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The Water Break Podcast, Episode 19: What the New Infrastructure Funding Law Means for Water Treatment

“Where We Bridge the Gap Between Water Plant Operators and Engineers”

In Episode 19, Heather Jennings, PE, interviews Michael Preston, Legislative and Policy Analyst for the National Rural Water Association, regarding the newly passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and what the billions of dollars in new federal funding could mean for the water and wastewater industry.

The bill delivers more than $50 billion to EPA to improve our nation’s drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure—the single largest investment in water that the federal government has ever made. [Read more…]

The Water Break Podcast Hits 3,000 Downloads

Back in May of 2020, we started talking about doing a water-and-wastewater-focused podcast that Heather Jennings would host. Heather had never done anything like hosting a podcast, and she wasn’t sure that she should. “Do you think anyone would listen?” she asked.

We did, and we started mapping out the campaign. Heather insisted that the podcasts be educational in nature, with an emphasis on “bridging the gap between water plant operators and engineers.” As an engineer, she knew that a great deal of education was needed to bridge that gap. We all agreed that, to be viable, we needed to produce at least one podcast a month. This was a lot to ask of the host and all her potential guests, bringing up Heather’s second question: “Do you think anyone will agree to talk with me?”

Last week we recorded our 18th Water Break podcast in 18 months, and this week the statistics report from Blubrry, our podcast hosting service, let us know that we had reached the milestone of 3,000 downloads. We realize that 3,000 isn’t a huge number when compared with more commercial podcasts, but for an educational podcast in the water and wastewater treatment niche, it’s a great accomplishment.

Something else that amazes us is the world-wide reach that podcasting can have. We knew that our largest audiences would be in the U.S. and Canada, but who would have thought that our third-largest audience would be in India, and our fourth and fifth in South Africa and Saudi Arabia. All told, we’ve had listeners from 57 countries, with some surprises such as Bangladesh and Northern Mariana Islands.

And so far, there have been 27 guests willing to voluntarily share their knowledge, experience, and lessons learned with the rest of the water-and-wastewater-treatment community through this podcast. They do it because they believe that water treatment is a calling, an opportunity to do something good for our local environments and our planet as a whole. But before you start thinking that these people and topics are TOO serious, you need only listen to a couple of the episodes to hear the joy and laughter that comes out. Who knew wastewater treatment could be so funny? (Apparently, anyone who has ever worked in a wastewater treatment plant!)

We take this opportunity to thank all those guests who have helped to provide over 3,000 hours of free education about water and wastewater processes and all those guests who will continue to share their knowledge through this podcast in the future.

Congratulations to everyone who has participated in helping The Water Break Podcast achieve 3,000 downloads!

To view and listen to the 18 podcast episodes, click here, or subscribe to The Water Break Podcast through your favorite podcasting service.

The Water Break Podcast, Episode 18: Exploring Moving Bed Biofilm Reactors

“Where We Bridge the Gap Between Water Plant Operators and Engineers”

In Episode 18, Heather Jennings, PE, explores moving bed biofilm reactors (MBBRs) with her guest, Dan Turner, president of Blue Whale Technologies. MBBRs biologically treat wastewater by incorporating specialized media that increase surface area on which microorganisms can grow and consume organic material. Heather and Dan discuss MBBR applications, equipment, sizing and design, as well as process optimization.

Links: Blue Whale Technologies

Wanda’s Water Tidbit: The Mpemba Effect

The Water Break Podcast, Episode 17: Gain, Train, Retain

“Where We Bridge the Gap Between Water Plant Operators and Engineers”

In Episode 17, Heather Jennings, PE, discusses the aging of the current water and wastewater treatment operations workforce and efforts to recruit, train, and retain new workers. Her guests are Paula Jackson, Apprenticeship Program Coordinator for the Vermont Rural Water Association, and Shea Dunifon, Education Coordinator for Pinellas County Utilities’ South Cross Bayou Education Program.

Links:

Webinar Video: Lagoons Under the Surface

Webinar video highlights key findings—including $6M in savings—from a year-long bioremediation program for lagoon sludge reduction at a municipal wastewater treatment plant.

In this 31-minute video, Heather Jennings, PE, Director of Probiotic Solutions®, and Diego Lopez, Chief Plant Operator for the City of Lemoore, Calif., Wastewater Treatment Plant discuss highlights from the year-long study of a bioremediation program (using Bio Energizer®) for lagoon sludge reduction at a municipal wastewater treatment plant.

In the study, the operators of a municipal wastewater treatment facility with 4 lagoons had determined that their 2 primary lagoons—10-foot-deep, with 25-million-gallon holding capacity each—had reached sludge depths of 5–7 feet, putting the lagoons at risk of upset and seriously impacting the facility’s wastewater processing capacity.

A bioremediation plan was implemented that included the use of a biostimulant to support microbial reduction of the organic solids in the system. Sludge judging was performed for the 2 primary lagoons at baseline and at quarterly intervals over a one-year period to measure the impact of the bioremediation plan on sludge reduction.

The results of ATP and DNA analyses pointed out the often-misunderstood fact that wastewater treatment facility lagoon sludge is not inert: it is the most biologically active layer of the water column and can be efficiently controlled and reduced through proper bioremediation interventions

At the end of the one-year bioremediation plan, sludge depth for the 2 lagoons had been reduced by an average of 45%, with sludge depth at some sample points completely reduced to zero. This represented 17,800 dry tons of sludge that did not need to be mechanically removed and hauled to a disposal location, a potential savings to the treatment facility of over $6 million.

To read the full report in the Lagoons: Under the Surface white paper, CLICK HERE.

The Water Break Podcast, Episode 16: The Environmental Laboratory, Tips and Tricks for Sampling

“Where We Bridge the Gap Between Water Plant Operators and Engineers”

In Episode 16, Heather Jennings, PE, discusses Environmental Laboratory Sampling Tips & Tricks with Marci Payne, Sales and Marketing Director at Legend Technical Services of Arizona, Inc. In this podcast, Ms. Payne provides a general overview of best practices for collecting water and wastewater samples for testing at an environmental laboratory.  

Additional Resources:

Wanda’s Water Tidbit: Fatty McFatberg

 

PS and RWAAz Host PFAS Workshop

Probiotic Solutions®, along with the Rural Water Association of Arizona, conducted a workshop today on Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) at Probiotic Solutions/Bio Huma Netics headquarters in Gilbert, Arizona. The workshop, titled “PFAS: The Phantom Menace,” featured presentations by Heather Jennings, PE, Director of Probiotic Solutions, and Marci Payne, Sales and Marketing Manager at Legend Technical Services of Arizona.

This was the first in a series of PFAS workshops that Heather will also be presenting for rural water associations in New Mexico and Utah. More information about PFAS can be found on our recent Water Break podcast at https://probiotic.com/2021/06/the-water-break-podcast-episode-15-pfas-what-are-they-and-why-do-i-care/.

The Water Break Podcast, Episode 15: PFAS—What Are They and Why Do I Care?

“Where We Bridge the Gap Between Water Plant Operators and Engineers”

In Episode 15, Heather Jennings, PE, leads a panel of 3 guests on a discussion of PFAS (Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances) in the environment, drinking water, and wastewater. The panel includes Marci Payne, Sales and Marketing Director at Legend Technical Services of Arizona, Inc.; Cathy Swanson, West Regional Sales Manager and Groundwater Remediation Specialist at Purolite; and Dr. Rosa Gwinn, Global PFAS Technical Leader at AECOM. Heather and the panel discuss PFAS in terms of what they are, how they impact us, how we test for them, and issues related to removing them from the environment. They also discuss current regulatory requirements and what our level of concern should be in terms of addressing them in our industry.

Additional Resources:

Mentioned in the Podcast:

Wanda’s Water Tidbit: Mining for Sewer Heat:

The Water Break Podcast, Episode 14: Wastewater Wisdom 1

“Where We Bridge the Gap Between Water Plant Operators and Engineers”

In Episode 14, Heather Jennings, PE, leads a panel of 3 guests who share their lessons learned and wastewater wisdom from almost 100 years of combined wastewater processing experience. The panel guests collectively hold more water and wastewater operator licenses than we can count. The guests are Jim Huchel, City of Flagstaff Water Reclamation Plant Manager; Dave Axton, Owner of Water Resources, Inc.; and Jason Joynes who is Executive Director of Rural Water Association of Arizona and also Process Control and Equipment Specialist for Construction Product Marketing (CPM) in Arizona.

Panelist Contact Information:

Dave Axton, Jason Joynes, and (if you want to contact someone in the middle of the night) Jim Huchel.

Links from Wanda’s Water Tidbits:

The Water Break Podcast, Episode 13: Treatment Plant Instrumentation

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

In Episode 13, Heather Jennings discusses Treatment Plant Instrumentation with her guest, Benjamin Barker. Mr. Barker has been an applications engineer for Xylem for 4 years, working with YSI’s process instrumentation product lines. In his role as applications engineer, he assists customers with sensor applications, writes material for YSI.com, and conducts technical trainings and webinars for wastewater operators and engineers.

Podcast References from Wanda’s Water Tidbit: How a Burning River led to the Clean Water Act

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