt filter presses are used to dewater primary and/or waste activated sludges (WAS), such as those that come from aerobic or anaerobic digestion. BFPs require several components that are both on the press and external to the press for successful operation. To operate a belt press successfully operators must fully understand the process/operational parameters. Read this month's Operator Essentials section to learn all you need to know about belt filter presses.

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Problem Solvers

Brewing a better solution for wastewater treatment in Vermont

Problem: Beer production generated large amounts of wastewater.

Solution: Moving bed biofilm reactor (MBBR) with dissolved air flotation (DAF) technology reduces wastewater in a small footprint. 

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Creating beer requires a lot of water, which in turn, becomes a large amount of wastewater. Breweries typically generate between five and seven barrels of wastewater for every barrel of beer produced. This can have a significant effect on the environment. When Alchemist Brewery in Stowe, Vt., needed to expand its facility, it took steps to reduce these effects, improve waste-removal efficiencies, and give the facility a long-term solution.

As a microbrewery, Alchemist Brewery specializes in producing, packaging, and distributing the India pale ale, Heady Topper. When demand for the signature ale increased, the company needed a larger brewery and retail sales center. This offered the opportunity to explore potential wastewater treatment system solutions to minimize the effect the brewery’s process has on the town’s wastewater infrastructure. 

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Business

Scalable Network Technologies Inc. (Culver City, Calif.) appointed Jeff Hoyle as defense program manager of federal programs. Hoyle will work alongside the company’s sales and engineering teams to grow the software and services business within the federal government. Hoyle will leverage his extensive industry experience in developing and strengthening strategy and position within major U.S. Department of Defense programs. 

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The Water Quality Association (WQA; Denver) recognized several of its members at the Opening General Session of its annual convention and exposition in Denver. 

The prestigious 2018 Hall of Fame award went to Don D. Vaughan of Clack Corp. Vaughan has been in the water treatment industry since 1977. 

WQA’s Lifetime Member Award went to Frank Briagano. Brigano is vice president, senior research fellow at Marmon Water Inc. (Williamsburg, Va.). 

The new WQA Excellence Award went to Amway Corp. (Ada, Mich.) in the Manufacturer–Supplier category, and to Professional Water Systems Inc. (Ridgefield, Conn.) in the Dealer Category. 

Lori Jansen of the Minnesota Water Quality Association was honored with the Ray Cross Award, which recognizes members who display a pioneering spirit and have made a notable difference in the water treatment industry. 

Michael J. McGowan was presented with the Regents Award for significant contributions at the state or local level on issues affecting the industry. 

WQA’s Honorary Membership Award for meritorious research, education, or exemplary service went to Marc Edwards of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Blacksburg, Va.). 

The WQA Award of Merit for exceptional service to the water improvement industry was given to Mark J. Brotman.

The Key Award, which recognizes a member for demonstrating the highest qualities of leadership as well as civic and community activities,
was presented to Michael J. Urbans.

The Next Gen Award, which goes to the member that the association feels makes an impact at the early stage of his or her career went to Alex Duffine.

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Also in this section:

  • InfoSense Inc. (Charlotte, N.C.)
  • Water For People (Denver),
  • AW-Lake Co. (Oak Creek, Wis.)
  • Cardno Inc. (Clearwater, Fla.)
  • Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam Inc. (Houston)

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Water Volumes

Design of Water Resource Recovery Facilities, Manual of Practice No. 8, Sixth Edition

Water Environment Federation, WEF Press, 601 Wythe Street, Alexandria, VA 22314; McGraw-Hill Education, Two Penn Plaza, New York, NY 10121-2298, 2256 pp., (2018) $325, Hardcopy, ISBN 978-1-260-03118-8.

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Design of Water Resource Recovery Facilities now has its sixth edition. Known alternatively as Manual of Practice (MOP) 8 or American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE; Reston, Va.) Manual and Reports on Engineering Practice No. 76, it has been one of the most authentic, authoritative, and comprehensive reference books on the design of municipal water resource recovery facilities (WRRFs). The manual consists of 25 chapters with each chapter focusing on a particular topic or treatment goal. 

Comparing with fifth edition, the new volume has gone through significant changes. The authors deleted and minimized the description of treatment technologies that are no longer in current practice. They covered information on treatment fundamentals in more concise detail. They added or updated several key technical topics, such as application of wastewater process modeling in design, advances in membrane bioreactor technology, biosolids handling, side-stream nutrient removal, integrated fixed-film/activated sludge systems, and moving-bed biological-reactor systems. 

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Read full review

Projects

The state of Hawaii completed its largest ever wastewater system upgrade.

The upgrade took place following a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency consent decree to improve Windward Oahu’s sewage collection and treatment system by June 2018. Brown and Caldwell (Walnut Creek, Calif.) worked with the city and county of Honolulu and its team of construction partners to deliver the Kaneohe-Kailua Wastewater Conveyance and Treatment Facilities Project on an accelerated schedule and within budget. 

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PC Construction (South Burlington, Vt.) completed construction of a new water resources recovery facility (WRRF) for the City of Palm Coast, Fla. The $30 million facility will augment the city’s existing WRRF, which has neared capacity, and accommodate continued growth and development in the area. 

The new facility will provide an additional 7600 m3/d (2 mgd) of treatment capacity. The resulting high-quality effluent will be used for irrigation and groundwater recharge, allowing the city to conserve potable water and decrease the rate of groundwater withdrawal.

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Also in this section:

  • Barbados Water Authority
  • Veolia North America (Boston)

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Products

Water monitor
Arjay Engineering Ltd. (Oakville, Ont., Canada); www.ArjayEng.com  

The HydroSense 4410-OCM is specifically designed to monitor low concentrations of oil in waste and cooling waters. The unique flow-through design uses fluorescence to target petroleum hydrocarbons. The additional light scatter sensor can be set to monitor non-petroleum oils or used as an alert in the event of unusually high turbidity. The unit provides 24/7 monitoring for any leaks or excursions of parts per million levels of oil in effluent water and recirculated water. 

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Membrane bioreactor module
MICRODYN-NADIR (Wiesbade, Germany); www.microdyn-nadir.com

The MICRODYN BIO-CEL® MBR is a cost-effective and scalable solution for meeting challenging effluent requirements for wastewater treatment. BIO-CEL helps to protect the environment and is especially useful for water reuse applications. The plate-less design of the module enables 360-degree access to the membrane stack. This access improves cleaning capabilities and significantly reduces maintenance time. The patented module-membrane laminate combines the advantages of flat sheet and hollow fiber membranes allowing for backwash capability and increased durability.

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Rotary valve actuator 
Harold Beck & Sons (Newtown, Pa.); www.haroldbeck.com

The Group 57 1/4 turn rotary electric valve actuator maintains all traditional Beck actuator advantages, such as maintenance-free operation, long-term reliability, and unmatched control. Added features often required in hazardous environments and remote locations include no burn-out motor, positioning accuracy to 0.1 degrees, the ability to run on 12-48 Vdc or 120 Vac power, and Class I, Division 1, Groups B, C, and D hazardous location ratings. Other features also include a built-in, electric fail-safe capability; fast-stroking speeds for applications requiring a faster open or close rate; and simple and flexible mounting hardware for virtually any valve including ISO 5211 applications.

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Pipe
Schlüsselbauer North America LLC (Nashville, Tenn.); www.sbt-na.biz

The PERFECT Pipe is a durable pipe system, suitable for both trench construction and pipe jacking/microtunneling methods. The pipe is distinguished by its high static-load-bearing capacity and long-lasting resistance to chemical attack provided by the continuous synthetic liner. 

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Cartridge split seal
A.W. Chesterton Co. (Groveland, Mass.); www.chesterton.com

The Chesterton 442C Cartridge Split Seal technology minimizes installation complications and excessive startup leakage, ensuring that equipment is returned to operation as quickly as possible. With its short axial length and adjustable gland tabs, there are many opportunities plant-wide to help lower your seal inventory. Repair kits are available to help cut operational maintenance costs.

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Manhole module
WinCan (Pittsburgh); www.wincan.com

The Manholes Module for WinCan sewer assessment and asset management software makes it easy for municipalities to integrate manhole inspection into their sewer management workflow. The module combines imagery and geometric data to create a virtual manhole where users can descend, pan, tilt, and zoom-in to scrutinize defects. Users can attach observations to points and regions of the manhole scan and use measurement tools to quantify observed defects. The module is fully compatible with WinCan Web, so users can upload their inspection results and grant others access to view reports and navigate virtual manholes instantly on any device with a web browser.

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Mobile app
SUEZ Water Technologies & Solutions (Trevose, Pa.); www.suezwatertechnologies.com

 

The ModuleTrac is designed for drinking water and water resource recovery facility operators by simplifying data collection and recordkeeping activities related to ZeeWeed membranes. The system provides enhanced visibility into data at the module, cassette, and train levels through InSight*, a secure Asset Performance Management solution for monitoring and optimizing water treatment systems. The app uses an operator’s mobile device to scan and track the location and maintenance history of ZeeWeed membranes using a bar code placed on each module. This information is then fed into InSight, which analyzes, archives, and reports on the data at a train, cassette, or module level. From there, users can view data, run reports, and create graphics and charts to monitor and optimize their water treatment systems. 

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Oil and gas extraction system 
Environmental Express (Vernon Hills, Ill.); www.envexp.com

The StepSaver® Extraction System streamlines the extraction process to help analysts work faster and safer. The compact, single-place station saves valuable benchtop space and time. Single stations can be daisy-chained together to run multiple samples at once for a faster sample throughput. The system is ideal for analysts who want to work more efficiently by eliminating steps in the process while maintaining compliance with EPA Method 1664 for oil and grease.

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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].

 

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