Water Briefs

May 1, 2010
A boiler replacement program at Duke University will save energy by using a larger number of smaller boilers that can produce steam and hot water on demand.

New Boilers to Improve University’s Energy Efficiency

A boiler replacement program at Duke University will save energy by using a larger number of smaller boilers that can produce steam and hot water on demand.

For about 50 years, the plant’s coal-fired boilers supplied steam through underground pipes and tunnels to heat campus buildings until the plant closed in 1978. The new plant, complete with 15 Miura LX series gas-fired steam boilers, will provide 35 percent more steam capacity to campus, while simultaneously helping to reduce the university’s environmental footprint.

The new gas boilers require less water and time to produce steam - and instead of using lots of energy to fire up one to three large coal boilers, the plant can calibrate among 15 smaller gas boilers based on demand.

Miura boilers feature a “once-through” design that turns water into steam in five minutes (or less) and provides high in-service operational efficiencies

“We can have them on cold standby and have them come on as necessary, which creates a significant reduction in the energy losses associated with a typical start-up, purge, and warm-up cycle of a boiler,” said Russell Thompson, director of utilities and engineering for Duke Facilities Management.

At full capacity, the 15 boilers in the new East Campus Steam Plant will provide Duke with a 110,000 lb.-per-hour base load year-round, and perhaps up to about 130,000 lbs. during peak-need times.

In addition to their On-Demand Steam capability, the boilers also save, on average, as much as 20 percent annually on fuel costs over other boiler designs. Currently, Duke is still in the commissioning process, so data on fuel savings is not yet available.

Miura’s technology also produces BHP outputs comparable to much larger units, but with less water consumption and a more compact footprint. This enabled Duke to install its 15 boilers in the East Campus Steam Plant without having to expand any part of that historic brick building.

As a result of their energy-efficient “green” design, Miura boilers output reduced levels of harmful emissions such as carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide (NOx). The gas-fired/Low-NOx LX Series steam boilers are designed to eliminate 75 percent of the harmful emissions of standard gas-fired boilers. They provide reduced NOx emissions as low as 9 ppm.

“From a total production standpoint, we have gone from producing 95 percent of our steam with coal to producing 85 percent of our steam with natural gas,” Thompson said.

EPA Launches Clean Water Enforcement Web Tools

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is launching a new set of web tools, data, and interactive maps to inform the public about serious Clean Water Act violations in their communities.

The web tools are part of EPA’s Clean Water Act Action Plan to work with states in ensuring that facilities comply with standards that keep water clean.

“EPA is taking another important step to increase transparency and keep Americans informed about the safety of their local waters,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.

The new web page provides interactive information from EPA’s 2008 Annual Noncompliance Report, which pertains to about 40,000 permitted Clean Water Act dischargers across the country. The report lists state-by-state summary data of violations and enforcement responses taken by the states for smaller facilities.

The Interactive Map for Clean Water Act Annual Noncompliance Report can be found at www.epa-echo.gov/echo/ancr/us. Enforcement and Compliance History Online can be found at www.epa-echo.gov/echo.

Free Publications Offer Pump Optimization Information

The Hydraulic Institute and Pump Systems Matter have published four new learning tools designed to help pump users optimize their pumping systems and conserve energy. The free content is presented as four separate-topic Web downloads.

The Pump System Improvement Modeling Tool™ (PSIM), a software download, is focused on helping pump users better understand the hydraulic behavior of pumping systems so that they may evaluate the design of their overall pump system. Using state-of-the-art solution algorithms and an intuitive drag-and-drop interface, PSIM makes it easy for users to calculate the pressure drop and flow distribution in both straight-path and simple branching or looped pumping systems.

The software calculates pump energy usage and energy cost over time using Net Present Value concepts, and also creates Pump vs. System curves, a tool to help engineers better understand the intricacies of pump system behavior.

The two groups also published the “Life Cycle Cost Guide,” a 16 page Executive Summary of the detailed and more complete guidebook, Pump Life Cycle Costs: A Guide to LCC Analysis for Pumping Systems, a collaborative effort between the Hydraulic Institute (HI), Europump, and the US Department of Energy (DOE). The Executive Summary provides useful highlights on topics detailed in the Guide: improving pump system performance; definition of life cycle cost; explanation of why organizations should care about life cycle cost; life cycle cost analysis; pumping system design, and more.

Another free download that specifically focuses on energy savings is a 15 page Executive Summary of the popular guidebook, Variable Speed Pumping: A Guide to Successful Applications, a collaboration between the Hydraulic Institute (HI), Europump and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The Executive Summary highlights topics detailed in the formal Guide including: Introduction to Variable Speed Pumping; Pumping Systems Overview; Selection Process — New Systems; Selection Process — Retrofitting to Existing Equipment; Benefits of VSDs; Potential Drawbacks of VSDs; Estimating Pumping Energy Costs; Capital Cost Savings; Financial Justification, and more.

Lastly, an Executive Summary of the most comprehensive book to date on optimizing pumping systems, Optimizing Pumping Systems, A Guide for Improved Energy Efficiency, Reliability & Profitability, is also included in the free offering. The original Guide, considered to be a “must read” for engineers and technicians working with pumping systems, was complied by Hydraulic Institute, Pumps Systems Matter, and 22 industry experts.

Interested pump users may access the complimentary downloads by visiting www.pumpsystemsmatter.org and clicking on the Education/Tools menu.

Study Examines Energy, Resource Recovery from Wastewater

While it’s long been simply an expensive nuisance to be disposed of, sewage sludge from wastewater can actually be an untapped source of energy, phosphorus, and other products. As a result, utilities and water treatment facilities have begun to explore technologies designed to help extract the value from wastewater sludge. As these technologies mature, the market opportunity for resource recovery will grow from $25 billion today to $45 billion in 2020, according to a new Lux Research report titled “Technologies Turn Waste into Profit.”

Treatment and handling of sludge can represent between 20% and 50% of a wastewater treatment facility’s costs, which has fueled interest in technologies that extract energy, minerals or other materials from sludge to either help offset treatment costs or even turn a profit. Technologies focused on recovering energy from sludge show the most promising value proposition, according to the report, and are expected to capture 64% of the overall market in 2020.

“Processing and disposal of wastewater sludge is something every utility has to deal with, and the costs associated with the task are rising due to more stringent regulations,” said Heather Landis, an analyst for Lux Research and the report’s lead author. “We expect more utilities to search for and adopt technologies that can help offset these costs and extract the value hidden in wastewater sludge.”

To evaluate the technologies competing for a share of the market, Lux Research developed 10 criteria to score each technology on both its technical merit and maturity. In its report, it then compared the technologies within two segments: energy recovery and nutrient/material recovery. Among its key observations:

  • Improving production of biogas from sludge offers the strongest value proposition. Several technologies – including ultrasonic cavitation, mechanical disintegration and thermal hydrolysis – aim to improve on anaerobic digestion, a well-established method for extracting biogas from sludge.
  • Deriving alternative fuels from sludge also shows promise, with caveats. Technologies, like gasification, pyrolysis, and supercritical water oxidation help to derive alternative fuels from sludge, such as syngas and biodiesel. These approaches scored highly on technical value due to their favorable energy balance, relatively low capital costs, and high solids removal. However, they are also equipment-intensive and, with a limited number of installations, they registered low on commercial maturity.

“Sludge production volumes will continue to grow with increasing population and country wealth,” said Landis. “By turning sludge from a costly material to treat into a profitable revenue stream, recovery technologies make fertile hunting grounds for executives and investors looking for opportunities in the hydrocosm.”

“Technologies Turn Waste into Profit” is part of the Lux Water Intelligence service. Clients subscribing to this service receive ongoing research on market and technology trends, continuous technology scouting reports and proprietary data points in the weekly Lux Research Water Journal, and on-demand inquiry with Lux Research analysts.

EPA Proposes “Next Generation” Stormwater Controls for D.C.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued a proposed permit to the District of Columbia requiring the District to continue improving its Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) program for controlling stormwater runoff.

“The innovations in this new permit are vital to restoring and protecting the health of local waterways in the district, as well as the Chesapeake Bay,” said Shawn M. Garvin, EPA mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator. “We all need to do our part, and this permit can serve as a model to other municipalities for preventing runoff from washing harmful pollutants into streams and rivers in the Bay watershed.”

Medium and large MS4s are required by federal law to have permits covering their discharges. The permit proposed in April requires the district to take progressive steps that were not required by the old permit issued in 2004, including:

  • Implementing a sustainable and enforceable approach to promoting low impact development and green infrastructure, including enhanced tree planting, green roofs, and water reuse onsite to slow down the rate of runoff from paved areas of the District.
  • Complying with strict discharge limits, and new performance standards requiring 90 percent on-site retention of storm flows at non-federal facilities for new development, redevelopment and retrofit projects.
  • Increasing monitoring of total maximum daily loading (TMDL) or “pollution diet,” for impaired waterways, including the Anacostia and Potomac rivers, Rock Creek and the Chesapeake Bay.
  • Controlling and reducing trash through enhanced street sweeping and implementing the Anacostia River TMDL for a “Trash Free Potomac” by 2013.

Committee to Study Ballast Water Standards

The National Research Council’s Committee on Assessing Numeric Limits for Living Organisms in Ballast Water will conduct a study to inform the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Coast Guard how to establish environmentally protective ballast water discharge limits in the next Vessel General Permit, which regulates discharges incidental to the normal operation of vessels.

Many ships carry salt or fresh water in their cargo holds to provide stability during transit, and this ballast water often contains living organisms. These are discharged, along with the water, when the ships enter port, introducing often-invasive non-indigenous species (NIS) to water bodies.

The EPA and the Coast Guard are seeking to establish ballast water discharge limits that will safeguard against the establishment of new aquatic NIS and protect existing indigenous populations of fish, shellfish and wildlife. The NRC appointed the multi-disciplinary committee, made up of nine experts, to help inform their efforts.

The committee will evaluate various approaches to assessing the risk of aquatic NIS given certain concentrations of living organisms in ballast water discharges. They will recommend how these approaches can be used by regulatory agencies to best inform risk management decisions on the allowable concentration of living organisms in discharged ballast water. Finally, they will evaluate the risk of successful establishment of new aquatic NIS associated with a variety of ballast water discharge limits that have been used or suggested by the international community and/or domestic regulatory agencies.

Company Wins Award for Sustainable Development

BioteQ Environmental Technologies Inc. has been awarded the Syncrude Award for Excellence in Sustainable Development by the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM).

The Syncrude Award recognizes activities that promote the principles of sustainability, balancing environmental, economic and social impacts in the Canadian minerals industry. BioteQ has been recognized for its innovative water treatment technologies that remove and recycle dissolved metals from contaminated water, producing clean water while recovering valuable metals that were once discarded as waste. The process enables mining firms to comply with strict regulations for water quality, reduce or eliminate the environmental liability associated with metal contaminated sludge, and increase resource recovery while enhancing the environment.

In the past five years, BioteQ has treated more than 28 billion liters of industrial wastewater, and removed close to 8.5 million pounds of metal contaminants from the environment.

New UV Lamp Offers Improved Energy Efficiency

Trojan Technologies will officially unveil its new UV disinfection system lamp and driver – known as TrojanUV Solo Lamp™ Technology – at AWWA ACE’10, to be held June 20–24 in Chicago, IL. Trojan will display the new technology in its booth (#725), along with examples of how it will be incorporated into future water treatment systems, such as the large-capacity TrojanUVTorrent™.

The company claims the Solo Lamp™ will be the most powerful, high-efficiency lamp in the world and is paired with the energy-efficient Solo Lamp™ Driver. The company said the lamp technology offers the high electrical efficiency of a low-pressure UV system, while simultaneously providing a lamp count similar to a medium-pressure UV lamp system.

“Our customers’ needs are evolving, and so too is our UV technology,” said Marvin DeVries, President of Trojan Technologies. “Thanks to technology advancements like this, our future water treatment systems can be designed to provide both high UV output and high electrical efficiency – the best of both worlds.”

By using fewer and more efficient lamps, the carbon footprint associated with UV treatment is reduced to less than 1/3 that of medium pressure UV lamp systems. The lamp’s increased efficiency translates into a significant reduction in wasted energy, peak electrical loads, and associated electrical infrastructure.

Company Wins Service Contract

Freedom Environmental Services has signed a contract with Cici’s Pizza to service multiple store locations in the Central Florida area, providing grease collection, plus grease tank installation, emergency services, wastewater clean-up and grease disposal.

Freedom’s CEO, Michael Borish, said, “Cici’s Pizza has a national presence in the U.S., making it a solid client of our company. Having Cici’s Pizza, Little Caesar’s and 7 Eleven Central Florida locations to service, the company believes this is a solid revenue base to operate from as we expand the commercial service side of our business model.”

Freedom Environmental Services is a wastewater management company with its headquarters in Orlando, Fla. The company offers conventional wastewater treatment processes and systems, disinfection systems and cleaning contracts.

A Freedom spokesperson said the company is pursuing contracts with national chains with the goal of obtaining a predictable revenue stream.

Brazilian Refinery Orders Wastewater Reuse System

Siemens Water Technologies is working with Centroprojekt do Brasil S/A to supply an integrated wastewater technology solution to the Presidente Getulio Vargas Refinery (Repar) in Araucaria, Parana State, Brazil. The system will consist of API oil water separators, dissolved air flotation (DAF) units, walnut shell filter units, and a Petro MBR (membrane bioreactor) system. Scheduled to come online in 2012, the system is designed to pre-treat 450 m3/hr of the treated water for reuse as boiler feed water.

The Repar refinery, which is owned and operated by Petrobras, is one of the largest industrial plants in southern Brazil, refining 31 million liters of oil daily. The refinery is responsible for roughly 12% of the country’s production of petroleum byproducts, which include LPG, gasoline, diesel fuel, fuel oils, jet fuel, asphalt and naphtha.

Siemens’ integrated wastewater reuse solution includes primary, secondary and tertiary oil/water separation. During the first stage of primary oil/water separation, three trains of API separators remove up to 80% of oil from refinery process water and storm run-off. The second stage oil/water separation involves two trains of DAF units that remove additional oil from the API separator effluent, with the aid of chemicals.

Tertiary oil/water separation consists of four trains of Auto-Shell walnut shell filter units that remove additional oily contaminants from the water. Black walnut shell filters eliminate the need for flat media retention screens and can use as little as one media-scrubbing pump for up to eight filters, which simplifies the design and reduces the cost of multiple filter systems. This type of filtration removes three times the amount of oil and solids before cleaning is required.

In the final stage, tertiary treatment removes dissolved organics as pre-treatment to effluent polishing/recycle-reuse. A Petro MBR system, comprised of two biological trains and four membrane trains, forms the heart of the reuse pre-treatment system. This Petro MBR system is especially designed for refinery service and treating oily wastewater, and combines various biological treatment processes with an integrated, immersed membrane system. Using membrane separation instead of conventional clarification processes offers several benefits, including a smaller system footprint, decreased sludge production, and improved operational stability.

Manufacturer Ordered to Clean Contaminated Soil

EPA Region 7 has ordered the former owner of the city-owned Chamberlain Manufacturing Corporation facility in Waterloo, Iowa, to develop and implement a comprehensive plan to clean up contaminated soil and groundwater at the site that resulted from the release of hazardous materials and wastes during decades of industrial activity.

Chamberlain Manufacturing owned the 22.8-acre property at 550 Esther Street in Waterloo from 1953 to 1996, during which time it was used for the manufacture of metal washer wringers, projectile metal parts, aluminum awnings and refrigerator shelves, among other items. Soils and groundwater at the site are contaminated with a number of hazardous wastes, including metals and volatile organic compounds, including trichloroethene (TCE) and tetrachloroethene (PCE).

The unilateral administrative order directs Chamberlain, a subsidiary of Duchossois Industries, Inc., of Elmhurst, Ill., to engage in a series of short-term and long-term actions to address environmental contamination on and around the Waterloo site.

Issued under the authority of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the order directs Chamberlain to develop a plan for the proper cleanup of harmful releases at the site, investigate to determine the full extent of the off-site migration of wastes, and clean up the facility property and the surrounding area.

The order specifically requires Chamberlain to take steps to mitigate the potential for intrusion of chemical vapors into nearby residences that are situated over a plume of contaminated groundwater. Long-term exposure to such vapors can pose increased risk of adverse health effects. EPA estimates that an initial phase of installing vapor mitigation systems in residences, with the consent of homeowners, could be completed within one year.

Koch Wins Water Company of Year Award

Koch Membrane Systems, a developer and manufacturer of membranes and membrane filtration systems, was honored as the Water Technology Company of the Year-2010 by the International Desalination Association.

KMS was recognized for its ongoing commitment to innovation in the membrane industry as demonstrated by its large diameter MegaMagnum reverse osmosis (RO) products, and Puron® ultrafiltration (UF) membranes, used for membrane bioreactors.

“We are very pleased to accept this award, which recognizes our success and the difficult task of driving technology change in this market,” said David H. Koch, president of Koch Membrane Systems. “Our commitment to MegaMagnum® elements, pressure vessels, and systems allowed KMS to truly revolutionize RO and drive overall installed costs down. We have invested heavily over the last 10 years, developing outstanding technologies, improving our manufacturing capabilities and hiring world-class talent in all areas to create a company of enormous potential.”

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