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Ducks Walking on Water?

by Heather Jennings, PE
Bio Energizer® Reduces Sludge Over 40% at Utah Municipal WTP

The case study described below was a project that I worked on with a small-lagoon municipal system so overwhelmed with solids that state action was being taken. The ducks on the other side of the lagoon from me literally looked as though they were walking on the water surface! Honestly, that was a new one for me. We can help prevent solids buildup with little capital costs and time! The case study is below. [Read more…]

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…]

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

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…]

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…]

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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