wastewater Archives - Infrastructure Digest

There’s gold in them thar sewers—tons and tons of it!

The study’s lead environmental engineer, Paul Westerhoff, told Science that the sewage treatment systems that collect and try to dispose of the waste could be losing a lot of  precious cargo in the process, citing a city in Japan that collected near 2 kg of gold in every metric ton of ash after burning sludge.

Why should you read this? That’s a lot of gold. Quartz, January 2015

Largo to spend $37M on sewer upgrades

“The big driver is (that) it’s going to stop the overflows,” city engineer Leland Dicus said.

The sewer improvements are the result of problems that started about 15 years ago when the system overflowed during the heavy rains of that hurricane season, Dicus said. The overflow came out through manhole covers and dumped sewage in the street that eventually made its way to the bay. In all, Dicus said, about 30 million gallons of overflow came out of the system.

Why should you read this? Just the numbers: “$37M”, “30 million gallons of overflow.” Tampa Bay Times, January 2015

Beer to be made from sewer water dubbed ‘sewage brewage’

“Call it former sewer brewing,” said Landers.

Instead of normal tap water to make their beer, the brewers will be using what was once sewer water — straight from the treatment plant. It’s all part of a competition Washington County’s Clean Water Services is putting on to demonstrate different uses for its water.

Why should you read this? It’s the great cycle of life. KXAN, January 2015

What happens when a dedicated wastewater treatment operator earns a pilot’s license? Answer: One of the most unique hobbies you can image.

About 12 years ago, Marcel Tremblay earned his pilot’s license and began a hobby that combined two of his passions: wastewater treatment and flying. Tremblay noticed airports and wastewater treatment plants are often located close to each other, so he began taking aerial photos of the plants and arranging plant tours for when he landed. His fly-over features soon become a regular component of Mass Waters, the Massachusetts Water Pollution Control Association’s newsletter, which Tremblay edits.

Since then, Tremblay has flown to nearly every corner of the state as he explores various wastewater treatment systems.

Why should you read this? It’s always seemed to me that treatment plants are some of the most beautifully designed public facilities, so I’m on board with this hobby. TPO, January 2015

VIDEO: Bill Gates drinks processed wastewater

“Microsoft founder Bill Gates may be known for trying to reinvent the common toilet but now he’s setting out to reinvent the wastewater treatment plant.

This week he was seen sipping a glass of drinking water that only five minutes previously was human wastewater.

The technology used to generate the potable water is called the Omniprocessor, designed and built by Janicki Bioenergy, an engineering firm based north of Seattle.”

Why should you read this? Some headlines just cannot be resisted. Water World, January 2014

A California Agency Creates A Brand For Its Recycled Water, Biogas Energy And Pelletized Biosolids

“Many clean-water plants create brand names for their biosolids. The Encina Wastewater Authority takes the concept further.

Its Class A biosolids pellets go to market under the PureGreen brand. Its electric power and heat from biogas, PureEnergy. Its recycled water, PureWater. Even staff resources and information get a brand name: PureKnowledge.

For the agency, headquartered in Carlsbad, Calif., the brands emphasize that its 67 team members are devoted to more than protecting the Pacific Ocean from pollution. The 40.5 mgd (design) Encina Water Pollution Control Facility recycles, in one way or another, nearly half its 23 mgd average flow.”

Why should you read this? Maybe it will work for you? Treatment Plant Operator, December 2014

An Iowa Team Masters A New Plant’s Biological Nutrient Removal Process

“… In the mid-1990s, the aeration tanks were retrofitted with fine-bubble ceramic disc diffusers, and capacity was expanded with addition of a clarifier and a digester. Projects in the next decade included replacement of a failed digester cover, replacement of influent pumps and addition of influent screening. “Starting in the late 1990s, there were some compliance issues,” says Riney, water quality superintendent since 1985. “TSS and ammonia were the two big hitters.””

Why should you read this? Good article on treatment plant management that dives into the details in a gratifying way. Treatment Plant Operator, November 2014

Ebola Information Released for Water and Wastewater Utilities

“Because of Ebola’s fragility when separated from its host, bodily fluids flushed by an infected person would not contaminate the water supply. Researchers believe Ebola survives in water for only a matter of minutes. This is because water does not provide the same environment as our bodily fluids, which have higher salt concentrations. Once in water, the host cell will take in water in an attempt to equalize the osmotic pressure, causing the cells to swell and burst, thus killing the virus.”

Why should you read this? You don’t really need to—I’m just jumping on the Ebola news bandwagon. Basically, there is no Ebola danger to treatment plant workers, but this article can be reassuring. Treatment Plant Operator, October 2014

Cost-effective off-road I&I reduction Two-pronged approach to manhole renewal eases pressure on sewer network.

The department produced an internal paper on the subject: Surface Water Inflow through Manhole Lift/Vent Holes into Sanitary Sewer Systems. They found:

  • When a cover is submerged, the lift/vent holes first perform as a weir and then as an orifice, allowing extraneous flows to enter into the manhole. As the depth of submergence increases, the inflow into the manhole increases.
  • When submerged by 2 inches, a cover with four .98-inch-diameter lift/vent holes may allow 15.8 gallons per minute (gpm) to enter. At 5.9 inches, 26.4 gpm may enter.

Note that this is the inflow only through the lift/holes. Additional inflow occurs between the steel cover and the steel grate, and between the steel grate and the concrete manhole.

Why should you read this? Are you a sewer or water network manager looking for a relatively cheap way to mitigate I&I? Then this is your article. (full disclosure: I wrote this article in my other role as an infrastructure writer. Which means it is especially awesome.) Public Works, February 2014

Reduce, reuse, recycle: Turning wastewater into energy

“The False Creek Energy Centre in Vancouver, B.C., is the first application of localized sewer heat recovery in North America — and the only one to use untreated sewage. For about two years, the plant has provided hot water and heating for the Neighborhood Energy Utility (NEU) in Vancouver, a city of about 650,000.

The $30 million False Creek Energy Centre services a portion of the city seeing significant new building development — about 2.7 million square feet, which is expected to grow to about 7 million square feet.

The plant supplies 100 percent of the heating and hot water demand — 70 percent from sewage heat recovery and 30 percent from natural gas boilers, according to Chris Baber, Vancouver’s NEU manager.”

Why should you read this? It’s a successful, locally popular biomass facility, and a wastewater treatment plant. Fascinating. TPO, January 2013

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