Water Online

November 2017

Water Innovations gives Water and Wastewater Engineers and end-users a venue to find project solutions and source valuable product information. We aim to educate the engineering and operations community on important issues and trends.

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source treatment, but also demonstrates the efficacy of new sensor technology in operational plants, thus expediting the widespread adoption of the most successful advancements. Specific benefits include the following: • Increased response time — Sensors that collect and analyze samples more rapidly provide the situational awareness needed to manage the unknowns of potentially variable sources of supply. For example, in potable reuse applications, unanticipated and problematic upstream waste discharges could potentially pass through the wastewater treatment process to the downstream advanced potable water treatment plant. Rapid detection of these discharges enables more expedited responses. • Improved treatment — The detailed data provided by innovative sensor technology can be used to optimize the advanced processes that are commonly utilized to treat alternative supplies. Next-generation sensors may also enhance automation and bolster treatment plant safety. • Reduced cost — Although new advanced sensors may cost more than previous-generation technology, the potential for optimization and reduced analytical costs may offset the initial expense. Moreover, improved water quality monitoring also may yield economic benefits in terms of avoided costs of plant upsets. • Better regulations — Additional real-time data that is both more accurate and more precise will likewise enable regulations to be directly related to specific water quality parameters and less based on inferential metrics of treatment process performance. This is particularly true for pathogens; because precise, online, and real-time monitoring technology does not yet exist, the current regulatory paradigm predicates compliance on surrogate parameters that suggest, but do not guarantee, sufficient levels of pathogen reduction. • Enhanced public health — More precise, accurate, and comprehensive water quality monitoring conducted at frequencies continually closer to real time help facilitate the level of public health protection necessitated by the use of alternative, poorer-quality sources. • Heightened public acceptance — The ability of improved water quality monitoring to demonstrate that the potable supplies delivered to the tap are of the highest quality can engender the public trust that is essential for the use of alternative water sources. Leaders Of Innovation Although the landscape of utility innovation extends far beyond water quality monitoring, improved sensor technology is one important area in which utilities can make an important contribution to the advancement of the industry generally and to the use of alternative supplies specifically. And while many utilities may be passively willing to test new monitoring instrumentation, those organizations that create and foster a culture of innovation will actively seek opportunities to engage with equipment manufacturers who are pioneering cutting edge advancements, helping to forge the industry's future. n SUPPLYALTERNATIVES Brent Alspach is a principal environmental engineer and the Director of Applied Research for Arcadis. He also serves as a Trustee for the American Water Works Association (AWWA) and as president of the American Membrane Technology Association (AMTA). About The Author 17 wateronline.com n Water Innovations Although new advanced sensors may cost more than previous generation technology, the potential for optimization and reduced analytical costs may offset the initial expense. Numerous sensors help monitor the desalination of 50 MGD of seawater at the Claude "Bud" Lewis Desalination plant in Carlsbad, CA, a project Arcadis helped design. Although the landscape of utility innovation extends far beyond water quality monitoring, improved sensor technology is one important area in which utilities can make an important contribution to the advancement of the industry generally and to the use of alternative supplies specifically.

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