July 2022 O&M Newsletter

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July 2022

In this issue:

Training-Certification Update

Maine Water Utility Association (MWUA) Summer Outing

MWUA is excited to announce an in-person Summer Outing on August 11th at the Cumberland Fairgrounds in Cumberland, Maine. The Summer Outing event is a joint effort between MWUA and MEWEA.

Starting at 8:00 AM, the event will begin with two hours of training. Next on the agenda, attendees can participate in a corn hole tournament and water main tapping contest.

The highlight of the event will be a pig roast lunch. There will also be steak, hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken and veggie burgers available.

MWUA & MEWEA hope you will join them for the fun, food, training, and networking event. For more info, go to www.mwua.org or contact Bruce Berger at bberger@mwua.org.

Operator Educational Opportunities at Southern & Northern Maine Community Colleges

The Water Treatment Technology program is gaining momentum at both SMCC and NMCC.

Join instructors Patrick Wiley (SM) and Gil St. Pierre (NM) for a variety of water and wastewater courses, including collection & distribution systems, instrumentation and control, electronics, and operator safety. Whether you are interested in an associate degree, certificate program, or just need to take a few classes, the community college learning experience can be customized to fit your needs.

Content delivery methods have evolved and expanded to accommodate working professionals with busy schedules. Options include in-person instruction, completely remote learning, or a hybrid of in-person and online learning. Instructors are available to help everyone who wants to learn figure out the best method for them.

Patrick and Gil are not only experienced instructors but are also seasoned operators with many years of hands-on experience in water and wastewater technology. Both hold Grade 5 wastewater certifications. Gil has operated both activated sludge and spray irrigation systems. Patrick has operated a variety of treatment facilities including activated sludge, MBR, RBC, TF, pond systems, and experimental algae-based treatment. He has authored several textbook chapters on wastewater treatment processes and written about wastewater treatment, water treatment, and collection system odor control.

For more information, or to hear about the fall lineup, please contact Patrick Wiley, PhD (pwiley@smccme.edu) or Gilles St. Pierre (ngstpier@nmcc.edu), or check out the website www.smccme.edu/academics/degree-programs/waste-water-management-degree-certificate/.

MRWA Administrative Summit

MRWA will hold a one-day virtual Administrative Summit on Wednesday September 28, 2022. The summit will focus on Employee Engagement, Leadership, Compliance, and Governance.

For more information visit www.mainerwa.org.

Save the Date - In-Person Pump-a-Palooza

Mark your calendars now for NEIWPCC's upcoming Pump-a-Palooza to be held August 17 at the Westford Regency in Westford, MA. Join NEIWPCC in-person for this full-day of training, demonstration, and interactive displays by pump manufacturers, vendors, and other industry experts. More details coming soon.

Save the Date – MRWA 42 Annual Conference and Trade Show

MRWA is thrilled to return to the Samoset Resort for their 42nd Annual Conference on December 6-8, 2022 at the Samoset Resort in Rockport, ME. The space is big enough to accommodate the tradeshow and expansive selection of live classes and offers many amenities and expansive ocean views!

More information on room blocks will be available shortly. MRWA highly recommends booking your room sooner rather than later once the room blocks become available. The accommodations located at the Samoset will go fast!

For more information go to www.mainerwa.org.

Check out the MWUA New Website for Water/Wastewater Resources

Over the past year, MWUA has added several resources to help operators save time and improve efficiency. These include:

• The water operator’s toolbox - A series of ten digital and mobile friendly calculators to assist professionals in making calculations whether they are in the field or in the office, from a Blending Calculator to a Chemical Feed Pump Setting Stroke Calculator...we've got you covered. Check out the water calculators now.

• "A Helping Hand" Directory – A comprehensive guide to assist make product selections and purchasing decisions in a snap. Check out the resources directory.

• The PR and Media Guide - A water specific guidance document to assist professionals in working with the media and fostering beneficial outcomes. You'll find tips on how to communicate effectively with the media as well as the best platforms to use to disseminate information during an emergency and/or normal operations. You'll even find pre-written templates you can use! Read the PR & Media Guide.

For more information, go to www.mwua.org.


Monthly Problem Set / For Practice, July

1. Which statement is true regarding algae in a facultative pond?

A. During the day, algae uses oxygen to produce carbon dioxide.
B. In the afternoon, algae uses oxygen to lower the pH.
C. In the presence of sunlight, algae uses carbon dioxide to lower the pH.
D. During the day, algae uses carbon dioxide in the wastewater to release oxygen.

2. When would you expect the lowest concentration of dissolved oxygen (DO) in a facultative pond?

A. Noon
B. 3 PM
C. Sunrise
D. Sunset

3. How will a fast belt speed typically affect cake solids concentration?

A. Produce higher solids content
B. Produce lumpy sludge
C. Produce lower solids content
D. Produce window piles of thick sludge

4. Which best describes sludge volume index?

A. Numerical indicator of bug population
B. Volume-to-weight ratio of mixed liquor
C. Volume-to volume ratio of mixed liquor
D. Removal efficiency of BOD

5. The plant flow rate is 14.5 mgd and the effluent suspended solids concentration is 3 ppm. How many pounds of solids per day is the plant discharging?

A. 253 lbs/day
B. 363 lbs/day
C. 196 lbs/day
D. 235 lbs/day

Inactivation of NODI codes in NetDMR - Update

A previous version of this article was published in the March 2022 DEP newsletter. This article will provide current information based on recent updates from EPA.

In October of 2021 EPA began the process of inactivating 13 NODI codes in NetDMR. Some codes were combined under new or existing NODI codes, others were considered obsolete and not replaced. Initially the 13 codes were made available only for revising older DMRs where the inactivated NODI codes may have still been appropriate.

Final inactivation of these codes was originally scheduled for March of 2022, once the final inactivation of these 13 NODI codes takes place the obsolete codes will no longer be available for any purpose. The final inactivation of these codes did not take place at expected in March of 2022, the most recent update from EPA indicated that this will now take place in August of 2022.

For a list of the current active and inactive NODI codes follow this link: https://usepa.servicenowservices.com/oeca_icis?id=kb_article_view&sys_kb_id=887e72db1b9889d49513859ce54bcbe6

If you have questions about which NODI code to use based on the current list of codes, please contact your compliance inspector or the NetDMR coordinator at Brett.A.Goodrich@maine.gov or 207-287-9034.

Summer Wastewater Operational Problems

Copyrighted material. Reprinted with permission from Environmental Leverage, Inc. www.environmentalleverage.com. The appearance of external hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection of the linked web sites, or the information, products or services contained therein.

It’s summer again, and with the hot seasonal weather there sometimes can be wastewater treatment problems. The most common problems encountered during the summer months are too old a sludge age resulting in deteriorated sludge solids quality (increased solids/TSS in the final effluent), filamentous bulking caused by too low an F/M ratio (too old SRT) and odor control problems. The sludge age problem results from an increased reproduction by the bacteria because biological activity significantly increases during warm weather.

For every increase of 10° C in temperature, the reproductive rate of the bacteria increases by one log’s growth. Therefore, to hold a desired food to microorganism ratio and sludge age, you need to increase the wasting rate in an activated sludge plant. If you don’t make this seasonal adjustment, these are some of the things that can happen.

The solids concentration in the system will grow faster than the food supply, causing the older bacteria (usually those on the inside of a floc) to starve to death and lyse.

BOD and nutrients are re-released from the dead cells. This can be critical in municipalities where the supernatant from sludge digesters or supernatant off of dewatering equipment is recycled back to the head of the system. This can cause an overload of NH3 and O-PO4 and make it harder to meet nutrient removal limits.

The cell wall ruptures and the other bacteria feed on the dead cell’s protoplasm. Older, anaerobic or dead spots build up in the floc making it settle too fast. This can result in shearing of the floc, since the floc structure is now weaker. The older, smaller pin floc, which have very little charge go over the weirs of the secondary clarifier as "pin floc"/turbidity (floc particles of less than 1/32 inch in size).

Ashing may occur, this is when fine particles rise and spread over the surface of the clarifier (and of the settleometer) because the floc is over-oxidized. The addition of flocculants or coagulants will help a little, but not to a satisfactory degree. Wasting is usually the best measure.

Gassing can occur, causing sludge particles to float and again go over the weirs contributing to TSS problems and bed settleability. This is due to holding the solids too long in the clarifier and not enough free oxygen so denitrification or gasification occurs.

The old sludge can cause physical mixing problems in the dewatering operation, resulting in pockets with pure polymer to exist and other pockets in the sludge with no polymer - and this assumes that you are using the correct/optimum chemistry and charge. The pockets of unmixed polymer can then "blind" a belt on a belt press, causing poor dewatering results. The cure is not a "better" polymer, the cure is to readjust the sludge age!

Algae growth on the weirs can significantly increase and cause problems not only with clogging up the weirs, but with carryover into the final effluent. Algae can give a false higher BOD reading or cause TSS permit violations. Make sure to clean the weirs more often in the summer.

Duckweed are small, free floating green plants that form large blankets on the surface of large ponds and can grow significantly on ponds in the summer time. Duckweed has some desirable properties for water purification since it can break down and treat some nutrients in the water. Duckweed can be used as a final polishing on ponds, but final screening needs to be in place or the small plants can contribute to solids in the final effluent.

Bristle worms can also be seen more readily in the summer months as the sludge age gets older. These are microscopic worms that can turn the foam on the aeration basin pink in color, or the secondary clarifier surface color pink due to the vast numbers of these worms that can develop. They are usually found in the presence of high nitrates and older, well developed sludge.

If the MLSS concentration is allowed to get too high, more dissolved oxygen will be required in the aeration basins. This is a real cost item (electrical utilities driving the aerators, particularly in diffused aeration systems), in addition to making it difficult within some systems to maintain adequate D.O. for the bacteria. Electricity is usually the number one cost in a waste treatment plant followed by solids handling. Oxygen transfer it is more difficult to achieve in hot water than cold water. If your D.O. is hard to maintain, try reducing the MLSS concentration you are holding in the aeration basin (via RAS change and/or by wasting). This is where keeping track of your solids balancing data is very valuable!

There are some strains of filamentous bacteria that can gain a foothold when the F/M gets too low (or when the D.O. gets too low). Filaments will cause bulking in the secondary clarifier, eventually resulting in solids problems as they get washed over the weirs. This is where your Wastewater Biomass Analysis (WBA’s) are invaluable! Using the microscope as a daily monitor and control tool will help make running your wastewater treatment plant easier.


Water/Wastewater Apprenticeship in Maine

Apprenticeships have been proven to produce strong results for both businesses and trainees, and they’re growing throughout the business community. Even with the pandemic’s effect on the economy, participation in registered apprenticeship programs is at an all-time high.

The Department of Labor shows that 90 percent of apprentices retain employment after their apprenticeship has completed. The apprentice also benefits, earning $300,000 more over their lifetime compared to peers who were not in an apprenticeship.

There are currently two sponsors of Water/Wastewater Apprenticeship programs in Maine. MRWA’s Apprenticeship Program is a nationally recognized program for candidates with limited or no experience. It is divided into four different tracks, Water, Wastewater, Joint Water and Wastewater, and Administrative/Bookkeeping. Each apprentice is assigned a mentor during their time in the program. MRWA’s staff will work with facilities to help select mentors, provide coaching, and create a nationally recognized schedule of work. MRWA will also provide the apprentice with technical training, including certification prep for professional licensure. Go to www.mainerwa.org for more information.

The Maine Community College System (MCCS) has been working with the Maine Apprenticeship Program (MAP) to establish work models customized to the specific needs of employers. Richard Sterrs, Apprenticeship Program Navigator for MCCS said, “Maine’s community colleges have always been a strong and trusted training provider for many industries in the state. Under the apprenticeship model, we can tailor curriculum and develop a workforce plan that meets the goals of any employer, based on their industry and their specific needs.”

A registered apprenticeship requires full-time employment and 144 hours of classroom training. Sterrs has worked to develop customized apprenticeships in trades, hospitality, healthcare, and the arts. The Harold Alfond Center for the Advancement of Maine’s Workforce, the short-term training arm of MCCS, also has grant funding available to subsidize training costs for employers and trainees. “If companies join the Maine Workforce Development Compact this year, they receive financial support of up to $1,200 per employee,” said Sterrs. He noted that there are also scholarships available that can help reduce the cost of classroom training if done through one of Maine’s seven community colleges.

To learn more about the benefits of partnering with MCCS for an apprenticeship, contact Richard Sterrs at rsterrs@mccs.me.edu.


Monthly Problem Set / For Practice Answers, July

1. D.
2. C.
3. C.
4. B.
5. B.

Flow, mgd x conc., mg/l x 8.34 lbs/gal
= 14.5 mgd x 3.0 mg/l x 8.34
= 362.79 lbs/day
Round up to 363 lbs/day