Water Conditioning & Purification Magazine

Project spec tool

Tuesday, December 15th, 2020

Watts introduces recent improvements to its plumbing project specification tool SpecHUB, enabling engineers, architects, designers and specifiers to quickly specify plumbing and flow control, water quality and drainage products according to local building codes. Professionals can quickly find the Watts equivalent of another manufacturer’s product with a new cross-reference tool and easily create new projects by copying master spec templates.

POU water filters

Tuesday, December 15th, 2020

Water One, Inc.’s POU water purifiers, easy to install, under-sink, two- and three-stage systems, are true water purifiers perfect for homes, offices, RVs, cabins and remote locations. The systems meet/exceed NSF/ANSI 53 and P231 standards for a water purifier, killing waterborne viruses (99.997 percent) and bacteria (99.9999 percent) on contact and on demand, as well as eliminating cysts (99.997 percent). The #10 size replacement cartridge sets for the units can also be used to convert existing POU filter systems into true water purifiers.
(239) 425-6100

Radar flow metering

Tuesday, December 15th, 2020

The NivuFlow Mobile 550 from NIVUS GmbH detects the flowrate in water by using CW-Doppler-Radar. Intuitive operation via smartphone or other mobile devices in connection with a start-up wizard enable very quick and easy commissioning of the measurement system. The unit is equipped with an integrated LTE modem with worldwide coverage. A typical application for the NivuFlow Mobile 550 is flow metering in channel networks, in irrigation channels or in tributaries and generally as soon as no measurement system can be installed in the medium.

Flow meters

Tuesday, December 15th, 2020

Endress+Hauser introduces its line of Proline t-mass F/I 300/500 flowmeters, reliable and versatile for measuring pure gases and gas mixtures. Each has numerous alarm functions, as well as bidirectional measurement capability and reverse flow detection. All-metal sensor design and one-of-a-kind monitoring functionality leave nothing to be desired in terms of optimum process measurement. The unit ensures high measurement accuracy (±1.0 percent) with excellent repeatability (±0.25 percent). Gas flows with low pressure and a low-flow velocity can also be measured easily. T-mass F and I can operate at process temperatures up to 356°F and pressures up to 580 psi.

Digital pressure monitor

Tuesday, December 15th, 2020

Xylem introduces the Sanitaire Digital Pressure Monitor (DPM) to transform wastewater diffusers into smart diffusers.The solution offers users an enhanced digital interface that provides diffuser health data, engineering and economic calculations, and asset management recommendations. The unit monitors pressure in the aeration system and provides asset recommendations via a user-friendly human machine interface (HMI). It has the versatility to track pressure readings from multiple grids with a single controller and HMI to enable real-time decisions.

Sanitary Surveys: Assessing Risks to Drinking Water Supplies

Tuesday, December 15th, 2020

By Kelly A. Reynolds, MSPH, PhD

Waterborne outbreaks and disease result primarily from microbial contamination. Water providers are required to routinely monitor source and treated water supplies to ensure safety. In addition, proactive approaches toward protecting public health from harmful contaminants include the use of sanitary surveys. Under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), states, territories and tribes are required to perform routine inspections of water sources, distribution channels and other critical control points of management, maintenance and delivery. (Recently, researchers have studied the ability of sanitary survey scores to predict water quality at the point of use.)

State primacy
Sanitary surveys (SS) are on-site, physical inspections by representatives from the state primacy agency, as delegated by US EPA. State primacy refers to the responsibility of primary enforcement authority at the local (i.e., state, territory or tribal) level, which includes the oversight of eight target inspection areas relative to a drinking water system (Table 1). In addition to conducting sanitary surveys of public water systems, primacy agencies carry out a list of key activities as designated by public water system supervision (PWSS) programs. These activities include:1

  • Developing and maintaining state drinking water regulations
  • Developing and maintaining an inventory of public water systems throughout the state
  • Developing and maintaining a database to hold compliance information on public water systems
  • Conducting sanitary surveys of public water systems
  • Reviewing public water system plans and specifications
  • Providing technical assistance to managers and operators of public water systems
  • Carrying out a program to ensure that the public water systems regularly inform their consumers about the quality of the water that they are providing
  • Certifying laboratories that can perform the analysis of drinking water that will be used to determine compliance with the regulations
  • Carrying out an enforcement program to ensure that the public water systems comply with all of the state’s requirements

All US states and territories (except Wyoming) have primacy relative to public water system programs of the SDWA. In Wyoming, US EPA Region 8 Office in Denver, CO implements these programs. Although US EPA provides detailed guidelines for SS inspections,2 individual primacy agencies may have unique standardized protocols and checklists. Inspections are not limited to state agencies; a network of private vendors and local health officials may also be consulted in certain states.

Why conduct a sanitary survey?
The purpose of an SS is to identify potential problems that may affect the safety of tap water supplies, including health hazards and sources of environmental contamination. Inspections often begin with a review of system schematics and maps, as well as operator treatment and monitoring records, followed by field analysis. Site assessments can confirm that providers are compliant with state and federal standards and guidelines and are up to date with their system information.

Also, third-party inspections provide opportunities for educating providers on proper procedures for maintaining a safe water supply and to establish a relationship for outreach and assistance. Theoretically, with proper training, water utility managers can use these site inspections to predict water quality vulnerabilities and develop targeted management plans.
Variability among different inspectors is also a possibility, although no US studies were found where the reproducibility of SS scores among different inspectors was studied or that indicated this was a concern. Given that community drinking water systems may be highly varied and complex, many state primacy agencies and local municipalities have developed customized checklists for detailed assessments.

Can sanitary surveys replace water quality monitoring?
Some water providers have suggested that SS could substitute for direct water quality monitoring, particularly in resource-limited, developing countries. The implementation of analytical water monitoring tools involving the culture of microbes or isolation and analysis of chemicals from collected samples, can be challenging given specialized handling protocols and laboratory resource needs.

Several studies have compared SS information to drinking water quality data to determine if SS data is reliably predictive of health-related contaminant risks. One study in Bangladesh compared E. coli monitoring results to sanitary inspection scores of groundwater sources.3 (E. coli is commonly used in the US and globally as a waterborne indicator of fecal contamination.) In this study, 1,684 water samples were collected from 902 wells with SS data. Sanitary risk scores were compared to E. coli data to determine if they were a good predictor of water quality. E. coli was detected in 41 percent of the wells. Sanitary scores were used to characterize the water supplies as low risk (31 percent), medium risk (45 percent) and high or very high risk (25 percent). The probability that the sanitary survey correctly predicted hazardous water quality, as evidenced by E. coli presence, was less than 50 percent. Thus, sanitary scores in this scenario were not associated with the presence or concentration of E. coli. Similar studies have been conducted in other global regions but not in developed countries.

Sanitary surveys are seen as supplemental to, not a replacement for, analytical monitoring tools. Community water systems (CWS) that supply water to at least 25 people year-round and have at least 15 service connections are required to conduct an SS every three years, compared to non-community water systems. Suppliers who supply water to at least 25 people at least six months out of the year (i.e., schools, office buildings, hospitals) or who are transient users (i.e., gas stations, campgrounds) are inspected every five years. In addition, CWS with outstanding performance based on prior survey results are permitted to extend their testing frequency to every five years.

Addressing deficiencies
Significant deficiencies identified in the SS must be addressed according to a determined schedule to avoid a citation by US EPA. The default corrective action date is six months from the time the inspector’s report is received and notification sent to the agency within 30 days of the mitigation action. If providers cannot address the deficiencies in the allotted time, extensions can only be granted by US EPA.

While SS are another tool to protect municipal water supplies, they also highlight present concerns. Real-world examples of significant deficiencies include dead animals in storage tanks, improperly sealed wellheads, close contact with human or animal wastewater sources, cross-connection gaps, leaking finished water tanks, storage tanks not cleaned properly, lack of a monitoring plan, lack of an emergency management plan, etc. Deficiencies could be present for years before they are identified, further supporting the additional proactive approach of having a final treatment barrier at the point of use.


  1. US EPA O. Public Water System Supervision (PWSS) Grant Program. https://www.epa.gov/dwreginfo/public-water-system-supervision-pwss-grant-program. Accessed November 6, 2020.
  2. US EPA Office of Water U, of Ground Water O, Water D. How to Conduct a Sanitary Survey of Drinking Water Systems A Learner’s Guide: Designed to Assist in the Delivery of a Sanitary Survey Training Course.
  3. Ercumen A; Naser, A.M.; Arnold, B.F.; Unicomb, L.; Colford, J.M.; Luby, S.P. Can sanitary inspection surveys predict risk of microbiological contamination of groundwater sources? Evidence from shallow tubewells in rural Bangladesh. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2017;96(3):561-568. doi:10.4269/ajtmh.16-0489
  4. US EPA. Sanitary Surveys | Drinking Water Requirements for States and Public Water Systems. https://www.epa.gov/dwreginfo/sanitary-surveys. Accessed November 6, 2020.

About the author
Dr. Kelly A. Reynolds is a University of Arizona Professor at the College of Public Health; Chair of Community, Environment and Policy; Program Director of Environmental Health Sciences and Director of Environment, Exposure Science and Risk Assessment Center (ESRAC). She holds a Master of Science Degree in public health (MSPH) from the University of South Florida and a doctorate in microbiology from the University of Arizona. Reynolds is WC&P’s Public Health Editor and a former member of the Technical Review Committee. She can be reached via email at reynolds@u.arizona.edu

NSF/ANSI Standards for Onsite Wastewater Equipment

Tuesday, December 15th, 2020

By Rick Andrew

Onsite wastewater technology varies across a broad spectrum, from simple septic tanks to much more sophisticated advanced treatment systems. Effective operation of these advanced treatment systems is very important because they are typically deployed in sensitive environments, such as near rivers and other bodies of water that could be negatively impacted by untreated wastewater discharge.

As such, a number of standards have been developed by the NSF Joint Committee on Wastewater Technology. A list of these standards can be found in Figure 1.

The first to be developed, NSF/ANSI 40 Residential Wastewater Treatment Systems, was adopted way back in 1970 and continues to be updated to address advances in treatment technology, as well as changes in regulations. In addition to addressing the wastewater treatment performance of these systems, it additionally includes requirements for materials, design and construction, and product literature that manufacturers must supply to authorized representatives and wastewater treatment system owners. An additional aspect of NSF/ANSI 40 is that it includes service-related obligations that manufacturers must provide to system owners.

NSF/ANSI 41 Non-liquid Saturated Treatment Systems, first adopted in 1978, was developed as a follow-on to NSF/ANSI 40 and like NSF/ANSI 40, has been continually updated over the years to remain current in terms of both technology and regulations. This standard addresses systems that do not use a liquid-saturated media to store or treat waste. Most of the systems conforming to this standard are used in seasonal applications with limited capacity. In fact, the standard divides end uses into categories of residential, day-use and cottage. It addresses materials, design and construction, performance and the literature that must be provided to authorized representatives and system owners.

As with the overall filtration industry, components of wastewater systems are an important consideration. As such, the NSF Joint Committee on Wastewater Technology developed NSF/ANSI 46 Evaluation of Components and Devices Used in Wastewater Treatment Systems to address them. First adopted in 1997, the standard covers grinder pumps and related components, filtration devices for residential gravity-flow septic tank systems, chlorination devices, UV disinfection devices and ozone generation devices. The standard includes materials, design and construction, and performance requirements for each of these types of components.

Onsite wastewater treatment systems specifically intended to reduce nitrogen in wastewater are addressed through NSF/ANSI 245 Residential Wastewater Treatment Systems–Nitrogen Reduction. Adopted more recently (2007) than the previous standards, NSF/ANSI 245 includes requirements for residential wastewater treatment systems capable of treating 400 to 1,500 GPD (1,514 to 5,678 L/day). In addition to reducing nitrogen in residential wastewater, systems conforming to NSF/ANSI 245 must also conform to NSF/ANSI 40. Interestingly, NSF/ANSI 245 is applicable to not only more typical systems, but also to natural systems involving features such as vegetation and wetlands. Similar to NSF/ANSI 40, the standard includes requirements for materials, design and construction, and product literature that manufacturers must supply to authorized representatives and wastewater treatment system owners.
NSF/ANSI 350 Onsite Residential and Commercial Water Reuse Treatment Systems, the most recent of the NSF wastewater standards, was first adopted in 2011 and has been updated since then to remain current. It covers a variety of onsite residential and commercial water reuse treatment systems, specifically:

  • Greywater treatment systems having a rated treatment capacity up to 1,500 GPD, applying to onsite residential and commercial treatment systems that treat greywater, those that treat laundry water from residential laundry facilities and those that treat bathing water.
  • Residential wastewater treatment systems having a rated treatment capacity up to 1,500 GPD, applying to onsite residential treatment systems that treat combined wastewater generated by the occupants of residence(s). It is important to note that a reuse system treating 400 to 1,500 GPD must meet the requirements of NSF/ANSI 40. A reuse system treating less than 400 GPD is not required to meet those requirements.
  • Commercial treatment systems, which include onsite commercial treatment systems that treat combined commercial facility wastewater and commercial facility laundry water of any capacity and those treatment systems that treat greywater from commercial facilities with capacities exceeding 1,500 GPD. These systems are performance-tested and evaluated at the location of the reuse system installation, using the wastewater generated onsite from the facility serving the treatment system.

The standard defines two classes of systems, Class R (single-family residential) and Class C (multi-family residential and commercial), with possible end uses for reused water that include toilet and urinal flushing, and surface irrigation. Similar to the other NSF wastewater standards, NSF/ANSI 350 includes requirements for materials, design and construction, and product literature that manufacturers must supply to authorized representatives and to wastewater treatment system owners.

A standard that many people find very interesting is NSF P157 Incinerating Toilet Systems–Health and Sanitation. First published in 2000 and updated since to stay current, P157 establishes minimum requirements for health and sanitation characteristics of electrical, gas or oil-fired incinerating devices designed to combust toilet waste. It contains minimum requirements for materials, design and construction, and performance of incinerating devices used to treat household human waste. It also requires that if other wastewater is generated, it must be disposed of in accordance with applicable rules and regulations.

A suite of standards
These standards together form a comprehensive suite of criteria for evaluation of advanced onsite wastewater technologies, which are so important in those sensitive areas where traditional septic systems are not possible or practical. These standards have tremendous value because these technologies are complex and difficult to assess in terms of effectiveness without generally accepted testing approaches. With these standards, end users, regulators and manufacturers can all have confidence that conforming products will perform in a safe and environmentally protective manner. This confidence allows all of the stakeholders to make well-informed decisions in the design phase, as opposed to having to wait until installation and hoping for successful onsite testing results in the field.

About the author
Rick Andrew is NSF’s Director of Global Business Development–Water Systems. Previously, he served as General Manager of NSF’s Drinking Water Treatment Units (POU/POE), ERS (Protocols) and Biosafety Cabinetry Programs. Andrew has a Bachelor’s Degree in chemistry and an MBA from the University of Michigan. He can be reached at (800) NSF-MARK or email: Andrew@nsf.org

Applying IIoT and Automation Technologies to Global Water Challenges

Tuesday, December 15th, 2020

By Amit Patel

Nearly a billion people worldwide lack basic water services and another billion lack safely managed drinking water, according to a United Nations report on water and sanitation.1 And the problem is only getting worse: currently, 17 countries and 33 of the world’s cities2 with populations above three million are living under extremely high water stress. That number is expected to rise to 45 by 2030.

Desalination is one solution that offers significant potential and is receiving major investments in technology innovation. Unfortunately, at this point, desalination is one of the most expensive alternatives, requiring extensive mechanical, biological and chemical treatments to create water fit for human consumption or even industrial/commercial use. The global desalination market is expected to reach a 7.8 percent combined annual growth rate (CAGR)3 through 2025 and provide one percent of the water we use, relying mainly on proven approaches like RO, electrodialysis and multi-effect distillation (MED).

In addition to extensive water conservation efforts, which are the least expensive option, there are two cutting-edge alternatives looming on the horizon as possible ways to address the problem:

  1. Temperature-swing solvent extraction (TSSE), which uses a solvent to extract freshwater more efficiently than other methods and at a fraction of the cost
  2. Battery electrode deionization (BDI), in which water is run through a channel. Electrodes are then used to capture the salt ions from the water, thus diverting the freshwater and salt accordingly.

Both are still in the research stage and have yet to be scaled up to industrial levels. It is yet to be determined whether they can potentially offer economic and environmental benefits when scaled up to the level needed for large-scale commercialization. As a result, traditional desalination efforts remain the most commercially viable alternative to deal with this global water challenge. Fortunately, advances in a wide range of technologies applied to other manufacturing and process systems may improve the ability of current desalination technologies to meet the need.

Greater automation and IIoT connectivity
Perhaps the key advance is enabled through the introduction of field devices with greater integration of sensors that allows for data collection and parameters not previously measured, offered by the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). This enables a greater level of resolution and monitoring of assets. Admittedly, many of today’s older plants were designed primarily for manual and semiautomatic operation. Several factors, however, including the requirement to increase output, quality and efficiency, drive desalination plants to increase their level of automation and IIoT connectivity. Plus, as new IIoT-enabled equipment is added, plant operators will increasingly be able to capture real-time data from sensors, measuring pressure, temperature, level, flow, analytics (like pH) and wireless performance. These new measurements will enable plant operators to monitor equipment remotely, improve plant performance and quickly identify opportunities for predictive maintenance. Those capabilities provide a variety of benefits, including improved water quality, greater reliability, reduced downtime and increased energy efficiency.

Improved water quality
Using sensors deployed throughout the plant, facility operators will be able to monitor critical performance information, like conductivity, chlorine content, dissolved oxygen, turbidity and particle index in real time. IIoT-enabled systems also include the ability to distribute key measurements to the appropriate managers in a plant. In fact, performance dashboards can be customized for individual job responsibilities.

Real-time actionable data
The vision for IIoT-enabled systems (the critical value they offer) is actionable, real-time data that plant operators can apply to make incremental improvements on specific systems, as well as guiding more long-term decisions, such as investments in new technologies or implementing more effective programs to improve energy efficiency, eliminate waste or enhance predictive maintenance efforts. As a result, automation solution providers have developed edge-computing gateways that aggregate, analyze and report key performance metrics from multiple devices. These gateways make it easier to implement IIoT solutions that utilize real-time equipment data, gathering and storing them either remotely or on cloud-computing resources. Edge-computing gateway can reduce the burden on machine resources by operating independently from the existing control architecture, while improving the accessibility of data; they can also reduce the need for high-capacity cloud servers and high-volume data transfer systems. Edge gateways also make the machine performance data more actionable because those data are collected and analyzed at the plant operations level.

The gateways can provide users with real-time, actionable information on the functionality of equipment, state of actuator wear, valves and other devices, as well as the energy efficiency of pneumatic systems, without involving the existing machine controller. Their programmable, analytical capability can detect in advance when a machine or device’s critical limits are reached and provide users with the opportunity for early intervention, without loss of production time. A plant operator might not be able to use an edge gateway for an entire plant but could certainly deploy several gateways to monitor critical operations in various locations throughout a plant. In doing so, plant operators could have new information resources to help control a range of plant costs, such as energy consumption. Improving energy efficiency in desalination systems is critical to improving their value. The most common form of desalination, called seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO), consumes an average of 10 to 13 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per every thousand gallons.4 Any place within a plant where wasted energy can be detected and fixed contributes to bringing that cost down.

Implementing the right sensors and tying their outputs into edge gateways can help meet that goal. For example, the sensors monitor air consumption in pneumatic systems, enabling rapid intervention in the event of leakage. This helps optimize energy consumption, prevent machine downtime and cut costs, as well as providing critical data to edge gateways.

Greater reliability
Data from the sensors on critical pieces of equipment can be compiled and analyzed, enabling predictive maintenance warnings or alerts when important parameters are reached. For instance, a plant operator could receive an alert that a three-way solenoid valve, which pilots a pneumatically operated spring-return ball valve, has reached 75 percent of the maximum life-cycle count. The alert would suggest that the solenoid has to be replaced with a new unit before it finishes the rest of the cycles. This is achieved by adding proximity sensors on the pneumatics actuator, which count the number of times the valve has opened and closed.

Reduced downtime
By tracking the normal wear and tear on industrial equipment, plant operators can take advantage of IIoT’s preventative maintenance capabilities. They can schedule maintenance, repair or upgrades of aging equipment during regular shutdowns before a problem occurs, thus avoiding costly downtime. In addition, they can also deploy Fieldbus electronics with integrated displays that allow for easy commissioning without needing an external laptop, monitor visual status and track input-output issues directly on the display.

Increased energy efficiency
Air leaks can cause energy loss in mechanical systems. Plus, it can sometimes be difficult to identify the cause or the source. By monitoring the pressure and flow of these systems, plant operators can track their energy usage and identify potential problems before they occur. Other new technology includes next-generation solenoid valves, which deliver lower operating costs, better performance and greater reliability. They use advanced electronics to manage power, incorporating a power management circuit offering lower power consumption, enhanced pressure and flow ratings. Plus, they can add electrical surge suppression to both the solenoid and electronic controls.

Lead-free compliance
To enforce the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), US EPA reduced the percentage of lead allowed in components of potable water systems, especially solenoid valves. The standards lower the permitted lead content from eight to 0.25 percent. The brass traditionally used in solenoid valves contains 2.5 percent lead, so manufacturers have developed a number of compliant alternatives, including lead-free brass, stainless steel and composites. These valves are designed as drop-in replacements for existing lead valves.

Corrosion resistance
Powerful pumps are required to push seawater through the membranes that remove sediment and impurities. However, seawater (or brackish water) has an extremely corrosive impact on channels, equipment and instruments as it goes through the desalination process. Several technologies are now available to help address these issues. For example, new composite valves have been developed to combat the corrosive impact of seawater. To protect sensitive electronics and other production equipment, companies offer a range of hardened, integrated enclosures. Enclosures can be fabricated from a range of materials, depending on the level of protection needed, including stainless steel, anodized aluminum, composites or other specified materials, protecting internal systems from the external aggressive environment.

Water, water everywhere…
Addressing the world’s growing shortage of water will require a concerted effort of conservation as well as a robust deployment of desalination technology. Technology advances, especially automation and IIoT connectivity, hold great promise for improving the quality, quantity, efficiency and earth-friendliness of desalination efforts.


  1. “SDG 6 Synthesis Report 2018 on Water and Sanitation.” United Nations Report on Water and Sanitation 2018. https://www.unwater.org/publication_categories/sdg-6-synthesis-report-2018-on-water-and-sanitation/
  2. “A Quarter of Humanity Faces Looming Water Crises.” The New York Times. 08/06/19. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/08/06/climate/world-water-stress.html
  3. “Growth expected for global water desalination market from 2018 to 2025.” Water Technology Online. 01/18/19. https://www.watertechonline.com/water-reuse/article/15550726/growth-expected-for-global-water-desalination-market-from-2018-to-2025
  4. Desalination and energy consumption.” Energy Central. 01/20/2017. https://energycentral.com/c/ec/desalination-and-energy-consumption

About the author
With Emerson since 2017, Amit Patel is a Product Marketing Manager within the Fluid Control & Pneumatics business. He focuses specifically on new-product development, while also supporting the Water Wastewater segment. Amit earned his Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

About the company
Emerson is a global technology and engineering company providing innovative solutions for customers in industrial, commercial and residential markets. Emerson Automation Solutions business helps process, hybrid and discrete manufacturers maximize production, protect personnel and the environment, while optimizing their energy and operating costs. Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions business helps ensure human comfort and health, protect food quality and safety, advance energy efficiency and create sustainable infrastructure. For more information, visit Emerson.com.

The Potential for Industrial Wastewater Reuse

Tuesday, December 15th, 2020

By Dennis Abraham Thazhamon

Water is a precious commodity that was once available almost free of cost. Times have changed, however. Today water is free neither for people nor for industry. In fact, the cost of water for industry has risen to such a level that it is now considered the same as for any other raw material. Water fulfills several roles and functions in all types of industries. Almost all of the water used in many industries ends up as industrial wastewater. Release of this into the environment creates a significant footprint and may also create other hazards. This is especially true for chemical and allied process industries. It is imperative that every effort is made to reduce water usage and to treat wastewater to make it reusable or at least safer to discharge into the environment.

The world went through a major transformation in the 20th century and there have been spectacular changes in materials, industrial operations and computational process, which themselves are just broad classes for thousands of advances over the last century. Industrialization has resulted in significant lifestyle improvements for human beings, on many levels.

Unfortunately, there is another side to this rosy picture, that of increased risks to humans and the environment caused by the industrialization and development that has taken place. The effects of industrialization can be seen in the form of air, water and soil pollution that may threaten the very existence of living species on the earth if remedial measures are not taken. Continuous extraction of water results in depletion of available water sources in and around industrial areas. In addition, wastewater discharge into natural watercourses causes surface and groundwater pollution, leaving water unsafe for potable use and impairing industrial use without major and costly treatment.

The current low cost end-of-pipe treatment approach will become increasingly expensive as effluent discharge standards become more stringent. Meanwhile, technological advancements now make it possible to treat wastewater for a variety of industrial reuse operations. Most industries, even in developing countries, are already moving toward wastewater reuse; source separation and treatment of separated effluents is gaining more attention. Wastewater reuse potential in different industries depends on waste volume, concentration and characteristics, best available treatment technologies, operation and maintenance costs, availability of raw water and effluent standards. Radical changes in industrial wastewater reuse have to take into consideration rapidly depleting resources, environmental degradation, public attitude and health risks to workers and consumers.

Discharge of wastewater into natural water bodies also increases costs for industries located downstream, which translates into higher production costs that are inevitably passed on to consumers. This discharge may also exceed natural purification capacities and deplete dissolved oxygen below levels that can support aquatic life. Meanwhile, industries using groundwater are causing severe damage to aquifers and their recharge capacity, resulting in lower groundwater levels each year. For countries located in coastal areas, seawater intrusion is also threatening to make groundwater unsuitable for direct use.

Public awareness and government application of effluent standards has forced many industries to implement appropriate treatment technologies. Initially, industries adopted simple physio-chemical treatment systems, but rapid degradation of the environment has forced governments to implement more stringent regulations for wastewater effluent. These standards have led to more advanced biological and membrane technologies. As water for industrial applications becomes less easily accessible, industry must look for ways to recycle and reuse treated water.
The potential for industrial wastewater reuse is dependent on a variety of factors and differs from one industry to another. Industries consuming a large volume of water obviously have greater potential for internal reuse. Similarly, simple physical and chemical treatments may be sufficient for wastewater produced from activities such as washing floors and cooling. Other industrial wastewaters have high concentrations of toxic chemicals, which must be removed, but this is actually an advantage if usable by-products can be recovered.

In the coming years, newer forms of existing methodologies and emerging technologies will dominate continuing developments worldwide and will contribute in a major way to alleviating the risks posed by environmental pollution. Water is a critical element in this scheme for safeguarding the environment and as a result, industrial wastewater treatment is an issue that will remain in the forefront in the future. Another facet to this problem is water scarcity around the world, especially in developing countries. Water management is, therefore, one of the most important problems facing those trying to ensure environmental protection and sustainability. This problem can best be resolved through effective wastewater treatment, recycling and reuse.

Present day industrial wastewater
Present day industrial wastewater treatment involves primary, secondary and tertiary treatment stages. It also tends to employ a combination of chemical and biological treatment methods in order to meet the discharge norms for treated water. In general, industrial wastewater treatment requires a large amount of chemicals, multiple operations and designs, a fairly high degree of process control and regular maintenance. In fact, in many plants, maintenance has been such a serious issue that effluent treatment plants fail to operate as per the desired standards or have to close down. Stringent pollution control norms require maintaining complex systems that are difficult to oversee and thus, require trained operators, especially for the maintenance and operation of biological treatments (anaerobic systems in particular). This complexity also leads to an escalating cost of treatment.

How to reuse industrial wastewater for industrial purposes
Water is one of the most irreplaceable elements in the industrial production equation. More and more manufacturing companies are recycling wastewater whenever reuse can be implemented as a feasible, cost-effective option. Innovative industrial water purification technologies make it economically feasible to convert all kinds of wastewater back into a purified, reusable state. After treatment, this water once again becomes a valuable asset instead of a potential financial and environmental liability.

Industrial water reuse applications
Industries can recapture and purify wastewater that would otherwise be lost, and recycled water can be used for a variety of applications. Those include washing, rinsing, plating, spraying, coating, cooling, boiler water make-up, cooling tower make-up and fire suppression systems. Even unusually problematic and elusive substances such as ammonia, which can corrode and damage copper components of manufacturing facility equipment, can be successfully removed from water using today’s industrial water purification technology. The toughest water treatment problems can be addressed and solved by skilled engineers with access to the right equipment. That includes everything from purifying and recycling of typical grey water, to recycling wastewater used or generated by the oil and natural gas industries

Microfiltration techniques also substantially contribute to the recovery of water for industrial purposes. In the powder-coating industry, huge amounts of water are used in the finishing process. But filtering with reverse osmosis and deionization can allow these businesses to reclaim up to 90 percent or more of their post-process water and use it again.
While lots of companies are focused on removing chemical contaminants from water, there are also manufacturers that benefit from doing just the opposite and separating the water from expensive chemicals. Companies that use expensive raw and intermediate chemicals, for example, can sometimes concentrate and isolate them from a wastewater stream using high-tech membranes and other technologies. They can reuse these chemicals or minerals, while also ensuring that the discharged wastewater is cleaner and will have a less detrimental impact on the environment. One of the most affordable first steps for industrial companies seeking to reclaim wastewater is to conduct a professional water usage audit. Water engineers can pinpoint exactly where the most money can be saved and can then recommend appropriate solutions tailored to a manufacturer’s specific needs and budget.

Available treatment technologies
The degree of treatment required varies according to the specific reuse application and associated water quality requirements. The simplest treatments involve solid/liquid separation such as sedimentation, aerobic biological treatment, oxidation ponds, biological nutrient removal and disinfection. More complex treatment systems involve combinations of physical, chemical and biological processes employing multiple barrier-treatment approaches for contaminant removal, such as activated carbon, air stripping, ion exchange, chemical coagulation and precipitation. More advanced technologies include microfiltration, ultrafiltration, nanofiltration and reverse osmosis.

Use of membrane technology has been successful in removing most contaminants from wastewater, thereby increasing the potential for even greater reuse. The advantages of membrane technologies are the small space requirement compared to other systems, better process control and potential for intermittent operation. Combined with aerated membranes, they can be used in pulp and paper as well as textile wastewater treatment and reuse. Membrane technology provides an attractive alternative to extend the range of wastewater applications.

Zero liquid discharge
Another effective treatment is zero liquid discharge (ZLD), which is an engineering approach to water treatment where all water is recovered and contaminants are reduced to solid waste. While many water treatment processes attempt to maximize recovery of freshwater and minimize waste, ZLD is the most demanding target since the cost and challenges of recovery increase as the wastewater gets more concentrated. Salinity, scaling compounds and organics all increase in concentration, which adds costs associated with managing these increases. ZLD is achieved by stringing together water treatment technology that can treat wastewater as the contaminants are concentrated.
There are a number of benefits to targeting ZLD for an industrial process or facility:

  • Lowered waste volumes decrease the cost associated with waste management.
  • Recycling water on-site lowers water acquisition costs and risk. It can also result in less required treatment versus treating to meet stringent environmental discharge standards.
  • Reduces transportation costs associated with off-site wastewater disposal, as well as associated greenhouse gas impact and community road incident risk
  • Improved environmental performance and regulatory risk profile for future permitting
  • Some processes may recover valuable resources, for example ammonium sulphate fertilizer or sodium chloride salt for ice melting.

Several methods of waste management are classified as ZLD, despite using different boundaries to define the point where discharge occurs. Usually, a facility or site property line that houses the industrial process is considered the border or boundary condition, where wastewater must be treated, recycled and converted to solids for disposal to achieve ZLD. Some facilities send their liquid waste off-site for treatment, deep-well disposal or incineration and consider this to qualify as ZLD. This approach eliminates continuous discharge of liquids to surface waters or sewers, but can significantly increase cost.

Some engineers describe their designs as near-zero liquid discharge or minimal liquid discharge, to highlight that they discharge low levels of wastewater, but do not eliminate liquid in their waste. For some facilities, it may be more economical to approach (but not achieve) complete ZLD by concentrating brine to lower volumes. Furthermore, it may be possible to avoid the creation of liquid waste on-site through careful water conservation or by treating contaminants at their source before they can enter the main flow of water.

Why is zero liquid discharge important?
In a world where freshwater is an increasingly valuable resource, industrial processes threaten its availability on two fronts, unless the water is treated. Many industrial processes require water and then reduce the availability of water for other uses, or alternately contaminate and release water that damages the local environment.

Although the history of tighter regulations on wastewater discharge can be traced back to the US Clean Water Act of 1972, India and China have been leading the drive for ZLD regulations in the last decade. Due to heavy contamination of numerous important rivers by industrial wastewater, both countries have created regulations that require ZLD. They identified that the best means to ensure safe water supplies for the future is to protect rivers and lakes from pollution. In Europe and North America, the drive toward ZLD has been pushed by the high cost of wastewater disposal at inland facilities. These costs are driven both by regulations that limit disposal options and factors influencing the costs of disposal technologies.

Another important reason to consider ZLD is the potential for recovering resources that are present in wastewater. Some organizations target ZLD for their waste because they can sell the solids that are produced or reuse them as a part of their industrial process. Regardless of an organization’s motivations to target zero liquid discharge, achieving it demonstrates good economics, corporate responsibility and environmental stewardship. By operating an in-house ZLD plant, disposal costs can be reduced, more water is re-used and fewer greenhouse gases are produced by off-site trucking, which minimizes impact on local ecosystems and the climate.

The benefits of ZLD
ZLD has become a popular way to increase the environmental sustainability of industrial plants in a wide variety of different sectors—from the production of chemicals, oil and gas to the generation of energy, particularly in regions with a short supply of freshwater. ZLD not only reduces the ecological footprint of a plant by eliminating wastewater discharge, but also increases water reuse and allows for the recovery of valuable by-products. In this way, it helps companies meet stringent wastewater disposal regulations, as well as water reuse guidelines and also improves their public image. ZLD is an effective method to eliminate wastewater discharge, recycle water and recover valuable solids and chemicals.

About the author
Dennis Abraham Thazhamon, Managing Director of Josab India Pvt Ltd for the India and Southeast Asian regions, is a highly qualified marketing and management professional with a primary focus on entering new markets. A water expert who focuses on sustainable living for everyone, he has been honored with the 51 Fabulous Global Water and Water Management Leaders award. Abraham is currently working toward making a difference in the lives of people via natural treatment of water so they can continue enjoying good health by drinking treated, natural water.

About the company
Josab India Pvt Ltd, a fully owned subsidiary of Josab Water Solutions AB, Stockholm, Sweden, has been providing safe drinking water solutions in India since its launch in 2012. The company produces and sells products, solutions and services for ecologically sound water purification. Because of the Aqualite filter material, large volumes of water can be purified in an ecologically safe way at a low cost, leading to long-term sustainability. The company’s primary focus is on rural areas, where access to safe drinking water is barely minimal. Since its launch in India, Josab’s Aqualite-based technology has been approved and acclaimed by various public and private entities. Currently Josab India is expanding its territories in terms of acquiring market and diversification where the requirement for pure water is pivotal.

Ensuring Water Stability During Extraordinary Times: Carlsbad Desalination Plant’s COVID-19 Operation

Tuesday, December 15th, 2020

Image 1

By Gilad Cohen

The Claude ‘Bud’ Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant (CDP) is the largest seawater desalination plant in the US (see Image 1), producing 50 million gallons of fresh water per day. It supplies enough potable water for approximately 400,000 people, distributed by the San Diego County Water Authority.
CDP, which began operation in 2015, was developed as public-private partnership (PPP) project by Poseidon Water as the developer, working with a consortium of Kiewit-Shea (KSD) as the general contractor and IDE Technologies as designer, technology and process equipment provider.

Immediate action required
The initial impact of COVID-19 first emerged in late February and early March. Working alongside the plant owner, Poseidon Water and IDE took emergency action early on, with the goal of ensuring operational continuity and minimal impact on water delivery. The common objective was making sure the community, local and state governments would have one less problem to worry about, which was water supply security.

Several steps were implemented to ensure uninterrupted water supply: On March 8, the company implemented an essentials-only policy, limiting entrance to the premises of the CDP. On March 19, ahead of California’s governor’s mandate, a full COVID-19 plant shelter-in-place operation plan was implemented, which included:

  • A ‘critical-roles-only’ crew of 10 volunteering employees, put in charge of maintenance, operation and lab
  • Volunteers sheltering for 21 days on site, in order to minimize all physical contact with the outside world
  • Remote support and guidance provided by managers and experts

Image 2

Determining essential roles
Within three days, the primary entities solidified the plan (see Image 2) and prepared the plant for the volunteers to shelter in place. The COVID-19 response and operation mode needed to include a much leaner team to ensure safety, while minimizing production disruption risks. It was clear from the start that everyone was willing to step up and be of service to the San Diego community during these challenging times. IDE defined key functions and despite the fact many volunteered, 10 employees in critical roles were ultimately selected.

Restructuring operations, maintenance routines and work plan
CDP typically operates with about 40 employees daily, three operators on shift, lab technicians and a large maintenance group. Shift structure is usually 12-hour shifts handled by three operators. In order to reduce assignment load, two operators were assigned to a 12-hour shift, while more work was assigned to the lab technician and maintenance support. Maintenance work and priorities also needed to be redefined. The team included minimal onsite personnel, comprised of an electrician, mechanical technicians and general labor, working seven days a week in eight-hour shifts, plus four hours of on-call availability. Lab technicians continued supporting all monitoring requirements over 12-hour workdays, while conducting sampling routine works.

Lastly, remote monitoring and support by a chief operator was maintained around the clock, including all-teams daily video meetings, in order to evaluate performance, work plan and team morale, which was high on the list of all parties involved. The remote team acted as potential standby to replace the inside team if needed. They worked in the off-site warehouse as needed, provided remote monitoring, support and on-demand guidance from their homes, and also offered remote training and e-learning, to keep staff well-informed on the latest best practices.

Image 3

Logistics and day-to-day
Twenty-one days of onsite cycles required all the necessary logistics to be addressed ahead of time, including proper accommodation, food and other basic services. Each employee was supplied with their own private RV (see Image 3) for lodging in the plant’s parking lot, providing the staff a quiet space for much-needed rest and recharge during downtime. Food supply was managed through online orders, with outside support provided by management as needed. Purchased and installed for their use, volunteers also had access to washers and dryers, the plant’s break room, cafeteria and showers, with the aim to provide all employees maximum comfort in between shifts.

Safety, legal and compliance
For the CDP, subject to a wide range of regulations and compliance requirements, any modifications needed to be designed collaboratively with the owner, the San Diego County Water Authority and state regulators. At the same time, the need to remain adaptive and responsive to unexpected changes was clear as well. Even under emergency conditions, IDE’s top priority remained zero-compromise over safety, full transparency and tight collaboration. Attentive to the employees’ mental and physical health, management made sure the team used their downtime for proper rest. To ensure smooth and fully-synced operation, ongoing communication with employees, management, corporate, owners and regulators was maintained throughout the shelter-in-place period.

Heartwarming support from the community
The greater San Diego community was kind enough to share hundreds of messages with words of support and gratitude toward the volunteers’ hard work and dedication. This helped keep team morale high during their time at the plant and was greatly appreciated.

What is the ‘secret sauce’ to a successful operation?
First on the list was hard-working and dedicated employees, who volunteered without questions or conditions in order to serve the greater good. Second was fantastic managerial teamwork, which included direct plant management, compliance, HR, finance and legal staff, who confronted new dilemmas and challenges head-on and supported each other throughout the event. Third was smooth and transparent communication with the owner, the county and regulators, demonstrating remarkable support, efficiency and high level of cooperation from all involved parties. Last but not least, the incredible support provided by the community offered a major boost to everyone’s spirits. Despite long shifts, being isolated from the world and disconnected from their families for almost a month at a time, the team never lost sight of its goal, which was to maintain uninterrupted water supply for the greater San Diego community around the clock.

About the author
Gilad Cohen, appointed in 2017 to CEO of IDE Americas, joined IDE in 2009 as Corporate Business Development Manager, responsible for investment evaluations and M&A activity, as well as development of new business platforms in target markets. Prior to IDE, he held the position of Senior Consultant for one of Israel’s leading management consulting firms on business competitive and corporate strategy, where he successfully led business development in Southeast Asia and central eastern Europe. Gilad holds a B.Sc. in computer sciences and an MBA majoring in marketing management (Magna Cum Laude), both from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

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