Residents of an Iowa town were told not to drink their tap water this month when dangerous levels of manganese were found in the supply. And most concerning may be the fact that nobody seems sure how long the contamination has been affecting residents.
The presence of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water is creating concern among utilities, regulators, and consumers around the country. With little clear direction from federal lawmakers, some local agencies are stepping up to tackle the issue themselves.
Lead contamination in drinking water, caused by corroded service lines that introduce the constituent after water has been treated but before it reaches consumers, continues to plague cities around the country.
In a sign of just how problematic aging water infrastructure still is for major cities around the country, a National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) spokesperson described lead levels in Newark’s drinking water as “jaw-dropping” and “knock-your-socks-off high.”
Entering its fourth week and now the longest in the country’s history, the partial government shutdown is affecting a wide range of federal employees and agencies. Naturally, water and wastewater treatment operations are no exception.
In a sign of just how significant water quality concerns are in Michigan, the state’s governor elect signed an executive directive related to the issue as her first such move in office.
Nutrients in the environment from excess nitrogen and phosphorous can result in negative impacts on water quality. EPA is improving nutrient management by incentivizing the development of low-cost technology solutions, such as nutrient sensors, in collaboration with USGS, USDA, NIST, NOAA, and the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS).
To make informed decisions about how to limit exposure to cyanotoxins, utilities need information to select and implement a comprehensive and technically sound management approach. The Water Research Foundation (WRF) has been actively involved in developing effective innovative solutions to help utilities address this challenge and protect public health.
August and September are peak months for harmful blooms of algae in western Lake Erie. This year’s outbreak covered more than 620 square miles by mid-August. These blooms, which can kill fish and pets and threaten public health, are driven mainly by agricultural pollution and increasingly warm waters due to climate change.
More public and private resources than ever are being directed to protecting and preserving aquatic ecosystems and watersheds. Whether mandated for land development, farming, or in response to the growing severity and number of natural disasters, scientists from Drexel University found evidence that decades of watershed restoration and mitigation projects have taken place, but their impact is mostly perceived.
Denver Water and engineering partners resolve major water quality challenge in crucial South Platte River exchange reservoirs.
University of Miami professors who study water treatment and civil engineering say that water contamination issues point to human error.
Recently, Denver Water’s board approved its proposed “Lead Reduction Program Plan” to fully replace the estimated 75,000 lead service lines (LSLs) in their system within 15 years. The plan is an innovative solution that will remove the primary source of lead within Denver Water’s system, while avoiding the use of orthophosphate that can further exacerbate nutrient pollution problems in rivers, streams, and oceans.
Wildfire is a natural part of many ecosystems, but recently these fires have become more severe, burning more acres and causing destruction in the western parts of the United States. Recently, U.S. EPA researchers have begun to look at the impact of these fires on our water supply, the natural resource we depend on for drinking, irrigation, fishing, and recreation.
Harmful algal blooms are a significant concern for many communities across the U.S. These blooms occur when cyanobacteria grow out of control in fresh and marine waters, often because of excess phosphorus and nitrogen from stormwater runoff and other sources such as fertilizers entering the water.
While septic systems are a viable and undeniably popular choice for wastewater treatment, they are ultimately only as reliable as their upkeep. Can we trust the technology and the human element to protect our waterways from pollution, or is it time to search for better solutions?
With ever-growing demand for water resources, the reuse discussion has been building for years. More utilities are considering it, policy is being created around it, and new technologies are making it more efficient. To better understand the evolving landscape, Water Talk sat down with Brown and Caldwell's regional One Water leader, Allegra da Silva.
The U.S. EPA is gearing up to limit perchlorate in public drinking water systems, so municipalities should start preparing to adopt the appropriate testing and treatment technologies. In a recent report, the agency identified several technologies as the best available to address the perchlorate problem.
When I attended the U.S. EPA-hosted PFAS Summit held at the Horsham, PA high school auditorium on July 25, 2018, the education I received from state and municipal leaders focusing on the local problem was more than just a professional briefing. It was ominously personal, due to the fact that the Water Online editorial office where I work and drink water every day is served by a utility sitting smack-dab in the middle of one of the most concentrated PFAS hotspots in the U.S.
Nick Burns, director of water treatment technology for (the Americas region of) Black & Veatch, discusses the health concerns, current regulatory status, and documented presence of perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), also sometimes called perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), in drinking water supplies — as determined by sampling under the U.S. EPA's Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule 3 (UCMR3).
By now, just about everyone in the U.S. has heard about Flint, Michigan’s water woes. Despite the many issues raised by that incident, urban water systems are not the sole reason the 2017 Report Card from the American Society of Civil Engineers gives the U.S. drinking water infrastructure an overall “D” grade. Hidden within that disheartening rating are the harsh realities faced by rural water systems.
Water utilities around the country are trying to get a handle on their PFAS problem. While the presence of legacy PFAS is well known, lesser understood replacements such as short-chain PFAS are emerging as a major issue. The short-chain compounds are particularly important because they can be more difficult to remove. In this Water Talk interview, Adam Redding, technical director for drinking water solutions for Calgon Carbon, discusses the science and economics behind effective solutions for treating water for short-chain PFAS and other contaminants.
SUEZ Water Technologies & Solutions designs and manufactures Sievers Total Organic Carbon (TOC) Analyzers that enable near real-time reporting of organic carbon levels for treatment optimization, quality control & regulatory compliance. TOC has a wide range of applicability at a drinking water plant, and therefore any drinking water utility — large or small — can measure TOC in their laboratory or online in their treatment process.
When water and wastewater plant operators can’t get accurate flow measurements or analytical readings — or lack confidence in their instruments’ readings — it creates challenges with the process. When substandard water goes to homes and causes a boil order, or discharge pollutes a lake or reservoir, the resulting bad press, fines, and potential lawsuits erode public confidence. Avoiding these kinds of problems is rooted in good preventive maintenance habits.
In drinking water treatment’s ongoing battle between disinfection and disinfection byproducts (DBPs), most water utility customers are oblivious to the process. One thing they do notice, however, is when their water smells or tastes bad. Here are some insights that can help water treatment plant (WTP) operators deal with their internal concerns about DBPs and residual chlorine or ammonia levels, as well as their external concerns about customer perceptions of water quality.
When it comes to metering water flow — drinking water or wastewater — full-bore mag meters offer many advantages. While the underlying technology based on Faraday’s Law of electromagnetic induction is shared among all styles of full-bore mag meters, specific implementations have impacts on longevity and accuracy. Here is what to look for when the time to choose arrives.
For most of the United States, we’ve reached the time of year where Americans desire to maintain a perfectly green lawn starts to be tested by the warmer and dryer summer months. From the water industry’s perspective, it’s staggering just how many billions of gallons of treated water ends up being sprayed across our hallowed front and back yards in maintaining a full and aesthetically-pleasing lawn.
There is little doubt about the importance of taking turbidity readings as part of drinking water treatment. However, there are certain misperceptions about the associated requirements and procedures needed to confirm the validity of those readings. The major points of confusion seem to revolve around perception of the terms “approved,” “calibration,” and “validation.” Here is a quick synopsis on what you really need to know about meeting U.S. EPA Method 180.1: Determination of Turbidity by Nephelometry for accurate turbidity readings.
Advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) has received a lot of attention in recent years, typically regarding customer account billing. Other AMI uses within water distribution networks, however, can play equally important roles in reducing non-revenue water (NRW). Consider these contributions of networked flow meter use for automating better insights into water distribution efficiency.
As fresh water supplies dwindle, search for “new water” increases, and regulations become more stringent, reverse osmosis systems have gained popularity among utilities. Their ability to treat brackish or salty water and to remove numerous contaminants provide opportunities to treat lower quality waters or reclaim treated effluent. Most concerns about reverse osmosis relate to high costs, concentrate management, and low recovery rates.
Americans and Canadians got a peek into the future when the City of Toledo shut its drinking water taps in 2014, issuing a do-not-drink order on the municipal water supplies serving 500,000 people. Levels of microcystin, a potent liver toxin produced by blue-green algae, were more than double the World Health Organization's safe limit. More than 700 square miles of the Lake Erie surface was covered by a harmful algal bloom (HAB), and drinking water plants couldn't remove the algal cells and the toxins they produced.
From inspecting for foreign body contaminants to complying with food safety regulations, cand makers must implement food safety programs to safeguard brand reputation and protect consumers.
Microbiological contamination is at the top of the CDMO threat list. A CDMO needs to have clearly defined procedures and allow client access to data.
Most agree that Oregon, with its breathtaking mountains and rugged coastline, is a scenic wonder. Yet the geologic forces that make it so spectacular also make it one of the most earthquake-prone spots in the country.
It is no secret that a large portion of the drinking water infrastructure in the United States is near or past its intended design life. Our nation’s water infrastructure needs an overhaul, and the cost of doing so is climbing rapidly. The American Society of Civil Engineering’s 2017 Infrastructure Report Card graded the nation’s drinking water infrastructure a D. According to the American Water Works Association, an estimated $1 trillion is necessary to maintain and expand drinking water service to meet demands over the next 25 years.
The use of chlorine to treat and disinfect drinking water and wastewater has been in practice for decades, with the earliest recorded attempt dating all the way back to 1893. Since then, it has come a long way.
A lot has changed over the past 15 years. Back in the early 2000s, many utilities weren’t interested in understanding what was in their water beyond the contaminant and disinfection byproduct levels they were regulated to comply with. But as Pat Whalen, President and CEO of LuminUltra, explains in this ACE 2018 Water Talk interview, a steady stream of ongoing education and the modern data storage and analytics that cloud computing provides, has developed some rabid fans eager to explore the microbiology of their water systems.
From the largest metropolitan utilities to the smallest water systems, leaks are a problem everywhere. Because it’s difficult to raise consumer prices to offset the losses, non-revenue water has a direct impact on the bottom line of municipal water systems. However, utility managers now have an opportunity to reverse the problem with advanced flow meter technology that combines multiple measurements.
Iron, manganese, arsenic and hydrogen sulfide are indigenous to numerous groundwater aquifers. With the exception of arsenic, these constituents are more prevalent in deeper aquifers that are devoid of dissolved oxygen. This report summarizes the results and conclusions of a groundwater treatment pilot test program. This pilot test program was undertaken to determine the removal performance for arsenic, manganese and iron at the City of Merced’s Well 20 site. Chemical treatment processes required were also studied.