America's Aging Wastewater Infrastructure

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Concerns are growing over the fundamental issues with America’s current wastewater infrastructure, raising serious questions about its future. The EPA recently announced that the U.S. needs to invest as much as $271 billion over the course of the next five years in order to properly solve the problems and bring the system up to scratch. Repairs include the pipes that carry the water, the treatment technology, and storm runoff management. While the wastewater treatment industry has made great improvements during the past few decades, it is clear that there is much left to be accomplished.

Wastewater Innovation

Triplepoint Environmental Technologies is one of the leaders in innovation in the wastewater treatment industry, modernizing the lagoon system that has the potential to revolutionize wastewater treatment. Current wastewater lagoons are intricate systems utilizing biological, chemical, and mechanical means to treat water. Lagoons like these are consistently cited as a reliable and eco-friendly method that can be operated for a modest price with relatively low maintenance. They were originally used primarily in smaller rural communities lacking a connection to a larger water treatment facility, but they’re expanding into more populated urban areas as well. Wastewater lagoons are typically constructed out of a synthetic lining material like clay. The very purpose of wastewater treatment in general is to remove any pathogenic substances: bacteria, viruses, parasites, etc., from wastewater that could run the risk of adversely affecting the environment, and Triplepoint believes that the lagoon method is one of the most effective methods of accomplishing the task. Toxins like these have the potential to cause harm to the balance of nature’s ecosystems; including plants, animals, and humans. Lagoons excel in the removal of pathogens such as fecal coliform bacteria {and many others} due their long retention times, exposure to natural sunlight, the presence of dissolved oxygen, and the settling of suspensions in the water.

Pathogen Removal

Triplepoint offers a variety of tips on maximizing the efficiency of pathogen removal in lagoons. First of all; they advise the prevention of “short-circuiting”, which occurs when influent (water flowing in, as opposed to effluent which flows out) bypasses treatment due to some flaw in the design of the system. Proper mixing and aeration are two common means to preventing short-circuiting from becoming an issue. They also suggest the use of baffles to boost treatment efficiency by creating a longer flow length for the water, and by diminishing wind shear and influent surges. Additionally, they recommend using a series of cells rather than single cells in a parallel arrangement. Solar radiation is an extremely crucial aspect of the entire disinfection process; and Triplepoint stresses the importance of using it to its full advantage by keeping the lagoon’s surface free of debris, using as much effluent as possible from the upper half of the lagoon, and discharging during the afternoon hours when the sun is most prominently positioned in the sky. Aeration is key partially due to the presence of oxygen in the air injected into the water can combine with the sunlight to significantly decrease the levels of toxins like fecal coliform and salmonella. Of all these steps in the process, sedimentation is the phase in which a majority of parasitic substances are removed.

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Sludge & Bioaugmentation

Some undesirable microorganisms can survive in sludge- accumulated semisolid materials found in lagoons- for years. Consequently, it is extremely important to handle sludge carefully. Although it is much more common to just dredge up the sludge; it is a rather expensive and tedious process and should only really be used as a last resort. Triplepoint proposes an alternative by treating the sludge with proper aeration/mixing, as well as a technique called bio-augmentation. Bioaugmentation is the practice of using specifically formulated blends of bacteria (ones that won’t harm the effluent) to enhance the role of natural bacteria. Studies have proven that bioaugmentation, when combined with aeration and mixing, is a very useful way to steadily decompose the sludge.

The MARS Aerorator

Triplepoint has been incredibly creative in developing new ideas and technology to radically improve the ways in which modern-day lagoons operate. The MARS aerator is one of their greatests works thus far. MARS is complete aeration and mixing system for wastewater lagoons; and it’s all wrapped in a single, portable package. Coarse bubble mixing is used; in which large bubbles are released from the bottom of a tube to form a draft of flowing water and suspended organic materials; creating a particularly agitated stream of water to mix the entire mixing tank or lagoon. Then fine bubbles are diffused around the same static tube, increasing the efficiency of the oxygen transfer while expending as little energy as possible. Due to the fact that the MARS is built in a modular design, the treatment can be equally effective throughout the entire lagoon. Adding the list of features and benefits; the MARS is also remarkably easy to install and maintain in a lagoon. They’re also powerful enough that only one unit can be used in many cases, and often only require one centralized source of air. In addition to MARS; Triplepoint has also introduced their NitrOx lagoon ammonia removal process, and the LRAS Advanced Lagoon Treatment of retrofitting pre-existing lagoons to operate well in the future.

Wastewater Treatment For The Future

Entirely new types of products have been introduced for wastewater treatment recently, while others have found just as much success by completely resuscitating an existing concept to function in the future. Regardless of how the product was conceived and designed, the type of innovation and resourcefulness is exactly what is needed to fix the issues and revitalize the wastewater infrastructure.

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Sources:

http://www.processingmagazine.com/processing-e-news/u-s-wastewater-infrastructure-needs-271-billion-upgrade/

http://www.triplepointwater.com/pathogen-removal/#.VsIAJ5MrJTY

http://www.triplepointwater.com/about-triplepoint-water/#.VsIRj5MrJTY

http://www.triplepointwater.com/lagoon-technologies/mars-wastewater-lagoon-aeration/#.VsIRupMrJTY

http://www.triplepointwater.com/wastewater-lagoon-sludge-treatment/#.VsINBZMrJTY

http://www.triplepointwater.com/lagoon-technologies/lras-advanced-lagoon-treatment/#.VsIX5ZMrJTZ

http://www.lagoonsonline.com/

http://www.waterworld.com/articles/print/volume-27/issue-10/editorial-features/introduction-to-wastewater-treatment-ponds.html

http://www.waterworld.com/articles/print/volume-20/issue-3/editorial-focus/new-coating-systems-help-protect-aging-wastewater-infrastructure.html