November 2018 O&M Newsletter

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November 2018

In this issue:


Oct. 30, Nov 1, 6, & 8 - MRWA - Wastewater Systems Preparatory Course Grade 1-2, Newport & Presque Isle, DEP 16 TCH

Nov. 6 & 8 - MRWA - Class I & II Math - Location TBA, BLWSO 10 TCH

Nov. 7 & 8 - NEIWPCC - Laboratory Procedures (w/optional NEWEA Exam), Orono, DEP 9 TCH

Nov. 13 - MRWA - Work Zone Safety & Traffic Control, Hampden, DEP 6 Safety TCH, BLWSO 6 TCH

Nov. 14 - JETCC - Solutions for Challenging Pump Station Applications & Low Pressure Sewers, Brunswick, DEP 6 TCH

Nov. 15 - JETCC - Solutions for Challenging Pump Station Applications & Low Pressure Sewers, York, DEP 6 TCH

Nov. 28 - JETCC - Math Basics with Test Taking Tips, Waterville, DEP 6 TCH, BLWSO 6 TCH

Nov. 29 - JETCC - Chemistry Basics with Lab Equipment Review, Waterville, DEP 6 TCH

Dec. 4 - JETCC - Intro to Instrumentation and Control Systems, Falmouth, DEP 6 TCH, BLWSO 6 TCH

Dec. 4, 5, & 6 - MRWA - 38th Annual Conference & Tradeshow, Bangor, DEP 11 TCH, BLWSO 11 TCH

Jan. 8, 10, & 15 - MRWA - Class II Treatment Water Certification Preparatory Exam Course, Location TBA

Jan. 22 & 24 - MRWA - Basic Math - Location TBA, BLWSO 10 TCH

MRWA 38th Annual Technical Conference & Tradeshow

MRWA’s Annual Conference and Tradeshow is now open for registration. The conference will be held December 4-6, 2018 at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.

MRWA’s annual conference is chock full of continuing education that is sure to excite and delight.  There will be 34 concurrent sessions suited for small to large water system operators, wastewater operators, utility administrative personnel, and utility management and governance.  There also will be concurrent tracks for subsurface wastewater disposal professionals. 

For more information or to register, go to or call 207-727-4092.

Monthly Problem Set / For Practice, November

1. Chloramine refers to

a. A point where chlorine-ammonia gas compounds leave solution because the chlorine feed rate is too high
b. Chlorine added to aid ammonification
c. Compounds formed by the reaction of chlorine dissolved in water (aqueous chlorine) with ammonia
d. The breakdown of organic matter by bacteria to a more stable form of ammonia

2. Chlorine is often added to the collection systems up-stream (pre-chlorination) of the wastewater plant in order to

a. Reduce odors and hydrogen sulfide concentrations
b. Start disinfection early to reduce bisulfite additions at the plant
c. Help breakdown cyanide discharges from metal finishing operations
d. Adjust BOD levels so the “bugs” have the correct “food” for F/M

3. Hypochlorites are compounds made from

a. Hyponitrogenous compounds
b. Calcium chloride or salt water (sodium chloride)
c. Bleach (sodium hypochlorite) or calcium hypochlorite
d. Ultra Violet (UV) or peroxide byproducts

4. Hypochlorinators are used to dispense liquid chlorine solution in place of gaseous chlorine because

a. Hypochlorites have a higher disinfecting power than gaseous chlorine
b. Hypochlorites are cheaper than gas
c. Hypochlorites perform breakpoint chlorination better
d. Hypochlorites are safer to use and store than gaseous chlorine

5. HTH (high test hypochlorite) contains approximately (by weight)

a. 34% chlorine
b. 65% chlorine
c. 100% chlorine
d. The same as commercially available bleach used for home laundry

6. Chlorine residual is most often measured using the

a. DPD method
b. DEP method
c. BIG method
d. Amperage method

7. Chlorine feed rate is often controlled using the

a. Desired chlorine residual level
b. Hydrogen sulfide residual level
c. Oxygen Uptake Rate (OUR) residual level
d. Bisulfite feedback loop

8. Chlorine demand is affected by

a. Dosage
b. Time
c. Temperature
d. pH
e. All of the above

9. Which methods can be used for dechlorination?

a. Detention ponds
b. Aeration
c. Sunlight
d. Activated carbon
e. Addition of sulfur compounds
f. All the above

10. The chlorine residual is too high in the plant effluent. The probable causes may include:

a. The organic strength of the wastewater influent has decreased.
b. The flow through the treatment plant has changed.
c. The test equipment used to check chlorine residual needs to be calibrated.
d. All of the above.

11. A chlorinator is set to feed 50 pounds of chlorine per 24 hours. Wastewater flow is 0.85 MGD. The residual after 30 minute contact time is measured with the chlorine residual test as 0.5 mg/L. What is the chlorine dosage in mg/L?

a. 0.85 mg/L
b. 6.6 mg/L
c. 7.1 mg/L
d. 42.5 mg/L

12. For the plant above, what is the chlorine demand in mg/L?

a. 0.85 mg/L
b. 6.6 mg/L
c. 7.1 mg/L
d. 42.5 mg/L

DMR-QA Update

DMR-QA retests and corrective action plans for failed analytes were due October 26. Below is a short synopsis of DMR-QA Study 38 results.

This year, 21 minors were added to the DMR-QA study who have never participated or had not been in the study lately, for a total of 112 participants. The good news is that overall, the new minors performed as well as the majors and significant minors that have been in the program already. The bad news is that almost 1/3 of all participants (31%) failed at least one analyte test. This failure rate was slightly higher than last year, when 27% of facilities failed at least one proficiency test.

There were 6 facilities (5% of participants) that failed two analyte tests. All but two facilities who failed the first test passed the retest.

Every year, a handful of facilities fail due to clerical or data entry failures. Two or three fail due to calculation errors. It is important for operators to have in place data review verification, and validation procedures as part of their lab QA/QC program to avoid these pitfalls. If you are the only person at your facility working with lab data, perhaps you can enlist the help of others for this important QA/QC task.

This year, the analyte failed the most was TSS (28% of failures), followed by Total Residual Chlorine (23%), pH (18%), Suspended Solids (13%), BOD (10%) and Fecal/E-Coli (10%).

To address lab issues, DEP will begin publishing monthly O&M articles to help operators improve the quality of data produced in their labs. This month will begin with an introduction to QA/QC in the laboratory and a discussion of routine Quality Control practices that can help to identify testing issues.

Additionally, DEP is available to provide technical assistance to help improve laboratory techniques. If you would like more information, please contact your inspector or Judy Bruenjes at 207-287-7806, or by email at

QA / QC in the Laboratory

In the coming months we’ll have newsletter articles focusing on various aspects of Quality Assurance (QA) and Quality Control (QC) in the laboratory. This article is a general introduction to these terms and provides a basic overview of QA/QC activities in the laboratory. The terms Quality Assurance and Quality Control are sometimes used interchangeably, while they are related to one another each has a separate role in helping ensure laboratories are producing defensible data. 

Quality Assurance is a comprehensive system or plan for monitoring and maintaining quality in all aspects of sample collection and analysis. Quality assurance plans includes activities such as documentation of procedures, training, quality control criteria, data review and quality improvements. 

Quality Control consists of measures taken to assess the validity of specific aspects of sample collection and analysis. Examples of Quality Control activities are duplicate/ replicate sample analysis, blanks, spike samples and DMR-QA samples.

One aspect of Quality Control that is underutilized is the routine use of QC standards as part of the facility QA plan. QC Standards are available from most proficiency test providers and come with a certificate of analysis showing the acceptable range for results. These standards can be analyzed weekly or monthly to verify the analytical method is being performed with the appropriate level of accuracy.

The Universal Wastewater Standard from NSI Solutions is one product that some facilities find particularly convenient to use.  From a single bottle the following tests can be performed: TOC, BOD5, cBOD, COD, Conductivity, pH, TSS, TDS, Total Solids, Ammonia- Nitrogen, Nitrate-Nitrogen, and Orthophosphate as P. Each test has a specified acceptable result range provided with each bottle. Similar products may be available from other sources, check with your proficiency sample provider to see if they offer a similar product.

Please contact Brett Goodrich at 287-9034 with any questions.


Renewals for Odd-Numbered Certificates Due March 1, 2019

Do you have an odd-numbered wastewater operator certificate? It’s not too early to renew. Online renewals began October 1. Go to the NEIWPCC-JETCC website, and click on “Certification Corner” to start the renewal process.

Renewals for odd-numbered certificates are due no later than March 1, 2019. Renewal notices were mailed in early October. Contact NEIWPCC-JETCC at (207) 253-8020 if you did not receive your notice.

A letter was mailed to all certified operators by the DEP on August 30, 2018 regarding program fee increases. Current program fees were established over ten years ago, in 2008 and have served the certification program adequately to this point. However, the current fees are not sufficient to maintain the program into the future. After detailed discussions, NEIWPCC-JETCC and the Department have jointly determined that a fee increase is necessary to ensure the program remains solvent and continues to function at a high level. Therefore, the renewal fee was increased from $75 to $125 for biennial renewals.

To maintain Active status, Maine certified wastewater operators must complete the following by their March 1 renewal date:

• Pay renewal fee (currently $125);
• Update your contact information, including email; and
• Provide documentation that you obtained required Training Contact Hours (TCH).

Timely renewal of your operator certification is very important.  Failure to do so makes the certificate inactive, increases cost of renewal, and may lead to other complications.

If your certification is Inactive please contact NEIWPCC-JETCC for further instructions.

If you have questions about the Certification program, please contact Judy Bruenjes at  207-287-7806.

Efficiency Maine: Financial Incentives for Energy-Efficiency Projects

Efficiency Maine is an independent, not-for-profit agency that runs a suite of programs to lower energy costs for all Maine homes, businesses, and institutions. We manage a budget of over $70 million/year to provide financial incentives and technical support to Maine energy consumers investing in high-efficiency equipment and systems.

Over the past several years, we have helped a number of water and wastewater treatment facilities to significantly reduce operating costs and improve reliability through energy efficiency investments. Given that most of these projects are complex and require a unique engineering analysis, they typically go through our Commercial and Industrial (C&I) Custom Program.

Following is a list of relevant projects that have qualified for or are under consideration for Efficiency Maine funding:

   • biogas to produce combined heat and power
   • anaerobic digesters
   • fine-bubble aeration
   • aeration system optimization
   • dissolved oxygen controls
   • high-efficiency aeration blowers
   • heat recovery from waste water
   • variable blower air flow rates
   • pipe insulation
   • heat recovery ventilation
   • HVAC controls, modifications, and optimization

C&I Custom Program Overview

• Targets projects that reduce the consumption of grid-supplied electricity, natural gas  and/or unregulated fuels (oil, propane, biomass, etc.), as well as distributed generation projects (e.g., combined heat and power systems).
• Incentives range from $10,000 to $1,000,000
• Minimum energy savings of 36,000 kWh or 400 MMBtu
• Incentives will be capped at the lessor of:
  o $1 million (for electric or distributed generation projects) or $500,000 for    thermal projects)
  o 50% of the project cost for retrofit, 75% of project cost for new construction/replace-on-burnout
  o $0.28/kwh or $25/MMBtu saved
  o an incentive level that would buy the project down to a one-year payback

The program offers free Scoping Audits to help customers identify potential energy efficiency projects within their facilities. It also offers Technical Assistance (TA) incentives in cases where customers have identified an efficiency project but need additional outside assistance to move it forward. A TA Study will verify energy savings and project costs, helping the customer prepare a project application for the C&I Custom Program. Efficiency Maine may provide up to 50% of the cost of an approved TA Study up to $20,000.

Getting Started

   • Visit our website for more information:
        o C&I Custom Program page: :
   • Contact the C&I Custom Program staff
        o Chuck Porter | || 207-400-6916

Case Study: Portland Water District                                                                                  East End Wastewater Treatment Facility Aeration Upgrade

In 2015, the Portland Water District (PWD) prepared its plan for a significant renovation of the East End wastewater treatment facility. Built in the 1970s, the facility’s original splash aeration system was nearing the end of its useful life; it was underperforming, contributing to poor sludge settling. The renovation plan’s full scope of work included new fine-bubble aeration diffusers and infrastructure, new blowers, an aeration basin layout redesign, selector zone controls, and new electrical service equipment.

Originally, PWD was considering a series of lowest-cost options for the blower replacement. However, with the help of an incentive from Efficiency Maine’s C&I Custom Program, they were able to invest in more energy-efficient equipment models; rather than installing the multistage centrifugal blowers with inlet guide vanes, PWD opted for the more efficient single-stage integrally geared blowers.

   • Project Cost: $415,880 (incremental cost of more efficient blowers)
   • Efficiency Maine Incentive: $203,337
   • Annual Energy Savings: 726,204 kWh, 158 kW (summer demand)
   • Return on Investment: 2.9 years with incentive, 5.7 years without incentive

Efficiency Project

Paul Rodriguez (R), Senior Project Engineer at PWD, gives Efficiency Maine’s Chuck Porter (L) a tour of the final installation.Click to edit this placeholder text.

Monthly Problem Set / For Practice Answers, November

1. C
2. A
3. C
4. D
5. B
6. A
7. A
8. E
9. F
10. D 
11. C 
Use the dosage (pounds) formula: 
Chlorine feed rate or dose (pounds/day) = flow (MGD) X conc. (mg/L) X 8.34

Solve for concentration: 
conc. (mg/L) = dosage (pounds/day) / flow (MGD)
conc. (mg/L) = 50 pounds/day / (0.85 MGD X 8.34)  =  7.1 mg/L

12. B
Chlorine Dose = Demand + Residual
Solve for Chlorine Demand:
Demand = Dose – Residual
Demand = 7.1 mg/L – 0.5 mg/L = 6.6 mg/L