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Report suggests ‘low’ virus risk for wastewater workers Software helps ensure WWTP regulatory compliance Many benefits of using ROVs for water storage tank inspection
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October 2020 • Vol. 33 No. 5 • ISSN-0835-605X
Editor and Publisher STEVE DAVEY firstname.lastname@example.org Managing Editor PETER DAVEY email@example.com Sales Director PENNY DAVEY firstname.lastname@example.org ales Representative DENISE SIMPSON S email@example.com Accounting SANDRA DAVEY firstname.lastname@example.org Design & Production MIGUEL AGAWIN email@example.com Circulation BRIAN GILLETT firstname.lastname@example.org
TECHNICAL ADVISORY BOARD Archis Ambulkar, OCT Water Quality Academy Gary Burrows, City of London Patrick Coleman, Stantec Bill De Angelis, Metrolinx Mohammed Elenany, Urban Systems William Fernandes, City of Toronto Marie Meunier, John Meunier Inc., Québec Tony Petrucci, Civica Infrastructure 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 email@example.com, 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
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Are economic solutions needed for a planet in crisis? Improved plumbing designs could boost testing accuracy for viruses in wastewater Managing unused potable water systems during the pandemic WEF report suggests a ‘low’ virus risk for wastewater workers Real-time CSO monitoring can quantify overflow amounts and water quality B.C. company’s technology removes PFAS and EDCs from leachate and industrial effluents Study grades Canada ‘C’ for flood preparedness Watering restrictions not as effective as assumed Software helps ensure WWTP compliance and streamline reporting requirements Hamilton reduces non-revenue water loss with a proactive leak detection program Managing invasive aquatic species starts with good data Using ROVs to inspect water storage tanks offers many benefits – Cover Story Alberta gets additional funding for an array of wastewater and water treatment projects New studies warn of denim’s lasting impact through wastewater Natural processes are changing the cleanup of petroleum contamination Low-energy extraction wells for removing contaminant plumes from landfills Thunder Bay offers loans for lead pipe replacement as water testing backlogs Keeping workers safer when transferring flammable and combustible liquids New algaecide making strides in fight against toxic algal blooms Harbour expansion project created numerous environmental challenges Ontario’s new regulation on excess soil highlights new in-demand skills Careful planning required to deal with asbestos during facade renovations Michigan settles lead water crisis, assuring nearly $600 million going to affected children Canadian company patents world’s first electrified water and current detector
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EDITORIAL COMMENT BY STEVE DAVEY
New book outlines economic solutions for a planet in crisis
ast month, a number of companies and organizations from across Ontario’s environment and cleantech sector “attended” the first virtual Environment and Cleantech Business + Policy Forum, organized by the Ontario Environment Industry Association (ONEIA). One of the keynote presenters was Tom Rand of ArcTern Ventures, who has written a number of books on environmental issues. He also developed Planet Traveler, a low-carbon hotel project in downtown Toronto. Rand’s first book Kick the Fossil Fuel Habit (2010) was winner of the 2011 Whitepine Non-Fiction award. Waking the Frog became a bestseller in 2014 and his latest book, Climate Capitalism: Economic Solutions for a Planet in Crisis, is out now. A dynamic speaker, Rand outlined some of his findings, recommendations and predictions during ONEIA’s forum. He says that a warming climate and a general distrust of Wall Street has opened a new cultural divide among those who otherwise agree we must mitigate climate risk. Anti-market critics target capitalism itself as a root cause of climate change, while climate-savvy business leaders believe we can largely continue with business as usual by tinkering around the edges of our economic system. Rand argues that both sides in this emerging cultural war are ill-equipped to provide solutions to the climate crisis, and each is remarkably naïve in their view of capitalism. On one hand, we cannot possibly wean ourselves off fossil fuels without the financial might and entrepreneurial talent market forces alone can unlock. On the other hand, Rand believes that without radical changes to the way markets operate, capitalism will not take this step by itself. He feels that governments must realize that reducing the global carbon footprint is inevitable. Fossil fuels are a finite resource and renewable sources, such as wind and solar, have evolved to the point that in some cases they are more cost-effective. However, to slow global warming, we
cannot wait until market forces alone make the switch from fossil fuels to renewables a reality. It would be too slow a process and global warming due to rising CO₂ levels is here now. The time to act is now, with government policies such as carbon taxes, he said. Rejecting the old left wing/right wing ideologies, Rand believes a more pragmatic view capable of delivering practical solutions to this critical problem is needed. A refocused capitalism, harnessed to the task, is the only way we might replace fossil fuels fast enough to mitigate severe climate risk. If we set political biases aside, Rand says it is possible to build economies that survive the century. After his presentation, I asked Rand if he felt that the current focus on the COVID-19 pandemic, will prevent governments from taking more serious action on climate change. He replied that, if anything, COVID-19 has shown that governments can act quickly and decisively if the situation is dire enough. Climate Capitalism: Economic Solutions for a Planet in Crisis is available at www.chapters.indigo.ca Kudos to associations like ONEIA for the excellent job they are doing at creating virtual events for their members. While I for one really miss live events and eagerly await their return, virtual events now certainly have their place in the world of communication and learning. For more information on ONEIA, visit www.oneia.ca. Steve Davey is the editor and publisher of ES&E Magazine. Please email any comments you may have to firstname.lastname@example.org
“Climate action will be a cornerstone of our plan to support and create a million jobs across the country… This is where the world is going. Global consumers and investors are demanding and rewarding climate action… We can create good jobs today and a globally competitive economy not just next year, but in 2030, 2040, and beyond.” Excerpted from Canada’s Governor-General Julie Payette’s September 2020 throne speech.
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The goal is to attribute the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in a sample, to a particular location within a facility. Felipecaparros/Adobe Stock
Improved plumbing designs could boost testing accuracy for viruses in wastewater By David Nesseth
ngineering firms are doing the best they can with the current slate of plumbing obstacles, which make it difficult to pinpoint the precise origin of positive samples for a virus such as COVID-19. So says a sector leader tasked with rolling out a COVID-19 testing service for larger facilities, on behalf of engineering firm GHD. “No one was building dormitories, or manufacturing facilities, with a desire to separate out washrooms for pandemic testing,” Peter Capponi, North American industrial and manufacturing sector leader at GHD, told ES&E Magazine. Depending on the configuration of the facility’s wastewater system, the water could exit in various locations, or be combined with stormwater. The goal is to attribute the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in a sample to a particular location within the facility with the least interference possible, whether it be a school, manufacturing facility, hospital or a wide range of other buildings. The situation means more of a focus 8 | October 2020
see as the “new normal”, GHD is working with Envision, through the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure, to learn from the ongoing pandemic and consider ways that design could help people that may be in similar situations in the future. Capponi hopes that society will create the ability to access wastewater samples for specific restrooms and embed that into the building’s design. But there are many more possibilities too, such as manufacturing or food processing facilities embedding social distancing requirements directly into the building’s design to make process lines safer and more flexible. These design standards could even end up as options through something such as LEED certification. “You have to find the bright side in this and I think we’re always looking for a better way,” says Capponi. As it stands currently, wastewater testing can detect traces of the coronavirus up to three days in advance of symptoms appearing in the monitored area. The wastewater testing technology developed by Eurofins works by targeting two genome sequences to detect and confirm the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in accordance with guidelines by the World Health Organization. Results are provided within 48 hours of wastewater sample testing. “This is a phenomenal tool to pick up blindspots,” says Capponi. As there is no one exact methodology at the moment, the Eurofins partnership allows GHD to stay up to date with the latest developments in testing. In late May, the Canadian Water Network appointed a National Research Advisory Group to oversee the design of a wastewater surveillance pilot program to assess the strengths and limitations of various methods. This is based on their ability to usefully complement epidemiological interpretations from clinical data. GHD says it has added epidemiology and virology resources to its service response to the pandemic. It has also developed key strategic relationships with various public health organizations and leading academic institutions in the fight against COVID-19.
from GHD to use its technology as an early indicator warning on how the virus is trending within client facilities. “This data is not a sniper bullet,” Capponi says of the wastewater testing. “You cannot say you have a result in a particular manhole and that it correlates directly to three cases of COVID on floor five of that building.” After testing results return from a partnership with Eurofins labs, GHD will make recommendations based on the trends of the data from the RNA sampling. They will be in conjunction with the suite of other preventative measures, that may or may not be adequately implemented at the client facility. These could include social distancing, thermal screening, or cleaning procedures. “Testing is one tool in the toolbox,” says Capponi, who notes wastewater testing can be particularly helpful in cases where individuals may be asymptomatic. Already, GHD’s COVID-19 services have been utilized in a number of facilities, and have detected the presence of David Nesseth is a writer with SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater. Environmental Science & Engineering As the world experiences what some Magazine. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine
Managing unused potable water systems during the pandemic By Paul Sharpe
overnment mandated business closures and travel restrictions, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, have caused many businesses to reduce water flow in various complex building water systems. While the coronavirus is not associated with water systems, there are other pathogens and water quality issues that can potentially develop, due to stagnant or reduced water flow in buildings. There may be instances when a building’s water system needs to be shut down or placed in an isolation condition, including temporary closures of the building, building renovations or isolation of a section of a larger distribution system. A water system that is in a low-flow condition is slightly different, but presents a similar potential for the development of biofilm and the amplification of potentially harmful bacteria. Under normal building operation, chlorinated or chloraminated water is supplied to a building from the local municipality and the disinfectant is evenly distributed throughout the building’s water system. However, loss of disinfectant residuals may occur due to a number of factors, including disinfectant demand, temperature, nutrient loading and water flow. In these situations, if the water flow stops or is significantly reduced, bacterial growth and biofilm development can increase rapidly as the disinfectant in the water is depleted. Figure 1 is an exaggerated graphic of the development process. In cases where a building’s water flow has been reduced, but not valved off, it is important to develop a protocol or management plan for consistently flushing as many of the distal (away from the main header) faucets, fixtures and outlets as possible. Each of the water lines off the supply main has the potential for concentrating bacteria and biofilm. Flushing these lines will help exchange 10 | October 2020
Figure 1. Cross section of potable water piping.
the stagnated water with fresh water containing a disinfectant. For building water systems that have been completely isolated for an extended period of time, a potable water disinfection (chlorine) will be the process for any new or older piping. This will be part of the commissioning protocol and is typically mandated by the local health department prior to occupancy or human consumption. A total coliform test (positive/negative) is performed and must be carried out within 24 hours of sampling. Check with the local health department for specific guidelines. The following are some simple actions that should be considered while a building is under low-flow conditions: • Flow and exchange 3% – 7% of the water based on estimated total water volume for the building. • Flow water at each distal outlet until there is a chlorine residual (free or total) based on the type of disinfectant. This will require a free or total chlorine test kit. Additionally, a specific test for monochloramine can be used for chloraminated systems. • For hot water potable systems, flush the water to the point where either the water temperature is the same as the hot water main or above 120oF (where allowed). This will require a thermometer.
Once the building water system is scheduled to return to normal service, flushing should be increased, and additional testing is advised. Disinfectant levels should be at or near the supplied water disinfectant levels at all locations in the building. Samples for total heterotrophic plate count should be collected and cultured. Total heterotrophic plate counts should be less than 500 colony forming units. Local certified water testing laboratories will be able to perform these cultures and the interpretation of the results. One of the most effective means of reducing bacteria amplification and biofilm development is simply exchanging the old water with new. Waterborne pathogens can concentrate in stagnant water if the building’s distribution system is not flushing regularly. It is important to develop and follow a written plan for both low flow and idle water systems. Documenting the process and procedures followed will help if a shutdown is required in the future. Paul Sharpe is with Kurita America (formerly U.S. Water). For more information, visit www.kuritaamerica.com
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WEF report suggests ‘low’ virus risk for wastewater workers, calls for further study
panel of 16 wastewater sector experts has determined in a recent report that the occupational risk of COVID-19 infection for wastewater workers is low, but also identified the need for two additional studies to close existing knowledge gaps. The 114-page report from the Water Environment Federation (WEF), Protecting Wastewater Professionals From COVID-19 and Other Biological Hazards, re-examines approaches to managing biological hazards in general. “The top priority of WEF is always to ensure the safety and health of our frontline people, who are essential workers in communities across the country,” announced WEF President Jackie Jarrell, in a statement. “We are grateful to the panel for ensuring that information on
12 | October 2020
hazards and safety are based on the latest evidence and best science,” added Jarrell. Although the virus’ ribonucleic acid (RNA) has been detected in untreated wastewater, no reports have yet shown infectious forms of the virus in wastewater, indicating that COVID-19 requires living host cells to reproduce. The report’s panelists concluded the virus is unlikely to be more infectious than other types of viruses typical to wastewater environments. The panel notes, however, that although the infectious form of the virus that causes COVID-19 has not yet been detected in wastewater, wastewater sludge, or biosolids, its presence cannot be ruled out without further research. The WEF provides guidance for managing many forms of biological hazards
in its 2012 publication, Manual of Practice (MOP) 1: Safety, Health, and Security in Wastewater Systems. The latest report suggests that there is no basis for new changes to that guidance beyond further emphasizing the importance of proper protective equipment to protect workers’ respiratory pathways, such as N95 respirators, surgical masks and goggles. “Standard treatment and disinfection procedures in use at water resource recovery facilities have proven effective at inactivating the virus,” the report states. “Employing proper personal protective equipment and hygienic practices can sufficiently protect workers from virus exposure, according to the findings.” The report states that because COVID19 mainly spreads through respiratory droplets, tasks that involve spraying wastewater or biosolids as an aerosol “could present increased inhalation risks.” Additionally, collection system workers, biosolids handlers, laboratory analysts, industrial pretreatment personnel, and other hands-on jobs may also face increased exposure, the report’s authors wrote. Perhaps most notably, the latest WEF report has identified the need for two additional studies. First, an epidemiological study of infectious disease incidence among wastewater and collection system workers that could establish a baseline level of protective equipment use for COVID-19; and second, a new study to characterize respiratory exposure for typical tasks performed by workers in water resource recovery facilities and collection systems, “aimed at better identifying aerosolization effects and other understudied disease vectors,” the report’s authors state. “Existing research provides an incomplete understanding of how transitioning between solid and liquid phases during the wastewater treatment process can affect any virus transmission, a knowledge gap exacerbated by coronavirus,” the report states.
Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine
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COMBINED SEWER OVERFLOW
Real-time monitoring can quantify the amount of overflow and water quality By Alex Ding and Tony Petrucci
anitary sewers carry wastewater to wastewater treatment plants. Storm sewers carry rainwater and snowmelt from roofs and roads and channel it into streams, rivers, and other bodies of water. As suggested by their name, combined sewer systems are sewers that are designed to collect wastewater and stormwater runoff in the same pipe. Combined sewers are often used in older areas where the sewer system was built a long time ago. Many older North American municipalities with sewer systems built during or before the 1940s operate with some combined sewers. Most of the time, they carry all contents (rain, melted snow and wastewater) to wastewater treatment plants for full treatment before discharging into receiving water bodies. During periods of intense, heavy rainfall, or snow melt, the volume of stormwater that enters these combined sewers may exceed the system’s conveyance capacity or treatment capacity. For this reason, combined sewer systems are designed
to overflow occasionally and discharge excess wastewater directly to nearby streams, rivers or other water bodies to prevent sewer overloads, which could lead to flooding of properties, public spaces or even the wastewater treatment plants. Combined sewer overflow (CSO) contains a mix of contaminated human excrement and water containing a number of chemicals and other pollutants. The sewer system carries industrial and household pollutants and storm runoffs during rainfall events. If improperly treated, the overflow is a cause of disease once it contaminates the environment. The toxic substances move directly upwards in the food chain and spread, while contaminating the natural resources. WHY MONITOR CSO? System-wide monitoring of combined sewer networks is necessary to quantify the amount of overflow and water qual-
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Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine
ity at CSO locations and outfalls. Also, a robust monitoring program will provide essential data for remediation projects to reduce runoff contamination caused by sewer overflows, eliminating costly infrastructure improvement projects. Anticipated technical and financial challenges have encouraged municipalities to develop real-time monitoring systems that can evaluate the current infrastructure, optimize development in combined sewer systems and control water pollution. According to a number of field studies, integration of real-time monitoring data with accurate analytical models can be used for different applications, including optimization of pump scheduling and to detect leaks and implement an alarm CSO monitoring schematic. system for overflow contamination. All of these applications require many permanent monitoring locations across the combined sewer system to accurately log the occurrences. HOW TO MONITOR CSO? CSO monitoring at the overflow locations can be done through flow level measurements. As most overflow structures are essentially weirs, it is possible to calculate overflow rate through a head-discharge relationship derived specifically based on the overflow structure geometry. When it comes to sensor selection for level monitoring, a non-intrusive above-flow ultrasonic sensor is preferred in wastewater applications to avoid rigging. To ensure good data quality, the ultrasonic sensor needs to be placed close to the flow to avoid the ultrasonic beam from spreading too wide. As a result, level measurement range is limited. As CSO levels vary significantly from event to event, it is essential to have a redundant pressure transducer in addition to the above-flow ultrasonic sensor. As the water level rises to beyond the ultrasonic measurement range, the pressure transducer can be switched on automatically. This combination is able to provide excellent quality data while maintaining the range of measurement. CSO monitoring at downstream locations, such as outfalls, can be measured using flow meters installed in overflow pipes to calculate overflows during storm events. At times, flow meters installed in downstream pipes have been compromised during heavy storms. Erroneous measurements are logged due to invert below mean tide levels during a flood. Positive and negative flows are captured by the flow meter and registered. One of the main challenges with creating system-wide monitoring data collection is access to electrical power. In most cases, these devices are placed in locations without power, and must rely on batteries. Due to their nature, CSOs can contain explosive atmospheres so monitoring must be done safely. Monitoring equipment must have been tested and certified by an independent certification body such as EU ATEX to ensure its intrinsic safety, or else it can ignite explosive gases in the sewer environment. All data collected will be transmitted to a cloud-based data hub. This all-in-one data collection gives the user one view of the water levels. Furthermore, other data is usually required to analyze the collected flow data such as precipitation data from rain gauges. Advances in cellular communication and sensing www.esemag.com @ESEMAG
Ultrasonic monitor with built-in pressure transducer.
An example of CSO level monitoring.
technologies could provide a much needed increase in spatial and temporal locality of hydraulic flow data for a better understanding and monitoring of large-scale sewer systems. Their implementation allows large-scale monitoring using a sensor network for long-term continuous data with minimum technical assistance. continued overleaf… October 2020 | 15
COMBINED SEWER OVERFLOW SMART CITY INTEGRATION Utilizing Smart City monitoring systems enables device management and real-time data analytics. Monitoring software is usually leveraged via software as a service (SaaS). Using a centralized platform for all monitoring equipment offers a dashboard display of the sensor’s status and performance. Flow meters deployed to monitor depth and velocity in a combined sewer system, require a flow monitoring software to manage all the sensors, as well as access to the collected data in a real-time manner. Such systems are usually integrated with geographic information systems (GIS) that capture, store and display information on the monitoring network. GIS integrated systems allow users to view monitoring activities while linking geographic information and displaying detailed descriptions. As a result, this can improve data management workflow while processing big data with high quality results to display. Web-based software on a cloud environment has demonstrated a real advantage when compared to conventional desktop computer programs. Cloud computing uses a series of external computing resources such as servers, databases and networks to run applications and programs. Cloud computing enables users to access, manage and deliver services on multiple networks without any human
16 | October 2020
An example of a cloud-based flow monitoring data management platform.
involvement. Such systems increase efficiency and utilization by load balancing through multiple applications, providing a large range of data storage and processing. One of the most critical elements for real time data acquisition is wireless communication technology, including cellular, satellite and Bluetooth technology used for remote access and reading of sensors and meters, then transferring data to a hosting platform in real time. With the upcoming sunset of the previous mainstream cellular network (3G), the latest generation of cellular communication technology (LTE-M and NB-IoT) have been widely adopted. Compared to previous generations, LTE-M and NB-IoT have several advantages, including lower power consumption and better signal penetration.
Wireless sensors are also an integral part of the “Internet of Things” (IoT). This term refers to the expanding interconnection of smart devices, ranging from appliances to tiny sensors. In addition, IoT is the core component of today’s Smart City vision. Collecting sensor data and delivering it to a cloud network for further analytics is a continuous process of today’s modern city planning and operations, including smart flow monitoring. Wireless flow meters in underground sewer infrastructures are designed to monitor performance and flag issues related to sewer system operation. Alex Ding is with Smart City Water. Email: email@example.com. Tony Petrucci is with Civica Infrastructure Inc. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine
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B.C. company’s technology removes PFAS and EDCs from leachate and industrial effluents By George Thorpe and Ian Wylie
er- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a class of more than 4,000 different chemicals used in a wide range of products from household items to fast food wrappers. They have even been found in our blood. New research by the non-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG), shows they are prevalent in municipal tap water as well. Researchers have found that someone who drinks water with 50 parts per trillion of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) for a year or more is more likely to get testicular or kidney cancer, thyroid disease, ulcerative colitis, high cholesterol, or preeclampsia, a condition that can cause organ damage in pregnant women. Another class of contaminants, which affect human health, are called endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). Most of these are industrial, agricultural and medically-derived synthetic chemicals which mimic human hormones in the body. Estrogen is responsible for most “female” characteristics in humans. Apart from the highly estrogenically active
PFAS are a class of more than 4,000 different chemicals. Another class of contaminants, which affect human health, are called endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs).
synthetic form of estrogen (EE2) found in birth-control pills which is usually excreted at a rate of 90% from women, there are hundreds of other estrogenic (and androgenic) EDCs entering our wastewaters and the food chain daily. These are not being treated effectively. It is estimated that 36 tonnes of highly bio-active EE2 are produced globally
every year for use in agriculture, as well as for medical and personal care product applications. The “safe” effluent level of EE2 has been determined by the British Columbia Environment Ministry to be 5 parts per trillion (ng/L). Another estrogenic “problem EDC” is Bisphenol-A (BPA), which is used as a “softener” in plastics. BPA is produced
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18 | October 2020
Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine
at a rate of 4 million tonnes globally per year. Fortunately, most of the BPA used in plastics remains locked inside the plastic solids, since they are slow to degrade. However, the sum total of all the EDCs active in the food chain may have contributed to the 50% decline in male fertility world-wide in the last 60 years, and to the continuing epidemic of estrogen-dependent breast cancer in women. Effective treatment for EDCs entering the biosphere and the food chain is both necessary and practical. However, awareness of these issues must increase or the political will to encourage positive changes will simply not materialize. Many or most of the changes in treatment technology can be implemented without huge capital expenditures because the technologies are available. BI Pure Water has developed a product and process that targets these dangerous substances in a very cost-effective manner. Biperliminate had its origins in an electrochemical process on diamond-coated niobium electrodes. It was originally developed to synthesize various high-energy peroxy oxidants. When work began on an improved version of this technology for BI Pure Water, the focus was on how to further reduce operating costs for the treatment process and the capital cost of the equipment. The application of Biperliminate has now demonstrated operating costs (OPEX) in the range of $0.50 – $0.80 per m3 and less than 1 kWh/m3 in electrical power requirements. Capital costs (CAPEX) are now less than half that of the electrochemical process with diamond electrodes and are $300 – $600 per m3/day in volume. These costs are roughly equivalent, or less expensive than, both the operating and capital costs of a typical large-scale municipal sewerage treatment plant. However, the footprint and land requirements are at least 50 times lower per unit volume of water treated. Also, the systems can be readily mounted on trailers for mobile “where required” water treatment. Bacterial treatment is not capable of treating synthetic organic compounds, especially at lower temperatures, while Biperliminate’s rate of chemical treatment is almost independent of temperature. Biperliminate’s OPEX and CAPEX are
typical for a broad number of contaminants, in the range of 100 mg/L or less, that have now been tested on various pilot systems. These treatment costs are considerably less than other advanced oxidation processes, such as UV/peroxide or UV/ozone. Some of the synthetic industrial (refractory) contaminants that have been successfully and cost-effectively treated with Biperliminate include: phenols, BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene, xylenes), estrogen, atrazine, triazole, cyanide compounds, drugs, hormones, PAHs, PCBs, chloroform and disinfection byproducts in general, most chlorinated hydrocarbons, PFOA, hydrogen sulfide and sulfides in general from municipal landfills and oil and gas, lignans from pulp and paper and wood waste, refractory dyes such as methylene blue and phenol red, and naphthenic acids. BI Pure Water was awarded an Innovative Solutions Canada contract to remediate groundwater toxins at Glacier National Park in British Columbia. The
customized Biperliminate system will remediate poly-aromatic hydrocarbons, such as naphthalene (C10H8) and BTEX, diesel fuel and metal contaminants to meet the B.C. Freshwater Aquatic Life standard. The mobile trailer-mounted system has a capacity of 100 m3/day. It is highly automated and remotely monitored by cell phone. With this process, the contaminants will be destroyed on-site rather than being transported elsewhere for disposal. The soil contamination at the site is a result of the transportation history of the area, including the construction and operation of the railway through Rogers Pass in the late 1800s, followed by the construction of the Trans-Canada Highway in the 1960s, and the subsequent operation of a service station until 2009. George Thorpe and Ian Wylie are with BI Pure Water. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (References are available upon request.)
October 2020 | 19
Study grades Canada ‘C’ for flood preparedness
anada’s provinces and territories have received a flood preparedness grade of “C”, following a two-year national study led by the University of Waterloo. To calculate the grade, the university’s Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation surveyed 139 provincial and territorial government officials responsible for managing floods, climate-related risks and emergency services from across all regions of Canada. To create the ranking, which was finalized in 2019, the report considered elements such as the state of readiness for Canada’s flood plain maps; land use planning relative to flood risk; efforts to retain natural infrastructure; flood safety and preparedness of critical infrastructure; and public health and emergency management capacity to limit flood risk. “Canada is heading in the right direction on flood risk protection. In light of effectively irreversible climate change, both the challenge and opportunity going forward will be to continue to deploy measures to limit future risk of flooding,” said Blair Feltmate, head of the Intact Centre and co-author of the report. A comparable study completed in 2016 resulted in a national score of "C minus", suggesting that Canada’s preparedness to limit flood risk has progressed over the last four years. There were some material improvements in the flood preparedness scores of the Yukon, British Columbia and Prince Edward Island. Flooding remains Canada’s costliest natural disaster. For every single dollar paid out in insurance claims for homes and businesses, the Insurance Bureau of Canada estimates that federal governments pay out three dollars to recover public infrastructure damaged by severe weather, the study notes. In Alberta, for instance, snowmelt from plains and mountains, heavy rainfall and ice jams are the primary causes of flooding. In Ontario, the most common form of flooding is urban,
Flood preparedness for Canada in 2019 compared against 2016 indicates that provinces and territories are moving slowly to address flood risk. University of Waterloo
when stormwater exceeds infrastructure capacities and capabilities. For example, in 2013 the Toronto floods caused $1 billion to $1.4 billion in damages and resulted in the greatest flood-related losses in Ontario’s history. Many survey respondents referenced the need for Canada to provide, in a timely fashion, user-friendly and publicly accessible up-to-date flood risk maps. Study respondents also reported the need for significant improvements regarding the communication and dissemination of critical information before, during and following flood events. The study suggests that provinces and territories might consider forming flood risk task forces to examine interdependencies across multiple aspects of infrastructure resiliency. “Overall, the study revealed that understanding of flood risk mitigation across Canada is high. Canadian provinces and territories must now double-down on the deployment of adaptation practices to ensure that the 2024 national grade on flood preparedness becomes an ‘A'," the report states.
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20 | October 2020
Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine
watering restrictions not as effective as assumed
hen researchers at the University of Waterloo analyzed more than a decade of data from 10 mid-sized Canadian cities that restrict outdoor water use and compared them with five cities that don’t impose limits, they found that restrictions had surprisingly little effect on average summer water use. Currently, more than 75% of large Canadian cities have some type of summer watering restriction. As municipalities look to adapt to increased risks of urban drought and short-term peaks in water demand, the new study aims to provide an entry point to understanding that watering restrictions are no blanket solution for water conservation, particularly when they aren’t mandatory or no drought exists. “As the climate warms and the threat of periodic water shortages becomes increasingly prevalent even in waterrich nations, it is critical to better understand seasonal swings in water demand and the ways in which the behavior of urban water users can be influenced by permanent restrictions on certain water uses,” the new study states. According to the study, Curbing the Summer Surge: Permanent Outdoor Water Use Restrictions in Humid and Semiarid Cities, water demands from 15 selected anonymous cities varied little in general across the climate spectrum they represent, but summer demands were much more variable and could use as much as three times more water in some of the dryer cities analyzed. This led the study’s researchers to concede that water use restrictions can reduce surges in demand when water conservation counts the most. “Permanent water use restrictions had little impact on the mean and median water demand during the summer months in both humid and semi-arid cities, irrespective of the stringency of bylaw imposed,” researchers state within the study led by Sara Finley, a University of Waterloo PhD student. “This stands in contrast to previous research evaluating the impact of temporary drought restrictions, which has largely demonstrated that type of policy to be effective www.esemag.com @ESEMAG
ances between water supply and demand during hot and dry periods, but their efficacy may not extend beyond benefits achieved through temporary restrictions on an emergency basis. Additionally, the study notes that more research is needed to determine which elements of municipal bylaw restrictions may be most effective in reducing water consumption. Elements The study found that permanent water use such as watering hours, choice of days, restrictions efficacy may not extend beyond promotional effort, and enforcement, benefits achieved through temporary restrictions each have their own roles to play when it on an emergency basis. Alex Petelin, Adobe Stock comes to influencing behaviour. “Those convinced that overall summer in curtailing overall average water use demands can be drastically reduced by specifically during drought events.” the introduction of day-of-week waterThe 15 participating cities from across ing restrictions may find the result disfive provinces provided a minimum of couraging,” the study states. Notably, 13 and a maximum of 25 years of daily all cities within the study experienced water production values for the study. It a decline in per capita water demands found that permanent water use restric- over the past two decades. tions may mitigate short-term imbal-
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Wastewater treatment regulations change, so having a software platform that keeps up with them saves time and improves compliance.
Software helps ensure WWTP compliance while streamlining reporting requirements By Rich Prinster
anitation District No. 1 (SD1) has managed wastewater and stormwater for more than 70 years and daily treats 140 million litres of water, serving a population of 115,000 customers with a network of over 3,200 kilometres of sewers. Sarah Griffith, laboratory and industrial pretreatment manager, oversees the laboratory and manages the industrial pretreatment and fats, oils and grease (FOG) programs at SD1. In the lab, the team performs 40,000 analyses per year, seven days a week. On the pretreatment side, the team oversees, inspects and samples 55 industrial users in the service area, and also permits and inspects 200 food service establishments under the FOG program.
22 | October 2020
THE CHALLENGE After using Linko, a compliance management software by Aquatic Informatics, for several years, a newly developed environmental compliance module was released by the computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) that many departments within SD1 used for the scheduling and tracking of work. As an exercise in due diligence, the industrial pretreatment and FOG program teams attempted to move to this new module, as it seemed like a practical decision for the organization. Although the CMMS was a very robust and comprehensive program for other teams within the organization, it quickly became apparent that the CMMS’ compliance capabilities were not advanced enough to manage SD1’s pretreatment and FOG programs. “The CMMS worked to the extent that you can handle industries as assets and
track utilization of time,” explained Griffith. “However, it was just not able to handle compliance and compliance is a big part of what we do.” In order to not lose Linko’s purpose-built compliance capabilities, SD1 decided not to fully move away from it for their pretreatment and FOG program management, so it was not hard to switch back to full functionality. Pretreatment programs involve a lot of data, compliance is complex, and regulations do change. In many ways, temporarily moving to a CMMS helped SD1 realize the value of purpose-built software. “We spent a lot of energy trying to make the CMMS work for something it wasn’t made for, especially when we already had a solution that worked,” said Griffith. “In some sense, it was good for us to become familiar with the limitations of our CMMS, but at the end of the day, Linko’s compliance capabilities
Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine
aren’t to be found anywhere else.” Now that SD1 had confirmed that their old software solution had the best capabilities, they moved over to a cloud-hosted environment. “From my experience with different types of software, I’ve found that hosted environments generally work better for specialty software,” said Griffith. The transition from on-premise to hosted is simple, with no training required, and allows for better access to the program and an added level of security. SD1 also uses the LabSync function that allows for the automated transfer of results from the lab. They run LabSync nightly, so each morning new data is ready to review from the laboratory information management system (LIMS). The program alerts SD1 to possible compliance issues, giving them a preliminary check on compliance. “It’s comparable to having a second set of eyes check for compliance, but on the front end. We then can review those possible issues and move forward with enforcement as needed, resulting in time savings” said Griffith. “I’d say that it saves us 30 minutes per event, per industry. This is the module that we use the most, and with everything so automated, it eliminates redundancy and a lot of manual work.” Regulations, and how regulations are interpreted, change over time. By automatically integrating change of regulations in the cloud environment, SD1 is able to keep on top of regulations without involving IT for software updates. Compliance Assistant and LabSync are preloaded with nearly all weekly definitions, making compliance easier to determine. The Compliance Assistant can determine compliance against rolling quarters and can identify significant non-compliance issues. SD1 does all reporting through Linko. Having the ability to extract all of the events, site visits, sampling events, etc., from one location saves a lot of time. In addition, reports often change slightly every year, so a key time-saving feature is the ability to query data to answer the questions required for the reports as opposed to having to spend hours combing through results manually. Permitting is another function that falls on Griffith’s team. Standardized permit templates with Permit Writer allow SD1 to establish standard permits www.esemag.com @ESEMAG
and easily tweak when needed. Violations can be issued and tracked along with an enforcement response plan that automates compliance. “This is a great tool for keeping permits standard, especially when changes occur and we have to reissue all 55 industry permits at the same time,” said Griffith."At the end of the day, if you aren’t familiar with pretreatment, you would think that
it’s just comparing a number against the limit. If that were the case, Excel would work. But, regulations change, interpretations change, and having a software platform that keeps up with that saves time and improves compliance.” Rich Prinster is with Aquatic Informatics. For more information, visit www.aquaticinformatics.com
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October 2020 | 23
Hamilton reduces non-revenue water loss with a proactive leak detection program By Dave Alberton and Peter Nikolica
n 2019, the City of Hamilton, Ontario lost 21,943 megalitres of treated water, primarily through leakage, resulting in a repair cost of $2.78 million. Added to this was the cost of treating and distributing this lost water, or the loss of potential revenue had it been delivered. There was also the environmental impact of drawing on a shrinking water supply. The city’s non-revenue water (NRW) loss for 2019 was worth $2.19 million and was 27% of the total treated water produced. This percentage is above average for Canada, and an issue that the city is determined to tackle head-on. NRW can never completely be eliminated, as every municipality flushes their system to preserve water quality and water is used for firefighting. There is also water theft to contend with. While NRW is a global concern, it really hits older and smaller municipalities the hardest. Hamilton’s numbers are not surprising, as it has one of the oldest and most complex water distribution systems in Canada. With unique geographical features like the Niagara Escarpment and Hamilton Harbour, the water distribution system has to deal with a 91 metre elevation, serving a dispersed population of 550,000. This also makes it expensive to operate, with five unique water distribution systems using 22,519 valves, 13,382 hydrants and over 2,030 km of watermains. Most watermains are designed for 50 - 80 years life expectancy, but this can vary depending on their depth, soil conditions and pipe material. The majority of the city’s watermains are older than 40 years and 35% of the pipes have been in the ground for over 68 years, meaning Hamilton Water is at high risk for pipe breaks and leaks.
WHY SO MANY PIPE BREAKS? Between 2012 and 2019, the city had approximately 320 watermain breaks per year. However, this average was affected by significantly higher numbers of watermain breaks in 2014 (440) and 2015 (433). These were the result of abnormally low winter temperatures caused by polar vortex events. Temperature changes are the most common cause of water main breaks. Sudden drops in temperature freeze the ground, putting pressure on pipes that can result in breakages. Hot temperatures also increase the risk. A hot, dry environment can cause the ground to shift, resulting in warping or damaging of pipes. Many of the city’s watermains dating back to the 1980s are made of iron, which can crack during extreme temperature changes.
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24 | October 2020
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The impact of this was felt with 30% NRW loss in 2015, totalling 24,471.3 megalitres, and a repair cost of $2,446,600. In addition to temperature changes, there are a number of factors that can cause a pipe to burst, crack or leak, including: • Corrosion • Damage caused by shovels, backhoes, or other equipment • Deterioration due to pipe age • Nearby construction or pipe repairs • Opening or closing fire hydrants too quickly • Soil erosion • Sudden increases in water volume or pressure Large breaks are usually noticed immediately, either because they saturate the surrounding ground or cause impromptu and unwanted water fountains. Hidden leaks can go unnoticed for long periods of time. Due to the geography and often rocky porous ground of Hamilton, some of these hidden leaks can amount to large losses of water over months.
In addition, as the largest energy user in the city, accounting for about 6% of the annual budget, Hamilton Water is on a mission to reduce energy consumption. Since potable water requires pumping and treatment before it is used, and that pumping and treatment requires energy, reducing NRW will also reduce energy consumption. In 2019, Hamilton Water conducted a pilot project utilizing new leak detection technology that was expected to significantly improve results. This allowed the city to test new technology and do a basic cost/benefit analysis before fine-tuning and optimizing a permanent proactive leak monitoring program. The pilot area was chosen based on geographical areas of concern, where water leaks do not typically surface, since the water leaks into the subsurface soil and rock. These hidden leaks account for a large amount of NRW and can be far more damaging to the pipe network, with erosion of pipe bedding leading to major pipe breaks and even damage to foundations of roads and buildings. A FOCUSED APPROACH TO ACTION Hamilton Water dedicated a water distribution operator On March 27, 2019, the City of Hamilton joined another 490 and supervisor to work with Mike Howard, a leak detection Canadian municipalities, declaring a climate change emer- expert from MJH2O, for a four-month pilot. Using Gutergency that threatens cities, regions, provinces, nations and mann Zonescan 820 correlating radio loggers, a systematic the world at large. In doing so, the city has joined forces with deployment approach called “lift & shift” was initiated to suran international movement to take action now. As a part of vey selected pipe sections and detect leaks. the declaration, Hamilton Water committed to aggressively reducing NRW. continued overleaf…
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October 2020 | 25
WATER HOW IT WORKS Each day, an area was created in a project file. Loggers, or sensors, were then deployed in the area by magnetically attaching them to main line valves and hydrant secondary valves. Spacing of the loggers averaged every second hydrant, with main line valves included where necessary. This allowed the logger to listen for leak noise 100 metres in each direction. With 38 loggers, the team tested an average of 7.5 km of watermain each night. The loggers were programmed to turn on between 2:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. to record noise levels at each location. Sound signals were recorded and saved for future correlation and leak detection purposes. Loggers were then picked up the next morning and the Zonescan Smart software retrieved the data collected and programmed the loggers for the next selected area. The software tagged each logger to a GPS location on Google Maps, which was then uploaded and saved to Zonescan.net. Information collected was automatically correlated to pinpoint the leak location. A correlation report for each location and findings from all loggers were reported to the water management team daily, so that action could be taken as required. ACHIEVING BETTER RESULTS Leak detection technology has come a long way, and most of that advancement has happened in recent years. In the past, the city has used geophone technology, and correlators to locate leaks where the rough location of the leak was unknown and the distances were relatively high. The problem is that heavy road traffic or even water usage can interfere with pinpointing the exact leak location. Digging a dry hole (holes where there are no leaks) costs approximately $5,000. Prior to this new leak detection technology, Hamilton Water was digging 30 – 50 dry holes per year, leading to an annual spend between $150,000 and $250,000. The annual cost of the pilot was $100,000, so, on this metric alone, the proactive leak detection program proved its return on investment. The Gutermann approach uses three methods to cross correlate leak location. First is the Zonescan logger information followed by on-site correlation using Aquascan, and finally sonic leak detection using the Aquascope3 leak detector. This approach increased the accuracy of each leak identified. During the pilot, 180 km of pipes were inspected, with 95 potential water leaks or watermain breaks identified. Staff investigated these locations and confirmed and repaired 67 water leaks or watermain breaks. A further 20 leaks were detected on private residence lines. The overall number of watermain breaks for 2019 was 332, which amounted to repair costs of $2.2 million (including excavation, repair and temporary restoration), and permanent restoration costs of approximately $580,000.
City of Hamilton (Hamilton Water) staff and its contractor completing proactive leak detection.
main, etc. The most important repair factor is the possibility of damage to public health, property and the environment. Energy is consumed at every stage of the cycle of water supply, treatment, use and disposal, and therefore it is part of the cost of NRW. Hamilton Water has calculated that it takes 0.329450984 kWh to produce one cubic metre of water. This allows the NRW team to calculate the energy consumption cost of every leak. For example, a Stone Church Road leak amounted to 149.24 kWh per day, and at a cost of $0.06/kWh, this amounts to $8.95 per day or $3,266.75 annually Another noteworthy leak detected and fixed took place at a Hamilton City Housing complex that had a water meter at the property line. Since the leak was on the domestic line within the complex, City Housing was paying for the water loss that spiked as high as $40,000 in November. Hamilton Water supported City Housing to find and repair the leak, bringing their water FORGING AHEAD costs back down to a little over $3,000 for the month of July. In 2020, Hamilton Water’s proactive leak detection program Due to the success of the pilot, the city will be putting out a is well on its way to exceeding the results from 2019. As most request for technology to establish a long-term proactive leak leaks are hidden, the improved accuracy of information enables detection program. The new program will ensure that all five crews to better prioritize and schedule a repair based on leak water distribution systems are assessed annually, as opposed size, road conditions, location of break, criticality of the water- to only looking at reactive leak detection.
26 | October 2020
Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine
LONG-TERM PROACTIVE PLANNING Hamilton Water is committed to reducing NRW, not only with a proactive leak detection plan, but in serious upgrades to the water distribution system that will have a long-term impact. The city has well documented all repairs and has determined that approximately 39% of Hamilton’s watermain breaks are caused by corrosion, 59% are caused by ground movement, and 2% are the result of displaced pipe joints. Historical information is very valuable when it comes to prioritizing pipe rehabilitation and replacement. In 2019, the city rehabilitated (relined) 6 km of pipeline at an approximate cost of $5.5 million. In addition, 3.7 km of watermains were replaced at an approximate cost of $5 million. Furthermore, the city plans to spend $91.66 million on watermain replacement and rehabilitation projects over the next 10 years. Fortunately, Hamilton’s water distribution system is designed with a significant amount of redundancy, so that sections of watermain can be isolated for maintenance and repair with minimal or no disruption of water supply to customers. On the upside of all this spending, the city will see a decrease in other costs associated with leakage, such as depreciation on pumps, liability paid out for property damage, and disinfectant additives, as NRW is reduced. Developing a proactive leak detection program is one of the most important steps that a community can take toward a goal of accountability and reduction of water loss. Many communities today experience water shortages in the summer months, and the onus is on the residents to reduce consumption. If municipalities can reduce NRW they are better equipped to deal with times of increased demand and population growth. Also important is the need for municipalities to dedicate experienced staff to run the program every year. It is the only way to stay on top of it and work towards operating a water distribution system that is not dictated by the failures of aging infrastructure. That said, no matter how proactive a utility is about finding and stopping small leaks before they become major issues, there will always be emergency situations that crop up. Having both a proactive and reactive leak mitigation program will always be necessary. But, with a strong focus on proactive initiatives, utilities can make a significant impact on reducing NRW losses and energy consumption.
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October 2020 | 27
Managing invasive aquatic species starts with good data By Michael Hall
nvasive aquatic plants are a problem all over the world. Transported either by accident or intentionally, some plants are extraordinarily successful in their new home. As a result, they clog water intake pipes, entangle boat propellers, crowd out native plants, take up oxygen needed by fish, and depress property values. Taking a close look at the management of Hydrilla verticillate, or water thyme, helps show some of the trends in this field. Hydrilla was brought to North America from its home in Asia as an attractive aquarium plant.
Removing hydrilla is an ongoing process as its reproductive tubers can lie dormant in the sediment for years. AdobeStock
Some ways to do this are new, including the growing application of aerial drones, which can survey vast areas of a body of water quickly, at low cost, and DELINEATION: THE RIGHT MIX OF in a way that is safe for team members. TRADITIONAL AND LEADING-EDGE Computer-based models help track TECHNOLOGY likely locations to be surveyed, given Managing hydrilla, as with many such what is known about the depth of the invasive plants, starts with getting a clear water, turbidity, and other factors. These idea of the problem at hand. This involves models also help track research results, delineation, which means finding out the including information received from the location of the target species, its distribu- public. They allow research to focus on tion and population density, and how it areas where the target species is likely to impacts that area. be found, so time is not wasted looking
in areas where it is unlikely to be. Other plant monitoring methods, such as the “rake toss”, are more traditional, low tech and less quantitative. This means taking the metal heads of two ordinary gardening rakes, fastening them backto-back, and tying them to a cord. This device is thrown from a boat, dragged along the bottom of the water body, and then pulled back to the surface. Studying the plants collected by the rakes is a good way to determine the target species presence or absence, and the population density. The rake toss method
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also provides general data about aquatic plant community density and distribution that can be used in the management plan. Rake tosses can be done on a coordinate grid pattern, along underwater contour lines that do not exceed the species’ known maximum depth, or whatever system meets the research goals. But there is no substitute for boots on the ground, or in boats, particularly if those boots are on local feet. Making local stakeholders aware of the problems posed by species such as hydrilla, typically gets tremendous cooperation and support. These include local municipalities, hunters’ and anglers’ associations, property owner associations, marina and boat launch operators, as well as anyone with an interest in the quality of water in local lakes, reservoirs and watercourses. Sometimes this involves actual in-person meetings, but we also use public relations outreach teams to contact local news outlets, build informative websites, and create a presence on social media. We even put up fliers resembling old-style “wanted” posters, at high-traffic places such as boat launch ramps and docks. This helps the public accurately identify the species of concern. We ask members of the public to collect samples of plants that they believe are the target species, and deposit them in special containers placed at marinas and boat launches. We also urge them to take photos of plants they see and upload or email them. We ask them to note details such as whether they found the plant in the water or on land, the exact location, the weather and other factors. Public engagement also involves educating the public on how they can avoid aiding the spread of the invasive species to other parts of the same water body, or other lakes and watercourses.
Studying the plants collected by the rakes is a good way to determine the target species presence or absence, and the population density.
who depend on anglers’ business such as hotels, lodges and marinas. This can include putting a high priority on keeping plants clear from boat launches. In other cases, we may be working for a power or water utility that wants to be sure its water intakes are not blocked, and that entrained plants do not damage turbines, valves or pumps in the system. In cases where the plant species has a strong foothold, it is rare that we are asked to eliminate a species entirely from that water body. This is partly because of the cost, and because re-introduction of
that species is all too likely. Hydrilla is particularly difficult to eradicate because it can be propagated by fragmentation of the plants when they get chopped up by a boat’s propeller. As well, hydrilla’s reproductive tubers can lie dormant in the sediment for years before growing. Instead, the objective of the management plan is to use the best tools and data available to control the damage and mitigate the spread of the target species. Michael Hall is with Golder. www.golder.com
MANAGEMENT PLAN DEPENDS ON THE PROJECT OBJECTIVES Once we have the species delineated, the next stage is usually to develop a plan for managing the problem, which depends on what the client wants done and their target goals. Sometimes the organizations we work for are recreation-oriented, and they want to make sure that the water body is in good condition for anglers, and those www.esemag.com @ESEMAG
October 2020 | 29
WATER ators to maneuver. Camera and video technology improved, allowing HD imaging to stream directly to the operator's hand-held unit. Many of these units enable operators to make real-time voice notes during the inspection for reference and review later. Some ROV manufacturers offer a line of accessories that range from water sample collectors to LED lighting for lowlight situations. These accessories give operators the option of more detailed inspections. Built to withstand harsh water environments, ROVs generally require minimal maintenance. However, the benefits of using an ROV for water tank inspections go beyond their technical basics. One of the most significant advantages of doing ROV inspections is that tanks can stay online during inspections. Draining, refilling and recommissioning a potable water tank is Modern ROVs are small enough to fit in water tank access hatches and can record 4K highcostly, wasteful and can disrupt water serdefinition video and capture close-up pictures. vice for a surrounding community. Diver inspections require water to be super-chlorinated before the tank goes back in service, which adds additional downtime to the procedure. In cases where a fire water supply tank needs to be drained for inspection, this could mean putting a temporary tank online or risking going without protection during the process. ROV equipment can generally be By Scott Plant and Jason Hale brought on site in a small case by one operator, and an inspection can be comoutine inspections are a critical and re-emptied later to facilitate neces- pleted in one day. As noted earlier, issues component of predictive mainte- sary repairs. Due to these complications, discovered during an ROV inspection nance of any water storage tank. In municipalities would delay inspections, can be documented and strategically the past, potable water storage tank sometimes leading to undetected issues planned for when downtime would be inspections were arduous and sometimes growing into more costly problems. less disruptive. dangerous tasks. There were only a couple Neglecting inspections can leave the This work is part of a complete preof options for completing the job. These buildup of sediments and contaminants dictive service plan an experienced tank were sending a professional diver into the unchecked inside the tank. This buildup inspection service can offer. It includes tank, or emptying it for a dry inspection. can lead to corrosion, sacrificing a tank’s the ability to help manage future mainteUsing a diver meant completely sani- integrity or, worse, fostering the growth of nance expenses by predicting issues five tizing equipment, and there is an inher- Legionella bacteria. A Legionella outbreak or 10 years in advance. Another advanent danger diving in an enclosed space. poses a serious health risk for a commu- tage of keeping a tank online during this Emptying a tank for inspection meant up nity reliant on a tank for its drinking water. process is the flexibility in scheduling to a week or more of downtime, leading In recent years, remotely operated when an inspection can be completed. to potential problems if this was the only- vehicles (ROVs) have become a standard Since there are fewer components to source for potable or fire protection water. method for completing tank inspections. coordinate, it can be as easy as booking a An offline, drained tank also presents In their early days, they were bulky, day for the operator, equipment and tank a problem if issues are detected during expensive and lacked quality imaging operator to be on site. inspection. Tank owners have to decide options. As technology improved, ROVs An ROV and its components are easy how to plan and schedule the repair. The could be built smaller to fit in water tank to sanitize for use in potable water tanks. tank could be left offline longer, or filled access hatches, and were easier for oper- Proper sanitization allows operators to
Using ROVs to inspect water storage tanks offers many benefits
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Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine
adhere to strict guidelines and best-practices during inspections. Professional, experienced tank inspection companies may even have an ROV dedicated to potable water tank inspections. Once the ROV is sanitized and in the tank, more benefits can be seen. With advancements in imaging, ROVs can record 4K high-definition video and capture close-up pictures. This advanced imaging can help service technicians and asset managers review inspection findings and plan for required maintenance. Operators can look at the interior coating and sealant and, in some cases, measure tank wall thickness. Any cracks forming in concrete tanks can be measured and documented. Corrosion forming in welded steel tanks can be brought to the tank owners attention for tank repair or replacement consideration. Internal appurtenances, such as access ladders, overflow piping or inlets/ outlets, can be inspected for loose fittings or corrosion. Another essential item to check during
an inspection is the sediment buildup at the bottom of a tank. Sediment must be removed periodically to prevent the growth of bacteria, minimize corrosion and reduce the risk of contaminants mixing with the distribution system. A trained ROV operator can maneuver their machine close enough for proper assessment of sediment buildup without disturbing the silt during the process. In tanks where cathodic protection is installed, a detailed ROV inspection can help a NACE certified service technician determine the condition of the protective anodes. All of this documentation can be referenced when making a strategic plan for future maintenance. It can also be useful in determining if necessary repairs to a tank are too costly, and replacing the tank may be a better solution.
allows owners to establish a predictive maintenance plan which helps extend the life of their tank. Asset managers can use these plans to properly allocate budget money and resources for upcoming expenditures if necessary. Choosing the right company for your tank inspections can be difficult. The most important consideration should be what service the company provides after the inspection. Any tank inspection service can show video from inside a tank. Only a company that has experience building and servicing water storage tanks can advise on what to do about the issues discovered during the inspection. Finally, it is also essential to choose an ROV inspection team that is established and experienced, and adheres to guidelines from the AWWA.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT TEAM It is recommended that most tanks be inspected every three to five years, depending on the type and age of the tank. Following a regular inspection schedule
Scott Plant and Jason Hale are with Greatario Engineered Storage Systems. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.greatario.com
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October 2020 | 31
Alberta gets additional funding for an array of water and wastewater projects
series of new projects will be underway in Alberta, ranging from a new CO₂ injector pump, to the expansion of wastewater treatment systems, to implementing moving bed biofilm reactor technology recently tested in the province’s harsh northern climate. Alberta handed out $150 million in water infrastructure grants to support 55 water and wastewater improvement projects that could help kickstart the hard-hit economy. Now, a new round of funding has emerged. The Town of Raymond, with a population of nearly 4,000, will increase its wastewater treatment system capacity with $7.9 million in newly funded upgrades. Construction will consist of new anaerobic cells, a new facultative cell, a new storage cell, and the rehabili-
new connection vault at the lift station, and creating a new sanitary dump station, all at a cost of about $3.4 million. In Cold Lake, two wastewater projects have been approved for grants under the Alberta Municipal Water/Wastewater Partnership. The Cold Lake Regional Utility Services Commission (CLRUSC) has been searching for ways to fund a new wasteThe Town of Taber, Alberta faced flooding in water treatment facility capable of meet2018. New funding will allow for the construction ing environmental standards well into of an engineered wetland to manage excess the future. Officials who recently tested stormwater during excessive rainfall. moving bed biofilm reactor technology Town of Taber/Mark Valgardson in the colder weather say that the technology may be a means to meet the city’s tation of the existing storage cell. wastewater treatment needs for around In the City of Brooks, with a popula- $20 million. tion of nearly 15,000, officials are now Switching to the new technology expanding wastewater lines, adding a would provide relief for Beaver River, Waste Water products plus NMac 4.65 x 4.65.pdf 1 1/24/2018 7:37:09 AM which is already heavily loaded with nutrients upstream of the effluent outflow. The grant for the mechanical upgrades will cover just over 29% of that project, Pumps for all your waste water challenges up to a maximum of about $5.8 million. Additionally, Cold Lake received a Thickened Sludge Bio-mass Thin Sludge grant that will cover just over 29% of Dewatered Sludge Activated Sludge Lime Milk the fourth phase of an upgrade to the Auxiliary Flocculents Combined Sewage Flotation Sludge Building 9 Force Main, to a maximum of about $707,000. CLASSIC TORNADO® T1 The Town of Taber, with a population Rotary Lobe of about 8,500, has received federal and Pumps provincial dollars totalling more than $307,000 for the installation of a new CO₂ injector pump in the town’s water treatNEMO® Progressing ment plant facility. Additionally, Taber N.Mac™ Twin Cavity Pumps has received nearly $7 million for the Shaft Grinders construction of an engineered wetland to Full Service-in-Place manage excess stormwater during exces(FSIP®) Pumps sive rainfall. The town enacted a state of ® emergency due to flooding in 2018. TORNADO® T2 NEMO Mini Rotary Lobe Pumps Metering Pump Taber has also received approximately $22.4 million for the construction of a concrete spillway and upgrades to canals attached to Taber Lake. This work will allow the controlled release of excess NETZSCH Canada, Inc. water from Taber Lake to the Oldman Tel: 705-797-8426 email@example.com River to improve the flood attenuation www.pumps.netzsch.com capacity of the St. Mary River Irrigation District's main canal.
32 | October 2020
Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine
studies warn of denim’s lasting impact through wastewater
wo new studies with connections to the University of Toronto have detailed the troublesome environmental footprints that blue jeans, one of the most popular and durable garments on Earth, have been leaving behind for decades. The researchers used a combination of microscopy and Raman spectroscopy to identify and count indigo denim microfibres in various water samples collected in Canada. One of the new studies, published this month in Environmental Science and Technology Letters, found that microfibres comprise as much as 90% of the anthropogenic particles found in sediments from the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, Laurentian Great Lakes, and shallow suburban lakes in southern Ontario. Of those particles, as much as 23% were found to be indigo (a type of blue dye) denim microfibres. The researchers also noted that of the microfibres found in wastewater treatment plant material collected from southern Ontario, 13% was dyed with indigo. Introduced to municipal treatment systems through the laundry, the researchers found that one pair of used jeans could release approximately 56,000 microfibres per wash cycle. Based on the levels of microfibres found in wastewater effluent, the researchers estimated that the wastewater treatment plants in the study discharge about 1 billion indigo denim microfibres per day. “We conclude that blue jeans, the world’s single most popular garment, are an indicator of the widespread burden of anthropogenic pollution by adding significantly to the environmental accumulation of microfibres from temperate to Arctic regions,” states study co-author Sam Athey, a doctoral candidate in the University of Toronto’s department of earth sciences. Following publication of the study, Athey recommended on social media that people should consider washing their denim products significantly less often to reduce the burden on the environment. “Despite a high abundance of denim microfibres in Great Lakes sediments, the team detected only a single denim microfibre in the digestive tract of a type of fish called rainbow smelt,” researchers said in a statement about the study, although they did not extensively examine the effects microfibres have on aquatic life. In another recent study, published in June in the journal Facets, a research team with University of Toronto scientist Chelsea Rochman found a surprising number of tiny blue fibres during microfibre and microplastic analysis in Canada’s eastern Arctic. Laundry machines in Canada and the U.S can release upwards of 878 tonnes of microfibres to the aquatic environment each year following wastewater treatment, according to research by the Ocean Wise Plastics Lab in Vancouver.
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October 2020 | 33
How natural processes are changing the way we manage petroleum contamination by Matt Rousseau
he Canadian Federal Contaminated Site Inventory (FCSI) lists more than 6,000 suspected or active sites contaminated with petroleum hydrocarbons. This does not even consider the many thousands of provincially regulated sites that are not captured by the FCSI. Our current understanding of soil and groundwater science tells us that most of the sites that exhibit petroleum hydrocarbon contamination in soil, groundwater or soil gas, have petroleum non-aqueous phase liquid (NAPL) present, whether or not it is obvious in terms of measurable petroleum NAPL in wells. Most of these are legacy sites where the source petroleum NAPL has been in the ground for many years. This means that petroleum NAPL and related dissolved plumes are likely to be stable (no longer migrating or expanding) and the fraction of the petroleum NAPL that may be accessible with conventional remedial efforts such as skimming, pumping, multi-phase extraction, is likely to be low. This means that most of the petroleum NAPL at the majority of sites is expected to exist in residual form that remains largely unrecoverable via conventional remediation techniques. (See Figure 1) It is also worth considering the numerous studies that have concluded that there is no discernable difference in dissolved plume attenuation between sites that have implemented active LNAPL recovery techniques and those that have only relied on natural attenuation. However, regulatory requirements in Canada (and in many parts of the world) still require active efforts at recovering petroleum NAPL, without the advantage of a realistic consideration of the limited potential technical benefit or the overall costs of the remedial efforts themselves. Considering the many petroleum NAPL bodies that largely exist as resid34 | October 2020
Figure 1: Results of LNAPL mobility testing on soil core samples from twenty randomly selected sites with varied LNAPL types and settings. Data points on the diagonal line indicate samples where LNAPL saturations were at residual levels and a significant recoverable fraction was not observed. The vast majority of test locations exhibited effectively no recoverable LNAPL. Note: So = oil/LNAPL saturation Source: Rousseau, M 2015, Innovative LNAPL conceptual site model development tools in support of more sustainable risk-based LNAPL site management, presented at the 6th international Contaminated Site Remediation Conference, Melbourne, Australia.
ual, the costs of an active engineered remediation approach to recover petroleum NAPL may outweigh the benefits if we expand our consideration of costs to include remedial risk and environmental footprint, in addition to the financial cost of the remedial strategy itself. These regulations can be based on arbitrary remedial targets (e.g., recover measurable in-well petroleum NAPL thickness) that we now know have little correlation with petroleum NAPL migration potential or risk. With the limited potential site restoration benefit and significant costs associated with the implementation of active engineered systems at many sites, we must consider other alternatives for petroleum NAPL site management that return sites to beneficial use in a more
sustainable manner. NATURAL SOURCE ZONE DEPLETION A recognition of the ubiquity and significance of natural petroleum NAPL biodegradation/depletion processes (collectively referred to as natural source zone depletion or NSZD) leads to more sustainable and cost-effective outcomes that are equally protective of human health and the environment at the many low-risk petroleum NAPL sites that exist. This is a relatively new approach to petroleum NAPL site management, that is increasingly gaining acceptance in Canada. The growing interest is also as a result of successful NSZD applications at contaminated sites in other countries continued overleaf…
Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine
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SITE REMEDIATION and guidance from many entities. These include the Interstate Technology & Regulatory Council (ITRC) in the U.S., the Cooperative Research Centre for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment (CRC CARE) in Australia, and Contaminated Land: Applications in Real Environments (CL:AIRE) in the U.K. The basic NSZD process involves two microbial communities. These are fermenters degrading petroleum NAPL and producing dissolved hydrogen and/ or acetate, which is in turn consumed by methanogens to produce methane (CH₄) and carbon dioxide (CO₂). At some point, the methane makes contact with oxygenated soil gas infiltrating downward from the surface and is oxidized to carbon monoxide. Since the methane-oxidation reaction is exothermic, heat is also generated in this zone, leading to elevated temperature relative to the surroundings. This gives us different ways to measure NSZD, based on changes in vadose zone gases (O₂, CO₂ and/or CH₄) and temperatures compared with background. An emerging method involves a direct examination of NAPL compositional change over time. One of the key differences between our current conceptualization of NSZD compared to our historical understanding of biodegradation at petroleum NAPL sites is the direct petroleum NAPL biodegradation component. It was previously believed that an intermediate dissolution step was required to get hydrocarbons into the aqueous phase where they could then be biodegraded. Therefore, most of the biodegradation would be occurring in the aqueous phase (i.e., what is often thought of as monitored natural attenuation or MNA). However, marked degradation of oil has been observed at the Bemidji research site for carbon compounds in the range of C10‑C30+. The most significant differences are between the composition of fresh oil and what is observed in the C10C17 range. Since these compounds are not particularly soluble or volatile, this does not fit the historical model. The level of degradation was also found to correlate with the population of methanogens which, taken with the previous observation, indicates 36 | October 2020
Electron microscope photos of pseudomonas bacteria with n-octadecane microdroplet (bright white spherical shapes) inclusions within the cell walls. (See Ng et al, 2014, doi 10.1016/ jconhyd.2014.04.006)
the microbes acting on NAPL directly. We are in a fortunate position with this phenomenon. Instead of just theorizing that something is likely to be occurring, we actually have visual proof. We now understand that NSZD plays a large role in the long-term stability of contaminants at petroleum NAPL sites. For example, research at Colorado State University showed that NSZD mass loss rates could be sufficient to balance residual LNAPL gradients. What kind of mass loss rates? It is very common to see rates on the order of 10,000 litres of petroleum NAPL degraded by NSZD per hectare per year (Table 1). While this may sound high, 10,000 litres of liquid spread over one-hectare results in an estimated 1 mm thick layer. So in essence, 10,000 litres of petroleum NAPL degraded per hectare per year is analogous to a 1 mm annual reduction in thickness. We also look at it from the standpoint of whether these rates seem realistic in comparison to other types of methanogenic systems. Table 2 shows that NSZD rates are realistic in comparison to what we typically see at wetlands and landfills. The NSZD conceptualization referenced earlier seemed to be more focused on vadose zone processes and less on what is occurring in the aqueous phase. How do the aqueous phase hydrocarbon biodegradation rates compare with the biodegradation that is expressed in the vadose zone? It’s not even close. Table 1 shows ranges of NSZD rates measured in the vadose zone compared with some typ-
ical aqueous phase biodegradation rates. NSZD rates expressed in the vadose zone are much higher, in some cases multiple orders of magnitude above what is typical in groundwater. This shows that, if we continue to focus on what’s happening in groundwater as the only indicator of biodegradation at petroleum NAPL sites, we are missing most of it. This also shows that we should stop viewing biodegradation only as an option once we eliminate the NAPL. It constitutes most of the biodegradation (and again, we probably can’t eliminate most of the NAPL). SUSTAINABLE REMEDIATION How might we use NSZD to enable more sustainable remedial approaches? One way is to use NSZD rates as a baseline when evaluating the added costs and benefits of engineered techniques over NSZD alone. Also, we need to expand our consideration of costs beyond the financial to realize the overall environmental benefit or impact of a given remedial option. Then, remedial systems can be associated with significant added risk and environmental footprints. It is important to consider this, along with the pervasiveness of limited potential benefit of conventional remedial attempts. Also, due to the arbitrary nature of certain types of LNAPL remedial objectives discussed earlier, it is undoubtedly the case that many past and current LNAPL remedial systems have created more contamination than they have cleaned up. continued overleaf…
Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine
Number of sites
Estimated rates (L LNAPL he-1 yr -1)
3,000 – 80,000
(L LNAPL he yr )
4 – 500
0 – 87,000a,b
Rayner et al 2020
10,000 – 220,000a,b
Location North America
Source Garg et al 2017
Table 1: Typical NSZD rates. a b
range of maximum rates across respective sites
a more detailed summary for a sample group of these sites is provided as case studies in Section 4 and Appendix E
CRC CARE Technical Report 46
Therefore, if we use NSZD as a baseline, we bring the consideration of the emissions (direct or indirect) and the remedial risk we add with an engineered remediation system into the site management decision-making process. Only then is a holistic perspective on overall environmental benefit of different options possible. Consider also that NSZD may be outperforming remedial systems. The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), in their evaluations of different types of NSZD monitoring techniques at sites in Australia, found that NSZD mass loss rates exceeded active LNAPL recovery rates at all study sites where this comparison was possible, in some cases by a wide margin. So when might NSZD be a consideration as a standalone option? NSZD is an option when the following conditions are met: • The NAPL body is stable or new migration is otherwise controlled. • NAPL recovery (NAPL saturation reduction) does not provide a net environmental benefit in terms of the potential change in subsurface conditions. • There are no unacceptable exposures or exposures can be effectively mitigated through controls. Given the widespread NAPL stability and technical limitations on potential remedial performance we’ve discussed, one may get a sense of how many sites exist where this list of conditions can be met. For these sites, NSZD represents a much more sustainable option that is equally protective compared with active engineered systems. Furthermore, we must start to acknowledge that NSZD is the ultimate step in petroleum NAPL site management at many sites regardless of our interventions, since microbial communities are often the only practical option to address the residual NAPL that is not accessible via conventional means.
Representative equivalent LNAPL degradation rate (L ha-1 yr1)
Ethanol release sites
Table 2: Typical NSZD rate magnitude compared with other methanogenic systems. Adapted from Gam et al. 2017 (doi 10.1111/ gwmr.12219)
NAPL in a well. However, this requires a paradigm shift in how we think about the mechanisms of petroleum NAPL biodegradation, as well as the costs and benefits of our interventions at petroleum NAPL sites. If we do this, the preferred option at many sites will undoubtedly be the more sustainable and safe management of petroleum NAPL in place, while it naturally biodegrades over time. Matt Rousseau is with GHD. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. (References available on request.)
CONCLUSION A recognition of the ubiquity and significance of NSZD helps in tackling many of the thousands of petroleum-contaminated sites in Canada in a much more sustainable way. This has the potential to return many sites to beneficial use, that are otherwise languishing under a shadow of perceived risk or unachievable/arbitrary remedial objectives because there is 38 | October 2020
Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine
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low-energy extraction wells for removing contaminant plumes By Paul Hudak
eachate from numerous landfills near past and present human settlements has contaminated groundwater. Older landfills lacking adequate containment measures are especially prone to releasing leachate. Contemporary landfills have synthetic and clay liners, but leachate may seep through small tears, holes or imperfections when present. Quickly controlling leachate releases and implementing effective subsurface remediation protocols can prevent more widespread, costly pollution problems.
Contemporary landfills have synthetic and clay liners, but leachate may seep through small tears, holes or imperfections when present.
In recent years, energy efficiency has become an important consideration for aquifer remediation alternatives (Caliman et al., 2011). Placed downgradient of leachate plumes, trenches filled with reactive media can filter or break down pollutants
traveling in groundwater without using energy-intensive pumping wells (Richardson and Nicklow, 2002). However, digging trenches and replacing used media is costly, especially over long remediation time frames. Passive (non-pumping) wells, with replaceable media cartridges,
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may be a less costly alternative in penetrable aquifers, such as alluvium or weakly cemented sandstone (USGS, 1999). Passive wells can access greater depth intervals than excavated trenches. However, effectively containing wide contaminant plumes requires numerous closely-spaced passive wells at prohibitive cost (Hudak, 2009). Moreover, whether deployed in trenches or passive wells, reactive media might not be in contact with contaminants for a sufficient amount of time to adequately clean impaired groundwater. Leachate typically contains a wide range of contaminants that would be difficult for in situ treatment media to effectively remove or break down. Alternatively, low-capacity extraction wells, powered with small amounts of electricity produced by solar energy, may be capable of removing relatively narrow contaminant plumes in groundwater. Low-capacity wells produce wider capture zones than passive wells, and extracted water can be treated carefully with necessary equipment at the land surface.
Potentially, low-capacity well(s) could be placed at the downgradient tip of a leachate plume, thereby using ambient hydraulic gradients in the remediation process. Although low-capacity wells tend to have narrow capture zones, they might be viable for finger-like leachate plumes expected from small holes or tears in liners of contemporary landfills (Lee and Jones-Lee, 1994). This article examines the capability of low-energy extraction wells to remove narrow contaminant plumes originating from a hypothetical lined landfill. MT3DMS (Zheng and Wang, 1999) was used to simulate groundwater flow and mass transport in an unconfined aquifer beneath a lined waste impoundment. This model uses a numerical, finite-difference approach, which in this application was a single layer, comprised of 500 columns oriented north-south and 300 rows oriented east-west. This created 150,000 model cells. Cell-centered nodes were 0.15 m apart along columns and rows. Hydraulic head was set to 5.0000 m at
the westernmost column and 4.2515 m at the easternmost column, measured from a datum with an elevation of 0 m at the base of the model. Northern and southern edges of the model were no-flow boundaries. Eastward across the model, the hydraulic gradient averaged 0.01. Both homogeneous and heterogeneous hydraulic conductivity fields were simulated. In homogeneous cases, hydraulic conductivity was set to 0.6 m/day. Heterogeneous cases involved a random hydraulic conductivity field drawn from a distribution (log10, m/day) with a mean value of – 0.222 and standard deviation of 0.15. In the heterogeneous distribution, the correlation length of hydraulic conductivity was 2 m. Other parameters included an effective porosity of 0.25, longitudinal dispersivity of 1.0 m, transverse dispersivity of 0.1 m, and effective molecular diffusion coefficient of 0.00001 m2/day. These values are representative of alluvial aquifer data summarized in API continued overleaf…
■ ■ ■ ■
October 2020 | 41
GROUNDWATER REMEDIATION (1989), Gelhar et al., (1992), and Fetter (1994). Five random leak locations were identified in the footprint of the landfill. For each release, the model generated a contaminant plume in groundwater for each of the homogeneous and heterogeneous hydraulic conductivity fields. These simulations utilized leakage (recharge) rates of 0.1 m/day, with concentrations of 100 mg/L over a time period of 2,000 days. Recharge rates were 0 m/day in the remainder of the landfill’s footprint and 0.0004 m/day in the aquifer outside the landfill. A concentration of 1.0 mg/L defined the boundary of each contaminant plume. Next, the point source was shut off and the model simulated the removal of each contaminant plume, with an extraction well pumping at 1 m3/day. The extraction well was placed at the downgradient tip of each plume. A well was successful if it contained and removed the contaminant plume. Containment implied that concentrations at the easternmost model boundary remained below 1.0 mg/L. The model also identified the amount of time necessary to remove each plume. Removal meant that contaminant levels dropped below 1.0 mg/L at all model cells. Groundwater flow and mass transport simulations utilized the preconditioned and generalized conjugate gradient solvers, respectively (Zheng and Wang, 1999). Mass balance errors for groundwater flow and contaminant transport simulations were less than 0.03%.
Maps of landfill footprint (rectangle) and contaminant plumes (1 mg/L boundary depicted) originating from random leaks after 2,000 days with homogeneous hydraulic conductivity; numbers indicate maximum concentrations (mg/L).
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION With the 0.15 m node spacing, source areas were small and produced narrow contaminant plumes. These plumes had quasi-elliptical shapes, characteristic of homogenous aquifers, but were not precisely symmetrical about the long axis due to spatial
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variability in aquifer recharge. Hydraulic head contours ran generally north-south, but as they crossed the downgradient sides of the landfill, bent slightly in the upgradient direction, reflecting the contrast in recharge across that boundary. This bending caused a slight tendency for groundwater (and transported contaminant) to bend toward the centre of the model domain. Contaminant plumes in the homogeneous hydraulic conductivity field were similar in shape. However, those originating further downgradient in the footprint of the landfill reached points closer to the eastern model boundary. Additionally, plumes originating further upgradient in the footprint were slightly larger, reflecting a lack of recharge (and associated dilution) beneath the landfill (other than the release point). Maximum concentrations in homogeneous plumes ranged from 14.5 mg/L to 16.6 mg/L. Thus, dilution and hydrodynamic dispersion in the on-site buffer zone (beyond the landfill’s footprint, but within the model domain) effectively lowered the 100 mg/L source concentration, even as leakage continued throughout the simulation. Heterogeneous plumes showed more variability in size, shape, and maximum concentration (11.7 mg/L to 19.2 mg/L), reflecting a more complex hydraulic conductivity structure. With the source shut off, after 400 days pumping, contaminant plumes in the homogeneous aquifer retained a nearly elliptical shape and did not move past the pumping well. Maximum concentrations ranged from 1.3 mg/L to 1.9 mg/L. Plumes orig-
Maps of landfill footprint (rectangle) and contaminant plumes (1 mg/L boundary depicted) originating from random leaks after 2,000 days with heterogeneous hydraulic conductivity; numbers indicate maximum concentrations (mg/L).
inating near the landfill’s upgradient edge were slightly larger, with higher maximum concentrations, reflecting less dilution by recharge beneath the landfill. The amount of time necessary to remove a plume ranged from 540 days for the point source continued overleaf…
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October 2020 | 43
GROUNDWATER REMEDIATION closest to the landfill’s downgradient edge to 790 days for a plume originating far upgradient in the landfill. In the heterogeneous aquifer, plumes continued to show irregular form and more variability in size after 400 days, reflecting variability in the hydraulic conductivity field. Maximum concentrations ranged from 1.1 mg/L to 2.4 mg/L. Some of these plumes took more time to remove, and some less time, than plumes from corresponding point sources in the homogeneous aquifer. Overall, time frame for removal ranged from 470 days to 840 days in the heterogeneous aquifer. Generally, for heterogeneous plumes requiring more time, the extraction well pulled contaminants through less permeable deposits. Plumes requiring the most or least amount of time in the heterogeneous aquifer did not correspond to those in the homogeneous aquifer, due to the added complexity of the heterogeneous hydraulic conductivity field. Remediation time frame in the heterogeneous case was not simply a function of source node location within the landfill. However, as in the homogeneous case, the 1 m3/day extraction well effectively contained and removed each contaminant plume in the heterogeneous case. Results outlined above suggest that low-capacity extraction wells, placed at the downgradient tips of contaminant plumes emerging from lined landfills, may be effective in some settings. An on-site buffer zone facilitates the remediation process by lowering source concentrations via dilution and hydrodynamic dispersion. Alternative well placements may be possible, but extraction wells placed inside a contaminant plume must work against the prevailing hydraulic gradient to remove the downgradient portion of plume. However, placing a well too far downgradient draws the plume through clean aquifer, while increasing the risk of pulling in off-site contaminants. In practice, site-specific conditions should dictate the aquifer remediation protocol and, if a low-extraction rate approach is used, an appropriate pumping rate. Ideally, the extraction rate would be low given energy considerations, but not arbitrarily low, so as to greatly extend the remedial time frame or allow a plume to move off site. The extraction rate should not be arbitrarily high, thereby expending more energy and potentially causing excessive drawdown, with a possibility of drawing in off-site contamination. Though potentially useful, there are important limitations to the low-energy extraction approach simulated in this study. This technique requires groundwater to transport dissolved contaminants and would be less effective for contaminants with low solubility in groundwater, which would delay or prevent contaminants from moving into the well. Wide contaminant plumes and aquifers with low hydraulic conductivity would further limit this approach. Wide plumes may require multiple wells and/or higher pumping rates. Settings with low hydraulic conductivity would have correspondingly low groundwater seepage rates, thereby delaying the movement of pollutants to the extraction well. However, in some low hydraulic conductivity settings, using one or more low-capacity wells could be advantageous, by decreasing the chance of excessive drawdown associated with higher capacity wells. 44 | October 2020
Maps of contaminant plumes (1 mg/L boundary depicted) in homogeneous hydraulic conductivity field with source shut off after 400 days of pumping from low capacity well (E); numbers indicate maximum concentrations (mg/L). Timeframe for complete removal (left to right, along rows): 790 days, 750 days, 540 days, 610 days, and 600 days.
Maps of contaminant plumes (1 mg/L boundary depicted) in heterogeneous hydraulic conductivity field with source shut off after 400 days of pumping from low capacity well (E); numbers indicate maximum concentrations (mg/L). Timeframe for complete removal (left to right, along rows): 830 days, 840 days, 480 days, 670 days, and 470 days.
CONCLUSIONS This study examined the potential viability of low-capacity wells for removing narrow leachate plumes originating from lined landfills. For the range of conditions examined here, a low-capacity extraction well effectively contained and removed contaminant plumes in simulated homogeneous and heterogeneous aquifers. This technique may be suitable at some sites and should be considered amongst a set of alternatives for remediating plumes originating from contemporary landfills. Paul F. Hudak is with the Department of Geography at the Environment University of North Texas. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (References available upon request.) Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine
Thunder Bay offers loans for lead pipe replacement as water testing backlogs
he northern Ontario City of Thunder Bay has approved an interest-free loan program for property owners to replace privately-owned water service pipes made of lead. However, determining exact levels at each household has had to be suspended under the pandemic. City officials estimate that Thunder Bay has about 8,700 properties that have lead service pipes. While the cost of removing a lead service pipe on private property depends on a number of factors, including the length of the pipe, city officials estimate that the average replacement is going to cost about $3,000 per property. “Changing the lead on their side will benefit the next household owner, and the next one, so there will be generations of households that will benefit from this program,” Councillor Andrew Foulds told city council at its June 22 meeting. “We’ll see where it goes in terms of the success,” said Foulds, adding they may need to move to a grant or rebate program if uptakes are low. About 300 properties would initially be able to partake in the loan program. Michelle Warywoda, Director of Thunder’s Bay Environment Division, said she’s already received residential expressions of interest around the loan program. Each year, the City of Thunder Bay sends more than 2,400 water samples to an independent laboratory to be monitored for potential contaminants. However, Warywoda noted that there is a significant backlog in testing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some councillors expressed concern over somebody perhaps replacing pipes that didn’t in fact need replacement. “It’s been difficult to go into the homes, but we are looking at starting that service again,” Warywoda told city council. “The homes may have the same length of pipe, but it doesn’t mean they have the same lead level at the tap.” The city has uploaded applications that allow for loans of up to $3,000 of eligible costs for five years or 10 years for www.esemag.com @ESEMAG
Michelle Warywoda, Director of Thunder’s Bay Environment Division, said she’s already received residential expressions of interest around the lead pipe replacement loan program. Adobe Stock
property owners. Warywoda noted that they must first qualify under the Tax and Credit Program for Low-Income Seniors and Low-Income Persons with Disabilities or the Tax and Water Credit Program for Low-Income Persons. Thunder Bay customers with lead pipes have also been provided with an 11 cup Ultimate Pitcher Filtration System and six replacement filters, according to an infrastructure and operations report brought before the June 22 meeting of Thunder Bay’s city council. The filtration system is certified to reduce lead in tap water and should be used for drinking, cooking and preparing baby formula. The move to the loan program to replace lead pipes follows the city’s 2018 efforts to add sodium hydroxide to the water supply as a corrosion inhibitor to drop lead levels in drinking water. As a result of regulatory changes in Ontario (accordance with Drinking Water System Regulation O. Reg. 170/03), the city was mandated to implement a corrosion control plan to reduce lead levels at the tap.
Following a spike in reports of pinhole leaks in pipes after they introduced sodium hydroxide, the city began to phase out the additive ahead of schedule. Due to increasing concerns over health impacts from lead, in March 2019 Health Canada published a more stringent guideline of 5 parts per billion (ppb) for lead in drinking water compared to the previous guideline of 10 ppb. Earlier in 2020, councillors approved $50,000 to cover administrative costs for the new program. Councillors said they may double the amount to $100,000 depending on the program’s uptake. Hamilton, Guelph and Ottawa offer similar loan or rebate programs for lead pipe replacement.
October 2020 | 45
Keeping workers safer when transferring flammable and combustible liquids By Nancy Westcott
very day, industrial workers transfer potentially hazardous chemicals, such as solvents, acetones, lubricants, cleansers and acids, from large drums into smaller containers, or into machinery. Traditionally, such potentially flammable or combustible liquids have been tipped and poured. Today, such spill-prone, volatile organic compound emitting methods are no longer considered acceptable, safe or compliant. “It can be catastrophic to a company if toxic or highly flammable material is accidentally released at the point of use,” says Deborah Grubbe, of Operations and Safety Solutions, a consulting firm specializing in industrial safety. “When tipping a heavy drum, it is extremely difficult to pour a liquid chemical and maintain control,” adds Grubbe. “Companies have to assume that if something can go wrong during chemical transfer, it will, and must take appropriate precautions to prevent what could be significant consequences.” Although the dangers of transferring flammable and combustible liquids are very real, protecting workers from harm Sealed pump dispensing systems enhance safety by eliminating spills. can be relatively straightforward. This includes proper safety They can enable spill-free, environmentally safe transfers that prevent training, the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), and vapours from escaping containers. the use of engineering controls to prevent dangerous spills.
FLAMMABLE AND COMBUSTIBLE LIQUID HAZARDS In a flammable liquids fire, it is the vapours from the liquid that ignite, not the liquid. Fires and explosions are caused when the perfect combination of fuel and oxygen come in contact with heat or an ignition source. Based on their flash points, that being the lowest temperature at which liquids can form an ignitable mixture in air, flammable liquids are classified as either combustible or flammable. Flammable liquids, with a flash point of <37.8°C (100°F), will ignite and burn easily at normal working temperatures where they can easily give off enough vapour to form burnable mixtures with air. As a result, they can be serious sources of a fire hazard. Flammable liquid fires burn very fast and frequently give off a lot of heat and often clouds of thick, black, toxic smoke. Combustible liquids, with a flash point >37.8°C (100°F), do not ignite so easily, but if raised to temperatures above their flashpoint, they will also release enough vapour to form burnable mixtures with air. Hot combustible liquids can be as serious a fire hazard as flammable liquids. Both combustible and flammable liquids can easily be ignited by a flame, hot surface, static electricity, or a spark generated by electricity or mechanical work. Highly volatile solvents are even more hazardous because any vapour released can reach ignition sources metres away. The vapour trail can spread far from the liquid and can settle and collect in low areas like sumps, sewers, pits, trenches and basements. 46 | October 2020
If ventilation is inadequate and the vapour trail contacts an ignition source, the fire produced can flash back (or travel back) to the liquid. Flashback and fire can happen even if the liquid giving off the vapour and the ignition source are hundreds of feet or even several floors apart. The most obvious harm would be the danger of a fire or explosion. If the vapour is ignited, the fire can quickly reach the bulk liquid. A flammable vapour and air mixture with a specific concentration can explode violently. Consequently, minimizing the dangers of handling flammable and combustible liquid chemicals requires proper training and equipment. SAFE HANDLING Without proper ventilation, there is a good chance that the handling of flammable substances will create an explosive atmosphere. It is essential to work only in well-ventilated areas or have a local ventilation system that can sufficiently remove any flammable vapours to prevent an explosion risk. Because two of the three primary elements for a fire or explosion usually exist in the atmosphere inside a vessel containing a flammable liquid (fuel and an oxidant, usually oxygen), it is also critical to eliminate external ignition sources when handling such liquids. Sources of ignition can include static discharge, open flames, frictional heat, radiant heat, lightning, smoking, cutting, welding and electrical/mechanical sparks.
Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine
STATIC ELECTRICITY GROUNDING When transferring flammable liquids from large containers (>4 L), to a smaller container, the flow of the liquid can create static electricity that could result in a spark. Static electricity buildup is possible whether using a pump or simply pouring the liquid. If the bulk container and receiving vessel are both metal, it is important to bond the two by firmly attaching a metal bonding strap or wire to both containers as well as to ground. When transferring Class 1, 2, or 3 flammable liquids with a flashpoint below 37.8°C, containers must be grounded or bonded to prevent electrostatic discharge that could act as an ignition source. There should also be a means to prevent static electricity during transfer/dispensing operations.
As a solution, the industry has developed sealed pump dispensing systems that enhance safety by eliminating spills and enable spill-free, environmentally safe transfer that prevents vapours from escaping the container. These systems are made of groundable plastic and come complete with bonding and grounding wires. The spring actuation tap handle can be immediately closed to stop liquid flowing, preventing any spills. The design of this sealed pump system also prevents liquid vapours from exiting the container when the pump is unused. These characteristics significantly reduce the chance of an ignition event. Now that the hazards of transferring flammable and combustible liquids are clearly recognized, proactive industrial facilities are beginning to protect their workers and their families by implementing safety training, PPE use, and sealed, grounded pumps. This will help their operations stay compliant, and mitigate insurance risks while minimizing the risk of fire and explosion due to spills, vapours, and static shock.
ENGINEERING CONTROLS Beyond PPE and proper ventilation, it is absolutely critical for workers to use regulatory compliant, engineered controls to safely transfer flammable and combustible liquids at the jobsite. This begins with requirements surrounding the integ- Nancy Westcott is with GoatThroat Pumps. Email: rity of the container, but also extends to the pumps used to email@example.com, or visit www.goatthroat.com safely dispense flammable and combustible liquids. POINT OF USE CONTAINMENT A fast-growing approach to flammable liquids storage is to keep as much liquid as possible close to the point of use because it is efficient and saves time. Workers can minimize their exposure to potential ignition sources if they replenish their solvent supply from a drum near their workstations, rather than from the solvent room. Drums stored vertically should be fitted with pumps instead of faucets for dispensing. Use of a pump is generally considered safer and more accurate. Some local codes require pumps for all drums containing flammable liquids. In most workplaces, supervisors and facility managers have been recommending rotary and hand suction pumps to transfer flammable liquids for decades. However, they are increasingly turning to sealed pump systems designed for Class 1 and 2 flammable liquids, which are a more effective engineering control tool for protecting employees and operations. Conventional piston and rotary hand pumps have some inherent vulnerabilities. These pumps are open systems that require one of the bung holes to be open to the outside atmosphere. The pumps dispense liquids from the containers using suction, so a bung must be open to allow air to enter the containers to replace the liquid removed. Without this opening, either the container will collapse or the liquid will stop coming out. Typically, there is also a small gap between the container opening (bung) and the pump dip tube that allows air to enter. This opening also allows some vapour release into the atmosphere when the pumps are unused and connected to the container. The gaps may allow an explosion to occur at a temperature near the flashpoint. This can cause a high-velocity flame jet to vent near the bung, which could injure personnel near the container. In addition, using the piston and rotary pumps to remove liquid from containers can allow some spillage since there is no flow control device. If a seal fails, liquid can also be sprayed from the pump and onto the user and the floor. w www.esemag.com @ESEMAG
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October 2020 | 47
New algaecide making strides in fight against toxic algal blooms
proprietary algaecide developed by an Israeli-based cleantech company is creating significant drops in toxic cyanobacteria species that contaminate lakes worldwide. Developed in 2014, the blue powder algaecide is based on sodium percarbonate that releases hydrogen peroxide. Floating, time-release particles propelled by the forces of winds and currents “trigger a selective biological programmed cell death within the general toxic cyanobacteria populations, causing them to collapse,” according to BlueGreen Water Technologies Ltd. Algal blooms can significantly affect the health of the flora and fauna of water bodies, and can prove harmful to those who drink it or even inhale their toxins from the air, including animals and humans. In Canada, the issue is highlighted through the perennially algae-infested Lake Erie and most notably, Lake Winnipeg. In summer 2019, the Tel Aviv company tested its U.S. EPA-approved and NSF/ANSI-60 certified product, Lake Guard Blue, for the first time in the U.S. on Ohio’s Chippewa Lake. By using a boat to apply the blue powder, it took 24 hours for the algaecide to clear the lake’s harmful algal blooms. Annually these are responsible for the suspension of all lake activities throughout most of the recreational season. Following the Chippewa Lake application, the company says there was a distinct “trend in favor of beneficial species at the expense of toxic species.” Tens of acres of water surface were also covered with a greyish-beige colour of protein-based foam, the company states in a report. “This phenomenon is attributed to cyanobacterial cell lysis and a clear indication that cyanobacterial cell death continued progressing for days after treatment, long after copper levels were undetectable in the water,” states a report by BlueGreen Water Technologies Ltd. Most recently, in spring 2020, the company used its algaecide as an “emer48 | October 2020
Moshe Harel, founder of BlueGreen Water Technologies samples Chippewa Lake before applying Lake Guard algaecide in 2019. BlueGreen Water Technologies
gency intervention” treatment within Roodeplaat Dam in South Africa, an important water source for the northern areas of Pretoria, where pollution and drought have contributed to toxic algal blooms spiraling out of control. The algaecide, which has also been utilized in Israel, Russia and China, is designed to be used in minute quantities regularly to prevent the occurrence of blooms altogether, according to the company.
Following its first ever product tests in June 2014, a single treatment of the algaecide resulted in the immediate reduction of surface cyanobacteria by 78%. Importantly, the cyanobacterial populations deeper in the water were also immediately affected and decreased by 56%, according to a report by the company. For more information, visit www.bgtechs.com
Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine
Harbour expansion project created numerous environmental challenges
he Savannah Harbor Expansion Project has been in the works for years. By deepening the 14-metrewide river channel by 1.5 metres, ships will be able to carry more cargo along the 64 km Savannah River, boosting the local economy while lowering costs for businesses and consumers beyond the Georgia coast. However, dredging brings numerous environmental challenges. During summer months, hot weather depresses dissolved oxygen levels in the bottom of the Savannah River below safe limits for fish during certain points of their life cycles. Deepening the river would further decrease already-low dissolved oxygen levels during summer months at lower depths. This can affect the resident fish, shellfish, invertebrates, as well as birds and mammals that rely on a stable food chain.
MANAGING DISSOLVED OXYGEN LEVELS The US Army Corps of Engineers, which manages the project, is mitigating the environmental concerns with two new dissolved oxygen injection facilities, which are designed to run only in the summer months. When both facilities are running together, they will process 545 million litres of water, returning approximately 18,150 kg of oxygen daily into the river. The two massive plants are at remote, largely unmanned sites, with an intricate network of pumps, strainers and generators that must be constantly monitored. Limbs and debris can become trapped along several points in the system, or power disruptions or equipment issues can halt plant processes. The remoteness of the locations makes using landlines impossible and the strictness of Department of the Army cybersecurity requirements present challenges that make monitoring difficult. These two plants include a fleet of 12 Speece cones, which are 6.7 metres tall and look like Gemini space capsules. Inside them oxygen is mixed and dissolved into www.esemag.com @ESEMAG
RACO’s AlarmAgent units in both facilities. AlarmAgent units monitor several digital points, including alarms for plant operations, strainer differential pressures, Speece cone flows, intake pump operations, traveling fish screen operations, and support pump operations. AlarmAgent units also monitor two analog points to observe continuously variable readings for oxygen and water flow, providing alerts when readings are outside a prescribed range. Together, the alarms notify the team when anything is out of specification, such as a screen clogged with debris or a Speece cone that reports low levels of oxygen output. AlarmAgent acts as a first line of defense against failures and potential problems. RACO sent a trial unit to the Corps staff, enabling them to run several simulations prior to installation. The RACO team also met with the Corps’ InforSpeece cones located throughout the mation Technology staff to ensure the harbor area. encryption met the project’s strict standards. AlarmAgent units use highly encrypted, packetized data that is transmitted via VPN to avoid exposing the AlarmAgent units data to open-source risks. The resulting use highly encrypted, system is far more secure than radio. During the trial, the Corps staff realpacketized data that ized that the AlarmAgent units could is transmitted via VPN solve multiple problems for a reasonable to avoid exposing the cost, enabling the Corps to remotely monitor several variables and alert the data to open-source right people when a fault is detected. Plus, the existing team could manage risks. the installation themselves. The dissolved oxygen injection facilities operate via a SCADA system that captures data from throughout the systhe river water. Each Speece cone includes tem. By combining and feeding key sensors that constantly track oxygen lev- SCADA outputs to the AlarmAgent els. The super-oxygenated water is then units, the Corps can closely monitor returned back into the river. trends and potential trouble. This all The Corps needed a solution to comes at far less expense than trying to remotely monitor key indicators of plant run landlines to remote water-bound operation with alerts to those who are sensors, and provides greater security responsible for operating the plants than other options. while they are performing their duties at other sites. Following an extensive RACO is represented in Canada by SPD evaluation process, the Corps installed Sales Limited. www.spdsales.com October 2020 | 49
Ontario’s new regulation on excess soil highlights new in-demand skills By Paul Hurst
ntario’s new excess soil regulation (Ontario Regulation 406/19) showcases many of the trends in environmental policy today, and points to some skills that will be in demand in the future. With the increased density of cities and the popularity of high-rise living, there has been a growing volume of soil excavated as part of the construction process. A typical residential condo tower, which might start with an excavation of 30 m by 30 m at 12 m deep, will produce about 10,000 cubic metres of excess soil, or roughly 20,000 tons. Multiply that by five condos or more a year in some cities, and it can generate an estimated 25 million cubic metres of excess construction soil each year in Ontario alone. Before these regulations, very little excess soil would find beneficial reuse. This is because such soil requires careful consideration for suitable reuse. Some has been slightly impacted by previous commercial or industrial use, and other soils contains naturally occurring metals. Whether manmade or natural, this soil could have potential environmental or human-health impacts. As a result, trucks line up at local landfills to dispose of excess soil. Disposing of the five condo towers’ worth of soil might cost $3 million to $4 million (or more) in landfill tipping fees. With so many of today’s landfills nearing capacity, and the increased difficulty in getting new landfills permitted, it is increasingly impractical to use precious landfill space to dispose of soil that could potentially find beneficial reuse. Ontario’s new guidelines on excess soil provide a clear framework for project owners to conserve landfill space, prioritize soil and topsoil as a resource, and protect people and the environment.
50 | October 2020
Excavation work in Toronto, Ontario.
THE GROWING IMPORTANCE OF FINDING BENEFICIAL USES FOR EXCESS SOIL
projects in the Ottawa area illustrates one of those skills: finding sources and beneficial disposal options for excess soil. The new legislation also highlights a skill In this case, one project was a tunset that may be in demand for environ- nel that had generated a large volume of mental professionals working in the prop- (soil) cuttings that needed disposal. The erty development sector. A story about other was a housing development that matchmaking between two construction needed clean soil to bring the site up to Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine
grade. An employee of the contractor bidding on the housing development was able to make a connection with the tunneling project regarding disposal of its cuttings. Golder was working with the housing project and, at their request, tested the tunnel cuttings and determined that they were fit for the purpose of making grade on the housing project site. While this occurred before the new guidelines were in place, this example illustrates the growing importance of a special kind of skill, which is the ability to match needs and opportunities. While this matchmaking is currently done on an ad hoc and word-of-mouth basis, it seems likely that a central database may develop.
likely have better relations with regulators. THE RISE OF THE PROJECT LEADER Another new aspect of the Ontario legislation is the requirement for each project to have a project leader who is responsible for the project and its compliance with regulatory requirements, including excess soil. Actual implementation of the role and expected qualifications for it are still evolving. However, it appears that the project leader must be someone with construction management experience, who is senior enough to make high-level decisions and commit the enterprise to a course of action. The new regulations on excess soil management still have many areas that need to be worked out in practice. As new legislation, the Ontario government welcomes input from members of the industry on how to make the regulations practical and effective. By clarifying the regulatory changes it will be possible for the developers and other stakeholders to meet the main goals of the guidelines: maintaining human health and environmental protection, while also reducing greenhouse gas impacts from truck transportation and preventing good reusable soil from ending up in landfills.
FINDING A GOOD OUTCOME FROM EXCESS SOIL EARLY IN PLANNING STAGES Under the previous regulatory environment in Ontario, the issue of excess soil during initial project planning was not a priority. But, with landfills becoming less of an option, due to limited landfill capacity, and upcoming regulatory limits on soil disposal in landfills, proactive planning for excess soil becomes more important. In effect, a soil reuse or disposal plan will be required prior to any excavation. As a result, there will be a growing need to include, in the early planning stages, a solution for excavated soil that will not result in project delays or excessive costs. This may also Paul Hurst is with Golder and is an instructor at Algonquin become an area of career growth for people in the construc- College in Ottawa. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org tion industry. SOIL BANKS MAKE PLANNING EASIER Part of the solution will likely involve soil banks, which are a new aspect of the guidelines. Soil banks are interim storage sites, where excess soil can be stockpiled for later use. Of course, that use will also have to meet regulatory requirements. To see how this might work, imagine a developer that has a project scheduled to start in 2023 that will produce excess soil, and another planned for 2025 that will need soil to level out a parking lot. It would be reasonable to establish a soil bank to hold the excess soil for the two years between the projects. While parts of this legislation have yet to be put into practice, soil banks are not intended for long-term storage. There must be a viable plan to use the soil in the short term. The new legislation is also not intended to allow someone to take an unused property, declare it to be a soil bank, and then accept soil from third-party construction sites. DATA MANAGEMENT MAKES IT ALL WORK TOGETHER There is likely to be a growing need for skills and tools to demonstrate compliance with the new regulations. If a truck leaves a site, there must be a clear destination in mind. Also, that destination must have agreed, in writing, to accept the soil. Trucks will be inspected to make sure that the spirit and the letter of the regulations are being complied with. This will create demand for good data management tools to keep track of loads leaving the site and the load’s specifics, its destination, the record of acceptance by the receiving site, and confirmation that the load was delivered. Companies that can demonstrate that they have complete and accurate records will www.esemag.com @ESEMAG
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Careful planning required to deal with asbestos during facade renovations By Hassan Ktaech
f there is one single material that is likely to be disturbed on the exterior of a building during a facade renovation, it is brick mortar. But while even the most experienced commercial construction and renovation companies may be well versed in how to remove asbestos safely from walls, ceilings, and other areas, many are unaware that brick mortar is also a likely source of asbestos fibres and may pose a hidden danger. In the early 19th and 20th centuries, when asbestos was used commonly in construction, bricklayers and stonemasons frequently added an asbestos powder to their mortar. This increased the tensile strength of their work, while reducing mortar weight by half. Mortar made with asbestos fibres was also fireproof and acted as a thermal break for insulation. An asbestos mortar was easy to work with, non-corrosive, did not conduct electricity, and stayed chemically inert. Best of all, it was in plentiful supply and offered superior cost-effectiveness. Not surprisingly, all of these benefits made asbestos a popular mortar additive. Jump ahead to today. Perhaps a building facade has started to degrade after decades of exposure to the elements. Perhaps the building owners want to improve brand aesthetics in a challenging business marketplace. Or, perhaps they want to take advantage of incentive programs such as that offered by the City of Toronto, which offers up to $12,500 for $25,000 worth of facade improvements. Whatever the reason, facade renovations are gaining in popularity. These improvements can take many forms, including brick cleaning and restoration, wheelchair accessibility enhancements, upgrades to doors and windows, installation of signage or lighting, and masonry upgrades. Facade improvements can be particularly attractive because, unlike interior 52 | October 2020
Brick mortar is a likely source of asbestos fibres and may pose a hidden danger.
renovations, exterior work can be initiated at any time, since the scope will generally have minimal impact on the building’s operations. But anyone involved in commercial renovation work knows that asbestos removal, including from facades, can significantly impact a project’s schedule and budget, leading to sharply increased costs. Also, failing to remove asbestos can be even more costly, resulting in hefty fines and damaged reputations. In December 2013, for example, the City of Toronto was fined $60,000 for an asbestos violation, plus the court imposed a $15,000 victim fine surcharge. A DESIGNATED SUBSTANCE SURVEY CAN REDUCE DISRUPTION AND COST The first step in determining whether any of a building’s construction materials contain asbestos is for the building’s owner to commission a designated substances survey. Most provincial legislation, including the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act, defines the “owner” as a trustee, tenant, or mortgagee, among others. This survey should be done during
the project’s planning stages, before any renovation begins, to reduce the risk of liability. Many different materials used for building exteriors can contain asbestos. These include cement siding panels, stucco, cement soffits, cement roof panels, roofing felts and mastic, door and window caulking, overhangs, brick and block mortar, and loose-fill insulation in exterior wall cavities (vermiculite). If you do not know whether a building material contains asbestos but it fits the “suspect material” category, then it must be treated as containing asbestos until it is proven otherwise. Since many designated substances cannot be verified or disproven visually, samples must be collected, a potentially hazardous process that requires a high level of expertise to ensure it is managed safely. Although sample collection necessitates a small amount of destruction, unless the entire structure is being demolished, the sample can be taken using relatively non-intrusive means. When conducting a designated substance survey, it’s important to carefully
Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine
obtain samples of the suspect materials, which are then sent to an accredited labASBESTOS: A SERIOUS RISK oratory to be analyzed for both asbestos Asbestos is one of 11 substances that have been designated in Ontario as and lead. In addition to asbestos, lead being particularly hazardous to human health and safety. These substances is frequently found in mortar for stone are defined as “biological, chemical, or physical [agents]…to which the expocladding on buildings built in the late sure of a worker is prohibited, regulated, restricted, limited, or controlled.” 19th and early 20th centuries. If needed, samples may also be tested for other In Ontario, there are two asbestos-related regulations: 490/09 (Desigdesignated substances, such as mercury nated Substances), which applies to industrial and mining operations, and and benzene. regulation 278/05, which applies to asbestos found in construction projects The scope of a designated substance and building and repair operations.The latter has stringent safety requiresurvey can be narrow, targeting only ments for the handling of asbestos. those materials that may be impacted as One of the first designated substances to be regulated, asbestos is a nata result of planned works. Or, it can be urally occurring mineral that, until the 1970s, was used in over 3,000 differbroadened to include the entire structure. ent products, including building materials. In some cases, potentially hazardous Asbestos was highly sought after because of its unmatched charactermaterials can be discovered accidenistics that included high tensile strength (especially when combined with tally during renovations, for example, if another substance), flexibility, resistance to chemical and thermal degradathey were previously concealed within a tion, high electrical resistance, and an ability to be woven. shaft. The correct approach is to assume these newly discovered materials contain When asbestos is disturbed, however, it releases microscopic fibres into asbestos unless proven otherwise by labthe air. These fibres can cause long-term damage to the lungs and result oratory analysis. in diseases like asbestosis or lung cancer, which can appear decades later. Once the survey is complete, a comprehensive report can be prepared that details the survey findings and proposes documents. For example, depending on public, will be exposed to hazardous subcorrective measures specifying how the the situation, air monitoring may also be stances, thereby reducing liability and the identified hazards can be safely removed. a legal requirement. potential for fines or criminal prosecution. Consultants having the required experWhen it comes to dealing with asbestos KNOWLEDGE IS POWER tise, are often asked to both conduct the during a facade renovation, careful planArmed with all the necessary informa- survey and supervise removal work by ning, investigation and oversight offer tion, the building owner can then move the contractor. This holds the contrac- numerous benefits. the project forward by retaining a general tor to account, ensures removal is done contractor for the work and sharing with correctly and lawfully, and helps reduce Hassan Ktaech is with Cole them the survey report and associated project delays and cost overruns. It also Engineering Group Ltd., E-mail: environmental requirements and related minimizes the risk that workers, or the firstname.lastname@example.org
Summa Engineering Ltd. celebrates its 40th anniversary Frank Cosentino and Fernando Chua met in the late 1970s on a water treatment job site, working as a systems integrator and consultant respectively. Being self-described as “young and foolish” the duo went on together to find something more challenging elsewhere. Forty years later, Frank and Fernando are still the heads of Summa Engineering Ltd., boasting success and a strong team of over 40 dedicated employees.
strengths, the pair have been able to overcome adversity, and build a strong reputation as trustworthy systems integrators. They are proud that their work has contributed to the infrastructure of Ontario, and strengthened the automation of water and wastewater in the province. www.summaeng.com
By building on each other’s
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The City of Flint has now completed 90% of its municipal service line replacements, with a final completion date of November 30. lindaparton, Adobe Stock
Michigan settles Lead Water Crisis, assuring nearly $600M going to affected children
new $600-million preliminary civil settlement announced in Flint, Michigan, will see the state pay some 80% of the money to children who were under 18 at the time of the lead-tainted tap water crisis. Among the many civil lawsuits merged in the settlement was a class-action lawsuit that alleged the state wasn't treating its water with an anti-corrosive agent, in violation of federal law. Now, injuries from lead exposure will be assessed on a case by case basis, with the most damaged receiving the most compensation, according to the settlement. The settlement, to be paid by the state of Michigan, also sets aside money for adult victims as well as property damage, business relief and programmatic needs. All owners and renters of residential property in Flint who received Flint water between April 25, 2014 and July 31, 2016 will be eligible to recover property related compensation. Problems began for the city of nearly 54 | October 2020
100,000 in 2014 through an attempt to reduce a substantial deficit in Flint’s water finances. Officials sought to switch its water supplier from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department to the Karegnondi Water Authority. A new pipeline was under construction to deliver water from Lake Huron to Flint. But while construction got underway, the crisis emerged when officials temporarily changed the city’s water supply to the Flint River, which led to reports of odd colour, smell and taste from the water source. Tests in 2015 conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency and Virginia Tech indicated dangerous levels of lead in the water at residents' homes. “During a time when politics have created divisiveness in our communities, this settlement was ably accomplished with a legislature and governor from different political parties who ultimately chose the welfare of children over politics,” announced attorney Corey Stern, partner at Levy Konigsberg, LLP, who was appointed lead counsel on the Flint
Water Crisis case in November 2017. State officials have estimated that as many as 9,000 children under the age of six in Flint have been treated following exposure to high levels of lead from the city's drinking water. Lead consumption can affect the heart, kidneys and nerves. In children, lead exposure is linked to cognitive issues, behavioral disorders, hearing problems and delayed puberty. The City of Flint has now completed 90% of its municipal service water line replacements, with a final completion date of November 30. Water lines have been excavated at almost 26,000 households. After those excavations, approximately 9,700 lead or galvanized steel service lines were replaced. About 2,500 water lines still require inspection, and residents must consent to having their pipes replaced under the City’s Get the Lead Out program. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced in late August that the settlement has been agreed to by the state parties and the plaintiffs’ legal counsel following more than 18 months of negotiations. Additional defendants named in plaintiffs’ lawsuits have not signed on to the settlement agreement. Included among those entities are the engineering consultants, Veolia North America and Lockwood, Newnam & Andrews, who are also being sued by the Attorney General for their roles. “We urge all defendants to step up and take responsibility like the state of Michigan has done,” announced Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley in a statement. “This settlement will be an important step forward for our community. For years, we were victims—our voices and concerns ignored as lead continued to leach into our water. However, our community is resilient and we have persevered. Moving forward, with our strong spirit intact, we will be known as a community of victors,” Neeley added. The state’s 2020 budget included $120 million to clean up drinking water through investments in water infrastructure.
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Canadian company patents world's first electrified water and current tester By Ross Humphry
s we all know, water and electricity don’t mix. What most people don’t realize is that only two volts of AC electricity over the span of 30 centimetres in water is enough to incapacitate and/or kill a person who has the misfortune of coming into contact with it. A Canadian company has invented, patented and CSA/UL certified the world’s first electrified water and current tester. Known as the EWACT Canary, this new lightweight, handheld tool is a potentially life-saving piece of equipment, capable of measuring electricity up to 600 volts AC passing through fluids or water. But, if you know there is unwanted electrical current, how do you find it? More importantly, how do you locate the source? A unique feature of this device is its ability to accurately indicate the electrical direction to the source of power present. With this information, it is now possible to locate that source. This is incredibly valuable for personal safety. As a bonus, fault detection and isolation can now be incorporated into a routine maintenance schedule. This now gives water and wastewater treatment plant operators, first responders, hydro workers, municipal workers, marina and pool staff the ability to check for electrical energy and stray current or power. This is an important tool to help keep workers and rescuers safe and reduce the number of
This is an important tool to help keep workers and rescuers safe. water related electrocutions. There are a lot of people who spend all day working around and with water, not to mention swimmers, boaters and other recreational users. This new tool will be a vital piece of equipment in work areas, such as water and sewage treatment facilities, hydro vaults, water and sewer maintenance holes, marinas, pools, etc. Ross Humphry is with Canadian Safety Equipment Inc. Email: email@example.com, or visit www.cdnsafety.com.
The EWACT Canary can measure electricity up to 600 volts AC passing through fluids, or water www.esemag.com @ESEMAG
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PRODUCT & SERVICE SHOWCASE
MULTI-POINT AVERAGING INSERTION FLOWMETER
Torpee-Mag is Flow-Tronic’s multipoint averaging insertion flowmeter using Faraday’s law of electromagnetic induction. The Equal Area electrode spacing is a well known and academically researched methodology, assuring stable, repeatable and accurate flow measurement. Applications include: raw water intake monitoring; water production plant metering; district metering (low flow conditions); and, existing flowmeter retrofit. FLOW-TRONIC S.A. www.linkedin.com/company/flow-tronic Represented in Ontario by ACG – Envirocan T: 905-856-1414 F: 905-856-6401 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.acg-envirocan.ca
STORMWATER INFILTRATION AND RETENTION/ DETENTION MODULES
The Graf EcoBloc Maxx stormwater infiltration and retention/detention modules are the ideal stormwater solution. Designed for a service life of over 50 years, these blocks also feature three times the storage volume of standard drainage gravel, facilitate fast and easy installation, and offer a wide variety of configurations and burial depths. Contact us today for more information! Barr Plastics T: 800-665-4499 E: email@example.com W: www.barrplastics.com
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NEW! PERISTALTIC CHEMICAL METERING PUMP
RARE EARTH COAGULANT
Standardize on one chemical feed solution with the FLEXFLO® A1F Peristaltic Chemical Metering Pump. The A1F never loses prime, requires minimal maintenance, and has a high energy efficient rating. This self-priming pump delivers smooth chemical feed and does not require check valves. Additional A1F features include: feed rates to 5.60 GPH (21.19 LPH); pressures rating to 100 PSI (6.89 bar); brushless DC motor. Blue-White Industries T: 714-893-8529 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.blue-white.com
Bishop Water Technologies’ ClariPhos™ Rare Earth Coagulant is a game-changing technology that outperforms alum- or ferric-based coagulants for phosphorus removal. Wastewater plants can easily switch to ClariPhos and achieve phosphorus limits as low as 0.07 mg/L without installing or upgrading costly tertiary filtration systems. Its coagulation produces up to 50% less sludge than alternatives and improves dewaterability to significantly reduce sludge management costs. Bishop Water T: 343-361-0463 E: email@example.com W: www.bishopwater.ca
MULTI-DIAPHRAGM METERING PUMP
The new Chem-Pro® CD1 Multi-Diaphragm Metering Pump offers a top performing solution to the problem of dosing with gas-forming chemicals, such as peracetic acid or sodium hypochlorite. The CD1 is engineered for zero maintenance, including the patented ultra-durable diaphragm, called DiaFlex®. This exclusive single layer diaphragm has been designed to last the life of the pump. Blue-White Industries T: 714-893-8529 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.blue-white.com
Chemline’s CC Series 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, clear PVC tube and a maximum capacity of 20,000 ml. We offer 4 different configurations: bottom threaded, top/bottom threaded, bottom threaded with removable cap, top/bottom threaded with removable top and float ring indicator. Chemline Plastics T: 800-930-CHEM (2436) F: 905-889-8553 E: email@example.com W: www.chemline.com
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PRODUCT & SERVICE SHOWCASE
Consider a proactive approach to road maintenance this year. Many municipalities and private companies are utilizing Denso’s polymer modified–bitumen asphalt joint tapes to prevent water infiltration at joints. DensoBand and Denso Reinstatement Tape provide a permanent, flexible barrier between hot asphalt and steel, concrete and existing asphalt. Great for bridges, railway crossings and utility cuts. Contact Denso for more information. Denso North America T: 416-291-3435 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.densona.com
Geneq’s new F100 is a Highly Integrated GNSS Receiver with a Multi-touch Screen. The F100 tracks multi-constellations (GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, Beidou…) and can maximize the acquisition and tracking process with all-inview GNSS frequencies. It also supports RTK correction service, including RTX service that can get cm level accuracy without a base station. The F100, with its advanced technology, ensures a high performance even in harsh environments such as under heavy canopy. Geneq T: 800-463-4363 W: www.sxbluegps.com
CHLORINE EMERGENCY SHUTOFF
The Chlor-Scale 150™ from Force Flow provides a simple and reliable way to monitor the amount of chlorine or ammonia used, and the amount remaining in the cylinder. The solid PVC scale platform, with a 5-year warranty, provides the strongest defence against the corrosive environments associated with gas feed applications. There are electronic and hydraulic options. Force Flow T: 800-893-6723 W: www.forceflowscales.com
The Eclipse Actuator System adds a new level of safety to your chlorine feed system. Stop a chlorine leak within seconds of detection by automatically closing the ton container or cylinder valve. Allows the valve to be manually opened or closed. Halogen Valve Systems are the only systems that confirm that the valve was torqued closed to the institute recommended standard. Halogen Valve Systems T: 949-261-5030 W: www.halogenvalve.com
UV NITRATE SENSOR
YSI’s EXO NitraLED™ UV Nitrate Sensor is the world’s most accessible UV nitrate sensor. Utilizing state-of-the-art UV LED technology, EXO NitraLED is an optical nitrate sensor designed for long-term, low-drift monitoring. Built-in corrections for natural organic matter (NOM) and turbidity minimize interference in freshwater environments. Its compact form factor allows for seamless integration with any EXO Sonde. Hoskin Scientific E: email@example.com, Oakville, ON E: firstname.lastname@example.org, Burnaby, BC E: email@example.com, Montreal, QC W: www.hoskin.ca
The new GritWolf® grit trap uses an innovative two-chamber design and contact settling to reduce footprint and remove the finest grit particles as well as FOG. The GritWolf offers up to 95% of the grit of grain size ≥ 75 µm, with the smallest footprint and shallowest depth. Contact us at 704-990-2053 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Huber Technology T: 704-990-2053 F: 704-949-1020 E: email@example.com W: www.huber-technology.com
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PRODUCT & SERVICE SHOWCASE
CATCH BASIN INSERT
AERATOR FOR SEWER ODOUR & CORROSION CONTROL
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
The Vortex Force™ by IPEX Inc. is a specially designed aeration device for sewer forcemains, wet wells, storage tanks and irrigation ponds to reduce odour and corrosion. Vortex Force easily installs, using a simple flange connection in flows ranging from 125 GPM to 6,000 GPM. IPEX T: 866-473-9462 W: www.ipexna.com
TWIN SHAFT GRINDER
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
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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 protect 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 F: 705-797-8427 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.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 NEW BRUNSWICK SECURES WWTP UPGRADE FUNDING AS OFFICIALS WARN OF ALGAL BLOOM
Provincial, federal and municipal officials have announced $32.3 million in funding to upgrade the wastewater treatment plant operated by the Greater Shediac Sewerage Commission in New Brunswick’s Boudreau-Ouest neighbourhood of Beaubassin East. The projects to upgrade the plant’s capacity to treat and manage wastewater will include construction of new wastewater facilities for screening and grit removal with blowers, UV disinfection, and a moving bed biofilm reactor. Further upgrades include the construction of pumped outfall, pumping stations, three lagoon cells and 2,500 m of wastewater pipes. Funding for the upgrades is being provided through the Rural and Northern Infrastructure Stream of the Investing in Canada infrastructure program. The federal government is providing $16.1 million for the project, while the provincial government is investing $10.7 million. The Greater Shediac collection system is a sanitary sewer system and not a combined one. It includes approximately 102 km of sewer main, over 1,195 manholes, and 24 lift stations. Greater Shediac has two wastewater treatment facilities.
pleaded guilty and been sentenced. An agreed statement of facts explains that between January 2014 and December 2017, a number of mandatory lead and chlorine residual samples were not taken within the town of just over 2,000 residents. Some old samples were made to appear as new results.
As a result, town officials pleaded guilty to failing to immediately report structural or equipment malfunctions in the waterworks system, an offence under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act. The town was fined $10,000 and placed under a 2.5-year procontinued overleaf…
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Innovative, Fit-for-purpose Solutions The Greater Shediac Sewerage Commission in New Brunswick performs a pump installation. GSSC
TOWN FINED, FORMER OPERATOR GIVEN HOUSE ARREST OVER FALSIFYING WATER SAMPLES
After facing a series of water-related charges under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act, the Town of Bow Island, Alberta, and a former employee of the municipality, have
October 2020 | 59
ES&E NEWS bation order that will closely monitor its compliance with legislated monitoring and reporting requirements. The town’s former employee pleaded guilty to one count of providing false or misleading information, which is also an offence under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act. The employee was sentenced to six months of house arrest, plus two years of probation. When a new operator began working for Bow Island in December 2017, they noticed that a number of chlorine residual samples had not been taken and so reached out to the province out of concern. An investigation determined that far more tests than the new operator realized had not been submitted to the province by the previous operator. In total, some 132 samples failed to be submitted over three years. Notably, chlorine sampling results appeared to have been copied from prior months and passed off as the results for later months. Additionally, the 2015 and 2016 annual report lead test results were identical to the 2014 test results.
“On January 19, 2018, the former operator confessed to the new operator and the public works manager that he had falsified municipal lead reports,” explains the case’s statement of facts. “The former operator was suspended for contravening the Code of Practice.” The town currently has a licensed operator with 10 years of experience, and additional staff are receiving continuous and ongoing training in water distribution. Standard operating procedures have been updated in consultation with Alberta Environment and Parks, officials noted in a statement.
septic tank and then transporting waste for treatment, to the use of engineered wetlands and dehydration technology to treat sewage. The city, just east of Calgary, formed a partnership with locally-based MAGNA Engineering Services Inc. and Calgary-based Eco-Growth Environmental for the pilot project. It is expected to last until December, when the system will be reviewed and possibly refined for larger-scale projects and testing. Regular water samples will be collected and tested by a third party to determine the new system’s efficiency and effectiveness.
ALBERTA CITY LAUNCHES SEWAGE PILOT PROJECT FOR BIOFUEL CONVERSION
CANADA FUNDS $8.3M IN FISHING GEAR REMOVAL TO FIGHT MARINE PLASTIC POLLUTION
Chestermere, Alberta has begun a pilot program to convert the sewage of its some 20,000 residents into raw water, fertilizer and biofuel. Since the beginning of the biofuel pilot project, employees at the municipal public works building have seen a shift from flushing into a
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60 | October 2020
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Plastic debris that ends up in Canada’s waters from fishermen plying their trade has become a major marine litter problem known as ghost gear. It can consist of all lost, abandoned or deteriorating fishing nets and commercial fishing gear, as well as plastic waste from aquaculture. Recent studies indicate that ghost fishing gear may make up 46% – 70% of all macroplastics in the ocean by weight, and pose threats to marine animals like whales and turtles. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) is investing $8.3 million into what will be known as the Ghost Gear Fund. It will support 22 projects in Canada and four internationally over the next two years, targeting categories such as gear retrieval, eco-disposal, acquisition and the piloting of new gear technology. The new funding aligns with the federal government’s aim to protect 25% of Canada’s oceans by 2025, working toward 30% by 2030. In terms of ghost gear retrieval, DFO says it will seek out areas where gear reported lost, such as gillnets, pots and traps, would have a greater impact on the surrounding environment. Other types of lost gear could include longlines, hook and line, trawls and seines. For eco-disposal of the plastic gear, DFO says it will identify and facilitate ways to keep it out of landfills, seeking out potential options for recycling when possible. New Brunswick’s Fundy North Fishermen's Association, for instance,
Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine
ES&E NEWS will be funded to address the existing gap around the responsible disposal of lobster traps, creating upcycling streams for end-of-life gear.
A crab trap with plastic components retrieved from the Gulf of the St. Lawrence. DFO
TWO QUEBEC COMPANIES FINED FOR ENVIRONMENTAL VIOLATIONS
Seleine Mines, a division of K+S Windsor Salt Ltd., is located in the Magdalen Islands and is the only salt mine in Quebec. Its production is typically aimed at deicing. The mine’s deposit was discovered in 1972. Environment and Climate Change Canada enforcement officers determined that the mining company had disposed of dredged material on four occasions during August 2014. This occurred outside of the area authorized by the company’s disposal at sea permit, which allows disposal of non-hazardous substances into the sea. The company was fined a total of $400,000 after pleading guilty. A Montreal-based holding company, known as 4422236 Canada Inc., was fined $260,000 after pleading guilty to two counts of violating the PCB Regulations and the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999. An investigation by Environment and Climate Change Canada enforcement officers determined that, in September 2018, the holding company was using a building transformer containing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) at a concentration greater than 500 ppm. The investigation also found that, as of June 2019, the numbered company had not complied with the environmental protection compliance order issued by an enforcement officer in November 2018, requiring it to dispose of the transformer. www.esemag.com @ESEMAG
As a result of these convictions, both (ICIP), a cost-shared infrastructure fundcompanies will be added to the Environ- ing program between the federal governmental Offenders Registry. ment, provinces and territories. “It’s obviously disappointing that we were denied funding under this proSWIFT CURRENT REJECTED gram,” announced Mayor Perrault in a UNDER ICIP FOR WWTP statement to the municipality’s nearly UPGRADES 17,000 residents. “A lot of effort was put The mayor of Swift Current says the into these applications, and there was a Saskatchewan city was left “on the out- great deal of planning and consultation side looking in” when it realized available that occurred prior to us submitting infrastructure funds in the province were these requests. We believe that these much lower than officials anticipated. are worthwhile projects that will benefit Mayor Denis Perrault expressed his the community and region for years to opinion on the available funding follow- come,” he added. ing a denial of the city’s applications for The wastewater projects in question, wastewater upgrades through the Invest- pertain to Swift Current’s expansions ing in Canada Infrastructure Program continued overleaf…
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Advertiser INDEX COMPANY PAGE ACG-Envirocan .......................... 63 ACO Systems............................... 41 Aerzen........................................ 25 All-Weld Company...................... 27 Associated Engineering.............. 20 Avensys...................................... 42 AWI............................................. 35 Barr Plastics............................... 14 BDP Industries.............................. 2 Bishop Water Technologies ........ 12 Blue-White................................... 7 Boerger...................................... 18 CB Shield.................................... 37 Chemline Plastics....................... 16 CRANE........................................ 17 Denso ........................................ 24 Endress+Hauser......................... 23 Force Flow.................................. 19 Greatario.................................... 21 H2Flow....................................... 55 Halogen Valve............................. 29 Harmsco Filtration Products....... 31 Huber Technology...................... 33 Hydro International.................... 13 Imbrium Systems....................... 64 IPEX............................................. 3 KGS Environmental Group.......... 39 NETZSCH Canada........................ 32 Nexom.......................................... 9 Orival......................................... 28 Pro Aqua...................................... 5 Service Filtration........................ 51 SEW-Eurodrive........................... 47 SPD Sales................................... 40 Stantec....................................... 31 Troy-Ontor................................. 43 Vanton Pump & Equipment......... 11
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and upgrades application made under the grant program’s Green Infrastructure Stream. The proposal focused on twinning the force main running to the wastewater treatment station and upgrading the lift station in the northeast corner of the city. The current system is close to capacity, officials say. Swift Current’s wastewater treatment plant was built in 2006 and treats an average of 1,750,000 m3 of wastewater annually. The city also uses four lagoon cells as part of its treatment process.
MICROPLASTIC POLLUTION IN ATLANTIC OCEAN EXCEEDS EARLIER FINDINGS
A new study estimates that upward of 21 million metric tons of three common types of small plastic pollution exist in just the top 200 m of the Atlantic Ocean. Researchers took samples at 12 locations over a 10,000-km north–south transect of the Atlantic and found that the three most prevalent marine microplastics (10 – 1000 µm) were polyethylene, polypropylene, and polystyrene, all commonly used for packaging products. The plastics found in the top 200 m represent only 5.3% of the Atlantic Ocean volume and do not include nanoplastics, the study notes. Previous assessments of plastic pollution in the ocean were insufficient with respect to particle size collected and water layer surveyed, the researchers added. Smaller-sized microplastics that are now dominant in oceanic plastic inventory were not included in the estimates of the previous burden of plastics, due to common sampling techniques. The new study measured penetration of plastic particles down to 25 µm in size. “A direct comparison of our near-surface abundance data with the previous Atlantic studies of microplastic pollution is challenging as nearly all of them applied different sampling and analytical approaches,” the study states. The study, High concentrations of plastic hidden beneath the surface of the Atlantic Ocean, published in the scientific journal Nature, notes that quantifying plastic pollution has proved very challenging. The materials have a very short lifetime
use, yet such a high contribution to the content of global plastic waste. Polyethylene was by far the most prevalent polymer found in the Atlantic, according to researchers. It is often used to manufacture plastic films, bags, and bottles.
NEW REPORT TOUTS BENEFITS OF EXPANDED IRRIGATION
A new report is endorsing a series of irrigation projects that would see multiple users competing for resources available through Saskatchewan’s Lake Diefenbaker. Saskatchewan's $4 billion irrigation plan, which would draw from the lake, is touted in a new report as a way to boost the economy by some $83 billion in the long term, add a combined 22,700 jobs and improve water security. It is a plan that provincial officials already committed to over the summer, although many details, consultations and assessments have yet to be addressed. The plan would support irrigation expansion by nearly 500,000 acres, officials estimate, potentially making the Prairies global leaders in agri-food production. This new report also endorses the province’s recently approved Upper Qu’Appelle Canal (UQC) and Westside Irrigation projects, both of which would also draw water from Lake Diefenbaker. The UQC project would divert water from the Qu’Appelle Dam at Lake Diefenbaker and move it 87 km southeast through an open, upland canal beside the Qu’Appelle Valley to Buffalo Pound Lake, the municipal water source for the Regina-Moose Jaw region. The Westside Irrigation project would consist of a refurbished and expanded canal system with multiple reservoirs along the northward route. It is estimated that the combined water diversions for both projects would account for less than 5% of the inflow from Lake Diefenbaker. When both projects are included, the total outflow requirements, including evaporative losses, account for approximately 31% of all available inflow into Lake Diefenbaker, the report states.
Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine
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PRIMARY TREATMENT • Complete line of fine screening equipment • Self-cleaning perforated plate screens • FlexRake® front-raked fine screens • FlexRake® front-raked bar screens • FlexRake® Low Flow • Self-Cleaning trashracks • Muffin Monster® grinder (for sludge, scum, septage, screenings & wastewater) • Channel Monster® grinder for pump stations and sewage treatment plant headworks • Honey Monster® septage receiving station • Auger Monster® fine screen system • Monster® fine screen & band screen perforated plate fine screens with 2, 3 & 6mm perforations • Screenings washer/compactors • Rotating drum screens (down to 2mm perfs) • Raptor screenings washer press • Grit removal • Rotary drum screens
ADVANCED LAGOON TREATMENT TECHNOLOGIES • MARS™ Wastewater Lagoon Aeration • NitrOx® Cold Weather Lagoon Ammonia Removal • LRAS™ Advanced Lagoon Treatment • PhosBox Lagoon Phosphorus Removals
SECONDARY TREATMENT • AquaNereda® Activated Granular Sludge Technology • Aqua-Jet® direct drive floating aerator • Aqua DDM mechanical floating mixer • Fine bubble aeration systems using membrane or ceramic diffusers with gas cleaning systems • Stainless steel coarse bubble aeration systems • Multi stage activated biological process (MSABP) • Two & three rotary lobe P/D blowers • Centrifugal multistage blowers • Hybrid screw/lobe compressors • Floating diversion curtains (for aerated lagoons, activated sludge systems & clear wells) • Subsurface jet aeration/mixing systems • Spiraflo & Spiravac peripheral feed clarifiers • Closed loop reactor oxidation ditch systems • Rotary brush aerators • High efficiency single stage integrally geared blowers • Direct drive turbo type blowers • Aeration system controls & instrumentation • Chain & flight clarifier systems & components (plastic, cast iron or stainless steel) • Half bridge, centre feed, circular clarifiers • Spiral blade clarifiers
ODOUR CONTROL • Biofilters • Bioscrubbers • Carbon adsorbers • Chemical wet scrubbers • Ionized air
TERTIARY TREATMENT • AquaDisk® - cloth media tertiary filter • AquaDiamond® tertiary cloth media for traveling bridge filters • Filter Underdrain Systems HIGH EFFICIENCY MIXING TECHNOLOGY • High Performance Centrifugal Dispersing Impeller (HPCDI™) mixers
BULK MATERIAL HANDLING • Shaftless & shafted screw conveyors • Screw pumps (open & closed designs) • Industrial grinders
TANK COVERS & DOMES • Aluminum geodesic domes • Flat aluminum and FRP tank covers • Aluminum channel and launder covers • Aluminum hatch covers DISINFECTION • UV disinfection systems • Package & custom ozone systems BIOSOLIDS PROCESSING/HANDLING • Sludge storage bins & live bottom dischargers • Rotary Drum Thickeners • Gravity Belt Thickeners • Belt filter presses & screw presses • Centrifuges for thickening & dewatering
FLOWMETERS • Open channel flow metering (portable & permanent); wireless data transmission • Non-contact radar & submerged sensor area velocity flow metering (portable & permanent); wireless data transmission • Insertion mag flow meters with wireless data transmission • Data loggers with wireless data transmission INDUSTRIAL WASTEWATER TREATMENT • PCl Series DAF with corrugated plates • PWl Series DAF low profile, from 20·800 GPM • Pipe flocculators • Industrial wastewater treatment systems • Coalescing oil/water separators • Inclined plate clarifiers PACKAGE TREATMENT PLANTS • Package potable water treatment plants • Package sanitary wastewater treatment plants • Package industrial wastewater treatment plants • Package industrial process water treatment plants WATER TREATMENT • Pressure filtration systems (removal of iron & manganese, arsenic, fluoride, radium, uranium) • Filter Underdrain Systems ADVANCED INDUSTRIAL STORMWATER TREATMENT SYSTEMS • Removal of free oil, TSS, metals, nutrients, BOD/COD, bacteria, toxic organics, floatable trash
VIK VI KING CHAINS GR GROUP
e n v i r o S Y S T E M
d i v i s i o n
I N T E G R AT O R S
L E ADE R S I N I N N OVAT I O N & S U S TA I NA B I L I T Y
Ontario Pollution Control Equipment Association
CALL 905.856.1414 • 131 Whitmore Rd., Unit 7, Woodbridge, ON L4L 6E3
Visit Our NEW Website www.acg-envirocan.ca Today!
Protecting Canada’s Waterways
The CDS® Oil-Grit Separator • • • •
100% removal of floatables and neutrally buoyant material debris 4.7mm or larger. Self-cleaning screen reduces maintenance costs. Internal bypass eliminates the cost associated with additional bypass structures. Multiple pipe inlets and 90-180º angles provides design flexibility.
Custom Engineered for Your Site 40,000+ Installations Worldwide Design and additional services
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ENGINEERED SOLUTIONS WESTERN CANADA Contech Engineered Solutions www.conteches.com 360-202-6120
ONTARIO Echelon Environmental www.echelonenvironmental.ca 905-948-0000
QUEBEC & MARITIMES Soleno www.soleno.com 800-363-1471
Contech Engineered Solutions LLC | www.ContechES.com | 800-338-1122
Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine’s October 2020 issue includes ongoing coverage of how COVID-19 is affecting water systems and w...
Published on Oct 2, 2020
Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine’s October 2020 issue includes ongoing coverage of how COVID-19 is affecting water systems and w...