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Operator Travis Kauffman monitors the lter backwash system.

A key result of the plants involvement in the Partnership for Safe Water program was optimization of the backwash process.

many of these items. For example, we were already at less than 0.1 NTU turbidity on the lters. So, we took the data we already had and found ways to reduce the number of times the lters exceeded or approached our 0.1 NTU turbidity goal.

Seeing results
A key result of the Partnership program was optimization of the lter backwash process. The lters used to take 40 minutes to lterto-waste before they could go back online, says McFadden. With the improvements, it now takes three minutes. Operators modied the backwash from a standard sequence of air scour, low-rate wash, high-rate wash, low-rate wash, then lter-towaste for over 40 minutes to get turbidities of 0.1 NTU. The operators tried out a new procedure that replaced the filter-to-waste sequence with an extended terminal subuidization wash, says McFadden. Ive heard it referred to as rinse-to-waste. The operators experimented and documented the correct balance of times and ow rates, then made the formal change. This reduced initial lter turbidities to about 0.07 NTU, even without a lter-to-waste step, and signicantly reduced backwash water. Another feather in the operators caps was signicant improvement in winter sedimentation results. The operators ran numerous jar test trials and plant trials to see which polymers and coagulants would work best for winter water quality. The Meurer Research plate settlers installed in 2008 eliminated settled-water spikes that uctuated with raw water quality, but our cold-weather results were still above our goal of 1.0 NTU, says McFadden. As a result of the operators studies, we now alternate between aluminum sulfate and polyaluminum chloride, achieving results well below goal levels virtually all the time. After showing the operators the data from the Partnership in a new perspective, we could all identify the long periods of excellent ltered turbidity results, but mixed with short time periods where we could improve.

It took a solid seven years to go through the program. We didnt have much downtime, but we were pretty much working on it all the time, making steady progress. Team members were tough on themselves in the beginning, with a lot of action items to complete. When they began Phase IV, they held off registering for it until they were sure the selfassessment phase was complete. We discovered that we were already on track with a lot of the things we had to do for the program, says McFadden. We were optimized on



Travis Kauffman records data from the chemical polymer system (Acrison).

Short investigations
All operators took part, individually or in pairs, in mini-studies to target areas for improvement. For example, they double-checked the best location to get a representative settled-water sample, to recalibrate the jar test procedure against actual plant conditions, to conrm the occulator speeds that produce the best results each season, and to document these. Many times, small improvements were found as a result of these short investigations, says McFadden.
Operator Scott Hart checks readings for the coagulant charge analyzer (Chemtrac).

As long as I provide opportunities for them to succeed by giving them training and a treatment goal, they take it from there. I give them every opportunity to obtain quality water.

more closely at these as a group. Training also covers optimization and treatment strategies and chlorination safety. McFaddens management style is to empower employees: As long as I provide opportunities for them to succeed by giving them training and a treatment goal, they take it from there. I give them every opportunity to obtain quality water, he says. The staff does the troubleshooting and calls for assistance when the problem is out of their reach. As for the future, the borough doesnt anticipate the need to expand. At a population of 20,000, the city is pretty well built-out. Says McFadden, We just want to continue to provide the highest-quality water we can, year in and year out. wso

The staff used the Partnership program to justify replacing the tube settlers with stainless steel plate settlers. This, combined with better coagulant control, resulted in lower settled turbidity levels. They often had been greater than 2.0 NTU, but after the upgrade, they were more consistently below 1.0 NTU, says McFadden. Support from the boroughs management was key: The reaction from the borough council and municipal authority to the Partnership program has been very positive. Our plant tends to be under the radar a lot of the time, but when we completed the program, they realized even more the importance of what we do.

Acrison, Inc. 201/440-8300 Chemtrac, Inc. 800/442-8722 Delta Chemical Corporation 410/354-0100 Meurer Research, Inc. 303/279-8431 Peerless Pump Company 800/879-0182 Phipps & Bird 800/955-7621 Shannon Chemical Corp. 610/363-9090 Siemens Water Technologies Corp. 866/926-8420 USABlueBook 800/548-1234

Future improvements
The plants greater visibility from the Partnership has resulted in a planned upgrade: Were going to replace our reservoirs with two new 1.3-million-gallon tanks. The operations staff also continues to improve. We do both in-house and outside training for continuing education credits, and also for treatment strategies we see in professional publications, says McFadden. We review these during our monthly staff meetings to see if we should look April 2013


Members of the Mill Creek Water Treatment Plant team include, from left, Bruce Blackwell, shift supervisor; Dale Stanley, plant operator; Leslie Rush, vice president, watershed operations; and Jason Garland, plant operator. They are shown in the plants sedimentation basin area; the building in the background is part of the original plant, built in the 1930s.

and shift supervisor Bruce Blackwell run water-quality tests. If need be, they do a leak test on the membrane ltration system (Siemens Water Technologies). Again, Stanley earns high marks for his expertise. Dale knows a lot about membrane ltration technology and makes sure the system functions as it should, says Blackwell, who has worked with Stanley for more than 20 years. Dale is a real good worker who lls in wherever we need him. Hes been a major contributor to MILL CREEK PLANT: both Mill Creek and our V.D. Par100 YEARS OF rott plant and is very deserving of PROGRESS the Top Operator Award. Always the professional, StanDalton Utilities Mill Creek Water ley takes great pride in working Plant reects a century of advancewith the 0.3-micron membrane lment in water treatment. Since it ters: The advantage to having was built in 1911, the plant has membrane lters is that you could undergone upgrades that turn off the chemicals used in the treatment process because the water is so well-ltered. Of course, we sure havent tried that. The rayon-module lters we have could treat water-turbidity levels up to 40 NTU without any processing. Thats how effective they are. These membrane lters give us peace of mind in that if something bad happened, we could still provide good quality water. Turbidity in raw water may come from a variety of materials, including clay, silt, or mineral particles from soils or from natural organic matter created by decayed vegetation. Water from Mill Creek is pumped in

increased capacity and improved water quality. In 2008, it became the rst and largest submerged membrane plant in Georgia. It can treat 13.2 mgd. The latest upgrade to the Mill Creek plant focused on innovation, according to Leslie Rush, vice president of water and wastewater services for Dalton Utilities, who

oversaw the project. The work sought to maintain the historic nature of the building and site while ood-proong the plant, reducing its footprint and impact on the oodplain, increasing capacity, and complying with the agencys long-term water management plans. The project was completed on time and under budget.

Stanleys efforts, and Dalton Utilities commitment to providing topquality water services through continued investment in equipment and employee education, have paid off handsomely. Built in 1930, Mill Creek was voted 2011 GAWP Best Tasting Water in District 1, second in the state. In 2010, it received the GAWP Water Treatment Plant of the Year Award (for surface water plants 3.0 to 14.99 mgd); in 2006, it earned the GAWP Water Plant of the Year Award.

Dale is a real good worker who lls in wherever we need him. Hes been a major contributor to both Mill Creek and our V.D. Parrott plant and is very deserving of the Top Operator Award.

Next stop

and treated with a coagulant (ferric chloride and polymer). Then lime is added to adjust the pH. Instead of adding commercially produced chlorine, the plant generates its own chlorine on site to disinfect the water. Then the water is ltered, chlorine is added again to destroy bacteria, and uoride is introduced. As he nishes inspecting the delicate spaghetti strands that make up the membrane lters, Stanley runs high-pressure air through them to test for leaks. If he nds any, he uses a specially made pin, which resembles a toothpick, to permanently seal off the tiny holes, then puts the lter back together and reinstalls it. He learned the techniques during training when the lters were installed.

Two miles away at the V.D. Parrott Water Filtration Plant, Stanley inspects the gravity sand lters used there, checks the vertical turbine pumps and performs other maintenance as needed. Unlike Mill Creeks membrane lters, which are self-cleaning, the sand lters have to be cleaned manually. For Stanley, its all in a days work, and he nds it always interesting. The plant was built in 1964 along the Conasauga River with a 24 mgd capacity. It was expanded in 1969 to its current 50.3 mgd capacity. In 2010, the plant received a GAWP Drinking Water Taste Test Award. With daily water consumption of 37.4 million gallons, Dalton Utilities serves 34,500 customers. In addition to the Conasauga River and Mill Creek, the utility gets water from Coahulla Creek, Freeman Springs and Eastside Utilities, which provides water from the Tennessee River. Dalton Utilities has enough contingency storage (2.54 billion gallons) to meet customers needs for a two-month period in severe drought conditions.



Parker Water and Sanitation District established an integrated communication network using wireless data radios from FreeWave Technologies.

WSO welcomes stories ware. For radio issues not immeabout your plant and diately resolved in that manner, system innovations for future the district has used around-theBright Ideas articles. clock support from FreeWave to Send your suggestions to help make sure radios are up and or running as quickly as possible. call 877/953-3301. By selecting a radio technology that integrates with its network, Parker Water achieved easy installation, and increased performance and reliability. As the district expands, it plans to continue adding FreeWave radios as needed. Proceeding with planning
Much of the districts success in establishing an integrated communication network can be credited to network design and path studies that allowed the utility to develop a network able to deliver real-time communication across long distances despite hilly terrain and varying weather. Parker Water also cites its ability to diagnose and congure communication issues from desktops, along with quality support, as key success factors. Every utilitys communication needs are different. Parker Waters experience shows that utility decision-makers should do research and fully understand their systems requirements before settling on a technology solution. With help from PCD Sales and using FreeWave, Parker Water created a reliable network for critical data transmission. ABOUT THE AUTHORS Curt Goldman is marketing manager/utilities with FreeWave Technologies. He can be reached at Leo Kamenetskiy (lkamenetskiy and Clay Martin ( are instrumentation and control/SCADA programmers with Parker Water and Sanitation District. wso

This saved signicant time by freeing technicians from driving to make on-site repairs on remotely located radios. Working with PCD Sales and FreeWave, the district mapped out and identied locations for network gateways. The team then had a clear path of development and a chance to test the radios before integrating them with the communication network.

Mix of models
The FreeWave radio models integrated with the network include: HTPlus radios for industrial-grade, high-speed Ethernet communications that require high throughput. They operate in harsh environments and noisy RF conditions. Delivering data at up to 867 Kbps, they are designed for SCADA backhaul networks. The HT product family supports UDP, TCP and serial communications. FGR Series Radios. These 900 MHz serial radios can be used in various applications and are available in ruggedized or water-resistant enclosures. FGR2-IO. These 900 MHz input/output (I/O) radios provides high performance and versatility in wireless transmission of process-control signals. They offer transparent acquisition, transport and reconstruction of analog, digital and power signals, eliminating wiring. They are used for tank level monitoring, pump and valve control, temperature and pressure monitoring, and compressor station monitoring and control. The network had to be strategically designed to ensure effective data transmission. Today, Parker Water has separate networks for the wastewater and water sides of its operations. For wastewater, the network design consists of FGR master and slaves. The water side design required more detailed planning and engineering. To ensure reliable data transmission, the network consists of three layers. The rst layer is comprised of the network gateways. In the second layer, HTPlus radios are connected to the gateways. Some of these radios are connected through a subnet, essentially a subdivision of the IP network consisting of FGR radios (the third layer).

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Improved performance

With the radios, the district can communicate with every PLC in its network. If the old network design with incompatible networks were to be drawn, it would look like a funnel. The new design would look like a attened-out and evenly distributed path. The new system allowed Parker Water to increase its bandwidth by a factor of 100, and the radios are far more portable than the previous technologies. If no radio is located where one is needed, the district can pull one from a less important location to repair a priority location in a couple of hours. There is no need to wait for communication, as data is available in real time. District staff can program and modify the radios remotely and monitor the health of the radio network with FreeWave diagnostic soft-

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mal over the course of lter operation, but any unusual amounts are cause for concern.

Inspection of surface wash sweeps The lters surface wash arms should have free and unrestricted movement without signs of seizing up. When inspecting the surface wash arms, check for any media clinging to or clogging their movement. Also check the condition of the bearings to make sure they are turning freely. Surface wash arms that offer limited or no movement will not contribDetermination of media depth ute to the uniform lifting and washing of the media. If the wash arms do Believe it or not, sand can and does wear out. Through long-term lter not rotate properly, make plans to inspect further and to repair or replace operation, the originally rough edges on sand grains that help catch oc as necessary. particles become smooth and less adept at stopping particulate matter. One common occurrence that can limit surface wash arm effectiveness is clogging of the nozzles with minute particles of lter material and calcium elieve it or not, sand can and does wear out. Through long-term lter deposits from hard water. If you nd operation, the originally rough edges on sand grains that help catch oc clogged nozzles during the inspection, particles become smooth and less adept at stopping particulate matter. plan to repair or replace as necessary.

nicantly worn or if the gasket is torn or cracked. Finally, run a bead of silicone or similar sealant around the access covers to provide an extra physical barrier against leaks. If possible, take plenty of photographs or video to document the structural condition of the underdrain system. This can be a valuable training tool to familiarize operator trainees with the function of the unit. Since many licensed operators may not have seen the undersides of the lters, it is informative for the staff to observe the process and to be able to ask questions.

Inspection of the underdrain and plenum from the manway in the lter pipe gallery Observations at this point will depend on the type of underdrain. For a lter containing a bottom with Wheeler balls, check the underdrain and placement of the porcelain balls in the hoppers from the plenum chamber. Look especially for at spots on the balls that have developed from wear and tear, as this may cause uneven settling of the balls at the end of the backwash process. Also check for media in the plenum, which can indicate disruption of the support gravel. The plenum chamber is the open space between the physical bottom of the lter and where the ltered water enters the clearwell or storage reservoir. This is considered a conned space, and proper entry and monitoring procedures must be followed throughout the inspection. While the plenum is accessible, visually inspect the structural integrity

This can result in higher lter bottom turbidity readings and increased headloss readings, both of which will contribute to increased backwash cycles. Over time, this will contribute to increased operating costs. Measure the media to determine whether an adequate amount is present. The recommended media depth for your plants lters can be found on the facility plans and specications. Since media depths can vary with the quality and quantity of water being ltered, it is important to see if the media has changed signicantly from the conguration installed during start-up. The type of media that yields the best ltering results will vary from plant to plant and will depend somewhat on water volume and clarity. Media replacement is recommended or required at the point where the media size has changed signicantly (becoming smaller or larger) from the original specication. When signicant changes occur, lter cleaning with an acid solution may prolong media life in some cases. If fouling continues, cleaning may have to be repeated, and eventually you will have to decide if media replacement will be more cost-effective in the long run. In terms of media condition, look for media that is fouled. If the media has become rounded (like a pebble), then its effective ltering capacity may be diminished. Note if the media still meets the effective size originally specied. Finally, media replacement is required if the support gravel has been disrupted so that signicant media has been lost through breakthrough to the lter bottom. Filter media sampling and analysis Collect samples of each type of lter media (sand, anthracite or others) and send them to an independent laboratory for testing. The laboratory needs to be a specialist in this type of analysis your lter consultant should handle this aspect of the inspection. The samples are analyzed for specic gravity, solubility and effective size to determine whether the media can still yield top ltering capability. The laboratory will perform a sieve analysis to determine the current effective media size and compare that to the original specication. This helps determine how much wear the media is experiencing. The sieve analysis will indicate the stability of the media and whether the media is breaking down (becoming smaller) or accumulating fouling (becoming larger). Report of ndings, conclusions and recommendations After lter inspection and evaluation, your consultant should issue a written report detailing the ndings, conclusions and recommendations of the inspection. You should expect a report three to four weeks after the inspections. You can use this report to plan and schedule operations, maintenance and repairs to your lters up to and including media replacement. (Continued on page 33) April 2013

Visitors to the plant are always interested in the lter control consoles.

of the underdrain system and identify any missing or worn concrete. If your lters have not been inspected for a long time, be prepared to cut off bolts or other fasteners that mount the access covers to the underside of the lters, as these may be rusted and twist off when applied with force. After the inspection, install new nuts and bolts. Be sure to inspect the gasket material that seals the plate to the wall and replace it if it is sig-


(Continued from page 31)

Filter media cleaning

In some cases, you may be able to clean the media rather than replace it. The media analysis will tell whether the media has ltering capabilities left and will recommend cleaning options. Filters are usually cleaned by dosing with an acidic media cleaner. The dosage can be determined by using the analytical test results along with the lter dimensions and media depth. The dose will certainly depend on the overall media condition. After being dosed with cleaning agent, the lter must rest for the required reaction time before extensive backwashing to remove all traces of cleaning chemical. After the backwashing cycle, the lter should be run to waste for an extended time before going back into service.

Keeping them running

Many factors can affect lter and media lifespan. Performance is affected by the daily hours of lter operation and the overall quantity and quality of water being treated. Since inspection is somewhat time-consuming, try to schedule the evaluation around other large operation and maintenance projects so that you can devote the necessary time to the process. Depending on the number and size of lters, allow at least several days for a complete inspection. Finally, take this opportunity to review the general standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the lter and backwash sequence and make any necessary changes. With a little planning, your water plant lters will keep you up and running well into the future. ABOUT THE AUTHOR James E. Didawick is superintendent of Public Works for the Town of Woodstock, Va. He can be reached at wso Van Hemert: That is very easy to do. You would go into the contaminant side of the model, which gives you a map with a neutral background. You would inject the contaminant at a given location and scroll forward through time. The piping would then turn magenta to show where that contaminant is going. After 30 minutes, perhaps you see it in one neighborhood. An hour later and its on the whole south side of town. Then you could model possible ways to conne the contaminant and stop it in its tracks by closing different valves. The beauty is that because youre using a tool based on data gathered from the GIS, from water meters and from a whole variety sources, a maintenance, operations or facility management person can use this tool in real time to predict events, and you avoid the time and expense of bringing in a hydraulic engineer.

he hydraulic modeling offering lets water system personnel look ahead in time and see the impacts of various operating choices. This enables better decision-making, more efcient operations and better service to customers.
the EPA is emphasizing they want to know how old the water is in the system. This information helps you establish ushing routines to make sure any old water is ushed out on a regular basis, so you can lower your average water age, not just for the towers but for all the piping as well.

wso: Does this tool interact with technologies such as advanced

metering infrastructure down to the individual customer level? Van Hemert: Yes. You can actually go in and see the ow for every meter on the distribution system.

wso: Does this modeling tool have applications on the wastewater side? Van Hemert: At present, this capability is solely for drinking water. We do not yet have a model available for gravity-ow systems. wso

wso: Does this system help simplify communications, such as for notifying customers when they will be temporarily out of service? Van Hemert: Yes. Suppose you need to shut off a pipe that serves two subdivisions at the end of the network. You highlight that area on the map, and the system will call up those customers names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, and notify those people automatically. Similarly, in case of contamination, you could automatically email a boiled-water advisory, so you wouldnt have to rely on the media to get the word out. wso: What other capabilities does this tool provide?
Van Hemert: You can monitor mean water age, which is something

inspiring stimulating motivating

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Worth Noting
David Bernier, superintendent of the North Conway Water Precinct, was awarded the 2012 Operator of the Year Award by the Granite State Rural Water Association during its annual membership meeting at Mount Sunapee Resort in September. WSO welcomes your contribution to this listing. To recognize members of your team, please send notices of new hires, promotions, service milestones, certications or achievements to

April 18 Tackling Planning & Challenges: Using Forecasts & Decision Support Systems webinar April 25 High Density Polyethylene Piping Solutions, OFallon, Ill. April 30 Social Media for Water Utilities: Navigating the Crossroads of Social Media webinar May 1 Pump Casing Repairs with Potable Water Coatings webinar Visit

WSO invites your national, state, or local association to post notices and news items in the Worth Noting column. Send contributions to


The American Water Works Association will webcast the following programs: April 3 Continual Quality Improvement in the Laboratory April 7-10 2013 Sustainable Water Management April 22-24 Financial Management May 1 Operator Professionalism Visit

The Michigan Section of AWWA is offering a Short Course in Water Bacteriology May 7-9 in East Lansing. Visit

New York
The New York Section of AWWA is offering these courses: April 10 Operator Ethics and Applications, Woodbury April 24 Water Fluoridation, Utica May 1 Media & Public Relations, Canastota May 3 Basic Laboratory Skills, Poughkeepsie May 7 Water Storage Tank O&M, Canastota May 8 Automatic Control Valves O&M, Utica May 7 Water Storage Tank O&M, Troy Visit

The Arkansas Rural Water Association is offering these courses: April 10-11 Water Specialized Training, Mt. Home April 17 Energy Conservation/Water Loss, Lonoke April 23 Basic Math, Lonoke April 24 Applied Math, Lonoke April 25 ADH Compliance, Lonoke April 30-May 2 Intermediate Treatment, Arkadelphia May 7-9 Advanced Distribution, Lonoke Visit

North Carolina
The North Carolina Section of AWWA and WEA is offering its Eastern Biological and Physical/Chemical School April 29-May 3 at North Carolina State University McKimmon Center in Raleigh. Visit www.

The Ohio Water Environment Association is offering these courses: April 4 Watershed Workshop, Ohio Union, Columbus May 9 Collection Systems Workshop, Grand Oaks Event and Business Center, Grove City Visit

The California-Nevada Section of AWWA is offering these courses: April 8-12 Backow Tester, Rancho Cucamonga April 24-25 Water Use Efciency Grade I, Rancho Cucamonga May 3 Backow Refresher, Rancho Cucamonga Visit

The Oklahoma Environmental Training Center is offering these courses: April 12 Renewal Training April 22-23 D Water Operator April 26 Renewal Training April 29-May 3 OSHA 40 Hour HAZWOPER May 10 Renewal Training Visit

The Florida Section of AWWA is offering an Introduction to Electricity course April 17 in Orlando. Visit

The Illinois Section of AWWA is offering these courses: April 2 Maintaining Water Quality in the Distribution System, Chicago April 4 Potable Well Systems, Managing the Investment, Decatur April 11 Systematic Approach: Water Treatment Plant Process Optimization, St. Charles April 16 Effective Backow Programs, East Peoria April 16 Practical Proactive Management of our Ground Water Resources, Romeoville April 17 Review & Refresher of Fluoride Dosage Calculations webinar

The Texas Water Utilities Association is offering these courses: April 9 Basic Water, Longview April 22 Basic Water, Mineola April 22 Utilities Safety, Corpus Christi May 7 Chlorinator Maintenance, Huntsville Visit

The Intermountain section of AWWA is offering these courses: