How COVID-19 Will Impact Wastewater Treatment

Every corner of the country has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Across the nation, there have been more than 5.75 million cases of COVID-19 and more than 177,700 deaths. It’s alarming to think of how fast this virus has spread during 2020. One area people don’t think about is the impact of COVID-19 on wastewater treatment.

While it might not be something you stop to consider, COVID-19 has impacted the wastewater treatment industry, too. It’s affected wastewater treatment in several ways ranging from increased residential wastewater to clogged pipes and equipment. There’s also the fact that the body does shed the virus through the waste that ends up in the wastewater traveling through sewer lines and into residential septic systems.

The CDC and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have started a surveillance program to track the levels of COVID-19 in wastewater. While no one has found evidence of the virus spreading through wastewater (treated or untreated), the virus is present in the feces of those who have the virus. By studying patterns, experts know where they should be looking for COVID-19 clusters and making testing available.

The other reason it’s important for wastewater treatment plants to test for COVID-19 is to keep workers safe. Employees who work in wastewater treatment plans should take protective measures with personal protective equipment and safe practices at work. Doing so can eliminate the risk of contamination from untreated wastewater.

Problems With Clogged Lines and Equipment

One of the problems wastewater treatment plants are facing with the pandemic has been trash in the sewer lines. Around the nation, wastewater treatment plants are facing issues from a large increase in protective gloves, masks, and disinfecting wipes making their way into sewer lines and wastewater treatment plants. People are flushing these items instead of disposing of them in the trash as they should.

Most toilet papers disintegrate in water. It usually takes no more than 24 hours. Wet wipes don’t break down as quickly. They may flush and make it through toilet pipes, but as they travel through the sewer, they can catch on tree roots, curves, and other items and collect other items. Soon, there’s a huge blockage of fat, feces, napkins, tampons, and wipes that isn’t breaking down. It slows down the wastewater’s flow and can lead to sewer backups and spills.

As the pandemic started, toilet paper stocks decreased. Soon, toilet paper shortages were affecting everyone. People were turning to baby wipes, makeup removers, and any other moist wipe they could use in place of toilet paper. Napkins and paper towels were other items people were using in place of toilet paper. Rather than throw them into the trash, as they needed to, they were flushing them. These items do not break down quickly. They were causing clogs in sewer lines and water treatment equipment.

Latex or non-latex gloves and disposable masks were other items getting flushed. Again, they don’t degrade in water, so they were clogging lines. In Washington, a bill was signed making it illegal to flush non-flushable wipes starting on July 1, 2022. In Tennessee, one town’s sewer workers started cleaning sewer pumping stations twice a week instead of once a month. An Air Force base in California has crews working 16-hour shifts to remove clogs from pipes. In Maryland, one wastewater pumping station saw an increase of more than 37,000 pounds of wipes during the first quarter of 2020.

All of this is costing cities and towns a fortune in additional hours and repairs. People need to remember to only flush toilet paper and human waste. Despite the pleas from one side of the nation to the other, people keep flushing things that cause harm. That’s one of the biggest ways the pandemic has impacted wastewater treatment. Grinder pumps and screens are essential to handling all this increased trash, but not every district has the money available to install them.

Increased Wastewater Flow in Residential Areas

With more people working from home, residential water consumption has also increased. A water monitoring company studied water usage and found it increased by about 21% per day. Some cities saw higher increases. For example, New York City’s residential water consumption increased by 28%. In Minnesota, the increase was 25%. People working from home are doing more laundry, using the toilet more, washing more dishes, and taking more showers. People are also washing hands more as is recommended by the CDC.

This increase in water usage means wastewater treatment plants are treating an increase in water. Water treatment plants that treat a lot of water from commercial industries may see decreases, but water treatment plants serving mostly residential structures are facing large increases that older equipment may not be able to handle.

Another change with water usage is when peak water usage is happening. It used to be that most families showered and ate breakfast in time to catch buses/trains and commute to work or school. Families had to have kids ready to get on the bus for the early morning pick-up. Commuters had to be out of the home early to beat rush hour traffic. Wastewater treatment plants expected the highest water flow around 7 a.m. and again around dinner time or 6 p.m.

Without the rush to commute or get to a bus or train, people shifted their morning routines an hour or two later than normal. Peak water usage is now around 9 a.m. instead of 7 a.m. Water treatment plants expect changing flow rates throughout the day and may use computers to speed up or slow down equipment accordingly. Not every plant is set up this way, however. Changes in flow rates at unexpected hours can cause problems. If treatment plants have flow rates that are higher than anticipated, they may have to ask residents to avoid running appliances during certain hours to reduce the strain on older equipment that cannot keep up.

Does Water Treatment Kill Coronavirus?

People who get their residential and commercial water from treated water do not have to worry about the virus still being present. Wastewater treatment processes kill viruses and bacteria. After filtering wastewater, aerating it, and using chemicals to kill any residual contaminants, water that’s returned to bodies of water or put into storage tanks for public water systems. No evidence of COVID-19 surviving water treatment has been found.

What if untreated wastewater makes it into lakes or streams after heavy rains? There is the chance that COVID-19 will be in untreated water, but there has not been any known case of the virus spreading through wastewater spills. Wastewater treatment plants should do everything possible to prevent untreated wastewater spills by making sure their system can handle an increased capacity and repair broken equipment and lines.

Can steps be taken to eliminate the chances of COVID-19 untreated wastewater from returning to the environment? How can plants anticipate changes in peak water flow? What can be done to stop people from flushing their gloves, masks, and wet wipes? Upgrading equipment is key. Older infrastructure needs to be improved to reduce energy consumption and keep up with changes in wastewater flow rates and screening.

Lakeside Equipment is here for districts that need to repair their equipment due to damage from items that shouldn’t be flushed. We can also help districts upgrade equipment to be more energy-efficient or handle an increase in residential wastewater as people are working from home and cooking more meals at home. Reach us by phone or email for more information on a new wastewater treatment system or to discuss upgrades that will save your district money.

What Is a Positive Displacement Pump?

It came out in May that the worldwide market for positive displacement pumps is forecasted to reach $11.25 billion in the next seven years. That’s almost double the market’s value in 2019. Why are these pumps high in demand? What’s driving the increased need for this specific type of pump? There are several factors.

It helps to understand what positive displacement pumps are used for. They remove liquids from discharge pipes. They’re useful in many industries including wastewater, food and beverage, oil and gas, mining, etc. If you have liquid or fluid matter that needs to be moved from Point A to Point B, a positive displacement pump is your answer. Take a closer look at how these pumps help in these industries, what you should look for, and how they work.

A Guide to How Positive Displacement Pumps Work

Pumps move liquids or fluid materials from one area to another. There are axial-flow pumps fluids in one direction. Liquids come in passes through an impeller and travel out the other end. A centrifugal pump changes the flow by using a motor and impeller to create energy that pushes fluids along. The final option is a positive displacement pump that captures an amount of fluid and forces it into the discharge pipe. The benefit is the pump handles a constant volume even if the pressure changes.

These pumps are categorized by their mechanisms:

  1. Linear-type: Chain or rope pumps
  2. Reciprocating-type: Diaphragm, piston, plunger, or radial piston pumps
  3. Rotary-type: Gear, hollow disk, rotary vane, screw, or vibratory pumps

A linear-type of positive displacement pump uses a chain or rope and some form of a plate or even bucket to displace liquids. Go back in time to an ox-powered water wheel. Oxen were tethered to the big wheel and walked in circles. That motion moved the wheel, which moved the chain or rope along a pulley or up and down a drilled or dug well to collect water from deep within the well. Back up at the surface, the motion at the top of the pulley system dumped the water into a discharge chute while the buckets made a new path. Today, they’re more likely to have a chain and disc system that fits within a tube or pipe. As the discs are pulled up through the tube or pipe, water is trapped and is drawn upward.

Next up is a reciprocating type. How it works depends on the type. Think of the old-fashioned well pump. People pumped the handle and each upward pull of that handle drew water up to the discharge pipe. There’s also a piston pump that also uses the upward pull or downward thrust to move liquids. A diaphragm pump is the other type of reciprocating pump. An air bladder (diaphragm) moves up to decrease pressure or down to increase pressure. If you have a private well, you have a pressure tank that helps water flow from the well to the different water lines within the home.

The final main type of positive displacement pumps is the rotary type. There are five types of rotary positive replacement pumps: gear, hollow disk, rotary vane, screw, or vibratory. Screw pumps are one of the types of pumps you’ll encounter a lot in water treatment plants, which makes them one of the more familiar types. You can have an open or enclosed screw pump. They work by having a giant screw within a closed or open chute or pipe. The blades of that screw capture the fluid from a lower pool of liquid, and the motion of the turning screw propels it upwards and to the top of that chute or pipe.

Screw pumps are popular in so many industries and settings. It’s worth stopping to talk about them. You have open and closed. Open is in a concrete trough, and enclosed is in a steel tube. For enclosed screw pumps, there are the Type C or Type S. Type C pumps have two flights (screws) that are welded into the rotating tube. Type S works oppositely with a stationary tube.

While the mechanics vary, the goal of any pump is the same. The mechanics draw in the fluid material on one side, move it through to the next with the help of motors or human or animal power. For the most part, you’ll be relying on motors to power these pumps. If energy-efficiency is vital to your water treatment plan, home setting, or business, you should look at solar-powered or wind-powered electricity to run your pump.

Their Role in Different Industries

That’s the breakdown of the different types of positive displacement pumps. How are they used in different industries? Getting back to the increased need for positive displacement pumps in the next seven years, a driving force in this is going to be the need to find new options for energy. Natural gas is in high demand and is just one of several hydrocarbons that are drawn from the earth using positive displacement pumps. Because drilling and fracking require a lot of pressure, piston pumps that handle the high-pressure situation are often used.

As some look for environmentally-friendly ways to heat their homes and businesses, hydrocarbons aren’t the first choice. Solar and wind power are one choice, but there’s one that is gaining popularity. Geothermal energy needs powerful pumps to move the water from below ground into the building.

You can use these pumps in a geothermal system. Geothermal energy takes the natural warmth found within the earth and uses it for home heating. You pull the warmer water from deep within the ground where it releases that warmth into the house and discharges the cooled water in a continuing cycle. In the summer, geothermal energy helps keep the house cool. The surface temperature is warmer than the temperature deep in the earth. The cooler water is drawn into the home to cool the air and discharges the warmer water back in the ground to cool again. A positive displacement pump can help keep that flow of water from the underground to the building from coming to a stop.

In water treatment, these pumps move the wastewater from the sewer lines or septage station to the next steps in the treatment process. Screw pumps are the common option in a waste treatment plant. If solids like fat balls or fecal matter won’t mess up the screw pump. They’ll move to the next steps where the sludge is separated for processing. Sludge eventually ends up in disposal tanks where it can be dried and composted or taken to a landfill. More homes and businesses mean more of a load. To meet the increased load, water treatment plants are upgrading and increasing capacity. They’re adding energy-efficient measures to lower overall costs. This all starts by choosing the right pumps and water treatment equipment.

In a rice paddy or other agricultural settings where irrigation is needed, positive displacement pumps move water from another water source to your fields or rice paddies. In rural settings, a tractor may be attached to a chain using a chain pump. In a large commercial field that grows everything from corn to wheat, irrigation systems need to be efficient and move a lot of water every day. These settings may use screw pumps to move water from a lower pond or water tank to the elevated fields. Liquid manure needs to be pumped into trucks for spreading.

Pumps also serve a need in the food industry. A plant that makes sausage needs a way to pump the mix of ground meat and spices into the machines that fill casings. A viscous mixture like pasta sauce needs to be transferred from the vats where it’s cooked into machinery that jars it. Food grade screw pumps do this without breaking down as the acidic sauce passes through the pumps for hours at a time.

How Do You Shop for a Positive Displacement Pump?

What are your needs? Archimedean screw pumps don’t clog and can move the liquids and solids wastewater treatment plants handle. Screw pumps are used in sludge pumping, effluent lift stations, and stormwater management. They can help drain land or move water from a water source to elevated fields. Screw pumps are used to move grain in an agricultural setting. They’re also helpful in moving liquids around in wineries and breweries. While your budget is important, it’s also important to have a clear vision of what the pump will do. Do you need the pump that can process foods or one that will be exposed to the outside elements?

You also need to have a clear idea of where the pump is going so that you get the right size. An enclosed screw pump takes up less space than an open screw pump. A Type S screw pump may take up more space because it has a pivoting end. The pump needs to keep up with the flow rate without causing a backup. How much space is there? If there are space limitations, you need to choose a pump that is the right size for the space you have.

Maintenance is the third factor to weigh carefully. Motors in a pump need to be lubricated or they’ll seize. Some units are designed to be maintenance-free, others require a little more care. How much staff and/or time do you have for upkeep? Do you want to make sure bearings are lubricated after months or years of use or do you prefer the idea of self-contained lubrication that is always there? A Type E Sealed Bearing requires little to no maintenance, and if re-lubrication ever is needed, it’s not time-consuming as you never have to remove the bearing.

Do you have time to clean the components, or should the pump be designed to prevent clogs or build-up? A clog-free design is one of the factors that make Lakeside Equipment’s screw pumps the best choice when it comes to maintenance and cleaning. Screen rakes also help keep trash from getting to your equipment.

Choose a specialist in water treatment and hydropower equipment. Lakeside Equipment’s expertise dates back to 1928. We make sure your goals are met by talking about your budget, space, and district. If you’re in an area where the population growth is rapid, a design that considers that growth is important. If you’re looking for equipment that cuts electricity costs, we can help there, too. Give us a call to learn more about Lakeside’s positive displacement pumps.

How Advances in Wastewater Treatment Are Delivering Cleaner Water

Every advancement that a wastewater treatment plant incorporates helps provide people with cleaner water. If you look back through history, the government didn’t address water pollution until 1948. The Clean Water Act wasn’t established until 1972. At this point, there was finally a law with clear guidelines cities and towns had to follow to prevent polluted water from going back into U.S. bodies of water. It led to construction grants for areas that wanted wastewater treatment plants. It started making our water cleaner.

Since that day, water treatment advancements keep happening. The EPA offers guidelines into the pollutants that water districts must remove and test for. If water treatment hasn’t removed enough of the bacteria, heavy metal, or chemical, the public must be notified and told not to drink the water as it’s not safe and changes must be implemented. Water shouldn’t be released to lakes, rivers, ponds, and streams and if it is authorities must be notified.

Early Wastewater Plans

In the 1850s, London’s Thames River experienced what was known as “The Great Stink of 1858.” At that time, human and animal waste was simply deposited back into the river. During a particularly hot summer, that waste caused the river, which flowed past the Houses of Parliament, to reek and politicians left for their country homes because the smell was too much. They all agreed, however, that a new system needed to be implemented. That led to the creation of London’s first sanitation system and close to 100 miles of sewers.

An ABC system was created that mixed sewer water with alum, blood, clay, magnesium, and other ingredients. This mixture moved from one settling tank to the next before being discharged to a river. The problem was that the mixture only started to clean the water. Remaining solids were treated with sulfuric acid to reduce ammonia and used as fertilizer. This process didn’t work effectively and didn’t address the foul odors of the water and solids.

Meanwhile, scientists in Massachusetts started their own experiments using sand filters to purify sewer water. The tests were successful at removing many water-borne illnesses like typhoid. Additional experiments held back in England found that if the remaining sludge was aerated to remove organics and convert any remaining ammonia to nitrite.

Advancements in Water Treatment Equipment

Those steps led to the process of treating wastewater. Equipment is an important part of the process. Grit removal, screening, and oxidation work together to clean water. Water enters a water treatment plant and screw pumps help move it from one area to the next. Screens remove trash and larger objects that cannot be cleaned, such as tampon applicators or plastic wrappers. Sludge settles and is removed. Remaining fluids are aerated and Biological Nutrient Removal takes place to remove nitrogen and phosphorus. What advancements are helping with cleaner water?

#1 – Solar and Wind Powered Plants

One area where water treatment technologies are seeing important advancements are with sustainability. Sustainable water treatment technologies are helping further protect the environment and water sources. Earth.org states that while Earth’s surface is 3% water, no more than 0.5% of it can be used for drinking water. Many people get their water from underground aquifers, but there’s a danger of those drying up in the next 100 years. Reusing water is critical if we are to prevent water shortages. Reusing water requires effective cleaning, which requires power. Solar can help with effective cleaning that minimizes one’s carbon footprint.

Solar-powered water treatment equipment is a trending way to deliver clean water. If you’re harnessing the power of the sun to power a water treatment plant, it reduces the emissions going into the air. You don’t have the soot and smoke from fossil fuels going into the atmosphere that end up in the rain that falls back to the ground. While a water treatment plant will clean some storm runoff, a good deal of it also ends up in rivers and lakes. The acid rain contains nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide, which end up in bodies of water and increase water pollution. In addition to solar-powered water treatment equipment, wind power is also being used to eliminate the need for fossil fuels.

#2 – Water Reuse

Going back to water reuse, major companies are starting to understand the importance of reusing water. Nucor Steel realized how much it could cut its water usage by recycling the water they already use and using stormwater instead of cleaned water. These changes have led to a reduction of the water used and lowered its energy bills, too. Water consumption has declined by over 200 million gallons each year with these changes. Cleaner water is saved for homes, and the company’s water needs for cooling the steel products is met by claiming stormwater run-off and rain collection.

#3 – Improved Filtration

Clay, blood, and alum were some of the first filtration materials used. Sand was next. Clean water can also be filtered with charcoal. Most recently, scientists have been using sand coated in graphite oxide to filter water. Water filtered with the graphite oxide-coated sand is five times cleaner than water filtered through sand. It’s an important tool in removing dangerous substances like mercury. They’ve also found that ground plastic bottles that are coated with cysteine are an effective filter for arsenic.

Algae grow easily in water ponds where UV rays are used to kill bacteria. That algae can be dangerous, so it must be killed and removed with chemicals like chlorine and some kind of filtration. Scientists are working on chemical-free ways to kill the algae. One is to introduce bacteria that thrive on algae and break them down into harmless materials that are easily removed through filtration.

#4 – Low-Maintenance or Maintenance-Free Equipment

There’s also an issue with a crumbling infrastructure. Cities need to look at making sure that water isn’t being lost to sewer system water main breaks. Leaks or defective water treatment equipment must be repaired or replaced to prevent water loss. Newer, modern equipment that is constantly monitored by computers and adjusted as flows increase or decrease helps with this.

Smart technology is common in homes, but it’s also being used in water treatment plants for alerts that notify engineers if there is a leak or problem in the equipment. Faster repairs prevent water loss or the release of contaminated water to lakes, rivers, and other water sources. Newer water treatment technology also reduces the need for maintenance by incorporating bearings that are never submerged below water or improving grit removal to prevent damage from abrasion.

#5 – New Equipment Improves Efficiency

Choosing the right equipment is one of the best ways to embrace cleaning water while minimizing your carbon footprint. Have you looked at upgrading your water treatment plant or business with the latest equipment and sustainable practices? Have you thought about going solar at your water treatment plant?

There is an initial cost, but the savings in terms of energy usage and efficiency make that cost worth it. If you’re spending a lot of money on maintenance or repairs, it’s time to talk about upgrading your water treatment equipment. Lakeside Equipment launched in 1928 and strives to help municipalities come up with viable ways to clean water in responsible, environmentally-friendly ways. Call us to discuss your needs for high-quality, cost-effective water treatment equipment.

Commercial Applications for Screw Pumps

Open and enclosed screw pumps are used in a variety of settings. They’re often found in wastewater treatment plants where they move sludge and fluids that travel in through sewer lines or from hauled septage. Screw pumps are also helpful in commercial applications, though people don’t always stop to think of the benefits of screw pumps in a commercial setting. Here are five commercial applications for screw pumps.

Beverage Industry

The beverage industry is the perfect example of a commercial business that benefits from screw pumps. Breweries, wineries, kombucha, canned/bottled coffee, and other beverage companies can move liquids around without damaging other components in the recipe. As screw pumps require little maintenance and have the option of a Sealed Precision Type “E” bearing assembly that has a sealed bearing that doesn’t require a grease pump or grease lines that could leak over time and contaminate the liquids the screw pump is moving.

For example, beer is made by heating crushed grains (malts) with water. The liquid sits to extract the malt and must be separated. Using a screw pump, the liquids and grains are separated. Grains can go to farms as livestock feed. The remaining liquid is boiled and flavoring hops are added in stages. That mixture cools and yeast must be carefully added. As you add the liquid yeast mixture, a screw pump can control the speed so that it’s evenly mixed. Kombucha and wine are also beverages that are fermented and may benefit from a screw pump.

In winemaking, a screw pump can move fluid. It also moves the denser items like the dregs that include grape skins and seeds. The screw pushes the dregs to a container and the remaining liquid is piped to fermentation vats.

Screw pumps can also be used in a large kombucha plant. The screw pump can help during the step where tea leaves are removed from the tea right before the tea mixed with the culture that grows the SCOBY for fermentation. After the kombucha is moved to a cooling vessel and flowers, herbs, and other flavoring ingredients are added, you could also use a screw pump as it’s moved to kegs for carbonation.

Chemical Plants and Oil Refineries

While centrifugal pumps have been considered the normal option for a chemical plant, screw pumps are ideal. One of the leading reasons is to keep costs down. Screw pumps are designed to handle liquids of different viscosities. A centrifugal pump has to lower the flow rate when pressure increases. That requires constant adjustment to prevent problems. Screw pumps don’t need to make these adjustments, so you’ll save time and money. If you look at some of the flow rates of Lakeside Equipment’s different screw pumps, you’ll see the variation.

  • An open screw pump can handle 90 gallons up to 55,000 gallons per minute.
  • A Type C enclosed screw pump can handle 540 gallons to 35,000 gallons per minute.
  • A Type S enclosed screw pump can handle 90 gallons to 10,000 gallons per minute.

Screw pumps are proving to be the best choice in the oil and gas industry. With more viscous crude oil coming in from countries like Canada, Latin America, and South America, it can take more work to move the oil from reservoirs to oil pipelines. With other styles of pumps, pressure changes required the pumps to be adjusted by the operator to prevent problems. Screw pumps can do this efficiently as they can handle different viscosities and changing pressures with ease. To maximize production, it’s important to work with an expert to help find the best type of screw pump for your refinery.

Food Processing

How could a screw pump be useful in food processing? When food processing requires delicate speeds to prevent over-mixing or adding items too quickly, a screw pump is ideal. A canning company needs to get diced tomatoes into a canning line without pumping the tomatoes so quickly that the tomato pieces get broken down. That’s one area where a screw pump is helpful. It moves the tomato mixture at the right speed to prevent damage to the tomatoes. Steady flow rates keep lines running effectively without much need for maintenance, which boosts productivity.

A cheese manufacturing plant is another example. Milk is trucked to the plant and pumped into the storage tanks before pasteurization. To make the cheese, the curds and whey have to separate. After this happens, whey is pumped away and curds move to the machinery that shapes them into a block or round of cheese. Throughout this process, screw pumps help move liquids or curds to the next step in cheesemaking.

Screw pumps can also help move the whey that’s left behind. Liquid whey is used for animal feed. Whey can be dried into a powder and used as a protein supplement and in baby food. It can be used in bakeries or added to foods like soups and salad dressings. Whey protein powder is a hot commodity, but you need an effective way to pump it to the tanks where it’s stored until it’s needed.

Paper Mills

The pulp and paper industry requires several screw pumps throughout the process. At the very beginning of the process, wood is stripped of its bark and chopped into tiny fragments that are soaked in a mixture of water and chemicals to help digest it. The resulting pulp has to have most of the liquid removed before it moves to bleaching and washing. After washing, a new round of water removal takes place. The pulp goes through a refining process before heading to the paper making presses and drying area. Each new step that requires the separation of liquids benefits from a screw pump.

Eventually, the resulting liquid (liquor) has to be purified. The water left over after paper is made often go into ponds or tanks that use aeration to add oxygen and help with the water treatment process before it returns to bodies of water. The remaining sludge is often sent to incinerators.

Theme Parks

Theme parks across the country rely on screw pumps. Any theme park with a water ride needs a way to get water to the top of a ride or slide where it can plummet down the slide or track to the pool below. A screw pump is effective at moving large amounts of water continually. If you think about water parks where there are log rides in a flume, a screw pump is good at bringing water from the pool back up to the top of the ride over and over. The same is true of water slides and water rides where riders either use an inflatable tube or ride through the slide chute independently. If the water stops flowing, the ride goes wrong. It’s important to have low-maintenance screw pumps moving water non-stop from the bottom to the top.

Lakeside Equipment offers both enclosed and open screw pumps. Our first designs go back to the 1960s and have seen many improvements over the decades. With more than 50 years of expertise, we specialize in clog-free designs. You’ll work with an experienced team to match both your budget and specifications. Trust in us to design a screw pump for your industrial setting.

Screw Pumps for Sludge – How They Work and What You Should Look For

Screw pumps are designed to move liquids, solids, or liquid-solid combinations from one area to another. It’s a simplistic, yet effective, way to push liquids, sludge, grains, and other items along a chute or tube without clogging. Lakeside screw pumps operate at a constant speed, which lowers the chances of the machine needing maintenance or wearing out, making them a cost-effective piece of equipment. While these pumps can handle most everyone, one area where they’re very effective is pumping sludge.

Original Screw Pumps Go Back to Ancient Egypt

How do screw pumps work? One of the original uses of a screw pump was for agriculture and drainage. The screw pump set in water in a low-lying area and the top collection area sat in a higher area. As that screw twisted, water collected in the spiral tube and moved upwards to the collection area at the top. That brought water from a lower area like a river up a bank or slope to the garden beds or fields above.

The Egyptian Screw is believed to be the first screw pump and it was used to move water from the Nile River up the banks and to the villages and fields. While people know screw pumps as Archimedes screw pumps, evidence that Archimedes had any part of the invention is sparse. The pump was around for two centuries before Archimedes’ name is mentioned.

One of the first major uses of the Archimedes pump was in the 1600s when the Dutch used them to move water through dikes and canals. Windmills powered the screw pump bringing water from one section to another.

To understand how they work, imagine a long screw that’s sitting inside a straw. The bottom of that screw sits in a water-filled sink or basin. There’s a second bowl on the counter. The screw is turned at a steady speed. The threads of the screw are designed so that they hold liquid. As the screw turns, water collects in the threads of the screw and the upward movement of the screw pushes the water up the straw. The straw’s walls trap that water from escaping out of the bottom. Eventually, water propels to the top of the straw where it spills into the upper chamber.

What Factors You Should Weigh When Choosing a Screw Pump

A screw pump can move more than water. They can move oil and other viscous liquids like sludge. Sludge is a combination of fluids and solids that forms a thicker material like mud. Most sludge brought to water treatment plants comes from residential and business septic tanks where it’s pumped out and transported through trucks, but it can come from a variety of other sources. In an agricultural setting, screw pumps can move grains from a truck to a storage container. Sludge can also come from food and beverage plants like breweries, wineries, and dairy processors.

This is important when it comes to purchasing a screw pump. You need equipment that matches your intended use. Consider these factors when you’re buying a screw pump for sludge.

Open vs. Closed Screw Pumps

The screw pumps at Lakeside Equipment can be open or closed. This is important to understand as it can make a difference when you finalize your choice.

Open screw pumps sit in a trough that’s made of steel or concrete. The trough is open at the top, which exposes the spiral screw to the environment. The bearings are protected in a sealed sleeve or have a lubricating system that helps prevent wear whether they’re submerged or not. The trough needs to be at an angle of 22 to 40 degrees for the screw pump to work effectively. Given that incline, you do need a substantial amount of space when setting up this type of screw pump.

What are the advantages of an open screw pump? They can handle variable capacities without needing additional controls to manage the variation. They are efficient and don’t clog. There’s no need for pre-screening the sludge you get. Maintenance is low, and you don’t need a wet well to operate them.

What about enclosed screw pumps? There are two types: Type C or Type S. Both of these screw pumps are housed within a tube. A Type C is in a tube that can rotate. Type S’s tube is stationary. Type C is best if you need higher lifts than an open screw pump. It also requires less space as it can be installed to have a maximum incline of 45 degrees. Type S can pivot to keep up with changes in the pumping rate. It requires more space with an incline range of 22 to 40 degrees.

Benefits to enclosed screw pumps include higher efficiency with Type C. If the pump needs replacing, you can simply have the new pump dropped into place, which makes replacement much more affordable. With an open system, concrete and grout are needed. Enclosed screw pumps require no costly grouting or concrete work.

Flow Rate

How quickly do you need sludge moved? How thick is that sludge? Flow rates vary, and you need to make sure that the screw pump you choose can move the sludge as quickly as you need it moved. At the same time, look at the PSI and horsepower to make sure the system is going to work efficiently for you. We can help you with open screw pumps that move as little as 90 gallons a minute to as much as 55,000 gallons a minute. If you need an enclosed screw pump, the Type S is capable of 90 to 10,000 gallons per minute, and Type C handle 540 to 35,000 gallons per minute.

Size

How much room do you have? If you’re in a tight space, not every screw pump will work. When space is limited, the inclination of that screw pump needs to work with the available square footage. Imagine you have a screw pump that If you have plenty of room for the screw pump’s installation, you will have more options.

The open screw pumps manufactured by Lakeside Equipment range in size from 12 inches in diameter all the way to 144 inches. Enclosed screw pumps are available in 12 to 60 inches (Type S) and 24 to 120 inches (Type C). When you talk to our engineers, we’ll help you understand the pros and cons of open vs. closed screw pumps and which best suits your needs.

Durability

You’re spending money on a new or replacement screw pump. You want a system that’s designed to last. You want to get your money’s worth and that means a system that’s not going to require a lot of maintenance and upkeep. The screw pumps at Lakeside are designed to reduce friction that damages the screw pump’s parts. Very little maintenance is required to keep the screw pumps working like new.

Lakeside Equipment’s customer service team and engineers are ready to help you design and purchase the right screw pumps for sludge. Our screw pumps are made in the USA and give you the flexibility of open or closed designs. If you’re looking to replace or upgrade your equipment or are installing a brand new system, give us a call. We have decades of expertise that ensures you get the best system for your money.

How Lakeside’s Rotary Strainer Screens Are Used in Industrial Applications

Lakeside Equipment’s rotary strainer screens are used in far more than just wastewater treatment applications.  One area where Lakeside Equipment’s rotary strainer screens come in very handy is the food and beverage industry. A rotary strainer screen is often thought of as being an essential part of wastewater processing. It’s even more useful in breweries, beverage/coffee plants, and food processing plants. Beyond that, this equipment helps the fuel industry. If you have a liquid that needs to have all particles filtered out before reaching consumers, rotary strainer screens are an important part of the process.

How Rotary Screens Work

Lakeside’s rotary strainer screen is a self-contained unit crafted from stainless steel, which helps prevent corrosion. If you work with an acidic liquid like coffee, wine, kombucha, or hard cider, corrosion prevention is important. It’s designed to be installed on a concrete slab or an elevated structure if you need the equipment to be off the ground. Lakeside Equipment’s engineers can help you come up with the ideal design for your business.

The liquid is pumped in through the back of the rotary strainer where it flows through a rotary screen cylinder. The wire screening removes particles ranging in size from 0.10 inches all the way down to 0.010 inches After the particles are screened, the liquid continues to pipes that travel out through the bottom.

The solid particles that are caught on the screen are then scraped from the screen cylinder using a doctor blade assembly that adjusts using the blade tensioner. The solids are discharged through the chute on the front of the machine. An internal spray bar also helps keep the doctor blade and screening clear. Controls on the machine are automated, which makes it easy for your workers to operate.

What you do next with the solids depends on your food or beverage. Brewers can send spent grains to farms where they become feed for cattle and other farm animals. You could compost the leftover solids. Some may need to go to a landfill. The filtered liquid moves on to the next stage in your business. You might be sending the liquids to a tank, bottling line, or packaging area.

How Will Your Industry Benefit From Rotary Strainer Screens?

Many industries benefit from rotary strainer screens. When you have foods, fuels, or liquids that need to be screened to remove particles or contaminants, a screening system is perfect. Here are examples of different industries where a rotary strainer screen can be extremely useful.

When making beer, water and grains steep in a process called mash conversion, which breaks down starch from the malts into sugar. The malts have to be removed for the next step. A rotary strainer screen is perfect for this step and again when removing the hops before moving the wort into fermentation tanks.

The same is true of other beverages that have to be strained before fermentation, such as hard cider, cold brew coffee that’s canned for sale, and kombucha. Kombucha that has added ginger root, chai spices, or berries can be filtered using a rotary strainer screen. Once the kombucha is filtered, it travels to the bottling line before heading to stores or farmer’s markets.

A winery can use the rotary screening to remove grape skin, flesh, and seeds from the must (liquid pressed from the grapes). That must moves into fermentation tanks where yeast is added and the grape juice ferments. After fermentation ends, wine is moved to barrels for aging. If you produce hard cider, you’ll find the screens remove hops, spices, and other additions that you use for flavoring.

Do you can the cold brew coffee or bottle the iced tea you produce? Once the cold water and coffee grounds or tea have steeped, continue the process by having a rotary strainer screen remove the grounds or tea leaves. The tea or coffee continues to a bottling or canning line, but the filtered materials can go into a compost where it becomes beneficial to gardens.

Some poultry processing plants have found rotary strainer screens to be helpful when it comes to processing. During processing, poultry is continually cleaned using scalding water. That scalder produces the water that sprays poultry during feather removal and removing the innards. The scalding water collects all kinds of debris, which can be removed using a rotary strainer screen. Because the water is kept cleaner, the poultry is cleaner when it goes through inspections and packaging. This can keep costs down as you won’t use as much water as you would having to run poultry through several cycles of cleaning.

To make sugar, sugar cane is shredded and juice is extracted. That juice has to be screened to make sure fibrous material from the sugar cane doesn’t remain in the mixture when it goes to the heaters and surge or flash tanks before moving to evaporators where the remaining crystals are dried and become the sugar people see in stores. Other aspects of a sugar plant, such as making molasses, also use the rotary strainer screen to remove pulp. If you’re in the sugar beet processing industry, the same methods are put to use. In this case, the sugar beet pulp can be used to feed animals like horses.

Fuels like oil or gas cannot have any debris. If items like small metal shavings, dirt, or grit get into the fuel, it can clog lines and cause engine damage. Water is another issue. Chemical additions can help remove water from fuel or oil. Water’s removed and the rotary strainer takes out any particles before the fuel is bottled or moved into storage tanks.

Lakeside Equipment Can Help You

Lakeside Equipment started in 1928 to help towns and cities come up with water purification measures. We’ve expanded around the world. Our equipment is designed to last while helping you process whatever liquids your industry is responsible for producing. Whether you’re a brewery owner or produce oil for the automotive industry, our screening equipment helps you get the job done right every time.

How can Lakeside’s rotary strainer screens fit into your industrial applications? It all depends on your needs. Give us a call and tell us what needs screening. We’ll help you with your options and come up with the right design and installation.

How to Calculate Cost and Financing for a New Wastewater Treatment Plant

Water pollution is a key concern throughout the U.S. While many homes have septic systems installed for wastewater, homes nearer a city are often on sewers. All of the wastewater from pumped out septic systems or sewers goes to a wastewater treatment plant where it’s cleaned to remove bacteria that can spread disease. At that point, it can be returned to public water sources or into holding tanks where it goes back to homes and businesses.

If your municipality needs a new wastewater treatment plant, there are a lot of things you have to consider. Money is one of your primary concerns. If the system is too expensive, the taxpayers in your municipality may be unable to afford the increased taxes. If you cut corners, you risk having an ineffective system that’s prone to breaking down or failing to meet the capacity of wastewater that comes in each day.

You must understand how to calculate the cost and financing for a new wastewater treatment plant. You have to be honest about how much the system will cost, what the federal government will contribute, and why the cost is necessary. Here are the steps to calculating the cost and coming up with financing for a new wastewater treatment system.

Calculate the Size of the System That’s Needed

Several factors go into the size of the water treatment system you need. Is the water treatment system solely processing water that comes in from sewer lines? Or, are you also having a waste receiving system for trucks to bring in the sludge and fluids pumped from residential or business septic tanks? How many homes and businesses are in the district? You need to have an idea of how much wastewater would come into the plant each day.

The Raptor Complete Plant merges grit collection and screening into one unit, which can save room. However, it may not suit your needs. It can handle up to 4 million gallons per day. If the people in your municipality exceed this, you could run into problems. Per the EPA, an average family of four uses around 400 gallons per day. In a city where the popular is well over 10,000 people, this system may not be enough. This is why it’s important to look at your current population and how quickly the population is expanding. If you have businesses that are also adding to the wastewater totals, you need to factor in how much water they’d send into the sewers each day.

Decide What Wastewater Equipment is Needed

Once you have a general idea of what the plant’s capacity needs to be, you need to consider the design and structure. A wastewater treatment system covers three levels: primary, secondary, and advanced treatments. The equipment chosen to handle each level of water treatment must fit in the space you have and do the job at a level that meets federal, state, and local requirements. If the water being released back into the environment still carries pollutants, it can harm the ecosystem, animals, and even humans.

The primary stage involves the removal of suspended solids. Secondary treatment removes pollutants and finishes the removal of suspended solids. The advanced stage removes pollutants like nitrogen and phosphorus that are by-products of the other stages. Some systems only do the first two stages and don’t focus as much on advanced treatments, but changes to laws do occur. It’s better to come up with a comprehensive system that covers every treatment stage rather than omit and have to hurriedly add equipment years later. What type of equipment will you need?

  • Screw Pumps: Water treatment systems have the screw pumps that push water into the water treatment plant and move it from one stage to the next. There are open and closed screw pumps. Open screw pumps do not require much maintenance or a wet well and are very efficient. Enclosed screw pumps can reduce installation costs and offer a drop-in replacement.
  • Screens and Screen Rakes: Screens trap some debris before it moves to other pieces of equipment. Screen rakes clear that debris to ensure wastewater continues to flow. Screens can trap some of the items that don’t biodegrade easily, such as sanitation products, toys that are accidentally flushed by children, and paper towels.
  • Grit Collection: A grit collection system removes grit like sand that can cause abrasion, which damages equipment over time. Grit collection can also boost aeration and oxygen helps break down some bacteria.
  • Clarification and Filtration: Clarification and filtration systems stir the wastewater in order to help separate fluids from solids. Solids settle and can be removed.
  • Biological Treatment: The advanced stage of water filtration is the removal of nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus that can cause serious problems in bodies of water like a lake. Those nutrients can cause algae blooms that threaten humans, animals, and fish.

Is There Financial Aid Available?

In the 1970s, the Clean Water Act found the federal government chipping grants that covered 75% of the installation cost for a new water treatment plant. The state helped with the rest. That program switched to a revolving loan program in the 1980s that partnered with federal grants of up to 55% This applied to municipal water treatment plants. Private ones or those that were part of an industrial setting were paid for by the business or landowner. Again, this changed in 2014 with the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA).

Through the WIFIA, eligible wastewater infrastructure projects are eligible for financial assistance through low-interest loans that can be paired with grants to cover the cost of a water treatment plant. WIFIA can cover up to 49% of a project’s cost, and federal assistance can bring the total to 80% of the project’s eligible costs. WIFIA loans are fixed-interest loans that remain the same for the life of the loan, even if some of the money is disbursed later on. The borrower’s credit or the structure of the loan doesn’t lead to higher interest rates. Deferred payments, customized payment schedules, and loan periods of up to 35 years all make the loan easier to manage.

Lakeside Equipment works with you to price, design, and install a new wastewater treatment system. Our team includes engineers, field technicians, and support personnel who help you with each stage of the planning, design, and installation. It’s our goal to set up a system that’s built to last and within your financial goals. It’s time to have a wastewater treatment plant that serves your community’s needs. Call 1-630-837-5640 to talk to our specialists.

The Top Challenges Facing Municipal Wastewater Treatment

Every year, municipal wastewater treatment plants do what they can to become more efficient. Efficiency helps keep costs down, which makes the district’s residents happy. At the same time, these plants cannot lose sight of the goal of cleaning wastewater to meet government standards. These are the three challenges municipal wastewater treatment plants face with tips on how to handle them.

Newer Contaminants Are Harder to Remove

Today’s use of medications like birth control and antidepressants has increased. Hormones are being found in aquatic creatures at alarming levels. These prescription medications are hard to filter from wastewater. Even with top-quality equipment a certain level of these medications gets through and is returned to water sources like rivers and lakes.

The U.S. Geological Survey studied fish located about five miles downstream of a water treatment plant. Silt and water samples were also taken. Several antidepressants were found in the water and silt. The same happened with the tissue samples they took from fish. One thing was concerning, the fish had typically had higher levels of the antidepressants than the silt or water did.

The same is being found with one hormone found in birth control pills. A Swedish study found ethinyl-estradiol in roach, salmon, and trout. The fish that tested positive for this synthetic hormone struggle with breeding, which can deplete fish populations. It could diminish the number of fish in the rivers and oceans, which reduces the amount of fish available for food.

Expanding Populations and Business Growth Are Straining Systems

Cities and suburbs are growing faster than many municipal wastewater treatment systems can handle. Many of the nation’s wastewater treatment plants were designed decades ago. They’re not equipped for today’s residential and business usage.

In Huntingburg, Indiana, the city’s wastewater treatment plan is designed for up to 2 million gallons per day. Right now, the average daily flow is 1.4 million gallons. There are tanks to handle overflow on days they happen, but a study found that those tanks could only hold overflow from a day or two. At that point, wastewater goes into lagoons where bleach is added and it’s mixed with treated wastewater and released. If excessive amounts of wastewater happened multiple days, it could be disastrous. Growth is an issue that the city is working hard to address.

Vermont is a state well-known for its craft brewing industry. Some independent beer makers are feeling the strain of older wastewater plants. In Morrisville, two local brewers are worried about the impact of new wastewater rates they face. These rates will cost the breweries upwards of $16,000 per year. Far more than they can afford, but the municipal wastewater treatment plant is overburdened by the wastewater coming from these breweries, too. Stowe’s Alchemist Brewery worked with experts to build their own wastewater system to lessen the load on their town’s wastewater system. It’s something more companies may need to consider.

Outdated Equipment Fails More Often and Uses More Energy

Older equipment does use a lot more energy than today’s models. Upgrading may cost some money, but the savings in energy bills quickly pays for the expense of upgrading equipment. Models are designed to run with minimal interruption and automatically adjust flow rates without the need for a person watching monitors and making changes.

Great Neck Water Pollution District spent $13 million on upgrades. It’s expected that the upgrades will result in $150,000 per year in heating costs and more than $400,000 in savings for utilities. In several years, the upgrades will have been paid off through those savings. It’s a win-win for both the residents and businesses in the area and the water treatment plant.

Other innovative upgrades to consider are systems that convert the gases produced during wastewater treatment into heating fuel for the plant. Some systems reduce energy costs by tapping into solar energy with the installation of solar panels. These are all ideas that municipal wastewater treatment plants are using to boost efficiency and reduce energy.

Upgrades can be affordable investments. Lakeside Equipment has a package headworks system that is pre-engineered and pre-assembled to reduce engineering, installation, and excavation costs. The stainless steel design lowers the risk of corrosion. You can have this cost-effective system customized to suit your needs.

We’re ready to help your municipal wastewater treatment plant boost efficiency and performance. We have parts available if your system requires repairs. Our engineers at Lakeside Equipment also help with plant upgrades and efficient, cost-effective designs. Give us a call and let us know how we can assist you.

The Three Most Difficult Items to Remove From Wastewater

Wastewater is the water that comes from homes and businesses through sewer lines or after a septic tank is pumped. It’s the water from toilet flushes, showers, washing machines, sinks, and dishwashers. As wastewater is filled with fecal matter, urine, household or commercial cleaners, soaps/shampoos, etc., it has to be treated before it can return to water sources or public water supplies.

While this is something wastewater treatment plants do every hour of the day, there are things that homeowners may not think of. Wastewater treatment can only do so much. Three items come from homes and businesses that are very difficult to fully remove from water.

#1 – Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products (PPCPs)

Both prescription and over-the-counter medications and supplements are wreaking havoc on wastewater. Even if people dispose of their unused medications correctly, some of those medications make their way into the urine stream. That urine ends up in a water treatment plant where the medications do not fully get removed. One study found that antibiotics and synthetic hormones (birth control) were being found in water sources and the fish living in those rivers and lakes.

It’s found that a secondary wastewater treatment process is still only able to remove a maximum of 95% of the estrogen. Antibacterial soaps that contain triclocarban are even worse. Scientists found that only 25% of the triclocarban in wastewater was removed by the end of the process. Not only are these drugs and chemicals ending up in bodies of water, but there is also the chance that trace amounts are in the water that goes back to homes and businesses. There are concerns that this may increase antibiotic resistance.

Many water treatment plants do not have the equipment needed to test for PPCPs. While scientists say trace amounts are not likely to pose a health risk, there still are questions regarding how to make sure a wastewater treatment plant removes as many PPCPs as possible. Systems with filtration and biological treatments are the best way to remove PPCPs. Older wastewater treatment plants could upgrade to help remove as many drugs and chemicals as possible.

#2 – Nitrites and Nitrates

Nitrates are used as a food additive in many cured meats. People consume them regularly in deli meats, bacon, sausage, and hot dogs.  As the body’s bacteria break down those foods, they convert to nitrite. Nitrites are incredibly harmful to bodies of water as they deplete oxygen and increase algae growth.

A wastewater treatment plant has to remove ammonia from the water it’s treating. Do do this, autotrophic ammonia-oxidizing bacteria help oxidize the ammonia, which leads to nitrite. The nitrite is then oxidized using nitrite-oxidizing bacteria, which turns it into nitrogen gas. It all takes energy to run the machines needed to complete the process. At that point, sludge is removed. There’s another process that uses anaerobic ammonia oxidation that cuts out a step. It’s effective and energy-efficient and by the end of it, only a small percentage of that ammonia has been converted to nitrate that gets converted to nitrogen gas.

#3 – Polyethylene and Polypropylene Microbeads

As early as 1972, plastic microbeads started popping up in many products. These tiny plastic beads gained popularity in facial scrubs, body washes, and other products used to buff away dead skin. They were even added to some toothpaste brands. As they are plastic, they don’t break down. The tiny particles of plastic get through water treatment and often end up in large bodies of water where fish and other aquatic creatures ingest or breathe them in. For this reason, the U.S. Government banned plastic microbeads starting in 2017. Manufacturers had to stop using plastic microbeads in their products from that point on.

Despite the ban, people were still able to buy the products containing polyethylene and polypropylene microbeads from retailers and discounters who still had the products in their warehouses. Not everyone understands the danger these plastic pellets pose to the environment. They’re still using them, which means those pellets that can be a fraction of a millimeter in size ends up in a water treatment plant. Wastewater treatment plants that use primary clarification have better success rates at removing microbeads, but the removal rate is still only an average of 87%. Some microplastics still get through.

Let Lakeside Equipment help you upgrade or install a wastewater treatment system that does as much as possible to remove these three difficult contaminants from the water you treat. Our wastewater treatment systems are designed for efficiency and automation. We’re happy to help you with everything you need from screening and trash rakes to grit collection and clarification. Give us a call and let us help you design cost-effective solutions.

Does Wastewater Treatment Remove Viruses From the Water?

One of the important goals of water treatment is to remove viruses. In history, there have been horrible viral outbreaks that were transmitted through water. One happened in 2016 in India. While the exact source was never determined, it was believed water from a hotel’s well was the source. More than 220 cases of hepatitis A were linked to the hotel and that the patients had all had ice or water or foods that were kept on ice from that specific hotel.

This leads to questions. Does wastewater treatment effectively remove viruses from public drinking water? One specific worry involves COVID-19. Does water treatment kill coronaviruses and other dangerous viruses like hepatitis and norovirus? Rest assured, water treatment regulations take viruses into consideration. Here’s what you need to know.

Protections Set by The Safe Drinking Water Act

The Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974 established stringent guidelines to help protect drinking water throughout the U.S. By definition, any water system that provides drinking water for 25 or more or that has 15 connections and provides that water for at least two months per year are considered public water systems. There are more than 150,000 public water systems in the U.S. All of them must meet the EPA’s national standards.

Microbial sources are part of the contaminants that water treatment plants must treat and test for. If the contaminant levels are high, boil water orders or other warnings must go out to people on that water system. The list of microbial contaminants is long, but it includes these common viruses:

  • Adenoviruses, such as pink eye or an upper respiratory infection like bronchitis
  • Calciviruses, such as norovirus
  • Enterovirus, such as coxsackievirus and poliovirus
  • Hepatitis A

Information regarding COVID-19 is still coming in, but at this point, the CDC believes that coronaviruses are not transmitted through the water. WHO has yet to find any trace of COVID-19 in drinking water supplies before or after treatments. While COVID-19 has been found in fecal matter, the water treatment measures like filtration and disinfection kill that virus just as it successfully kills other viruses. WHO states that any water treatment plan with “conventional, centralized water treatment methods which use filtration and disinfection” are enough to kill coronaviruses. It’s not something people need to worry about as U.S. wastewater treatment plants use filtration and disinfection.

What Does This Mean For a Water Treatment Plant?

Every step a water treatment plant takes to rid wastewater of other viruses is taking care of the less common coronaviruses like COVID-19, MERS, and SARS. If you look at the steps that most water treatments plant use, there are different stages starting with the moment the wastewater arrives until it returns to a body of water or public water supply. Think of a typical water pitcher system like Brita. Water flows into a reservoir where it slowly trickles through activated charcoal filters to remove odors, bacteria, and some other contaminants. That’s similar to the filtration process in a water treatment plant.

The same happens in a water treatment system. Wastewater comes into the plant where screens, clarification, and filtration equipment work together to clean the water. Filters or filtration materials remove other contaminants in one of two ways. One way is to place the activated carbon filters for post-filtration cleaning after the rapid mix, flocculation/sedimentation, and filtration steps before water moves on. The other way takes place in a filtration tank where the charcoal sits in the bottom of a tank and filters out contaminants and odors after rapid mix and flocculation/sedimentation.

While many water treatment systems use charcoal or activated charcoal, some may use sand, coconut fibers, or other materials to capture bacteria, viruses, chemicals, and parasites. This is the first of two important steps. The second step involves the addition of a chemical disinfectant like chlorine that kills any remaining bacteria, parasites, and viruses.

The two most common disinfectants used by a water treatment plant are chloramine or chlorine. Chloramines are a mix of ammonia and chlorine and have been used since the 1920s. Water treatment plants specifically use monochloramine, which kills germs without causing eye, respiratory, or skin irritation. Monochloramine is safe to consume.

Chlorine is also a top choice of water treatment plants. It was first used in a New Jersey water treatment plant in 1908. It’s a bleach that can be harmful in high doses, but the amount that remains after processing wastewater is minimal and considered safe to consume. UV and sunlight help remove the excess chemicals used in the water disinfection step.

Avoid Frequent Repairs or Equipment Failures Through Plant Upgrades

One issue water treatment plants have seen with COVID-19 is the increased use of paper supplies other than toilet paper. With toilet paper shortages, people started using tissues, paper towels, baby wipes, and napkins in place. Public awareness campaigns are essential to keeping people from flushing these items into their septic systems or sewer lines. These items can cause blocked lines and put more strain on equipment. If you’re experiencing problems and need repairs, Lakeside Equipment does supply parts for necessary repairs.

Water treatment regulations change regularly as the EPA reviews the current list of contaminants every five years. To ensure your system is removing viruses and other contaminants, you must make sure your system meets the current regulations. When changes are made, we can help you go over your current system and see if any improvements are needed. If your old system needs a complete update, we have engineers available to design new plans that fit your space and budget.

Upgraded equipment helps a water treatment plant process wastewater effectively and efficiently. Replacing outdated equipment may cost some money upfront, but it also saves money in terms of electricity costs and repairs in the long run. It ensures you meet the current EPA regulations. Let Lakeside Equipment help you plan upgrades that make sense for your water treatment plant and meet your budget.