Water Environment & Technology (WE&T) is the premier magazine for the water quality field. WE&T provides information on what professionals demand: cutting-edge technologies, innovative solutions, operations and maintenance, regulatory and legislative impacts, and professional development.
A big leap toward energy self-sufficiency
In California, renewable energy generation at wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) is gaining momentum, largely fueled by generous federal and state grants and incentives. However, one particular source of renewable energy — solar projects — is not commonplace in the wastewater industry. The reasons are many, including high initial costs, lack of understanding of current regulations, a relatively complex interconnection process with utility companies, and limited knowledge of incentives.
Bigger savings from biogas
During the design of modifications to provide additional nutrient removal at its 57,000-m3/d (15-mgd) Moores Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority (RWSA; Charlottesville, Va.) realized that it would need to make additional improvements to its aeration and digestion facilities.
Seeking to maintain its nutrient removal capability, as well as the practice of beneficially using biogas generated onsite, RWSA began evaluating options for optimizing its digester heating process.
Making the case for infrastructure spending
At a time when high levels of unemployment have become a fixture of the U.S. economy, job creation has emerged as a major argument in the case for increased spending on infrastructure. A recent report highlights potential economic benefits associated with increased spending on water infrastructure, while another study details the possible negative economic consequences if such spending does not materialize. Meanwhile, infrastructure advocates are working to persuade the U.S. Congress to make reforms that would facilitate greater infrastructure investment with minimal cost to the federal government. Read more
Coming in the next issue:
Completing the water cycle
Not many people outside of the water sector truly understand just how closely wastewater and drinking water are connected. Take one example in New York State’s Catskill Mountains. Replacing a failing septic system reduced the amount of phosphorus and algae growth in the watershed, and funding for the new membrane bioreactor came through a program intended to safeguard New York City’s drinking water. Upstream treatment protects downstream supplies.
In San Diego, the connection is more direct. The city is using advanced technologies to produce purified water that can be sent to a reservoir and later extracted, treated, and distributed as potable water.
A major part of this work is public education. And through comprehensive efforts about the need for conservation and water supply diversification, the city has changed public opinion; in fact, a local paper declared water from the process “would likely be the purest and safest water in the system.”
Collection systems maintenance
Before water can be reclaimed, reused, or even treated, it must be collected. Accomplishing this task requires properly maintained collection systems.
Some utilities are going digital with their collection system maintenance. Instead of compiling and printing map books for field crews to use to locate assets for inspections and repairs, these utilities have switched to computer-based solutions. The electronic maps eliminate printing costs, enable faster updates, and deliver advanced features.
Paying for system upkeep also means knowing how to charge for the service provided. To find an equitable way to fund its combined sewer overflow elimination program, DC Water (Washington D.C.) created stormwater management service fees based on impervious area. This new fee is intended to allocate the cost of combined sewer overflow remediation appropriately to those who contribute the most to the problem.
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