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The Five Most Difficult Things to Remove From Wastewater and How They Get Removed

More than 14,700 publicly-owned water treatment plants clean the wastewater for homes and businesses in the U.S. despite this, it’s still reported that more than half of the rivers and streams and almost three-quarters of the lakes in the nation have an “impaired” classification from the EPA. Cleaning and treatment water is essential before it returns to bodies of water, but some things are very difficult to remove from wastewater.

#1 – Pharmaceuticals

Between 2012 and 2014, scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey tested the water from 20 wastewater treatment plants. They were looking for 200 prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, and chemicals. The study looked at plants that processed wastewater from residential areas and some that processed water from pharmaceutical companies. The water being treated from pharmaceutical companies contained extremely high quantities of medications, and after treatment, the levels of those medications were still higher than experts feel is appropriate.

In all, more than 30 of the medications they were looking for were found in treated water. One of those drugs is an antidepressant. After water treatment, the levels of the medication still in water was estimated to be 35 times higher than would be the safe dosage for a fish. When that water goes into lakes and streams, it can end up in the fish and aquatic creatures where it may impact their health. For people who eat fish, they may end up ingesting those medications.

# 2 – Hormones

Hormones have been found in wastewater. Estrogen is one of them. In some cases, the estrogen does come from medications, but some are natural forms of estrogen. Hormones from steroids are also found in water. When hormones make it into the water released into water sources, it can affect the development of fish and plants. It’s found that estrogen affects how plants develop flowers and germinate. A study found that exposure to hormones lowered sperm count and testes size of male fish. It impacted the heart health of tadpoles.

#3 – Trihalomethanes

It’s almost impossible to avoid having trihalomethanes (THMs) in the final stage of water treatment. THMs are a byproduct of total organic carbons reacting with the chlorine used to kill any remaining bacteria. It’s believed that exposure to too much THMs can increase the risk of cancer or impact reproductive health.

#4 – Microbeads

Microbeads are tiny plastic pellets commonly found in beauty products. They’re meant to help better exfoliate the skin. You may find them in body washes, toothpaste, and shampoo. Larger plastics that are exposed to sun and environmental forces may also break down plastics into tiny pieces of plastic. As the beads and pieces are so tiny, they often get through the screening aspect of wastewater treatment. If they’re not caught during the water treatment process, they can end back up in bodies of water where fish and other aquatic species ingest them.

The U.S. has taken strides to remove microbeads from products. More work is to be done, however, as scientists believe most Americans eat up to 52,000 microbeads each year. A Google contest got students thinking about the best ways to remove microbeads from wastewater, and it’s led to some great ideas.

#5 – Sodium and Potassium Chloride

When a household is one a well and that well water is hard, a water softener is installed to improve the water quality. That water treatment process often relies on potassium or sodium chloride, which ends up in wastewater treatment plants. Towns and cities that use road salt to treat roads in the winter also use introduce chloride to runoff. If the chloride isn’t removed properly, it can kill the aquatic plants that fish and small aquatic creatures rely on for survival.

While it is possible to remove chloride, it’s not always affordable as it takes upgraded equipment. A Wisconsin wastewater treatment district reports that to remove it all could increase costs by as much as 500%.

Effective Water Treatment Solutions

Wastewater treatment plants that upgrade their equipment to use newer methods of water treatment do have an easier time removing these items from wastewater. Up to 99% of pharmaceuticals are removed when treatment processes include activated carbon filtering, advanced oxidation, nanofiltration, ozonation, or reverse osmosis.

The cleaner the water is before chlorine is added, the lower the risk of developing THMs. They only occur if total organic carbons, which occur naturally when vegetation decays or bacteria grow, mix with chlorine. If you have removed the majority before chlorination, you avoid the development of THMs.

Clarification and filtration systems that remove fine solids. A plant needs to screen out larger particles like rocks and plastics, remove the grit, allow solids to separate and be removed, and aerate the resulting liquid. The second round of settling takes place and the wastewater is filtered. It’s then disinfected.

Lakeside Equipment offers complete water treatment plant packages designed to match your budget and plant size. If you need to upgrade your equipment or purchase parts, we’re also happy to help. You’ll work with a designated engineer throughout your project. Call us to learn more.

What Are the Stages of Wastewater Treatment?

Wastewater treatment plants throughout the United States process close to 34 billion gallons of wastewater each day. This wastewater comes from septic systems, sewers, factories, and storm runoff. As it contains human and animal waste, cleaners, body products, and grit, it has to go through several steps before it’s released back into a local body of water or storage tanks where it’s used to provide water to area homes and businesses.

Why clean it? There are several reasons, but the most important is that wastewater is full of bacteria that can harm you. Nitrogen and phosphorus damage lakes and rivers by increasing the rate at which harmful algae grows. This algae starve lakes of oxygen and lead to fish and other aquatic creatures to die.

Water is not safe to drink or swim in if it contains high levels of bacteria. If it’s used to water vegetables, it could spread diseases like E-coli or salmonella if the produce isn’t washed properly or cooked to kill the bacteria. There’s also the issue of heavy metals like lead and mercury. Mercury gets into the fish people eat, so it’s important to remove it before the water returns to lakes, rivers, and the oceans. Three key steps take place to clean and purify the water before it can be returned.

The First Step

The first stage of a water treatment process is to remove large pieces of waste and debris from the wastewater. Human and animal waste, sticks and stones, and trash are removed using screens and rakes. Screens come in different sizes so that larger material is caught first. The wastewater continues on the way passing through smaller and smaller screen sizes. Eventually, it will pass through a fine screen before it moves to the next process. All of that debris and waste that is caught goes to incinerators, compost, or landfills.

If the wastewater treatment plant is above the ground level, pumps are needed to move the remaining liquid to the next stage. Otherwise, gravity helps the remaining wastewater on its journey. At this point, the wastewater is still a mix of liquids with smaller clumps of fecal matter, sand, coffee grounds, and other finer grit that screens cannot catch.

The Second Step

At this point, one of three methods takes place. The goal is to remove those fine particles and start breaking down the organic materials.

#1 – Aeration

With aeration, the remaining wastewater is mixed the microorganisms that help break down all of the remaining organic materials. The process of decay begins in the aeration tanks. The aeration also helps by forcing grit to the bottom of the grit collection tanks where those fine particles of sand, coffee grounds, etc. can be removed and taken to compost piles or landfills. The liquids or organic sludge are pushed to the top of the bank where it continues the aeration process.

#2 – Biofiltration

Biofiltration is a slow process where the wastewater trickles through contact, sand, or trickling filters to capture sediment. This is not a process you’ll see used often as it’s slow and can only process so much wastewater at a time. Towns that use it are usually only processing small amounts of wastewater each day.

#3 – Oxidation Ponds

Oxidation ponds require heat to work properly, so they’re also not the first choice of most wastewater treatment plants. Wastewater is pumped to ponds where the water naturally breaks down over several weeks with the help of sun and algae. It’s uncommon to see them for treating wastewater in the U.S., but you might notice a farm with a manure pit that goes through the same process before the manure is reused to fertilize farm fields.

In the U.S., aeration is the most common second step in water treatment. It’s effective, efficient, and is capable of managing the amount of wastewater reaching most plants every day.

The Third and Final Step

Before the water is truly clear and safe to return to bodies of water or homes and businesses, it must be filtered to remove any off-color and odors. It’s treated with chemicals to kill any remaining bacteria and goes to tanks where the chlorinated water is exposed to UV to reduce chlorine to safe levels. From there, it’s piped to holding tanks or back into lakes, streams, or other bodies of water.

Save time and money on an inefficient wastewater system. Lakeside Equipment can help you upgrade your equipment for trouble-free operation with equipment that does a great job removing debris and solids automatically. Our goal is to design a system or arrange upgrades that boost your plant’s performance without driving up costs on the residents in your water district. Call us for more information.

3 Energy Efficient Upgrades for Water Treatment Plants

Is it time to upgrade your water treatment plant? The EPA estimates that wastewater treatment plants process close to 34 billion gallons of wastewater each day. That’s more than 12 trillion gallons each year. It’s stunning. Now consider how much it costs to treat that water. When you consider salaries, administration, and operating costs, it can be substantial.

Just to run a wastewater treatment plant, you have the cost of chemicals, the pumps and machinery, and maintenance of that machinery and piping. The more upgrades you make to modern, more energy-efficient technologies, the more you’ll save the people in your district. Some changes are easy to make and don’t cost much. Switch out old lighting fixtures for energy-efficient LED fixtures and bulbs. That will save some money. When it comes to your plant’s equipment, these are the three upgrades you must consider.

New Pumps Reduce Maintenance Costs, Improve Efficiency and Slash Electricity Bills

When was the last time you replaced the pumps and motors in your plant? Older motors and pumps breakdown regularly and are often inefficient. You lose time and money when a pump stops working and has to be repaired. You also end up paying maintenance workers more as they’re spending extra time fixing old, worn-out components.

Screw pumps move a lot of wastewater without a lot of moving parts that wear out and need repair. Lakeside Equipment’s screw pumps offer 70% efficiency, which lowers your power consumption. Plus the capacity is variable and doesn’t need special controls to operate. That cuts the cost when it comes to replacing equipment. If you choose a Type C Pump, it is up to 10% more efficient than an Open Screw Pump.

Anaerobic Digesters That Produce Methane to Help Heat and Power Your Plant

Have you considered heating your water treatment plant as part of your treatment process? The installation of anaerobic digesters do this for you. The digesters produce methane. You can take the methane they produce and burn them in a Combined Heat and Power system that heats your plant and also provides some of the power you’re using to run the facility.

The Closed Loop Reactor (CLR) Process uses pumps to mix, aerate, and recirculate wastewater while Biological Nutrient Removal processes help remove phosphorus and nitrogen. Aeration systems can be costly to run, but with high-efficiency models and automated controls, you can drastically reduce your energy consumption. Plus, you’ll add anaerobic tanks and capture the methane. With the CLR, you’re already minimizing costs because it doesn’t need a lot of babysitting by your employees. It’s also one of the best designs if you want to reduce your plant’s energy usage.

Reduce Power Bills With Fully-Integrated Controls

If you’re looking to boost your plant’s efficiency, you likely have a SCADA system in place. SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) allows you to constantly monitor water quality, view your plant’s security, and allow for emergency shutdowns if alarms go off. Pair SCADA with fully-integrated process controls. You’ll be able to study all areas of the wastewater treatment plant and see what equipment is stopped, where the nitrogen levels are, and what percentages aeration is at. From one computer, you can adjust things as needed to boost efficiency, which reduces energy costs and increases your plant’s performance.

Changes Do Cost Money, But Savings Make Up For It

One thing that keeps wastewater treatment plant owners from making upgrades is the initial cost of the equipment and its installation. There is going to be an upfront cost that can seem high. However, you need to look at the savings. For many of these upgrades, the money you save being energy-efficient ends up paying for equipment over a year or two. The upgrades pay for themselves. Energy-efficiency loans and grants may help you pay for the upgrades. For a wastewater treatment plant in Idaho, savings after making energy-efficient equipment upgrades came to around $635,000 per year. The company got a low-interest loan to make the upgrades that included LED lighting fixtures, anaerobic digesters, new diffusers, blowers, and a dissolved oxygen control system.

Lakeside Equipment has close to a century of experience in wastewater treatment equipment. We pride ourselves in improving the quality of water throughout the world while keeping to a customer’s budget. We offer the highest quality water treatment equipment in the industry and exceptional customer service when it comes to upgrades and replacement parts. Give us a call. We’re happy to discuss these and other energy-efficient upgrades that will save your wastewater treatment plant money.

How Often Should Wastewater Treatment Plans Be Updated?

Changes to the Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1972 led to the Clean Water Act we know today. Every few years, new rules or amendments continue to improve water quality across the nation. We’ve seen amendments in 1977 and 1978, 1984 and 1985, 1987, 1990, 1993 and 1994, right up to the Phase II Store Water Rule and Confined Animal Feeding Operation Rule in 1999 and 2002.

If you’re only updating your wastewater treatment plan when amendments are added or altered, you’re doing your plant and residential customers a disservice. You should always be looking at ways to be more efficient and more effective. With some areas experiencing lengthy droughts and increased water usage, we all need to do more to reuse wastewater. That’s just one area to focus your attention on.

Problems Wastewater Treatment Plants Face

The population keeps growing. With those changes, the EPA points out some of the biggest problems wastewater treatments face. All of them need to be addressed. You may not need to take care of them now, but you shouldn’t be caught by surprise if any of these common issues occur. By planning for them in advance, you’re able to arrange the improvements before it’s an emergency.

#1 – Wastewater treatment plants in many corners of the U.S. are aging. If you haven’t updated your equipment, you’re wasting money on repairs and paying more in electricity because the older wastewater equipment uses more energy than newer models.

#2 – Expanding populations may be taxing your system. St. George, Utah, has seen its population expand by close to 6.7 times over the past four decades. The Virgin River watershed is the area’s largest source of water. Officials are looking at building a 140-mile pipeline from Lake Powell to St. George. They’re planning in advance of a crisis. This is what you should be thinking about when you’re looking over your water treatment plan.

#3 – The range of contaminants getting into wastewater has changed over the decades. The increase in population also impacts this. People are building more homes in the country that require septic systems as sewer systems don’t tend to expand past the cities and suburbs. Homes on septic systems have high rates of nitrogen and phosphorus in their septic system’s fluids and solids. Older water treatment plants may not remove as much as a newer system. The elevated levels of nitrogen and phosphorus make their way into waterways where it causes algal blooms to flourish. Prescription medication usage and household cleaners also make their way into the wastewater.

#4 – Farms are on a decline in some areas. In areas where farming is still a major industry, the runoff of fertilizers and manure adds to pollution. That runoff can make its way into streams and rivers without being treated. Communities are working at changing that as the pollution shows up in lakes and other water sources. When those bodies of water are part of a municipal water system, water treatment plants have to make sure the water they treat meets quality standards. That can be harder when they’re dealing with chemical fertilizers and animal manure.

Upgrades That Pay For Themselves

Wastewater treatment plants can power the equipment using nature. Solar and wind power are two ways to power the machinery used in a plant without driving up larger electricity bills. A wastewater treatment plant in Massachusetts added a fixed-array solar system to provide power to some of the town’s water treatment plant. Since that addition, the monthly utility bill has dropped by approximately 50%. The company is able to clean water and keep costs down for the area’s taxpayers. It’s a win-win for both sides.

Newer equipment can be easier to maintain. Today’s screw pumps are designed to lower your operating costs and cut maintenance costs. Grit washers that keep the bearings above the water leave don’t require as much in maintenance costs. This keeps your costs down. Corrosion-resistant stainless steel helps your equipment last longer, which also cuts equipment costs. Are you worried about the expense of constructing a new system? A Raptor Complete Plant is pre-assembled to save time and money when upgrading your equipment.

How often you upgrade your water treatment plan does require a little thought. A system that was built to handle the expanding population may not need upgrades as often as a small-town system that’s older and at max capacity. Lakeside Equipment is happy to discuss your current system and the improvements that are cost-effective and energy-efficient.

Since 1928, Lakeside Equipment has been helping our customers create water treatment systems that are both efficient and cost-effective. Lakeside is committed to planning and installing quality systems that benefit the public and the companies that work hard to keep the water clean. Give us a call to discuss how you can upgrade your system so that the improvements pay for themselves.

Municipal Wastewater Treatment Tips

A municipal wastewater treatment facility must meet regulations. The problem is those regulations change. If your plant’s equipment is failing to meet the changing regulations, you face fines and penalties. If you’re just starting out, those same regulations apply to your new water treatment plant.

The goal of wastewater treatment is to remove pollutants and contaminants from sewer/septic water and run-off. Animal waste, chemical cleaners, pharmaceuticals, and pathogens like cholera are all examples of these contaminants and pollutants. In order to keep streams, rivers, lakes, and oceans clean for swimming and fishing, water must be cleaned, treated, and returned to homes or the environment. Before the water is returned, it must meet tests to ensure it’s free of minerals and heavy metals like arsenic, lead, and mercury. These guidelines are set by the government.

How do you meet the demands of the municipality you’re serving and keep up with the changing regulations? These municipal wastewater treatment tips help you prioritize the importance of the right wastewater treatment system.

Recycling Water is Important to the Planet’s Future

The EPA estimates a person uses 80 to 100 gallons of water each day. Agricultural use raises this even higher. The USGS estimates 322 billion gallons are used each day in all. Residential use is around 39 billion gallons per day.

The importance of recycling wastewater has been shown around the world as water sources dry up. Lake Mead is a good example. The lake provides water to the majority of homes in Southern Nevada. The lake level has decreased drastically over the years. When full, the lake is just under 1,230 feet. In recent years, the lake has reached a high of 1,090 feet. Recycled water could lower the demand for these water sources. Instead of drawing from lakes and rivers, water treatment plants could turn wastewater into clean drinking water to return to public water sources.

Maintenance is a Must

Juneau, Alaska, learned about inadequate wastewater systems back in 2000 when the EPA sued the city for $60,000 and talked about criminal charges for allowing raw sewage to be discharged into local waterways. Some of the wastewater was backing up into homes. Public Works found that a lack of maintenance was to blame. Preventative maintenance and timely repairs would have prevented this lawsuit.

You should not wait until a part fails before you take steps to repair it. Scheduled maintenance keeps equipment running. It also lets you know when upgrades or repairs are essential to ensure you’re meeting regulations. In Juneau’s case, the fecal coliform counts in the water released to the waterways was 437,000 percent higher than the EPA allows.

Consider Future Residential Growth

Juneau’s system can handle 35,000 residents, but it’s expected that the population will exceed the current systems in 15 years or so. A new plant would be expensive to build. The city estimates that connections to a new location could cost as much as $30,000 per lot and around $1,000 per meter of necessary piping. Landowners currently pay $5,000 per lot. The city would need to get grant money and loans to offset the cost to homeowners.

Water treatment plants need to consider future growth. If your system is able to handle the wastewater from 25,000 residents now, what happens if there is a population boom 5, 10, or 20 years from now. You’ll be forced to expand, whether you have the money available or not. If you look to the future from the start, you’re able to buy time until the expansion is needed. You also avoid costly fines from the EPA.

Upgrades That Boost Efficiency Are Worth the Expense

Don’t avoid upgrading your wastewater treatment equipment due to the cost. As one water precinct learned, upgrades ended up paying for themselves in little time. Adding solar panels or wind turbines to power their equipment saved them money. Variable-frequency drives also added extra savings bringing the total yearly savings to around $80,000 with just a few upgrades.

A water treatment plant’s biggest expense is power. Get equipment that uses less electricity than your current equipment. Energy-efficient motors, variable-frequency drives, and switching to LED lighting makes a difference. Choose aerators that use less horsepower while being just as effective. Running motors more during the night when electricity rates are reduced also lowers operating costs.

If you’re new or building a new plant, you’re probably already getting energy-efficient wastewater treatment equipment. You’ll still lower your operating costs by looking at renewable energy sources like solar and wind power for some of the electricity your facility consumes.

Talk to Lakeside Equipment about these and other tips to help your municipal wastewater treatment plant work efficiently and effectively. We offer a wide range of wastewater treatment equipment and parts to ensure you stay within your budget while improving your system. Give us a call at (630) 837-5640.

5 New Innovations In Water Treatment Technology

Water treatment technology has come a long way. New Jersey’s Jersey City started everything by being the nation’s first city to regularly treating water for the community’s residents. That was 1908. Within 10 years, thousands of other communities followed suit and helped lower the rates of disease and infection linked to contaminated water.

At the time, cholera and typhoid fever were two of the most common diseases spread through contaminated water. By 1920, less than 20 years from the nation’s first water treatment system, the number of cases declined from 0.001% of the population to approximately 0.00034%. Advancements in water treatment continue to help eliminate these diseases. In 2006, the number of cases was minuscule at 0.000001%.

Today’s focus isn’t all on quality. Today’s water treatment advancements focus on everything from energy efficiency to recycling wastewater. Here are five innovations in water technology you need to know about.

Solar-Powered Water Treatment

The reliance on electricity has been a concern for water treatment. If a power grid is knocked out for days following a catastrophic event or storm, it can severely impact water treatment plants. The loss of pressure can allow contaminants to get into groundwater. If a pump shuts down, untreated sewage could get into nearby streams, rivers, and lakes.

Zero-emissions is another focus. Cleaner air is important for the world. The more people embrace green practices, the less impact these processes have on the environment. There’s also the cost of running a plant. Water treatment is paid for through water bills. Homeowners may struggle with increasing bills. Keeping costs low for the community is important.

One of the ways companies are working around this is by tapping into the sun’s energy. An Arizona water treatment plant installed close to 23,000 solar panels to produce the bulk of the energy needed to operate the plant. By switching to solar power, the plant expects to save more than $1.6 million.

The Sun Can Also Help Process Hydrogen

Hydrogen is used in everything from the fertilizer that farms use to plastics manufacturing. Princeton University came up with a way to draw hydrogen from wastewater using the power of the sun. By creating a silicon processing chamber, bacteria and sun work together to force the water to split. The hydrogen bubbles to the top where it can be collected and used in industrial settings. The water continues on its way through the water treatment plant.

Turning Algae Into Biofuel

Gas-powered cars are the norm. Many heating systems rely on propane and kerosene. Researchers have been working hard to find alternatives to gas. Researchers are looking at algae as an option. With an algae water treatment plant, it can double as a biofuel plant.

Some wastewater treatment plants use algae to process some of the waste. After the effluent is treated, you have algae left over. That algae can be converted into biofuel. Algae used for treating water also helps lower electricity use. A Cal Poly study compared a nutrient-removal system to an algae system and the cost dropped from around $950,000 per year to $300,000.

Membrane Water Treatment

A water treatment plant in Singapore is testing out technology designed to reduce liquid waste by more than 90%. A fiber membrane filter allows water to pass through the filter at speeds that are 30% faster than current filtration systems. The metals in the wastewater the filter processes go into a concentrated liquid that can be reused in other industries. It’s believed the energy savings will be five times less at a membrane filtration plant.

Improved Stormwater Management

In the country, heavy rainfall puddles on the ground and eventually works its way through the soil where it’s filtered. In a city, that heavy rainfall rushes to the sewers where it can overload a water treatment plant. It may back up and cause flooding that causes erosion.

Stormwater management techniques are being developed to help prevent this. Some of the methods being used are to have water from rooftops go into gutters that connect to rain barrels. Those rain barrels can be used to water gardens. Rain gardens are popping up on the sides of city streets to collect runoff. It adds greenery to city streets, which also boosts oxygen going into the environment. This all lowers the rush of water going to water treatment plants or running into streams and lakes where the polluted water enters the water source without first being treated.

Lakeside Equipment understands the advancements the water treatment industry has seen. Founded in 1928, we’ve helped customers around the world create clean water for people in a cost-effective manner. We pride ourselves on quality systems that match your budget. Call us for more information.

Does Wastewater Become Drinking Water?

Have you ever thought of what happens to the water that gets flushed down the toilet, the rainwater that goes into sewers, or water that’s washed clothing and dishes? Every day in the U.S., the average person uses as much as 100 gallons of water. Flushing toilets and taking showers and baths are two of the biggest culprits.

All of that wastewater that’s being flushed or drained into septic tanks or sewers can be recycled. People aren’t often comfortable with that idea. They can’t imagine taking toilet water and recycling it into clean drinking water. In fact, a questionnaire found that almost half of those surveyed said they would be willing to try recycled wastewater. Just over 1 in 10 said there was absolutely no way they’d drink it. Would you? It might be the only way to prevent water shortages.

Why Do Countries Need to Start Recycling Waste Water?

Throughout the world, there are countries struggling to meet the public’s demand for water. Water scarcity occurs due to the climate and/or failing infrastructure. According to the United Nation, more than 2 billion people already live in a country that is dealing with water scarcity.

Chennai, India, gained a lot of attention in 2019 when Chembarambakkam Lake, one of the city’s largest water reservoirs dried up despite receiving 30 inches of rain in 2018. The lack of water is affecting businesses and close to 10 million residents. Emergency trucks and trains can’t bring in the water fast enough to keep up with demand.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations finds that 96% of the world’s water use comes from bodies of fresh water, such as ponds, lakes, and rivers. As the climate changes and water sources dry up, it could be disastrous. Turning wastewater into drinking water is not only possible, but it’s also one of the best ways to keep cities and towns from running out of water.

How Does Wastewater Become Drinking Water?

Water arrives at a wastewater treatment plant where solids and large particles are filtered. Those solids are removed and composted, sent to a landfill, or incinerated. Grit removal is next. Small stones, sand, and other smaller particles sink into a chamber where they are removed. The remaining water flows to the next stage.

This removes some of the waste from the water, but it can’t remove it all. The secondary treatment stages start. This process involves making the most of the bacteria and oxygenating the wastewater. Bacteria help consume smaller particles that have made it through to this stage. The bacteria do their job before the water is filtered through very fine filter systems. Chlorine is added to the resulting water to kill bacteria and the odor that remains. Chlorine kills about 99% of the bacteria that remain in the water. The chlorine has to be removed and then water is ready for the next step.

This clean water needs to be processed for human consumption. Dechlorination is the next step. It’s a process used to remove excess chlorine and may use exposure to ultraviolet lighting. Some water treatment plants use reverse osmosis, which uses pressure to force the water through filters. These filters remove additional bacteria, remnants of prescription medications that are still present in the water, and any viruses that have made it through. Additional chemicals are used and then UV lighting helps remove those chemicals.

Once this is complete, the water is sent to natural water supplies. It mixes with these natural water supplies, is filtered again, and makes its way back to homes and businesses through the water lines and pipes. By the time it reaches homes, people would have a hard time believing the crystal clear water came from a wastewater treatment plant.

California’s Already Doing It

California’s Orange Country residents have already embraced recycled water. When one of the county’s reservoirs reached critical lows after years of drought conditions, the Orange County Water District took action. The plant cleans and returns up to 100 million gallons of wastewater each day and returns it to the public water system. The treated wastewater is mixed with the main water supply and reaches hundreds of thousands of people.

The right equipment is needed through each of these stages of water treatment and purification. Founded in 1928, Lakeside Equipment helps companies and cities around the world plan and implement water treatment systems that deliver results while also being an economical solution. The equipment is designed to last and help with energy costs at the same time. Call 1-630-837-5640 to discuss upgrading your current water treatment system to be cost-effective while delivering clean, recycled wastewater to area homes and businesses.

Is Wastewater Treatment Energy Efficient & Sustainable?

Since the Clean Water Act’s existence, improvements continue to be made both to improve water quality and reduce energy consumption. Since 1972, the U.S. government has provided $104 billion towards the Clean Water Act. However, it’s estimated that another $271 billion will be needed by 2038 to keep meeting the Clean Water Act’s goals. Some of those goals are:

  • Improve energy-efficiency in water treatment plants
  • Improve the reuse and recycling of stormwater and wastewater throughout the U.S.
  • Improve security at treatment plants to protect our public water systems

The energy consumed by a water treatment plant depends on several factors. One of the biggest is how deep the water source is. The deeper the aquifer, the more energy is used to pump it out. The farther the water source is from the consumers and businesses, the more energy is used pumping water to those buildings. While a company may not be able to control these factors, the right equipment can help lower costs.

What Will Help Improve Sustainability?

How do you make sure your plans are also sustainable? Water treatment is only one part of getting clean water to people. You’ve seen stories of communities put on water restrictions because water supplies are drying up during a drought. There’s also the issue of repairs to the infrastructure costing more than cities and towns have available. To be sustainable, governments need to focus on reusing stormwater and wastewater. To do that and be energy-efficient, careful attention to equipment and processes is needed.

How Can You Improve Energy-Efficiency at a Water Treatment Plant?

The EPA has a good breakdown of where the most energy is used in a water treatment plant. Getting water from a source to a water treatment plant takes as much as 14,000 kWh per million gallons. Treating the water takes as much as 16,000 kWh per million gallons and distributing it to consumers and businesses add another 700 to 1,200 kWh per million gallons.

Newer energy-efficiency equipment is one of the steps to improving energy consumption. These are some of the things you can consider when looking into plant improvements.

#1 – Pumps

When it comes to screw pumps, there are two types. Open screw pumps sit in concrete or steel troughs and can be set at an angle of 22 to 40 degrees. The screw turns and pushes water along the trough to the desired location. With the open screw pumps at Lakeside Equipment, the pumping capacity varies and delivers 70 to 75% efficiency.

The other type of pump is an enclosed screw pump. The screw pump sits within a tube and can incline up to 45 degrees for Type C or 22 to 40 degrees for Type S. While Type S costs less to maintain or repair, Type C is up to 10 percent more efficient than an open screw pump. Type C is a good choice for a water treatment plant that is focused on efficiency.

#2 – Screening Systems

Screening systems remove solids and scum as water is being processed. Grit and rock removal systems can be part of a screening system, too. By screening solids, sludge, scum, and other items from the water, you reduce clogs and wear and tear on equipment. It aids the cleaning process and helps keep maintenance and operating costs lower. It also helps reduce the amount of waste being disposed of, which is better for the environment.

#3 – Aerators

Aerators increase the oxygen levels in the water that’s being treated and keep sludge and scum from settling during the treatment stages. This improves efficiency during the biological treatment stages and reduces power consumption.

#4 – SCADA

Another energy-efficient step companies can take is to install SCADA software. This software can pinpoint issues within a water treatment plant, but it also monitors the water flow and adjusts the pump rate to ensure a plant is getting the highest level of efficiency at all hours of the day. If energy consumption spikes, workers are alerted and can immediately find out what’s going on and fix the issue before a lot of energy is wasted.

#5 – Other Changes

Some changes that help improve energy-efficiency are smaller. Installing energy-efficient lighting systems will reduce a water treatment plant’s carbon footprint. Adding solar panels or wind turbines to help produce energy a water treatment plant uses. Checking and repairing leaks in a water system is also important.

Lakeside Equipment helps companies plan cost-effective water treatment plants that don’t require a lot of maintenance. Our team of engineers helps you build a system that meets your energy goals, doesn’t take more space than is necessary, and improves sustainability. Talk to us about upgrading your equipment or coming up with a trouble-free, high-performing water treatment plan. We’re happy to help you achieve your goals.

Wastewater Treatment Security – How Our Water Is Protected & Monitored

The U.S. has close to 170,000 public water systems and publicly-owned wastewater treatment plants. Over 80% of the U.S. population gets their water from these systems. Wastewater treatment security is essential to making sure U.S. households receive clean, safe water and have a place for sewerage to go.

The Water and Wastewater Systems Sector, a division of Homeland Security, covers a lot of ground. It protects against attacks with deadly chemicals and other contaminants. It protects computer systems within a wastewater treatment plant or public water system from cyberattacks. It keeps people from maliciously releasing harmful chemicals into clean water holding tanks.

You also have the EPA enforcing the rules in the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act. These rules keep corporations from releasing large quantities of oils, grease, and other pollutants into water treatment plants. They also enforce rules regarding the discharge of stormwater into waterways.

Federal, State, and Local Agencies Work Together

Multiple agencies work together to ensure security and safety when it comes to public water and water treatment. Each agency may start out with a specific goal, but they work together to ensure standards for security are met. In addition, they work with local law enforcement and personnel at water treatment plants. Several goals are implemented to heighten security and safety.

The first goal is to make sure that cybersecurity and physical security are both implemented in a water treatment plant. The EPA and Waster and Wastewater Sector teams look at possible hazards and issues and come up with recommendations for changing them. State and federal water standards are also set and national labs do the testing to make sure water meets safety requirements. With these measures in place, the focus turns to maintaining a water treatment plant’s security and safety.

Security is only part of a plan to protect our water. The Clean Water Act Action Plan is handled by the EPA. It focuses on preventing pollution from getting into waterways by managing farm runoff, working on prevention of sewer overflows, managing stormwater runoff in urban areas, managing construction site pollution, and preventing contaminated water from industrial factories from creating problems.

The public can access this information through the EPA’s State Water Dashboard. They can find out if their local water system is in compliance or has issues. They can bring up what water treatment plant or facility didn’t comply and what the issues were.

Testing to Ensure Drinking Water is Safe

The Clean Water Act dates back to 1948. It regulates the quality of U.S. surface water and water that’s piped to homes on that water system. There are limits on more than 90 contaminants that are found in drinking water. Water treatment plants have to test for these contaminants that range from bacterial infections to organic chemicals. If they’re found, the public must be notified and the issue must be investigated and corrected.

Federal laws require public water to be tested. How frequently this is done depends on the size of the system. Some water treatment plants are set up to have the water quality monitored remotely through SCADA technology. Remote monitoring is capable of returning this data every hour. Others test the water quality once a month, ponce per quality, or once a year.

Water Treatment Plants and Federal Agencies Rely on Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA)

SCADA helps users collect information from different components and sensors. In a water treatment plant, a SCADA system is getting information from pumps, valves, and other water treatment equipment. This information can be collected from a remote location, which increases the risk of cyberattack, but it also helps plant managers understand if there are issues. With security protocol in place, such as keeping the system off a DSL connection, there’s less risk of a breach. Strong passwords, firewalls, virus and malware protection, and VPN connections also help.

One of the biggest benefits of SCADA is that a system can be set up with sensors that measure the water’s chlorine levels, pH, and turbidity. This information is constantly available, which helps water treatment plant personnel control quality and make changes if anything is wrong.

Lakeside Equipment can help water treatment plants improve performance and cut costs. With an automated process control system, energy efficiency is achieved. Paired with SCADA systems, security and quality can be monitored around the clock. SCADA systems can monitor chemical levels, check for leaks or problems with machinery, and send alerts if there are issues.

Talk to Lakeside Equipment about the Sharp Biological Nutrient Removal process control system. We’re happy to help you upgrade your equipment while also keeping your budget in mind. Call 1-630-837-5640 to learn more about Sharp BNR.

Building a Sustainable Water Future – 3 Trends to Watch

Chennai, a capital city on India’s Bay of Bengal, went a full 200 days without any rainfall. This is worrisome news for a city that is home to a third of the country’s automotive industry and a major player in India’s film industry. The city’s water reservoirs have dipped to the point that they only hold 1% of their capacity.

Water is being trucked in, and it can take a full month for a water tanker to arrive. The flow of water to homes in the city is at just 10% of what it used to be. Workers and school children are asked to bring their own water to work or school. The fear of going completely dry is a daily worry for people in and around this city.

Lack of rainfall is only part of the city’s issue. Mismanagement of the water sources and lack of foresight are also to blame. The city didn’t do what it should have to build a sustainable water future. Everyone should be focusing on this issue, but some take having clean water for granted. It’s time to look at building a sustainable water future, and these are the trends people should be watching.

Infrastructure Improvements

One area that’s lacking in some cities is updated infrastructure. Underground water pipes across the country are springing leaks. This water ends up going into the ground and never making it to homes and businesses. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) shares a few facts that make it clear that infrastructure must be a priority.

The U.S. has 1 million miles of pipes that deliver clean water to homes and businesses. Many of these pipes were installed between 1900 to 1950 and were only intended to last 75 to 100 years. As the infrastructure degrades, it’s estimated that there are 240,000 water main breaks each year. How much water is being lost in those costly breaks? The ASCE’s estimates are more than 2 trillion gallons.

In addition to replacing worn pipes and water mains, water treatment plants need to make sure their equipment is in good working order. Over time, grit can wear down the pumps and valves round in water treatment equipment. It can build up in tanks and water channels and cause additional issues. Upgrading equipment before it fails completely helps ensure people have access to clean water.

Smart Technology

Smart technology is helping homeowners manage their homes from a remote location. That same technology is being used in water treatment and public water systems. With smart technology, municipalities can monitor their infrastructure for leaks and catch them early. They can monitor the pressure and workflow. The goal is to lower costs by finding problems before they become excessively expensive.

When water systems are managed using smart technology, it enables water districts to monitor consumers’ water usages with the supply of water flowing. This has the power to reduce operating costs, and the savings can be used to help pay for other aspects like repairs to infrastructure. Some cities are also starting to cut costs pairing smart technology with alternative energy sources like solar-powered water pumps, which helps increase the overall costs of supplying water to residents and businesses in that district.

Wastewater Reuse

Reusing water has been an effort across the country. It’s one of the best ways to make sure rivers, streams, ponds, and lakes don’t run dry. As a household or business uses water, it’s sent back to the water treatment plant to be cleaned, chemically treated to remove bacteria, and returned to water sources or storage systems to repeat the cycle.

Major companies are starting to invest in this trend. For example, Intel Corporation, a name you wouldn’t associate with water treatment, invested $25 million in it’s Oregon manufacturing plant. The water it uses to manufacture microchips will be treated in an on-site water plant and returned to the community.

Breweries are also jumping on this trend. A lot of water is used to make beer. Not only is it a main ingredient, but it’s used to rinse grains and wash equipment after the beer is made. Vermont’s Alchemist Brewery worked with experts to create wastewater practices that would reduce the strain they were putting on the town’s wastewater treatment plant.

Lakeside Equipment can help you boost your water treatment plant’s performance using these and other trends. We create designs that are specific to your budget and needs while also focusing on efficiency and quality. We also have replacement parts if your current system needs repairs. Talk to our experts to discuss how we can help.