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The Water Break Podcast, Episode 9: Testing Wastewater for Covid-19

“Where we bridge the gap between water plant operators and engineers”

In Episode 9, Heather Jennings discusses COVID 19 wastewater epidemiology and how that helps communities track the pandemic in their communities. Her guests are:

  • Ian L. Pepper, PhD, Professor at the University of Arizona and Director of the Water & Energy Sustainable Technology (WEST) Center in Tucson, Arizona.
  • Dave Tracey, a licensed professional engineer in the province of New Brunswick, Canada, and Director of Global Channel Sales for LuminUltra Technologies Ltd, a Canadian firm focusing on biological monitoring and control solutions.
  • Helena Steeves, Clinical Applications Engineer at LuminUltra Technologies Ltd.

Dr. Pepper may be contacted at the WEST Center: www.west.arizona.edu

Mr. Tracey and Ms. Steeves may be contacted, and information about LuminUltra Technologies is available, at:

Podcast References from Wanda’s Water Tidbit

Just Another Snake Oil?

by Heather Jennings, PE

For years, the wastewater industry has been plagued with products that meet only half the expectations of the users or make matters worse. I get it. I personally questioned the efficacy of Micro Carbon Technology® (MCT—the nutrient carrier for all our liquid nutrient and biostimulant products) when I started with Probiotic Solutions®. Because I was the Doubting Thomas of the group, I was assigned to conduct data analysis of projects and to work with our R&D group. My training is Chemical Engineering, so I was not looking for the easy answers. My customers deserve the best answers I can give them! [Read more…]

Microplex® JS Jump Starts Utah Summer Camp WWTF

by Heather Jennings, PE

If I had to choose a favorite of our microbial products it would have to be our Microplex® JS product. It is a two-part formulation of a live synergistic blend of natural, Class I bacteria, specifically chosen for their ability to rapidly degrade solids, fats, lipids, proteins, detergents, hydrocarbons, and other compounds. It’s actually magical in the sense that we can start a new activated sludge plant with it or help one recover rapidly when biomass is lost. I can put it in and know it works. What’s even better is that it’s a live culture: mix two 50 ml vials in 55 gallons of water and within hours you have 55 gallons of microbial product ready to apply. Does it save the world? No, but if you’d like a break from some of the biomass issues you’ve been dealing with it can at least save you an ulcer or two. [Read more…]

Up to 85% Solids Destruction Achieved Using BIO ENERGIZER®

By Heather Jennings, PE

The wastewater treatment facility operators at a city in Missouri wanted better digester performance. They needed a better settling sludge and a higher volume of decants, as well as more room to waste sludge within their existing digesters. The options to dispose of the digested sludge were becoming more and more scarce.

After trialing 3 products, they found BIO ENERGIZER® reduced their solids the best. Significant improvement in settling as well as a significant reduction in the total solids occurred in their digesters. They have achieved up to 85% volatile solids destruction using BIO ENERGIZER®. Another benefit that the City has gained is increased decant volumes. The City has doubled the number of decants by using BIO ENERGIZER® compared with other products previously used. This all results in lower hauling and handling costs. All it takes is a peristaltic pump and the product to get you similar savings! [Read more…]

Anaerobic Digester Saves 42% In Sludge Hauling

by Heather Jennings, PE

The case summary described below is an example of how our Bio Energizer® product helped reduce overall solids handling and improved supernatant clarity. It really doesn’t take much Bio Energizer® to reduce solids within your system when the microbial community is stimulated or “kicked into gear” to do their job. Typically, in anaerobic digestion we dose between 1–2 gallons/MGD. This system had 250,000 gpd and, after an initial dose of 2 gallons, they added 7 oz/day of the product for 60 days in their primary digester. The results? The volume of each decant was double the normal volume, and they had half the solids loading with an average of 0.21% solids. Continuously using the product over two years yielded a net savings of $1,024/ month! [Read more…]

The Water Break Podcast, Episode 8: Microscopy and DNA, A Match Made In Heaven

“Where we bridge the gap between water plant operators and engineers”

In Episode 8, Heather Jennings discusses DNA Analysis and Microscopy with Dr. Paul Campbell and Ryan Hennessy. Paul has extensive experience with microbial physiology, industrial microbiology, and fermentation and leads Aster Bio’s molecular biology and biochemistry work. Ryan is a microbiology and operations specialist at Midwest Contract Operations. Topics covered in the podcast include introduction and orientation to wastewater microbiology evaluation including Next Generation DNA Sequencing, qPCR, and microscopic evaluation; identifying and interpreting microorganisms and their roles in wastewater processing; and tracking microbiology trends in system operations.

Paul Campbell, PhD, may be contacted at https://www.asterbio.com/.

Ryan Hennessy may be contacted at https://www.mco-us.com/wastewater-microbiology/.

Podcast References from Wanda’s Water Tidbit: Skipping Stones on Water

Discover Magazine, Cameron Walker and Jeff Wilson: The Physics of Skipping Stones

Library of Congress: Everyday Mysteries, How Does a Stone “Skip” Across water?

Wired YouTube Channel: Why It’s Almost Impossible to Skip a Stone 89 Times

Use of Biostimulants and Buffers for Upset Recovery in Paper Mill Wastewater Systems

By Heather Jennings, PE

Industrial pulp and paper wastewater is considered one of the more challenging waters to treat using biological methods, which depend on microbial activity to effectively remediate the wastewater.

Wastewater treatment systems are often influenced/impacted by increased hydraulic and/or COD (chemical oxygen demand) loading as mills add new chemicals or otherwise modify mill operations. These events oftentimes inhibit the wastewater microbial activity, causing “upsets” and, potentially, discharge-limit violations. However, providing the necessary biostimulants and buffers to the microbial system—as we describe in this case study from a paper mill in China—can significantly improve system-upset recovery time and overall operational stability. Continue Reading

The Water Break Podcast, Episode 7: Anaerobic Digesters

“Where we bridge the gap between water plant operators and engineers”

In Episode 7, Heather Jennings discusses Wastewater Anaerobic Digesters with Kay Curtin. Kay is an Advanced Wastewater Operator in Wisconsin and a Level A Wastewater Operator in Minnesota, with 45+ years’ experience in wastewater. She is currently working with the Wisconsin Rural Water Association as a trainer/technician for Western Wisconsin and has her own consulting business, Curtin Consulting, LLC. Topics covered in the podcast include anaerobic digester pros and cons, bacteria used, nutritional requirements, key operating parameters, main causes of failures, and typical operating issues.

Kay Curtin

Bio and contact info at Wisconsin Rural Water Association

Podcast Reference from Wanda’s Water Tidbit: The World’s Most Beautiful Sewage Plant

The Water Break Podcast, Episode 6: Microbial Lab Operations

“Where we bridge the gap between water plant operators and engineers”

In Episode 6, Heather Jennings discusses Wastewater Laboratory Operations with Toni Glymph-Martin. Toni is a Wastewater Microbiologist and Certified Operator, B-Level, with 40+ years’ experience. She is the author of two books: A Wastewater Microbiology Laboratory Manual for Operators and Wastewater Microbiology: A Handbook for Operators. In today’s podcast, Toni talks about how and when to use a microscope to better manage wastewater treatment.

Toni Glymph-Martin

Toni’s Website: https://www.wwmicrosolutions.com/

Toni’s textbooks:

More from Toni Glymph-Martin (video): The Wastewater Treatment Plant Microbiological Zoo

Toni Modeling Her Water Bear (Tardigrade) Wear

Podcast Reference from Wanda’s Water Tidbit

The Water Break Podcast, Episode #5: Lagoon Aeration

“Where we bridge the gap between water plant operators and engineers”

In this podcast episode, host Heather Jennings, PE, interviews Patrick Hill, a wastewater treatment lagoon specialist at Triplepoint Environmental. Patrick has presented on lagoon topics at conferences throughout the U.S. and at WEFTEC. He was named one of Water and Waste Digest’s young water professionals to watch in 2015. In this podcast, Heather and Patrick discuss lagoons, their technical considerations, and aeration options. And at the end of the podcast, in Wanda’s Water Tidbits, Heather describes an Australian effort to use an electrochemical method to clean up heavily polluted industrial wastewater.

Triplepoint Environmental Website: lagoons.com

REFERENCED IN THE PODCAST

New Atlas article: Zaps of electricity clean up wastewater from biofuel production

Algal Research article: Electrochemical oxidation of nitrogen-rich post-hydrothermal liquefaction wastewater

University of Sydney article: Engineers use electricity to clean up toxic water

Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck animation: Algae Season/Duckweed Season

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