Exam Study Guide: Chlorinator Vacuum Loss; and Pump Maintenance

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 Trickling Filter Conditions; and Pumping Conditions. This time, you can test your knowledge about chlorinator vacuum loss, and pump maintenance.

Wastewater Treatment Sample Question

What will happen if you lose vacuum to the feed line on a chlorinator?

A. Loss of water feed to the chlorinator.
B. Excess chlorine will be drawn from the cylinder.
C. Chlorinator will close, stopping gas flow.
D. Nothing, chlorinator will run normally.

Answer: The answer to the question is C. Basic operation of a vacuum-based chlorine gas system is a fundamental that should be understood by most operators. Most chlorinators operate under a principal of a vacuum condition at the injector from the chlorinator. Understanding how this process operates will help when troubleshooting chlorinator/disinfection problems. 

According to the WEF Wastewater Treatment Fundamentals 1 Liquid Treatment textbook, “The injector creates a vacuum that pulls chlorine gas from the chlorinator and into the water being treated. If a leak develops anywhere between the chlorinator and the injector, air will be pulled into the line. Loss of vacuum causes the chlorinator to close, stopping the flow of gas from the cylinder or container.”

Water Treatment Sample Question

What is the most important step an operator should perform before starting maintenance on a motor and/or pump? 

A. Notify coworkers so that they do not operate the equipment.
B. Notify the manufacturer.
C. Review and perform the Lockout Tagout procedure. 
D. Schedule the maintenance during low-demand hours.

Answer: The correct answer is C. Performed maintenance is typically on a corrective, preventive, risk, or condition based philosophy and not always scheduled with advance notice. However, it is critical to follow proper lockout and tagout procedures to ensure you and your coworkers can safely perform the required duties. 

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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