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Contents ISSN-0835-605X September 2009 Vol. 22 No. 4 Issued September 2009

Page 10

Page 57

ES&E invites articles (approx. 2,000 words) on water, wastewater, hazardous waste treatment and other environmental protection topics. If you are interested in submitting an article for consideration in our print and digital editions, please contact Steve Davey at Please note that Environmental Science & Engineering Publications Inc. reserves the right to edit all text and graphic submissions without notice.


Were Halifax officials unfairly criticized over wastewater treatment plant failure? - Editorial comment by Steve Davey

10 Temporary pumping system keeps L’Assomption’s water supply system operational during flood 12 Treating sewage in rural Alberta with fixed-film bioreactor technology 14 Managing restaurant kitchen grease vital to reducing sewer blockages 16 Automation of septage receiving at a wastewater treatment plant can save resources 19 OPCEA concerned about FCM Resolution 20 Where, when, why and how to employ decentralized wastewater treatment 24 Tree nursery saves $140K over five years by using biosolids for fertilizer 26 Tackling seasonal taste and odour events in drinking water 32 Miramichi implements advanced water meter infrastructure system 35 Understanding SCADA system vulnerability in water utilities 36 Farm site closure achieved within one year

DEPARTMENTS Product Showcase . . . . . 69-73 Environmental News . . . 75-80 Professional Cards . . . . . .75-80 Ad Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81

38 Is a Comprehensive Certificate of Approval the way to go? 42 New AWWARF study on nitrogenous drinking water disinfection by-products 44 Evaluating peracetic acid for wastewater disinfection 48 Author of “Healthy Waters” to open WEFTEC.09 50 How to remove perfluorinated acids from water and wastewater streams 53 Water For People’s World Water Corp is making a difference 54 Energy from biogas now even more economically attractive 56 Reusing 10 year old vortex stormwater separator saves over $75K 58 Impending shortage of cheap phosphorus could be financial boon to wastewater treatment plants 62 Water supply management options evaluated for Maui 66 Conserving water by using a closed loop recycling system 82 Elegant swimming contrasts with toxicity of consumerism - Editorial comment by Tom Davey

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Comment by Steve Davey

Were Halifax officials unfairly criticized over wastewater treatment plant failure?


hile attending the 5th National Conference on Biosolids held recently in Niagara Falls, I discussed the ongoing water quality problems in Halifax Harbour, due to the failure of the City’s wastewater treatment plant back in January. Later, I searched for information on the Internet and came across several reports and articles criticizing Halifax’s mayor and council for being secretive on this issue. In fact, in an article on the Halifax Regional Municipality’s website, Mayor Peter Kelly stated: “The challenge presented by the shutdown of the Halifax Wastewater Treatment Facility has been particularly difficult for me because it challenges me to weigh what I say publicly, against the possibility of exposing you, the taxpayers of HRM, to potentially significant liability.” In an age of high public sensitivities and mistrust about many environmental issues, easy access to the facts of such an important event is vital. I recall in the early 1980s, when the Ontario Ministry of the Environment was severely criticized by the public, due to perceived communication failures regarding the discovery of water well contamination in Stouffville. In that issue as well, scientific facts were obscured by media impatience and public outcry. However, if you take the time to look over the Halifax Regional Municipality’s web pages on the wastewater plant failure, you will find a wealth of

mation such as: • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) • Steps Underway • Photos of Flooded Plant • Beach Openings • Transition to Halifax Water • Dartmouth and Herring Cove WWTFs • Spring Cleaning • Technical Presentation • Misconceptions • Harbour Solutions Project • Halifax WWTF Project Update • Finding Truth, Weighing Consequences - an article by Mayor Peter Kelly Untreated sewage has been flowing into Halifax Harbour since January 2009 when the $54-million sewage treatment plant malfunctioned. More recently, the situation worsened after screens that prevent solids from entering the harbour were removed from the sewer outfalls to prevent damage from excessive buildup. The Halifax sewage treatment plant, which became operational in February 2008, is not expected to be back in operation until next spring. What went wrong? The treatment plant is built around an 85-foot-deep "wet well". A large tunnel carries Halifax's sewage to the bottom of the well. Four submersible pumps (and a fifth backup) at the bottom of the well lift sewage up to the treatment equipment on the main floor. According to an article by Tim Bousquet of Halifax’s The Coast newspaper, a series of cascading mechanical and

electrical problems occurred, beginning with power failure throughout the north end of Halifax. When power was lost at the plant, the pumps stopped and a large gate automatically closed the tunnel, stopping influent flow to the wet well. Then, according to procedure, an operator started the plant’s two backup electrical generators, opened the gate and turned the four pumps back on. However, the electrical load from the pumps was not evenly shared by the two backup generators. One generator carried the load for three pumps, while the second carried the load for only one. The generator carrying the three pumps overloaded and shut itself down, leaving just one pump operating. This lone pump was not able to handle the incoming flow, so to stop sewage from overflowing the wet well, the gate needed to again be closed over the tunnel. However, the mechanism for lowering the gate was also powered by the overloaded generator, which had shut down, and so it didn't work. The plant has a switch designed to shift the gate's electrical load to the second generator, but it failed to operate properly. As a result, the gate remained slightly open, and sewage continued to flow into the wet well. The pump mechanisms and motors are in watertight casings, so they weren't in any danger from the rising sewage. However, they are powered by cables leading from electrical junction boxes placed just 10 feet above them, which continued overleaf... September 2009 | 7

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Comment by Steve Davey

Editor and Publisher STEVE DAVEY E-mail: Senior Consulting Editor


Sales Director PENNY DAVEY E-mail: Sales Representative DENISE SIMPSON E-mail: Accounting SANDRA DAVEY E-mail: Circulation Manager DARLANN PASSFIELD E-mail: Production Manager CHRIS MAC DONALD E-mail:

Technical Advisory Board Jim Bishop Stantec Consulting Ltd., Ontario Bill Borlase, P.Eng. City of Winnipeg, Manitoba George V. Crawford, P.Eng., M.A.Sc. CH2M HILL, Ontario Bill DeAngelis, P.Eng. Associated Engineering, Ontario Marie Meunier John Meunier Inc., QuĂŠbec Peter J. Paine Environment Canada Environmental Science & Engineering is a bi-monthly business publication of Environmental Science & Engineering Publications Inc. An all Canadian publication, ES&E provides authoritative editorial coverage of Canada's municipal and industrial environmental control systems and drinking water treatment and distribution. Readers include consulting engineers, industrial plant managers and engineers, key municipal, provincial and federal environmental officials, water and wastewater plant operators and contractors. Information contained in ES&E has been compiled from sources believed to be correct. ES&E cannot be responsible for the accuracy of articles or other editorial matter. Articles in this magazine are intended to provide information rather than give legal or other professional advice. Articles being submitted for review should be e-mailed to Canadian Publications Mail Sales Second Class Mail Product Agreement No. 40065446 Registration No. 7750 Undeliverable copies, advertising space orders, copy, artwork, film, proofs, etc., should be sent to: Environmental Science & Engineering, 220 Industrial Pkwy. S., Unit 30, Aurora, Ontario, Canada, L4G 3V6, Tel: (905)727-4666, Fax: (905) 841-7271, Web site: Printed in Canada. No part of this publication may be reproduced by any means without written permission of the publisher. Yearly subscription rates: Canada $75.00 (plus $3.75 GST).

are not water tight. When rising sewage reached the junction boxes, it flowed into them, down the electrical conduits and into the pump casings, shorting out each of the pump motors, including the motor running the lone working pump. With no working pumps and the tunnel gate open, sewage continued to flow into the wet well, rising all the way to the ceiling of the plant's basement. Much of the plant's equipment, including the electrical control room and boilers, was in the basement and, therefore, completely immersed in sewage. According to the article, an official with the Halifax Water Commission says that they will have to completely rebuild the electrical control room, which is one reason the plant restart is taking so long. An investigation has found that no operator intervention could have stopped the breakdown. Five new pumps have been ordered at a cost of $2 million. The cost will be covered by insurance. Also, a forensic audit has been commissioned to redesign the plant to guard against future shutdowns of this nature. We have newspapers, magazines, radio and TV news and an increasing number of electronic media platforms. Keeping the public and the media up to date should be a simple affair. But situations like the Halifax wastewater plant failure are often complicated, technical, and potentially litigious in nature. The media needs to be provided with the necessary facts in a timely and comprehensive manner, so they can effectively disseminate factual, comprehensive, and up to date information to their audiences. Cultivating relationships with journalists, while maintaining a comprehensive list of all forms of media outlets, are two functions that communications departments everywhere should make a priority. Organizations should not depend on their own web sites to satisfy media and public thirst for knowledge and the truth.

Steve Davey is Editor of Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine

8 | September 2009

Book Review

The Story of Brownfields & Smart Growth in Kingston Ontario By Pamela Welbourn, Harry Cleghorn, Joseph Davis, Steven Rose. This book has been designed to be suitable for the general reader but more detailed references are included to permit its use for research as well. The case studies tend to illustrate the varied perspectives of different individuals on these complex issues, the many approaches to the development of brownfields, the types of problems encountered in the process, both technical and social, and the diverse outcomes that are possible. Chapters 1-5, set the general context and deal with history, definitions, science including toxicological issues, legal and regulatory matters, and technical aspects of brownfields. Chapters 6-10 are based on the Kingston experience and include case studies with technical, political and social dimensions relevant to brownfields development both in Kingston and other jurisdictions. Finally, in Chapters 11-13, the scope has been broadened to include case studies from other parts of Ontario and elsewhere in Canada. In one sense every case is unique, yet there are also items in common among the cases. Although limited in number, the selected cases in Chapters 11 and 12, i.e., outside Kingston, are intended to be illustrative, for comparison and contrast with those for the City of Kingston, while highlighting the variety of approaches and techniques for redevelopment. The final chapter provides conclusions and integration through lessons learned. Published by Classroom Complete Press. Visit

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Water Supply

Temporary pumping system keeps water plant operational during flood


uring a recent flood event, in Québec, blockage of the raw water intake and conduit for the town of L’Assomption’s Jean-Perreault Water Treatment Plant required emergency installation of a temporary pumping system. In late April 2008, the L’Assomption River was rising and carrying large amounts of debris, including sand, gravel, and tree branches that slowed down both the uptake of water and the pumping station that feeds the water treatment centre through a conduit supplying raw water. Early one morning, the raw water intake became completely obstructed and the water treatment plant could no longer maintain optimal output. The emergency plan Water treatment plant staff, assisted by Yvon Harnois of MSC Réhabilitation, worked to unblock the intake and conduit. During this time, the water treatment plant supplied the town’s distribution system with treated water

10 | September 2009

1150 PFM flotation module and the BS 2550 Flygt pump in the process of being installed.

stored in its reservoirs. The level of stored water dropped very rapidly, because of strong early hour demand and the plugging of the intake. This caused continuous decreases in system pressure from 80 lbs to 70, 60, and 50 lbs, ulti-

mately ending at 40 psi, which is the minimum threshold needed to protect the drinking water distribution network. However, at no time was there any interruption in the water supply, and no boil advisory had to be issued.

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Water Supply The solution Prior to this emergency situation, Mr. Sauvageau, the plant manager, had been in touch with Mouloud Aouaz, of ITT Water &Wastewater, to discuss a temporary pumping system capable of bypassing the water intake. The choice was a floating pumping system, composed of an 88 hp Flygt BS 2250 pump, with a 432 impeller, which could pump water out of the river at a rate of 5,000 gpm. The pump would be mounted on a PFM 1150 flotation module and connected either to the raw water reservoir or to the raw water outlet pipes, with Kwik-Lok rapid-attachment hardware. While waiting for the arrival of the temporary pumping system, preparations were made for its installation, and some alternative activities were undertaken by the plant manager in collaboration with town officials. A crane was mobilized to lower the pump into the river, and appeals were made to the municipality of St-Sulpice and the town of Repentigny with regard to the opening and closing of their conduits.

On Thursday, April 24, 2008, at 10:45 p.m., Mr. Sauvageau received a call from the plant informing him that the raw water conduit was once again blocked. He went to the site, with plant operator Luc Beauchemin, to try to unblock the intake, but they were unsuccessful. After determining that the raw water pump was buried under 15 feet of sand and gravel, the ITT W&WW pumping system was connected to the raw water supply conduit and began to

feed the plant. This made it possible for the plant to continue normal operations until the intake and conduit were eventually cleaned out and made fully operational. During the bypass operation, the town’s drinking water supply continued to be of excellent quality, meeting American Water Works Association standards. For more information, visit

Plugged water intake.

At the same time, Mr. Sauvageau informed the fire department that the situation was getting worse. Fire pump trucks would be needed to refill the raw water tank at the pumping station, in order to keep water reserves from getting any lower and to maintain them at an acceptable level. Also, police issued a public warning about watering restrictions and the need to minimize the use of drinking water. The temporary pumping system was operational at about 6:00 p.m., with the pump installed in the river and ready to replace the raw water pressure pumps in the event that the 42'' water supply conduit remained blocked by sand or other types of debris.

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Wastewater Treatment

Treating sewage with fixed-film bioreactor technology By Dominic Mercier and David Whitehead


lberta faces huge environmental challenges in sewage treatment as fast-growing communities extend their population in numerous new residential clusters. Populated areas of the province have only a few rivers allowing for sufficient dilution of treated wastewater, and these rivers are often used as the main drinking water sources for cities and smaller municipalities along their shores. The provincial environment and municipal affairs ministries legitimately try to elevate the wastewater treatment standards and limit surface discharge in an effort to protect these water bodies. Also, in many areas, Alberta’s soil is poor for water infiltration. Quarry Land developers owns some land in Leduc County that will become Country Lakes Estates. Leduc County is strategically located near Edmonton. In 2007, the developer had already sold the first lots and construction was imminent, but the go-ahead from Alberta Environment had not yet been received and the proposed wastewater management plan was still under close analysis. Occupation of new houses was facing potential delays. Wildcat Water Technologies, a water and wastewater solutions provider, based in Cochrane, Alberta, had recently accepted the distribution of a new Canadianapproved technology, the BionestTM system. The land developer was looking for a simple technology, locally supported by experts capable of assisting in the design, but most importantly providing service for operation and maintenance. This new technology was presented to Alberta Environment, accompanied Parameter BOD5 TSS Fecal Coliforms NH4 (ammonia) TKN Total Nitrogen

by extensive testing results, and the consulting firm was able to get the approval required to begin construction of the wastewater system. Biological treatment system The Bionest system is an advanced generation of on-site biological wastewater treatment systems. The process consists of a high-retention-time, submerged, fixed-film bioreactor following primary sedimentation such as a conventional septic tank. The biomass develops and firmly attaches to a ribbon-shaped synthetic media. The media occupies only 2% of the tank volume to avoid premature clogging, but offers close to 200 m² per cubic metre of tank volume. With its high biomass development, the unit performs extremely well in cold-water applications like those experienced in many Canadian communities during winter. The media is placed across the entire volume of a prefabricated or built-inplace reservoir divided into two sections. In the first section, which corresponds to approximately two-thirds of the volume, aeration is provided by means of fine bubble diffusers fed by multiple lineartype air pumps. Biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) reduction and ammonia transformation take place in that section. The last section is not aerated, yet is aerobic. It allows for non-turbulent conditions where further nitrification occurs as well as biosolids filtration and oxidation. Depending on the desired quality, the bioreactor offers anywhere from 36 to 48 hours of retention time. This extended period makes a significant difference in the robustness of the process and its capacity to sustain peak flows and higher

BionestTM effluent concentration 2 mg/L 4 mg/l < 200 UFC/100 ml < 1 mg/L 2 mg/L 16 mg/L

Table 1. Results of monitoring program at Country Lake Estates. 12 | September 2009

organic loadings. It also permits the removal of up to 99% of fecal coliform bacteria. Longer retention time, combined with the media density and its random pattern in the tank, allows the unit to filter the biosolids produced in the process and oxidize most of them, resulting in less frequent maintenance and no need for an external secondary settling tank. A distinctive characteristic of the Bionest system is the presence of a recirculation loop permanently circulating treated water from the bioreactor outlet zone back to the primary treatment tank or, in the case of Country Lake Estates, in an anoxic basin ahead of the bioreactor. This recirculation has many advantages, such as partial de-nitrification (up to 75%) and higher overall performance. The concept designed by the consultant for Country Lake Estates was that each house should be equipped with an individual septic tank, an effluent filter and a sewage pump discharging into the collection system bringing the primary effluent to the treatment site. The design flow rate at maximum occupancy of the 15 lots has been established at 23 m³/day. The unit was entirely assembled in a single 57-m³ custom-fabricated fibreglass tank supplied by Focus Industries of StAlbert, Alberta. The tank is divided into three sections. The first section of 11 m³ is the anoxic tank where the primary sewage enters the unit and is mixed with the treated water that is circulating from the bioreactor outlet zone. The water travels to another section — the two-thirds aerated portion (31 m³) — of the bioreactor and flows across the dividing wall to the last one-third section (15 m³) of the bioreactor. A small shed houses both the development’s potable water and wastewater controls and equipment. Five small 250W linear air pumps provide aeration. Use of several air pumps gives the desired redundancy and keeps power consumption low. The final effluent is discharged to a sand mound. Wildcat Water Technologies Ltd. and

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Wastewater Treatment the influent ammonia nitrogen. Maintenance of the Bionest commercial units requires four visits per year for visual inspection of components, data gathering and cleaning the air pump intake filters. Biosolids accumulation in the bioreactor is slow and in most cases the units do not need to be pumped out before five to eight years. Bionest was the first technology to successfully complete the Quebec BNQ certification standard for wastewater systems, which has now become the industry reference in terms of severity of testing conditions and representation of real Canadian climatic conditions. The unit has also been certified by NSF in the United States and by CSTB in France; it has also been reviewed and endorsed by ETV Canada under the Environmental Technology Verification Program.

Inside the bioreactor-airdiffusers at Country Lakes Estates.

Bionest Inc. agreed to carry out a sixmonth performance monitoring program to submit to Alberta Environment. Table 1 presents the results of the monitoring program, performed by an independent laboratory.

The quality of the effluent meets advanced secondary levels in a simple single treatment unit, and even provides extensive disinfection. Results showed ammonia concentration of less than 1 mg/L, which means total nitrification of

Dominic Mercier, Eng. M.A.Sc., is with Bionest Inc. David Whitehead is with Wildcat Water Technologies Ltd. For more information, E-mail:

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Grease Collection

Managing restaurant kitchen grease vital for By Glenn Martin reducing sewer blockages


hen a public works employee was asked if he had seen many clogs caused by restaurant grease while he was working on city pipes and sewers, he replied: “Yes, at every restaurant.” A dishwasher at an established restaurant chain bragged that their grease trap had not been opened in years. When asked why, he said: “Why would I want to open that grease trap thing? The stink would be overwhelming.” Standard grease trap technology has changed little in the last 100 years. Traditional grease collection systems are partly responsible for contaminating our water, drains, sewers and land. Fats, oils and grease (FOG) are the biggest manmade cause of sewer blockages. Traditional grease traps collect only 85% of the grease from wastewater. When they do not have regular maintenance, 40-60% of the grease bypasses the traps. A grease trap at full capacity allows 100% of the fat, oil and grease to enter the drain and go directly into the sewer or septic system. On average, a small restaurant has a traditional grease trap with a 50-pound grease capacity. If the trap is pumped out a minimum of four times per year, then 200 lbs of grease waste (brown grease) per year per restaurant are deposited into landfill sites. Brown grease also causes

14 | September 2009

corrosion in grease traps, which makes them vulnerable to leaking. Best kitchen practices The key factor in maintaining a clean kitchen, drains and grease trap is staff training and procedures. With today's environmental standards and green initiatives, kitchen methods and procedures must continually evolve. A standard grease trap should be checked and cleaned monthly to ensure proper performance. Odours and drainage problems are clear signs that a trap is full or not functioning correctly. The most obvious problem is drain backups, which are typically caused by food solids combined with grease blockages in the pipes. Cleaning and pumping the grease trap is a hazardous job best done by a licensed plumber. All dishes and kitchen utensils should be wiped off before being put into the dishwasher. The faucet should not be used as a broom. Liquid waste (gravy, syrups, batter) should be poured into the food-recycling bin. Dishwashers claim this slows down their work, but the cost of having a plumber in to fix the blockage far outweighs the time taken to wipe off the dishes. Similarly, countertops and food preparation areas must be wiped thoroughly and all food solids and liquid waste dumped into the food-recycling bin.

Flour is another major cause of drain blockages – remember that the simplest glue is made from a paste of flour and water! Restaurant mops and buckets also contain food solids as well as grease. Another common cause of grease trap and drain clogging is the dumping of mop buckets down the drain. Never pour mop water or other wastewater onto pavement or into ditches. Drain and grease trap procedures Train kitchen staff on the location, purpose, function and proper maintenance of grease traps on a quarterly basis. Ensure that grease trap maintenance is done on a regular schedule and is written into policies and procedures. Grease trap and interceptor pump-out schedules should be established and strictly followed. A standard grease trap should be pumped out monthly. Most restaurants do not follow this timetable; typically they will maintain the grease trap when the odours become unbearable or a drain blockage occurs. The odour is a sign that the grease trap is full; there is no visible means of viewing the amount of grease in the trap. The most common reason to replace a grease trap is leakage. Continuously running hot water and applying drain cleaning products such as Drano are band-aid solutions to unclogging drains. The heated, liquefied grease will be flushed down into the sewer or septic system. While hot flushing may divert the need for pumping, it will create a blockage downstream, causing the grease trap to overflow. Cities have begun monitoring the grease flows from restaurants and food processing facilities, enforcing bylaws with fines ranging from $5,000 to $50,000. This may lead to a restaurant being closed until the situation is rectified, and the publicity from a city grease bylaw infraction is not good for business. Best practices To summarize the practices that a restaurant should follow: 1. Always deposit waste vegetable oil or cooking grease into the food-recycling bin.

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Automated septage receiving system can save a WWTP resources and money By Steve Guzelak


utomation of septage receiving in a wastewater treatment plant can save resources, time, money, add accountability, control, tractability, and minimize down times. First we have to understand the capabilities of the non-mechanical side of septage receiving to better understand the gains that it offers. Some septage receiving loggers are fully automated not only for the trucks that interface with a key fob, or swipe card, but they can also log vital information. The loggers can record quantities, time, percent solids, pH levels, temperature, and other information. They can send out alarms for occurrences such as screening equipment failures, or full holding tanks. The software can be stand alone, or intergrated with the existing system for fully automated billing, and information can be traced online by the plant and the customer. The benefits to a well thought out and proven system are seen by the customer and treatment plant alike. The customer no longer has to go to city hall to purchase tickets to dump, or worry about losing them, or finding an operator to hand them in to. Also a tanker can offload small amounts at a time without paying the full price, which gives them the flexibility to optimize their operation. For the municipality, city, town, or plant, the benefits are multiple. A fully automated system saves manpower at the plant, by receiving the septage and logging vital information for traceability, report generating, and efficiency studies. At the administrative offices, manual logging of information is eliminated, thus greatly reducing the potential for errors, and the strain on personnel time. Benefits come to the accounting personnel by fully automating the billing process. There is also the capability of tiered billing based on percent solids, better reflecting the associated costs, and, as a result, adding revenue. To utilize the benefits of an automated septage receiving system, the log16 | September 2009

Multi-discharge station.

ging system must be specified separately from the mechanical receiving stations. After all, only a system that has these features can deliver these benefits. To review what is available in regards to the septage receiving loggers, the system can be broken down into two parts: the hardware and the software. Hardware Looking at the hardware, the first piece of equipment is an automated gate valve. Plant standard makes sense here. The next is the flow meter. A magnetic flow meter with high accuracy, requiring no straight runs, is the best choice here. With some meters, when the specified straight runs are not met, accuracy suffers. Given that this system is used for billing purposes, the higher the accuracy the better â&#x20AC;&#x201C; at a reasonable cost. Difficulties with straight runs are compounded by the nature of offloading septage through a flexible hose three inches in diameter or more, and the limited amount of real estate in most plants. A meter requiring no straight runs, yet achieving its stated high accuracy of between +/- 0.2% to +/- 0.5%, solves these problems. Building beyond the meter depends on the system chosen. Some systems end at the meter. Other systems can offer flexibility to integrate and add

onto the system over time, since the inputs and software readily accept additional points of information. Adding an in-line suspended solids meter will give a reading of percent solids of each offload. With this information, these systems can now take this a step further by charging according to the type of waste delivered. Waste that is higher in solids content requires more treatment, incorporating higher processing costs. A tiered scale can be programmed in for billing that would charge more for more solids, and less for less solids. Another available and useful addition would be the integration and measurement of pH levels. Excessively high or low pH can have an adverse effect on the biological process of the plant itself. These levels can be logged and can aid in tracing the source. This option also provides the flexibility of disallowing the dumping of waste with extreme pH levels in too large quantities to prevent an upset condition in the process. Alternatively a log of the pH levels can be generated, and send an alert to both the treatment plant, and to the company and person offloading. Other sensors and information can be added such as temperature and samcontinued overleaf...

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Wastewater pling, depending on the requirements of each customer. Software Software makes up the majority of the capabilities of a well-run automated system, if it is stable and proven. Frustration with unstable software can be avoided. For example, the Aysix septage receiving system uses JRPâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s event suite software because of its internationally proven capabilities and stability. In England, this software has been refined and proven for over seven years, and is now used in 80% of all septage receiving systems there. A good system will integrate into local SCADA controls, Hardwired, Serial MODBUS, Fieldbus, or any other protocol or system. The software capabilities reach beyond logging information, which can then be used in reducing operating costs, identifying efficiency improvements, and satisfying present and future legislative reporting, or audit trails. A basic system can allow flexibility to change and grow to meet requirements that will develop. This is because a basic system is loaded with all the software features of a fully-featured system. For example, a septage receiving station may have a single discharge line. As demand grows, additional lines can be added to the existing system, and they can be used simultaneously. More demand is still needed? Additional lines can be added, as can additional controls, such as traffic lights and sounders, all controlled by the same system. If auto sampling is required, this too can easily be integrated. The need to operate seamlessly with the plantâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s existing tanks, screens, and grinders, and to monitor, control and override these systems, is also a reality, regardless of their type or make. Looking at the septage reception operation will reveal other capabilities of available systems. A truck pulls up to the offloading area. Depending on the choice of set up, the operator will then use the keypad, or a RFID (radio frequency identification) non-contact key fob, or card, to identify the company and truck number; the date and time will be logged. (These systems also have the capability to disable offloading after hours, if needed.) After swiping, the operator simply 18 | September 2009

presses one button to accept the information on the screen, hooks up the hose and offloads. The system will log quantities and any other information if it is so equipped. Again, if so equipped, the flow rate, solids content and pH levels are displayed on the screen as the operator offloads. The septage is received, and the operator is free to leave. Internally, the system then automatically uses the information to compile a bill. But, say the offloading station is in a remote area, away from the centralized administrative location. No problem the septage receiving unit communicates

User friendly key fob recognition.

via GSM/GPRS (global system for mobile communications/general packet radio service), as if it was next door. Another potential problem may arise if the operator is offloading in an unmanned facility, and the screening clogs, the grinder backs up, or the holding tank fills. In this case the system will identify these conditions via high level alarms, and it will be disabled after the particular offload is finished. SMS (short message service) alerts are automatically sent to notify the appropriate personnel of the situation via mobile phone, page, or other modes, so that the situation can be rectified. This helps reduce downtime and avoids overfills. The customer and plant personnel can then log online with a password, and access the information. For the customer, the information shows the amount of times the site was visited, and the

amounts charged. For each transaction the system shows company name, time and date, transaction number, truck number, treatment location visited, time duration of discharge, volume discharged, suspended solids content, sludge charges, pH levels, sample number, and total amount charged. The treatment plant/municipality can integrate this information with their existing systems to review billing, conduct revenue analysis and monitoring, review and analyze maintenance records and schedules, review individual contractors, satisfy any existing and likely future legislative reporting, and audit trails as well as reporting on content traceability of septage receiving. When the system is purchased there are generally two options for the web portal: hosted, or fully purchased. With the hosted site, the supplier takes care of posting the software on the internet, with a one-off configuration charge and monthly fees. The benefit to the hosted option is that the customer does not need software specialists or the hardware, nor is there a licensing fee. With the other option the customer purchases the license and installs the system software on their infrastructure, without any monthly fees. In addition to providing the hardware and software, a reputable supplier should also be able to provide installation, support services, service contracts for hardware, and software, after-hours telephone support, and preventative maintenance and calibration services. A well-designed septage receiving system will run on a proven, stable platform, provide flexibility for growth, and will save a municipality time, resources and money. But thought has to be given to the septage receiving system, separately from the mechanical screens and grinders, in regards to its capabilities and reliability. Packages have been sold where the customer had to repurchase the septage receiver, due to limitations and instability. The solutions for reliable and capable septic reception are here, and they can grow as the demands change. Steve Guzelak is with Cancoppas Limited. For more information, E-mail:

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OPCEA concerned about FCM Resolution


n a recent survey, less than one in three member companies of the Ontario Pollution Control Equipment Association, (OPCEA) supported the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) “Fair Trade” Resolution. This resolution encourages Canadian municipalities to adopt procurement policies aimed at excluding the use of products in Canadian infrastructure projects, which are imported from countries that do not allow free and unfettered access to Canadian made products. The FCM resolution was crafted in response to the “Buy American” provisions contained in the American Recovery and Re-investment Act (ARRA), and was intended to support Canadian manufacturers. OPCEA believes both the “Buy American” provisions of the ARRA and the retaliatory FCM resolution, are contrary to the provisions contained in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which the association supports. OPCEA is comprised of companies that manufacture wastewater treatment equipment in Ontario, and companies that sell, or distribute wastewater treatment equipment in Ontario, from companies based in foreign countries, including the United States. While the association recognizes the need to support free access to the US market for its Canadian manufacturing members, it also supports member companies that sell American products into the Ontario market. It is the opinion of the association, that the two markets are inextricably linked, and that any policy that restricts market access in either direction, is counter-productive, and ultimately will negatively affect Canadians. While the proponents of the FCM resolution claim that equipment that is currently sourced in the US can be replaced with products from other countries, according to OPCEA, Canada does not have free trade agreements with those countries. There will be a heavy price penalty involved in sourcing equipment from nonNAFTA countries, due to countervailing duties and higher shipping costs. Those costs will be borne by municipalities, and ultimately by taxpayers. Another reality is that Canadian wastewater equipment manufacturers have neither the range of products, nor

the capacity, to fill the approximately six billion dollar annual void that would be created, if US-made wastewater and water infrastructure products are no longer purchased. Additionally, OPCEA fears many member companies may be forced to lay off workers, or even close down operations, if they cannot sell American-made products on Canadian municipal infrastructure projects. OPCEA

believes that this issue should be addressed and resolved at the federal government and provincial/state government levels, and not at the municipal level. It encourages the FCM to step back from its confrontational stance, and allow bilateral negotiations to progress to a mutually satisfactory conclusion, serving both American and Canadian interests. E-mail:

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When, where, why and how to employ decentralized wastewater treatment - Part one By Curtis J. Sparks and Ryan Devlin

Lakeside cluster development at Big Sandy Lodge, McGregor, Minnesota.


any factors influence the decisions of engineers, planners, developers and municipal officials as they select wastewater servicing options. Most communities only consider centralized “big pipe” solutions, but concerns about the environmental sustainability of these regional sewer systems make decentralized wastewater technologies and designs an appealing alternative when the need to enhance the performance of aging centralized infrastructure arises. Decentralized systems perform well, assuring future water supplies and healthy ecosystems, and an increasing number of them are being installed as economic, environmental, social and political considerations are changing the opinions of decision-makers. The alternative “cluster system” approaches offer a high-value decentralized option for wastewater servicing. First, let’s consider the positive attrib20 | September 2009

utes of the centralized wastewater system. Centralizing services results in the benefits of economy of scale. When this approach is taken with wastewater treatment needs, a municipality gains the advantage of having fewer treatment systems to manage, lower labour costs and a perceived reduced cost of operation. Larger systems often have redundant component parts that ensure reliability and performance. It is also common to have higher levels of treatment (tertiary) at larger wastewater plants. Bulk delivery of chemicals and replacement parts lowers the unit costs of these products. Operations are concentrated in one facility where supervision, training, quality control, backup, laboratory services and other important functions can be housed and integrated into the facility. Of particular importance in Canada is the large amount of treated effluent from centralized wastewater systems that can be made available for reuse in major industrial operations.

Finally, centralized systems rely on higher-density development to keep collection costs down and allow for industrial wastewater discharges to be properly managed. Large centralized wastewater systems should be used to treat certain industrial process wastewaters. However, some of the perceived benefits of large centralized wastewater systems are proving to be false. These include the notion that they provide environmental benefits over smaller decentralized systems. This is simply not true, as will be explained below. Another misconception is that the underlying economic basis of centralization makes it less expensive. This is not always true, particularly when distance becomes a larger factor, where treatment standards are strict, or when the receiving water is impaired. Efficiencies provided by common management of decentralized wastewater systems can be just as cost-effective as operating a large system. When

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Wastewater Treatment these factors are present, the economics are often shifted towards decentralized wastewater options. A major concern when considering a centralized wastewater treatment system lies in the impact on the receiving environment. In almost every case, centralized wastewater systems rely on surface water discharge. The receiving stream must be of sufficient quality and quantity to “dilute the treated wastewater” so the receiving streams are protected. Regulatory agencies establish minimum water quality standards that must be met to protect beneficial use. This translates into average and maximum effluent limitations expressed in loading and concentration. The lower the stream flow and the higher the beneficial use of the receiving stream, the more stringent the effluent water quality limits will be. Across North America, regulatory agencies have established or will be establishing limitations called Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL). This freezes the mass loading of each critical pollutant to a specific numerical limit. When the load

limits are reached, the only way that additional wastewater can be processed is by increasing the level of treatment, reducing the flow by reuse, or decentralizing the system. Additional surface water discharge concerns such as nutrient enrichment and hypoxia, chronic and acute toxicity, and ecological impairment by endocrine disrupters need to be considered as well. As scientific data continues to show the number of environmental impacts that need to be mitigated with centralized systems, large centralized wastewater treatment systems will always be further limited by more stringent pollution control requirements. When to decentralize treatment Decentralized treatment and disposal systems are used where the wastewater source is domestic wastewater from homes and/or commercial and industrial facilities with no incompatible industrial process water requirements. Prior to a community’s request for approval of a decentralized project, it is important to have researched the options available based on the specific

needs of the community and to have solid wastewater treatment policies and procedures in place. This is, however, not the common practice. Developers needing wastewater services to develop a particular piece of land most often initiate the process of considering and gaining approval for a decentralized system. These factors include the most reasonable use of a piece of property, the layout of the development as a cluster community, and the need for increased density on a unique parcel of land. Communities outside the centralized pipe system lose a great deal of land and tax base and have increased servicing costs due to large lot development. Efficient cluster developments made available by decentralized wastewater systems can prevent these impacts. Community development often looks to decentralization when it wants to create a signature project. By designing the development into the natural setting and avoiding ecologically and culturally sensitive features, the community can then continued overleaf...

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September 2009 | 21

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Wastewater Treatment

Prinsburg, in Minnesota, uses an engineered wetland and reuses wastewater at turkey-rearing facilities.

achieve a much higher efficiency of infrastructure. Sometimes this centres on reducing road widths and lengths as well as other impervious surfaces. Locations with great views and vistas often equate to high-value home sites and they are sometimes areas that are difficult and expensive to develop. In the case of the award-winning Fields of St. Croix, in Lake Elmo, Minnesota, it was the appalling waste of land by large lots that drove Robert Engstrom Companies to cluster development. Large lots are often needed to provide a sufficient amount of suitable land for on-site septic systems. Without appropriate treatment, on-site septic systems have a finite operating life and are not sustainable. Robert Engstrom quickly realized that his dream of creating a livable community required finding a way to service the development with a wastewater system that did not rely on individual septic systems. Connection to a centralized sewer system would require a development style that maximized the number of homes without regard to the rural community values and open space desires of Engstrom and his clients. He needed an alternative and proposed a cluster system. “After the City of Lake Elmo bought 22 | September 2009

into the concept of a cluster development made possible by the availability of small decentralized wastewater technology, a whole host of innovative and creative concepts became available,” said Engstrom. In 1997, the Fields of St. Croix became the first decentralized wastewater project permitted by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and was followed by a dozen more Lake Elmo cluster developments. Once receiving waters are designated “impaired,” the cost of centralized wastewater treatment becomes a greater motivator for alternative wastewater scenarios. In the case of Canadian waters, this requires imposing advanced treatment. Some communities, following expensive Total Maximum Daily Load studies, now face load limits that freeze future development until costly upgrades of the wastewater infrastructure are made. This, in turn, forces higher density on the existing or new sewer systems to gain the highest return for the cost of the infrastructure. In the long term, this is not sustainable as higher and higher levels of treatment are required to maintain water quality TMDL limits. Communities also need to consider the source of infrastructure funding. Decentralized wastewater systems are most

often funded by the users/developers, while municipalities more often seek government grants or subsidized loans for centralized systems. This raises a different debate over who should be paying for the infrastructure development and repair of aging centralized wastewater systems after the receiving water uses are impaired. Most funding programs give preference to centralized systems over decentralization. In 2007, the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled that the City of Princeton could not construct a wastewater treatment system that discharged to the Rum River. The court ruled that the city had not met the anti-degradation requirements of this designated “Outstanding Resource Value Water”. Princeton is currently considering decentralized wastewater options. Cost, TMDL restrictions, inter-basin transfer, advanced treatment requirements, localized reuse opportunities, sewer availability, induced growth and long-distance rural sprawl are all reasons to consider decentralized wastewater treatment as both an interim and a longterm solution to future sewer service. The situations in which decentralization is not the best option, or where it can be more costly, include: • areas that are easily serviced by a centralized sewer with capacity, • areas where soil limitations make the cost of soil infiltration systems high, • areas where the potential for longterm use of the soil is limited, • industrial facilities that cannot limit the type of influent quality to acceptable levels, and, • areas where high-density development and industrial development are desired. Where to decentralize Many communities are faced with the decision on how and where to grow. As the infilling of the municipal sewer service area reaches capacity, pressure to expand outside the infrastructure boundary becomes greater. Developers understand that the undeveloped land in the sewered area sells by the square metre. Land in the un-sewered area sells by the hectare and for a whole lot less. The length of the pipe to reach outlying areas has several impacts. First, it stimulates the growth of properties along

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Wastewater Treatment the pipeline. This growth is often a result of the costs imposed on the landowners for the pipe. This, in turn, increases the value of the land and imposes higher-density development. Higher-density development often eliminates the opportunity for open space, preserving critical habitat, ecologically sensitive areas and unique features so the infrastructure cost is maximized. Assessing the potential for a decentralized wastewater treatment clustering approach should include consideration of the following: • where long pipes are needed, • where septic systems have failed, • for lake developments, • where more open space is desired (lower density), • where soil dispersal technologies are feasible, • for green communities with integrated water, • for phased development projects, and, • for high-value land where higher than large lot density is desired, for work camps and for recreational areas. Why decentralize In 1997, the US Environmental Pro-

tection Agency reported to Congress that decentralized systems can protect public health and the environment, typically have lower capital and maintenance costs for rural communities, are appropriate for varying site conditions,

Communities are moving away from “either/or” thinking and are integrating decentralized service areas into the regional service boundary (hybrid infrastructure) and clustering in rural areas to prevent large lot developments. and are suitable for ecologically sensitive areas when adequately managed. Since then, in both the US and Canada, issues surrounding the management of decentralized wastewater systems have been addressed and numerous policies and practices are currently in place to address the identified barriers.

Communities are moving away from “either/or” thinking and are integrating decentralized service areas into the regional service boundary (hybrid infrastructure) and clustering in rural areas to prevent large lot developments. This is done not only to reduce the burden on centralized systems, but also to implement reuse, environmental protection, keep water in the watershed basin, protect habitat and ecologically significant areas, implement non-degradation, and reduce cost. What’s next? Part two of this article will discuss how to implement decentralized wastewater systems, some of the barriers to decentralization, wastewater treatment and disposal technologies that should be considered, and what safeguards communities should consider when embarking on a new wastewater treatment strategy. Curtis J. Sparks and Ryan Devlin are with Stantec. E-mail: or

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Biosolids Utilization

Turning “trash into treasure” for tree nurseries By Phil Sidhwa

The biosolids are forced through a two-directional nozzle sprayer at the back of the tank.


n the summer of 2007, a nursery enhancement project, in which biosolids from wastewater recycling projects are used to fertilize tree nursery stock, was initiated by the Regional Municipality of Durham, Ontario, and Terratec Environmental Ltd., in an exclusive partnership with Dutchmaster Nurseries Ltd. The project, which is licensed through the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, is being implemented on six sites with a combined total of 524 acres. In the first two years of this project, Dutchmaster Nurseries’ management has seen significant improvements to the health of the soil, as well as reduced dependency on commercial fertilizers. The addition of biosolids to the nutrient regime has also resulted in a savings of nearly $80 per acre per application in fertilizer costs, specifically nitrogen and phosphorus. Over a five-year application cycle, this results in a savings of $240 per acre, or approximately $140,000. The project, which has won a 2009 Exemplary Biosolids Management Award from the Water Environmental Association of Ontario, presents the biosolids industry with a successful, unconventional opportunity for land application and beneficial reuse of non-food growing crops. “It is important that we continue to find new ways to improve the management of biosolids within our communities in a sustainable manner,” said John Presta, director of environmental services for the Regional Municipality of Durham. Application equipment and process For this project, Terratec designed special application equipment that can apply the material to the base of the tree stock amid a standing crop. This new equipment opens up opportunities for other alternative projects, such as reforestation, vineyards and other ornamental shrubbery nurseries. A farm tractor is used to draw a 9,000-litre liquid tank modified for this application. The tank is attached to a 24foot-long, 8.5-foot-wide trailer, making it highly manoeuvrable and ideal for the confined spacing of the tree rows. The tank is filled from a drop tank using a 24 | September 2009

All of the biosolids are incorporated into the ground with an 8-foot cultivator.

PTO pump located on the trailer. Using a drop tank increases efficiency as half of a tanker can be unloaded at one time, reducing the truck’s wait time between trips by the tractor to spread within the rows. The biosolids are forced through a two-directional nozzle sprayer at the back of the tank. This setup ensures that both sides of the row receive a uniform application of nutrients directly to the zone of greatest absorption. By spreading both sides of a row simultaneously, the need to travel up the row again is eliminated, thereby increasing efficiency and reducing soil compaction and potential damage to the nursery stock. All of the biosolids are incorporated into the ground with an 8-foot cultivator. This not only provides tillage, which is critical for weed management in nurseries, but it greatly reduces the risk of post-application biosolids migration. This practice ensures a uniform distribution of the material and works the nutrients into the soil for greater absorption and quicker uptake of minerals, significantly reducing losses of nitrogen to volatilization, and water-soluble minerals through overland flow. Working the material into the ground also drastically minimizes the perceived threat of contamination and reduces odour. Another unusual element of this program is the low application rates. The

recommended rate is based on a fertilizer equivalent of 43 pounds per acre of nitrogen, which was determined in collaboration with Dutchmaster Nurseries’ management as well as Terratec land application coordinators. This nutrient requirement typically results in a rate of 60 cubic metres per hectare of anaerobically digested biosolids from Durham. In general the field operator can landapply approximately 160 to 200 cubic metres per day. This rate makes it possible to apply the same site up to three times within the five-year life of the certificate of approval to reach the nitrogen limit levels of 135 kg per hectare. This program is very efficient, requiring only a single designated truck/trailer operator and one field operator. In addition, the quick turnaround time from plant to field results in very little down time or waiting time, further increasing productivity. The project also provides an opportunity to reuse biosolids during critical summer periods when fields are normally planted and inaccessible. Reporting and monitoring Terratec Environmental and Durham Region are involved in all stages of the process from the approvals to the final post-application reporting. The biosolids that are land-applied are kept under a very stringent monitoring process at the plants. They are tested for solid content, metals, pH and a number of other characteristics.

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Biosolids Utilization In the unlikely event that the biosolids do not meet the specific criteria for land application, the material would be immediately diverted from the program to the incinerator or back into the flow for further processing. This continuous monitoring provides the project with high-quality material and ensures that a uniform, nutrient-rich fertilizer is applied to the nursery stock. Accurate site plans are generated using GPS information and orthorectified imaging, which quickly identify sensitive features and create clear buffer zones. Other information that is generated includes soil hydrologic group maps, ownership parcel maps and soil analysis for metals, pH and phosphorus. Public relations advantages One challenge for the biosolid industry comes from a perception that biosolids are to be applied to a crop that is potentially destined for human consumption in some way. This threat, however ill-advised, does not apply to this program. The nursery stock is ornamental trees that are to be planted in parks, urban centres or residential settings. This generally results in a

greater acceptance of the program. Similarly, another facet of the nursery program is that it does not have the stigma of urban material going to a rural community. As the nursery’s product is used largely by the urban community, this project represents a green cycle of urban renewal, as the population is both responsible for the biosolid origins and a beneficiary of its reuse. Also, in the midst of a greener age, the use of chemical and artificial commercial fertilizers has come under greater scrutiny. Commercial fertilizers are very expensive, energy-intensive to produce, and typically very demanding of our diminishing resources. By incorporating biosolids back into the soils, we are reintroducing many of the properties that were removed during crop harvest. Nitrogen, phosphorus, organic matter and micro-organisms are all critical aspects of a healthy soil environment and are just part of the multitude of constituents found in biosolids. The program is also very open and transparent to the public, which helps to increase awareness and acceptance.

Contact information is provided through neighbour notifications, municipal notifications and site, vehicle and equipment signage, so residents can obtain additional information. The Nursery Enhancement Project has proven to be a vital addition to the conventional land application program. The project is capable of providing land application outside typical cropping schedules, which is a constant hurdle. Greater volumes of nutrient-rich biosolids are diverted away from the incinerator or landfill and are utilized in an agronomic and environmentally sustainable manner. The beneficial reuse of biosolids has been shown to dramatically reduce operating costs, fuel consumption and man-hours required for clients, not to mention the benefits in nutrient addition, soil improvement properties and tillage for producers. Phil Sidhwa is with Terratec Environmental Ltd. E-mail:


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Water Treatment

Tackling seasonal taste and odour events in drinking water

By Harpreet Rai


aste and odour represent one of the major causes of consumer complaints about drinking water. While often not a concern in terms of actual health impacts, the offensive taste and odour (T&O) of some compounds can lead to psychosomatic effects such as headaches, stress or stomach upsets. The three most commonly used parameters to define T&O are threshold odour numbers (TON) and taste threshold numbers (TTN) and flavour profile analysis (FPA). TON and TTN indicate the highest dilution of the sample with T&O-free water at which taste and odour can still be perceived. FPA involves sensory analysis of intensity of four basic tastes and 20 basic odours by a panel of at least four experts. It is now widely recognized that many naturally occurring organic compounds can cause T&O in drinking water even at very low (ng/L) concentrations. In particular, two compounds, MIB (2methyl-isoborneal) and geosmin (transdimethyl-trans-9-decalol), which are metabolites of aquatic microbes and can be detected by consumers as earthy or musty odours at concentrations as low as 10 ng/L, are the major causative agents of T&O episodes across North America and many other parts of the world. In a 1996 survey of 800 water utilities across the United States and Canada, 43% reported earthy or musty odour events lasting more than one week. More recently, in July and August 2004, a T&O survey conducted by the Ontario Clean Water Agency included 59 municipalities from the US and Canada. Out of the 59 respondents, 46 drew water from one of the six Great Lakes, while 13 others drew their water from the Detroit, Niagara, St. Clair or St. Lawrence Rivers, or the Welland Canal. The survey concluded that the majority of these facilities experienced some T&O problems related to MIB and geosmin. Microorganisms identified as responsible for production of these compounds in raw water sources are several genera of blue-green algae and actinomycetes. Significantly, the sudden increase in 26 | September 2009

The R.C. Harris filtration plant with its historic art deco has provided water to the City of Toronto since 1941.

While usually not dangerous, taste and odour in drinking water can cause psychosomatic effects such as headache, stress, or stomach upset.

T&O (earthy and musty) episodes in the Niagara region, which uses the Niagara River as one of its raw water sources, was first observed in the early 1990s. This sudden rise in T&O complaints was also observed to coincide with infestation of the Niagara River with zebra mussels. Interestingly, this was an event not limited to Ontario, but widespread throughout North America. Numerous studies since then have linked zebra mussel populations to taste and odour episodes, leading to the prevalent notion that the mussels can be indirect precursors to T&O-causing compounds. Current taste and odour handling To control T&O, water utilities in North America typically rely on pre- and post-chlorination along with activated carbon treatment in powder form (PAC) and/or granular form (GAC). Introduction of PAC and GAC treatment has essentially been for the removal of MIB and geosmin. Some plants in Ontario use only PAC as it is relatively inexpen-

sive and has the flexibility to be applied as needed. However, with T&O having become a consistent and long-term problem, the use of PAC alone is often found to be inadequate. In light of this, along with handling problems associated with PAC, many utilities have now shifted to GAC. The use of GAC along with PAC has also been reported at certain municipalities in the US. Although effective, GAC treatment is extremely expensive because of high capital costs and the need for frequent replacement. Moreover, owing to the limited understanding of geosmin and MIB adsorption at such low concentrations, there are no existing criteria for the PAC doses and GAC product selection. Furthermore, natural organic compounds present at mg/L or Îźg/L levels further compound the problem by competing for the adsorption sites, thus reducing the adsorption capacity of continued overleaf...

Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine

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Water Treatment PAC/GAC for geosmin and MIB. At times this leads to objectionably high concentrations of these compounds in the water supplies in spite of the expensive treatment. Alternative technologies Many new technologies have been developed for removal of T&O compounds over the last two decades. Although most of these technologies are essentially extensions and/or combinations of well-established pre-existing technologies such as ozonation, PAC/GAC adsorption, ultrafiltration (with PAC) and biofiltration, some of them have been proved to be more effective as well as more economical than conventional PAC/GAC treatment. 1. Ozonation - Ozonation is an advanced oxidation process that uses ozone to disinfect water and remove tastes and odours from natural organic matter. Ozone is used in North America with increasing frequency to comply with chlorine disinfection by-products (DBP) regulations. Many pilot scale studies have proved that both geosmin and MIB can be removed with 80 - 95% efficiency by

28 | September 2009

ozonation at ozone doses of 4 - 7 mg/L. Although effective in at least partially removing MIB and geosmin at these doses, the technology suffers from the disadvantage of conversion of natural

The Trojan UV-H2O2 systems installed at the facility provide 1.3 log removal of geosmin.

organic compounds in water to readily biodegradable by-products, which can lead to biological growth in the distribution systems, necessitating application of chlorine at much higher doses during

distribution. The use of biologically active filtration following ozone is critical to mitigate this issue. The typical dose of ozone for its traditional application in water treatment is around 2 - 3 mg/L. However, effective removal of geosmin and MIB to below TON levels warrants much higher doses (7 - 10 mg/L). The long-term cost implications of higher doses of ozone, and the resulting higher doses of chlorine, have to be carefully weighed before ozonation can be adopted as an effective alternative for removal of T&O compounds at full scale. 2. Ozonation with biofiltration - The combination of ozonation and biofiltration is particularly effective for treating T&O compounds because the two techniques complement each other well. Biofiltration following ozonation stabilizes the water by significantly reducing the concentration of the highly degradable ozonation by-products, which often lead to biological growth in distribution systems. In addition, these readily biodegradable compounds help maintain a high

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Water Treatment biomass concentration in the biofilter, thereby enhancing its ability to degrade micropollutants like MIB and geosmin. Pilot studies in South Korea, conducted over a period of two years, have shown that pre-ozonation of filtrated water prior to GAC treatment increases both the GAC service time and the MIB and geosmin removal efficiency. The reason cited for the improved efficiency and service time was the biological activation of the GAC bed caused by oxygen-rich, pre-ozonated water. Furthermore, pre-ozonation offered the additional advantage of obviating increases in pre-chlorination doses required in cases of increased algal concentrations in raw water, and hence controlled the formation of DBPs resulting from higher doses of chlorine. It was established that pre-ozonation at doses of 3 - 5 mg O3/L, with O3 contactor HRT of 7.5 min, not only enhances the GAC life and efficiency, but also the treated water quality in general. An excellent example of the ozonation/biofiltration combination is the Central Lake County Water Treatment Plant

(CLCWTP) in the Chicago area. This plant, like its neighbouring 22 treatment facilities, draws its water from southwest Lake Michigan. The source water for all these plants has earthy/musty odours in late summer and fall. However, the finished water of CLCWTP is free of these odours, as indicated by T&O tests and a lack of consumer complaints, unlike water from the neighbouring treatment plants, which receive numerous complaints. Close monitoring and detailed investigation of the performance of CLCWTP

3. PAC and ultrafiltration (UF) - A technology known as the CRISTAL速 process, comprising UF and PAC, was developed by a French company, SuezEnvironnement-CIRSEE, in 1995. This technology involves injection of PAC into untreated water. PAC particles adsorb the T&O compounds and are eventually removed from the liquid stream through ultrafiltration membranes. During pilot studies, it was found that, in many cases, the CRISTAL process was more efficient than O3/GAC.

The source water for all these plants has earthy/musty odours in late summer and fall. However, the finished water of CLCWTP is free of these odours. suggested that the ozonation-biofiltration tandem can indeed effectively remove high levels of MIB. The report recommended that utilities planning to use ozonation for taste and odour removal should consider biofiltration, not only to eliminate biological instability but as an integral part of the T&O process.

Today, 17 full-scale plants with capacities ranging from 200 to 120,000 m3/d are using this process, seven of them with the primary objective of controlling T&O (Table 1). This technology is capable of almost completely removing earthy and musty odours from water. continued overleaf...

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Water Treatment Plant and on-line date


Source water

Average PAC dose

Apie始, France,1993

28,000 m3/d


8 mg/L

Vigneux, France, 1997

55,000 m3/d

Clarified surface water

8 mg/L

Laussane, Switzerland, 1999

65,000 m3/d

Lake water

5 - 10 mg/L

Glendal, Texas, USA, 2000

1,900 m3/d

Surface water

Not available

Avranche, France, 2000

10,000 m3/d

Clarified surface water

Not available

La Terrisse, France, 2000

6,000 m3/d

Clarified surface water

Not available

Orleans, France, 2005

40,000 m3/d

Clarified water

5 mg/L

Table 1: Full scale plants using the CRISTAL庐 process.

In addition, it can easily cope with prolonged episodes of high geosmin/MIB concentrations (50 mg/L) with low PAC doses; it can tackle much higher concentrations of geosmin/MIB concentrations for short periods. 4. UV-H2O2 oxidation - The use of UV radiation as an oxidant and disinfectant is now well-established and implemented in water treatment facilities all over the world. Lately, UV technology has also been emerging as a strong option for T&O removal related to MIB and

geosmin. Trojan Technologies has recently installed several advanced UV-oxidation systems using UV light and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) in the US and Canada, including installations at the West Elgin, Cornwall and Lorne Park water treatment plants (WTPs) in Ontario. The West Elgin WTP has a rated capacity of 14.3 MLD and draws it water from Lake Erie. The geosmin concentrations in the raw water during taste and odour episodes can be as high as 600 ng/L. The Trojan UV-H2O2 systems in-

stalled at the facility provide 1.3 log removal of geosmin. Similarly, the installation at Cornwall WTP (100 MLD) provides 1 log removal of geosmin and the one at Lorne Park (391 MLD) 1.3 log and 1.0 log removal of geosmin and MIB. The major difference between UV technology for disinfection and taste and odour removal is the requirement of more UV along with H 2O2 injection in case of the latter. Once the T&O events (two to four weeks) recede naturally to unobjectionable levels, the extra UV

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Water Treatment lamps and H2O2 injection are turned off and the system resumes operation in disinfection mode. Management strategies Understanding the hydrologic and biogeochemical processes that lead to changes in MIB and geosmin concentrations can be an effective strategy for predicting the timing and patterns of such changes, and thus a tool for cost-effective in-plant treatment options like PAC application and improved management of water supplies. Recent studies have revealed that the monitoring of thermal stratification changes and MIB/geosmin depth profiles in source water reservoirs can predict sudden increases in the concentrations of these compounds. The thermal destratification of reservoirs during summer months leads to mixing of the water column, which uniformly spreads the previously localized concentrations of target compounds throughout the depth. An accurate prediction of the thermal destratification phenomenon can, therefore, predict the onset of the T&O events. Secondly, information about MIB and geosmin reaction rates could be used to

predict the duration of T&O episodes. These predictions actually resulted in two distinct improvements in the management of water utilities at three reservoirs in Arizona in 2005. First, the estimated duration of the T&O episode and concentrations of target compounds enabled the authorities to get a better handle on PAC inventory along with optimization of dosage. On the other hand, in one of the locations, the prediction of onset of thermal destratification enabled the operator to switch to an alternative source of raw water and avoid the spikes in the target compounds altogether. Conclusions While PAC and GAC have been and are still used successfully to control seasonal taste and odour events in many facilities, there are instances where the adsorption technologies have been found to be limited by their efficiency, especially with respect to geosmin and MIB removal. The major reason is the competition for the adsorption sites from both low concentration (ng/L to μg/L) dissolved hydrophobic organic compounds and high concentrations (mg/L) of natural organic matter often present

in natural waters containing MIB and geosmin. Several new technologies now offer potentially better and more effective control, especially of MIB and geosmin. Refinement and/or combination of the existing techniques along with the development of some innovative new techniques now offer a range of options for tackling seasonal taste and odour in water. The final choice of a preferred technology requires careful evaluation of factors such as capital and operational cost, compatibility with the existing system, ease of operation and effectiveness in T&O removal. Further, given the fact that the exact mechanisms of geosmin and MIB production are not well defined, a detailed understanding of the hydrogeological and biochemical phenomena responsible for seasonal peaks of these compounds in intake water sources would lead to management strategies that can mitigate the problem at source. Harpreet Rai, Ph.D., P.Eng., is with R.V. Anderson Associates. E-mail:

BIOLAC® Wastewater Treatment System The Biolac System is an innovative activated sludge process using a long sludge age process to create an extremely stable, easily operated system. The capabilities of this unique technology far exceed ordinary extended aeration treatment. The Biolac System offers high BOD removal, complete nitrification and the formation of a very stable waste sludge. The Biolac System’s design ensures the lowest-cost construction and guarantees operational simplicity. With in-ground basin construction, the Biolac System’s various components combine to produce excellent quality effluent at the lowest total plant cost. • Tel 514-636-8712 • Fax 514-636-9718 205-1000 St-Jean • Pointe-Claire, QC H9R 5P1 An Axel Johnson Inc. Company

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Water Metering

Miramichi implements advanced water meter infrastructure system


he City of Miramichi, New Brunswick, recently implemented an advanced meter infrastructure (AMI) system. The full-scale, two-way fixed network system, provided by Neptune Technology Group, will advance the way the City manages its overall water system. Miramichi, with a population of approximately 22,000, is located in northern New Brunswick and was formed in 1996. The City has approximately 4,800 metered services, and 2,200 of these water meters needed replacement, which provided a compelling reason to make a decision on a future meter reading technology. Several factors were considered when the City examined its current remotebased reading technology: • Increased maintenance costs as current technology ages (older remote, wire and water meter). • Increased frequency and expenses associated with seasonal reads. • The need for more frequent reads, as 50% of revenue comes from commercial meters. • The City’s desire to provide a similar service level for all customers. • The need to understand and address unaccounted-for water/non-revenue. A full-scale fixed network system would allow the City to address these issues effectively and provide a technology to meet its needs over the next 15 to 20 years. The City would be better able to manage its non-revenue water, imple-

(Left to right ) Frank Duffy, Director of Public Works, City of Miramichi, Jim Lamkey, City Manager, Bill Kelly, Neptune Canada.

ment proactive backflow monitoring, elevate customer support and enhance its ability to manage its public works projects and conservation programs. The City can use advanced meter information as the foundation of a variety of critical management functions. Non-revenue water monitoring Using the new system’s time synchronized readings, the City will have the total consumption for any given collection of meters within a district or “zone.” This total consumption is used to compare to a master or “bulk” meter(s) servicing the zone, providing an additional tool to perform mass balances within any

Figure 1. Actual distribution leak event captured on AMI system. 32 | September 2009

given zone of the distribution system. When there is a large discrepancy between a particular zone’s total consumption and the respective master meter(s), that indicates potential distribution system leaks within the zone. Using the fixed network system’s two-way licensed communication capability from the host software to the radio frequency meter interface unit, the City can receive prompt notification of leak occurrences at the meter source and along the water distribution lines. Leak notifications can be viewed as a report or transferred seamlessly through the system’s software as an E-mail to critical operations staff, alerting them to potential issues in the distribution system. Figure 1 depicts an actual distribution leak event that was captured by the new AMI system. The City had suspected there was a severe leak somewhere, but did not know the exact location. The new AMI system provides confirmation that a leak is actually occurring and can easily perform daily monitoring of the distribution system from the comfort of the City’s office. Enhanced customer service Customer inquiries can now be resolved more efficiently with the ability to E-mail customers usage graphs that

Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine

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Water Metering profile their water consumption, identifying leak situations and when actual water consumption occurred. These capabilities help customers understand their water consumption and quickly answer questions about their recent water bills. All this information is readily available to City staff. Figure 2 depicts an actual leak occurrence at a Miramichi residence. The usage profile was used to address an actual high-bill complaint. Consumption graphs can be easily E-mailed to an end user to confirm the consumption amount and when it occurred. Improved operational efficiencies With the two-way licensed frequency communication system, the City receives prompt notification of alarm conditions such as a leak at a home or building, or a major reverse flow event. Alarms are configured for E-mail to critical city staff, allowing them to make important operational decisions and promptly take any necessary actions to resolve the situation. Figure 3 shows how an alarm is set up to notify city personnel of alarm situations. The two-way radio frequency of Miramichiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fixed network system is licensed by Industry Canada and the FCC, so the AMI system will consistently deliver information without interference. Support of conservation initiatives With time-synchronized readings within the AMI system, usage restriction programs (odd/even-day usage) can now be easily and effectively monitored to determine the exact time and day that end users are using water. This information (in the form of an easy-to-read usage profile graph) can then be delivered via E-mail to an end user to further reinforce the importance of water conservation and adherence to a water usage restriction program. Manage high-revenue demand The new AMI system allows for efficient support for high-revenue users. Peak demand is monitored using the systemâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s time-synchronized two-way system for proper sizing of institutional, commercial and industrial meters. If required, the City can make an informed decision to resize a meter for its specific application. Monitoring of peak demand can also be used to enforce demand restrictions continued overleaf...

Figure 2. Actual leak occurrence at a Miramichi residence.

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continued overleaf...

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Leveloader Gold The Leveloader Gold is a rugged data transfer device dedicated to the Levelogger Series. It stores up to 1.39 million datapoints, allows Levelogger re-programming, and viewing of real-time data in the field. High Quality Groundwater and Surface Water Monitoring Instrumentation Solinst Canada Ltd., 35 Todd Road, Georgetown, ON L7G 4R8 Tel: +1 (905) 873-2255; (800) 661-2023 Fax: +1 (905) 873-1992; (800) 516-9081 Visit our website: E-mail:

September 2009 | 33

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NeptuneĘźs Series 7000 mechanically actuated diaphragm metering pumps handle viscosities in excess of 5,000 cps and pump chemicals that off-gas (sodium hypochlorite) without binding. All models provide suction lift to 20 feet. Maximum capacities range from 15 gph to 300 gph with adjustable 10-1 turndown by micrometer dial; variable speed option allows automated flow control. Liquid ends are available in PVC, Kynar, and 316SS. Neptune Chemical Pump Co. Lansdale, PA Tel: 888-3NEPTUNE or 215-699-8700 E-Mail: Web:â&#x20AC;&#x2C6;

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Water Metering

Figure 3. Alarm set-up to notify City personnel of alarm situation.

on high-revenue users to ensure there is enough supply for all customers. Moving into the future, the Cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s meter reading technology will no longer be used just for â&#x20AC;&#x153;reading meters.â&#x20AC;? Rather, the implementation of the AMI system will allow Miramichi to obtain timely (critical) data from the field, as well as daily (system-wide) time-synchronized snapshots of readings from all meters.

Access to this valuable data will support future leak detection and conservation initiatives and eliminate off-cycle readings for high water bill complaints and/or move-ins/move-outs. For more information, E-mail:


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Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine

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Understanding SCADA system vulnerability By Mark Brilliant and Ken Mains in water utilities


ou can find a lot of interesting information on the Internet these days. Unfortunately a lot of unwelcome stuff can also find you! In potable water systems we can install a backflow preventer that not only will prevent the reverse flow of water, but, if any water gets past the first defense of the preventer, it will be discharged to the floor so you know that maintenance is required and you know which liquid got by. Unfortunately, a parallel to the backflow preventer has not been developed for Internet connections. The purpose of this article is to make you aware of a new threat to SCADA systems from the Internet. This is not the disrupting virus of the past which acted to disable computers everywhere. Instead it seeks to occupy your computing system, selling your resources to those who prefer anonymity. How it works Automated hacking programs exploit security vulnerabilities in your computer system to embed a small remote access and control application. The application reserves complete control of its host. These infected computer systems as known as “zombies”. The zombie will remain dormant, awaiting instructions from its master. A network of zombies is referred to as a bot-net which can be as small as a few zombies, or span millions. A botmaster controls a bot-net. The botmaster will rent the zombies to users who prefer indiscretion over exposure. There is no shortage of organizations/individuals ready to pay top dollar to have their material and transactions parked in someone else’s computer. These can include financial scams, offshore tax havens, and extremist organizations. Who is the target host for the zombie? No one is specifically targeted to be the host for the zombie. Instead automated hacking programs test a wide variety of addresses for breaching opportunities. The ideal candidate host might have the following features: • Computer is always powered.

• Continuously connected to the Internet. • Plentiful system resources. • Never overloaded. • No regular IT group audit. Does a water or wastewater SCADA system sound like it meets these criteria? What is the risk? As the unknowing host there are three major concerns: 1. The zombie will (unintentionally) disrupt your computer/server and cause a system failure. 2. In chasing down illegal activities, the authorities will determine that your server played a role. 3. The botmaster will sell the space on your server to someone who really wants to damage your operations. Which systems are the most vulnerable? Small- to medium-sized SCADA systems connected to the Internet for file transfer, information, and control needs are likely to be the most vulnerable. Generally, large systems have dedicated internal networks and are often not connected (at least not intentionally) to the Internet. In addition, large municipalities have IT departments that expend a lot of effort in identifying and correcting transgressions. What can I do to protect my SCADA system? There are several important ways to protect SCADA systems:

1. Disconnect SCADA from the Internet. 2. Provide a separate, stand alone computer connected to the Internet for use by staff. Prohibit any cable connections between this computer and the SCADA system. 3. Don’t even think about wireless systems with SCADA. 4. Prohibit equipment suppliers and services providers from having a “direct link” designed to “improve their performance”. Instead have the data accumulated weekly on SCADA and transferred to the Internet computer via a CD or memory stick, NOT an Ethernet cable. 5. Have your SCADA system checked regularly for “convenient” connections to the Internet. If you must use the Internet to allow “on-call” staff to respond to alarms during off-hours, segregate alarms to eliminate minor nuisances; have major alarms alert the on-call staff via a telephone alarm service (i.e., ADT); have the on-call staff use a dial-up connection to interrogate the SCADA system; and employ modern security technologies, such as encrypted VPN tunneling, to avoid direct connectivity to the Internet. Mark Brilliant and Ken Mains are with CH2M HILL. E-mail:

Intruder Ale


September 2009 | 35

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Site Remediation

Rehabilitate your Underground Economy with the Best Canadian-Made Safety Equipment

Farm site closure achieved within one year


oil and groundwater at a farm site in Schaffer, Michigan, were impacted by gasoline constituents that originated from former underground storage tanks. The leaking tanks were removed in 1995. Based on the reported petroleum-contaminated water seeping into the excavation hole along the surface of the bedrock during the tank removal process, groundwater monitoring was recommended. The results of the 1996-97 monitoring effort showed that groundwater had been impacted at the source of the gasoline tank leak, which was located between the farmhouse and the farm water well. Benzene levels and those of other gasoline-associated pollutants substantially exceeded Michigan standards.

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36 | September 2009

Due to the danger of the gasoline leaking into the farm water supply, the US Department of Agriculture contracted with The Paz Group, from Dallas, Texas, for additional services to delineate, monitor and remediate the contaminants. The Challenge Following conventional remedial actions (including soil excavation, soil vapor extraction, and groundwater pump-and-treat) benzene remained present in the groundwater at levels exceeding the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s regulatory limit of 5 ppb. These impacts were mainly in Well #11 (at the former source area) and Well #7 (at the collection area). The soils in the area were characterized as nearly level to moderately steep, well drained to somewhat poorly drained, loamy soils; and nearly level, very poorly drained organic soils. The Solution In October 2006, a total of 966 lbs of EHC-O® was added to 18 injection points within the targeted hot spot, which measured about 50 ft wide x 50ft long x 10 feet deep (from 5 to 15 ft bgs). Approximately 815 US gallons of EHC-O slurry were introduced into the subsurface using GeoProbe direct push technology, in which 1 ¼-inch diameter steel rods with disposable tips were advanced to a target depth or when they first encountered bedrock. The depth of the bedrock at the site ranged from 4.5 to 8.3 feet below ground surface. Approximately 50 gallons of Adventus Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine

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Site Remediation

Figure 1. Concentrations of benzene in groundwater before and one-year after EHC-O injection.

EHC-O at 14.5-percent solution were injected at each point as the rods were retracted from the resulting borehole. Exact injection point locations and volume of injected solution varied depending on site conditions and soil matrix. EHC-O provides a source of nitrogen in the form of ammonia to ensure adequate nitrogen is present for the in-

digenous microorganisms to utilize the available carbon (i.e., hydrocarbons). The Result Approximately 4 months following EHC-O injection, the concentration of benzene in groundwater decreased by >99% in both monitoring wells. One year after treatment, monitoring showed that the concentration of benzene, and

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other constituents, remained below analytical detection limits (Figure 1). There was no rebound and the site was recommended for closure with no further investigation or remedial action necessary. For more information, E-mail:

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September 2009 | 37

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Legal Affairs

Is a Comprehensive Certificate of Approval right for you? By Sarah McQuaig and Pamela Russell


n a world where the only constant seems to be change, organizations need flexibility to respond to new circumstances. It could be the need to take advantage of an emerging market for a new product, a change in process, such as a better kind of paint, or an expansion of production. Organizations need to simplify the process to obtain a new Certificate of Approval (C of A), because of a relatively minor alteration in their operations. Obtaining an amended C of A diverts staff and management time from the main purpose of the organization, and likely involves external costs as well. More important, the planned change cannot go ahead until the C of A is obtained. The time-frame for that is potentially months, and the length of time is unpredictable. Regulators may request changes to the application and additional information, or have the opportunity to change a condition on the C of A, which can further delay the process. Also, there is the possibility of the application being rejected. In Ontario, the provincial government has been encouraging organizations to consider an alternative that can allow for more operational flexibility and less time and money spent on the permitting process – the Comprehensive Certificate of Approval (CC of A). This approach has been applied to air and noise approvals for more than five years. Now, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE) has expanded this concept to waste approvals and is piloting industrial sewage approvals as well. Under the usual C of A process, changes to the operation may trigger the need for another C of A application, and the operational change cannot take place without the regulator’s approval. This need for amendments to a C of A for operational changes is one reason Ontario has had such a backlog of environmental approval applications. Under the CC of A (Air and Noise) process, the proponent estimates its maximum emissions based on its plans for the next five years, and for its entire operation. This may include considera38 | September 2009

tion of expected changes, such as a manufacturing facility that plans a new paint line or electroplating operations. This is the “operating envelope”, or the limits of the operation that are anticipated for the facility. The organization needs to meet other requirements, such as keeping a log of all modifications made to its operations, which must be summarized once a year and sent in written form to the MOE. These, and the other requirements of a CC of A, are not significantly more burdensome than those involved in the regular C of A application process. Some organizations may find it difficult to define the operating envelope. It is best to consider the outputs to be produced. In a manufacturing context, this would include the number of units to be produced and of which products. In a service sector operation, such as a hospital, this might include the number of beds or patients. If the number of patients is to increase, this may call for an addition to the existing buildings which would indicate an increase in some emissions. Having adequate professional advice available, either in-house or from exter-

nal counsel, is important in developing a credible, defensible picture of the operation’s expected emissions over the next five years. One reason that the Ontario government is encouraging applicants to file for a CC of A is that it is expected to help reduce pressures on the regulatory authorities. It is also hoped that an easier regulatory process will improve the province’s competitiveness, while also retaining the integrity of the regulatory framework that helps protect Ontario’s environment and human population. Choosing a C of A over a CC of A Under what circumstances would one choose a C of A over a CC of A? If the organization expects no changes to its operations in the near future, a regular C of A would be better. However, our experience is that there are few sectors that are not undergoing significant change at present, i.e., new products, new processing methods, new inputs or other changes. The Ministry has prepared extensive online resources to help proponents develop sound applications for Certificates, including checklists of the information to be included. There is also a good resource

Under the CC of A (Air and Noise) process, the proponent estimates its maximum emissions based on its plans for the next five years, and for its entire operation. Photos courtesy of Carl Friesen. Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine

ES&E Sept09_4:2009 9/28/09 2:00 PM Page 39


in the “ACME Program,” which includes model permit applications from a fictitious company called ACME. It guides proponents in preparing their own applications. ACME examples are now available for various environmental media. For more information on the ACME program and the ways proponents can achieve faster and more positive responses, read “How to achieve faster environmental approvals in Ontario,” by Sean Capstick of Golder Associates Ltd., in the March 2009 issue of this magazine.

Once approved, owners and operators are able to make modifications within the operating envelope without the traditional need to make an application for approval. One of the ways the Ontario government encourages the use of the CC of A process is through ASAP (Accelerated Select Applications Program), which strives towards turning around correct, complete and in other ways problem-free CC of A applications in a matter of 45 days. Applications going through the ASAP process must be prepared by individuals who have taken and passed the relevant training course. The provincial government has indicated that having a demonstrated and documented Quality Assurance/Quality Control process in continued overleaf...


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September 2009 | 39

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Legal Affairs

Minor changes to an existing operation may be covered under a Comprehensive Certificate of Approval, improving the organizationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ability to respond to changes.

place for preparing the application is a requirement of ASAP. Following on the heels of ASAP, the Ministry of the Environment launched the Waste Comprehensive Certificate of Approval Program in March 2009. Sim-

ilarly to ASAP, the applications must be prepared to a high quality of standard and completeness, and those preparing the applications are required to also complete a CC of A orientation session. The turnaround time for approval is ex-

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pected to decrease since only high quality applications are accepted. Once approved, owners and operators are able to make modifications within the operating envelope without the traditional need to make an application for approval. Examples of operational flexibility include the ability to make changes that are routine, with predictable effects that are environmentally insignificant; make changes to the facilities and infrastructure; make changes to the processing operations and install new equipment; utilize an annual averaging of the amount of waste that is received; increase the amount of waste that may be stored at the waste disposal site within a predetermined envelope; receive additional categories of municipal waste at the site; and, receive residential municipal solid waste in an emergency situation. Given the current economic slowdown, it is important to be able to position organizations in a way that they can take full advantage of the expected economic rebound â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and this is supported by the operational flexibility provided by the Comprehensive Certificate of Approval process. Sarah McQuaig and Pam Russell are with Golder Associates Ltd. E-mail:, or

Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine

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Occurrence and formation of nitrogenous disinfection by-products during drinking water disinfection


he AWWA Research Foundation recently released a study about organic and inorganic nitrogen precursors in source waters and nitrogenous disinfection byproducts (N-DBPs) in chlorinated and chloraminated finished waters. Although DBP research has traditionally focused on the formation of carbonaceous chlorination DBPs (C-DBPs), two trends in the drinking water industry make the study of N-DBPs increasingly important. N-DBPs are a specialized subset of the C-DBPs, wherein the characteristic functional group is nitrogen-based. First, due to population growth, an increasing number of drinking water supplies exhibit elevated dissolved organic nitrogen (DON) concentrations resulting directly from wastewater discharges or from algal activity fostered by increased inorganic nitrogen loadings (e.g., agricultural runoff, stormwater runoff, wastewater discharges, septic tank releases, etc.). Secondly, drinking water utilities are considering altering disinfection schemes from chlorination to other disinfectant combinations to meet more stringent stan42 | September 2009

dards on trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids. Highlights of the study 1. N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) formation during chloramination can be reduced by adding pre-formed monochloramine to minimize the concentration of dichloramine. 2. The colloidal, hydrophilic base and hydrophilic acid/neutral fractions of dissolved organic matter (DOM) isolated from algal-impacted or wastewater-impacted source waters were important sources of precursors for certain NDBPs. However, hydrophilic DOM is poorly removed during traditional treatment processes, according to the study 3. NDMA formation was associated with chloramination of source waters impacted by wastewater with utilities employing polyDADMAC (a coagulation polymer) or with the use of certain resins. Pre-oxidation of waters with free chlorine or ozone destroyed or transformed NDMA precursors. 4. The mechanisms of formation and the impact of treatment and disinfection processes on N-DBPs often differed from

that of C-DBPs. Nonetheless, there are ways of optimizing the overall treatment/disinfection process to control the formation of emerging N-DBPs and regulated C-DBPs The approach to DBPs First, pathways responsible for the degradation of simply amino precursors and their transformation into nitriles, aldehydes, HNMs, and nitrosamines were examined. Second, algal- and wastewater-impacted waters were fractionated and subjected to formation potential (FP) tests to examine which DOM fractions yielded the highest concentrations of NDBPs. Third, N-DBP FP tests were used to evaluate precursor levels in a range of algal- and wastewater-impacted source waters. Precursor removal was examined within drinking water treatment process units. Finally, N-DBP concentrations were quantified in the effluents of treatment plants employing a range of disinfection schemes. Results and findings Formation pathway studies indicated that nitrosamine formation during chloramination can be substantially accounted

Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine

Disinfection for by reactions involving dichloramine. Nitrosamine formation was also promoted under certain breakpoint chlorination conditions, or from the use of certain anion exchange resins. The cyano groups in cyanogen chloride or haloacetonitriles can form by elimination of hydrochloric acid from intermediate organic chloramines, or by reaction of inorganic chloramines with aldehydes. As a result of the latter case, chloramination may promote the formation of cyano-based N-DBPs. Halonitromethane formation during chlorination/chloramination was less important, but higher during chloramination in model studies. Studies involving DOM isolates indicated that nitrogen-rich colloidal, hydrophilic base and hydrophilic acid/neutral fractions were significant sources of certain N-DBP precursors. Although certain isolates were nitrogen-rich, NDMA precursors were particularly associated with fractions obtained from wastewater treatment plants. Chloramination formed cyanogen chloride, and the nitrogen in this DBP was split between the DON and

the inorganic chloramines, where more came from the DON in nitrogen-rich DOM isolates. The survey showed that DON tended to be higher in wastewater and/or algal-impacted waters. It confirmed that NDMA precursors were associated with waste-

Due to population growth, wastewater and algal impacts to water supplies are likely to continue to increase, resulting in more DON and precursors for N-DBPs in source waters water-impacted supplies, but also indicated that polyDADMAC was a significant source of NDMA precursors. Ozonation was found to increase HNM FP or that of cyanogen chloride, whereas it sometimes destroyed NDMA FP. Bio-

filtration was often found to decrease the FP for HNMs or cyanogen chloride. Impact on water quality Due to population growth, wastewater and algal impacts to water supplies are likely to continue to increase, resulting in more DON and precursors for NDBPs in source waters, which may result in increased formation of certain NDBPs. The field survey indicated the range of concentrations of N-DBPs likely to form in utilities treating wastewater-impacted and/or algal-impacted source waters. Moreover, the results of the survey showed ways to optimize the treatment/disinfection process to control the formation of N-DBPs. In addition, the formation pathway studies and the characterization of NDBP precursors will provide utilities with information on how to better understand and design treatment/disinfection processes that minimize N-DBP formation. For more information, or to order this report, visit.

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Evaluating peracetic acid for wastewater disinfection By Onita D. Basu and C. Gatchene


isinfection is an integral part of wastewater treatment and has been dominated by chlorine for almost a century (Metcalf and Eddy, 2003). The use of chlorine for the purposes of disinfecting wastewater has been proven as an effective, easy to use and low cost method that clearly explains its popularity as a disinfectant. However, inorganic chloramines and chlorinated wastewater effluents have been found to be toxic to aquatic life even at very low concentrations as well as potentially carcinogenic or mutagenic to animals (Bull, 1985). As a result, many areas are either moving away from using chlorine or require that the wastewater effluent be dechlorinated before final discharge into the receiving water system. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities recently released the CanadaWide Strategy for the Management of Municipal Wastewater Effluent, which includes a national minimum standard for wastewater effluent for the following parameters: total suspended solids (TSS), carbonaceous biochemical oxygen demand (cBOD), and total residual chlorine (TRC). The residual chlorine component is in agreement with a previously announced federal goal of 0.02 mg/L TRC in wastewater plant effluent in 2010 (Federal Legislation: CEPA, 1999, from Canada Gazette (Dec 4, 2004).

There are two overall methods to achieve the total residual chlorine requirement: (1) dechlorinate the wastewater effluent, or (2) switch to a non-chlorine based disinfection system such as ozone, UV, or possibly peracetic acid. So what is peracetic acid (PAA)? Peracetic acid is an oxidizing compound that has been found to be capable of being used as a disinfectant (Dell’Erba, 2007, Koivunen, 2005). It has the chemical formulation of CH3COOOH – in essence acetic acid with an extra oxygen molecule. Peracetic acid is currently being used in parts of Europe as a replacement for chlorine disinfection in wastewater. Although it has been identified as a potential alternative to chlorine, PAA for wastewater disinfection is not in common use in North America (Falsanisi, 2006, Gehr, 2003). It is currently used in North America in the food processing industry as a disinfectant for hard surfaces that have been in contact with fruits, vegetables, meats and eggs. The goal of this study was to examine peracetic acid as a chemical disinfectant alternative to chlorine. PAA was tested at two wastewater treatment plants in the Niagara Region of Ontario. The following parameters were monitored during the study: E.coli and total coliform concentrations, suspended solids, carbonaceous biochemical oxygen demand (cBOD), ammonia, total phosphorous, pH, and temperature. The objective of

this study was to test from bench scale through full scale the use of peracetic acid as a replacement for chlorine for wastewater disinfection as well as a possible supplement for UV treatment in wastewater. The overall goals of the project were to assess if PAA could meet the typical plant disinfection criteria (< 200 CFU E.coli/100 mL) at the sites studied, while monitoring to ensure that the peracetic acid did not significantly adversely impact on any of the other effluent water quality parameters indicated earlier (total solids, pH, ammonia, total phosphorous, cBOD). The project was divided into three main phases: Phase 1 (Jar Tests), Phase 2 (Pilot Tests), and Phase 3 (Full Scale Tests). Phase 1 (Jar Tests) was conducted with a Phips and Bird ™ jar tester used at bench scale to establish the approximate dosage of PAA required for disinfection. Samples (100 mL) were collected at 10 and 20 minutes after the simultaneous addition of the disinfectant to the wastewater. Samples were monitored for E.coli, total coliforms and pH. Phase 2 (Pilot Tests) was conducted in a pilot scale tank (3,000 L/hour) based on the design of the chlorine contact chamber at the wastewater treatment plant where testing was conducted to help ensure that pilot scale results were representative of full scale expectations. Grab Samples for E. coli and pH were collected. Composite samples were col-

Figure 1: Pilot tank design based on the full scale chlorine contact chamber in Niagara Falls, Ontario. 44 | September 2009

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Figure 2: Full scale testing: PAA was added to the secondary clarifier effluent.

lected for BOD, TSS, TP, and ammonia. Phase 3 (Full Scale Tests) was conducted in conjunction with a UV disinfection system. Again grab samples for E.coli and pH were collected as well as composite samples for BOD, TSS, TP and ammonia. The E.coli and total coliform samples were processed using either the IDEXX Colilert® or Colisure® analysis method. PAA was initially trialed at the Niagara Falls Waste Water Treatment Plant

(NFWWTP), Ontario. The jar testing was conducted to assess the feasibility of using PAA as a disinfectant at the NFWWTP. The jar testing results indicated that a concentration between 2 - 7 mg/L would be sufficient to meet the disinfection requirement of less than 200 E.coli CFU/100 mL and that no adverse impact on pH was noted. This dosage range was considered acceptable to run at the pilot scale level. The dosage range tested at pilot scale

was 1 to 10 mg/L PAA. All tests conducted at 2 mg/L PAA were found to have E.coli results less than the compliance standard (200 E.coli CFU/100 mL). Samples were tested in duplicate and at various contact times throughout the contact chamber to assess the importance of time on the disinfection strategy (Figure 4). There was no statistical difference in E.coli values between 10 to 20 minutes contact time at each respeccontinued overleaf...

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Figure 3: Log Removal of E.coli at various PAA dosages with 1-3 minutes contact time.

tive dosage over 2 mg/L, hence the reaction occurs fairly rapidly, although there was a higher degree of variability in the results at the 2 mg/L dosage compared to the 5 - 10 mg/L dosages. This finding is similar to research by others (Dell’Erba, 2004). The pilot scale and full scale composite/grab samples for suspended solids, pH, TP and ammonia in the effluent were not significantly different. Although initial BOD testing at the pilot level revealed an increase in results, later testing did not see this same difference. Certainly more testing is warranted here. Full scale testing was conducted at the Grimsby Wastewater Treatment Plant in Grimsby, Ontario. This was the first full scale study of PAA for municipal wastewater effluent in Canada. Testing was conducted in the fall of 2008. The contact time for the PAA ahead of the UV system ranged between one to three minutes depending on the plant flow which is fairly low, especially when compared to the contact time normally allotted for chlorine disinfection. This contact time identified in the pilot scale tests was between five to 10 minutes to meet compliance with PAA alone, so the expectations here were that both the PAA and UV would be needed to achieve disinfection to the compliance 46 | September 2009

limit of 200 CFU/100 mL. Disinfection with PAA and UV was tested through September and October. In early October the plant experienced an upset which allowed us to test dosages which would be helpful in meeting compliance under less than ideal conditions. The dosages tested in September and early October before the plant upset ranged from 1.5 to 4.0 mg/L and covered 15 days of sampling. Two final effluent samples exceeded the 200 cfu/100 mL limit during this time. Of the two samples greater than the compliance value, the values collected were 249 and 300 cfu/100 mL at dosages between 1.5 – 2.0 mg/L. The 2.0 mg/L dosage was tested three times with the other two samples meeting compliance values. Similarly, the 1.5 mg/L dosage was tested four times in total, with the other three samples meeting compliance values. The geomean of all samples over this time period was 24 cfu/100 mL. Based on the data collected, it appears that, during regular plant performance, a dosage between 2.0 to 2.5 mg/L with the UV system would be sufficient to meet compliance. It is expected that a lower dosage could be used if there was a longer contact time available as was observed with the prior pilot testing. The UV dosage during the study

ranged from 25.2 to 80.1 mW.s/cm2 with an average value of approximately 44 mW.s/cm2. The dosage was decreased part way through September with the initial positive trial results, and was increased about a week after the upset occurred at the plant. However, during the plant upset it was difficult to meet the compliance criteria. During this time any PAA dosage below 3.0 mg/L was inadequate in helping the plant reach its compliance values. However, four samples were tested at 3.0, 3.5 and 4.0 mg/L dosage which resulted in final effluent values between 17 – 76 CFU/100 mL. Therefore, it is clear that, with the correct dosage, it would be possible for the plant to meet compliance during an upset. Figure 3 shows a standardized log removal of PAA dosage and E.coli log removal. For instance, on average, at a dosage of 1.5 mg/L, the E.coli was reduced by about 1.8 logs. This implies that a dosage of 1.5 mg/L would be adequate to reduce an E.coli concentration of about 12,600 down to 200 CFU/100 mL in the one to three minute contact time. It should be noted that the overall E.coli log removal during the Grimsby study was much less than the pilot study conducted at Niagara Falls and this is attributed to the difference in the PAA contact time between the two studies. Overall, the use of PAA as an alternative to chlorine has yielded very promising results so far with low dosages (2 - 3 mg/L) able to meet E.coli disinfection criteria with reasonable contact times. Valuable lessons were learned during the first two month full scale trial at the Grimsby WWTP that will be implemented this year to improve upon the results. Onita Basu is with Carleton University, Ottawa. C. Gatchene is with Niagara Region, Thorold. E-mail:

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WEFTEC 09 preview

Author of “Healthy Waters” to open WEFTEC.09

Dr. Mike Magee

WEFTEC will be held at Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center.


r. Mike Magee, MD, a veteran health care leader and the author of "Healthy Waters: What Every Health Professional Should Know About Water", will deliver the keynote address at WEFTEC.09, which will be held October 10-14, 2009, in Orlando, Florida. A Senior Fellow for Health Policy at the Center for Aging Services Technologies of the American Association of Homes & Services for the Aging, and Editor of Health and, Dr. Magee is wellknown for his unique perspective on health care and for the championing of patient rights. From 2003 to 2007, he hosted "Health Politics with Dr. Mike Magee," a weekly internet program, that covered news and information related to health issues and health care. As host of the program that produced more than 180 segments, Dr. Magee helped viewers understand the big picture of health and the inner work-

Great Canadian Icebreaker Canadian attendees are invited to attend “The Annual Great Canadian Icebreaker,” which will take place Saturday October 10th, 2009, from 7:00 pm 11:00 pm at the Caribe Royale Orlando Hotel. For more information, visit 48 | September 2009

ings of the US health care system. He has also written and published 10 books on health-related issues, including “Healthy Waters”. First published in 2005, this book highlights the facts and figures about water and its enormous impact on the quality of life. Viewing water management as a test of humanity’s ability to handle complex issues in a cooperative and compassionate manner, Dr. Magee suggests that water is both an environmental and a public health issue. In addition to the keynote address, the Opening Session will also feature Water Environment Federation (WEF) President Rebecca West and recognition of WEF award winners and the 2009 Stockholm Junior Water Prize winners. Attendees are encouraged to attend a special Q&A with Dr. Magee immediately following the opening session, as well as a book signing later that day in the WEFTEC Bookstore. This year, WEF has added three special sessions to WEFTEC on topics related to the ongoing economic crisis. “Meet the New Administration” will feature senior-level speakers from the US Environmental Protection Agency, who will discuss stimulus and other funding sources, as well as new regulations and impacts on utility operations. “The Future for Water Infrastructure Beyond the Stimulus Package” will

focus on the shifting political landscape of infrastructure investment in the United States. “Hard Conversations in Hard Times Using Simple Technology” will provide an overview of how utilities can use Web 2.0 tools to better communicate with their communities in a difficult economic climate. Other educational opportunities at WEFTEC, related to the economic downturn, include: • Workshop 210: The New Deal: Capital Project Financing Under Constrained Credit Conditions. • Technical Session 063: Solutions for Small Communities - Utilities of the Future: Serving Customers Through Distributed, Sustainable Infrastructure. • Technical Session 077: Making Ends Meet: Funding and Financing in Today's Economy. With a technical program of 122 sessions, 31 workshops and nine facility tours, WEFTEC.09 is said to be the largest conference of its kind in North America. The 1,100 company exhibition will provide attendees with access to the latest water quality developments, research, regulations, solutions, and cutting-edge technologies. For more information, visit

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NEWS SJWP award for Vancouver student A student from Vancouver was awarded a Diploma of Excellence at the 2009 Stockholm Junior Water Prize ceremony in August. This was the first time a Canadian has ever mounted the podium in Stockholm. Mary Yiyue Zhao, a student at Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School, won the award for her project on “Grasping water: a novel method to make rain using an ice nucleating protein”. The Junior Water Prize was won by Ceren Burcak Dag from Turkey, for developing an innovative method for generating energy through piezoelectric pulses from falling rain drops. Emily Elhacem from Israel was also awarded a Diploma of Excellence. In her project, Mary found that cloud seeding using silver iodide can induce precipitation in dry regions. Unfortunately, use of the iodide can lead to excessive silver in the soil which damages the health of micro-organisms. She explored an environmentally friendly and commercial viable alternative to silver iodide: the ice nucleating protein (INP) of the bacteria Pseudomonas syringae.

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Water and Wastewater Treatment

How to remove perfluorinated acids from water By Kaya Forest and Sierra Rayne and wastewater streams


erfluorinated acids (PFAs) are an emerging class of environmental contaminants used in numerous industrial and consumer products, from non-stick cookware and waterproof textiles to electronics and firefighting foams. They are also present as a contaminant in many other fluorochemical products. They are largely resistant to degradation and, therefore, are found widely throughout the environment. Commercial PFA products have been largely phased out over the past decade, but these compounds can also be formed by the degradation of other, similar commercial products. Thus, both historical and current sources of contamination often need to be addressed. PFAs are present in all aquatic systems. The dominant source of these compounds is thought to be domestic

and industrial wastewater treatment plants. In particular, significant contamination of ground and surface waters has occurred near fluoropolymer manufacturing facilities and where fluorochemicals are used as surfactants in various industrial processes. At some locations, contamination has been so severe that dedicated treatment facilities were required by water utilities, and consumers were provided with bottled drinking water to reduce their exposure to PFAs. Two major subclasses of the PFAs are the perfluoroalkyl carboxylic (PFCA) and perfluoroalkyl sulfonic (PFSA) acids. The PFAs exhibit dual hydrophobic and oleophobic character — the carboxylic and sulfonic acid head groups are hydrophilic (water “liking”) while the fully fluorinated alkyl chain is oleophobic

The dominant source of these compounds is thought to be domestic and industrial wastewater treatment plants. 50 | September 2009

(fat “hating”). Both the PFCAs and PFSAs are relatively strong acids, although the PFSAs are significantly stronger (pKa values <0) than their PFCA counterparts (pKa values between about 0 and 4). The linear perfluorooctanoate and perfluorooctane sulfonate compounds, n-PFOA and n-PFOS respectively, are the most widely present in the environment. Following is a short review of relevant and potentially effective treatment technologies currently available for the removal of PFAs from water and wastewater streams. Treatment methods The treatment methods available for perfluorinated compounds can be categorized into several broad categories: thermolysis, direct photolysis and photocatalysis, sonochemical, filtration, biodegradation, and other general techniques. 1. Thermolysis - It is widely assumed that PFAs are resistant to most treatment methods, including incineration. However, many reports indicate that pyrolysis, for example, may be effective at degrading mid- to long-chain compounds at modest temperatures (180°C). This treatment technology may be effective for solids combustion but not appropriate for aqueous waste streams containing PFAs. 2. Direct photolysis and photocatalysis - The direct photolysis of PFCAs is not practical under conventional irradiation regimes as these compounds do not absorb light at wavelengths greater than 240 nm. (Natural systems typically experience radiation at > 280 nm and water treatment processes use > 254 nm.) While there is some absorption at normal treatment wavelengths, the kinetics of the process are too slow (i.e., 90% loss after 72 hours) to allow for effective treatment within a conventional waste stream. Photocatalysis involving production of photogenerated species that then react with PFAs has been shown, similar to direct photolysis methods, to be moderately effective at degrading PFAs. In particular, photoreduction of iron (III) in the presence of oxygen is capable of slowly photooxidizing PFCAs (90% loss after 32

Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine

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Water and Wastewater Treatment hours). Acidic conditions (pH 3.5 - 4) gave a 79% loss of n-PFOA after four hours of irradiation with 254 nm light. Photocatalysis, using other exotic, and not widely commercially available catalysts such as tungsten and galliumbased compounds, also exhibits slow kinetic parameters unsuited to the short residence times present in most treatment systems. The well-known titanium dioxide (TiO2) also reacts too slowly with these compounds for practical application. 3. Sonochemical - Sonochemical processes arise from acoustic cavitation, which involves the formation, growth and implosive collapse of bubbles in a liquid that produces large amounts of energy. Collapsed bubbles have temperatures around 5000ºC, pressures of roughly 1,000 atm, and heating and cooling rates above 1010ºC/s. Unlike many other degradation processes, sonochemical methods exhibit favourable treatment kinetics with halflives in the order of 40 and 20 minutes for n-PFOA and n-PFOS, respectively, under argon atmosphere. In aerated solutions,

the treatment process takes about twice as long. The major degradation products were shorter-chain PFAs (which are still of concern), although complete mineralization to carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, fluoride and sulphate has been observed. Degradation rates increase with increasing acoustic power density and seem unaffected by scaling up to reactor size. Field application of sonochemical treatment methods has been used in groundwater below a landfill in Minnesota. Effective degradation kinetics were observed, which were enhanced by injection of oxygen/ozone. Ozonolysis was also shown to be an effective pretreatment process to degrade volatile organics that partially inhibit the effectiveness of sonochemical methods. 4. Filtration - Reverse osmosis and nanofiltration using composite polyamide membranes are capable of rejecting over 99% and 90%, respectively, of 1,500mg/L influent n-PFOS levels from industrial waste streams. Isopropanol, a common cosolvent in the electronic industry’s wastewaters,

was shown to inhibit removal efficiency, and would need to be removed via pretreatment methods. Increasing n-PFOS concentrations can lead to reductions in membrane flux, which could be due in part to entrapment of the compound within the polyamide layer. Investigations into non-amidic materials may be able to minimize the interaction of the proteinophilic n-PFOS with the polyamide membrane. 5. Biodegradation - Biologically mediated degradation typically requires the presence of a hydrogen atom on the carbon backbone of long-chain organic molecules. Since PFAs have fully fluorinated alkyl chains, these perfluorinated molecules are largely resistant to microbial degradation. 6. Other - Reductive processes, such as thermal and pulse radiolysis that involve reaction of PFAs with hydrated electrons, have been shown to have fast reaction kinetics (second-order rate constant of 106 mol/L·s). In contrast to the reactivity patterns for biodegradation, increasing fluorination of the carbon backbone enhances continued overleaf...

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Water and Wastewater Treatment

Some firefighting foams contain PFAs.

the reactivity of these reductive treatment methods, making the approaches potentially very suitable for PFA treatment. Reductive defluorination, using zero valent metals in supercritical water, exhibits slightly slower reaction kinetics, but is not a treatment method readily adaptable to flow-through wastewater systems. The reduction efficiency of these methods, because of the different possible reaction mechanisms by which PFAs will degrade, appears to be influenced by the electron energy used. In particular, the rates, mechanisms, products and relative response of various chain length

and branched PFA compounds can be altered using different electron energies. Much more research and development is needed to control these processes better. Sorption technologies are common practice for the treatment of many general and specific waste streams. Granular and particulate activated carbon are efficient at removing both n-PFOS and n-PFOA in concentrations up to 100 mg/L in moderately acidic solution (pH about 4) with equilibrium loadings on to these media of between 25 and 50 mg/g (sorption of nPFOS up to 180 mg/g has been observed). However, sorption equilibrium requires four hours (PAC) to one week (GAC), making these technologies not particularly appropriate for flow-through systems or large-volume batch requirements. Ion exchange columns have similarly effective removal efficiencies (up to 99%) but slow equilibrium. Some recent work on molecularly imprinted polymer (MIP) sorbents shows promise. A chitosan cross-linked MIP had a highly selective sorption capacity for n-PFOS of 300 mg/g with decreasing capacity with increasing pH above 7. This technology also exhibited slow sorption kinetics (32 hours) but its high selectivity should encourage additional research into finding ways to bring the kinetics into line with efficiencies needed for effective large-scale treatment. Conclusions Various treatment methods have been examined for degrading PFAs. Most solution phase treatment methods display

relatively slow kinetic profiles, making it difficult to design and optimize effective PFA treatment approaches for waste streams with short hydraulic residence times. Filtration approaches can be effective at removing PFAs from aqueous streams, and could also be widely and rapidly integrated into existing treatment trains, provided no organic cosolvents are present. Sorptive processes require longer treatment times than is required for many other organic pollutants, but they have high PFA removal efficiencies and appear to offer some potential for further optimization. One of the most promising areas of treatment technology is to take advantage of the known proteinophilic character of PFAs. The design and application of protein-mimicking sorbents to extract PFAs from aqueous solutions may be the most effective treatment solution. Sonochemical treatment methods also appear promising, but additional work is required to assess the scientific and economic feasibility of their widescale deployment. Additional studies need to be conducted to better define opportunities from evaporative, extractive, thermal, advanced oxidative, direct and catalyzed photochemical, reductive and biodegradation methods. Kaya Forest is with Okanagan College. E-mail: Sierra Rayne is with Ecologica Research. E-mail:

See us at WEFTEC 09 - Booth #1819 52 | September 2009

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World Water Corps helping to transform lives


round the world, 884 million people do not have access to safe drinking water and 2.5 billion are without adequate sanitation facilities. Every day, nearly 6,000 people die from water-related illnesses, with the majority being children. However, Water For People has now given the water and wastewater industry the mechanism to make meaningful change with the development of the World Water Corps®. The World Water Corps (WWC) was launched in 2006. It is a volunteer program that gives water and wastewater professionals the opportunity to travel abroad and support the development of sustainable drinking water projects, sanitation projects and hygiene education programs. The WWC is working in program evaluation, monitoring, mapping, and baseline assessment. Hydrology will be added to their tasks in 2010. Historically, Water For People (WFP) has operated in Bolivia, Guatemala, Honduras, Malawi and India but recently they have expanded their operations into Ecuador, Nicaragua, Rwanda, Uganda, the Dominican Republic and Peru. Chris Rogers, a WWC volunteer, writes of his experiences in Rwanda: “…the sole Canadian volunteer, I had the pleasure of working with a hardworking group of Americans and Belgians over a very intense two-week period in February, 2009. We were each assigned a university student (all orphans of the genocide), a group of local officials, and

A visit with the Virunga Mountain gorillas in northern Rwanda.

The assessment team celebrates successful project completion in Kigali.

from rural areas on the outskirts of Kigali, to the slums of Kigali itself. Rwanda has the highest population density in Africa. (The density of the entire country is higher than that of the City of Ottawa!) There was a lot to cover in two weeks. “Rwanda generally has a lot of water, most of the year. Unfortunately, there are extensive shortages throughout the dry season, and contamination is also a major problem.

Our days were spent in the field, inspecting water and sanitation facilities, and interviewing community leaders and members of the local population. Our nights were spent documenting our observations. a sector in Kicukiro district. Our days were spent in the field, inspecting water and sanitation facilities, and interviewing community leaders and members of the local population. Our nights were spent documenting our observations. “Our field work exposed us to a range of generally miserable living conditions,

“Most of the population in Kicukiro gets water from community taps and uses some form of latrine, which are often shared among several households. These latrines are often poorly constructed and in horrendous condition. The taps draw water from wells, or are piped in from a central source. Water

quality is unreliable, with suspected contamination from latrines and other sources. Those who can afford to, boil their drinking water. Many who can’t, get sick and tend to die young. “One day I was waiting for my sector driver to pick me up outside an orphanage when I was swarmed by about 30 kids on their way home from school. One pulled out a text book and began teaching me to count in Kinyarwanda. They laughed a lot as I stumbled from one to five.” The WWC is not for everyone but, if you feel you have what it takes, WFP needs you! Often, days are difficult and dealing with conditions in some of the poorest areas of the world can be physically and mentally straining. However, if you are up to the challenge you are guaranteed an experience you will never forget. For more information regarding the World Water Corps, visit or E-mail:

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Renewable Energy

Ontarioâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new Green Energy Act makes energy from biogas even more economically attractive By Yves Faguy


ith a view to kick-starting a green economy built on renewable energy and a decentralized energy grid, Ontario has moved swiftly this year to pass the Green Energy Act. The province has made one thing clear: it wants to emerge as a leader in renewable energy production. The effort is earning kudos from proponents of solar and wind energy. But there is another type of renewable energy that stands to benefit from the new legislative framework: biogas from sewage. The wastewater industry is discovering that wastewater can be a resource. Thanks to anaerobic digestion technology, cogeneration facilities can produce electricity and hot water from biogas, rich in methane and carbon dioxide. The biogas is then combusted to produce electricity or thermal energy. In 2005, the City of Hamilton launched

such a project at its Woodward Avenue Wastewater Treatment Plant. It was the first municipality in Ontario to receive approval from the Ontario Electricity Financial Corporation (OEFC) to build a generator for sustainable green energy. It is expected that the facility will help eliminate about 130,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions over 20 years. Wastewater treatment plants that produce biogas typically do it for internal use only. The potential to expand its use has so far received little attention, even though there is an interesting opportunity for treatment plants to supply other sectors with heat, electricity and fuel for any number of uses. Part of the appeal of the Green Energy Act is that it now makes it possible for local distribution companies (LDCs) to build and operate small-scale (10 MW or under) renewable energy facilities. This presents opportunities for investment in

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54 | September 2009

combined heat and power projects. Ontarioâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s plan to build a â&#x20AC;&#x153;smart gridâ&#x20AC;? further encourages local participation in renewable energy investment. The idea is to introduce a feed-in tariff (FIT), a fixed price guarantee which can vary, depending on the energy source, size and the projectâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s location. The fixed rates are designed to encourage renewable energy projects, by allowing investors to calculate returns and give them some certainty over financing. The provinceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 2009 budget has also set aside $50 million for research, to foster new technologies and develop the provinceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s smart grid. In practice, the renewable energy developer would approach its LDC on electrical grid connection. Upon request, the distributor must connect the generation facility to its distribution system, provided regulatory and Ontario Energy Board (OEB) license requirements are met. But simply put, the grid plays favourites to renewable energy, prioritizing it over dirty power from coal and other sources. Surpluses are held on credit at the LDC for one year. It also helps that Ontarioâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new framework is introducing a one-window approvals process with standardized requirements for renewable energy initiatives, including solar, wind, and biogas power generation projects. Until now, proponents were required to run after dozens of approvals, among them certificates for air and noise emissions. Also the law promises a six-month â&#x20AC;&#x153;service guaranteeâ&#x20AC;? for a final decision on their application. Five regulations, in particular, are to be amended: â&#x20AC;˘ Electricity Projects (Ontario Reg.116/01) â&#x20AC;˘ General - Revised Regulations of Ontario 1990 (Ontario Reg.334) â&#x20AC;˘ Waste Management Projects (Ontario Reg.101/07) â&#x20AC;˘ Classification of Proposals for Instruments (Ontario Reg.681/94) â&#x20AC;˘ General (Ontario Reg.73/94) The MOE is also looking into changes to Ontario Regulation 347 (General - Waste Management) that would

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Renewable Energy

Wastewater plants possess a wealth of biomass sources.

ease the processing of biomass materials intended for use in an energy generation facility. All these changes present wastewater treatment plants with an enviable opportunity. They possess a wealth of biomass sources in the form of municipal wastewater and solid waste. Until now, the MOE insisted that such residues be treated as waste. Suddenly, what was once

a costly management issue is becoming a valuable resource with the potential to create revenue and energy independence for the wastewater treatment community. Cities elsewhere, Lille in France, and Oslo in Norway, for example, already rely on wastewater to produce much of the fuel used in their fleets of public transport vehicles. All of Lilleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s buses run on biogas, which saves significant costs in pro-

cessing sewage and buying fuel. Ontarioâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new framework has set the stage for similar forward-looking initiatives, should biogas producers seize the opportunity. Yues Faguy is with E-mail:

September 2009 | 55

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Stormwater Management

Reusing 10 year old vortex stormwater separator saves over 75K


carborough is often described as the greenest and leafiest part of the City of Toronto due to the many creeks and tributaries that run through the area. To protect these creeks from harmful runoff, the City keeps a tight rein on development projects, requiring each to demonstrate a high level of treatment for stormwater flows. The developer of a Lowe’s Home Improvement store here faced these requirements and opted to use a Downstream Defender® vortex separator from Hydro International to treat runoff from the site’s parking lot. It was installed in 1999 and, nearly a decade later, the treatment device was uprooted from its location under the parking lot and reinstalled a few hundred feet away. This required some creative moves and a lot of care to meet a stiff deadline. After almost a decade, the store was demolished to accommodate a larger Lowe’s store. While the parking lot and foundation remained, the stormwater system could not, as stormwater regulations had become more stringent in the 10 years since the original development. In August 2006, the City of Toronto issued their interim wet weather flow management guidelines, which require that new projects limit stormwater runoff from the site to pre-development levels. This can often necessitate installing an underground storage facility. In order to avoid sediment accumulating in the storage unit, the Downstream Defender needed be installed upstream, approximately 100 metres from where the original unit was located. The contractor faced a difficult situation.

The riser section, nearly 2 metres high and weighing approximately 25 tons, is gently placed into a support crib, to avoid crushing the internal components that project below the riser section.

He could follow the conventional approach which was buying a new unit and installing it in the new location. However, with the lucrative holiday shopping season coming up, the owner didn’t want to disrupt traffic and sacrifice parking capacity. Buying a new unit would also cost tens of thousands of dollars. After discussing his options with Greg Jackson, of ACG Technology, and the development owner, the contractor was willing to try an unconventional approach – to take the existing Downstream Defender out of the ground and move it to the new location after nearly a decade of service. The move would save the project over $75,000. However, if the system was damaged during the move, there wouldn’t be enough time to

order a new system in time for the holidays. Downstream Defenders are anywhere from four to 10 feet wide. They fit into cylindrical reinforced concrete manholes. The support frame for the internal components is made of 316 stainless steel. But when contractors dug a hole and inspected the Downstream Defender, they found that the unit was in great condition even with the salt used on the Scarborough retail lot during a decade of cold Canadian winters, and with the vibrations of the passing cars above. Once the decision was made to move the Downstream Defender to the new site, another unexpected obstacle emerged. The original contractor who installed the

The Downstream Defender Inside the rugged exterior, the Downstream Defender has internal components designed to advance vortex separation by minimizing turbulence and headloss, increasing efficiency and preventing washout of stored pollutants. Stormwater is introduced tangentially into the side of the vessel, generating a rotating flow that spirals around the outside of the dip plate. Oils, trash and floatable debris rise to the water surface and are trapped in the oil and floatables storage volume. As flow continues to spiral down around the dip plate cylinder, low-energy vortex motion directs sediment inward along the benching skirt and into the protected sediment storage zone. The benching skirt and centre cone redirect the rotating flow up and inward between the centre shaft and dip plate cylinder away from the stored sediment. The outlet pipe discharges treated effluent from within the dip plate cylinder, ensuring the longest possible residence time. Advanced vortex separation is provided by extending and stabilizing the flow path while protecting trapped pollutants for a wide range of flow rates. 56 | September 2009

Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine

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Stormwater Management system had used carbon steel anchors to affix the support frame into the precast. This meant that they were unable to remove the support frame and internals from the large section of precast concrete they were mounted to. They decided to lift the entire 25-ton section with the internals in place and store it until they were ready to reassemble it in the new location using an 80-ton excavator. When they took the piece out of the ground, part of the internals extended below the concrete. If placed on the ground the cone and shaft would be crushed. “Those components could not be replaced,” said Jackson. The developers had to figure out how they were going to set the massive concrete riser section on a surface that could support it without letting key components touch the ground. In another unconventional maneuver, the contractor took some timbers normally used for shoring up excavations and built a threesided crib that would support the concrete while the rest of the system was above ground. After housing the unit above ground for two days, they were able to place the

Construction workers position the 40 ton excavator in preparation to lift a riser section with internal components, from the 10 foot Downstream Defender®.

unit back in the ground without incident. Although it seemed improbable at the onset, the unit was put in the ground in November, beating the Christmas rush. Nearly a year after the Scarborough installation, the system continues to work

Communal & Residential

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Phosphorus may become a sustainability issue By Paul O’Callaghan


hosphorus is the currency of energy in every living cell. Our ability to provide enough food for the human population is dependent on the use of artificial fertilizers, which contain phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium. While nitrogen is abundant in the at-

mosphere (it just requires the use of large amounts of natural gas to capture it), phosphorus is mined at just a handful of locations worldwide, primarily the United States, China and Morocco. Today, Florida produces 75% of the US’s and 25% of the world's phosphate which makes the United States the world's

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largest producer of phosphate rock. While it is possible to substitute renewable energy for fossil fuels, no other mineral can take the place of phosphorus. While the timing for “Peak Phosphorus” may be fifty, or even one hundred years out, as with “Peak Oil”, it is not a question of if, but when. There are some indications that production has already peaked in terms of the readily available resources, while other estimates put this 20 - 30 years out as illustrated in Figure 1. There has already been considerable volatility in phosphorus markets in the past year, possibly related to volatility in the energy market, and this has trickled through into food prices. As with oil, there won’t suddenly come a day when we ‘run out’ of phosphorus. The quality of the reserves may start to decline and it will become more costly to access it. There are apparently vast phosphorus reserves on the sea floor, but again it’s an issue of the cost of accessing these resources and the technology required to do so. Environmental impact of phosphorus use The widespread use of artificial fertilizers really took off after World War II. This, coupled with the use of pesticides and herbicides and increased irrigation, was responsible for what was referred to as the ‘Green Revolution’ which has enabled food production to keep pace with the addition of 4 billion hungry mouths to the world population since 1950. Prior to the use of artificial fertilizers there was a limited amount of phosphorus in circulation. Animal waste was applied back onto the land as a means of recycling nutrients. Annual herd migrations helped continued overleaf... Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine

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Wastewater move nutrients around. The carcasses from returning spawning salmon, for example, brought much needed nutrients back into the upper reaches of rivers and streams. Now, however, we mine phosphorus, use it and disperse it widely across the planet, much of it ending up in our rivers, lakes and oceans. Large portions of the earth’s oceans are now ‘dead zones’ as a result of nutrient enrichment. The negative effects of nutrients on receiving waterways are widely accepted. The US Environmental Protection Agency has identified excessive nutrient loading as the single largest cause of water quality impairment in the United States. A US EPA report in February 2009 listed 6,550 waterways as impaired by nutrients and another 438 by algal blooms. In response to concerns regarding the effects of nutrient enrichment, increasingly there is a requirement for wastewater treatment plants to remove nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen from treated wastewater. In the US, this is dealt with based on the principle of Total Maximum

Daily Load (TMDL). Under Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act (CWA), states are charged with first identifying waters within their jurisdiction that are impaired and do not meet designated quality objectives and then developing TMDLs to address the problems. For a given water catchment, a TMDL for nutrient addition is determined and this is then typically translated into limits for point source emissions. In Europe, the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive sets limits for Total Nitrogen and Total Phosphorus on discharges for plants of various sizes, with tighter limits for plants discharging into sensitive areas. Wastewater - a potential source of phosphorus Conventional wastewater treatment will provide a degree of nutrient removal, in the region of 25%, as a portion of the nitrogen and phosphorus are taken up by the bacteria which form the waste activated sludge. However, without specific nutrient removal measures, secondary treated wastewater still contains in the region of 75% of the nutrients which were

present in the raw wastewater. The prevailing phosphorus removal techniques are biological phosphorus removal and chemical precipitation. Both approaches take phosphorus out of wastewater and partition it into sludges. Currently, the only way to recycle the phosphorus is to apply these sludges to land. The long-term prospects for applying sludge to land are uncertain and chemically-bound phosphorus is not bioavailable to plants in any case. This is leading to increased interest in phosphorus recovery in a reusable form. This is particularly evident in Europe where rock phosphate deposits are negligible. In 2006, 87% of the phosphorus used in EU fertilizers was from imported phosphorus, with only 13% coming from mined resources. Wastewater and sewage sludge represent a significant potential source of phosphorus. If all of the phosphorus available in sewage sludge in the EU was recycled, this could provide 28% of the EU’s total phosphorus requirements. Sweden, for example, has mandated that “ 60% of phosphorus must be recovered

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Wastewater at its wastewater treatment plants by 2015.” Every municipal wastewater treatment plant is potentially a ‘phosphorus mine’. Agricultural and industrial waste streams are also potential ‘mines’. In Canada and the US, there are moves to recover phosphorus from wastewater. The City of Edmonton, Alberta, and Clean Water Services of Portland, Oregon, have both commissioned plants

If all of the phosphorus available in sewage sludge in the EU was recycled, this could provide 28% of the EU’s total phosphorus requirements. Sweden, for example, has mandated that “ 60% of phosphorus must be recovered at its wastewater treatment plants by 2015.” from Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies which recover phosphorus as the slow release fertilizer, struvite. Phosphorus ‘mining’ could even start further up the wastewater chain, with source separation. Urine accounts for only 1% of the total volume of wastewater, but it contains up to 80% of all the nutrients. If it is processed separately, wastewater treatment plants can be reduced in size, water protection can be improved, and nutrients can be recycled. The Europeans are certainly leading

Figure 1. Phosphorus production: When will it peak? (Source:

the way in this area. In Switzerland, trials with NoMix toilets have been quite successful; apparently the majority of the Swiss people interviewed said they had no problem with it. Developing technologies There are a number of companies which are developing technologies to extract phosphorus and produce fertilizer products: 1. Phosphorus recovery from sludge and sludge ash - When sewage sludge is incinerated, the resultant ash which is produced can contain high concentrations of phosphorus, more than 10% by weight. Three processes which are being developed to try and recover phosphorus from sewage sludge ash are the Kemira, Seaborne and Sephos processes. There have been pilot plant installations for all three processes. 2. Phosphorus recovery as struvite from sludge side streams - Struvite is the common name for magnesium ammonium phosphate (MAP). Struvite can form naturally where it is least wanted and can cause problems in valves, pumps,

pipes and digesters. However, if it can be extracted from sludge dewatering liquors, it can provide a valuable, slow-release fertilizer product. This has led to the development of a number of fluidized bed reactor technologies to bring about struvite precipitation under controlled conditions and produce a pelletised fertilizer product. This helps to remove nutrients from wastewater, but, rather than a waste sludge, it produces a value-added product. Examples of this technology are the Phosnix process, developed in Japan, the DHV Crystallactor process from DHV/ ProCorp, and the Ostara process from Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies of Vancouver, British Columbia. Paul O’Callaghan is the founding CEO of O 2 Environmental. E-mail: Some of the material for this article was also published in O2Environmental’s book ‘Water Technology Markets – Key Opportunities and Emerging Trends’.

An element with an illustrious history The word phosphorus comes from the Greek word “phosphoros” which means to “have light”. The element was first discovered in 1669 by Henning Brandt, a medieval alchemist from Hamburg, who first isolated it in pure form by extracting it from horse’s urine while in search of the “Philosopher’s Stone”. Later on, thermal treatment of bones from animals was used for phosphorus production. In the 1850s it started to be mined, and, indeed, there was the equivalent of a “gold rush” to Florida around that time as phosphorus reserves were discovered. Later it was used in matches (‘luciphers’) and explosives, and, post World War II, its use in both pesticides and fertilizers has been hugely important in increasing global agricultural output.

60 | September 2009

Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine

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Water Supply

An integrated assessment of water management options on Maui By Andrea Bassi and Rushil Mistry


aui, Hawaii, which is often described as paradise on Earth, is one of the most desirable tourist destinations in the world. People flock to the sandy beaches, the stunning scenery and the beautiful resorts every year to escape reality back at home. But for those who call Maui home, their paradise is slowly turning into a grim reality. Despite the island’s aesthetic appeal and tropical climate, the resident community on Maui, about 185,000 people, is facing serious problems with allocating and managing its diminishing water supply. With a population expected to reach 260,000 by 2030 and economic growth driven by the expanding tourism sectors, there has been an overall increase in the demand for water, which has become a contentious issue within the community. Two large shield volcanoes, the West Maui Volcano (West Maui Mountain) and the East Maui Volcano (Haleakalä), dominate the landscape and heavily influence the local climate. These geological giants create a rain shadow that causes drastic changes in climate across

the island. With moisture being brought in by the prevailing trade winds from the northeast, the windward side of the island receives a significant amount of rainfall, whereas the leeward side experiences mostly arid conditions. Over the years, companies began developing ditch, tunnel and reservoir systems to redirect water in order to satisfy a growing demand on the leeward side of the island. Considered an engineering marvel of its time, the diversion system has grown to the point that almost 274 million gallons per day (MGD) of surface water are now diverted each year, with almost half of that water originating from the eastern part of the island. Aquifers under stress The socio-economic development of Maui, together with the diversion of water for agricultural production, is taking its toll on the local aquifers. The ‘Ïao Aquifer System is the principal source of domestic water supply on Maui. Withdrawals from this aquifer system totaled almost 18.94 MGD in 2005, a significant increase from the 10 MGD extracted in 1970. The Hawaii State Commission on Water Resource Management (CWRM)

has determined the sustainable yield for this aquifer is 20 MGD, which means it is operating at 95% of its sustainable yield. Other aquifers on the island are being exploited at almost 2,500% of their capacity. Furthermore, several United States Geological Survey studies have shown that there is a historically declining trend in precipitation on Maui. With such a large portion of the water supply depending on groundwater availability, which is mostly sustained by precipitation, declining levels of rainfall could have devastating effects on the island. Future projections for this precious resource show decreasing supply and increasing demand, and demand could easily exceed supply before 2020. The water system on Maui also holds a strong cultural relevance and value to the local population. The practice of cultivating taro, a traditional starch in the indigenous diet and a culturally significant crop, relies heavily on the availability of fresh, flowing water for optimal growing conditions. As water resources are being diverted from the streams within which this vegetable is grown,

A view from Haleakalä Mountain (East Maui Volcano), the rainy part of the island, looking over the region of Hana. A few taro patches can be seen in the distance. 62 | September 2009

Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine

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Water Supply

A local farm on the central, dry part of the island. Here, coconut, noni and a variety of flowering trees are cultivated. The mountain on the right is the base of the dry part of Haleakalä Mountain, and on the left, the other side of the ‘Ïao valley on the West Maui Mountain can be seen.

less water is available for production, and the taro crops are more susceptible to malnutrition, disease and other ailments. Planning for sustainable growth In an effort to plan for sustainable growth on the island, the Maui Economic Development Board entered into a cooperative agreement with the Millennium Institute to improve overall understanding of the island’s water system and to provide the community with a tool to inform decision-making and support policy formulation and evaluation. By creating an integrated simulation model that captures the social, economic and environmental characteristics of the problem, system-wide impacts of community actions can be analyzed in a comprehensive way and help to develop an understanding of the broader implications of the proposed policies and regulations. The project employed a customized version of the Primary County Model (PCM) developed by the Millennium Institute. System dynamics were used as the foundation for the customization of the model, to enable the examination of complex, dynamic interrelationships between water and other social, economic and environmental sectors. Specifically, a detailed model of the water sector was constructed to represent water demand

and supply on Maui. The distinctive characteristic of PCM is the manner in which various determinants are linked together to form a complex link of feedback loops in which ad hoc research and/or policies can then be analyzed and weighted as driving or limiting the county’s development agenda. To promote the community aspect of this process, a group-modeling session was held on Maui that was attended by local stakeholders who were affected by water and had knowledge of the issues, including farmers, landowners and other concerned citizens. Through this process, local needs and concerns were explored and included in what can be called a subsystem diagram of the model, and then incorporated into the actual model at a later stage. After developing the model, scenarios relevant to the peculiarities of Maui were determined and processed to foster an understanding of the impacts of different policies and regulations being discussed within the community. While accounting for a decreasing trend in precipitation, as well as a reduction in the annual number of visitors, the model analyzes the effects of in-stream flow regulations, increases in water efficiency and investing in increasing the supply of water through desalination.

Simulating interventions To introduce the working group to the analysis that could be proposed to larger community groups, a few sample interventions were simulated. The first policy implemented in the scenario is the enactment of in-stream flow regulations. Following a series of public hearings, the Commission on Water Resource Management has set regulations on in-stream flow levels for 27 streams, and is currently surveying over 100 streams on Maui in an attempt to return water to the original ecosystem. For the purpose of the simulation, an average value of returning 2.4 MGD per stream is assumed over a potential 60 streams. Furthermore, a 20% increase in the level of water efficiency by 2030 is added to the scenario. With diversion infrastructure having been implemented over 100 years ago in the agricultural sector, there is a considerable loss within the system, as well as inefficiencies throughout the process, including the supply of potable water. Thus it was assumed that technologies or practices would be implemented to reduce the necessity for water at the residential, commercial and agricultural levels over time, and by 20% in 2030. The last policy measured within this continued overleaf... September 2009 | 63

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Water Supply scenario is an investment in the construction of a desalination plant on Maui. For the purposes of the model, it is assumed that a plant will be developed that can bring the levels of the central aquifer system to its sustainable yield. The aquifer system is currently being pumped at 168% of its sustainable yield, which translates into 18 MGD above its threshold. Currently, a desalination plant on Maui with an expandable capacity of 5 MGD of useful water is being discussed, with capital costs ranging around US$50 million. Assuming that the excess 18 MGD is satisfied with these plants, a US$180-million investment is required in 2010 to increase water supply by 18 MGD by 2012. It is assumed this is a one-time investment, requiring two years to reach full capacity and having a capital lifetime of 30 years. The results of the simulation provide an insight into the system-wide impacts of implementing these policies and pursuing these strategies to help mitigate the risk of a diminishing water supply on the island. For the purposes of the simulation, the results of this scenario are compared to a baseline simulation, or business as usual, that only accounts for the decreasing trend in precipitation and annual visitor numbers adjusted for the decline due to the 2008 economic crisis. The impact on the demand for water is directly affected by the increase in efficiency throughout the simulation period and by the projected decline in

precipitation. Due to the increase in efficiency, less water is demanded for the same rate of use. With a 20% increase in efficiency by 2030 and a decline in precipitation, there is a 5.3% drop in demand in 2015, a 9.4% reduction in 2020 and a 16.5% decrease â&#x20AC;&#x201D; 16.2 vs. 19.4 billion gallons/year â&#x20AC;&#x201D; by 2030. Water supply in the alternative scenario will be mostly attained from desalination and groundwater use. Groundwater production, as a share of total supply, moves from 80% in 2010 without any changes, to 35% in 2012, thanks to the investment in the desalination plant. Due to increasing water demand over time, groundwater production grows back to 54% by 2030. Desalination water production is able to satisfy about 45% of water demand in 2012 (74% of residential use), with the remaining 20% being produced from surface water. Costs of desalination As more of the fraction of groundwater production is satisfied by desalination, there is a cost associated with implementing such a decision. First, there is an increase in electricity demand, caused by the 0.015 kWh/gallon used by the desalination plant. Accounting for the capital lifetime of the plant, almost 20 MW of power generating capacity over the 20-year simulation period will be required, which could cost between $10 million and $40 million, depending on the energy source considered. There are also environmental costs. When water is processed in a desalination

plant, liquid waste is created that contains toxic components; for every gallon of useable water generated, 1.4 gallons of polluted water are created. This results in approximately 167 billion gallons of wastewater created through 2030. The initial cost of the desalination plant is a major factor to be taken into account. Currently, US$180 million is approximately 50% of government expenditure and 15% of private investment, which shows the scale of undertaking such a project. If actions are taken to increase water supply to satisfy exceeding demand, funding for such developments must be readily available, which may not be the case. In-stream flow standards Finally, the impact of imposing the highly debated in-stream flow standards on Maui were analyzed. By restricting water available for commercial and agricultural sectors, there has been opposition from local firms and businesses that believe limiting the amount of water available to them will result in foreclosures and a loss of jobs. By enacting this regulation, there will be a reduction of 2.5% of water allocated to irrigation compared to the baseline scenario in 2010. This will increase to 9.8% in 2020, and reach 13.98% by 2030. Thus, 54.74 billion gallons/year will be diverted by 2030. The impact on the agricultural sector is indicated by the change in revenue compared to the baseline scenario. In 2010, revenue is projected to decrease by

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Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine

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Water Supply

A few patches of taro being grown in the central part of Maui Island. The taro grows under a few millimeters of cold, flowing water and is harvested for the root, which is used in a variety of cultural dishes and traditions.

2.51%, or US$3.2 millionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;00 (constant US $ as of 2000), due to lower water availability, and reaches a reduction of 9.87%, or $9.62 million USDâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;00 in 2020. By 2030, the reduction in revenue is only 0.93%, at $560,272 USDâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;00, due to the longer-term increase in water use efficiency. When analyzing employment levels, jobs are strongly correlated to and influenced by the availability of water. As water levels fall, the number of jobs lost in the sector increases. In 2010, 41 jobs are lost, a reduction of 2.5%. In 2020, 123 jobs are lost. The decline reaches its maximum rate in 2023 and then begins to subside, with only seven jobs lost in 2030, or a 0.98% reduction.

It should be noted that, due to the trend of decreasing precipitation over time, the agricultural sector is projected to feel pressure throughout the simulation period, and the implementation of in-stream flow regulations, for this reason among others, seems to reduce projected revenues only marginally. Even though agriculture makes up 2% of the gross domestic product, the industry has had its roots on Maui for over a century, so there would be strong cultural implications of negative effects on the sector, which might be put out of business by small variations in the status quo due to fierce competition in the global sugar market. Due to this outcome, and other con-

sequences that have implications on cultural sustainability, there needs to be a community dialogue to discuss these policies and arrive at common solutions to help facilitate the transition towards a more sustainable future. PCM-Maui can provide valuable insights to policy makers and local stakeholders, but can also be used as an effective tool to create and facilitate a channel of communication within the community. Andrea Bassi and Rushil Mistry are with the Millennium Institute. E-mail: or


e Bo WE e u ot F s a h TE t # 4 C 56


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Water Reuse

Conserving water by using a closed loop recycling system By Mark Vogel


or industrial facilities around the globe, water quality and availability have become critical issues. Many engineers assume that, if their facility cannot obtain fresh water, the only available process cooling technology option is a dry cooler. Since low quality water (including blowdown from cooling towers, RO, demin, boiler blowdown, treated wastewater, as well as reclaimed and produced water) can be used as spray water makeup, even those sites with limited water availability have a choice. Closed-loop, evaporative cooling and condensing systems such as Niagara Blower’s Wet Surface Air Cooler (WSAC™) optimize the use of scarce and/or poor quality water resources. A plant can improve or increase capacity by utilizing closed-loop cooling technology without having to purchase additional water or reduce existing fresh water usage. Benefits of closed-loop cooling technology Closed-loop, evaporative cooling and condensing systems are an efficient alternative to dry cooling. The closed-loop system uses evaporative or latent (phase change) heat transfer to remove the process heat, whereas dry coolers use sensible (no phase change) heat transfer. For this reason, the closed-loop process

66 | September 2009

Drenching spray system.

outlet temperatures will approach the design wet bulb temperature while the dry cooler’s process outlet temperature will approach the design dry bulb temperature. There is usually a large difference in these two temperatures; a typical 85ºF dry bulb day at 60% relative humidity would have a corresponding wet bulb temperature of 65ºF, allowing for a much lower process

outlet temperature with the closed-loop cooling system. Since the closed-loop system is an evaporative cooling device, it will use as little as one fifth of the plant area required for a dry cooler and require less horsepower to operate. Reduced horsepower leads to lower operating costs, less noise, and a lower carbon footprint.

Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine

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Water Reuse Closed-loop heat transfer surfaces require little or no maintenance. Tubes are all prime surface and do not utilize fins. Furthermore, the closed-loop cooling system uses widely spaced tubular surface coils, which are less prone to fouling and plugging. Water efficiency A closed-loop system rejects heat by evaporation. The process fluid or vapor to be cooled or condensed flows through closed-loop tube bundles. Water from the unit basin is sprayed downward over the tube surfaces while fans induce air flow over the bundles in a co-current direction. On the tube surface exterior, evaporative cooling occurs at the outside water film boundary. The saturated air stream leaving the tube bundle then makes two 90 degree turns into the fan plenum. The reduction in velocity returns most of the large water droplets to the basin. The saturated air is then discharged through the fan stacks at high velocity (1500 fpm). Due to the closed-loop design, wide tube spacing, and high drenching water spray rate, low quality water (even containing suspended solids) can be used as

makeup water. Since the open-loop spray water only passes over the tube exterior, it never contaminates the process stream. A recent study was funded by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and the US Department of Energy (DOE) to validate water quality limits in a closed-loop, evaporative system. Unit performance using different sources of

spray water makeup was monitored and different tube materials (304SS, 316SS, titanium, etc.) were used. The test unit demonstrated that existing cooling tower blowdown could be used in a closedloop, evaporative system running 50+ cycles of concentration with no degradation in thermal performance. continued overleaf...



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September 2009 | 67

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Water Reuse Minimizing overall water use There are several design options to consider in order to reduce the overall water use in a process cooling system while still maintaining cooling efficiency: 1. Combining a closed-loop, evaporative system with a dry cooler is one option. In this configuration, the dry cooler can accomplish the first part of the cooling or the highest temperature portion, and the closed-loop system can be used as an efficient trim cooler to finish the remainder of the cooling and achieve the desired process outlet temperature even in the hottest ambient conditions. This cooling combination can attain the low process outlet temperatures that a dry cooler alone would have difficulty accomplishing. The spray water can be turned off during colder ambient periods to allow the dry cooler to do all the cooling without requiring any water. 2. A wet/dry closed-loop system is another way to minimize water usage. With this design, widely spaced fins (four to five fins per inch) are used on the tube bundle for strictly dry cooling or condensing during colder ambient pe-

riods. An optimal ambient temperature is selected, below which the unit can be run completely dry. For instance, the system may operate dry at 80ÂşF dry bulb or lower and operate in the wet mode with spray water turned on when the ambient dry bulb exceeds 80ÂşF. This can be either on a seasonal basis or changed from day to night operating modes where dry bulbs may drop below 80ÂşF. This system still has the advantage of achieving low process outlet temperatures while realizing some of the footprint and operating cost savings of a wet system. Wet/dry systems allow significant water savings while offering operator flexibility in choosing whether to use water, depending on ambient conditions and the plant cooling needs at the time. The importance of customization With a variety of tubing and other materials of construction available, each closed-loop, evaporative cooler or condenser is custom-designed to fit a specific heat transfer application while meeting the customerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s water limitations. To ensure the most efficient operation in all climates, design parameters are based on customer specifications for process

inlet and outlet temperatures, weather conditions on an annual basis, and specified water limits. Closed-loop systems can be designed and manufactured with a wide variety of materials depending on water quality, water treatment, and cycles of concentration. Closed-loop coolers and condensers vary in size from small, packaged, skidded units to large, field-erected systems. Conclusion Water conservation will continue to be a critical issue. Due to the innovative design and custom manufacturing capabilities, closed-loop, evaporative coolers and condensers can help maintain plant performance while utilizing water streams that may currently be unusable with other cooling technologies. These systems offer many advantages for sites with poor quality sources of makeup water, including a reduction of plant fresh water makeup and the ability to reduce plant wastewater. Mark Vogel is with the Niagara Blower Company. For more information, E-mail:

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Water for People Canada 255 Consumers Road North York, ON, M2J 1R4 Tel: 416-499-4042 Fax: 416-499-4687 68 | September 2009

Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine

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ACG Technology’s package treatment system offers performance and durability. It provides sewage treatment within a small footprint. Aeration, mixing and settling can be accomplished in compact, easily transported ISO containers, ideal for remote locations. Provides flexibility of adding future parallel units, an economical means of meeting the needs of any growing sewage loads. Tel: 905-856-1414, Fax: 905-856-6401 E-mail: Web: ACG Technology

Stormwater solutions Armtec provides a wide range of CONTECH stormwater quality management systems throughout Canada. Products include VORTECHS hydrodynamic separation systems and VORTFILTER filtration systems. These systems are among the best for capturing suspended solids, oils, grit and trash from stormwater runoff. Tel: 519-822-0210, Fax: 519-822-1160 E-mail: Web: Armtec

Phoenix Underdrain System

• Optimizes all types of filters • Extremely low profile; lowest available • Manufactured from corrosion-resistant stainless steel • Variable custom orifice sizing • Custom hydraulic design • Guaranteed uniform air scour distribution • Rapid, low-cost installation Tel: 403-255-7377, Fax: 403-255-3129 E-mail: Web: AWI

Coalescing oil/water separators

Quality tanks

ACG Technology’s coalescing oil/ water separators are available in carbon steel, stainless steel, FRP and polypropylene construction. Standard systems include air operated diaphragm pump, air filter and floating skimmer. Adjustable weir and skimmer height provides optimal oil removal and minimal disposal volume. Standard range is 1 to 50 GPM. Tel: 905-856-1414, Fax: 905-856-6401 E-mail: Web:

At Alberta Wilbert Sales we sell, service and deliver Alberta’s largest tanks, with capacities as high as 10,000 gallons, and back them with a 20-year warranty. Four key manufacturing processes make our tanks superior: custom-designed moulds, quality controlled concrete, special pour techniques and careful handling. Tel: 800-232-7385, Fax: 780-447-1984 Web:

ACG Technology

Alberta Wilbert Sales

Concrete arch bridges

Banff wildlife crossings

Armtec provides BEBO concrete arch bridges in Québec, Ontario and Western Canada. Based on technology developed in Switzerland, BEBO arches are an economical alternative to cast-inplace concrete or structural steel bridges. They are available in a range of shapes with spans up to 31m. Tel: 519-822-0210, Fax: 519-822-1160 E-mail: Web: Armtec

Atlantic Industries Limited was selected to help design and produce wildlife overpasses for the current phase of the TransCanada Highway twinning project in Banff National Park. Two large structures have been created using AIL Super•Cor® high profile arches and MSE structural walls with precast concrete panels. Tel: 877-245-7473 Web: Atlantic Industries Limited

Phoenix Panel System

Remote area lighting system

• Upgrades and optimizes all types of filters • Installs directly over existing underdrain system • Eliminates the need for base gravel layers • Improves backwash flow distribution • Provides longer filter runs and lower turbidity effluent Tel: 403-255-7377, Fax: 403-255-3129 E-mail: Web: AWI

The new Pelican 9430 is a small, portable, battery-operated, maintenance-free, LED light array with 2000 lumens of brightness. It has a fully extendable mast with a 360º rotating head. It is recharged with an integrated 110 VAC charger and can provide up to 15 hours of light between charges. Tel: 800-265-0182, Fax: 905-272-1866 E-mail: Web: Canadian Safety Equipment

September 2009 | 69

Product & Service Showcase

Package Treatment System

ES&E Sept09_4:2009 22/09/09 11:13 PM Page 70

New stainless steel pumps

University Outreach Awards

Grindex’s new stainless steel pump line combines the integrity of years of tested design with the ingenuity and durability of new technology. Inox pumps can be used in applications that would destroy their aluminum predecessors. Their stainless steel construction enables them to endure pH values from 2 – 10, making them ideal for extreme environments with highly acidic or alkaline contents. Tel: 705-431-8585, Fax: 705-431-2772 E-mail: Web: Claessen Pumps

Teams from U Windsor Engineering won the top three prizes in the 2009 national competition organized by the Corrugated Steel Pipe Institute. Third place: (back row from left) Russel Mailloux, Christina Govas, Jeff Lerch, and Patricia Wilbur; second place: (middle row) Fadi Darsa, YangFeng Yu, and Jorge Silva, (missing: Yue Wang); firstplace: (front row) Matthew McColl and Yefu Zhang (missing: Daniel Nunn).

Corrugated Steel Pipe Institute

Using large diameter corrugated steel pipe under parking areas and playgrounds is a cost-effective way to meet reduced runoff and environmental restrictions while allowing revenue producing services, recreation and commercial development. Design software is available, FREE. Tel: 866-295-2416, Fax: 519-650-8081 E-mail: Web: Corrugated Steel Pipe Institute

Denso Petrolatum Tapes

Flow simulation system

Tel: 201-794 3100 Web:

Proven worldwide for well over 100 years, Denso Petrolatum Tapes offer the best, most economical, long-term corrosion protection for all above and below ground metal surfaces. Requiring only minimum surface preparation and environmentally responsible, Denso Petrolatum Tape is the solution to your corrosion problems in any corrosive environment. For applications in mines, mills, refineries, steel mills, pulp & paper, oil & gas, and the waterworks industry. The answer is Denso! Tel: 416-291-3435, Fax: 416-291-0898 E-mail: Web:

PROline FieldCheck™ is an in situ verification test tool from Endress+Hauser. It performs flow meter verifications, providing an unalterable document that can be audited by government agencies. It assures meter functionality, allows predictive maintenance and extends calibration intervals. This handheld unit saves you time and money while optimizing up-time. Tel: 1-800-668-3199, Fax: 905-681-9444 E-mail: Web:




Drinking water UV system

P roduct & Service Showcase

Tel: 866-295-2416, Fax: 519-650-8081 E-mail: Web:

Underground stormwater management

Ozonia North America has introduced a new and efficient drinking water UV system. Designed for medium to large municipalities, the Aquaray® 36 UV system is an innovative disinfection solution. Depending on water quality, each system can disinfect flows in the 50 MGD range.

Analytical measurement

Blower package

The Memosens pH is an inductive, watertight, noise free connection with digital signal transfer for the highest degree of accuracy and stability. Sensor head memory chip stores electrode information and calibration data, making remote calibrations possible under ideal laboratory conditions. Memosens is pH made easy! Tel: 1-800-668-3199, Fax: 905-681-9444 E-mail: Web:

Gardner Denver introduces the intelligent IQ blower package: • Engineered with innovation and quality • Integral AirSmart™ Controller to provide critical component monitoring • Integrated full-voltage starter or variable frequency drive (available) • Intensely quiet (as low as 60 dBA) • Backed by 150 years of proven results Tel: 800-682-9868 Web:


Gardner Denver

70 | September 2009

Instrumentation Catalog GENEQ has introduced its 2009-11 Environmental Product Catalog. This 76 page catalog is divided into six sections: water, weather, air, soil, laboratory and miscellaneous. It features measuring, sampling and monitoring instruments such as pH meters, balances, weather stations, GPS, and so on, used by engineering firms, municipalities, government agencies, universities, industries and more. Ask now for your free copy! Tel: 800-463-4363, Fax: 514-354-6948 E-mail: Web: GENEQ

Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine

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GTIâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s modular floating cover systems control algae and odors in tanks and lagoons. These durable, UV-protected covers can also be used to provide insulation. The covers can be installed quickly without disrupting plant operations and are easy to maintain while in service. They can safely support foot traffic and snow loads. Tel: 506-452-7304 E-mail: Web: Geomembrane Technologies Inc.

The JetMix Vortex Mixing System can be used in biosolids storage where solids suspension is important. Benefits of using the JetMix system include: Intermittent operation saves 60-90% in power consumption; expensive tank cleanout and scheduled maintenance not required; easily installed in existing tanks; multiple tank mixing using a central pump house. JetMix was a recipient of a 1997 Innovative Technology Award from the Water Environment Federation. Tel: 519-469-8169, Fax: 519-469-8157 E-mail: Web: Greatario Engineered Storage Systems

Conductivity, level & temperature meter

Flow measurement system

The Heron Conductivity Plus Level and Temperature Meter enables accurate measurements of conductivity, water level and temperature in wells, boreholes, stand pipes and open bodies of water. The Conductivity Plus can be used to profile conductivity and temperature to depths of 1,000 ft (300m). Tel: 800-331-2032, Fax: 905-634-9657 E-mail: Web:

The Detectronic MultiSensor Flow Meter, a versatile ultrasonic doppler flow measurement system, is used in open channels or partially-filled pipes. Designed to monitor wastewater, industrial effluents and stormwater, its wireless data retrieval includes universal roaming GSM with alarm outputs. Tel: 1-888-432-8422, Fax 519-453-2182 E-mail: Website:

Heron Instruments

Hetek Solutions

Water reservoir & tank mixer

PAX Mixer is a very innovative, simple mixer designed to mix water storage reservoirs and standpipes. It offers superior mixing performance with little energy consumption, easy installation, low capital cost. It eliminates stagnation and stratification, minimizes residual loss, and prevents nitrification. Tel: 905-660-9775, Fax: 905-660-9744 E-mail: Web: H2Flow Tanks & Systems

Handheld DO meter The YSI ProODOTM handheld DO meter provides extreme durability for the measurement of optical, luminescent-based dissolved oxygen for any field application. Web:

Hoskin Scientific

Multiparameter meter

Fusible PVCâ&#x201E;˘ pipe

The YSI Professional Plus handheld multiparameter meter provides extreme flexibility for the measurement of a variety of combinations for dissolved oxygen, conductivity, specific conductance, salinity, resistivity, total dissolved solids (TDS), pH, ORP, pH/ORP combination, ammonium (ammonia), nitrate, chloride and temperature. Web:

Fusible PVC pipe is AWWA C900/905 pipe joined in the field using a specially-designed butt-fusion process. The result is a monolithic, fully restrained PVC pipe that is perfectly suited for horizontal directional drilling and other trenchless applications. Municipalities can standardize on PVC throughout their systems. Tel: 800-463-9572, Fax: 905-403-1124 E-mail: Web:

WEDECO Ozone Generators from ITT Water & Wastewater eliminate pollutants, coloured substances, odours and microorganisms without creating harmful byproducts. They are compact in design to reduce overall footprint, and provide reduced energy consumption per unit of ozone production. Tel: 514-695-0100, Fax: 514-697-0602 Web:

Hoskin Scientific


ITT Water and Wastewater

Product & Service Showcase

Floating cover systems

Chemical-free water treatment

September 2009 | 71

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Underdrain air/water backwash

Leopold Underdrain technology from ITT Water & Wastewater is a unique water recovery channel that allows a broader airflow range of 1 to 5 scfm/sf, improved air stability, continuously uniform air flow, and lower water maldistribution of less than 5% (total). Tel: 514-695-0100, Fax: 514-697-0602 Web: ITT Water and Wastewater

P roduct & Service Showcase

In-Channel Fine Screen

Vortex grit removal

Pumping systems solutions

John Meunier Inc. has introduced its latest development in vortex grit removal technology: the MECTAN 360 design. This new product capitalizes on more than 40 years of experience and includes the latest findings offered by computational fluid dynamics (CFD). This technology offers both flexibility and outstanding hydraulic performances while maintaining state of the art grit removal efficiencies. Tel: (514) 334-7230 E-mail: Web: John Meunier Inc.

Satisfying pumping needs at the lowest cost over the life cycle of the system, Myers optimizes system efficiencies with complete engineering services, providing cost-effective solutions and immediate cost savings when planning a pump station. Myers software programs provide the engineering tools to properly design the ideal station. Tel: 604-552-7900, Fax: 604-552-7901 E-mail: Myers Engineered Products

Metering pumps

Metering pump

Feature-rich and dependable Sigma series metering pumps from ProMinent help keep your chemical feed under control. Sigma pumps operate in capacities of up to 1000 LPH and pressures up to 174 psi. Microprocessor controls are easy to use, with backlit LCD for rapid and reliable adjustment.

The Helisieve速 Fine Screen combines screening, conveying and dewatering into one reliable, automatic, compact and cost-efficient system. Shaftless spiral technology helps dewater screenings up to 30% dry weight to lower disposal costs, and the spiral is enclosed to minimize odors. Tel: 514-636-8712, Fax: 514-636-9718 E-mail: Web:

Tel: 888-709-9933, Fax: 519-836-5226 E-mail: Web:

The awardwinning delta速 with optoDrive速 provides diverse control and operating capabilities in a capacity range of 7.5 - 75 l/h, 362 psi - 29 psi. The delta from ProMinent has many advanced features: pulsed or continuous dosing; automatic detection of airlock, low pressure and high pressure; and an automatic degassing option. Tel: 888-709-9933, Fax: 519-836-5226 E-mail: Web:


ProMinent Fluid Controls

ProMinent Fluid Controls

Chemical injection equipment

Membrane bioreactor Sanitherm has perfected containerizing their SaniBrane速 MBR. The containerized SaniBrane is portable, provides excellent effluent on start-up, is operator friendly and comes pre-wired, preplumbed and tested. The system for anywhere needing reliable waste treatment with a small footprint!

SAF-T-FLO Chemical Injection manufactures a complete line of chemical injection equipment for all types of chemical feed systems. A large inventory of retractable and non-retractable injection quills and sampling probes are available to meet your needs. In addition, experienced technical sales staff can answer your questions or help solve your problems. Tel: 800-957-2383, Fax: 714-632-3350 E-mail: Web:

Tel: 604-986-9168, Fax: 604-986-5377 E-mail: Web:

SAF-T-FLO Chemical Injection

Sanitherm Inc.

72 | September 2009

BTP plants

Sapphire is the exclusive representative for the Resetilov Biological Treatment Process wastewater package plants in Canada. These BTP plants are extremely popular in Europe and can handle high flow volumes within a very small footprint. These plants produce exceptional effluent quality, are inexpensive and easy to operate. Tel: 403-537-8470, Fax: 403-537-8479 E-mail: Web: Sapphire Group

Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine

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Treatment parts catalog

Remote water level monitoring

Energy-saving Smith & Loveless wastewater pump stations are ideal for collection system and WWTP influent pumping for municipalities, private developments and industry. Proven lift station designs minimize delays because S&L stations arrive at the jobsite completely built and thoroughly factory-tested. Now available with expanded pump sizing: 4" - 12" piping (100-300 mm); horsepower: 1.5 to 300 HP; capacity: up to 50,000 GMP (3155 lps). Tel: 913-888-5201, Fax: 913-888-2173 E-mail: Web:

Smith & Loveless Inc. has released its Fall 2009 Treatment Quarterly Parts Catalog. It introduces the new PISTA® 360™ Grit Removal System with patented VForce Baffle™. The catalog offers a detailed guide to grit testing and includes a variety of case studies on cross-channel sampling. For a downloadable copy, visit Tel: 913-888-5201, Fax: 913-888-2173 E-mail: Web:

Built for Solinst Leveloggers, the system provides reliable remote site data collection, using radio, cellular and satellite communication. Intuitive software makes for simple setup, operation, and data management. Tel: 905-873-2255, Fax: 905-873-1992 E-mail: Web:

Smith & Loveless

Smith & Loveless

Solinst Canada

Water level meters

Solinst Model 102 Coaxial Cable Water Level Meters now have accurate laser cable markings every 1/100 ft or millimeter. Providing Solinst quality at a low price, they have narrow probes and a durable, flexible cable, mounted on a sturdy reel. Tel: 905-873-2255, Fax: 905-873-1992 E-mail: Web: Solinst Canada Ltd.

Controlling contaminated groundwater

Cleantech funding available

Hatch safety net

If you have an innovative clean technology, Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) wants to hear from you. The SD Tech Fund™ is open for Statements of Interest from September 2 to October 21, 2009. SDTC supports the development and demonstration of clean technologies by Canadian companies. Visit the funding section of our website for more information on how to apply. Tel.: 613-234-6313, Fax: 613-234-0303 E-mail: Web:

The lightweight Hatch Safety Net is designed to be permanently installed and easily retractable in floor and roof openings where the risk of fall through is present. When closed, the net system allows people to move freely around confined space openings without fear of falling into the opening. It also allows visibility of inspections and accessibility for limited maintenance and float adjustments. When entry/exit is required, the net can be easily unhooked on all but one side of the opening. Tel: 604-552-7900, Fax: 604-552-7901 E-mail:

Sustainable Development Technology Canada

Trickling filters

Waterloo Barrier is a low permeability cutoff wall for groundwater containment and control. It is a new design of steel sheet piling, featuring joints that can be sealed after the sheets have been driven into the ground, and was developed by researchers at the University of Waterloo. It has patent/patent pending status in several countries. Canadian Metal Rolling Mills assisted in developing the product. Tel: 519-856-1352, Fax: 519-856-0759 E-mail: Web: www.

Waterloo Biofilters® are efficient, modular trickling filters for residential and communal sewage wastewaters, and landfill leachate. Patented, lightweight, synthetic filter media optimize physical properties for microbial attachment and water retention. The self-contained modular design for communal use is now available in 20,000L/d and 40,000L/d ISO shipping container units - ready to plug in on-site. Tel: 519-856-0757, Fax: 519-856-0759 E-mail: Web: www.

Waterloo Barrier

Waterloo Biofilter

USF Fabrication

Tamper-Proof Waterra's Grip 'n Lock is the only hinged, locking well cap — and the only truly tamperproof well cap available on the market today. Constructed from heavy duty UV resistant nylon, this cap is quickly and easily installed onto 2" and 4" monitoring wells by simply pounding it onto the well casing with a mallet. Once installed, it cannot be removed. Tel: 905-238-5242, Fax: 905-238-5704 E-mail: Web: Waterra Pumps

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Wastewater Pump Stations

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Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine

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NEWS U of Windsor teams sweep competition

(Back row from left) Russel Mailloux, Christina Govas, Jeff Lerch, and Patricia Wilbur; (middle row) Fadi Darsa, YangFeng Yu, and Jorge Silva, (missing: Yue Wang); (front row) Matt McColl and Yefu Zhang (missing: Daniel Nunn).

The focus of faculty and students, coupled with support from the community, helped three teams from the University of Windsor finish atop a national design competition. David Penny, of the Corrugated Steel Pipe Institute, which created the contest, was on campus recently for a formal presentation of the awards to the winning team members. First prize, with a cash award of $2,500, went to Matt McColl, Daniel Nunn, and Yefu Zhang. Second prize, with a cash award of $1,500, went to Fadi Darsa, Jorge Silva, Yue Wang, and YangFeng Yu. Third prize, with a cash award of $500, went to Christina Govas, Jeff Lerch, Russel Mailloux, and Patricia Wilbur. The entries were conducted by the students as their fourth-year capstone projects. Govas said the capstone project is the closest thing to conducting professional practice. "You have to apply everything you have learned in class, plus you have to do research, plus you have to talk to people," she said. "It pushes you to understand the entire scope of the project. There is a lot of responsibility." Civil and Environmental Engineering professors Barbara Budkowska, Shaohong Cheng, and Sreekanta Das acted as faculty advisors to the teams.

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continued overleaf...

September 2009 | 75

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NEWS Specialists Speci alists in a comprehensive range of Municipal, Municip pal, Environmental, Structural, Building, Water Resources, Transportation Transportation and Municipal Engineering Collingwood Colli ngwood





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man Award of Excellence. Presented annually by the American Water Works Association (AWWA) the Wolman Award recognizes outstanding contribution to the drinking water industry over an extended period. (Minimum 20 year career). Jim was presented with his award at the AWWA annual conference which was held in San Diego in June. Jim, now retired, was a long-time employee of the Peterborough Utilities Commission where he became Water Utility Director. Jim received the highest OWWA award, the Fuller Award, in 1988. As winner of the Wolman Award, Jim becomes only the second Canadian to be so honoured by the AWWA. Steve Bonk, from Ottawa, was the award recipient in 2004.

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Habitat for Humanity Waterloo Region (HFHWR) launched its 2009 From Sawdust to Sparkles Women’s Build Event earlier this summer. This is the first such project since 2000. This event is especially geared to encourage women to come out to the build site to take an active role in increasing Waterloo Region’s supply of decent, affordable housing. Together, women participants help make the community stronger by transforming the sawdust of construction into a sparkling new home for a deserving family. The Women of CH2M HILL’s Kitchener-Waterloo office jumped at the chance to pick up a hammer and “sparkle”. On Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine

ES&E Sept09_4:2009 22/09/09 11:15 PM Page 77

NEWS Friday July 10, 2009, ten women were on site installing insulation board, capping walls, hoisting roof trusses, and wrapping vapour barrier around a three bedroom townhouse unit that will provide a home for a family with young children.

ICJ hearings begin The International Court of Justice in The Hague, The Netherlands, is hearing three weeks of final arguments in a closely watched dispute over sustainable development between the nations of Uruguay and Argentina over a paper mill on the Uruguay River. The case is only the second environmental dispute to be decided by the ICJ, and the first since the 1990s. Arguments will be heard by 17 judges from around the world, who are expected to issue a decision sometime next spring. Argentina first brought the case in May 2006. The Uruguay River forms part of the border between the two nations, and Argentina argues that the mill, in Uruguayan territory, releases harmful contaminants into the river as part of the production of pulp used in the manufacture of paper. Uruguay contends that the mill, approved through a thorough permitting process and built by a Finnish company, is a model of eco-responsibility that has not damaged water quality or aquatic life. Uruguay won the first round before the ICJ, which by a near-unanimous vote in July 2006 refused to order that construction of the mill be halted. The facility opened in November 2007 and has been operating for nearly two years. The mill, funded through the International Finance Corporation arm of the World Bank, was also subject to a rigorous environmental review and approval process at the IFC. The mill is the largest foreign-investment project in Uruguay’s history.

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Water reuse identified as growth opportunity Water industry leaders met July 20 on the shores of Lake Michigan at Water Summit III: The True Costs and Opportunities of Water, hosted by the Milwaukee 7 Water Council. continued overleaf...

September 2009 | 77

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Assaf Barnea, CEO of Kinrot Ventures, Israelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s leading seed investor in water and clean-tech related technologies, was the Water Summitâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s keynote speaker. He reflected on how the staid water industry was suddenly and dramatically transformed by the compelling events of 2004. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The race started when General Electric purchased Ionics and Zenon Environmental of Canada, and Siemens purchased US Filter,â&#x20AC;? said Barnea. â&#x20AC;&#x153;These giants declared water is here to stay and companies outside of the industry took notice. In 2008, water was a $450 billion industry. It is the fifth largest industry in the world and it is growing between 7% and 8% a year.â&#x20AC;? Barnea explained that world demand for freshwater is increasing at an even faster rate than global population growth and it is creating severe water shortages in many regions. Water scarcity will drive change to many accepted practices prevalent throughout the water industry. Reusing wastewater will become much more common and the new technologies that make it possible will be adopted and grow. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Reuse of water averages only 5% worldwide,â&#x20AC;? said Barnea. â&#x20AC;&#x153;In spite of its water shortages, the City of Los Angeles reuses only 1% of its water. However, in Israel weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been using 75% of our water for our agriculture.â&#x20AC;?

Water industry urged to rise above protectionist attitudes Dan McCarthy, President and CEO of Black & Veatchâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s global water business, advocates continued international collaboration and cooperation by the water industry despite protectionist approaches adopted by the United States which are becoming more prevalent in other countries. â&#x20AC;&#x153;As industry leaders, we didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t start the fight,â&#x20AC;? McCarthy said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;But we must win it by continuing to promote a global perspective that moves beyond isolationism.â&#x20AC;? In his paper, McCarthy notes that economic problems have fueled protectionist attitudes not only in large water and wastewater markets like the United States and China, but also in smaller markets

78 | September 2009

Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine

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NEWS Peter J. Laughton, P. Eng. Consulting Engineer

Environmental Engineering Services

King City, Ontario CANADA

OCWA to continue partnership with Peel

tel: +1.905.833.6738 fax: +1.905.833.8497


The Ontario Clean Water Agency (OCWA) will continue to operate, maintain, and manage the South Peel Water and Wastewater Treatment System under a renewed 10-year agreement valued at $447 million. OCWA has been managing the South Peel system since the 1950s. In 1999, OCWA was the successful respondent to Peel Region’s competitive process for operations and maintenance management services. Since then, the four Peel facilities and the distribution system have been extensively expanded and upgraded to accommodate regional growth. Advanced technologies have been introduced in all the facilities in response to industry change and to meet new legislative demands. The system includes some of the most sophisticated facilities in North America including the Lakeview Water Treatment Plant, which is one of the world’s largest



like Canada. He expresses concern that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) may have done more harm than good for the US water/wastewater industry by providing much less stimulus money than needed to address infrastructure needs and made less than by what may be lost as other countries respond to the “Buy American” legislation. McCarthy points out that increasing protectionist measures and potential retaliation threaten to undo the industry’s strides to look beyond borders in addressing water and wastewater issues. The paper includes additional information and insights about ARRA and related waivers, the recent “Buy Chinese” edict, and retaliatory protectionist action under consideration in Canada. McCarthy calls for water industry leaders to “refuse to resurrect barriers that it has taken years to break down.” McCarthy’s white paper “Water Didn’t Start the Fight: Potential Impact of Protectionist Attitudes on Water/Wastewater Industry,” is available at Downloads/Resources/Reports/20090831 _WaterDidntStartTheFight

continued overleaf...

September 2009 | 79

NEWS membrane treatment facilities, and the G.E. Booth Wastewater Treatment Facility, which includes the world’s largest biosolids facility of its kind.

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A quarter of a century ago, after 25 years of being manufactured and widely used in Europe, HOBAS pipe was introduced to the United States. Today, it can be found in most US municipalities and its use is expanding faster than ever. There are 44,000 miles of the pipe in service globally including 5.3 million feet in the US. HOBAS Pipe USA is noted for responsive customer service and on-site field reps backed by extensive engineering support. HOBAS manufactures pipe in sizes from 18 inches to 110 inches in pressure and non-pressure classes.

Temcor, Inc. acquired by CST Industries

Supporting our Nation's Infrastructure for over 100 years by Building Canada's most reliable Standby Generator Battery Chargers. Insist on reliability, rely on Vulcan's historical certainty. For new installations or retrofits have your service provider visit

80 | September 2009

CST Industries, Inc. (CST) has acquired Temcor, Inc., which designs, manufactures and erects clearspan aluminum domes and specialty covers for energy, infrastructure, water and wastewater applications.Temcor is the largest aluminum dome provider in the world with over 7,500 structures installed in 72 countries. CST Industries, headquartered in Kansas City, has built an extensive portfolio of brands and products for critical storage requirements, including Columbian TecTank, Engineered Storage Products, Conservatek Industries, Inc. and CST Vulcan, Inc. Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine

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Toxic chemicals Adventus Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .61 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


everyday products Alberta Wilbert Sales . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . American Water . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

an XRF analyzer, researchers at the Armtec . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28, 29 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Using . . . . . Ecology Center have analyzed the ingreAshtead Technology Rentals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .64 . . . . . of over 900 Associated Engineering . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .dients . . . . . Avensys . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .67 Biorem Technologies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .67 C&M Environmental Technologies . . . . . . . . . .58 Canadian Safety Equipment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .55 Cancoppas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47 CH2M HILL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .49, 68 Claessen Pumps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45 Corrugated Steel Pipe Institute . . . . . . . . . . . . .84 Degremont Technologies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Delcan Water . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11 Denso

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .66

DeWind Dewatering and Trenching . . .(Insert) 35 Eimco Water Technologies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .49 Endress + Hauser . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17 env Treatment Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Envirogate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .74 Gardner Denver Engineered Products Division 37 Geneq . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30 Genivar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .34 Globe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .74 Greatario . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .55 H2Flow Equipment Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23 Heron Instruments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25 Hetek Solutions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 Hoskin Scientific . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15, 40, 51 ITT Water & Wastewater . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 John Meunier . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21 KSB Pumps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27 Master Meter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 MSU Mississauga . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36 Neptune Chemical Pump . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .34 Orival . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .65 Parkson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .31 ProMinent . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Saf-T-Flo Chemical Injection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .54 Sanitherm Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .59 Sapphire Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .43 Service Filtration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Outsert SEW-Eurodrive Company of Canada . . . . . . . .13 Smith & Loveless . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .31 Solinst Canada . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33 Stantec . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .59 Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville . . . . . . . . . . . . .41 Waterloo Biofilter Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .57 Waterra Pumps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39 Whipps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .52 WTP Equipment Corp. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 XCG Consultants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .57

September 2009 | 81

Use this information to contact our advertisers directly

Halogen Valve Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39

common products, including pet supplies, cars, women’s . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . handbags, children’s car seats and more. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . They have created a large database of in. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . dependent tests of consumer goods for . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . toxic chemicals including lead, cadmium, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . mercury, bromine, chlorine (PVC) and ar. . . . . . . . . . . . . . senic. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . tested for chemicals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . based on their toxicity, persistence and . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .tendency . . . . . to build up in people and the en. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .vironment. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .“The . . more we test, the more we find . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .that . . . . the . presence of toxic chemicals is . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .widespread . . . . . in everyday consumer prod. . . . . . . . . . . . . .ucts,” . . . . . said Jeff Gearhart, Research Di. . . . . rector at the Ecology Center, who created . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .the . . . site. . . “It should not be the responsipublic health advocates to test . . . . . . . .bility . . . . . of Product manufacturers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .these . . . . . products. must take the lead and re. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .and . . . .legislators . substances with safe al. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .place . . . . . dangerous . . . . . . . . . . . . . .ternatives.” . . . . . are the key findings from . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Following . . this research: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . – . . . . . . . . .•. . Automobiles . . . tested nearly 700 new and used vehi. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . cles, from 1980 to 2010 model years. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Levels of some chemicals found in ve. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . hicles are 5-10 times higher than in . . . . . . . homes or offices. Since the average . . . . . . . . . . . . . American spends more than 1.5 hours . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . in their car every day, this can be a . . . . . . . . . . . . . major source of toxic chemical expo. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . sure. The US-made Pontiac G5 and . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Chevy Cobalt rated best overall 2009 . . . . . . . . . . . . . .vehicles. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .•. . .Children’s . . Car Seats – Infant and . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .child . . . . .car seats contain chemical addi. . . . . . . .tives . . . . that . can have adverse health effects . . . . . . . . . . . .on . . .babies . . and young children. Over half . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(58%) . . . . . of car seats contain one or more . . . . . . . .hazardous . . . . . chemicals, including PVC, . . . . . BFRs . . . . . and heavy metals. Three examcar seats that had none of the . . . . . . . . . . .ples . . . . of . tested for are: Baby Trend . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .chemicals . . . . . the Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 Car . . . . . .rebecca.mustard@townofws.comFlex-Loc; . . . . the Graco Turbo Booster. . . . . . . . . .Seat; . . . . .and • Back-to-School Products – over 60 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . common back-to-school . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . supplies were tested, including backpacks, pencil . . . . . binders and lunchboxes. Far too . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .cases, . . . . .

Advertiser INDEX

ACG Technology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .83 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

ES&E Sept09_4:2009 9/28/09 12:17 PM Page 82

Elegant swimming contrasts with toxicity of consumerism Comment by Tom Davey


t a recent swim meet, I watched admiringly as swimmers dived into the pool and their crawl stroke transformed the placid blue water into turbulent white foam as the leaders, like migrating birds, formed a V shape as they approached the end of the pool. With a slight turn of the head swimmers breathed in the aquatic troughs their strokes made in the water as their arms moved, elegantly and ergonomically, as they pulled through the water. Reflecting on this race made me think how much swimming is analogous to poetry. While some powerful swimmers use brute energy to bash and thrash - themselves through the water, it is usually elegance which allows swimmers to draw ahead in the final metres of competitions. Elegance is also aquatically ergonomic and the value of style is even more marked in longer distances such as the 200, 500 and 1,500 metre events Even the breast stroke, which, ostensibly, relies on jerky arm movements and frog-like scissor kicks, can still attain a fluidity of motion which seems to favour the more stylish swimmers. Water is a yielding substance, which has immutable rules defined by the laws of physics. A clean dive from a ten metre platform enables divers to knife into the water with astonishingly little splashing or pain to the diver. But to dive badly from the same height feels like being struck on the head as if with a wooden spar. Environmentally, we have much to 82 | September 2009

learn from swimming. While humans are some 80 percent water, we cannot live long beneath its surface; nor can we live long without water. In fact, we can live much longer without food than water. And water has great economic value. Virtually all great cities, London, Paris, Rome, New York, Sydney, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, all grew around fresh water bodies or oceans. In addition to the enormous commercial value of water, its aesthetic values also translate into monetary values. Houses with good views of water - be they ocean, lake, river or stream - command vastly higher prices than landlocked real estate. It is as though we are still directly connected to the water from which our life emerged billions of years ago. Now, quite literally, water bodies around the globe are vomiting back the toxic brews contained in our industrial effluents, and regrettably, our domestic garbage. Nor is the environmental damage confined to mining and manufacturing. Our addiction to shopping and rapid changes in tastes results in the massive discarding of waste products. Ironically I think the styrofoam, plastic bubble wrap and diverse other parts of industrial packaging, might equal the dangers lurking in poorly maintained drinking water and wastewater treatment plants and industrial waste handling and disposal. This generation is the first to be alerted to environmental toxicity throughout their schooling, backed up with massive and protracted media cov-

erage. The results are not promising despite the heroics and demonstrations. So many teenagers casually throw their coffee cups, pop cans and chocolate wrappers onto public sidewalks and, in many instances, onto parkland. Swimming in water can be elegant and healthful. Regrettably and increasingly, both the physical and aquatic environments give serious warnings expressed through the toxic graffiti from our wasteful lifestyles. Plastic wrapping ends up even in large oceans in volumes large enough to seriously damage aquatic life - such a large price to pay for that ten minute coffee break using cups which may last as long as the pyramids. Ironically it would cost far less â&#x20AC;&#x201C; in monetary terms, not to mention the enormous costs of environmental remediation and extended health care â&#x20AC;&#x201C; to control toxicity at the source as an integral part of manufacturing. Our globeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s generous capacity to absorb and purify wastes naturally has led to chronic abuse. Even the vast waters of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans can no longer digest the current rate of discharges. Regrettably, our industrial effluents and domestic garbage increasingly have no place to hide. And, for that matter, neither have we swimmers. Tom Davey is co-founder of Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine

Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine

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Environmental Science and Engineering Magazine September 2009  
Environmental Science and Engineering Magazine September 2009  

This issue focuses on: Temporary pumping system keeps water plant operational; automation of septage receiving can save resources; reusing v...