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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

Where Did the Water Go?

By Jared Alder, MS 

In England, it is estimated that around 700 million gallons of waterthe equivalent of 1,200 Olympicssize swimming poolsis lost every day to leaks in the country’s vast water system. Often the water just rises out to the pavement and runs down the roadUtilities spend countless hours and a great deal of money and other resources trying to locate the sources of leaks, often tearing up roads multiple times in this search. 

During large rainstorms, leaks can occur from the added amount of water that seeps into the system via the same openings where water exits from the system during dry times. During the recent Tropical Storm Cristobal in the Gulf Coast area of the United States, utilities reported sewage spills that occurred during and after the stormThe spills are a result of a complex underground sewer system that is not capable of handling modern weather events. Large rainfall events, such as tropical storms and hurricanes, can overwhelm aging infrastructureincluding old wastewater pipes, pump stations, and, in some cases, treatment facilities.  [Read more…]

Water Master Plans

By Heather Jennings, PE

When I worked with engineering firms, there were a lot of water master plans being developed. Many of them were updates, as the plans had been around for 5–10 years and needed revision. Some master plans evaluated water and wastewater systems from scratch. All of these were interesting to me due to the wide array of information that had to be gathered and brought into one document. In other words, “one document to rule them all”—if you don’t mind a modified quote from fantasy fiction. [Read more…]

The Water Break Podcast, Episode #4: Activated Sludge System Operational Issues

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

In this podcast episode, host Heather Jennings, PE, interviews two highly experienced experts regarding operational issues related to activated-sludge wastewater systems:

  • Jim Huchel is the Water Reclamation Plant Manager for the City of Flagstaff, Ariz.
  • Dave Axton is the owner of Water Resources Management, Inc., and he is also a Probiotic Solutions® sales representative

Jim and Dave have over 80 years of combined experience in water plant operations.

REFERENCED IN THE PODCAST

Sulabh International Museum of Toilets

 ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Contact Dave Axton at Water Resources Management (WRM)

WRM operates approximately 50 wastewater treatment plants and public water supplies. It has a full-scale wastewater lab where testing is performed for about 150 treatment plants. WRM also performs sludge profiles on various lagoon treatment systems, and it troubleshoots Industrial as well as domestic wastewater treatment plants. WRM also has a software division that designs and distributes water and wastewater management software for public and private utilities throughout the U.S.

Breaking Down COD

By Heather Jennings, PE 

When I first came into the water field in the 2000s, the general rule of Chemical Oxygen Demand to Biochemical Oxygen Demand (or COD to BOD5) was 2:1. That was pretty much all you needed to know in order to understand whether something could be treated chemically, physically, or biologically. Now, the wastewater industry has moved toward COD instead of BOD5. The reason that COD is sometimes preferred is that BOD5 doesn’t take into account the organics that become biomass nor the non-biodegradable carbonaceous matter. COD can also be evaluated in the field with simple test kits, whereas most operators must send their BOD5 tests to third-party labs and wait weeks for results.   [Read more…]

The Water Break Podcast, Episode #3: Troubleshooting Water and Wastewater Systems

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

In this podcast episode, host Heather Jennings, PE, interviews Fred Black and Ray Ramos of the New Mexico Rural Water Association on the topic of Troubleshooting Water and Wastewater Systems. Fred and Ray troubleshoot water and wastewater systems in the state of New Mexico, and together they have more than 50 years of experience in the water/wastewater industry.

Referenced in the Podcast
New Mexico Rural Water Association: https://nmrwa.org/

How to Row a Boat: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHn94aJPSeo

How NOT to Row a Boat: https://youtu.be/N1xQ9Dc7Tm8

Journal of Consumer Psychology: Taking a Shine to it: How the preference for glossy stems from an innate need for water.

Jemaine Clement—“Shiny” (from Moana) (Official Video)

Love Me Some Lagoons!

By Heather Jennings, PE

Of all the wastewater lagoon systems I have been to, I’ve never met the same lagoon twice! Many consider lagoons old tech, but they can be very reliable and more stable treatment systems than many of the more sophisticated systems out there. Lagoons, like any wastewater system, should not be left unattended for long periods of time! I recommend daily visits rather than once a week or once a month. One of the common issues lagoons have, barring equipment issues, is biochemical oxygen demand (BOD5) issues.

BOD5 effluent issues have several different causes. One of the biggest reasons is short circuiting of the lagoon, either by poor design or due to solids build up. Basically, the treatment process can be cut sometimes to over half of the original intended hydraulic detention in the extreme cases by either issue. Poor design can be overcome by adding baffles and strategically placed mixers or aerators. Solids build up can be handled by dredging, but this usually requires extended closure and, at the least, plastic liner replacements. If you are looking at 30%–50% or more organic solids in your sludge, give me a call as we can break them down with Bio Energizer® without taking your system offline! [Read more…]

Wastewater Treatment: A Delicate Balance

By Jared Alder, MS

The treatment of wastewater is a delicate balance of chemical, biological, and mechanical processes. Treatment operators need to find a happy medium to provide high-quality treatment, while staying within budgets and all the while ensuring they meet environmental compliance. Operators are expected to deal with a constantly varying treatment system, such as from climate changes, human usage patterns, and more. With all of the possible changes, budget constraints, and regulator requirements, finding a balance can be quite challenging.

To keep effluent within the parameters of their facility permits, operators must constantly evaluate the chemical makeup of their treatment systems and determine the precise amounts of chemicals that should be applied to get a high-quality discharge. [Read more…]

Your Wastewater System Runs Smoothly, Until It Doesn’t!

By Heather Jennings, PE

The first thing I usually hear from operators is that they don’t have any problems! Everything runs perfectly, all the time, until it doesn’t. Then the heartburn, extra hours, and long days begin. The only other thing as sure as death and taxes for a wastewater system is that it will one day have a system upset. It might not be often, but when it does, let’s talk about what to look at first. [Read more…]

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