Year in Review: Our Editors' Favorite Articles of 2020

Year in Review: Our Editors' Favorite Articles of 2020

As 2020 comes to a close, we’d like to take a few moments to look back on some of our favorite stories this year at If you missed any of these, now is your chance to catch up. Enjoy this look back at the past year.

10. Using Molecular Diagnostics for Wastewater Monitoring
A good monitoring approach is a top priority for wastewater treatment plant operators. Recent advances in molecular biology now make it possible and affordable to understand and track the key bacteria — both good and bad — that impact wastewater treatment plant performance.

9. How WWTPs Can Remove Pharmaceuticals
This article examines a study of seven wastewater treatment facilities in the Eastern U.S. The research points to two treatment methods that are particularly promising when it comes to removing medicines like antibiotics and antidepressants.

8. Calgary Brewery Makes Great Tasting Beer From Recycled Wastewater
Here’s our obligatory post about recycled wastewater being used to brew beer. We’re looking forward to this idea gaining increased exposure in the mainstream as a means of public outreach. The public is going to have to face direct potable reuse strategies sooner than later.

7. Wildfires Can Poison Drinking Water. Here’s How Communities Can Prepare
This year saw some of the most devastating wildfires in history. It’s unsurprising that this post about how they can affect drinking water was popular among our readership.

6. Bug of the Month: Tardigrades, Smaller Than the Average Bear
Our ongoing monthly series about wastewater microbiology, written by microbiology specialist Ryan Hennessy of Midwest Contract Operations, Inc., has proven to be popular among our readers. In any case, this is probably the best headline of the year.

5. Exam Study Guide: Activated Sludge Process Variables and Distribution System Piping
Here’s a popular post from another longtime series on TPO, which offers a pair of water/wastewater study questions with in-depth explanations of the answers.

4. Researchers Develop Membrane to Recover Nutrients for Fertilizer
Researchers at Aalto University in Finland this year announced a process they developed called NPHarvest, which allows for the recovery of nitrogen and phosphorus from wastewater in a way that produces a clean ammonium sulfate solution for fertilizer, along with a slurry rich in phosphorus and calcium. 

3. Bug of the Month: Nitrobacter’s Role in Activated Sludge Processes
This microbiology spotlight about Nitrobacter was one of our most popular articles of the year. The mainstream world might like water bears better, but you operators have more sophisticated interests.

2. Are You Prepared to Operate in a Coronavirus Pandemic?
Of course, this list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning COVID-19. This article written back in March by WEF Fellow Steve Frank offered a game plan for treatment plant operators faced with the unknowns of a global pandemic.

1. Water and Wastewater: No Industry Is More Essential
This is an appropriate article to call our year’s best, because pandemic or no, we’ve always known you’re essential workers. We’re thankful for your hard work this year during such an uncertain time.


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