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December 2019 • Vol. 32 No. 6 • ISSN-0835-605X
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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. Canadian Publications Mail Sales Second Class Mail Product Agreement No. 40065446 Registration No. 7750 Subscription Changes? Please email reader subscription changes to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 705-502-0024. Environmental Science & Engineering 220 Industrial Pkwy. S., Unit 30 Aurora, Ontario L4G 3V6 Tel: (905)727-4666 Website: www.esemag.com A Supporting Publication of
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Canada’s water supply sector under fire once again – Editorial Comment Infrastructure report card paves way for post election discussions Using eDNA technology to help plan primary resource industry projects Investigating disinfection byproducts for Ontario First Nations community Using oxygen and ozone to control odour and corrosion caused by H2S Parks Canada sites now able to monitor wastewater treatment remotely Understanding what affects pump pressure head loss Medicine Hat chooses reinforced concrete pipe for new stormwater trunk main – Cover Story Complexity of water and wastewater plants creates opportunity for innovation and cost savings
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EDITORIAL COMMENT BY STEVE DAVEY
Canada’s water supply sector under fire once again
contain lead that can leach into the water. he entire Canadian water treatment However, Canada’s water sector has not ignored industry came under public scrutiny in 2000 this issue. Many jurisdictions, like the City of following an outbreak of E. coli 0157:H7 at Toronto, have had ongoing lead pipe replacement Walkerton, Ontario, where several died and over 2,000 were made ill. This tiny, lethal bug was programs for years and many more have recently usually associated with poorly cooked hamburgers, announced their initiatives. Last year, ES&E Magazine reported that Edmonton-based water but the tragic events in this small Ontario town utility EPCOR is investigating fixes to assist owners brought national awareness and outrage that this of older homes with lead service lines, while it could ever happen to Canadian drinking water. optimizes its own lead management program. This fall has again been hard on the reputation The City of Regina also said it is making of Canada’s water supply sector. According inroads to replace its side of lead service to a November 4, 2019 article in the Toronto connections, with just 3,600 remaining. This Star newspaper: “Hundreds of thousands of is less than half of what existed in years Canadians are consuming tap water laced with past. According to an April 2018 public works high levels of lead leaching from aging and committee report, Regina will continue its push deteriorating infrastructure.” to replace all lead pipes before 2050. This claim was the result of a year-long In Ottawa, homeowners with lead water investigation by journalists from nine universities and 10 media organizations, including the Toronto pipes that connect to non-lead city pipes are Star and the Institute for Investigative Journalism. now eligible for a rebate of up to $1,000, about 20% of the total replacement cost. City officials It involved collecting test results to measure estimate that lead affects about 15% of homes, or exposure to lead in 11 cities across Canada. Out some 30,000 residences. Homeowners applying of 12,000 tests since 2014, 33% exceeded Health (and waiting) under the lead pipes replacement Canada’s guideline of 5 parts per billion (ppb), program could get a year’s worth of free water which was lowered from 10 ppb in March. Reporters also fanned out to 32 cities and towns filters to remove lead from their tap water. Also, the City conducted a four-year pilot across the country to visit neighborhoods with older homes. With the help of residents who volunteered of research experiments to determine a new treatment strategy to meet the new lead standard. to take part, the teams conducted 260 water tests using accepted standards and submitted samples to Based on the study, a low-dose phosphate strategy accredited labs. The results showed 39% of samples has been selected for both of Ottawa’s water treatment plants. Phosphate has been widely exceeded the national safety guideline. used in North America for corrosion control and The consequences of lead poisoning range is considered a best practice for drinking water from kidney damage to reproductive problems, supplies in older cities with lead service pipes. including fertility issues. Lead poses a particular Design costs for the new water treatment risk to young children. While the lead levels found by the investigators process of adding phosphate are estimated to be upwards of $1 million. Construction costs, are worrying homeowners, they themselves have including chemical storage tanks, pumps, piping to take some responsibility for them. Many water and related control equipment, are estimated to systems built prior to the mid 1960s used lead be $5.5 million. piping to connect residences to the street water Let’s hope that initiatives like this and those main, due to its high resistance to corrosion. While other cities are taking will help maintain Canadians’ the municipality owns and is responsible for the lead piping up to the shutoff valve (usually located faith in their water supplies. It would be tragic indeed if this situation played into the hands of the at the property line), the homeowner owns and is responsible for it the rest of the way to the dwelling. bottled water industry, which is famous for making claims about the safety of its product, while at the Another factor is that until 1986 lead-based same time ignoring the solid waste implications for solder was used for indoor copper water piping. millions of discarded plastic bottles. Therefore, some household plumbing systems may have fittings, faucets and valves which 6 | December 2019
Steve Davey is editor and publisher of ES&E Magazine. Email: email@example.com
Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine
Infrastructure report card paves way for post election discussions By David Nesseth
hen a major Canadian infrastructure report card was released just a week and a half before the federal election, it was no surprise to those who created it that pipes and pumps didn’t instantly become front of mind for politicians on the campaign path, let alone eager voters awaiting policy planks. But as politicians old and new settle into their roles, it will be the mission for many industry associations, and those same report card creators, to lobby for policy that pulls from the new report’s data, and fight for funding to flow freely, with certainty, to municipalities that need it. “This was an election campaign that, unfortunately for everyone, had more to do with kitchen table pocketbook issues, which are fine, but it’s in the absence of a broader vision for the Canadian economy,” says John Gamble, president and CEO of the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies, one of eight groups that co-produced this third iteration of the infrastructure report card. While not intended to be a political document, despite the timing of its release, the report card, which draws from the federally-administered Canada’s Core Public Infrastructure Survey, is designed to take stock of Canadian infrastructure and prevent it from becoming out of sight, out of mind until something 8 | December 2019
on every day is more than 20 years old.” Infrastructure cash has theoretically been plentiful in recent years, particularly when the Liberal government earmarked 2019 $188 billion over 12 years for projects Monitoring the State of Canada’s Core Public Infrastructure throughout the country. But on this same front, suggests Mary Van Buren, president of the Canadian Construction Association, is the reality that Ontario got less than 25% of its 2018 funding commitment. “And I think there are another eight provinces and territories in the same boat,” says Van Buren. All in all, the federal parliamentary budget concluded in March that, over finally breaks and gets noticed. the last two years, Ottawa spent only “We don’t want complacency and I 60% of its allocated infrastructure budget. think that the report card results bear However, in August, Prime Minister Justhat out,” explains Gamble. “We’re basi- tin Trudeau announced what essentially cally holding our ground, but not mov- amounted to a top-up of the federal Gas ing the needle in terms of newer and Tax Fund to the tune of $1.6 billion for more reliable infrastructure.” Ontario municipalities. Still, the indusThe findings in the Infrastructure try will have to wait to get the ultimate Report Card are of little surprise to those results on how those funds finally flow. within the industry, and will likely be of Gamble says that what gets forgotten little surprise to policymakers soon to is that, despite significant federal-probe poring over the new numbers. The vincial government investment, municreport’s bottom line is that “a concerning ipalities end up paying some 93% of the amount of municipal infrastructure is in cost when a project’s overall life cycle is poor or very poor condition,” and that ultimately considered. It is usually the “an even larger proportion of municipal owner, and often the municipality, that infrastructure is in fair condition.” These are responsible for the ongoing maintepoints are combined with the fact that nance and operations. the report warns that the “majority of Van Buren, too, says she understands continued overleaf… the infrastructure that Canadians rely canadainfrastructure.ca
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INFRASTRUCTURE ation is pushing its 25-year plan concept, which was revealed in the spring under the hashtag #Construction4CDNs. Van Buren says a 25-year blueprint for infrastructure spending will ensure assets are routinely monitored and restored, preventing them from falling into states of disrepair. Gamble agrees that more planning is necessary, but hopes Canada can eventually move in a direction where there are no guessing games around infrastructure funding. “When we discuss healthcare, nobody says: ‘Hey, here’s a 10-year program, here’s a 25-year program, and when that’s up I guess we’ll see what happens.’” Gamble hopes to see a move away from funding on a project-by-project basis where there is no certainty around what may or may not be approved. He intends to lobby for the use of municipal asset management plans as a responsible and strategic approach to growing infrastruc-
why voters get locked into questions around household-focused issues such as healthcare and education during an election campaign, noting that “infrastructure is not something that rolls off the tip of the tongue for the average Canadian. We’re not thinking about the fact that to have health and education we need roads to connect people, and we need hospitals and schools to be built.” With the Liberals’ minority parliament win in the rearview mirror, Van Buren knows it will soon be time to start revisiting strategies around infrastructure funding, while charting a path forward with some new bigger-picture ideas that associations can float to government. “We need to make sure Canada remains competitive because we have fallen behind other countries. We need a longer timeline to align our people, align our resources, our projects, all with a shortfall of workers,” she adds. It is one of the reasons the Canadian Construction Associ-
KEY REPORT CARD STATISTICS FOR POTABLE WATER, WASTEWATER AND STORMWATER Very Good: The asset is fit for the future. It is well maintained, in good condition, new or recently rehabilitated. Good: The asset is adequate. It is acceptable and generally within the mid-stage of its expected service life. Fair: The asset requires attention. The asset shows signs of deterioration and some elements exhibit deficiencies. Poor: The asset is approaching the end of its service life, the condition is below the standard and a large portion of the system exhibits significant deterioration, which may affect the service it provides. Very poor: The asset is unfit for sustained service. It is near or beyond its expected service life and shows widespread signs of advanced deterioration. Some assets may be unusable. Unknown
40 % treatment plants, lagoon systems, pumping stations, lift stations and storage tanks
local water and transmission pipes
water treatment facilities, water pumping stations, water reservoirs
Note: The condition of a large portion of stormwater assets is unknown because historically, collecting data about their condition was a low-priority activity.
sewer pipes and sanitary force mains
10 | December 2019
% 3% 5
David Nesseth is a writer for ES&E Magazine. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: ~30 – 40% of these assets were constructed in the last 20 years.
Note: ~15% of linear wastewater assets have an unknown condition, which highlights the challenges in assessing underground assets.
ture, especially in denser urban areas. Like Van Buren, Gamble is also concerned about “back-end loaded” projects, meaning a significant amount of the funding appears near the project’s completion. This late funding creates issues around managing capacity for both labour and materials. “Everything’s going to be spread very thin, which can lead to paying a premium for infrastructure assets,” says Gamble, who adds that there have been some trends away from 1 to 2 year stimulus programs towards 10 and 12-year stimulus programs. “The reality is that the further away the money is in the distance, the more it is at risk,” he says.
9% 19 %
29 % 32%
stormwater drainage pump stations; stormwater collection pipes, open stormwater management facilities, including ditches and culverts less than stormwater management ponds, and more three metres in diameter
Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine
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Using eDNA technology to help plan primary resource industry projects By Steve Crookes and Fei Luo
he science behind environmental DNA (eDNA) detection and its applicability to biomonitoring was introduced to Environmental Science & Engineering’s readers in the June 2019 edition. (Gasparini, 2019). That article highlighted the sensitivity, specificity and power of eDNA and the potential of this technology to expand the scope of and fundamentally change the methodology of ecological monitoring. However, realizing the potential of eDNA will take adoption by industry, buy-in from regulators and standardization in practice and analysis. In this article, we focus on eDNA tools that can be used over the life cycle of primary resource industry (PRI) projects for biodiversity monitoring. Greenfield project sites will, in the absence of any destabilizing ecological forces, be home to a relatively stable ecosystem representing a baseline of biodiversity. A robust accounting of the biodiversity characteristic of that baseline can be used to frame restoration efforts. Post operations, it is imperative to know what land use is intended so that appropriate landscape features can be incorporated to support the expected biodiversity. Characterizing biodiversity over this life cycle is where eDNA technology has great potential. There are two eDNA technology platforms. Metabarcoding is a high-throughput method that identifies many species in a single test and as such represents an untargeted approach. Quantitative PCR (qPCR) is a targeted approach, which detects only particular species of interest, but with superior sensitivity and accuracy. These two platforms are complementary, and together offer comprehensive coverage of biodiversity. Metabarcoding is a process whereby the DNA of multiple species is identified using a standard genetic marker (a molecular barcode) that is common to 12 | December 2019
If completed in the pre-operations phase, the biodiversity assessment using eDNA is part of baseline work for a project.
all life. When analyzed using molecular methods it is diagnostic of each unique species due to variations in the sequences of DNA. Similar sequences that group together and represent the same species are called “operational taxonomic units”, or OTUs. Because each OTU has unique representative DNA sequence, they are termed “barcodes”, as they work in an analogous fashion to the UPC barcodes used in commercial transactions. Genetic barcode markers are qualified and quantified using next-generation DNA sequencing that can analyze, by directly sequencing each molecule, millions of different DNA sequences simultaneously. Total DNA may be extracted from environmental samples (i.e., eDNA) and contain within them DNA from all the biota that had recently shed eDNA into their surroundings. This is the “meta” part of metabarcoding. All DNA sequences are grouped into
OTUs, which are then compared to a reference database of DNA barcode from known species and identified. In this way, all the species can be identified, and their relative abundances of the DNA sequences indicated (i.e., via proportion of DNA sequences sorting into each OTU). In simple terms, the entire biological community that left traces within a sample can be approximately reconstructed whole again. Effectively we get a “snapshot” of biodiversity in time. For example, if completed in the pre-operations phase, the biodiversity assessment using eDNA is part of baseline work for a project. These snapshots of species assemblages from DNA barcodes can be repeated across time and space. They can provide a temporal record in the change of species composition and an indication of the changes in relative abundance of species detected. If employed in this
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time-series fashion, eDNA metabarcoding barcode sequences may be referred to as “chronosequences” (Gastuaer et al. 2019). (See Figure 1). The benefits to chronosequence monitoring over the lifetime of a PRI project include being able to modify operational procedures to mitigate further biodiversity loss and/or to enact habitat enhancement initiatives to restore biodiversity during the operation (i.e., progressive reclamation). (See Figure 2) Chronosequence monitoring will allow for timely enactment of response initiatives or action plans that are part of the overall management strategy for the project. There are a number of published field studies that have implemented chronosequence monitoring (e.g., Boschen et al., 2016; Coble et al., 2018; Fernandes et al., 2018). They showed that it can be used effectively to monitor changes in biodiversity. However, the use of metabarcoding in PRI projects is novel and is beginning to be applied in order to answer very specific questions. As with all environmental assessment techniques, caveats are in place for proper use of eDNA metabarcoding. These include all the sampling and optimization processes associated with conducting eDNA surveys generally. eDNA metabarcoding methods, including computational advances in DNA sequence analysis and the numbers of species repcontinued overleaf…
Figure 1: Tabulation of chronosequence-derived species assemblages as recorded by the use of multiple DNA barcode markers for three time periods: baseline (time = zero) and two time points in the future (Times Series 1 and 2). As time progresses, the biodiversity calculated from the use of DNA barcodes (chronosequences) declines. Some barcodes are plant-specific (e.g., matK) or restricted to fungi and microbes (e.g., 18S), whereas others can be used across many forms of life (e.g., 16S).
Figure 2: A life of a PRI site seen through the ‘lens’ of eDNA metabarcoding. DNA extracted from a pre-operation site provides the baseline. Regular temporal sampling and analysis of eDNA chronosequences illustrates a decline of biodiversity during the working life of the operation. Reassuringly, the same technology can track the recovery of biodiversity once restoration efforts have been implemented.
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December 2019 | 13
ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE resented in genetic databases, will only ever increase. Therefore, all samples collected at any point in time will be subject to less optimal analysis than samples collected in the future that will be processed using more up-to-date methods. Thus, there will be a time-directed bias to the quality/quantity of information. Rather than being a fatal flaw, all that needs to occur is that, for every survey conducted, at least half of any eDNA extract be archived in deep freeze for future analysis with the upgraded metabarcoding workflow. Although archiving would increase costs, small amounts of eDNA representing entire ecosystems can be stored in relatively small spaces. Archiving samples is quickly being considered to be an absolute necessity in the surveillance of global biodiversity (Dysthe et al. 2018) and would likely be considered necessary by regulators in the future. The less complex targeted (qPCR) approach also retains a prominent place in appraising lands for resource utilization and responsible environmental stewardship. Targeted eDNA surveys employ species-specific molecular probes of extreme sensitivity that can potentially detect the target species’ eDNA in an environmental sample at amounts as low as attograms – that is 10-23 g. Such extreme sensitivities are essential in gaining more confidence that a species is not present, as well as for detecting it when it is suspected to be present. In sampling terms, by employing rigorous machine-learning based software tools for survey designs, which include increasing our statistical power to detect the species, we can be more confident in that species’ absence should it not be detected. Put another way, the extreme sensitivities of eDNA-based molecular assays increase our power to reject false negative detection (assuming an arbitrary rate of false negative detections – usually 5%). Being confident that a species of interest is not occupying an area earmarked for development, is often an essential first step in the pathway to initiate responsible resource-based projects. As an example, the field team at Precision Biomonitoring Inc. recently conducted a survey for the federally protected Blanding’s turtle (Emydoidea blan14 | December 2019
Following collection, a sample is placed into a Precision Monitoring Inc. Lysis Buffer to split apart captured cells and to remove collected DNA or RNA from the filter into solution, for analysis.
dingii) at a site of an historic gold mine in northern Ontario that has been slated for a resumption of operations. However, the local Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry office had credible reports of this turtle being present in the area in the past, albeit in low numbers. This was likely as intentional release by the local human population. Regardless of its origin, the site was intensively surveyed using an on-site eDNA sampling strategy that, in combination with a highly sensitive Blanding’s assay, constituted enough effort (assuming a 5% false negative detection rate as acceptable error) to have detected the species should it have been present. The calculation of the sampling effort was based on previous records of eDNAbased detection of the turtle within its known range of occupancy in southern Ontario. This was further verified by a prototype machine-learning based software tool that generates sampling strategies with high statistical accuracy. This example shows how important pilot, and antecedent studies, are to conduct eDNA surveys, particularly for areas where development poses benefits but that have important conservation value. For the full benefits of eDNA detection methods to be felt by PRIs,
and, thus, by the wider public, we must work together to validate these methods and to establish the bare minimum standards required for their conduct. A coming-together and reciprocal understanding of stakeholder concerns are necessary to unify the goals of industrial interests, economists, politicians, First Nations, regulators and conservationists to optimize environmental monitoring under a shared rubric. Luckily, egalitarian methods such as eDNA detection, which lend themselves to direct public involvement (citizen science projects), can facilitate closer ties and mutual understanding. Steve Crookes is with Precision Biomonitoring Inc. Email: steve.crookes@ precisionbiomonitoring.com Fei Luo is with Ecometrix Incorporated. Email: email@example.com
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Table 1. Raw water quality.
Operators of the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation water system work with WCWC staff to review the proposed pilot setup.
was to investigate if either in-line coagulation before ultrafiltration or GAC filtration after ultrafiltration are necessary processes to control DBPs, such as THMs and HAAs.
RAW WATER AND WATER QUALITY ANALYSIS Raw water was collected at the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation water treatment plant and transported in a water hauling truck to WCWC in Walkerton, Ontario. The raw water was stored in a ground level, outdoor storage tank with a 40,000 litre capacity. It had low turbidity and low organics, as By Victoria Colling, Laura Zettler, Yanting Liu, Geoff measured as dissolved organic carbon Graham, Souleymane Ndiongue, Tricia Hamilton, (DOC) and ultraviolet absorbance at Frederick Dubeau and Bill Jones 254 nm (UV254) as shown in Table 1. During the pilot testing, samples were he Chippewas of Nawash Unceded explore treatment options. Through pilot collected from the raw water and after First Nation community is located testing, WCWC works with clients to each treatment process and analyzed on the southwest coast of Georgian address their drinking water challenges. at WCWC for turbidity, pH, apparent Bay, Ontario. The community’s cur- These projects can take place at the client’s colour, true colour, UV254 absorbance, rent water treatment process includes location or at the WCWC Technology DOC and alkalinity. coagulation, flocculation, pressure filtra- Demonstration Facility, which houses tion, cartridge filtration, UV disinfection multiple pilot-scale treatment processes. PILOT PLANTS and chlorination. However, it is under a Using the community’s source water, Prior to pilot testing, the storage tanks boil water advisory due to filtration and WCWC investigated the formation of were drained and cleaned, the ultrafiltradisinfection requirements not being met disinfection byproducts from two treat- tion membrane was chemically cleaned (Neegan Burnside, 2019). In conjunction ment trains: ultrafiltration, followed by and the GAC pressure filter was backwith Ontario First Nations Technical Ser- granular activated carbon (GAC) filtra- washed. Jar testing was completed to vices Corporation (OFNTSC), the com- tion, and in-line coagulation, followed determine the optimal coagulant dosage munity will be upgrading its water treat- by ultrafiltration and GAC filtration. for in-line coagulant assisted ultrafiltration. DBPs, such as trihalomethanes (THMs) ment plant and distribution system. Pilot Test One included ultrafiltration It is expected that the upgraded distri- and haloacetic acids (HAAs) can form in without in-line coagulation, followed by bution system will have a longer reten- chlorinated waters with organic precur- GAC pressure filtration. Pilot Test Two tion time, which may impact the forma- sors. The Guidelines for Canadian Drink- included in-line coagulation, followed by ing Water Quality provide a maximum ultrafiltration and GAC pressure filtration of disinfection byproducts (DBPs). In collaboration with the Chippewas acceptable concentration of 100 μg/L for tion. The pilot plants ran for a minimum of Nawash Unceded First Nation and THMs and 80 μg/L for HAAs as a quar- of three hours. OFNTSC, the Walkerton Clean Water terly running annual average (2017). The ultrafiltration system is a holOverall, the purpose of this pilot test low-fibre vacuum driven membrane with Centre (WCWC) completed a pilot test to
Investigating Disinfection Byproducts for Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation
16 | December 2019
Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine
a nominal pore size of 0.02 µm. During pilot testing, the effluent flow rate was approximately 9.3 GPM (35.2 L/min), the transmembrane pressure was -1.4 psi, and the permeate cycle was 30 – 60 minutes in between backpulses. The GAC pressure filter consisted of virgin, coal-based carbon contained in a 0.75 ft3 pressure vessel. During the pilot testing, the flow was approximately 3 GPM (11.3 L/min). For Pilot Test Two, polyaluminum chloride coagulant was used as coagulation before ultrafiltration. Based on the jar test results, the optimal coagulant dosage was 5 mg/L. Dosing the ultrafiltration pilot plant was variable, due to the fluctuations in flow rates of the feed water. However, the ultrafiltration was approximately dosed at 5 mg/L, based on the permeate flow rate. DISINFECTION BYPRODUCT FORMATION A Simulated Distribution System method (Standard Methods 4710C) was
Figure 1. Pilot plant schematic.
completed to determine the potential formation of DBPs at each stage of the treatment processes. Grab samples were collected after a minimum of three hours of operation and transferred to a 250 mL chlorine-demand free, amber glass bottle. Samples were dosed at 2.0 mg/L and 3.5 mg/L of chlorine and stored at
room temperature. After 2, 6 and 8 days of contact time, the chlorinated samples were tested for chlorine residual and sent to an accredited laboratory to measure THMs and HAAs. continued overleaf…
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December 2019 | 17
WATER ORGANICS REDUCTION Organics are low in the community’s source water, but they are precursors to the formation of DBPs. Time is another major factor in DBP formation and it is anticipated that this community will have long chlorine retention times in their distribution system. Therefore, it is important to assess the reduction of organics with the pilot testing treatment processes as the retention time in the community’s distribution system is not something that can be easily altered. Figure 2 shows the DOC reduction at each treatment stage for each pilot test. As expected, the majority of the DOC was removed by the GAC filtration. When comparing the total DOC removal Figure 2. The percentage of DOC reduction after ultrafiltration and after GAC filtration without between the two pilot tests, it was found pre-coagulation (Pilot Test One) and with pre-coagulation (Pilot Test Two). that the in-line pre-coagulation (Pilot Test Two) provided a total of 93% DOC reduction, whereas the same processes without coagulation (Pilot Test One) provided a total of 75% DOC reduction. Similar trends were found with monitoring UV254. DISINFECTION BYPRODUCTS The formation of DBPs is not only dependent on the level of organic precursors and chlorine dosage, but also the reaction time. Although this source water has low organic precursors, the retention time is expected to be up to eight days in the distribution system. Therefore, THMs and HAAs were measured after 2, 6 and 8 days of contact time. Overall, the formation of THMs and HAAs increased as the contact time increased from two days to eight days, as shown in Figures 3 and 4. The samples that were dosed with chlorine at 2 mg/L had slightly less THMs and HAAs, compared to samples that were dosed at 3.5 mg/L. Regardless of the contact time, GAC reduced the levels of THMs and HAAs formed, which was expected. Ultrafiltration without coagulation (Pilot Test One) produced slightly higher levels of THMs and HAAs formed, compared to the processes with coagulation (Pilot Test Two). However, all DBP levels still remained below the maximum acceptable concentrations. CONCLUSION Overall, the GAC filtration provided 18 | December 2019
Figure 3. Concentration of THMs (µg/L) from (A) Pilot Test One and (B) Pilot Test Two at each treatment process with 2 mg/L chlorine dose (grey bars) and 3.5 mg/L chlorine dose (white bars).
Figure 4. Concentration of HAAs (µg/L) from (A) Pilot Test One and (B) Pilot Test Two at each treatment process with 2 mg/L chlorine dose (grey bars) and 3.5 mg/L chlorine dose (white bars).
a higher reduction in organic precursors and therefore a lower formation of THMs and HAAs than the coagulation followed by ultrafiltration. However, pre-coagulation may be considered to control biological fouling on the membrane. The community, in conjunction with the engineering consulting firm, is in the process of designing a water treatment process and distribution system that is appropriate for this community.
Victoria Colling, Laura Zettler, Yanting (Helen) Liu, Geoff Graham and Souleymane Ndiongue are with the Walkerton Clean Water Centre. Tricia Hamilton is with Ontario First Nations Technical Services Corporation. Frederick Dubeau and Bill Jones are with the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org
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WASTEWATER acteristic rotten egg odour. It is highly toxic and corrosive to certain metals and is heavier than air, meaning it can accumulate in wells, manholes and other similar locations that lack ventilation. The effect it can have on humans, at varying concentrations relative to ambient air, is shown in Table 1. H₂S becomes a corrosion issue when it contacts moist concrete or steel, among other metals, in the presence of oxygen, even at very low gaseous concentrations. Conditions such as these are common in the headspace of some pipes and other areas where the collection system has easy access to atmospheric oxygen. Bacteria in these areas convert H₂S into sulfuric acid, which then begins a destructive reaction with the infrastructure. Historically, control of odour and/or Hydrogen sulfide (H₂S) arises from the combination of anaerobic conditions and the presence of sulfites and sulfates in conjunction with colonies of microorganisms present on the inner walls of corrosion has been implemented through all collection systems, referred to as the slime layer. either vapour phase techniques, where the headspace of a system is treated, or liquid phase techniques, where treatments target the liquid flow. Vapour phase treatments like scrubbers do not provide corrosion control. Some of the liquid phase techniques offer corrosion control. The most common method of inducing liquid phase treatment, or directly treating wastewater inside the collection system, has been by dosing chemicals By Paul Turgeon and Tonya Chandler into the system. A constant and continuous dose of chemical is fed from a large astewater systems have long been sulfide (H₂S) and its associated com- reservoir with a small pump into the subject to issues with odour and pounds. Some industrial wastewater con- collection system, typically at a manhole corrosion, which is understand- tains sulfur compounds, which provide or pump station. These chemicals are able given the nature of what the molecular basis for the generation meant to react with the odour-causing they convey. While odour certainly needs of H₂S. It arises from the combination of compounds present in the wastewater controlling for public health and aesthetic anaerobic conditions and the presence of or cease their formation and/or release reasons, corrosion creates the greatest sulfites and sulfates in conjunction with from solution. potential for environmental harm and colonies of microorganisms present on real systemic and economic damage. the inner walls of all collection systems, CONVENTIONAL CONTROL OPTIONS This damage can arise in the form of referred to as the slime layer. Chemical oxidation of H₂S is accomSulfate reducing bacteria (SRB) will plished through use of a compound burst pipes and other equipment and system failures. Failures of this type use these compounds in the absence of with a high oxidation potential, called require the repair and replacement of free oxygen (O₂) for metabolism. These an oxidant, such as hydrogen peroxide system materials and equipment, and bacteria do not use the sulfur compo- or sodium hypochlorite (bleach). they have the potential to expose the nent, and it is available to react with Chemicals that interact with H₂S and environment to unpredictable releases water, specifically free protons (H+), sequester, or scavenge the sulfur into a of hazardous waste that are difficult, if which results in the generation of H2S. relatively insoluble form, such as ferric not impossible, to contain or recover. Following its generation, H2S can be chloride and ferrous chloride, can be released into the atmosphere and find used to remove sulfur from the cycle CORROSION CAUSED BY its way to receptors through junctions of entirely. Because of the way that its ions HYDROGEN SULFIDE the atmosphere and collection system, at dissociate in the aqueous phase, the A major contributor to odour and cor- which point it is an odour concern. release of H₂S from wastewater will not rosion in industrial systems is hydrogen H₂S is a colorless gas that has a char- occur if the pH is 9 or higher.
Using oxygen and ozone to control odour and corrosion caused by H2S in wastewater
20 | December 2019
Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine
0.1 to 3
• Odour threshold
3 to 100
• Offensive odour
10 to 50
• Headache • Nausea • Throat and eye irritation
50 to 100
• Eye injury
100 to 300
• Conjunctivitis • Respiratory tract irritation • Olfactory paralysis
300 to 500
• Pulmonary edema • Imminent threat to life
500 to 1,000
• Strong nervous system stimulation • Apnea
1,000 to 2,000
• Immediate collapse with respiratory paralysis • Risk of death
Table 1. Hydrogen sulfide health effects at different concentrations.
ALTERNATIVE OXYGEN SOURCE/SULFATE SUBSTITUTE In an anaerobic environment, the microbiology in a collection system will use oxygen from a nitrate (NO₃) molecule more readily than from a sulfate (SO₄) molecule. As a result, benign nitrogen is released rather than H₂S. Chemicals like calcium or sodium nitrate are commercially available and can be used for this purpose. However, they can be expensive, and they feed and grow the SRB layer, potentially requiring a higher volume for treatment over time. Upon cessation of treatment, the amount of H₂S can be even worse than before. Excess wet well build-up requiring increased clean-out cycles (because of the waxes used to stabilize the nitrate molecules) can be encountered downstream in the collection system. In addition, emerging regulations are beginning to include nitrate concentrations on discharge limitations. Real-time, active monitoring of wastewater H₂S levels is seldom carried out, so enough chemical to control peak values is typically added on a constant basis. By treating for peak values with chemicals such as these, the likelihood is very high that excess nitrate will be present and actively added to the wastewater. This can require additional denitrification processes or incur fines, both of which can be very expensive. An issue with all chemicals is that, to introduce them to a collection system, a bulk quantity must be stored nearby. To ensure that chemicals are always available for treatment, continued deliveries to the bulk storage tank must be made. To avoid adverse effects to the environment, engineered controls, such as secondary containment and leak monitoring, must be continued overleaf…
December 2019 | 21
Anue’s FORSe series was created to treat wastewater corrosion and odour in force mains and lift stations by creating positive dissolved oxygen levels.
designed, implemented and maintained. Ideally, a successful treatment of wastewater odour and corrosion would: • End sulfide production. • Quickly eliminate sulfides that are present. • Bring about no additional hazard to life or the environment. • Do no harm to the collection system. • Create no additional challenges downstream. In addition, the treatment solution must be cost-effective. One answer is introducing ozone and oxygen into wastewater systems to control odour and corrosion. H₂S CONTROL WITH OZONE Ozone has long been used in water treatment, dating back to at least the late 19th century, primarily for the disinfection and polishing of drinking water. In Europe, ozone treatment of water is a common process. Its environmental sustainability and relative safety versus chemical systems have established it as a favoured current and future technology. The controlled use of ozone as a treatment does not produce harmful byproducts that could contaminate or damage the environment or ecology. Typically, the only byproducts from its reaction are O₂ and inert oxides. In recent years, interest in its use to treat wastewater has led to the development of new and sustainable (green) technology for odour and corrosion con22 | December 2019
trol in wastewater collection systems. Ozone is a special, naturally occurring form of atmospheric oxygen. Instead of two oxygen atoms it has three, represented by its chemical formula O3. This third oxygen atom makes it a highly reactive molecule with very high oxidation potential. In fact, it has the highest oxidation potential of any commercially available molecule and the fourth highest overall with an oxidation potential of 2.07 volts (V). Above it, in terms of oxidation potential, are atomic fluorine (F•, 2.87 V), the hydroxyl radical (•OH, 2.86 V) and atomic oxygen (O•, 2.42 V). Ozone can be generated by exciting a flow of oxygen with sufficient electrical or optical energy. This will cause a certain amount of oxygen atoms to split and re combine with other O₂ molecules nearby. Under typical treatment conditions, using a relatively pure oxygen stream and a corona discharge chamber that uses a high-voltage electrical arc, this reaction can produce up to 9 to 12% by weight (wt%) ozone, although typically output is 1 to 9 wt% ozone. The remainder of the stream is left as oxygen. As ozone concentrations rise above this concentration, the destruction reaction becomes more frequent, returning greater quantities to O₂ and maintaining this equilibrium. This instability is also the reason ozone cannot be stored and must be generated immediately before application. Because of its extreme instability and
high oxidation potential, ozone is powerful and indiscriminate in terms of reactivity with other chemical species. Ozone has been shown as an effective treatment for the destruction of volatile organic compounds, removal of metals, total suspended solids and organic carbon, and significant reductions to chemical oxygen demand. In freshwater, the half-life of ozone is typically 10 to 20 minutes, but in wastewater, ozone has been documented as being entirely consumed within 8.6 seconds. This is because of the extreme amount of potential reactants present in wastewater, including H₂S. The simple structure of H₂S makes it an easy target for oxidation by ozone. In addition to its high oxidation potential, ozone’s unique structure tends to create free radicals, chemical species that have unbonded electrons making them highly reactive, especially in water. Not only is the benefit of ozone’s direct reaction with different chemical species realized, but also, as part of these reactions, additional free radicals, which can be even more reactive than ozone, can form. Additionally, radicals tend to create additional radicals as they react, in what is termed a free radical chain reaction. These additional reactions are indirect effects of ozone. With the source of ozone generation being ambient air, it is the ultimate in sustainable and green chemical treatment. The current tech-
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nology for producing ozone has benefited from more than 45 years of ongoing development, resulting in cost-effective and robust operation. Using little more than an oxygen separator, a corona discharge chamber and some compressors and other electrical components, on-site generation of ozone is relatively simple and safe. This is in sharp contrast to other treatments that are currently commercially available. Because of the way ozone is produced, oxygen is necessarily going to be part of the treatment gas cocktail when using ozone. This is beneficial because oxygen is also an oxidizer. With an oxidation potential of 1.23 V, oxygen reacts slower than ozone but is an excellent complement. Aside from its ability to assist in oxidation, its primary benefit is increasing the dissolved oxygen concentration of the wastewater, encouraging the growth of aerobic bacteria, which do not create compounds that are odorous, corrosive or otherwise harmful to collection systems. It also eliminates the ability of SRB to produce sulfides, either by removing the SRB entirely, or promoting the growth of aerobic species that will oxidize any sulfides before they are able to enter the wastewater stream. COMBINED USE OF OXYGEN AND OZONE FOR TREATMENT In terms of a robust and green method of treatment and prevention of odour and corrosion in collections systems, the combined forces of oxygen and ozone are at the top of the list. Oxygen is widely available, making up roughly 21% of the atmosphere, and is easily converted to ozone. The generation and infusion of these two gases into wastewater collection systems has proven to be a clean, safe and cost-effective treatment. The first method of action is the powerful destructive effects of ozone on H2S, quickly converting it to sulfites and sulfates on contact. In addition, ozone’s antimicrobial properties can help to reduce the presence of SRB and other microorganisms present on pipe walls. As a product of its reaction, oxygen is generated. This in turn adds more power to the oxygen portion of the treatment gas cocktail, which provides secondary treatment by significantly increasing dissolved oxygen, www.esemag.com @ESEMAG
and allows for more complete utilization of infused treatment gases. Because of these indiscriminate and powerful oxidizing characteristics, the concern is sometimes raised regarding the possibility of ozone attacking the wastewater infrastructure itself. This is unlikely to occur in applications, especially in wastewater where liquid phase infusion is implemented. This is due to
the high ratio of liquid volume compared to pipe surface area per unit pipe length and the extreme availability of reactants in the liquid portion. Paul Turgeon and Tonya Chandler are with Anue Water Technologies Inc. For more information, email: email@example.com, or visit www.anuewater.com
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www.xypex.com December 2019 | 23
WASTEWATER The SENTRY installation team saw the benefit to Parks Canada of being able to remotely monitor the performance of the key treatment equipment. This is a relatively small plant, with a peak flow capacity of 420 m3/day and does not have fulltime, on-site operators. Using the SENTRY online dashboard and alerts system, the nearest operator can schedule maintenance based on imbalance notifications from the biology in the treatment plant.
Remote monitoring can help operators better understand treatment plant performance.
Parks Canada sites now able to monitor wastewater treatment remotely
ENTRY-BOD systems are now providing Parks Canada operators with the ability to remotely monitor wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) performance in real time at four park locations in the Rocky Mountains. The company installed four systems in a variety of wastewater treatment systems, across three national parks this spring. The goal is to help operators better understand the health of biology and treatment plant performance through the fluctuations of tourism seasons. The installations are relevant for operators of return activated sludge (RAS), enhanced on-site septic, rotating biological contactors (RBC), and membrane bioreactor (MBR) treatment plants.
BANFF NATIONAL PARK, ALBERTA The Lake Louise WWTP acts as a year-round RAS plant, with a 4,137 m3/ day capacity and an on-site operations team. Operators worked with the SENTRY team to install sensors on the influent and effluent sides of the aerated bioreactor to monitor overall treatment efficiency of the process. The plant expe24 | December 2019
riences a large range of fluctuations in loading throughout the year due to seasonal and small industry sources. Using the SENTRY dashboard, operators and SENTRY staff can remotely monitor daily and weekly trends in performance of the aeration system. The Johnson Canyon WWTP has an enhanced Bionest septic system design with an extended aerated fixed film reactor that disperses to multiple conventional beds. The location is remote, and does not have an operator on-site daily. Its peak daily capacity is 22 m3. SENTRY installed sensors to monitor the treatment efficiency of the fixed film reactor, as well as monitor the final system effluent. A primary goal is to understand if excess organic loading is being directed to the leach field during the summer season when there is an increase in visitors in the area.
YOHO NATIONAL PARK, BRITISH COLUMBIA The Field WWTP has a daily capacity of 477 m3, with treatment based on an MBR. Such treatment plants typically require a high level of operator input and this is the case here. Plant operators had to make frequent visits from Lake Louise to check the system and perform maintenance during the summer season. SENTRY sensors are installed at four key process locations throughout the process, providing key insight on plant performance and real-time alerts to key biological imbalance events. Sensors monitor pre- and post-MBR biological performance, helping operators to understand if key treatment standards are being maintained and if on-site maintenance is required. By remotely observing the daily trends on the SENTRY dashboard, operators can decrease the frequency and dependency of check-ins at the station. Dwayne Doucette, a water and wastewater engineer with Parks Canada, says: “IWT’s SENTRY-BOD has been providing real-time feedback on wastewater strength at several of our treatment plants across the Agency. The data is presented in a simple, graphical format, which helps us to better understand our operations and treatment plant performance. We are learning how BOD varies throughout the day and how plant performance responds at various locations within the treatment process. We expect Sentry-BOD will also provide insight into plant upsets and help us with design criteria for future upgrades at test sites and other sites across the Agency.”
JASPER NATIONAL PARK, ALBERTA Miette Hot Springs WWTP’s design is based around dual RBCs and disk fil- For more information, visit ters. Sensors were installed to monitor www.sentrywatertech.com influent and effluent wastewater quality.
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PUMPS other. He then released both balls simultaneously. As he predicted, both balls hit the ground at the same time. Even today, this result seems to fly in the face of common sense. Let’s mentally reverse this experiment by now throwing these same balls upward (each at the same speed) from the ground. If we neglect air resistance, then both balls will slow down at the same rate as they travel upward. Eventually, both balls with stop momentarily at the exact same height above the ground.
Understanding what affects pump pressure head loss
GRAVITY An object that is moving (thrown) in the opposite direction of a constant force will only travel so far before it stops. On Earth, if we throw an object upward with an initial velocity (V) it will immediately start slowing down due to the deceleration of gravity. The height (H) the object will attain can be calcuany have heard of the famous lated using the following equation: Leaning Tower of Pisa experiV2 ment that was reportedly con- H = 2g ducted in 1589 by Galileo Galilei. The experiment was devised to overThis is one of the equations of motion. turn the long-held view that objects fall If we apply it to a ball being thrown to Earth at rates of speed that are pro- upward on the Earth then: portional to their weight. In other words, H= vertical distance the ball will heavier objects should fall faster than travel (m or ft) lighter ones. V= initial vertical velocity of the ball As the story goes, Galileo stood at the (m/s or ft/s) very top of the tower and held a heavy g= deceleration due to gravity (9.81 ball in one hand and a lighter ball in the m/s2 or 32.2 ft/s2
HOW THIS RELATES TO PUMP HEAD LOSS Simply put, a pump impeller energizes a fluid by throwing it. Let’s neglect the complicated vector analysis that is taking place at the outer tip of the impeller vane. In doing so, we can consider the fluid’s exit velocity (from the pump) the same as the impeller’s peripheral speed. Let’s use a centrifugal pump that is running at 1750 rpm with a 6” diameter impeller. We will assume the fluid’s exit velocity is the same as the impeller’s peripheral speed (about 46 ft/s). Therefore, if we neglect resistance, this liquid should travel (on Earth) vertically about: H=
462 ~ 33' 2x32.2g
EFFECTS OF AN OBJECT’S MASS As we have noted, the weight of the ball (or fluid) makes no difference to the final height it will attain. But, we all know nothing in life is free! Imagine for a moment holding a baseball in one hand and a bowling ball in the other. We now know that if we throw both balls upward at the same speed they will reach the same height at the same time. But it will take much more effort to throw the heavier ball. In fact, the amount of effort will be directly proportional to the mass of the ball.
Self-Priming Pump Lift Stations
https://www.johnbrooks.ca/product/gorman-rupp-pumps-john-brooks-company 26 | December 2019
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Figure 1. Performance curve for petroleum.
PRESSURE In the above case of the baseball and the bowling ball, what if we were to put our hand in the way of each ball’s path? The bowling ball would exert more force on our hand than the baseball. Now, let’s look at two streams of fluid: one, petroleum and the other, water. The weight of petroleum is about 80% that of water (specific gravity = 0.8). If we were able to measure the pressure of each stream of fluid at the same relative location, what would it show? The petroleum’s pressure reading should always be 80% of the water stream’s reading. So, even though the head of the two liquids is the same, the pressure that it exerts depends on its density (weight/volume).
Petroleum and water stream comparison. www.esemag.com @ESEMAG
Figure 2. Performance curve for water.
SPECIFIC GRAVITY AND CENTRIFUGAL PUMP CURVES Figures 1 and 2 show two curves for the same pump model. The only difference is the specific gravity of the fluid. Note that pressure values (PSI) and the location of the horsepower lines vary between the curves, while the head scale stays the same.
completed the “Fundamentals of Pumping” (MOECC ID 12158) training. This day-long course incorporates a balanced blend of theoretical learning and practical “hands on” factory equipment. Attendees work with Gorman-Rupp’s self-priming “glass-face” pump which allows them to see inside an actual pump while it is operating. This allows for a practical demonstration and study OPERATOR TRAINING of pump priming, air entrainment, sucJohn Brooks Company, in partner- tion/discharge cavitation, system curves ship with Gorman-Rupp Canada, has and advanced trouble-shooting techbeen providing on-site and “manufac- niques from a whole new perspective. turer-based” certified training for several decades. Since that time, several For more information, visit hundred operators have successfully www.johnbrooks.ca
Stefan Fediw of John Brooks Company Limited, doing a presentation at a recent “Fundamentals of Pumping” training course. Fediw is also the author of this article. December 2019 | 27
Medicine Hat Chooses Reinforced Concrete Pipe for new stormwater trunk main By Greg Christensen
he existing stormwater drainage system in the northwest sector of the City of Medicine Hat, Alberta was over capacity and could not meet the demands of continual commercial and industrial growth in the area. As such, the city imposed development restrictions in the sector until a solution could be found to relieve the capacity issues. Furthermore, one high traffic intersection would flood frequently during rain events and would often require closure for public safety. In 2016, the city decided to install a new stormwater trunk main to address
28 | December 2019
these issues. The Northwest Storm Trunk will convey stormwater discharged from several existing and proposed stormwater management facilities to an outfall on the South Saskatchewan River. MPE Engineering Ltd. (MPE) was engaged by the city through a Request for Proposal process to provide stormwater modeling, preliminary design, detailed design, tender documents, contract administration, site inspections, and quality assurance testing for the project. The Northwest Storm Trunk alignment closely followed a proposed alignment for a sanitary sewer trunk main that was also being planned for the same
area. The design of both trunk mains was completed simultaneously by MPE and combined into one construction tender. The project included designing a stormwater and sanitary sewer trunk main, railway crossings, pipeline crossings, river outfall upgrades, energy dissipation structures, roadway design, and a stormwater dry pond. Included were 880 m of 1,350 mm diameter Class III reinforced concrete pipe (RCP) and 1,275 m of 1,350 mm diameter Class IV RCP. Design was completed and the project was tendered for construction in March 2018. The contract was awarded to BYZ Enterprises Inc. of Medicine Hat and construction began in June 2018. Flexible pipe systems and rigid pipe systems were reviewed during the design process. Upon analysis of the project conditions, both MPE and the City of Medicine Hat concluded that flexible pipe systems were not suitable for the Northwest Storm Trunk. Therefore, only rigid RCP was specified. The decision to use RCP was based on the following project challenges:
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Depth of bury – The selected alignment had approximately 800 m of pipe buried between 6 m and 8 m deep and over 300 m of pipe buried between 8 m and 10 m deep. Significant groundwater infiltration expected – Geotechnical investigations indicated that groundwater would be above the pipe depth for portions of the alignment and to expect varying native soils, including loose to very loose gravelly sandy wet soils. The flexible pipe design for sections of this project would require specifying Class I material compacted to 95%. It is possible to design an embedment material and compaction effort to support a flexible pipe installation. However, it was MPE’s opinion that it is not practical to assume a contractor will consistently achieve >95% compaction within the pipe embedment zone, especially with large diameter pipe, at significant depths, while facing groundwater infiltration and loose soils. The inherent strength of RCP com-
pensates for any construction shortcomings from trench depths and trench conditions rather than relying on the pipe embedment for strength. Specifying RCP carried less risk in the installation for this project. It allowed for a more consistent installation as it is less structurally dependent on bedding and haunching. This would have been very challenging to install adequately to support other pipe materials in the wet trench conditions. Also, the shorter pipe lengths of RCP allowed for easier install in deep, wet, loose native trench conditions, versus a six-metre-long section of flexible pipe. Furthermore, at the depths and conditions expected, there were negligible expected cost savings by specifying flexible pipe systems over RCP. With at least three RCP manufacturers in Alberta alone, competitive pricing was seen in the tender. There were other project challenges: Steep grades – Long segments of the Northwest Storm Trunk have grade in excess of 6%. The potential for pipe abra-
sion was reviewed with RCP pipe manufacturers. Energy dissipation structures were designed to reduce the energy grade line of the Northwest Storm Trunk and manhole structures required reinforcement to prevent scouring. Access to properties – The alignment is located within existing roads and installation required road closures. To maintain access to residences and businesses along the route, the project had to be phased around important intersections. Temporary roads were constructed parallel to the work space to maintain through traffic. Affected property owners were engaged during the design phase to discuss access requirements and review options. Engaging them during design and having them provide input on the temporary access design reduced their frustration during construction. Greg Christensen is with MPE Engineering Ltd. For more information, visit www.mpe.ca
ACO Stormbrixx Storm Water Management The ACO StormBrixx system represents the latest technology in geo-cellular storm tank design by utilizing the natural strength to weight of a honeycomb. The 97% void ratio of ACO StormBrixx allows for the lowest possible installation cost as the eﬃcient design minimizes the excavation, stone and labour required. Once installed the savings continue, with low maintenance costs as the modular design allows for easy inspection and access for cleaning. The high vertical and lateral strength of the system allow for deeper inverts and a multitude of applications including parking lots and roadways. When you compliment your next project with a high performance storm water tank from ACO, you will be safe in the knowledge you are specifying the longest lasting, most eﬃcient tank around. That’s true saving.
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December 2019 | 29
SPECIAL FOCUS: CONSULTANTS’ FORUM
How your organization can gain the innovation advantage between professionals with many different skill sets? Is it possible to encourGolder Associates Ltd. age collaboration and mentoring in an ambitious and intellectually challenging field? When the possibility that an idea n today’s economy, being able to inno- from one group might be exactly what vate is one of the keys to success for is needed to solve a problem somewhere individuals and companies. Sixty quite different, how can an organization years ago, when there was just one break down barriers between disciplines? Golder office located in Toronto, it was easy to walk down the hall to share ideas HOW TO EMBED INNOVATION and build new solutions for the issues IN AN ORGANIZATION our clients were facing. But what does If you want your team to innovate, innovation look like in a company of you’ll need to do more than just ask for several thousand people in hundreds of it. You’ll need to create an environment locations spread around the world? of trust where team members feel reasIt’s an obstacle that every organiza- sured that, if they express interest in tion – no matter the size – must tackle. taking a risk to develop a new technolHow doWaste you inspireplus NMac collaboration ogy, or7:37:09 useAMan existing technology in a Water products 4.65 x 4.65.pdf 1 1/24/2018 Charlie Voss
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30 | December 2019
new way, their ideas will be welcomed. A high-trust, innovation-friendly environment requires the following elements: • Communication, collaboration and coaching are the norm, not the exception. • Barriers are removed, allowing cross- functional teams to create the best solutions. • Individual creativity and performance are noticed and rewarded. Doing this will give your employees agile careers where they are supported and respected. What’s more, they will have the latitude to adapt and grow within your organization, which generates satisfaction at every level, both personally and professionally. TECHNICAL COMMUNITIES ARE IMPORTANT FOR INNOVATION In our organization, we use the term “technical community” (TC) to describe a group of people who regularly communicate, share, and expand knowledge based on a common technical discipline or the service they provide. TC is equivalent to “community of practice,” a term introduced by Etienne Wenger in 1989 to describe a group of people who learn and develop through the process of sharing information and experiences. Communities of practice are the backbone of knowledge management. Technical communities started early in our company’s history, originally on an informal basis in which colleagues shared knowledge and supported each other. In the past, these communities connected via meetings and conference calls; now, the collaboration exists on our company intranet and via other online venues. They have since grown into a key part of how we share knowledge, collaborate, coach and develop new services and technologies. Communities are centered around a discipline (e.g., rock engineering, groundwater modelling), which focuses the conversation and collaboration around a
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shared interest and expertise. They provide the infrastructure to connect practitioners worldwide and allow them to share, store, retrieve and repurpose knowledge, which supports the organization’s technical excellence. This ultimately helps the team deliver the best solution to a client, no matter where they’re located. In addition, TCs provide a venue for building standard protocols and best practices, creating consistent approaches to client problems and encouraging career development. As part of an employee engagement and leadership development initiative, being an active technical community member means more opportunities to connect with fellow practitioners worldwide, access mentors in their field of practice, explore new areas of expertise, collaborate on presentations, access training opportunities, and learn of opportunities within the company. As a member and mentor, I have seen the power of a global technical community. Tapping into a TC to put together
problem or develop a new approach to an old issue. Think of the questions that your employee might ask, such as: • Is there someone with relevant experience who can help me? • What external resources can help? • Does the company have access to recorded webinars, videos, wikis, published papers or other documents on this topic? • Who can help me get access to more research? Once you’ve gathered the most common questions, find out what existing resources your organization has, develop ways to make them findable, and make sure that employees know how to locate the information they need. Whether it’s a webinar or a wiki, if your team can’t find it, it’s worthless. HOW ACCESS TO RESEARCH SUPPORTS INNOVATION Ensuring that your team has access In a climate that supports innovation, to the best resources can be challengit is also important to imagine oneself ing, and we’ve found that this process is in the position of an employee who is best supported by a team that is focused ambitious and wants to solve a client’s continued overleaf…
a distributed project team or identifying subject-matter experts to deliver a technical review of a highly complex project is an ideal use of these groups. One of my favorite examples is seeing a member post a question and watching the responses follow global time zones as colleagues from around the world weigh in on an issue. When hydrogeologist Matthew K. Wickham posed a question about a challenging remediation project to his technical community’s email list, he received 12 thoughtful responses within 24 hours. “I have been with Golder just over a year now and am truly impressed with our technical capabilities and experience and how easy it is to access such,” says Wickham.
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on knowledge management. This team includes reference and research specialists and provides literature search, document acquisition, copyright guidance and training, and is focused on delivering resources and saving time for our subject-matter experts, so they can focus their energy on the science. BREAKING DOWN BARRIERS BETWEEN DISCIPLINES While technical communities provide a space for colleagues within similar disciplines to collaborate, there is also a need to facilitate cross-specialty collaboration. With that, we’ve found that breaking down barriers between disciplines is best done face-to-face. One approach that we’ve implemented is an annual multi-day, internal-only event, at which hundreds of researchers from around the world present their work to their colleagues. We call this the Golder Technical Excellence Conference or GTEC. Much of the success of these gatherings comes via networking, the informal conversations and collaborative projects that develop among attendees. My colleague Nicole DeNovio, a GTEC attendee and technical community leader for our groundwater modelling community, stressed the importance of building meaningful relationships across TCs, noting that there is an opportunity for more networking. DeNovio commented: “I find the more we talk to each other, the more ideas are generated.”
Fostering this cooperative environment and planning these events requires a commitment of time and money. Plus, having the firm’s senior leaders present and expressing their support is an important factor in encouraging employees to invest their time and professional credibility in innovation. Denis Cutter, the leader of our information management technical community, said: “Everyone in the room spoke to the commitment of Golder as the board, CEO and COO were all participating. Their presence supported the statement that ‘we want all of you specialists to be doing this, and we’re going to support you and we'll figure it out together.’” RISING TO THE CHALLENGE In addition to a collaborative community and access to resources and research, a company seeking ground-breaking thought work must be ready to commit funding and support to the ideas that employees bring forward. To do this, there must be a well-thought-through initiative to encourage innovation. For us, we implemented a Golder innovation program that helps convert an idea into a good or service to create value that meets a client need. An innovation program should be aimed at supporting innovation in all its forms, from breakthrough technologies to incremental improvements to existing services provided to clients. Ideas and breakthroughs can be developed within the company or through partnerships with industry, academia and clients. In addition, it is important for any organization considering changes to, or starting, an innovation program to consider the business case for each proposed idea. For example, our criteria in determining the business case are: • Alignment with business strategy. • Strengths/merits of the innovation. • Project team expertise/experience. • A clear plan for achieving the technical goals.
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Devin Castendyk, a Denver-based senior geochemist with the Mine Environment Group, presented his UAV solution at Golder's internal technical excellence conference. Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine
• Value for money, considering both financial and non-financial benefits. • Sustainability and corporate social responsibility components. The innovation program is supported by a process that consists of several gates or decision points. In our case, the process starts with a proponent, either an individual or a team, describing the business case for an innovation project. Prior to developing the business case, proponents are encouraged to reach out to colleagues in their technical communities to share their idea and get recommendations on how it might be improved. The individual or team is also supported by the knowledge management and library and information services team. We find that including more people in the innovation discussion can deliver significant benefits, from improving the strategic alignment to accessing fresh ideas and critical talent. Technical communities serve as “incubators” to test preconceptions and introduce cross-disciplinary fertilization to generate radically new ideas. Once the idea is ready, the innovation proposal is routed to one or more technical communities best suited to assess its technical and business merits. The TC can also help identify areas where a submission might be strengthened. TCs then forward innovation proposals with a strong business case to a global selection committee, which includes our CEO and other key leaders, for final review and approval. Once an innovation project is funded, progress is regularly reviewed by the sponsoring TC and the global selection committee. These reviews are used to nurture, manage and measure the progress of the projects. Innovation projects are often highlighted at the GTEC conference in special sessions. They include panel discussions on the process of preparing and garnering approval for an innovation proposal and highlights of each of the approved and funded projects. Sixteen years ago, when the National Academy of Engineering developed a vision for our work in “The Engineer of 2020: Visions of Engineering in the New Century,” they concluded that “creativity (invention, innovation, thinking outside the box, art) is an indispensable quality for www.esemag.com @ESEMAG
engineering, and given the growing scope of the challenges ahead and the complexity and diversity of the technologies of the 21st century, creativity will grow in importance.” As the future brings our industry new challenges, it is our responsibility as leaders to find ways to embolden our employ-
ees, enabling them to develop and deliver the next great idea or breakthrough. Charlie Voss is Director, Project Delivery & Technical Excellence, at Golder. Email: email@example.com
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Optimization is not making things unsafe.
Optimization should not make wastewater plants less reliable Patrick Coleman, P.Eng.
Black & Veatch
n 1959, R. L. Clark delivered a paper to the Engineering Institute of Canada on the Humber Treatment Plant. In it he stated that:“The pollutional control programme being carried out by Metropolitan Toronto is comparable to any instituted to date on this continent. One of the most important facets of this work is the establishment of a new treatment plant at the mouth of the Humber River.” At that time, Toronto built a new 227 MLD sewage treatment plant on the Humber Valley Golf Course to serve 475,000 people. The process included raw sewage pre-aeration tanks, primary clarifiers, five aeration tanks, and eight squircular secondary clarifiers. In retrospect, the design of the primary and secondary clarifiers was too aggressive. Engineers later converted the raw sewage pre-aeration tanks to primary clarifiers. Sixty years later, we are part of a team that is breathing new life into these old aeration tanks. I won’t admit that I think R. L. Clark follows me around the plant, but I do whisper under my breath on occasion: “I read your paper. Yes, we made changes. Yes, your plant is still safe and reliable.” Thirty years from now, you may be standing in my place. If you are, then remember that your optimization plans should not make the plant less reliable. WHAT MAKES A DESIGN “RELIABLE”? A reliable wastewater treatment plant performs its designated function without failure. When parts of the plant fail due to unexpected conditions, the plant should fail safely, pro34 | December 2019
tecting public health and plant staff. Flow that enters the plant should always leave the plant without causing flooding or hazardous sewage spills. When a new design team adjusts capacity to account for changes the original design team did not foresee, the new capacity may be higher or lower than initially envisaged. The team may identify changes that will either unlock capacity delaying an expansion, allow the plant to meet a new stricter effluent limit, or reduce operating costs. However, if what we are doing makes the plant less reliable and safe, it is not “optimization.” One way to understand this is to consider a person standing a safe distance from a cliff edge. Knowing the danger with wind gusts or unstable ground, they are close enough to see but far enough away that they are safe. Optimization is not moving them closer to the edge so that they can see more. Optimization would be giving them a pair of binoculars. Using capacity provided to operate the plant safely and reliably to accept more flow is moving the plant staff closer to the edge. WHAT IS RELIABILITY? A good designer ensures that a treatment plant reliably meets effluent quality in all but extreme events. Extreme events would be widespread flooding, atypical cold temperatures, extended power outages, natural disasters or malicious vandalism. Extreme events are not historical wet weather or temperature events, or planned maintenance or equipment replacement. A design achieves reliability by being flexible and robust with some redundancy. Staff can use flexibility to meet new circumstances. For example, a plug flow aeration tank could be designed to switch to a step feed mode during a peak flow event to protect secondary clarifier performance. A robust design performs despite changes in weather or sewage characteristics. For example, a suitably designed activated sludge plant will adjust to load swings in commuter communities between the workweek and the weekend. However, flexibility and robustness are not enough to achieve reliability. We also need redundancy and excess capacity built into the design that is only required at the edges of the design envelope or for planned maintenance activities. For critical mechanical equipment, this may be a built-in standby. For example, a pump station will always have an extra pump in case one fails. For less critical equipment, the plant may keep parts or a box spare. For example, a thickener may only run for one shift per weekday, leaving enough time for staff to switch out a damaged feed pump. The decision as to what redundancy unit processes (e.g., aeration tanks) require is not as straightforward as mechanical equipment. The Water Environment Federation Manual of Practice (MOP) 8 states that the aeration tank design is for controlling the maximum month of the design life at the maximum solids retention time. For this reason, aeration tanks should have “excess capacity” at average loads, especially during the summer months. In 1974, the US EPA set the minimum design criteria for wastewater treatment plant mechanical, electric, and fluid Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine
system and component reliability. The design criteria do not require a redundant aeration tank. However, the rules require that there is at least the equivalent of two aeration tanks. The assumption is that there is enough redundancy in the design that one aeration tank and two clarifiers can treat the sewage when one tank is offline during low flow or warm months. There is not a single prescriptive answer to unit process redundancy apart from the flow must be able to pass through the plant. Deciding what redundancy is required is an engineering activity done with the operations and maintenance (OPMAN) staff. For example, the expectation for aeration tanks and other unit processes is that they can treat incoming sewage during minor equipment failures, planned maintenance, and all but extreme conditions. The designer must decide with operations how they will make the facility reliable when these events occur. WHAT IS GOOD PRACTICE? “Good practice” is to anticipate events, assess the risk to staff and the plant’s function, and mitigate the risk by incorporating flexibility, choosing robust processes, and including redundant capacity. Engineers characterize the risk and the associated consequences by answering the following questions: • Is this a planned or unplanned event? • How long will a unit be unavailable? • What else will be offline? • Is there a risk of peak flow, high load or cold temperature? • What is the consequence of a processing unit being offline? Designers should check that their design can perform when each of these events occurs. The design should allow for a unit or tank to be taken offline without taking other process units with it. In all cases, the plant requires redundancy for pumping to move flows, to ensure adequate basin and bypass hydraulic capacity, and to back up critical instruments, safety, and DCS/ SCADA systems.
WHEN IS OPTIMIZATION A DANGER TO STAFF? We can become comfortable with risk to the point we cease to recognize the threat that it poses. The disconnection between the consequence and our appreciation of the consequence widens when we do not operate what we design. We are in danger of being swept along with the thinking of others who design but do not operate. We can make the same bad decisions over and over again, edging the design towards a cliff because nothing bad has happened yet. We need to pause and remember that what may be excess capacity for one person may be an insurance policy for another. We can avoid optimizing out the capacity required to safely operate a plant if we understand the past and current design conditions, understand the risks our decisions place plant staff under, and step through the plant with those that maintain and operate it to learn what their challenges are. WHAT SHOULD BE IN THE OPTIMIZATION REPORT? If you receive an optimization report that does not include a design basis and an OPMAN risk assessment, then send it back. No one should talk “capacity” without addressing OPMAN issues and understanding all the conditions the plant must perform under. When we re-rate processes, we need to be sure we are not eating away at the “excess capacity” required to operate the plant. If we don’t follow the question “why is there excess capacity?” with “what would happen if we used it?”, we are in danger of betraying the trust passed onto us to build safe and reliable plants. Don’t you agree, Mr. Clark? Patrick Coleman, P.Eng., is a Principal Process Engineer at Black & Veatch Canada. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (References are available upon request)
Building Better Communities At Associated Engineering, our vision is to shape a better world for future generations. That is why we have been a carbon-neutral company since 2009. Sustainability is part of our business as well as every project we undertake. Our holistic approach considers climate change impacts to create sustainable and resilient solutions. Associated Engineering provides consulting services in planning, engineering, landscape architecture, environmental science, project management, and asset management. We specialize in the water, infrastructure, environmental, transportation, energy, and building sectors. Calgary Zoo Flood Mitigation project - Winner of 2019 Consulting Engineers of Alberta Award of Excellence
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ous meetings over my career where internal high potentials were being considered for future leadership roles. Almost invariably, in engineering focused companies, strong technical skills were given greater consideration than the emotional acuity and communication skills we ultimately need for a leadership role. We have in some cases been too rigid in our approach to hiring, missing out on opportunities because we preferred to focus on specific skills, while failing to consider transferable skills and equivalent experience from other industries and sectors. Some recruiting managers won’t take on new staff members unless they meet 90% to 100% of the position description’s qualifications. They set up very specific position qualifications to exclude potential hires from outside of their groups or disciplines. We miss a lot of opportunities that way. My preference is to bring someone in with 60% to 70% of the required technical skills who has the potential for advancement through commitment, work ethic, humility and drive. I have had good success with training people up for sional development? Or is it proximity to future roles using this approach. On another front, strict reliance on home, a good benefits package, job secucredentialism in the hiring process is rity or a low stress work environment? As you prepare your development and often an impediment to promotion and succession plans you need to know these retention of those incumbent key staff things. You also need to communicate that have exhibited the qualities and abilyour plans for your staff to your staff so ities to perform larger roles. Not prothey will know where they stand and viding opportunities for promotion can what their futures will look like at your drive them to other companies (often firm. What you don’t need is for your competitors) who see in them those high achievers to leave on short or no attributes that are hallmarks of successnotice because they didn’t know there ful individuals. Assuming you hire right, you still face was a future with your firm. the challenge of developing, sustaining and retaining those individuals long HIRING We’ve all seen the situation where we enough for them to grow company roots. put a lot of time into a new hire, only to see them leave for a greater challenge, PROMOTING TOO SOON The experience gap continues to grow more money or both. That being the case, is it possible that we may be taking the in the professional and managerial ranks wrong approaches to selection, focusing in the public and private sectors, and it on the wrong competencies and selecting impacts our ability to effectively deliver projects. Our firms are full of talented, a new employee for the wrong reasons? Our position descriptions and hiring educated people, yet decision paralyprocesses need to be set up to allow us to sis manifests itself everywhere today. find the best fit for the job. We need to ask More often than not this is from fear of ourselves what we are hiring for and what making a wrong decision due to a lack talents we value. I have attended numer- of experience. If you don’t possess that
Talent management – are our firms thriving or surviving? Bill De Angelis, P.Eng.
key indicator of a malaise in our hiring and development practices in the municipal sector today is the continued movement of staff within and between public and private sector firms. Younger staff want higher pay; intermediate staff want greater opportunity; and senior staff want acknowledgement and respect from their companies for the sweat equity they have contributed to company brand recognition and profitability. What I hear employees vocalize most often in reference to their firms is: “I don’t know where the company is headed”, and “I don’t know what my career path will look like if I stay here”. These comments don’t impart the notion of a motivated, satisfied and stable workforce. What exactly is it that makes people want to stay with your firm? Is it for participation in high profile projects for learning and future advancement, and access to senior staff for mentoring and profes36 | December 2019
Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine
Hiring intelligent people who understand that patience, listening skills, humility, and a sense of urgency are key competencies is important. But, they won’t be successful if left to their own devices. When we hire and promote them, we need to commit to growing them.
experiential database, you initiate multiple stakeholder meetings, conduct additional studies and carry out analyses, all of which delay decisions, drag out schedules and add unnecessarily to project costs. Whether an owner, consultant or contractor, the time value of money in terms of indecision has driven up project and program costs significantly over the past number of years and will continue to do so. Scope, schedule and budget all go out the window. Structuring employee growth to allow them to gain experience over extended timelines drives better and faster decisions, builds staff confidence and ultimately increases staff retention. Conversely, accelerated promotion early in a career stunts that experiential component, ultimately leading to fewer opportunities for internal advancement, disillusionment and departure. Years ago, the time to acquire the requisite level of experience from graduation to a senior technical level was in the range of 15 years (or more). I am now seeing recent graduates rise to a “senior” level in their firms within three years. My observation of staffing today is that everyone hired into engineering type roles has a strong technical education. However, few have the necessary experience required to augment their technical training to support placement into senior ranks and roles. The challenge we as senior leaders face is how to accelerate the experiential component of staff growth in shortened timelines to provide at least some skills to help those staff that get drawn upwards by the vacuum created when senior staff leave our firms. This is worse when they leave without providing developmental opportunities for their charges or take their corporate memory with them. STAFF DEVELOPMENT AND SUCCESSION Hiring intelligent people who understand that patience, listening skills, humility, and a sense of urgency are key competencies is important. But, they won’t be successful if left to their own devices. When we hire and promote them, we need to commit to growing them. Having an organizational chart in place with roles, responsibilities and clearly defined reporting lines is crucial as it provides a road map for career planning for your staff. Development plans tied to required competencies at each position need to be in place to support those plans. We often hire high potentials without knowing exactly where they’ll end up in their careers. Exposure to different disciplines and work areas in early days and careful monitoring www.esemag.com @ESEMAG
of reactions, uptake and general comfort often provide clues to career direction and progression. In terms of company leadership, how many senior managers have put together plans to replace themselves? I have met senior executives who “don’t have time” or are “too busy” to lay a foundation that will guarantee the future viability of their firms, while smoothing the transition process when they depart. It is often easier to go to the market to hire new leaders rather than raise them internally. When we do advertise internally at the managerial level, do we tend to focus on promoting those with the most highly developed technical skills, professional credentials or the longest tenure? continued overleaf…
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In some cases, companies have focused and structured programs that identify candidates for succession or development. Some really believe in the programs and adhere religiously to them, while others merely pay them lip service. Those firms with highest retention are often the same ones that are committed to rejuvenating, sustaining and growing their teams in all disciplines, age groups and genders. CELEBRATING INNOVATION Innovators and entrepreneurial sorts don’t thrive well in overly structured environments. They often tend to move to greener pastures when feeling constrained by rules, controls or available project budgets. These are the types of people we need to retain to drive our businesses forward. When they leave, we suffer. They also acknowledge the importance of mentoring and development, as they themselves can usually point to an influential person that gave them the opportunity to learn and grow in their early days. They pay it forward and are therefore crucial to retain. How many times have you heard an HR person or CFO state, upon hearing that one of these individuals is leaving, that “we will just post the job and get another one (because they are all the same)”? Failing to recognize and acknowledge the contributions of your key performers to long-term company growth and profitability will not see you retain them.
WHAT SUCCESS LOOKS LIKE • You hire for a broad base of diverse skills and potential. • The majority of your new hires stay with your firm. They may change roles or responsibilities within the organization, but they stay. • Voluntary turnover is low, because employee job satisfaction is high. • Employees know where the company is going, and where they fit into it, now and tomorrow. • Experiential growth and knowledge transfer are accelerated by partnering and mentoring with committed and dedicated senior staff. • Innovation is prized and encouraged. For companies to remain competitive, viable and profitable in the municipal sector today, they need to pay greater attention to how we attract, develop and retain the next generations of technical professionals. We have an obligation to provide the training and opportunities to prepare them for the challenges they will face, and to enable them to achieve and exceed the levels of success we have enjoyed in our own careers. Bill De Angelis, P.Eng., is Director, Capital Projects Group, Metrolinx. Email: email@example.com
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Canada’s Bill C-69 and the evolution towards sustainable project planning Roxanne Scott
Golder Associates Ltd.
ocial Impact Assessment (SIA) is a process of analyzing, managing and monitoring the intended and unintended social, economic, health and well-being consequences, both positive and adverse, of projects. In addition to meeting regulatory requirements and corporate social responsibility policies and procedures, SIAs can support sustainable project development outcomes for people and communities, by aligning mitigation and benefit enhancement measures with a community’s sustainable development goals and objectives.
In this way, SIA is integral to understanding and supporting a project’s effect on, and contribution to, sustainability. The increasing explicit requirement for SIA within environmental assessment legislation illustrates the emerging paradigm shift in environmental assessment methodology globally. Under this model, the requirement to assess social, economic, health and cultural impacts, in addition to environmental impacts, goes beyond mitigation of adverse impacts, to the development of project planning objectives focused on net gains and positive outcomes that contribute to better environmental, social, economic and cultural conditions of local communities and regions within which a project is situated.
A CANADIAN EXAMPLE An example of this emerging paradigm towards a more wholistic consideration of project impacts and its contribution to sustainability is Canada’s recently-enacted Bill C-69. It mandates changing the name of the country’s federal review agency from the “Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency” to the “Impact Assessment Agency of Canada” and the name of the legislation from the “Canadian Environmental Assessment Act” to the “Impact Assessment Act (IAA)”. These name changes are significant in that they direct the requirement to address the studied impacts – social, economic, cultural and health as well as environmental, and reflect the principle of sustainability. continued overleaf…
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Bill C-69 also includes a requirement for gender-based analysis, to determine differential social, economic, cultural health and well-being conditions, and differential project impacts, and mitigation and benefit enhancement requirements across vulnerable and marginalized groups. There is also a new mandatory early planning and engagement phase with Indigenous groups, as well as with regional and local government, public and stakeholders, and mandatory consideration and protection of Indigenous knowledge alongside other sources of evidence in impact assessments. Lastly, there are more formalized processes for Indigenous groups to conduct their own impact assessments within the regulated impact assessment process. Federal authorities have indicated that the purpose of the IAA includes fostering “sustainability”. This means the Minister or Governor in Council’s public interest determination pertaining to
These changes have positive implications for supporting robust and meaningful SIA processes, social management plan development, and opportunities to enhance a project’s contribution to sustainability. However, implementing new SIA requirements under new impact legislation such as Canada’s Bill C-69, can be challenging, requiring new ways of thinking about projects for project proponents. Early engagement helps identify culturally It is important to identify individuappropriate and agreed upon assessment als, vulnerable groups, and communiindicators and methods for the Social Impact ties directly and indirectly affected by the Assessment. project, determine specific social impacts and benefit opportunities they may expethe project must also consider sustain- rience, and gather views on how a projability as one of the factors in rendering ect could contribute to impact equity and sustainability. a final decision on a project. Early engagement also helps identify The above changes illustrate that the Canadian federal government is aligning culturally appropriate and agreed upon Canada’s impact assessment regulations assessment indicators and methods for with well-known international environ- the SIA and determines how these commental and social standards, including munities want to engage in the assessthose from financial institutions around ment process. Communities with limited ability to participate in the impact the globe.
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assessment process require capacity funding and, in some instances, capacity development on the regulatory process. SIAs need to be participatory at a minimum, and can be community-led, depending on the interests and capacities of communities. In Canada, some Indigenous communities have identified the importance of conducting their own SIAs within the regulated impact assessment process. In addition to contributing to the statutory impact assessment process, community-led SIAs can generate relevant information to assist Indigenous groups and proponents in the impact benefit agreement processes, particularly where mitigation may require compensation. This typically requires co-development of the “social” aspects of the IA terms of reference by proponents, regulators and Indigenous communities, and formal agreements between proponents, communities and regulators on how results of community-led SIAs can be integrated
and considered within the project Environmental Impact Statement. For larger, long-term projects, the concept of sustainability is linked to requirements for formalized community investment agreements as a project condition. Successful agreements consider investments to sustainably support public goods and services impacted by the project such as investment into water infrastructure, along with fund-generating mechanisms to support infrastructure upkeep, and capacity development to support its management. They also consider benefit enhancement opportunities such as skills and capacity development to support uptake of higher-level occupations, local business capacity and growth, and transferability of skills and business opportunities across industries. The use of new technologies, such as cloud-based systems, can make sure that documents related to project consultation are available to concerned
ENVIRONMENTAL PROPERTY DUE DILIGENCE
parties for greater transparency. Computer-based models can accept data on the financial, environmental and social impacts of a project, and then determine which combination of project attributes will result in the best outcome. CONCLUSIONS Environmental assessment legislation in Canada and globally has generally been limited in directing the assessment and management of social, economic and health impacts of projects. Emerging legislation, such as Bill C-69, illustrates how such legislation is changing to advance this understanding and help projects reach their potential as sustainable development opportunities for local communities. Roxanne Scott is a Senior Socio-Economic Specialist with Golder Associates Ltd. Email: email@example.com
Tisha Doucette, has joined R.V. Anderson in the position of Senior Planning Ecologist Based out of our London, Ontario office, Tisha is a Certified Environmental Professional (EP) and Project Manager. Tisha has over 17 years of experience leading provincial and municipal infrastructure projects through the Class Environmental Assessment (EA) process, coordinating ecological inventories, impact assessments, and environmental monitoring during construction. Tisha is looking forward to working with RVA’s clients in providing and delivering environmental services for today’s challenges.
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nology to reduce energy consumption and emissions. Still another definition identifies a smart city as the group of potential factors that can contribute to a city being considered “smart”: smart infrastructure, smart education, smart governance, smart building, smart security, smart healthcare, smart transportation/mobility, smart city planning, smart energy, and smart water and sanitation. Some researchers have calculated that by 2030 the world will have more than 90 billion sensors and equipment connected as part of a very large network, providing enormous amounts of data in different fields. With the right systems, along with real-time supervision and data quality control and analysis, it is possible to ensure that smart city infrastructure will work efficiently and in a safe way. Increasingly, cities want to use photovoltaic panels in the community, use windmills on street lamps, solar panels for traffic lights or signals, and promote Although there are still no cities where the use of bicycles and electric vehicles. all urban systems and services are con- Smart cities use a variety of resources nected, many are already transforming and all these elements perform together into smart and sustainable cities. The to increase efficiency and sustainability. smart city concept helps communities to have real-time information, allowing SMARTEST CITIES IN THE WORLD There are different parameters by them to make the right decision at the right time. Smart city technology also which one city is valued more than allows city officials to interact directly another. For this, 10 dimensions that are with both community and city infrastruc- key are considered: governance, urban ture and to monitor what is happening planning, public management, technolin the city and how it is evolving. ogy, environment, international projection, social cohesion, mobility and transDEFINING SMART CITIES port, human capital and economy. There are many definitions for a smart The following are considered to be the city. However, from the practical point of smartest cities in the world: view, it can be defined as an urban delimTokyo is the city that placed best in the ited geographic territory that uses the 2013 ranking, being first in human capiinternet of things (IoT), along with differ- tal and public management. However, it ent electronic devices and sensors, inter- has been relegated to a lower position for acting with each other and collecting data. social cohesion, especially because of the This can be used to manage assets and Fukushima earthquake and the subseother city resources more efficiently. quent tsunami. Google defines a smart city as “a develLondon maintains high levels in oped urban area that creates sustainable almost all dimensions and stands out economic development and high quality especially in international projection and of life by excelling in multiple key areas: technology. However, it has relatively low economy, mobility, environment, peo- values in public management and social ple, living, and government.” cohesion. Others define smart cities as those that New York is the most populous city use infrastructure, innovation and tech- in the United States, second in urban
giving communities real-time information on infrastructure
By Tony Petrucci and Luiraf Garcia
oday, more than half of the world's population lives in cities. By 2050, almost seven out of ten people will live in urban areas. Cities represent more than 70% of global carbon emissions and between 60% and 80% of energy consumption. Rapid urbanization has created new problems, such as social inequality, traffic congestion, water pollution and related health problems. Governments and municipalities can turn to information, communication and other technologies to build smarter and more sustainable cities for their residents. An intelligent and sustainable city is an innovative city that uses technologies to improve the quality of life, the efficiency of urban operations and services, and competitiveness, while meeting the needs of present and future generations in economic, social, environmental and cultural aspects.
42 | December 2019
Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine
agglomeration on the North American continent after Mexico City. It is one of the most important cities in the world in terms of human capital and economy. Zurich is the main city in Switzerland and is the financial engine and cultural centre of the country. It stands out in the environmental dimension, mobility and transport. Paris is the most popular tourist destination in the world, with more than 40 million foreign tourists a year. It excels in international projection, technology, and mobility and transport. From many years of experience in the water management industry, Civica Infrastructure has developed a “smart” approach which integrates software, hardware, internet of things (IoT) and professional services to help municipalities, regulatory agencies, consulting companies and land developers solve drainage capacity problems. We provide insights into predictive maintenance, asset performance and data
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current operating conditions of a drainage system but also predict how the system would perform in the near future with global forecasting models. Tony Petrucci and Luiraf Garcia are with Civica Infrastructure Inc. Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
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December 2019 | 43
SPECIAL FOCUS: OPERATORS’ FORUM
Simulators can help less experienced wastewater treatment plant operators By Beth Weir
FROM DREAMS, TO CONCEPT, TO REALITY In exploring technologies to optimize facility operations, the Region’s wastewater team envisioned a tool that could support operators in: making evidence-based process changes during maintenance activities; maintaining compliance during plant upsets; and, satisfying training needs. Once the concept was decided on, consultants were retained and enhanced modelling software was created to enable the Region to predict the outcome of process changes. Whether responding to a sewer-use by-law violation or a plant upset, taking a treatment cell offline for maintenance, or for plant-specific training, the new technology gave the Region the ability to test and explore various facility options in a safe, virtual environment.
he Regional Municipality of York faces one of the biggest challenges in today’s wastewater industry: fostering a culture of community and knowledge transfer between experienced and newer operators in an era of automation, rapid technological advancement and increased retirements. The Region provides drinking and wastewater services to more than 1.2 million residents across nine cities and towns, in an area of 1,762 km². It is a wholesale provider of water supply and wastewater collection and treatment services, managing over 333 million litres of water per day through more than $6.4 billion of water and wastewater infrastructure.
CHALLENGES, INNOVATION, AND REGULATORY COMPLIANCE Wastewater in the northern communities is treated at six water resource recovery facilities (WRRFs), formerly called wastewater treatment plants. Larger urban centres in the south are serviced by the York Durham Sewage System, which collects and conveys wastewater to the Regions of Peel and Durham for treatment. York Region’s operations, maintenance and monitoring staff ensure that the six Regional WRRFs discharge fully treated effluent to tributaries flowing into Lake Simcoe and Lake Ontario. Over the years, environmental stewardship to protect these bodies of water has led to stringent acts and regulations, such as the Lake Simcoe Protection Act, Ontario Water Resources Act and Lake Simcoe Phosphorus Reduction Strategy. As such, municipalities must have a proactive strategy to manage the wastewater process to ensure compliance at every step. Whether staff need to assess the potential implications of a maintenance activity, practice how to respond to a facility emergency, or explore a new idea for improving efficiency, the com44 | December 2019
York Region operators manipulated parameters in the simulated plant software and viewed the predicted effluent results.
pliance consequences of making a mistake can be severe. THE TRAINING GAP Certified operators in Ontario must obtain training credits to maintain and upgrade their licenses. There are a number of good drinking water training courses available in Ontario. However, wastewater-specific training is not as readily available, particularly “hands-on” courses relevant to individual facilities. Regardless of whether operators and maintenance staff are experienced or recent graduates, they need to be trained on the ins and outs of operating a facility. Operators need a safe environment to learn about the various pieces of equipment and materials that flow through them. Recognizing this, York Region looked for an in-house solution.
THE PILOT Before using the simulated treatment plant technology in routine operations, a pilot study was needed to ensure it performed accurately. To test the technology, the Region used its Nobleton WRRF as a pilot facility. Baseline operating data was boosted with additional laboratory and online monitoring data to ensure the simulated model plant performed like the real plant. Good data provided concise calibration of the model. Equally important to the success of the project was the team’s ability to leverage experience across the organization when building the simulator. Process engineers and operations staff shared their first-hand knowledge and facility-specific insight, ensuring the best possible accuracy. York Region operators manipulated parameters in the simulated plant software and viewed the predicted effluent results. The technology proved to be very helpful when plant upsets occurred.
Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine
The operator simply changed the influent parameters or made process adjustments and ran the simulator. This allowed operators to theoretically test their possible solution to see if the desired outcome would be achieved. In the pilot, staff had the ability to assess the impacts of isolating or bringing online a clarifier or aeration tank by simply clicking through the screen to change online process units. Based on user inputs, they were able to run the simulator and observe the predicted effluent. If the desired outcome was still not reached, staff could make further adjustments to chemical dosing, send more to waste, or other changes, and re-run the simulator without upsetting the actual plant. REALIZED BENEFITS Operations become more sustainable and better decisions are made when more data is available, appropriate staff training is provided and evidence-based decisions are made. For York Region, simulated treatment plant technology did exactly that. Overall, the pilot was successful and the tool is currently being used by York Region operators. From a user perspective, staff found the technology gave them a safe environment to explore options before committing to them in real life. From an employer perspective, the technology equipped staff with a powerful tool to experiment with process controls and predict how the facility would react. After the pilot study, 10 practice scenarios were developed in the simulator software, and on-the-job training credits were obtained for completing them. LESSONS LEARNED AND NEXT STEPS From the pilot study, the Region learned that using in-house lab data for modelling software strengthens the simulator, which is continuously improved and calibrated. Also, that getting the right data and the right tools into the hands of operators leads to a sustainable and cost-effective wastewater system. It was also determined that while the simulator is a powerful tool, it supports, but can never replace, the skills of an operator. The key is to ensure operators use the data and familiarize themselves with the technology through the training modules. In York Region’s experience, once staff see the value of the software, it becomes an enjoyable and useful tool instead of a task. Supervisors agree the simulator is a valuable learning opportunity for less experienced operators to better understand the process. Ultimately, when staff make good data-driven, evidence-based decisions, process efficiency is improved, operating costs are minimized, compliance is maintained, and staff job satisfaction is greater. In a time when public utilities are challenged by a rapidly aging and retiring workforce and increasing environmental protection rules, innovative technology helps develop staff skills to meet industry demands. Beth Weir is Manager, Operations, Maintenance and Monitoring (Wastewater) Environmental Services Department, The Regional Municipality of York. Email: email@example.com
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December 2019 | 45
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New sensors, data transmission technology improves sewer system management By Greg Quist
ur cities are facing a crisis. Infrastructure that has served us well for decades is aging, degrading and failing. While the impacts of failed water systems rapidly become apparent with supply interruptions and leaks flooding roads and neighborhoods, sewer and stormwater systems are typically unmonitored and, therefore, difficult to manage and control. Exacerbating the problem is that these systems are being subjected to operational conditions beyond their design parameters. Recent data suggests that extreme rainfall events have been increasing in number since 1950, with severities that routinely exceed common engineering design criteria like the “100-year storm”. This analysis is the embodiment of the fact that the conditions to which we designed in the past will not apply in the future. These new operating conditions are straining engineered systems to the point of routine failure, placing life, health and property at risk when untreated water gets discharged into the receiving environment. This mismatch of increasing flow versus capacity is part of the funding deficit in water infrastructure that communities will be facing over the next 20 years. While the need exists, the funding often does not. As a result, utilities need to be able to maximize the operational availability and capacity of their existing infrastructure. This requires expanding the focus from “grey and green infrastructure” to include “data infrastructure”, which is the equipment, systems, communications and platforms necessary to monitor, control and optimize that infrastructure. The benefits of doing so will allow for active, rather than passive, management of our collection systems, resulting in the ability to: • Reduce or eliminate sewer backups and street flooding; • Reduce or eliminate sanitary sewer overflows; • Reduce or eliminate combined sewer overflows; • Avoid excessive sediment deposition in the sewers; • Optimize cleaning routines; • Manage flows during an unplanned (not anticipated) system disturbance, such as major equipment failure or security-related incidents; • Manage the rate of flow arriving at the wastewater treatment plant. Most importantly, understanding the condition of collection systems in real time means utilities can continue to protect public health at lower operational and capital costs. SmartCover has developed, deployed and operated “data infrastructure” that allows utilities of any size to have a monitored sewer system. 46 | December 2019
SmartCover sensors are contained in a sealed unit, capable of withstanding environmental conditions.
MOVING BEYOND THE GREEN AND GREY: DATA INFRASTRUCTURE In order to fully understand the dynamic operation of any system, insight is needed into the operational conditions existing in it, while recognizing the impact of external factors on those operational conditions. Ideally, we must be knowledgeable enough to deduce the response of the system to those internal and external forces. Historically, sanitary and stormwater systems have been passive, leaving little opportunity to understand their realtime condition and maximize their utility. The availability of systems like those offered by SmartCover is changing that by enabling the collection and analysis of data and providing operators with the tools to take action. DATA COLLECTION For sewer collection and stormwater management systems, data collection is hampered by geographic extent, the hazardous operating environment, and the fact that power and communication infrastructure is often not available in most locations. As they are distributed throughout a community, the necessary sensors must be inexpensive enough to be able to be deployed at a density that provides a view into the operation of the entire system. Also, their deployment needs to be optimized to provide maximum information with minimum costs. Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine
Operating in the hazardous environment of confined spaces complicates the technology options and is potentially deadly for operators. In order to avoid confined space risks, sensors that are mounted and maintained outside that environment (in the open air) and capable of withstanding all conditions (IP-68 rated) are critical. Finally, as direct power connections are not possible within these environments, a sealed high power-density battery system designed for reliable, long life and consistent delivery of power in the harsh wastewater environment is vital. SmartCover sensors are contained in a sealed unit with lithium thionyl chloride primary batteries and have a typical operational transmitting life of more than two years under normal operating conditions. COMMUNICATION Along with power to operate sensors, the capability to transmit that data so that
it may be analyzed is also needed. Again, with the distributed nature of these systems, providing a low-cost, reliable communication network is essential. A unique factor in monitoring sanitary and stormwater systems is that the failures are typically correlated with largescale external factors, such as high-intensity storms, floods, hurricanes or earthquakes. Unfortunately, in many cases, these same events can disrupt wired, radio and cellular communication networks. While an operations centre will be provided with emergency power and “backup” communications, absent a reliable communication mechanism, data from distributed systems will not be there. This is where the advantage of using low cost, low bandwidth, highly reliable satellite communications comes to the fore. SmartCover’s communication network is powered by the Iridium constellation of 66 cross-linked Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites. At an orbit of only 780
km, Iridium’s LEO network means poleto-pole coverage, shorter transmission path, stronger signals, and lower latency than other satellite systems. Most importantly, this network is unaffected by local conditions, even during times of natural disasters. This means that, provided the SmartCover system can see the sky, the utility will get its data. Supporting the data uplink stability provided by the Iridium satellite network is Iridium’s extensive ground infrastructure, which provides the utility with reliable access to the sensor data packets. CURATION Once data is collected and transmitted, it must be provided with a place to reside until called for analysis. While the actual data packet being received from a particular sensor may be small, the frequency of data collection and the sheer number of sensors often leads to terabytes of information being collected continued overleaf…
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December 2019 | 47
SPECIAL FOCUS: OPERATORS’ FORUM
over even short time frames. When dealing with utility-scale systems, there is a need to compare not only hourly and diurnal patterns but also seasonal, annual and decadal analyses. As such, a highly scalable storage platform is needed. In addition to being stored, this data must be rapidly retrievable for analysis. This type of access demands an architecture that is designed to store, secure, host and serve the data with very low latency. As the volume of data increases, the limitations of relational databases rapidly become evident and so specialized time-series or NoSQL database architectures are required. With SmartCover, utilities can avail themselves of the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) delivery methodology that includes a rapidly scalable data storage and retrieval platforms, combined with access to the tools necessary to analyze and act on the data. ANALYSIS AND ACTION Data is useless without the means to analyze it and turn it into decisions. However, automated data collection generates a significant amount of data, often with competing conditions, that can overwhelm operations staff. SmartCover addresses this data overload potential directly by applying the tools of artificial intelligence (AI) to the data. The AI platform has been trained with over 200 million hours of sewer and stormwater monitoring data to identify common issues with our collection system infrastructure. Critically,
these analytical capabilities have been integrated into a realtime decision support tool that provides staff with early warning and the time necessary to prevent failures. RESULTS Canada is a relatively new market for SmartCover, and it is anticipated Canadian users will, as they scale their implementations, see results like those shared by earlier adopters. So far, employing sensors and AI-driven decision support tools have resulted in savings for 36 Canadian cities. Their systems are used to mitigate risks associated with sanitary sewer overflows and combined sewer overflows, to monitor systems during construction, and to optimize cleaning schedules. CONCLUSION The combination of safe sensors, cloud-based services for data management and AI-driven decision support tools is bringing our sanitary and stormwater collection systems into the 21st century on a wave of data. The ability to install sensors with integrated communication technology in any location is increasing the understanding of the dynamic conditions existing in sewers. Greg Quist is with SmartCover Systems. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Alberta Water Week conference brings operators together By Jenna Horning
he Alberta Water and Wastewater Operators Association’s (AWWOA) second Annual Water Week Conference was held November 13-15 in Edmonton. It serves as an opportunity for operators to stay informed about current practices within the province, while also engaging with fellow operators, government officials, consultants and suppliers. Pre-conference workshops topics ranged from operator training to source water protection and pipe cleaning. The conference opened with a morning session delivered by John Vann Ham, of Alberta Innovates, on the Water Innovation Program. He focused specifically on projects of interest to Alberta’s water and wastewater operators. One of the most well-attended ses48 | December 2019
The event also included a tradeshow featuring 67 exhibitors.
systems. The conference concluded with another well-attended session, entitled “The Value of Source Water – Alberta Perspectives”. Presenters included Phil Boehme, Alberta Environment & Parks, Mike Christensen, EPCOR, Harpreet Sandhu, The City of Calgary, Adam Norris, Mighty Peace Watershed Alliance, and Leah Kongsrude, North Saskatchewan Watershed Alliance. The AWWOA will be hosting the 45th Annual Operators Seminar in Banff, AB on March 9-13, 2020. The 3rd Annual Water Week Conference will be held November 18-20, 2020. The AWWOA is a member-run source for expert information and training, based in Edmonton. It aims to provide the essentials in education, networking, promotion and the ongoing support that operators need to supply Alberta communities with safe drinking water and a protected environment.
sions was a presentation from Alberta Environment and Parks on the Lead Guidance Document. After a change from Health Canada, the maximum acceptable concentration for lead was lowered and the point of compliance was changed to the customer’s tap. The presentation discussed how these changes would affect water facility owners and operators. Delegates were also given the opportunity to ask questions at the end of the session. Jenna Horning is with the Alberta Water Technical session topics included & Wastewater Operators Association. industrial source control, water sampling, Visit www.awwoa.ca media filtration and water distribution
Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine
SPECIAL FOCUS: OPERATORS’ FORUM
Retrofitting an existing headworks can solve many WWTP issues By Christa Renouard
hen a new wastewater facility is being designed and built, the engineers, contractors and plant operators look for the most effective and cutting-edge solutions available at the time of the install. But, while many circumstances can be foreseen and planned for, changing regulations and treatment environments can usurp plant designs, quickly making them obsolete. The treatment objectives of a modern wastewater treatment plant can change faster than the lifespan of a particular treatment technology used in the process. Straightforward technologies, such as mechanical aeration, clarification and digestion, have proved susceptible to bypassed debris and sedimentation. As more material accumulates, it inhibits performance, and in some cases, shuts down a process entirely. All of these issues point to the need for increased performance in headworks processes to protect what happens downstream. Sometimes a change at the headworks can be as simple as replacing a worn out screen with a similar system. In that case, the basic considerations of fit and finish are all that is needed. More commonly though, a retrofit is done to improve performance or accomplish a new treatment objective. The most desirable scenario for a retrofit is the ability to use existing structures to accommodate the new system with only a minimum amount of civil and structural changes. As changes in product happen all the time, it pays to know someone who can advise you about the latest technologies available. In some instances, finer screening is only required for a smaller portion of the total incoming flow. Here, it may be more practical to create a treatment step further in the process, instead of trying to retrofit the primary headworks. An example might be a situation where land 50 | December 2019
The treatment objectives of a modern wastewater treatment plant can change faster than the lifespan of a particular treatment technology used in the process.
application for sludge requires no visible debris. An inline sludge screen would be an effective solution for this scenario. Similarly, the addition of a fine enough screen to protect a membrane bioreactor (MBR) process would typically be placed downstream of a primary headworks screen and grit chamber. This would leave the existing headworks intact, and the MBR screen would be placed closer to the end process. In many cases, this type of screen could be retrofitted with its own self-contained tank.
opening. The primary treatment objective of increased efficiency is to capture a defined size of screenings debris. For most screen types, the smaller the opening of the screen, the less open area there is relative to screening area. If the channel size remains the same, then the available net screen area needs to increase. Certain screens such as a StepScreen can go from a 6 mm slot opening to a 3 mm opening with only a negligible hydraulic headloss. The recently introduced centre feed multi-rake bar screen can increase the available screen area by extending along RETROFITTING THE HEADWORKS When the requirement points to the length of the channel. This design changing the screening installation to allows for retrofitting screens with finer benefit the entire flow, then it is best to openings or increasing flows within an consider modification of the primary existing channel, provided a sufficient headworks. As mentioned earlier, a ret- channel length is available. rofit that would minimize any structural changes of the existing layout is most HYDRAULIC EFFECT By changing to a finer screen, the desirable. The most common headworks modification is the use of a finer hydraulics will be affected not only
Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine
within the headworks itself but also throughout the other processes downstream. If screenings capture and retention are part of the critical criteria for the screen improvements, then the velocity of fluid passing through the screen needs to be within the range that will not cause debris to be forced through the opening of the screen. With the potential increased headloss across the finer screen, operational hydraulic levels both upstream and downstream need to be considered. Also, can the system handle an increased hydraulic elevation upstream without causing flooding? Finally, is there a set weir downstream that limits hydraulic differential across the screen (reduced capacity)? Control philosophy can also affect processes downstream. Most current designs of headworks screens have operational control philosophies that allow for intermittent run time on the machine based on the actual loading hitting the screen. Differential measurement is a typical screen activation step. As the screen accumulates captured screenings, water differential increases. The screen can then be set to activate at a specific allowable differential. This is an excellent solution to minimize wear and tear on the machine and reduce maintenance intervals as a result. It is essential to understand that this also creates a potential pulsing of the incoming flow as the screen cleans itself. This is especially important if there are processes immediately downstream that might be affected by the changing velocities. Many processes have buffering capacities (grit chambers, clarifiers, etc.) that can minimize the effect.
The most desirable scenario for a retrofit is the ability to use existing structures to accommodate the new system with only a minimum amount of civil and structural changes.
try have kept pace by offering solutions that will accomplish the required treatment goals. Through proper consideration and qualified professional guidance, it is possible to adapt an existing facility
to meet new treatment objectives. Christa Renouard is with Huber Technology Inc. Email: email@example.com
THE LITTLE THINGS Sometimes a retrofit challenge can be as simple as the spacing between existing slide gate positioning. How the screen is accessed for service and what clearances are required help determine the practical fit. As pointed out earlier, the smaller the screen opening, the greater the screenings debris volume that is captured and extracted. The size and type of the conveyance system and related wash press needs to be considered to handle increased loading. Technology developments in the induswww.esemag.com @ESEMAG
December 2019 | 51
SPECIAL FOCUS: OPERATORS’ FORUM
Dedicated software helps improve wastewater plant information management and reporting By Brian Kut
nsuring Penticton adheres to stringent federal and provincial wastewater regulations is top priority for the small team of 11 staff and seven operators at British Columbia’s Penticton Wastewater Treatment Plant, which serves the city’s 33,500 residents. Along with that responsibility comes the data management and report generation that are not only job functions or requirements, but crucial to better understanding overall water quality. Gathering and packaging that data in a reliable and efficient way means it can be readily shared, interpreted and analyzed by those who need to see it. Not only is such information and reporting essential for day-to-day decisions the team makes about wastewater, it is especially important when an unexpected or critical situation might demand a swift response.
Penticton, British Columbia.
NEW APPROACH NEEDED functions, but without the specificity Before January 2018, the team had that could offer real and timely insights been managing its data using Micro- into the wastewater data being collected. soft Excel – a suitable program for many “Excel is great for storing data, but it’s
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52 | December 2019
one of the lowest flow rates on the market, with measurable flow rates down to 10 milliliters per minute and up to 10,000 milliliters per minute. Alarming a no flow condition is also critical at treatment plants. This condition could indicate there is a block in the chemical line, or that the chemical tank is empty. The MS-6 communicates these problems instantaneously with the SCADA control system. This capability helps ensure minimal down time and loss of production at the plant. Although chemical controllers can also provide this feedback, it takes time for the system to register a large drop in pH, and thus for the controller to signal an alarm. Features of the MS-6 include a 4-20 mA output, frequency output, and high and low flow setpoints that can be utilized for no flow alarms. The flowmeter also has numerous system warning functions like air bubble or empty pipe problems, thereby providing crucial information to operators. Accurately monitoring the chemical
being dosed into the system is crucial to ensure effective water treatment. An overdose or underdose of chemical can adversely affect the quality of the treated water. Additionally, it often leads to wasted chemical, which has a financial impact. With the high accuracy and functionality of the MS-6 flowmeter, plant operators and SCADA personnel will be provided feedback to optimize production. Although the MS-6 is suitable for use with pumps from many manufacturers, Blue & White recommends using its own pumps. The company offers a broad range of chemical dosing pumps with a host of standard features and options. With PVDF and PEEK wetted components, NSF 61 approval, and the necessary features to accurately monitor chemical dosing, the MS-6 is a good fit for drinking water applications. For more information, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.blue-white.com
Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine
much more difficult to use it for reporting or QA/QC. There was a lot more copying and pasting, and things just weren’t as efficient,” says Randy Craig, wastewater treatment plant supervisor. “Data accessibility was also an area we were struggling with.” The system in place was also proving especially challenging for generating reports, with Environmental Management System (EMS) reporting sometimes taking up to one full day of work for an employee. In late 2017, the team concluded that a new and better system for managing the plant’s data was necessary. After exploring various solutions, they settled on WaterTrax, a software product by Aquatic Informatics, which operates in 60 countries. The software was subsequently set up in late 2017 and launched in January 2018. THE RESULTS Almost overnight, the team noticed an immediate difference not only in functionality, but in the new-found power of the data and reporting tools they had at their fingertips. Craig says WaterTrax has greatly improved the plant’s data management practices. “We now have better access to data. As a manager, I can check things even when I’m on vacation, and have better oversight into what’s going on.” He cites an alerting feature in the software as a key factor in ensuring data integrity. “If parameters are off, with WaterTrax our team can see right away when there has been an entry error and get that corrected much faster than under the previous system,” he says. “The alerts allow us to dig into it immediately. So, in that way it has really helped improve data accuracy.” From a data management side, the team has also noticed a marked difference. “It has been easier to generate our reports and we’ve seen an improvement in data transfer within our department as well,” says Jenna Sawri, an operator at the plant. She characterizes the EMS process before the new solution was introduced as “just a mess”. Under the previous system, when mistakes happened it was difficult to work through them all. With the software, the whole process takes her www.esemag.com @ESEMAG
The Penticton Wastewater Treatment Plant.
only 30 minutes. As just one example of the huge time-saving efficiencies, Sawri highlights that the EMS reporting tool alone has provided a 94% efficiency gain.
Sawri and the team are so pleased with the solution’s data management and reporting capabilities, which has allowed them to spend more time on other critical functions such as assessing the data, that they are advocating for other water departments within the City of Penticton to consider adopting the solution as well.
BEYOND WASTEWATER “WaterTrax is now a part of everyone’s daily life on the team and makes all our job functions easier, especially report- Brian Kut is with Aquatic Informatics. ing. We’ve seen the real benefits it has For more information, visit brought, not only for our department www.aquaticinformatics.com but our plant overall,” says Sawri.
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December 2019 | 53
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Installing a pre-filter helped extend the usable life of plant’s main membrane.
Pre-treatment Can optimize membrane Filtration By Del Williams
re-filtration of water is critical to protect and extend the life of membrane systems, as well as to increase intervals between backwashing or necessary maintenance in municipal water treatment plants. Pressure-driven membrane systems utilize thin, porous sheets of material to separate contaminants from water. This includes microfiltration, ultrafiltration, reverse osmosis filtration, and nanofiltration membranes. They are commonly used for potable water production and advanced wastewater treatment, including “purple pipe” reclaimed and recycled wastewater applications. However, without adequate pre-filtering of the water entering the membranes, such systems can be susceptible to irreparable damage from large particles. In addition, water that is not adequately pre-filtered can cause excessive membrane fouling, leading to sub-par water production, as well as costly, premature replacement and unscheduled production downtime. As such, a growing 54 | December 2019
number of municipalities are now utilizing low maintenance, multi-element, self-cleaning, pre-treatment filters.
water filtration, it typically filters out sand, silt, and other suspended solids from 500 to 75 microns. Another significant feature of the multi-element design is in the engineering of the backwash mechanism. With traditional strainers, the backwash mechanism comes into direct contact with the straining media. This can be problematic, as large, suspended solids often encountered with raw water can become lodged between the straining media and the backwash arm. The result is straining media damage and/or rupture that can compromise membranes and other downstream equipment, hindering plant operation. Instead, the multi-element design utilizes a tube sheet to separate the straining media from the backwash mechanism. This prevents the backwash mechanism from coming into contact with the media and damaging the elements, caused by large solids becoming lodged between the media and the backwash arm. The pre-filter has helped to prolong the usable life of the drinking water facility’s main membrane. With pre-filtering, the main membrane functioned well for about seven years before it needed to be replaced. Before pre-filtering, it had to be replaced much sooner. Municipal water plants also need to consider how to best reduce membrane fouling and required maintenance. Traditional strainers, however, due to limitations in straining area, can become clogged quickly. When that occurs, cleaning, media replacement or backwashing is necessary, which adversely affects productivity as well as maintenance costs. In this regard, the multi-element design provides three to four times the surface area of traditional strainers and pre-filters. This translates directly into less frequent backwashing so less water goes to waste, less power is consumed, and less maintenance is required.
OPTIMIZING MEMBRANE LONGEVITY AND PRODUCTION When one municipal water utility found that it needed to protect its membrane filters, a pre-filtering system was required. The plant’s well water had to be strained, to prevent any sand from getting through to the expensive membrane filters and damaging them. In order to improve capacity, plant operators looked at a multi-element, self-cleaning pre-treatment filter from R. P. Adams. Its design provides an alternative to sand filters, centrifugal separators, and basket type strainers. Unlike those designs, which have limitations in Del Williams is a technical writer for particle size filtration and also require R.P. Adams. For more information, visit frequent maintenance, the multi-ele- www.rpadams.com ment, self-cleaning pre-treatment filter can provide continuous removal of suspended solids. When utilized as the “first line of defense” for pre-membrane
Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine
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Micro bubble diffuser lowers high manganese levels in rural Alberta drinking water By Kevin Bossy and Don Burgess
igh manganese is a common seasonal occurrence for the Municipal District of Opportunity #17 in northern Alberta, which draws its water from the South Wabasca Lake. For years, operators at the Desmarais Water Treatment Plant had been able to successfully control manganese in finished water, using potassium permanganate and a blower-powered conventional aeration system. But, during the summer of 2014, manganese levels rose significantly and chemical treatment along with microfiltration membrane treatment was unable to reduce them to the desired limits. As a result, finished water during the summer months would be distributed with an average manganese concentration of 0.2 mg/L. This then reacted with the chlorine disinfectant and caused the water to change to a muddy brown colour. Though the water was still safe to drink, residents began to notice unpleasant taste, odour and colour issues with the tap water, prompting many concerns and complaints to the water utility. The municipal water utility investigated several options to try and reduce manganese levels in the finished water, including optimization of potassium permanganate dosing and clarification process. However, the problem persisted and it seemed that an affordable solution could not be found. Moreover, new federal guidelines were coming into effect in April 2019 that would limit the maximum allowable manganese concentration in drinking water to 0.12 mg/L. DWG Process Supply, a manufacturer’s representative in Western Canada for Bishop Water Technologies, evaluated the situation and suggested that operators try OctoAir -10, a new micro bubble diffuser manufactured by Canadianpond.ca Products Ltd. It produces abundant micro bubbles that provide mixing and high oxygen transfer to the raw water. The resulting high level of dissolved oxygen causes oxidation and precipitation of dissolved manganese. OctoAir-10 has a 120V, 3/4 HP compressor that uses a fraction of the electricity of conventional aerators. In July 2018, plant operators installed the OctoAir-10 diffuser into the storage pond that supplies raw water to the treatment plant. They just had to connect an air line from the compressor to the new diffuser and lower it into the desired location. There was no impact to the plant operation and the installation was completed in about four hours.
RESULTS “We noticed a big drop in manganese within two or three days of starting the new diffuser,” said Earl Gullion, utilities manager for MD Opportunity #17. “We experience the highest manganese concentration in the summer, when it can reach 56 | December 2019
OctoAir-10 is powered by a low-energy compressor to generate micro bubbles and add up to 10 CFM of air to a water body.
0.8mg/L in raw water. But, once we started the OctoAir-10 diffuser, manganese in raw water dropped significantly and consistently remains in a range of about 0.4 to 0.27 mg/L.” This drop in levels enabled operators to optimize potassium permanganate dosage and membrane filtration to reduce manganese concentration in finished water from an average of 0.2 mg/L to only 0.01 mg/L. This exceeds federal guidelines and eliminates taste, odour and colour problems for residents. “The OctoAir diffuser requires no maintenance,” Gullion said. “We haven’t touched it since installation and it continues to function well and helps provide a consistent reduction of manganese in our drinking water.” The plant also experienced numerous other benefits that have improved water quality and helped reduce operating costs. There has been a 55% reduction in potassium permanganate use as the dose dropped from 1.8 mg/L to just 0.82 mg/L. The cleaning interval for the membrane system was extended by two to three times. Turbidity in finished water has dropped from about 0.03 NTU to 0.001 NTU. Finally, operational savings enabled the community to recover the cost of the OctoAir diffuser in less than a year. Kevin Bossy is with Bishop Water Technologies. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Don Burgess is with DWG Process Supply. Email: email@example.com
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WATER & WASTEWATER
Wastewater aeration with wastewater pump and air aspirator mixer.
complexity of water, wastewater plants creates opportunity for innovation and cost savings By Jan Korzeniowski
ater and wastewater infrastructure is a substantial item in municipal budgets and has major health, safety and environmental impacts. Also, municipal, industrial and recreational development depends on adequate water and wastewater services. Municipalities have to continue implementation and operation of needed services, even on reduced budgets. Therefore, they need to take more progressive steps when selecting engineering solutions, making sure they offer good service and result in cost savings during implementation and operation. Conventional solutions are often preferred and selected because they are proven and safe. However, they can be more expensive than new, innovative solutions that are proven but less known. Water and wastewater treatment plants are major infrastructure components. They involve complex structural, electrical, mechanical and process components, which creates opportunity for innovative and cost saving solutions. 58â€‚ |â€‚ December 2019
WATER TREATMENT Water treatment systems are used in many water supply applications, including surface and ground waters, which may contain naturally occurring or man-made pollutants, such as high turbidity, colour, algae, taste, odour, chlorinated organic compounds, cyanide, hydrogen sulfide, nitrite, phenol and dissolved metals. Easy to treat surface or ground waters only require simple solutions, predominantly filtration with post-disinfection. But, ground or surface waters with difficult to treat natural or man-made pollutants require more complex treatment. It is here where competitive and innovative technology may be considered and has advantages over conventional technology. One of the solutions which has wide applications is water oxidation with ozone or ozone and hydrogen peroxide. This is an advanced and complete treatment system which can be used for different conditions. Options include pre-oxidation with ozone and direct filtration, or ozone followed by settling and filtration.
Also, coagulation and flocculation can be added to either process, depending on the type and concentration of the pollutant to be removed. Ozone and hydrogen peroxide oxidation (super oxidation) is used for treatment of waters which contain high levels of dissolved organic carbon, odour caused by geosmin, MIB, or algae and chlorinated organic compounds. High levels of dissolved organic carbon and odour are often present in surface waters from lakes and man-made ponds. Ozonation, used as a primary oxidation and disinfection treatment component, followed by direct filtration, provides distinct advantages which include bacteriological control (CT requirements) for inactivation of giardia, cryptosporidium and viruses, and enhanced removal of dissolved organic carbon and odour. Treated water needs only a low dosage of chlorine to maintain the minimum residual in the water distribution system. This prevents formation of high levels of trihalomethanes. The system shown in Figure 1 is one that we designed. It uses two-stage ozonation with vacuum type ozonators and innovative water recirculation, which is accomplished by a recirculation pump and air aspirator-mixer. Off gas from the first stage ozonation is recycled to the second stage ozonation, which ensures efficient use of ozone and a thorough oxidation process. Oxidation is achieved by ozone alone, or by ozone and hydrogen peroxide, depending on the type of pollutant to be removed. This system is safer, more efficient, less expensive and easier to operate then many conventional pressure ozonation systems. WASTEWATER TREATMENT Municipal wastewater treatment primarily involves biological treatment with activated sludge to a secondary level or to a tertiary treatment level, using a biological nutrient removal (BNR) system. Although, there are a number of different BNR system configurations, all use similar mechanical equipment which includes air blowers and diffusers for aeration in bioreactors, vertical mechanical mixers in anaerobic and anoxic reactors, mechanical scrapers in primary and sec-
Environmental Science &â€ˆEngineering Magazine
ondary clarifiers, and wastewater pumps to transfer sludge or wastewater between the treatment units. Effluent disinfection is usually achieved in UV light reactors. We have designed treatment systems using different aeration, recirculation and mixing equipment. Our aeration system uses an aeration pump, usually a high efficiency wastewater effluent or industrial pump, an air aspirator-mixer, additional static mixers and engineered perforated PVC distribution pipes in the bioreactor and secondary clarifier. Similar perforated PVC piping system is provided in the primary clarifier and anaerobic and anoxic tanks to recirculate wastewater and activated sludge. The aeration pump aerates wastewater and sludge in the bioreactor, recirculates sludge from the secondary clarifier to the bioreactor, diverts unaerated wastewater to the anoxic tank and wastes activated sludge to the waste sludge tank. The air aspirator is a modified venturi nozzle and the mixers are static spiral type. The aeration assembly is non-plug type with wastewater screened at headworks. Our aeration system can be used continuously or intermittently as required by the treatment process, with the aeration pump working continuously for mixing the wastewater or sludge. However, if the aeration pump operates intermittently, the sludge which settles at the aeration tank bottom will be re-suspended when the aeration pump is turned on. Mix-
Figure 1. Schematic of the two stage water ozonation process, coagulation, flocculation, settling and filtration system.
ing in the aeration tank is by air and by wastewater circulation. Activated sludge from the clarifier and wastewater from the bioreactor flow by gravity to the aeration pump, mix and re-aerate at the air aspirator-mixer. They are discharged back to the bioreactor through the perforated distribution pipes. A portion of the wastewater and sludge mixture is wasted, before aeration, to the sludge stabilization tank and to the anoxic tank as required. Aeration of wastewater and activated sludge and oxygen uptake by bacteria begin at the air aspirator-mixer and continue in the downstream piping and in the bioreactor. This results in high oxy-
gen transfer rates of over 50%. This system can be used with concrete process tanks or earth ponds/lagoons, new or existing, to secondary or tertiary treatment level. It can be used economically in existing anaerobic lagoons. Advantages include a less complex and costly mechanical design, and greater energy efficiency. Using ozone is reliable, cost-effective and does not require the same level of maintenance, cleaning and replacement of equipment parts as other disinfection methods. Jan Korzeniowski is with J.K. Engineering Ltd. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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December 2019 | 59
PRODUCT & SERVICE SHOWCASE
AREA/VELOCITY FLOW METER
Flow-Tronic has introduced the new version of its flagship sensor, the RAVEN-EYE 2®. This complete redesign of the sensor brings non-contact flow measuring technologies to higher level standards. What is new? Lower power consumption; minimum velocity of only 0.08 m/s (0.26 ft/s); new hybrid radar antenna; significant progress on signal processing. Compatibility remains with all existing loggers and monitors. The enclosure remains the same and thus is compatible with existing brackets. ACG – Envirocan T: 905-856-1414 F: 905-856-6401 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.acg-envirocan.ca
Aerzen Turbo G5 Plus is the most compact and efficient turbo in its class. It features AERZEN airfoil bearings with double coating and the new multilevel frequency converter technology, which reduces the heat loss in the motor to a minimum and, consequently, improves total efficiency significantly. Aerzen Canada T: 450-424-3966 E : email@example.com W: www.aerzen.ca
ADDITION TO AERATOR AND MIXER PORTFOLIO
Aqua-Aerobic Systems has released the OxyStar® aspirating aerator to their portfolio of aeration and mixing products.
60 | December 2019
Invented in 1965, the OxyStar aerator has effectively aerated and mixed over 4,000 wastewater treatment systems across the globe. It is prized for its efficient oxygen transfer and intense directional mixing pattern, which results from its carefully engineered three-blade helical propeller. All routine maintenance can be conducted completely from the surface. Aqua-Aerobic Systems T: 815-639-4511 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.aqua-aerobic.com
NEW SKID SYSTEM
Blue-White® has created an all new, innovative, and durable skid system. The CHEM-FEED® Skid System is constructed of lightweight, rugged and chemical resistant polyethylene. The systems feature quality components such as a 4,000 ml calibration column, pressure gauge, pulsation dampener, inlet Y strainer, and a drop-in-place design. They can be equipped with any ProSeries-M® peristaltic pump. Single and dual pump skid systems are available. Blue-White Industries T: 714-893-8529 F: 714-894-9492 E: email@example.com W: www.blue-white.com
Blue-White’s® Proseries-M® MD-3 Metering Pump delivers precision chemical feed for the treatment of municipal water and wastewater. It has near continuous flow which results in no gas build up or loss of prime. With 380 strokes per minute, it provides a remarkably steady flow. The Hybrid MD-3 Diaphragm Pump has 2000:1 turndown and smooth chemical dosing with no pulsation dampener required. Blue-White Industries T: 714-893-8529 F: 714-894-9492 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.blue-white.com, www.proseries-m.com
Chemline’s Calibration Columns have been developed for the accurate calibration of metering pumps. They offer clear visual indication with easy installation and maintenance. They are available with PVC ends and clear PVC tube. Four different configurations are offered: bottom threaded, top/bottom threaded, bottom threaded with removable cap, top/bottom threaded with removable top and float ring indicator. Chemline Plastics TF: 800-930-CHEM (2436) F: 905-889-8553 E: email@example.com W: www.chemline.com
BLOCK WATER FROM ACCESSING ASSETS
Road erosion, premature concrete failure or water ingress into wastewater systems? Denso’s 12 "LT tape has been proven for nearly a century to block water from accessing assets. It won’t harden or crack and is the perfect solution to protect concrete and prevent I&I. Applied in minutes, requiring minimal surface preparation, no mixing or curing, it can be buried immediately. Denso North America T: 416-291-3435 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.densona.com
Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine
PRODUCT & SERVICE SHOWCASE CONTAINERIZED BIOREACTORS
TOOLBOX APPLICATION ON iOS
Following the launch of their Android app a year ago, Geneq have announced the SXblue ToolBox, the iOS version intended for iOS compatible SXblue devices. The application can record, save and transfer raw data from the GNSS receiver, thereby allowing post-processing activities. It also acts as a NTRIP client, capable of connecting to a NTRIP server for RTK corrections, and thus allows the receiver to issue very accurate location information. Receiver configuration is easy, with the ability to set up and save user-defined commands for subsequent use. The settings include constellation to be used, differential source, NTRIP login credentials list and more. GENEQ Inc. T: 800-463-4363 E: email@example.com W: www.sxbluegps.com
NEW FIELD DATA COLLECTOR
Geneq Inc. has announced the addition of a new data collector to its SXPad product line. The rugged SXPad 1500 data collector features a full alphanumeric QWERTY keypad and long-range Bluetooth, and was designed to meet the rigorous IP67 standard to deal with challenging field conditions. Driven by a 1 GHz processor and the Windows Mobile® 6.5 operating system, this field collector is a high-performance device designed to provide all the power needed to work with maps and large data sets in the field, as well as many software solutions. GENEQ Inc. T: 800-463-4363 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.sxbluegps.com
H2Flow TILT containerized bioreactors provide wastewater treatment for communities and industries. Based on liquid shipping containers, TILT is a very low cost, extremely compact, reliable and robust package. It is easily transportable anywhere - ships by rail, truck and cargo ship – and can be placed outdoors. New units are in stock, and rental and temporary units are available for BOD removal and nitrification. Available in MBBR, SBR and aeration tank versions. H2Flow Equipment T: 888-575-8642 W: www.h2flowTILT.com
CHLORINE EMERGENCY SHUTOFF
The Gemini® Emergency Shutoff System adds a new level of safety to your gas chlorine feed system. Designed specifically for dual 150 lb chlorine cylinder applications, the Gemini System, with its two Terminator® actuators, stops a chlorine leak within seconds of detection by automatically closing the cylinder valves. The actuators are simply placed on top of the valves and protection begins. Halogen Valve Systems T: 949-261-5030 or TF: 877- 476-4222 F: 949-261-5033 E: email@example.com W: www.halogenvalve.com
and less time on configuration and data access. Eliminate complicated manual calculations with pre-programmed water flow formulas. Act quickly in response to alarms. Deploy in harsh conditions with the tough, compact station. And, monitor multiple environmental parameters. Hoskin Scientific E: firstname.lastname@example.org, Burlington, ON E: email@example.com, Burnaby, BC E: firstname.lastname@example.org, Montreal, QC W: www.hoskin.ca
PROPERLY SIZE SCREENINGS HANDLING EQUIPMENT
As headworks screening choices call for increasingly finer openings, the role of the screenings wash press becomes more critical. If the wash press cannot handle the loading, it can begin to create a backup of the screenings material and potentially shut down the screen in the channel. Huber Technology T: 704-990-2053 F: 704-949-1020 E: email@example.com W: www.huber-technology.com
CATCH BASIN INSERT
WATER LEVEL STATION
The new cellular, web-enabled HOBO® MicroRX station is partnered with Onset’s own water level sensor to deliver water level and flow monitoring data to cloud-based HOBOlink® software. Spend more time focusing on results,
The LittaTrap Catch Basin Insert is a low-cost, innovative technology that prevents plastic and trash from reaching our waterways. Designed to be easily retrofitted into new and existing stormwater drains, the LittaTrap is installed inside storm drains and when it rains, catches plastic and trash before it can reach our streams, rivers and oceans. Imbrium Systems T: 800-565-4801 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.imbriumsystems.com December 2019 | 61
PRODUCT & SERVICE SHOWCASE
AUTOMATIC COMPOSITE SAMPLER
The new Stormceptor® EF is an oil grit separator (OGS)/hydrodynamic separator that effectively targets sediment (TSS), free oils, gross pollutants and other pollutants that attach to particles, such as nutrients and metals. The Stormceptor EF has been verified through the ISO 14034 Environmental Management – Environmental Technology Verification (ETV). Imbrium Systems T: 800-565-4801 E: email@example.com W: www.imbriumsystems.com
The Simpler Sampler™ is inherently explosion-proof and self-cleaning, using compressed air to move samples, even up high lifts, over long runs and in freezing temperatures. The controller can be located far from the sampling site and can collect from multiple sites simultaneously. Used in tanks, non-pressurized pipes, sumps, open channels and sewers. Markland Specialty Engineering T: 905-873-7791 or TF (NA): 1-855-873-7791 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.sludgecontrols.com
TWIN SHAFT GRINDER
The Interprovincial Corrosion Control Company has re-introduced the petrolatum based PetroWrap® Anti-Corrosion Tapes and Primer, now successfully tested and compliant with CSA Z245.30 and AWWA C-217 Standards. PetroWrap tape consists of a non-woven, stitch bonded, synthetic fabric which has been fully impregnated with neutral petrolatum based compounds and inert fillers, is moisture-resistant, and requires no maintenance. Interprovincial Corrosion Control Co. Ltd. T: 905-634-7751 F: 905-333-4313 E: email@example.com W: www.rustrol.com
62 | December 2019
The N.Mac™ Twin Shaft Grinder is capable of fragmenting large and solid particles. Channel and inline housing versions allow installation into effluent channels or with flanges to prevent pipe clogging and damage to downstream equipment, such as pumps. The mechanical seal cartridge design – a leak free combination of mechanical seal and bearing cartridges – enables quick and simple replacement and servicing. NETZSCH Canada T: 705-797-8426 Fax: 705-797-8427 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.pumps.netzsch.com
Huber, a proven German manufacturer, now provides watertight doors that allow safe access to tanks for construction and/ or maintenance. Doors can be provided as round or rectangular for installation onto existing concrete surfaces or cast-inplace in new concrete. They can handle heads up to 30 m and hold pressure in seating and unseating directions. Huber’s watertight doors can greatly reduce construction and maintenance costs and dramatically improve safety/access. Pro Aqua T: 647-923-8244 E: email@example.com W: www.proaquasales.com
Invent Environment is the manufacturer of hyperboloid mixers which have revolutionized anoxic and swing zone mixing. Invent provides low-shear, efficient mixers with no submerged motors or gear boxes for easy access for maintenance. They have now released the Hyperclassic Mixer Evo 7 which has increased the number of motion fins and adjusted the geometry of the mixer to maximize mixer efficiency, reducing operation costs even further. Pro Aqua T: 647-923-8244 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.proaquasales.com
Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine
ES&E NEWS STUDY MEASURES EXTENT OF AQUATIC POLLUTION FROM MICROFIBERS IN LAUNDRY
Laundry machines in the U.S and Canada can release upwards of 878 tonnes of microfibers to the aquatic environment each year following wastewater treatment, according to a new study by the Ocean Wise Plastics Lab in Vancouver. Believed to be the most comprehensive study of its kind, researchers evaluated the shedding properties of 38 textile samples, using a custom-designed washing machine test facility and a dedicated high-resolution analytical laboratory. Researchers found that different fabrics shed microfibers during home laundry through a wide range, and that fabric properties influenced the degree to which fibers were lost during a wash cycle. A single garment can release as many as 120-730,000 microfibers in a laundry cycle, but most textiles lost the greatest number in the initial wash compared to subsequent ones. The new report, entitled Me, My Clothes and the Ocean: The role of textiles in microfiber pollution, was produced with the support of four outdoor retailers, MEC, Patagonia, REI and Arc’teryx, and Metro Vancouver and Environment and Climate Change Canada.
the environment, the groups warn. The “I Don’t Flush” campaign makes it clear how to protect your pipes and avoid costly repairs and environmental damage. The PSA reminds that even when it comes to items labelled “flushable”, stuffing toilets can still lead to sewer backups, flooded basements and raw sewage discharge into lakes and rivers. The campaign is looking to take off on social media under the hashtag #idontflush2019.
address the longstanding issue of questionable drinking water and water treatment infrastructure. “Aging and inadequate infrastructure coupled with an unwillingness by the federal government to spend the infrastructure dollars needed to fix the problem has left more and more communities with unsafe drinking water,” Chief Byron Louis of the Okanagan Indian Band announced in a statement. Ermineskin Cree Nation was set to present to the Assembly of First Nations www.idontflush.ca Water Symposium in late November, following the federal election, to encourage other First Nations across Canada to CANADIAN RESERVES TO JOIN push for the right to safe drinking water LEGAL CHALLENGE FOR SAFE and encourage new legal actions from DRINKING WATER First Nations across the country. A group of First Nations has announced Chief Craig Makinaw of the Erminethe launch of a new campaign to affirm skin Cree Nation has stated that there is First Nations' human right to safe drinka need for First Nations across Canada to ing water in Canada. band together and find strength in new Led by the Okanagan Indian Band, near partnerships. Vernon, British Columbia, and ErmineChief Louis of the Okanagan Indian skin Cree Nation in central Alberta, the Band said that he has connected with the group says the campaign addresses the “failures” of recent federal governments to continued overleaf…
NEW ‘I DON’T FLUSH’ CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED IN ONTARIO
The Ontario Clean Water Agency and the Clean Water Foundation have teamed up with six Ontario municipalities for a public service announcement (PSA) campaign that aims to prevent residents from using sinks and toilets like garbage cans. Called “I Don’t Flush”, the PSA focuses on the misuse of sinks and toilets for the disposal of pharmaceuticals, personal hygiene products, fats, oils and grease, and household hazardous waste. For the messaging, the water groups joined forces with the Regional Municipality of York, Region of Peel, Town of LaSalle, Niagara Region, the City of Barrie and the Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury. In terms of household hazardous waste, expired pharmaceuticals, medications or vitamins, these items can impact aquatic life and generally contaminate www.esemag.com @ESEMAG
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December 2019 | 63
ES&E NEWS Ermineskin Cree Nation, Sucker Creek First Nation and two other Alberta First Nations that commenced an action in federal court in 2014 seeking confirmation of the right to safe drinking water. That action was stayed as the parties entered negotiations, he said. That stay has now been lifted. The Okanagan Indian Band commenced a similar legal action on August 15, 2019. Chief Louis alleges that the reserve’s water systems rely entirely on groundwater wells that supply untreated water to hundreds of homes. He said that the wastewater from those homes goes to individual septic fields that may be contaminating the groundwater. The federal government claims it is on
track in its commitment to end all longterm drinking water advisories for public systems on reserves by March 2021. Since November 2015, 87 long-term advisories affecting public systems on reserves have been lifted. There are currently 57 longterm advisories remaining, according to the Indigenous Services Canada website.
the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks for the Class Environmental Assessment (EA) to Assess Outfall Capacity Limitations. According to John Presta, director of environmental services for Durham Region, the Duffin Creek plant has “the lowest phosphorus discharge limits of any plant discharging to the open waters of Lake Ontario”, while also limiting its ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT greenhouse gas emissions. In 2013, a Class EA recommending FOR DUFFIN CREEK PLANT optimizations of existing processes at OUTFALL PROJECT APPROVED Durham Region and York are pro- the Duffin Creek Plant to operate at a ceeding with the proposed treatment treatment capacity of at least 630 megalenhancements at the Duffin Creek Water itres per day was reviewed by the provPollution Control Plant in Pickering, ince. Following requests to bump up the Ontario, after receiving approval from Class EA to an Individual EA, Durham and York regions prepared a Phosphorus Reduction Action Plan (PRAP) and submitted it to the province for review. INTERPROVINCIAL CORROSION CONTROL The PRAP Study was prepared by Leaders in the Cathodic Protection Industry…Since 1957 CH2M HILL (now Jacobs) Canada in JanCORROSION CONTROL PRODUCTS uary 2018 and it recommended secondary Burlington, Ontario Canada treatment optimization and modifying Regional Offices: Montreal, Calgary the outfall with variable diffuser ports to Lewiston, New York, USA reduce total phosphorus concentrations. Tel: 905-634-7751 • Fax: 905-333-4313 The study determined that this option www.Rustrol.com met regulations and was far cheaper than tertiary treatment options such as membrane filtration or ballasted flocculation.
B.C. OPENS UP $150M IN ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY WATER/WASTEWATER GRANTS
A combination of new federal and provincial infrastructure funding is opening up grants totalling $150 million for water and wastewater services in British Columbia. B.C. will contribute up to $68 million to the second intake of the Environmental Quality program, while the Government of Canada will contribute up to $82 million. Eligible projects must meet one of several criteria: increase capacity to treat and/or manage wastewater and/or stormwater; increase access to potable water; or increase capacity to reduce and/or remediate soil and/or air pollutants. Under the first intake of the Environmental Quality Program in 2018, selected projects included grants totaling $243 million. In August, B.C. had nine 64 | December 2019
Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine
ES&E NEWS projects funded through the program to support new and upgraded wastewater systems that could meet regulatory standards, modernize services and support growing communities. That month, six projects were also funded to help protect the health of First Nations residents by improving access to safe and reliable drinking water in small communities. Black Tusk Village was established by the province to house residents forced to relocate because their community was built in a geo-hazard area. Replacement of the aging wastewater treatment facility is a priority for this community and this funding provides a sustainable solution with long-term economic, social and environmental benefits. B.C. has begun accepting applications from local governments and First Nations for the second intake of Environmental Quality grants. Funding is available up to 73.33% of eligible project costs (40% Government of Canada, 33.33% Province of British Columbia). The deadline for applications under the second intake is February 26, 2020.
CITY OF OTTAWA ANNOUNCES WWTP UPGRADES
Ottawa has now completed all six kilometres of tunneling for its Combined Sewage Storage Tunnel project, which aims to significantly reduce overflows when wastewater combines with surface water and debris washes off the streets. The two tunnels are designed to hold up to 43 million litres of surface runoff and wastewater and prevent it from entering the Ottawa River. The $232.3-million project will virtually eliminate combined sewage overflow during a typical year. “With a capacity of approximately 18 Olympic-sized swimming pools, the Combined Sewage Storage Tunnel will help protect the Ottawa River for the future,” City officials said in an announcement about the completion of the tunneling. “The project will also reduce the risk of basement flooding in some low-lying areas in the city’s core and help future-proof our existing downtown sewer infrastructure by adding capacity and redundancy.” Ottawa used a special tunnel boring machine for the project, specifically www.esemag.com @ESEMAG
designed to cut through solid rock at a pace of roughly 20 to 25 metres per day. More than 113,000 cubic metres of rock was removed from deep below the city during tunneling, enough to fill every lock in the Rideau Canal waterway between the Ottawa River and Lake Ontario in Kingston – twice. Construction on the project began in 2016, and city officials hope to have the project operational in 2020.
FRANCE-BASED FIRM WINS BUILD CONTRACT FOR B.C.'S ANNACIS ISLAND WWTP EXPANSION
Paris-based VINCI Construction has won a $184-million contract to build new pipelines as part of an expansion for British Columbia’s Annacis Island Wastewater Treatment Plant. The plant, which treats wastewater from 14 municipalities across the Lower Mainland to be safely released into the Fraser River, is increasing the capacity of the current facility to meet the needs of the region’s growing population. The facility is one of the region’s largest, with a treatment capacity of nearly 175 million cubic metres per year, equivalent to the consumption of a population of one million. Some 20 projects are part of the expansion and could total more than $750 million. VINCI Construction’s (subsidiary Bessac) partnership with Pomerleau Inc. will aim to build two 40-metre deep access shafts with 16- and 7-metre diameters, respectively, and two segment-lined tunnels with lengths of 580 and 200 metres and an inside diameter of 4.2 metres. The contract also includes construction of a riser in the Fraser River and refurbishment of the existing diffuser, following commissioning of the new 280metre long diffuser buried in the riverbed. A new water control system will also be connected to the existing structures. Other upcoming projects at the plant include new trickling filters, secondary clarifiers and a cogeneration facility to make better use of green energy captured on site. Additional upgrades include repairing or replacing older parts of the existing plant; strengthening the plant to reduce the impacts of earthquakes;
improving existing odour controls; and building a more reliable backup power source. A new outfall pipe is also planned. A tunnel approximately one-kilometre long will be constructed from the plant to the river, where a diffuser system will be installed. The new outfall location and design will ensure that treated effluent is spread out over a broad area underwater to maximize dilution and minimize the impact on the environment.
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Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine’s December 2019 issue. Featuring special sections on Consulting Engineering and Plant Operators...
Published on Dec 2, 2019
Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine’s December 2019 issue. Featuring special sections on Consulting Engineering and Plant Operators...