Monthly Archives: March 2021

Tips To Maximize Your RFP For Wastewater Treatment

Running a wastewater treatment plant requires a lot of thought when it comes to safe operations, fiscal responsibility, and keeping an eye on future needs. A wastewater treatment plant manager has to know how to maximize any request for proposal (RFP). Any company can ask for bids for upgrades and repairs, but an RFP often takes a lot of negotiation and tough choices to lead to exceptional results.

How do you maximize your RFP for wastewater treatment? The most important decision you’ll make cannot be rushed. You want to give possible contractors a clear picture. From there, you’ll need to take your time selecting the best team for the work. These steps can help you arrange the best contractor for your needs.

Lay Out Your Goals

Make sure you clearly lay out your reason for the project, the current set-up, and what the goals are. Give a description of your municipality including how many miles you serve, the population, and any budgetary information you can share. How is the wastewater treatment plant funded? Is it through property taxes, fees, grants, etc.?

Go over the budget for any improvements or repairs. The companies that you’ll work with do need to know if your financial goals are manageable. For that budget, what do you expect?

While you’re going through your goals, bring up the purpose for the RFP. Are you looking to be more efficient or increase the number of households you support? You want to choose a wastewater treatment contractor who meets local, state, and federal laws and regulations. Make sure you’re clear regarding how long you plan to work with this contractor. Will you be working with the contractor just for this project or are you also looking for someone to help with the repairs and maintenance over the decades?

As you discuss repairs and maintenance, you’ll want to cover other aspects of wastewater management like the management of construction workers and projects. You may want to work with a contractor who will arrange where the biosolids go when they’re removed during the wastewater treatment process. Will they be helping secure the chemicals and required testing?

Create a Complex Picture of Your Treatment Plant

When you’re writing out your RFP, present a full picture of your current plant’s design. You want to share the location, your acreage, the current layout, and the equipment you own. Talk about the plant’s capacity and average daily flow. Your plant should have a permit from the EPA, what is your NPDES permit number?

Once you go over what you currently have, discuss what the improvements need to include. If you’re often reaching your plant’s maximum daily flow, you’ll want to increase that. Where do you need the new plant capacity to be? Are you adding grit removal, improving your screens, or seeking energy-efficient changes? Do you want equipment that requires less routine maintenance?

When the water is treated, where does it go? Does it go into a local body of water or into water storage or reservoirs where it goes back to homes and businesses in that municipality? What types of pump stations are needed to get the water from these storage tanks or reservoirs back to homes and businesses? That’s another consideration that your RFP must mention. Give a list of locations and their flow rates.

Through each step of wastewater, including pump stations and reservoirs, is the city responsible for maintenance, or are you looking for a contractor to arrange the maintenance in these areas? Do you want the contractor to help find the right maintenance crew?

Be Clear About Contact Information

Provide updated contact information for possible contractors who have additional questions. Provide both phone and email and check messages at both. Some people may have more time to respond by email than phone or vice versa. If you’re amenable to both contact methods, you’ll get more responses. Give a deadline for questions so that you have time to answer them and schedule interviews and plant tours.

Take time to answer everyone. Even if the answer is “we’re going a different way,” it’s common courtesy to give a response. If you ever are in a position where you’ll need to work with a different contractor in the future, you haven’t upset anyone by ignoring their questions or proposal.

Don’t Forget the Equal Opportunity Requirements

It is your legal responsibility to make it clear that you will not be engaging in any discriminatory practices. When you select a contractor, you’re not basing your decision on gender identity, race, nationality, disability, religion, etc. You welcome everyone to apply, including veterans and aged workers.

Arrange a Tour Date and Timelines for Decisions

For contractors to come up with the right quote, they need time to tour the facility. Provide tours on a few dates so that every interested contractor can find a date that works with his or her schedule. Make sure you’re there for the tour and address any questions that arise during the tour.

About a month after the tours take place, set that as the date you require all proposals to be submitted. If you’ll be interviewing, follow the proposal deadline with the interviews. You want to narrow down your list of contractors shortly after the interviews.

Once you have selected your first choice, start the negotiation process. That will be the final step to awarding the contract to the winning company. In all, you want to do this at least six months before you want your project to start. That way, the contractor has time to schedule the project and get the equipment and supplies ordered in time.

Give Clear Instructions for Proposal Submissions

Give a step-by-step guide to how proposals need to be submitted and where they need to be delivered or mailed. If you want multiple hard copies and/or a PDF proposal, be clear about it. Give a date and time for those proposals to reach your office. Include the name, address, fax number, and email. Finish this up with a statement that you are not responsible for mail delays or lost emails and faxes if you even agree to receive the proposals electronically.

You want contractors to detail their qualifications, experience, cost proposal, and project details. Training and qualifications need to be given to every person who will be working on your wastewater treatment project.

Have a plan in place for any protests from contractors who are not awarded the contract or who become upset that they submitted a proposal that you never received. Give them a deadline to submit complaints and go over how to submit them.

Have a Back-Up Plan

What happens if you don’t like any of the proposals? Have a plan in place for this situation. If no one meets your needs, you’ll need to start the process over. While this isn’t ideal, you have to put the public and City budgets and needs first. If all proposals are too high or will take too long to complete, you may need to go back to the drawing board and see if there are ways to scale down your goals.

Be Open and Honest

As the public is usually the group paying for the cost of upgrades beyond any applicable grants, you need to be open and honest. Proposals have to be part of the public records for taxpayers to look at. Be clear about the scope of the project and why the improvements or project is needed.

If you take time with your RFP and are clear about the scope of the project, you’ll end up with great proposals. You don’t want to partner with a wastewater treatment contractor that leaves you and, therefore, your taxpayers hanging.

Lakeside Equipment has close to 100 years of experience in water treatment. We have a solid team of engineers who work with you during every step of your installation or improvements. We help you come up with a wastewater treatment design that matches your city’s needs and budgets. Give us a call to discuss your project.

Lakeside Raptor® FalconRake® Bar Screen vs. Duperon FlexRake

Wastewater contains organic materials, but inorganic and organic solids also make their way into sewer and septic systems. How do these items get into the wastewater? It depends on the setting. Homeowners with a septic system may not realize the damage that’s caused by flushing tampon applicators or using too much toilet paper. Children may flush toys, coins, or marbles down the toilet and never tell their parents. In a city setting, items like candy wrappers or water bottles may blow into the street on recycling days and end up in storm drains.

When items like children’s small toys, plastic wrappers, and other personal products get flushed or go down a drain, it’s a problem. Whether it’s intentional or not, plastics, glass, and metal items do not break down. Items like paper towels, cigarette butts, and diapers may break down, but they do so slowly. If they’re not removed in the early stages of water treatment, it can block pipes and damage water treatment equipment. The screening process is an essential first step in any water treatment plant.

Wastewater treatment plants have screens to capture these items before they make it into grit removal systems, clarifiers, aerators, etc. Screens are also helpful in industrial settings like paper mills with wood pulp, wineries where the grape skins and pulp need to be removed before the yeast is added, or breweries where grains and hops need removal before yeast is added for the fermentation process.

Who removes the items from the screens that are getting blocked by these solids? That’s where a mechanical rake comes in. Rakes continually move across a screen to remove the items that are trapped. There are different types of rakes. One of the most efficient is the Lakeside Raptor® FalconRake® Bar Screen. How does this system work, and how does it compare to the Duperon FlexRake?

How a Bar Screen Works?

A bar screen is a vertical screening system with multiple rakes. Those rakes are on a link system that continually moves them around the vertical screen. The rakes are spaced evenly and continually rotate around the screen and tank floor. The screen captures items like plastics, sticks, logs, rocks, glass, etc. and the rakes scoop them up as it passes under the bottom of the screen. They travel up the back and are dropped into a discharge chute as the rakes pass back over the top of the bar screen. From there, items can be washed and recycled or composted, and the rakes continue in another circle to repeat the process.

When you’re looking at bar screens. There are a few things to keep in mind. First, look for construction that prevents corrosion. Stainless steel is the best. After that, you want to look at the placement of bearings, bushings, guides, and sprockets. If they’re underwater, repairs may be more common and difficult to manage. Efficiency and headroom are other factors to consider.

The Pros and Cons of the Duperon FlexRake

The Duperon FlexRake is engineered specifically to meet your demands in many of the same ways the Raptor® FalconRake®  Bar Screen does. The link system can hold up to a total of 60,000 pounds, which is impressive. The links are self-lubricating, so the maintenance is minimal. Gear motors are also sealed to help prevent excessive wear. Bearings, bushings, guides, and sprockets are in higher positions to also reduce the risk of jamming, which can lead to excessive maintenance or repair. It’s also designed to avoid jams when the debris is larger than usual. If something larger goes through the screen rake, you do not have to shut it down and have someone manually remove it.

The bar screen is cleaned automatically. That makes it possible to run it 24 hours a day without having a person to operate it. It’s installed in a vertical or almost vertical position. The motor is low RPM and energy-efficient.

There are several models available. Some are better for industrial settings like food processing plants and breweries, others are ideal for wastewater plants. To find the right screen rake, you need to look at the bar opening (as small as 1/5th of an inch up to just over an inch). Look at the installation angle, too.

How Does the Lakeside Raptor® FalconRake® Bar Screen Compare?

How does the Lakeside Raptor® FalconRake® Bar Screen compare? Much of it, including the chain link system, is crafted from stainless steel, and you get a choice. You can choose 304 stainless steel or 316. Both provide protection from corrosion, but 316 has more nickel and offers more protection in water that is chlorinated or contains more chlorides. If you treat water that has high chloride levels, consider 316 for the best protection from corrosion.

The drive system is low horsepower and incredibly efficient. Lower electricity costs in your municipality by choosing this bar screen. Variable speeds ensure comprehensive cleaning of the screen. The rake is stainless steel, and the ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene scraper is also durable and long-lasting. Teeth on the rake fit into the screening for optimal removal. If you’re worried about possible damage happening, don’t worry about it with this model. The bearings, bushings, guides, and sprockets are located near the top to reduce repairs from jams. It’s very unlikely that this bar screen system will need repairs. If it ever does, the drive system is above the water, which makes it much easier to manage.

With over a dozen rakes working together to remove solids, it’s an efficient removal process and headloss is minimal. It’s also adjustable, so you can space the bars to meet your needs. Bar spacing can be as little as ¼th of an inch to much larger sizes. You can also have a cover added to minimize odors. Teardrop-shaped bars are optional and reduce headloss even more. There’s also an optional weather protection system and explosion-proof design to provide peace of mind. Our Lakeside experts will help you determine the appropriate bar screen.

Where should you use the Raptor® FalconRake® Bar Screen? It’s useful in industrial and municipal settings. It’s an ideal screening system in a wastewater treatment plant. You can use it in your pump stations or sewer overflows. If you own a brewery, winery, or food processing plant, it’s good in those settings, too. As the system is customized to match the depth you need, you’re certain to have a screening and rake system that matches your needs.

Pair the Raptor® FalconRake® Bar Screen with a Raptor® Wash Press to clean, compact, and dewater the items that the bar screen removes. The Raptor® Wash Press cleans and presses the trapped materials to reduce the volume and weight of materials that go to the landfill. Lower volume and weight mean less money spent disposing of these items in a landfill. It also helps reduce the amount of waste going to the landfill.

For more than 90 years, Lakeside Equipment has provided solutions for treatment plant designers and engineers. Lakeside’s experience with water purification and water treatment processes cannot be matched. Our engineers will design a system that meets your needs and matches your budget. Our goal is to design a system that is built to last, and should you ever need parts, we have a stellar parts department who are happy to help you.

For more information on how you can achieve Lakeside quality and performance, contact one of our experts at 630-837-5640, email us at or visit our website

All About Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plants

Municipal wastewater treatment plants take the wastewater from sewers and private septic systems and ensure it is clean and free of contaminants. Once it meets the EPA’s standards, the wastewater is released into bodies of water or returned to the public drinking supply.

Have you ever thought about what led to the creation of the first wastewater treatment plants? From the earliest days, these plants have come a long way thanks to advancements in technology and scientific breakthroughs.

A Historical Look at Wastewater Treatment

Go back in time to Ancient Rome. It had one of the earliest wastewater systems. Rainwater would travel from streets and rooftops to several drainage paths that led to a larger one known as the Cloaca Maxima that traveled right to the Tiber River.

While it was a good way to keep streets from flooding, there was a problem. At first, people threw their waste from windows in homes to the streets for water to wash away. When toilets and bathrooms became common, the piping went to cesspits where wastewater soaked into the ground over time or backed up into gardens and cellars.

In the 1860s, a Frenchman designed a tank that would hold the waste and keep it contained. After 10 years, he found that the solids had broken down and all that was left was a layer of scum and liquids. He patented his invention in 1881, which led to the creation of septic tanks in countries like the U.S., England, and Africa.

In cities and large municipalities, septic tanks weren’t possible due to the lack of space. Instead, piping from cesspools was connected to storm sewers and drains where the waste ended up in the river. This created water pollution and increases cases of bacterial diseases like cholera.

It wasn’t until the late-1800s and early-1900s that cities in the United States and the United Kingdom considered how to stop the water pollution that wastewater was causing. One of the first changes was to create separate wastewater treatment and stormwater run-off systems. The wastewater treatment system used chemicals and biological treatment plans to treat the water before it was released into lakes, streams, and rivers.

The first U.S. public water systems were developed in the late-1700s. Pennsylvania and Rhode Island were leaders by creating delivery companies that would bring water to houses. New York City created wells, but the wells were problematic as they were polluted. Eventually, water was brought into the city from Croton River, which was north of the city.

Pollution in the rivers was another concern as cholera and typhoid were spreading. By the start of the 1900s, there were more than 3,000 public water systems in the U.S. Focus turned to the best ways to keep those water systems from spreading disease. Congress passed a law in 1912 regulating the quality of water. Service drinking Water Standards followed in 1914 and set limits on the number of bacteria allowed in public water. This led to the use of chlorine to disinfect water. Thanks to these measures, waterborne diseases dropped by 100x by the 1940s.

In 1974, Congress enacted the Safe Drinking Water Act, which required public water systems to ensure public water did not exceed any of the contaminants on the EPA’s list. Several different bacteria are on the list, but so are heavy metals, chemicals, and carcinogens.

How Wastewater Treatment Plants Work

The basics of wastewater treatment are that wastewater comes in, foreign objects and solids are removed, the remaining water is aerated and clarified, microorganisms digest any tiny particles of waste/food, and chemical additives kill off anything that’s remaining. UV is the final step and that helps remove chemicals that were added.

You have combined systems that combine sewage with stormwater and bring them into the wastewater treatment plant for treatment. Separate systems are more common. All new wastewater treatment systems are separated from stormwater. Stormwater goes back into streams or rivers, while wastewater goes to a treatment plant for processing.

Primary Wastewater Treatment Steps

As the wastewater reaches the plant from sewers, it may need to be pumped from a lower elevation to a higher one for primary treatment. You have open pumps or enclosed screw pumps that bring the sewage to the settling tanks. Wastewater will pass through screens first and move to a grit chamber to remove contaminants like plastic applicators, plastic wrappers, or grit like coffee grounds.

Grit removal is important for maintaining the life of your equipment. Sand and grit can wear parts down over time. If you remove the grit, you extend the life of your pumps and valves. You also prevent blockages. This helps with aeration and digestion as the treatment process continues.

When wastewater is pumped into the next area of the treatment plant, the pumps need to be able to handle varying flow rates. A sewer may seem higher flow rates in the morning when people are getting ready to go to school and to work and again in the evening when people come home for the day. When people are sleeping, flow rates will slow down.

Secondary Treatments

In the primary clarifier, the sludge settles to the bottom. Liquids (primary effluent) flow to the aeration tank for the fluid to be stirred up and oxygenated. Sludge is pumped out where it will go to be treated and disposed of. It doesn’t get rid of all of the tiny particles of sludge. In aeration tanks, the water is mixed up to create the oxygen that microbes thrive on. Microorganisms are kept alive by the oxygen and will feed on organic materials that remain.

Before moving to a secondary clarifier, some wastewater treatment plants also use filters to help remove impurities. Activated sludge treatment is another option that comes before secondary clarification. Again, the sludge settles and some pumped out, some returns to the aeration tank for a second round, and clear water moves on for tertiary treatments.

Tertiary Treatments

Tertiary treatment may include biological treatment solutions. Disinfectants are added to the water to help kill any remaining contaminants. Just as they used chlorine in the past, it’s still used by many plants to ensure bacteria are killed. The water that remains is then exposed to UV light to help remove the chlorine that’s often used to help disinfect the water. Water is tested to make sure the cleaned water meets EPA standards.

To best manage the biological treatment system, many facilities use a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system. This helps control and monitor all of the different pieces of equipment within the wastewater treatment plant. It notifies operators of potential issues and allows for remote monitoring. Also, consider adding a Sharp Biological Nutrient Removal (SharpBNR) to your plant. It’s a process control system that makes sure you meet your goals for treatment while also minimizing your energy consumption.

Work With the Pros

Any municipal wastewater district has to work hard to make sure water meets the EPA’s guidelines while also being affordable for the water district’s members. If taxpayers struggle to afford the cost, it can become a problem. You also don’t want to have a plant that’s unable to meet the rising demand as more homes and businesses are built in that district. With a well-designed wastewater treatment plant that considers growth, energy efficiency, and effectiveness, you’ll do well.

It takes a lot of work to clean municipal wastewater. You want to partner with an expert in wastewater treatment equipment and design. Lakeside Equipment has been in the business for close to a century. When you work with us, we assign engineers and other specialists who help you design your plant from the ground up or assist you in making improvements to help you become more efficient and cost-effective. Call us to discuss your project.