October 2013, Vol. 25, No.10

Letters

Theme of the July issue

I certainly enjoy WE&T magazine. I just received the July 2013 issue which has the theme of “Nutrient Control: Tools, plans, and experience help meet strict limits.” 

However, three of the four theme articles are not even remotely related to nutrient control — three on collection system issues including condition assessment and rehab, and one on modeling nutrient removal. 

Even the one on nutrient modeling doesn’t fit the theme. The NPDES [National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System] limits are very relaxed, being only 30 mg/L total suspended solids, 15 mg/L biochemical oxygen demand, 2 to 5 mg/L ammonia, and 2 mg/L total phosphorus — these are not even close to being “strict limits” (I certainly disagree with the authors calling them that). 

Further, the picture on the front of the magazine is also in conflict with the theme: It is a picture of corroded and broken pipes, which would actually tend to support the three non-theme articles! 

I recognize that WE&T has a theme schedule, however, if the magazine cannot put together enough articles on the theme, then the theme should be changed prior to publication. I think you will agree that the July 2013 issue certainly was misleading for its readers . 

  

Jeremy Kraemer  

CH2M Hill Water Business Group  

(Toronto, Ontario)  

  

The editors respond: Designing a cover always is tricky. Each issue of WE&T focuses on at least four topics, and as many magazines do, we often highlight just one or two of these topics on the cover. In order to ensure we provide adequate breadth in each issue, we don’t publish issues devoted to single theme, but we understand that the cover might give that impression.  

In July, we covered nutrient removal, activated sludge, sewer rehabilitation, and pumps. We intentionally chose the cover image to hint at two of these topics: sewer rehabilitation (as Mr. Kraemer suggests) and nutrients (the bright green vegetation and the murky stream). 

We love that our readers are interested in WE&T to take the time to question us about these things. We appreciate all of the feedback that we receive and use it to continually improve. 

  

One wild swim  

I was just reading my August issue of WE&T and wanted to respond to your request for stories about extreme wildlife in a wastewater treatment facility. 

It’s certainly not as headline-grabbing as sharks in the plant, but the Fort Kent Wastewater Treatment plant in northernmost Maine had an interesting find in one of its treatment lagoons. 

A few years ago the operators found a waterlogged and exhausted Canada Lynx treading water and barely staying above the surface. They did the logical thing and threw it a life-ring, and after some coaxing the cat climbed on it. They slowly retrieved it up the side of the plastic-lined lagoon and got the lynx onto terra firma. After a long rest the animal recovered and walked its way out of the facility and back into the woods. The plant’s superintendent is Mark Soucy, and the rescuing operators were Ricky Berube and Greg Bernier. 

I am the State of Maine Department of Environmental Protection inspector for the facility, and this facility is one of the best-operated in my region. My department gave the guys an operations award that same year, and we also presented them with a plaque commemorating the cat rescue. 

  

Bill Sheehan  

Maine Department of Environmental Protection  

   

Clarification  

The January 2013 article “CMMS facilitates condition-based maintenance: Saving money for municipal water systems,” mistakenly indicated that the City of Warren, Mich., used the same computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) as Wade Trim. We apologize for the confusion.