Viewpoint: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…
Kurt C. Peterson, Publisher
Those words of Charles Dickens from A Tale of Two Cities when Europe was experiencing the disaster of the French Revolution and the upheavals that followed in its wake are very timely.
As a year of trials and tribulations winds down for us, we need to remind ourselves that the greatest progress very often comes out of adversity. We can only prevail when we rise to the challenges, no matter how many or how great. Pandemics, environmental issues, climate change, social and political upheavals have created the worst of times for us. We can’t change that, but we can decide how we will deal with them. The best of times is that we have awesome technologies at our disposal, and the lessons of history to guide us.
Gilad Cohen reports on water stability at the Carlsbad Desalination Plant, which supplies potable water to about 400,000 people in San Diego County. After the initial impact of COVID-19 early this year, Poseidon Water and IDE took emergency action to ensure ‘operational continuity’ and to the continuation of a safe water supply. This involved a volunteer crew sheltering in-place for 21 days onsite with 24-hour remote support and guidance and a standby crew. Through restructuring operations and maintenance routines, and the efficiency and cooperation of management, owner and regulators, an uninterrupted supply of water was maintained.
Dennis Abraham Thazhamon writes on the potential for industrial wastewater reuse, driven by the rising cost of water for industry. He offers a sobering review of how industrialization has contributed to significant lifestyle improvements, but at a cost to the environment through pollution and water depletion. He makes clear the necessity to reduce water usage and treat wastewater to make it reusable or at least safer to discharge into the environment. He points out that present-day industrial wastewater treatment is more complex and costly than ever before. His article describes a host of available treatment technologies that have proven effective in dealing with an area of water treatment critical to all of us.
With the world’s growing shortage of potable water, Amit Patel presents a timely review of field devices for desalination technology that offer greater automation through IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things); edge-computing gateways that operate independently from existing control architecture, while improving the accessibility of data and reducing the need for high-capacity cloud servers and high-volume data transfer systems. He describes how IIoT-enabled systems offer critical value through actionable, real-time data that can make improvements to systems and also guide long-term decisions for investments in new technologies, implementation for effective energy efficiency, as well as enhancing predictive maintenance efforts.
This month our public health editor, Kelly Reynolds, reports on sanitary surveys that assess risks to drinking water supplies. These surveys are onsite inspections by state primacy agency representatives, delegated by US EPA. They are an important part of a proactive approach to protect the public from harmful contaminants. These surveys are essential for identifying potential tap-water supply contaminations. Some water providers have suggested that sanitary surveys could substitute for direct water quality monitoring, particularly in resource-limited, developing countries.
And so we leave you with a holiday wish, another Dickens quote, from A Christmas Carol. After experiencing his family’s challenges and suffering, the character Tiny Tim exclaims: “God bless us, every one!”