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San Francisco Recycled Water Program Pushing Wastewater Towards Drinkability

By design, the San Francisco Public Utilities Building is exceedingly green. It opened in 2012 and for years the building has been recycling its wastewater for things like flushing the toilets. Now, that water can be consumed.

“Everything that’s connected in this room to the transparent pipe is part of our research project,” explains Manisha Kothari, Project Manager for the SFPUC.

Down in the bowels of this building that houses some 900 employees, you will find the equipment that treats all of their wastewater.

 

Yorkshire Water Launches World’s First Poo-Powered Pub

In what will be the first time a public space has been powered by electricity made from poo, The Number Two Tavern is launching for a limited time in The Light, Leeds from 7th until 9th November.

The company is holding its first ever carbon week to spread the word and share knowledge about how we can all reduce our carbon footprint.

The power for The Number Two Tavern is coming from a ground-breaking process, called “anaerobic digestion,” which converts waste into biogas that can be used to generate heat and electricity. Yorkshire Water has charged a Hybrid Power battery with the poo-power, which is being created at Yorkshire Water’s Knostrop Recycling Centre.

Opinion: We Must Press California, Federal Officials to Clean Up Toxic Rivers

Contamination of soil and groundwater takes a huge toll on California’s environment.

In 2017, the amount of untreated sewage and industrial waste dumped into Southern California rivers was equal to at least 500 Olympic-sized swimming pools. More than 100 million gallons of untreated sewage were dumped into the Tijuana River near Imperial Beach in September 2019.

The problem is getting worse.

Ukiah’s Wastewater No Longer Being Wasted

The city of Ukiah made its first delivery of recycled water through its extensive Purple Pipe system this week, putting about 2 million gallons of water reclaimed from local sinks, showers and toilets into an irrigation pond just south of the Ukiah Valley Wastewater Treatment Plant.

A Look Inside Ventura’s Wastewater Operations. What’s The Future of its Estuary Discharge?

There’s a lot of confusion and concern about what will happen once the city of Ventura no longer discharges millions of gallons of water into the Santa Clara River Estuary.

There are questions over what will happen to the birds, fish, turtles, ducks and other critters once their environment dramatically changes.

Progress Made on Calexico Sewer and Water Plant Upgrades

Although preliminary work and the replacement of aging water lines are already underway, the bulk of about $40 million in upgrades to Calexico’s water and wastewater treatment plants won’t start until 2020, a city official explained. The process to reach the point of construction is a lengthy one, but the city is making steady progress, Assistant City Manager Miguel Figueroa said.

How PFAS Poses An Emerging Problem For Wastewater

The intrusion of PFAS into source water supplies has grabbed the regulatory spotlight. As more scientists and health professionals raise concerns about the compounds — technically known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances — federal and state environmental agencies are under increasing pressure to impose limits for public protection. Now, it seems that municipalities have another looming headache as PFAS is finding its way into wastewater.

Escondido Plant Maintenance Technician Joseph Lucero won third place in the 2019 California Water Environmental Association Awards for his safety device.

Innovation Improves Safety, Wins Award for Escondido Wastewater Technician

An Escondido water employee’s ingenuity improved safety at a city treatment plant and won a statewide water industry award.

City of Escondido Plant Maintenance Technician Joseph Lucero won third place in the “Gimmicks/Gadgets” category in the 2019 California Water Environmental Association Awards competition. His innovative safety device turns a difficult two-person job working on wastewater pumps into a safer process one person can complete alone.

Lucero, a 20-year veteran in the water and wastewater industry, recently transferred to his current assignment at the city’s Hale Avenue Resource Recovery Facility (HARRF), a secondary treatment facility which can treat a flow of 18 million gallons per day for the City of Escondido and the Rancho Bernardo area of San Diego.

“When I transferred and started working on the grit pumps, I understood why it was among the least favorite jobs to do,” said Lucero.

Brainstorming creates innovative approach

The bulky cover originally required two men in tight quarters to move safety. Lucero's device allows it to be removed and replaced safely by one person. Photo: Courtesy John Del Fante

The bulky cover originally required two men in tight quarters to move safety. Lucero’s device allows it to be removed and replaced safely by one person. Photo: Courtesy John Del Fante, CIty of Escondido

Workers found it difficult to maneuver the heavy, bulky cover over the rotor assembly of the pump. Two people were needed to muscle the cover in tight quarters, and it carried a risk of back strain.

Lucero says he started to brainstorm, tapping his water industry experience.

“I was determined to come up with a device or a technique to eliminate the back fatigue, reduce time, and increase safety,” he said.

Without an existing device or specialty tool available to perform necessary maintenance or repairs, it meant Lucero had to design and fabricate something brand new.

Team effort results in improved safety

Lucero worked on the project during his off-hours.

He first designed the cover device on paper from an original concept, and then made a cardboard sample to produce a mock-up he could work with for placement, fit, and accuracy. A prototype was created which consisted of a bracket, a height adjustment all thread, chain sling device, and the pump cover attachment plates.

After testing the design, Lucero says he received key help from Raul Adame, a Plant Systems Technician at HARRF. Adame fabricated alignment tabs at his machine shop at home to help improve the device.

Lucero always believed in his innovative tool, but said it worked even better than he expected.

New device saves time and costs

“It was an immediate hit with those that work on the grit pumps,” Lucero said. “It saves time, money, and more importantly creates a safer work environment.”

Lucero’s innovative creation is used by all personnel when performing predicative maintenance and repairs on the grit pumps.

“The device turned a two-person job into a one-person job,” said John Del Fante, operations superintendent at the facility. “This device allows an individual to support the full weight of the pump cover, clean the interior easily, and reinstall. It used to take two people to muscle this piece in and out of place.”

For Lucero, winning his award for innovation was an unexpected and welcome surprise.

Plant System Technician Jason Blacksher, a co-worker Lucero calls “my biggest supporter in designing the device,” submitted the CWEA award nomination.

“We are going through a safety culture change at HARRF and it’s working,” said Lucero. “I am surrounded by talented, knowledgeable and innovative co-workers. I learn from them every day as we grow as a team on the path to a safety conscious and innovative culture.”

 

Moulton Niguel Water District Agrees To Pay $4.8 Million In Wastewater Dispute

The Moulton Niguel Water District has agreed to pay $4.8 million to settle a 3-year dispute with South Orange County Wastewater Authority, which processes a portion of the district’s wastewater, according to a settlement agreement released Monday. Moulton Niguel wanted to terminate funding obligations for a treatment plant run by the wastewater authority, the Coastal Treatment Plant, because the water district has rarely needed the sewage capacity since signing a use-agreement in 1999. Instead, it has been able to rely on other plants and has said its customers shouldn’t have to pay for something they didn’t use.

OPINION: How Better Wastewater Management Can Help California Adapt To Climate Change

Our public health relies on wastewater management to treat sewage and remove pollutants coming from our homes and businesses. This system is fundamental to protecting our health. In California, treated wastewater also is a critical source of water for the environment, and, increasingly, a source for recycled water. Climate change is worsening water scarcity and flood risks. Advancements in engineering and technology can help prepare wastewater agencies for a changing climate. But significant shifts in policy and planning are needed to address these challenges. Wastewater agencies must reliably remove pollutants even as the quantity and quality of the water they treat declines during droughts, and when large storms push their equipment to the breaking point.