Exam Study Guide: Nutrient Removal Bacteria; and Chemical Feed Pumps

Maintaining your education is important, especially in a career that demands licensing exams. Prove you’re an expert operator by answering these questions and others from our Exam Study Guide Series.

Welcome back to TPO magazine's Exam Study Guide Series, which offers a pair of water/wastewater study questions with in-depth explanations of the answers. Last time, we covered a set of wastewater and drinking water treatment questions on the topics of Grit Removal Systems; and Water Pump Impellers. This time, you can test your knowledge about nutrient removal bacteria, and chemical feed pumps.

Wastewater Treatment Sample Question

In nutrient removal treatment processes, what is the condition where bacteria incorporate more phosphorus than needed for growth?

A. Denitrification
B. Endogenous respiration
C. Luxury uptake
D. Precipitation

Answer: The answer to this question is C. Luxury uptake is the process where bacteria cycle between anoxic or aerobic and anaerobic conditions, and the bacteria tend to pick and store excess phosphorus in the anoxic or aerobic environment. With this mode, the phosphorus may be removed from the treatment process when the biomass is removed from the system. The nutrient removal process has become more important to wastewater treatment in recent years, and every operator should be aware of the different modes of treatment related to phosphorus and nitrogen removal.

Water Treatment Sample Question

What type of pumps typically feed chemical solutions at a potable water treatment plant?

A. End-suction centrifugal pump or split-case pump
B. Jet pump or split-case pump
C. Peristaltic pump or diaphragm pump
Dynamic pumps or centrifugal pumps

Answer: The correct answer is C. Peristaltic pumps and diaphragm pumps are positive displacement pumps that are capable of maintaining constant and steady flow rates regardless of changing head pressure or fluid viscosity. Peristaltic pumps move fluid by a spinning rotor with several rollers that isolates a section of tube or hose as it rotates. The fluid contained in the isolated section advances to the discharge end of the pump by the rollers continuous motion. Diaphragm pumps move fluid with a reciprocating diaphragm. The back and forth linear motion of the diaphragm is what allows fluid to enter and exit the pump head assembly. 

About the authors: Rick Lallish is the Water Pollution Control program director at the Environmental Resources Training Center (ERTC) of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. He provides training for entry-level operators in the wastewater field and operators throughout the state looking to further their education. Lallish was also named the 2017 Illinois Operator of the Year and 2018 president of the Illinois Association of Water Pollution Control Operators.

Drew Hoelscher is the program director of drinking water operations at the Environmental Resources Training Center in Edwardsville, Illinois.


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