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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.

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.

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. 

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.

The Water Break Podcast, Episode 11: Everything You Wanted to Know About BOD Testing (But Were Afraid to Ask)

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

In Episode 11, Heather Jennings discusses wastewater BOD (biological oxygen demand) Testing and Lab Analysis with 2 guests: Rick Mealy, retired program chemist from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Laboratory Certification and Registration Program and president-elect of the Wisconsin Wastewater Operator Association’s (WWOA) Board of Directors, and George Bowman, retired lab manager and certification audit chemist.

Contact Rick Mealy at rickmealy1@gmail.com or through the Wisconsin Wastewater Operators’ Association

How to make Holy Water (according to Rick and George): Wait for the video on Slide 2. Click to Watch

Podcast References from Wanda’s Water Tidbit: Walking on Water

 

White Paper: Lagoons—Under the Surface

An In-Depth Investigation of Bioremediation and Biological Factors Involved in Reducing Sludge at a Municipal Wastewater Treatment Facility Lagoon System

Heather Jennings, PE, Sr. Project Engineer, Probiotic Solutions®

Abstract

In this 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. Continue Reading

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…]

Up to 85% Solids Destruction Achieved Using BIO ENERGIZER®

By Heather Jennings, PE

The wastewater treatment facility operators at a city in Missouri wanted better digester performance. They needed a better settling sludge and a higher volume of decants, as well as more room to waste sludge within their existing digesters. The options to dispose of the digested sludge were becoming more and more scarce.

After trialing 3 products, they found BIO ENERGIZER® reduced their solids the best. Significant improvement in settling as well as a significant reduction in the total solids occurred in their digesters. They have achieved up to 85% volatile solids destruction using BIO ENERGIZER®. Another benefit that the City has gained is increased decant volumes. The City has doubled the number of decants by using BIO ENERGIZER® compared with other products previously used. This all results in lower hauling and handling costs. All it takes is a peristaltic pump and the product to get you similar savings! [Read more…]

Anaerobic Digester Saves 42% In Sludge Hauling

by Heather Jennings, PE

The case summary described below is an example of how our Bio Energizer® product helped reduce overall solids handling and improved supernatant clarity. It really doesn’t take much Bio Energizer® to reduce solids within your system when the microbial community is stimulated or “kicked into gear” to do their job. Typically, in anaerobic digestion we dose between 1–2 gallons/MGD. This system had 250,000 gpd and, after an initial dose of 2 gallons, they added 7 oz/day of the product for 60 days in their primary digester. The results? The volume of each decant was double the normal volume, and they had half the solids loading with an average of 0.21% solids. Continuously using the product over two years yielded a net savings of $1,024/ month! [Read more…]

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