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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/.

Podcast Q&A: Stump the Experts

For our May “Water Break” podcast we’d like to test the experience of 3 panelists who collectively have 100 years of experience between them. Please send me the trickiest wastewater issues you’ve dealt with or are currently dealing with! I personally can’t wait to hear our panelists’ responses! Send your questions to Heather@bhn.us by 5 pm Wednesday, May 12, 2021. You can also put your questions in the blog comments section and we’ll connect to get the specifics. 

The Water Break Podcast, Episode 12: Cyber Security for Water and Wastewater Systems

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

In Episode 12, Heather Jennings discusses Cyber Security for Water and Wastewater Systems with her guest, Tom Kirkham. Tom is the Founder and CEO of IronTech Security. IronTech Security is a cybersecurity company that has been providing services to water utilities for 20+ years. Topics discussed include cyber security issues currently facing the water and wastewater industries and how to prepare for them.

Mentioned in the Podcast
Podcast References from Wanda’s Water Tidbit: Water Bears on the Moon?

It’s ALIVE!

by Heather Jennings, PE

. . . the lagoon sludge layer, that is. I’ve seen many lagoons full of sludge, and the general attitude I find in the water industry is that the sludge layer is inert and really can only be mechanically dredged. To a certain point, that is correct: sand, soil, grit, plastics—basically inorganics—do need to be mechanically dredged. The organics, on the other hand, don’t, and they are easily removed with bioremediation. Continue Reading

Let’s Talk Nutrients for a Minute

by Heather Jennings, PE

Generally, in the wastewater industry we talk about 100 mg/L BOD to 5 mg/L Nitrogen to 1 mg/L Phosphorus. The values for nitrogen and phosphorus can be higher or lower than this, but it’s the average number that many wastewater system designs are built around.

If you look a little further, there is another formula used to describe the typical biomass of cells, C12H87O23N12P. This just isn’t all that is needed, though, to build a healthy biomass. Just like how my kids can’t grow healthy on pizza and their favorite blue box of mac and cheese, microbes need additional inorganic nutrients such as potassium, calcium, iron, and chlorine. They also need micronutrients such as molybdenum, cobalt, nickel, and others. This is where many wastewater systems are typically deficient: the micronutrients. What wastewater treatment facility operators often don’t realize is that you can have all the carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus in the world, but without the inorganic and micronutrients you may never be able to truly optimize your system!

The more diversified your influent, the better off you are, but you can still have a system always on the edge of running out. Add chronic toxicity or a mild upset, and you can lose the whole biomass overnight. Our Probiotic Solutions® product, Bio Genesis®, uses a carbon carrier to deliver macro- and micronutrients to the cells. The added bonus is that the carbon carrier we call Micro Carbon Technology® is itself a biostimulant—think energy drink for the microbes—that helps them reduce solids and organics more efficiently than previously possible.

For more information about Bio Genesis, click here.

Spring Is Coming and It’s Lagoon Time!

By Heather Jennings, PE

As winter loses its grip on us and we move toward spring, it’s finally time to start monitoring lagoons for seasonal turnover and stricter permit requirements. It’s also a great time to start bioremediation of your lagoon organic sludge!

With warmer weather it is easy to capitalize on those microorganisms that have been suppressed during the cooler months. A good example of this is a system we worked with in New Mexico that was dealing with irregular sludge build-up in their three lagoons. The system was modified to run in series relative to the influent rather than the short circuiting that took the first pond out of use. A 6-month test (later extended to 300 days) was developed in which Bio Energizer®, a bio stimulant, was administered to make nutrients more available to wastewater microorganisms.

Results: Pond 1 had a 12% sludge reduction, Pond 2 had a 36% reduction, and Pond 3 had a 24% reduction. The great thing is that no dredging expense was necessary, just daily application of Bio Energizer®.

To download/read the case study. click here for English or here for Spanish.

Use of Biostimulants for Upset Recovery in Paper Mill Wastewater Systems

By Heather Jennings, PE

Two specific Probiotic Solutions® liquid bioremediation products were used at a large-scale paper mill in China to address system upsets caused by hydraulic loading from new upstream processes.

The products involved are Bio Energizer® (BE)—a scientific formulation of organic acids, buffers, natural biological stimulants, micronutrients, and energy systems—and Micatrol® (MT), a specialized product that uses organic acid as a substrate to buffer wastewater microbial life. Both BE and MT are complexed with our proprietary Micro Carbon Technology® (MCT) to deliver readily bioavailable nutrients to microorganisms. [Read more…]

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