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BHN Hosts PFAS Training for Water and Wastewater Plant Operators

Bio Huma Netics hosted a 6-hour PFAS training seminar on February 23, 2022. Co-Sponsored by the Rural Water Association of Arizona, the event provided education on the problem of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination in water.

Speakers at the event included Heather Jennings, PE, Director of Probiotic Solutions®, Cathy Swanson, West Regional Sales Manager and Groundwater Remediation Specialist at Purolite, and Marci Payne, Sales and Marketing Director at Legend Technical Services of Arizona. An Operator’s panel discussion was led by Jim Huchel, Wastewater Treatment Manager for the City of Flagstaff, and Henry Cornejo, Wastewater Treatment Program Manager at Rural Water Association of Arizona. Professional Development Hours were awarded to the 27 attendees.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), PFAS are widely used, long lasting manufactured chemicals, components of which break down very slowly over time. Because of their widespread use and their persistence in the environment, many PFAS are found in the blood of people and animals all over the world and are present at low levels in water and a variety of food products. Scientific studies have shown that exposure to PFAS may be linked to a variety of harmful health effects in humans and animals.

The Water Break Podcast, Episode 20: Crouching, Crawling, and Squeezing In—Confined Space Safety

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

In The Water Break Podcast Episode 20, Heather Jennings, PE, interviews Paula Jackson, owner of Earth Water Specialists, which provides training for the water and wastewater industry. The interview includes discussion of OSHA requirements, types of confined spaces, common hazards faced by water and wastewater workers, and how to stay safe when confronting common hazards in confined spaces. They emphasize the importance of safety training and preparedness when working in confined spaces.

Show Links

Wanda’s Water Tidbit

The Probiotic Solutions Product Quality Assurance Process

In this video, we show the scientific steps we take to make sure that all our Probiotic Solutions® liquid products are built according to specifications, are consistent from batch to batch, and are of the highest quality.

Heather Jennings Is Featured Guest on “Better Together” Podcast

Paper360, a bimonthly magazine for the pulp & paper industry, produces a podcast called “Better Together: Conversations With Innovative Leaders.” At a recent podcast recorded live at SuperCorrExpo in Orlando, Fla., Heather Jennings, Director of Probiotic Solutions and Host of our own Water Break Podcast, was interviewed on the topic of diversity and innovation for the corrugated industry. Heather is Emeritus Chair of TAPPI’s Women in Industry Committee.

The mission of the TAPPI Women in Industry Committee is to “Inspire and support the development of women in the forest products, pulp, paper, tissue, packaging and associated industries by serving as a resource for education and networking opportunities, that result in more women leaders in the industry, fostering overall industry health.”

Here’s a link to the podcast: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1295744/9397632-paper360-better-together-supercorrexpo-live-part-2.

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

 

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