Weekly News Briefs: Flushable Wipes Campaign Earns Award Nomination

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An innovative pilot program designed to educate the public about the proper disposal of baby wipes has been nominated for a 2014 U.S. EPA Environmental Merit Award. The “Save Your Pies; Don’t Flush Your Wipes” is a joint effort between the Maine WasteWater Control Association and the Association of Nonwoven Fabrics Industry.

“This nomination is an honor and great recognition of a collaborative effort between the wipes industry members of INDA and the Maine Wastewater Control Association,” says Dave Rousse, INDA president.

Maine Commissioner Patricia W. Aho nominated the campaign for the regional award. The program includes television commercials, newspaper ads, social media pushes and direct mail pieces. The goal of the program is to reduce the damage, and subsequently, the expense to wastewater treatment facilities caused by improperly disposed of items.

Source: INDA press release 

Cash Reward Offered for Illegal Double-Plant Dumping
In Charlotte, N.C., the mystery of how PCBs ended up in two wastewater treatment plants continues, and police are now offering a $10,000 reward for any information related to possible illegal dumping.

The two affected utilities continue to test wastewater samples, and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities Department says biosolids at the Mallard Creek Water Reclamation Facility and the McAlpine Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant contain some level of PCBs. Contaminated biosolids at McAlpine Creek have indicated low levels of PCBs, and are being stored in a contained building until they can be properly disposed.

Source: WCNC, News Observer

Sensors to Improve Oxygen Efficiency, Increase Energy Savings
A German solution to energy conservation involves improving the supply of oxygen to microbes during the biological treatment process. The German Federal Environmental Foundation announced the launch of a project in which Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf will use sophisticated measuring sensors that float like a submarine through a turbid mixture. The sensors measure ambient pressure, temperature, and the direction and strength at which they’re moving. This data helps scientists determine how well wastewater is mixed and how efficiently bacteria are supplied with oxygen.

By adding the watertight sensors to wastewater, researchers hope to better understand oxygen absorption and possibly eliminate mixers in the treatment process. Thorough mixing can be achieved by injecting air into the basin and using an adjusted geometry of the basin.

“The ideas are not new,” says Uwe Hampel, HZDR Institute for Fluid Dynamics. “But no one has so far been able to simulate what the suggested innovations might bring.”

Source: Phys Org

DC Water Adopts Norway System for Power Generation
In May and June, DC Water will begin phasing in a $470 million advanced wastewater system that will generate biogas and Class A biosolids.

“It could be a game changer for energy,” says George Hawkins, DC Water general manager. “If we could turn every enriched-water facility in the United States into a power plant, it would become one of the largest sectors of clean energy that, at the moment, is relatively untapped.”

The DC Water project includes thickening, pre-dewatering, four trains of Cambi thermal hydrolysis process and four digesters to produce biogas and high-quality Class A biosolids. It will decrease the plant’s carbon footprint by about 60,000 tons of CO2 per year.

“This is the single largest contribution so far to greenhouse gas reduction in Washington, D.C.,” says Hawkins. “The beauty of it is we are investing significantly less than we would for conventional digestion, and this choice will, in addition, save us some $20 million in operational costs every year over many years to come.”

Source: Cambi, Washington Post

Cal Poly Student Researchers Tackle Wastewater
A team of nine civil engineering students at Cal Poly Pomona in California hope to save $2,000 to $4,000 in permit fees by reducing the volume and brine concentration of the school’s wastewater treatment plant. If approved and implemented, a three-part system, including electrodialysis, ion exchange and bioregeneration, developed by the students will produce reclaimed water that can be reused by the university. The students have received funding from Richard Hansen of the Three Valleys Municipal Water District, the Pomono Water Reclamation Plant, General Electric and Purolite.

“We get to motivate everyone else around us to look into different ways to improve wastewater treatment,” says Blanca Calderon, a student researcher.

Source: The Poly Post


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