Monthly Archives: September 2022

The Value of Trash Rakes in Your Wastewater Treatment Plant

Does your wastewater treatment plant have trash rakes installed to clean racks and screens from the trash that collects as wastewater comes in from sewers? Why is this important? It keeps the lines from clogging with unnecessary items and dead animals that have made their way into sewers. It also helps prevent excess strain on pumps, pipes, and other wastewater treatment equipment.

Trash rakes work with your existing trash racks and screens. If you don’t have them installed, you should. If you do and they’re not working effectively, it’s important to look at making upgrades to ensure your sewer system or stormwater drains don’t back up because the water can’t get through.

People Flush Items That Were Never Meant to be Flushed, or They Put Them Down Sinks

People don’t always realize that the items they’re flushing are incredibly damaging. Those items need to be screened before they cause equipment failures that can take time and money to repair. Sometimes, the items that get flushed are believed to be flushable. Flushable wipes are one of the most common. While the packaging says they’re flushable, they do not break down easily.

That’s just a start. Pouring grease down a drain creates fatbergs that clog lines and may break off into chunks and make their way into wastewater treatment plants to further clog lines. In New York City, the city reported that of the 2,382 sewer backups in 2018, three out of four of them were caused by grease buildup. At that point, one sewer line repair cost as much as $15,000.

Plastic tampon applicators, wrappers, condoms, pads, diapers, and cat litter are other problematic items. There are surprising items that you wouldn’t expect, too. The American Chemical Society reported that 21% of contact wearers flush their disposable contacts rather than throwing them into the trash as they should. It’s estimated that 3 million contacts end up in wastewater treatment plants.

Some wastewater treatment plants also receive stormwater when it rains. In facilities where stormwater and sewer water both come into the plant, a trash rack can capture leaves, branches, rocks, and trash like bottles, cans, and plastic bags that travel into storm drains and to wastewater treatment plants or rivers, lakes, and oceans.

To prevent damage from these items, they get caught up on trash racks and screens. Rakes are used to rake or scrape debris from the racks or screens, move them to dumpsters, and move them to landfills or incinerators.

Trash rakes also help clean the screens and trash racks to ensure water continues to flow into the plant. If too much trash builds up, the water flow diminishes and that could lead to back-ups in the sewer lines.

Types of Trash Rakes

What type of trash rake is best for your wastewater treatment plant? It comes down to your current equipment and plant size. Generally, there are two raking systems: cable operated and hydraulic

  1. Cable Operated

Catronic systems are heavy-duty systems using a rake head and cable winch that can clean trash racks with depths of 200 feet and lift up to 20 tons of materials. They’re energy-efficient and can be retrofitted to existing structures. They’re also easy to maintain as the components are above the water during standby.

Monorail systems are best for facilities that have several bar racks. The Catronic Monorail systems are suspended above trash racks on a monorail. The trash rake moves along the monorail and drops down using the cable system. It’s then pulled back up to move the trash into an awaiting dumpster.

The Catronic Monorail system can be retrofitted to work with existing trash racks. It’s energy-efficient and works effectively. Maintenance is performed once the system is parked away from the rack. As the rake travels along the monorail to areas away from the operating deck, trash isn’t accidentally dropped into inconvenient areas.

Your options are:

  • Catronic Series – Add optional jib cranes or hydraulic grab cranes for heavy debris that’s floating on the surface.
  • Monorail Series – Combines the rake head and cable trolley system.
  1. Hydraulic

Hydraulic systems telescope to the trash rack to clean it. As there is no need for a monorail or guide, it can clean at better angles (up to 90 degrees), which makes it a favorite choice for wastewater treatment plants. You can get stationary, swiveling, or traversing rakes. You can get single gripping jaws, triple jaws, or orange peel grapples that can go hundreds of feet down.

Some of the advantages of hydronic trash rakes include that operators can adjust the pressure on the trash screen for optimal cleaning. All mechanical components are above the water for easy maintenance, plus there are no chains, guides, or sprockets to wear out. You can get Hydronic trash rakes in galvanized steel or stainless steel.

Your options are:

  • Hydronic H Series – Horizontal design that pivots into a bar rack and travels sideways and is most commonly used in river water intakes at water treatment plants to protect aquatic life
  • Hydronic K Series – Stationary, Swiveling, or Traversing rakes that can clean at depths of up to 100 feet.
  • Hydronic T Series – Telescoping rakes that can either be stationary or traversing.
  • Hydronic Multifunctional – A traversing rake with manual, semi-automatic, or fully automatic articulating or combination articulating and telescoping rake to clean at depths of up to 150 feet.

The goal of trash and screen rakes is to capture and remove debris before it clogs lines or damages equipment. With so many consumers and businesses flushing items that shouldn’t go down the toilet, trash and screen rakes are a necessary investment. How do you know what you need?

When you’re considering your options, look for automated trash rakes. In Portland, Oregon, older trash rakes weren’t doing their job with the flood management system and kept shutting down. Employees had to go out on a barge to clear the grates.

The city upgraded to trash rakes that could lift a minimum of 2,000 pounds instead of the 1,250 pounds the current system was managing. They also needed a trash rake that fit the required dimensions. They ended up choosing five Lakeside Muhr Model T-260 Hydronic T trash rakes. Cleaning time was greatly reduced and efficiency at the plant greatly improved.

Work With a Professional in Water Treatment

The easiest way to design a trash rake system that does what you need is by working with a professional. Lakeside Equipment has a complete line of trash and screen rakes. We’ve been engineering, developing, and providing the water treatment systems municipalities and industries need since 1928. We have a lot of experience in designing cost-effective, efficient systems.

Talk to us to learn more about your options that will complement your current equipment and protect the piping, pumps, and other wastewater treatment from costly damage. Contact your local sales representative today.

The U.S. Clean Water Act Turns 50 in October

The Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA) was enacted in 1948, but it didn’t add much in the way of federal guidelines. Essentially, states, towns, and cities were offered some federal funding to address water pollution, but water pollution was a state’s problem and up to communities to solve on their own.

The FWPCA was updated in the 1950s and 1960s, now there was some control on a federal level, but only if the waterway passed through more than one state. It still required states to set their own standards. The changes were considered problematic as it was hard to determine exactly who was violating quality standards given the length of some waterways. Even if it was determined who was polluting a waterway, clean-up measures took longer than expected and control measures could be planned but not necessarily implemented.

Then, Ohio’s Cuyahoga River caught fire in 1969. There were so many chemicals and other pollutants in the water that it became obvious something needed to change. President Richard Nixon signed the National Environmental Policy Act in 1970 and established the Environmental Protection Agency, which started a movement to clean up America’s waterways.

All of this brings us to 1972 when the federal government decided that government involvement was long overdue. That’s when the U.S. Clean Water Act was enacted, and it turns 50 this year.

The Clean Water Act Is Signed Into Law

The Clean Water Act of 1972 came up with new goals, and the biggest was that all industrial and municipal wastewater had to be treated before it was discharged. The federal government offered monetary assistance for the construction of municipal wastewater treatment plants, set strict enforcement policies on the federal level, and left day-to-day implementation of the new law to the states. This time, however, the EPA had a say in what happened, which put a lot more control in the government’s hands.

In October of 1972, one of the first changes hit when Congress enacted the Ocean Dumping Act. At that point, close to six dozen companies who had applied to dump their chemicals in the oceans were told no. That helped stop some of the pollutants from going into the ocean.

As the Clean Water Act also required industrial wastewater to be treated, industries had a deadline of July 1, 1977, in order to establish policies and develop industrial wastewater treatment systems. Municipal wastewater systems also had that deadline to establish secondary treatment systems, but they could apply for extensions and hope they’d be approved. Even with extensions, all wastewater districts had to meet the EPA’s “best practicable control technology” standards by July 1, 1988.

The best practicable control technology improvements were next. Industries were also given until March 31, 1989, to meet the “best available technology” for water treatment of toxic substances. Industrial settings that failed to meet this rule faced court-ordered actions.

Once the 1988 deadline hit, 86% of the nation’s municipal wastewater treatment plants had met the standards. The 14% that didn’t meet the deadline faced court-ordered schedules. Sadly, there are still towns and cities that struggle to meet the standards due to crumbling infrastructure.

Until 1988, sewage sludge and industrial waste were still being dumped in the oceans. It was banned completely with the Sewage-Ocean Dumping Ban Act of 1988. In 1992, New York City dumped its last load of sewage in the ocean finalizing the city’s agreement with the Ocean Dumping Ban Act.

The Safe Drinking Water Act Followed

At the end of 1974, another act was passed by the government. The Safe Drinking Water Act was signed on December 16th. It gave the EPA authority to regulate the quality of drinking water in public water systems.

Even as measures were taken to stop polluting the nation’s waterways, cancer-causing chemicals were discovered in New Orleans and Pittsburgh’s drinking water. Many other towns and cities were finding their public water smelled or tasted odd. To end this, drinking water standards were to be set by the end of 1977. In 1977, the act was upgraded and the changes were signed into law by President Jimmy Carter.

Public water systems had to make sure their water met these new standards, though extensions, such as budgetary constraints, would be granted in certain situations. Plus, districts that didn’t meet the EPA’s standards had to notify all customers immediately of the pollutants in the community’s drinking water.

Under President Reagan’s presidency, the Safe Water Drinking Act was updated again in 1986. More than 100 contaminants were added to the list of current contaminants. Industrial and municipal wastewater treatment plants had until 1991 to upgrade their wastewater treatment plants or systems to start cleaning wastewater of the new contaminants. Lead materials were also banned in water systems. Until then, lead solder could be used on water supply pipes.

When 400,000 people in Wisconsin were sickened by cryptosporidium, it led to 100 deaths. The EPA immediately launched regulations and testing for cryptosporidium with the Interim Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule.

The next amendment to the Safe Drinking Water Act took place in 1996 under President Clinton. He signed the law to grant funding to municipal water treatment plants in need of upgrades to their system and to make sure they provide information to customers about any microbes or chemicals in their public drinking water supply.

In 1997, Canada and the U.S. teamed up to clean up the Great Lakes. The goal was to clean the lakes by 2006, as these lakes were providing more than 15 million people with water at the time the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement was signed.

Hudson River was the next waterway to get cleanup. PCB contamination in the Hudson River was cleaned in 2002 by removing 2.65 million cubic yards of contaminated sediment from a 40-mile stretch of the river.

The EPA Announced Government Contracts, Loans, and Grants Bans

To ensure industries and wastewater districts followed the new laws, the EPA announced a ban on any government contracts, loans, or grants in 1975. If a company was in violation of the Clean Air Act or Clean Water Act, it would not be awarded a government grant, loan, or contract. Essentially, anyone caught polluting would lose out on essential government funding options and future contracts.

Use of PCBs and Other Chemicals Are Banned

One area of concern in 1979 became the use of synthetic chemicals known as PCBs. They were commonly used in paints, cement, and many commercial and household products. PCBs were found in water, soil, and in the air. As they were believed to cause certain cancers, their use needed to be phased out.

In 1983, the EPA ordered an immediate stop to EDB’s use as a pesticide after it was found in the groundwater. As it is a carcinogen and mutagen, it was immediately banned.

President Reagan signed the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act in 1986. If toxic chemicals were going to be released into the air, soil, or water, communities had to be informed. 

What’s the Future of the Clean Water Act?

Even with the Clean Water Act, there are still many issues. In 1983, sewage treatment plants, farms, and urban runoff brought the pollution levels in the Chesapeake Bay to unheard-of levels. Federal, state, and local teams worked together to begin the cleanup that’s still ongoing. 

President Obama renewed efforts to clean and protect the Chesapeake Bay. To do so, he named the bay a national treasure with an executive order in 2009. In 2011, the EPA established the “Pollution Diet” limiting the maximum daily load for pollutants like nitrogen and phosphorus from states with waterways that feed into the Chesapeake Bay. Pollution controls must be in place by 2025.

As research advances, more pollutants are found and pollution from the past starts leaching out of the soil or groundwater and raising issues today. That’s why the 50-year-old Clean Water Act continues to be updated and altered.

Does your plant need upgrades to meet the most recent EPA requirements? Are you struggling with efficiency and coming too close to maximum flow rates? It’s time to address the upgrades to your wastewater treatment plant or water treatment facility. Lakeside Equipment is an expert in treatment solutions and has been since the 1920s. Trust in our expertise to bring your facility up-to-date with technology and energy-efficient equipment.