Monthly Archives: April 2023

Minimizing Water Use In Your Facility: Tips & Tricks

It’s no surprise that industrial enterprises use an awful lot of water. What may surprise people is that industrial water withdrawals were estimated to be around 14.8 billion gallons of water per day in 2015. Around 82% of that water withdrawal came from surface water. 

Even with snowfall and flooding in areas like California and Utah, there is still a severe shortage of water across the U.S. Industries need to do their part to minimize water use in their facilities. There’s never been a better time to address this after news came out in November 2022 that a Saudi Arabian firm had been pumping unlimited amounts of groundwater from Arizona’s Butler Valley for just $25 per acre each year. The water is used to grow alfalfa for cattle being raised in Saudi Arabia. 

Is your plant taking the necessary precautions to conserve water? Are you making sure your industrial wastewater isn’t causing issues locally? If you make a mistake, it can be costly. One beverage company was fined $5 million for sending arsenic-rich industrial wastewater to a wastewater treatment plant that was not permitted to treat that level of hazardous waste. You have to put thought into your water usage and what happens to your industrial wastewater.

Lakeside Equipment has some tips for minimizing water use in your plant and making sure the wastewater you generate isn’t going to cause problems down the road.

Upgrade to Equipment That Uses Less Water

Depending on your industry, you may have equipment that requires water for things like cooling cabling that’s just been coated with insulating plastic or vinyl coatings. You might have industrial washing machines or dishwashers. Look into upgrading equipment with models that use less water and electricity. If your equipment is 20 years old, it’s more likely to use far more water and electricity than newer machines will, and that lowers excessive use of water.

What kind of AC system does your facility use? Cooling towers in labs can be wasteful if the settings aren’t adjusted to keep the cycle of concentration as low as possible. If you have a single-pass cooling system where water is passed once through a cycle before being drained and refilled, look into recirculating chilled water systems

If an air conditioner doesn’t need to be running 24/7, set it on a timer to ensure it gets turned off when a lab or office is empty.

Install a Small Water Treatment Plant

As technology advances, it’s getting easy to add a wastewater treatment plant within your hotel, school, or industrial setting. Water that’s used to wash sheets and towels from hotel rooms can be recycled and used over and over, which reduces the amount of water you take from the area’s water district.

Work with a professional in water treatment equipment to find ways to collect your facility’s gray water, screen it, filter it, and reuse it to fill the backs of toilets, water gardens, or reuse in washing machines. Watch reverse osmosis systems carefully as they can use more water than other filtration systems.

Pre-Treat Facility Wastewater to Lessen the Contaminants Going to the Sewers

In some areas, restaurants are not allowed to operate without a grease trap capturing fats, oils, grease (FOG), and food particles before the wastewater goes to sewer pipe outlets. Your facility could invest in a self-contained screening and grit removal unit that treats wastewater to clear out grit, FOG, and other contaminants that can clog pipes. If you invest in this pre-treatment equipment, you lower the risk of unexpected fines, and it helps the wastewater treatment plant avoid back-ups that create pollution and raw sewage releases.

Don’t Use City Water to Water Gardens or Fill Fountains

If your facility has gardens for curb appeal or to grow items like produce and herbs for your commercial kitchen, save rainwater in barrels, cisterns, or manmade ponds and use that. You could direct rainwater to a pond or barrels and use a pump system or gravity to bring the water through hoses to gardens for your watering needs.

Does your landscaping team use sprinklers to keep lawns watered? You lose water to evaporation. Try drip irrigation instead. Or, switch your landscaping to plants that require very little moisture and eliminate the need for watering at all.

Rainwater is also great for refilling water features in or outside your building. If you have a water fountain within your lobby, you can use rainwater to fill it. Add a pool bleach tab if you’re worried about sanitization.

Repair Leaks ASAP

When you notice a leaking toilet, sink, or pipe, have it fixed ASAP. Even a small leak can lead to a lot of wasted water over a week. If one faucet is dripping one drip every second, by the end of the day, more than five gallons of water have been lost. 

As you fix leaks and replace fixtures, switch to low-flow bathroom fixtures and faucets. Low-flow toilets use no more than 1.28 gallons per flush, which is almost one-fifth of the water that older 5-gallon toilets use.

Enlighten Your Employees

As you make changes, make sure your employees are aware. They may have noticed something that you’ve missed or have additional suggestions. You could reward employees who have water conservation tips or ideas.

Often, your employees will see more and experience more than you do as they’re on the factory floor or industrial kitchen each day. You might learn that the water from blanching vegetables for freezing is going down a floor drain, but an employee feels it could be reused. Imagine the water your food processing plant could save if you took that water and used it in another department that makes your company’s packaged stock or bone broth.

While you talk with your employees, it’s a good idea to come up with corporate policies that address water conservation. Having it in writing helps everyone understand their role.

Ask an Expert in Water Treatment For Additional Tips

It’s so important for industrial plants to minimize their plant’s water use. With our tips, you can reduce your water consumption and reduce how much time has to be spent cleaning your industrial wastewater by local treatment plants. The faster water is properly cleaned and returned to watersheds, the better it is for the nation.

Lakeside Equipment has the expertise you need to help you establish a water treatment plant within your facility. Reuse as much water as you can and lower the demand you draw on city resources. Not only will it cut your water bills and protect you from fines for releasing heavily polluted water to the local wastewater treatment facility, but it also helps protect area residents from water shortages. Reach Lakeside Equipment’s sales team to learn more about industrial water treatment options.


Recent Innovations in Water Treatment Technology

There’s a growing problem facing Americans. An estimated 44 million Americans lack adequate water systems with many facing violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act. Add to this the scarcity of water that’s become caused by droughts across the nation. 

California is one of many states where industrial use of the water in aquifers or industrial drilled wells has created problems for the local homeowners relying on their own wells for household water. Even with snow and rain helping boost some reservoirs, supply has to keep up with demand, and that’s not happening.

To get ahead of these issues, water treatment facilities and researchers keep working on finding innovative ways to improve water treatment processes. The more water that gets reused over and over, the less demand there is for the water in lakes, rivers, aquifers, and reservoirs. Water treatment needs to be efficient, affordable, and precise, and that’s where the future is leading us. Check out some of the most recent innovations.

Technologies and Advancements That Are Driving Improvements in Water Treatment

L’Oreal announced that 100% of the water used in its industrial plants will be recycled. That’s a start. But, science and research are equally important in changing the future of water treatment and reuse.

  1. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI is a great way to optimize water treatment processes to save energy and constantly monitor for higher levels of contaminants. If pumps need to be adjusted or things like chlorine need to be increased to ensure the water is clean enough, AI makes it happen. 

This technology can track and adjust flow rates through filtration. AI can also predict adsorption processes all day and night, which removes the risk of human error in the different water treatment steps.

  1. Cellulose Fibers

Purifying water using cellulose powder is one option that’s being studied. Tiny particles of cellulose capture pollutants. So far, studies have found that the pollutants are removed at an 80% removal rate. There is room for improvement, but it’s a start.

  1. Cleaning-in-Place Filters

Reverse osmosis cartridges have been used in plants and homes across the country to help clean water. Once a cartridge has been used up, it has to be disposed of. In some plants, there can be thousands of reverse osmosis cartridge filters, so that’s a lot of trash generation.

A company in Canada came up with a chemical cleaner that cleans cartridge filters so that they can be used again and again. It reduces plastic pollution, lowers plant costs by eliminating the need for downtime while filter cartridges are changed, and lowers the costs of new filters.

  1. Electrodialysis

Researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology have been looking at the use of electricity to shock water clean, similar to the methods used to pasteurize foods. Low-level electric pulses are introduced to contaminated water to help remove pathogens and other contaminants without the need for chemicals. The electric pulses are introduced to a membrane that kills bacteria faster than traditional water treatment processes.

  1. Membrane Filtration

Membrane filtration helps clean water quickly and effectively, and reverse osmosis is one type of membrane filtration that’s seeing improvements. Closed-Circuit Reverse Osmosis (CCRO), Forward Osmosis (FO), Membrane Distillation (MD), and Osmotically Assisted Reverse Osmosis are each worth a closer look.

  • CCRO – Water is recirculated at low pressure, which cuts energy use and requires less membrane filtration materials.
  • FO – Water moves through a semipermeable membrane using osmotic pressure.
  • MD – Water moves through a hydrophobic membrane to separate into two forms – liquid and vapor.
  • OARO – This form of reverse osmosis draws the water from brine, making it an ideal choice for turning ocean water into drinking water.

Membrane filtration can be costly and use a lot of energy. That’s where the company Elateq started when doing its research. Elated’s experts developed a one-step filtration system that uses 90% less energy by using a carbon material and low levels of electricity to clean contaminants like heavy metals, pathogens, and chemicals from water. The company’s patented filtration system is being tested in PepsiCo.

  1. Microbial Biofilm

The use of microbial biofilm is being studied to find ways to clean water without the use of chemicals. Metabolic Network Reactor (MNR) technology taps into the way aquatic plants clean water and establishes a microbial microfilm that mimics how plants’ roots clean the water. The “roots” draw in the contaminants, leaving the clean water behind.

Travelers going through Vermont may have encountered the wastewater treatment plant at the Sharon rest stop. That entire restroom facility uses plants to clean the wastewater from the bathrooms. The plants grow on the wastewater and the cleaned water returns to the toilets for reuse. Microbial biofilm follows the same idea of using the plants’ roots to remove bacteria and other contaminants.

  1. Nanotechnology

Nanoparticles are gaining increased interest when it comes to cleaning PFAs from wastewater. While PFAs are designed to avoid reactions with high temperatures and many chemicals, they’re very hard to clean from wastewater. But, scientists have seen success in removing PFAs with the use of engineered nanoparticles. The nanoparticles are coated with sorbents and draw PFAs to them like magnets.

  1. Reusable PFA Filters

Forever chemicals and PFAs have become a concern in the U.S. Short-term PFAs can be toxic, so their removal from drinking water is important. Filters to remove the PFAs are needed, but the cost to continually replace filters is a concern. Plus, the incineration of the filtration materials that captured the PFAs would just release those PFAs back into the environment.

A team of scientists came up with a bead that filters PFAs, but it can be washed clean for reuse. Filling a cartridge filter with these beads presents the option for a filter that can be used multiple times without decreasing its effectiveness.

  1. Solar (UV) Water Disinfection

Most people who grew up on city water know the smell and taste of the chlorine that’s used to purify water. Times are changing and solar water disinfection is trending. Instead of relying on chemicals, UV light is used to disinfect the water. Some plants pair lower levels of chemicals with UV light that helps the chemicals break down quickly leaving nothing but clean, odor-free water.

  1. Water Recycling

Reusing water is going to be the way of the future. Wastewater treatment plants should look at the benefits of establishing a plant that takes wastewater, cleans it, forwards it to a water treatment plant, and purifies it for household use.

Partner With an Expert to Find Innovations That Fit Your Needs

Lakeside Equipment is nearing 100 years of helping make water clean and safe for people. We’ve been experts in water treatment and wastewater treatment facilities since 1928. Our experts work with you to figure out clean water solutions that match your budget and facility size. Reach us online to find out how you can take steps to embrace water treatment innovation.


Removing Inorganic & Solid Materials From Wastewater

Wastewater is the water and material that travels from a home, business, or factory to sewer lines or septic tanks. It includes a mixture of inorganic, organic, and solid materials. The water from showers, sinks, dishwashers, toilets, and washing machines all become wastewater. It also includes the water used in food and beverage manufacturing and processing, paper mills, and many other industries. 

Some cities and towns have stormwater drains connected to the area sewer systems, known as combined sewer overflows. Combined sewers are not ideal as any heavy rains or melting snow also become part of the wastewater a plant receives for treatment. 

Around 700 combined sewers exist in the U.S. All of these combined sewers have to have plans in place to reduce the release of raw sewage if it floods, as do all sanitary sewer overflows, which are the typical sewer lines and sewer systems found across the U.S.

Before this wastewater is released into a body of water, be it a river, lake, or pond, solid, organic, and inorganic materials must be removed. How is this done?

Understanding the Differences Between Inorganic, Organic, and Solid Materials

Solids are pretty easy to understand. It’s the fecal matter, toilet paper, and items that shouldn’t have been flushed like toys, baby wipes, and plastic wrappers. 

You also have organic and inorganic materials. Organic matter includes living things like bacteria, parasites, fungi, and algae. Inorganic matter includes the minerals, metals, chemicals, and salts that are in urine, industrial wastewater, detergents and cleaning products, and water from washing dishes and cooking.

How Solids, Organics, and Inorganic Materials Are Removed

All organic, inorganic, and solids have to be removed from wastewater, and it usually involves three main treatment steps and the different stages of each one. The steps include:

  1. Primary Treatment

In primary treatment, wastewater moves through screens where solid materials like plastic applicators and bags, sticks, and other trash catch on the screens and is raked into collection bins to be transported to the landfill. In most plants, the wastewater now goes through grit removal, where items like coffee grounds, eggshells, sand, bone chips, and seeds are removed. It’s important to remove grit before it damages equipment through abrasion and settles and clogs pipes. The grit can be transferred to compost piles or landfills.

After grit collection, the wastewater flows into tanks where it is given time to settle. During settling, the heavier waste sinks to the bottom. Lighter materials like fats, oil, and grease (FOG) float to the top. The FOG is skimmed and removed, while solids are pumped from the bottom for sludge treatment. The remaining wastewater moves to secondary treatment stages.

Sludge treatment is a separate process where it is introduced to bacteria to help it decompose. This process produces methane. Some districts have systems set up to capture the methane biogas and use it to generate power or heat the buildings in the wastewater facility. The remaining sludge may be incinerated or disinfected and used as fertilizer. 

  1. Secondary Treatment

Wastewater that isn’t part of sludge or oily scum moves to secondary treatment stages. The next stage of cleaning the wastewater involves bacteria. Any sludge that remains goes from the bottom of the tank back to the beginning of the process to start over.

Some districts use fixed film systems to encourage the growth of bacteria as wastewater flows into secondary treatment steps. Others use suspended growth systems using decomposing bacteria and aeration to help grow bacteria and speed up digestion and decomposition. This is also helpful in reducing the ammonia found in wastewater from urine.

With an aerated system, wastewater moves to aeration tanks where oxygen is added to help aerobic bacteria thrive as they consume the organic materials that remain. Bacteria will remove these particles before their lifecycle ends. At that point, the wastewater is almost clean and heads to the final steps in wastewater treatment.

  1. Tertiary Treatment

Filters may be used to help filter any remaining particulates. Biofiltration is used to filter out some of the particles remaining in the almost-cleaned wastewater. Biofiltration may use sand, charcoal, or coconut fiber filters. Each plant has its preferred biofiltration material.

Often, the levels of nitrogen and phosphorus are still too high to be safely released into area lakes and rivers. If they were released at this stage, they encourage the growth of algae blooms and invasive weeds. For that reason, the water treatment process isn’t done. 

More bacteria are needed to absorb phosphorus and nitrogen. Or, water may be moved into lagoons where plants and zooplankton absorb them over time. 

To kill any remaining pathogens, chemicals like chlorine might be introduced. If they are used, the water has to be exposed to UV lights to dissolve the chemicals to recommend levels before the treated wastewater is released or transported to a water treatment plant to go back to area homes and businesses.

The equipment used and stages followed depend on the district and what the EPA permitted levels allowed in that region. Every wastewater treatment plant has instructions from the EPA setting limits for things like chlorine, E. coli, etc. are allowed. Wastewater treatment plant stakeholders need to make sure the equipment in the plant is capable of performing the job effectively and efficiently. 

Saving money is ideal, but not if the equipment you’re saving money using is failing to do the job required of it. Upgrading equipment for better performance saves money in the long run as you won’t face fines and potential criminal charges.

Tips to Help Produce Cleaner Water

If you read the news, you probably spot articles from time to time where a wastewater district was fined for releasing raw sewage – either knowingly or accidentally. Automation is one of the best tips for getting solids and inorganics from wastewater. When you have automated wastewater treatment equipment, the computer can gauge flow rates and adjust pumps and aerators accordingly. 

This ensures the different steps are handled correctly and lowers power consumption and wear and tear by slowing down pumps when people are using less water in their homes while they’re sleeping or at work. During the busier times of day, such as morning showers or dinner-time chores and preparations, computers will increase pumps as needed.

If something is changing and needs correction, a SharpBNR and PLC instrumentation package helps prevent the release of raw sewage. Paired with SCADA systems and HMI, human error is less likely to happen as alarms are sounded before major problems occur. You have time to react, and options like Variable Frequency Drives and motor starters make adjustments so that your team isn’t rushed to get to the right area of the facility. If you don’t have this technology in place, it’s time to look into it.

Take time to talk to your district’s residents and business owners. The more they know about the problems that impede water treatment steps, the easier it is to do your job. They may not realize that a “flushable” wipe, wrapper, or applicator isn’t truly flushable. Mailers and ads help spread the word.

Lakeside Equipment has close to a century of experience in water treatment technology and equipment. We’re leaders in water quality and are happy to talk to you about your plant’s equipment and design and offer insight into the solutions available to increase efficiency and water quality, all while lowering your maintenance costs and demands. Reach out to us and let us know how we can help.