As told to WC&P Staff
Nimbus Water Systems
928 Wilson Avenue
Canada M3K 1E7
Toll free 1-877-787-9287
Service fleet: Six fully equipped vans, eight vehicles total
Proudly Canadian, family owned and operated
Member firm, WQA and CWQA
Showroom and offices: 8,000 sq.ft.
Warehouse: 10,000 sq.ft.
The skid-mounted unit that provided a turnkey solution
Nimbus Water Systems Inc., located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, provides customized water treatment solutions on a regional, national and international level. Canada has incredibly diverse water sources and water quality, which has led to some serious problems and water quality issues. Then there’s the country’s complex regulations and past experiences such as Walkerton and Battleford.* All of these factors created an environment that has enabled Nimbus to solve many types of water quality problems and to design and install reliable solutions for their customers. Many of the complex water issues with high concentrations of bacteria involve the use of ozone. In many of these applications, no single technology is enough; the use of ozone is often a big part of the solution. Nimbus’ President Santo Bozzo states: “In my 30 years of water treatment, I’ve seen new issues on a consistent basis. One of the incredible things about this business is the endless learning cycle. Our industry is an excellent environment for those who are thirsty for knowledge. Two of my four children are involved in the business full time and it brings me great satisfaction to see that same thirst in them.”
Father and offspring continue to identify new opportunities in new markets. One of those is the international sector. Nimbus offers these clients turnkey water treatment solutions. One of the most challenging applications involving bacteria was a well water application in Greece. An intricate part of the solution was the successful use of ozone.
“We have found many benefits in the use of ozone including pretreatment to RO, water softeners and other POE devices. Combining the ozone with other technologies has helped us in the removal of iron, manganese and hydrogen sulfide, color, odors and bacteria,” explains Santo’s son, Peter.
The application arose with a distributor in Greece. They had a client seeking a water treatment system for a meat processing and packaging plant. The source water was a well and the plant’s main function was the processing, washing and packaging of raw meat. A routine inspection revealed that the well water quality was not sufficient due to contamination with bacteria including E.coli and coliform. The dealer, whose main expertise was residential applications, referred the project directly to Nimbus.
Santo and Peter Bozzo describe the scope of work as providing, installing and implementing a solution to this well water contamination issue. Water quality was essential for rinsing the raw meat products prior to packaging. The client believed—perhaps wishfully!—that all they needed was a water filter. “This is a common consensus, “the senior Bozzo noted, “that a water filter of some kind can solve any problems.”
“We find consumer education is the key to the sale,” explained Peter. The education process consists of defining and then explaining the actual problem; analysis of the contaminants; review of the available technologies and explanation of the installation requirements. “Once the customer understands and approves our proposal, the implementation of the solution begins with installation of the equipment and maintenance training for onsite personnel.”
For the Greek company, once the education process was complete, the client agreed that laboratory analysis would be an intricate part of the solution. This was a critical step forward, because initially the customer did not understand that problems cannot be resolved unless accurately identified.
The water analysis was performed and some of the water quality parameters that needed to be addressed were as follows:
- E.coli 240 cfu/ml
- coliform 360 cfu/ml
- Iron (Fe) 40 mg/L
- Nitrate NO3 17.3 mg/L
- Hardness 35 gpg
- TDS 260 ppm
- pH 7.3
- Manganese 40 mg/L
- Magnesium 34.5 mg/L
Upon analysis of the water quality and requirements, Nimbus suggested a turnkey solution: a custom-designed, skid-mounted unit which included a Nimbus commercial RO system, full-flow sediment filter housing, Clearwater ozone system, R-Can UV system, ozone contact tank and Fleck 2510 Valve with a carbon-bedded multimedia tank. For post treatment, a second UV system was used on the output line after the storage tanks and Grundfos delivery pump. Three storage tanks of 5,000 liters each were used with a float mechanism for an automatic start-down and start-up of the system, as well as low-level shut-off to protect the delivery pump. The unit included a full monitoring panel to monitor ozone, membrane quality and system status. Pressure gauges and flow meters were used to monitor operating pressures, filter performance and flow rates. The full-option panel allowed for remote service information and/or troubleshooting. The ozone treatment system consisted of a four-gram-per-hour generator, oxygen concentrator, injection system, check valve, vacuum breaker, AIF box, vacuum switch assembly and an ORP meter to monitor GAC oxygen breakthrough.
The system was designed to use ozone as the principal method of disinfection and for the oxidation of the iron. After the ozone contact tank, UV was used as a catalyst to accelerate the ozone reaction. The next stage was carbon, for removal of the byprod-ucts; finally, RO to purify the water after all possible membrane foulants were removed. The water was piped to a storage tank and pumped out upon demand. The final step of treatment was a post-UV system.
All components were put together on a skid-mounted unit for ease of installation and shipping, with storage tanks sourced locally to cut shipping costs. A Nimbus technician flew to Greece to install and commission the equipment. Normally, most custom-designed units can be installed and started up by the end user; however, in this case, the solution was time-sensitive and the customer requested a full start up. “All meat processing had been halted because of the high bacteria levels; our immediate turnaround on equipment design, assembly and installation allowed the business to get back up and running as soon as possible,” Peter explained, adding that the Nimbus technician also trained the client’s maintenance manager in service- related areas.
The Greek company happily passed government inspections after the installation and continues to meet all water quality parameters. The client is secure in the knowledge that their customers are protected thanks to Nimbus’ system.
“Whether within our Canadian borders or on the other side of the world, in Nimbus’ 20 year history we have seen many water applications,” Santo recalls. Ontario’s diversity of water sources, including well water, has offered the firm the opportunity to gain knowledge and experience in water treatment. “Those experiences gave us the expertise and the confidence that our solutions will work.”
Trial and error, different contaminants, different source waters, all of it gives Nimbus a ‘database’ of information and practices, son Peter sums up. “We’ve learned what will work—and just as important, what won’t. As they say, the proof is in the pudding.”
In many of the worst water applications both in Canada and overseas, Nimbus finds that combining technologies, including membrane and ozone, can produce incredible results.
“I believe there is a great future in these technologies and the many applications that exist for their implementation. What fuels these opportunities is knowledge and as more communities are empowered with this knowledge they will further educate their people who will perform more water testing and in turn more solutions. The key to success in this industry is education,” says Peter Bozzo.
*Editor’s note: Walkerton (Ontario) and Battleford (Saskatchewan) refer to two incidents of waterborne pathogen outbreaks with major contamination problems.
Peter Bozzo is the Vice-President of Nimbus Water Systems Inc. He is an active member of the Canadian Water Quality Association and has served the industry for over 15 years. He can be reached toll free at 1-800-508-7125 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org