July/August 2012 Issue

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LettersTHANKS FOR RECOGNITIONI would sincerely like to thank you for the great article you wrote about the East Chicago water ltration plant. The article shows all of the hard work that went into the planning, engineering, designing, construction, training and startup of our new system. I believe I can speak on the behalf of all water and wastewater treatment system professionals, in thanking your magazine for providing us with the means to show the general public what we do, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year. You have shown us that we should speak up and tell our stories on how we provide clean drinking water and how we treat wastewater before returning it to the environment. Sincerely, Peter Baranyai Director of Utilities City of East Chicago, Ind.


Clean and GreenWater treatment plants meet green criteria almost by denition. Wed like to know what your plant does to reach the next level.decade or two ago it might have been hard to reconcile using the word green to describe an oil renery, paper mill or car factory. Yet today big manufacturers, even in what many might think of as dirty industries, are doing remarkable things to beautify their sites and limit their environmental footprints. Water treatment plants, on the other hand, have been largely green by denition. When your raw material is lake or well water and the end product is drinking water that has to please consumers and meet all sorts of government standards, environmental responsibility pretty much comes with the territory. Yet green operation and sustainability are high on the agenda for water utilities around the country. Theyre doing the extras to set an example for their communities and win their customers condence.

QUESTION ON SOUND LEVELSIn regard to your article, Turbines Stand Tall (WSO, May/June), I want to point out a mistake in the discussions of noise output. The article says the wind turbines produce 89 dB at 18 feet and at residences 120 feet away noise problems were resolved. A couple of things: Probably, the author meant, A-weighted sound level, denoted as dBA. Iassumethe89dBAvalueisforoneturbine,andbestcaseisifthe data is for four turbines operating simultaneously. If so, assuming turbine noise is a point source, no ground acoustical reection, wind not toward the residences, no temperature inversions and no intervening hills, trees or other objects, the sound level at the residences would be about 72 dBA for one turbine. If we add up all four, we get an energy average of 78 dBA. Either72dBAor78dBAisfarabovemostcommonresidential noise codes, which are 65 dBA day and 55 dBA night. Some codes are even more restrictive. So it is puzzling to say that the problems were resolved, unless the residents accept relatively loud sound levels. Richard J. Peppin, P.E., P.Eng. President Scantek, Inc. Sound and Vibration Instrumentation and Engineering Columbia, Md.


Many featuresIn each issue of Water System Operator, we prole one or two plants that are doing an exemplary job on the green front. Looking around the industry we see water plants sprouting renewable energy facilities like wind turbines and solar panels (the March/April issue highlighted the Canoe Brook Water Treatment Plant in New Jersey, where 400 solar panels oat on a reservoir). We nd plants earning Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building certication under a U.S. Green Building Council program. There are plants with green roofs and grounds that display elaborate native plantings, walking trails and wildlife areas. The Willamette River Water Treatment Plant in Wilsonville, Ore., proled in this issue, has attractive architecture and a park setting with landscaping that includes a fountain. Its so nice that people have graduation and wedding pictures taken there.

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Small is beautifulNow, some of these plants have elaborate green spaces and green technologies because they have big budgets or because the sustainability projects were part of multimillion-dollar new construction or renovations. Not every facility can afford these showcase projects.




The Willamette River Water Treatment Plant has been recognized for its performance as well as its appearance. The facility this year received an Outstanding Performer Award from the Oregon Health Authority. In addition to several operational excellence and safety awards from Veolia Water, it has received honors including:

2003MayorsTeamworkAward for public-private partnership. 2003AmericanCouncilof Engineering Companies National Recognition Award. 2004PLACESAwardfrom the Environmental Design Research Association.

Team members at the Willamette River plant include, from left, operations and maintenance technicians Michael Templeton and Gary Simantel, assistant project manager Jason Labrie, project manager Tom Hubbard, maintenance supervisor Tom Widman, and operations and maintenance technician Greg Murray.

were reaching the point where our need for water was greater than what our wells could produce, recalls Delora Kerber, Public Works director. Working with engineering consultants Montgomery Watson Harza, the city looked at new supply alternatives, including additional wells on the south side of the river, before deciding to draw from the river itself. Other nearby communities were also struggling with water supplies, and Wilsonville explored a variety of potential partnerships before teaming with the Tualatin Valley Water District on a regional treatment facility, fed by a 72-inch intake pipe sized to accommodate future needs. Although the Tualatin district so far has not drawn water from the treatment plant, it owns 100 mgd of water rights on the river and in 2011 turned over 5 mgd of capacity to Sherwood, just west of Wilsonville. The Willamette Valley plant now delivers up to 6 mgd to Wilsonville and ultimately will provide the 5 mgd to Sherwood. When plans for the plant were announced, some residents had doubts about the quality of the river water. Some noted that a stretch of the river running through Portland Harbor well downstream from Wilsonville had been designated as a Superfund site. Of more immediate concern was runoff from agriculture in the Willamette Valley, potentially containing bacteria and other pollutants. There were those who believed the source would be difcult to treat, but it has proven to be quite the opposite, says Kerber. Its a very treatable water source, and the plant was developed with a lot of forethought. The city and the water district used a belt-and-suspenders approach really taking seriously what peoples concerns were to make sure the nished water would meet or exceed city standards.

Quick settlingHeading day-to-day plant operations are Veolia assistant project man-

ager Jason Labrie and lead operations and maintenance technician Shane Wyer. Treatment is far more involved than when the city used well water needing only chlorination. The plant operates two shifts per day, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. The most critical challenge is variability in the river water durDELORA KERBER ing winter. We get increasing ows in the river and increasing turbidity from runoff, and that also increases the bacterial load and raises the possibility of other contaminants in the water, Labrie observes. The process starts with two T-screens (Johnson Screens) about 30 feet below the rivers surface. The water ows through the intake pipe into a raw water caisson, a stilling well 50 feet in diameter and 80 feet deep. Water drawn out of that structure by Floway vertical turbine pumps (Weir Minerals Floway Pumps) is dosed with aluminum sulfate. We also have capability to prechlorinate or add pre-caustic to the system, Labrie says. When we see the river turbidity rising, we start to add more alum to optimize the coagulation process. That also depresses the alkalinity. We preemptively start adding pre-caustic when the gauge height and weather predictions tell us the water level will be rising. As long as we keep up on our caustic soda dosing strategy along with alum dosing, we can run quite comfortably at high turbidity. The chemically dosed water is fed to an Actio rapid sedimentation process (Veolia Water) that is the key to treating seasonal turbidity. The Actio process accelerates settling through the addition of microsand (continued)

The city and the water district used a belt-and-suspenders approach really taking seriously what peoples concerns were to make sure the nished water would meet or exceed city standards.



wsomag.com July/August 2012



ballast. At Wilsonville, it enabled effective turbidity removal within a small footprint. We had river turbidity last winter up over 200 NTU, and we were able to knock that down to less than 1 NTU just with the Actio, before ltration, says Labrie. We use it continuously when were operating. We have two identical trains, each sized for 15 mgd, and we run them both unless were doing maintenance on one train. Turbidity in the dry season ranges from 2 to 5 NTU going into the plant and from 0.1 to 0.2 NTU coming out of the Actio. Thats essentially drinking water quality in terms of turbidity.

Finished water quality has a pH of 7.8, 0.88 mg/L chlorine residual, and 0.03 to 0.06 NTU turbidity.

Attentive operatorsThe operations team is experienced and well qualied. Labrie holds a Level 4 (highest) water treatment license with ltration endorsement and has seven years of water plant experience. Wyer holds the s