Engineers' Society of Western Pennsylvania


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Topic: Water Projects

September, 2020  

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Chris Stanfill, P.E., Arcadis, Atlanta, GA
IWC 19-53: Treatment of Aerospace Machining and Inspection Wastewater

Aerospace wastewater generated by machining and inspection presents unique treatment challenges. The wastewater can contain a blend of machining oil, dissolved and particulate metals, surfactants, and fluorescent penetrant inspection (FPI) emulsifier and developer. The combination of the machining and inspection water tends to emulsify the oils in the wastewater, making them difficult to remove. Additionally, the oils can hinder the metals removal processes. Further, the FPI materials often require a thorough material compatibility review for process piping and equipment due to their negative life cycle impacts on certain pipe types. Depending on the other processes performed at the facility, the wastewater may also have to meet federal categorical treatment standards for metals finishing promulgated under 40 CFR 433 as well as local sewer use ordinance limits.

This paper will describe the unique challenges to permit and treat aerospace wastewater. Specific design considerations and the qualities of typical treatment equipment used for treatment will be described. Two case studies will be used to illustrate the design considerations and lessons learned for this unique wastewater.

Diane Martini, Burns & McDonnell, Chicago, IL
IWC 19-56: Cogeneration – Opportunities to Improve Heat Recovery and Power Generation while Saving Water and Reducing Chemical Costs

Co-generation of heat and power is not a new concept, but as technology advances there can be real benefits to upgrading existing co-generation facilities.  In many cases, projects that were not considered cost-effective in the past may become viable in areas where utility electricity prices have increased or existing equipment deteriorates. In other cases, off gases from industrial processes, landfill gas, or digester gas can be harnessed via Reciprocating Engines or Combustion Turbines (CTs) combined with Heat Recovery Steam Generators (HRSGs) to generate both heat and power.  Existing co-generation facilities can see real improvements in output and efficiency, with reductions in consumables use through upgrades.  For example, replacing hot lime softening with RO saves chemical costs while conserving water and energy.  This paper will provide examples of the environmental and economic advantages of installing co-generation capability or upgrading a co-generation facility.


Topic: We’ve Got the Power

August, 2020

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Krystal Perez, P.E., Worley, Kirkland, WA
IWC 19-41: Landscape of Whole Effluent Toxicity Requirements in the Power Industry

Whole effluent toxicity requirements are a challenging subject relevant to many facilities’ National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits.  This paper shares the results of a recent literature survey conducted by the Electric Power Research Institute that was focused on capturing key permit information across multiple facilities.  This work provides new insights into what the industry is seeing with regards to toxicity-based permit requirements.  This paper summarizes key findings related to the extent of toxicity-related permit issues for the power industry.

Jeffery Easton, P.E., Ph.D., WesTech Engineering, Inc., Salt Lake City, UT
IWC 19-44: Technology and Treatment for Boron Removal

Low-level boron removal from wastewater is a rising challenge for industry, and an upcoming regulatory pressure for many.  Boron is a difficult constituent to remove or treat with traditional methods and processes. It is highly soluble in most forms and presents significant removal difficulty due to its small size and often uncharged nature.  Traditional treatment technologies such as precipitation, coagulation, flocculation, sedimentation, filtration (including membranes) and common ion exchange have little or no effect on boron compounds in low concentration.


Topic: Reverse Osmosis

July 2020

IWC 19-33
IWC 19-36







Rich Franks, P.E., Alexandra Rubin and Craig Bartels, Ph.D., Hydranautics, Oceanside, CA; Peter Cartwright, P.E., Cartwright Consulting Co., Minneapolis, MN
IWC 19-33: The Contrarian Use of Chlorine to Control Biofouling in RO Membranes

It is well known that the reverse osmosis membrane’s polyamide chemistry is incompatible with chlorine. This limitation of the polyamide chemistry is sometimes referred to as the Achilles Heel of RO membranes. In many RO systems, the absence of a continuous biocide such as chlorine leads to extreme biofouling, rapid performance degradation, frequent cleanings, extended downtime and shortened membrane life. However, regardless of this stated incompatibility, there does exist a low level of tolerance before damage to the molecular structure of the membrane causes a noticeable change in RO performance. This tolerance, which is affected by a number of variables, has gradually increased over the years as the membrane chemistry has evolved. Today’s membranes are more highly crosslinked than those of previous generations. These latest chemistries result in lower pressures and better rejection; including better rejection of more challenging constituents such as silica and organics. These better chemistries have the added benefit of being more robust and, therefore, more chemically tolerant. This includes improved tolerance, not only to caustic or acid cleanings, but also to chlorine. Though no membrane supplier promotes these membranes as chlorine tolerant, their improved durability makes the use of chlorine to control biofouling an option worth considering when confronted with extreme biofouling. At least one RO plant is experimenting with intermittent exposure to low levels of chlorine for the purpose of managing biofouling. After a biofilm is allowed to build on the membranes, as evidenced by decreasing permeability and increasing differential pressure, periodic chlorine dosing is initiated. Though the chlorine improves membrane performance, the permeability and differential pressures do not return to their original, baseline values; the intention being to minimize chlorine exposure and maintain some foulant as a protective layer. This paper will present the chemistry behind past and current chlorine limitations. RO membranes exposed to chlorine in the laboratory will be analyzed. The RO system operating data, both before and during chlorine dosing, will also be presented. Analysis of elements extracted from the RO system will be shared in order to further characterize the membrane performance and chemistry after “real world” chlorine exposure.

Elke Peirtsegaele, MICRODYN-NADIR, Goleta, CA
IWC 19-36: Innovative Spiral-Wound Membrane Elements for High Temperature Desalination Applications

Water desalination has become one of the most important methods of alleviating water shortages and meeting stricter environmental regulations across the world. While spiral-wound reverse osmosis (RO) and nanofiltration (NF) membrane elements have proven very successful in a variety of desalination applications, more and more applications are emerging that require spiral-wound membrane elements capable of handling high temperatures or extreme cleaning conditions. Because industry-standard RO and NF water elements are limited to a maximum operating temperature of 45°C (113°F), membrane manufacturers are investigating alternative materials to build high temperature elements for applications where standard RO and NF elements cannot be used.

This paper explains how data is used to determine when more robust element components (i.e. materials of construction) such as feed spacers, permeate carriers, permeate tubes and outerwraps are needed to develop elements that can handle different levels of elevated temperatures. Elements constructed with these alternative materials fall into four categories based on temperature tolerance:

  • Warm temperature operation (up to 60°C continuous)
  • High temperature operation (up to 80°C continuous)
  • Heat-sanitization (sanitization up to 90°C)
  • Extreme cleaning at high pH and high temperature (up to pH 13 and 75°C)

Overall, this paper focuses on why high temperature spiral-wound elements are needed, which applications require these types of elements and how different element components can be combined to tackle an even broader range of applications than ever before.


Topic: Industrial Wastewater

June, 2020

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Brian Moore, Ph.D., Arcadis, Clifton Park, NY
IWC 19-26: Advanced Wastewater Recycle at an Automotive Plant in Silao, Mexico

A major automotive manufacturer manufactures engines, transmissions and full-size trucks at a large manufacturing complex in Silao, Guanajuato, Mexico. The Site employs approximately 6,000 personnel. Additionally, there are approximately 4,000 contracted employees on site in any given day. The site has experienced dramatic growth and is currently under construction to add nearly 3 million square feet of new production facilities.

For all freshwater the Site relies on six groundwater wells, which they must frequently rotate (in/out of service) to obtain the water needed for manufacturing operations. In addition to very high taxes for groundwater extraction, the aquifer levels are declining; the aquifer has been identified as stressed and the region is expected to have continued growth in population, agriculture and industry (World Bank, 2004). As such, the aquifer cannot provide the additional 30-40% water required following the plant expansion.

Considering its environmental goals, the status of the region and aquifer and to reduce production disruption risk, the automotive manufacturer has embarked on a comprehensive water recycling program to maximize water reuse for manufacturing processes.

An array of concepts for treatment and recycle were developed and vetted relative to key project criteria (e.g. percent of wastewater recycled, robustness, operability, CapEx and OpEx, etc). The treatment train selected for this new water recycle system includes a membrane bioreactor (MBR) and two-stage reverse osmosis (RO) in Phase I; the performance/operability of these processes benefit from strategic upstream and waste segregation components to the project. A future phase of the project would include on- site treatment of the brine from the RO process, recovering even more water through application of zero-liquid discharge technology (evaporator/ crystallizer combination with mechanical vapor recompression).

During this IWC presentation, we intend to walk the audience through the entire process for Phase 1 of the project, including feasibility assessment, water and constituent mass balance, concept development and refinement, design, construction and start-up (on-line Feb 2019). We will also discuss Phase II of the project.

Mark Knight and Nicolas Hameon-Denis, SUEZ Water Technologies & Solutions, Oakville, ON, Canada; Shane Lund, SUEZ Water Technologies & Solutions, Trevose, PA; Jordan Schmidt, Brad McIlwain and Shawn Watkins, LuminUltra Technologies Ltd., Fredericton, NB, Canada
IWC 19-57: How Hot is Too Hot?  Reviewing the Treatment Performance of Refinery WWTP Biological Treatment Systems Operating at High Temperatures

This study reviews the treatment performance and microbial ecology of two North American refinery WWTP biological treatment systems which continuously operate between 38°C to 52°C. Results from both refinery WWTP’s show that biological treatment systems can effectively remove organic compounds and nitrify ammonia above 35°C which can provide certain advantages when optimizing an industrial WWTP, upgrading upstream processes or building a new green field plant.


Topic: Mining

May, 2020

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Jonathan Witt, P.E. and Alan Prouty, J.R. Simplot Company, Boise, ID; Jeremy Aulbach, P.E., Brown and Caldwell, Boise, ID
IWC 19-17: Physio-Biological Removal of Selenium from Mining Impacted Waters

The Smoky Canyon Mine owned by the J.R. Simplot Company constructed the Hoopes Selenium Treatability Study Pilot (Hoopes TSP), which implemented physical and biological treatment to evaluate operational performance of active selenium water treatment from mine-impacted waters. The Smoky Canyon Mine is located within the Idaho Phosphate District, which is rich in sedimentary phosphate ores that are found concurrent with selenium-bearing deposits. Past mining practices have led to elevated levels of selenium in the mine-impacted waters. The physical and biological treatment processes applied include UF, RO, anaerobic biological, and aerobic biological. While these established technologies are routinely applied individually in water treatment, these technologies were applied in an innovative arrangement that shows significant promise in its application to remove selenium from mine-impacted waters. Total selenium concentrations of the mine-impacted waters fed to the Hoopes TSP averaged 0.144 mg/L during the study period presented. Hoopes TSP effluent total selenium concentrations averaged 0.015 mg/L during the study period presented. Details of the mine setting, influent water parameters, treatability study pilot system configuration, and initial 20 weeks of operational results are presented in this paper.

Alex Drak, Roi Zaken Porat and Tomar Efrat, IDE Technologies, Kadima, Israel; Marco Kerstholt, Royal HaskoningDHV, South Africa; Gerald van Houwelingen, Royal HaskoningDHV, Netherlands
IWC 19-20: Mine Impacted Water Minimization Technology – 3 Years of Development

A significant amount of water is used in the mining process, and it is often necessary to treat this water, which is characterized by neutral to low pH and moderate to high total dissolved solids content. Sulfate anions, typically present in this water, are introduced largely as a result of partial oxidation of sulfide-bearing ores (often containing pyrite). Calcium cations are also usually present in water as a result of partial dissolution of dolomitic compounds present in the waste rock. These two ions, with combined concentration close to the gypsum saturation limit, make the treatment process of mine impacted water relatively challenging.

Currently, mine impacted water is usually treated by adding lime to neutralize the acid and precipitate heavy metals as hydroxides. After partial acidification, the effluent from this process is recycled or discharged to the receiving environment. Depending on the pH targeted in the neutralization step, this effluent can still contain a relatively high concentration of sulfate and calcium. Increased concern led to the introduction of recommended guideline values for the sulfate concentration in the discharged effluent. Based on World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines, the recommended values for the sulfate concentration are generally below 500 mg/L.


ENCORE Presentation

Topic: ZLD

May, 2020

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Travis Reynolds, GE Power, Knoxville, TN; Cuong Pham, Evergy, Weston, MO
IWC 19-05: Iatan SDE Design, Operation, Maintenance and Operational Costs

After two years of successful operation, performance & emissions compliance, and greater than ninety-eight percent availability, the operating experiences and costs associated with the SDE have been quantified.  This paper and presentation will discuss the SDE design approach, operation and maintenance experiences, and costs that have been observed over the past two years of operation.

Josh Dewanaga P.E., and David Ciszewski, SUEZ Water Technologies & Solutions, Bellevue, WA; David Rowe, SUEZ Water Technologies & Solutions, Norfolk, VA; Lauren Barbir, SUEZ Water Technologies & Solutions, Trevose, PA
IWC 19-06: Integrated Water and Wastewater Zero Discharge System for Liquefied Natural Gas Plant: Lessons Learned from Design, Start-Up and Operations

When tackling the daunting task of expanding an existing liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant and managing water demands in an environmentally sensitive area, what are the critical decisions when selecting the design and operational support model for your water and wastewater systems? For a LNG terminal on the East coast, the journey to full operations of its expansion project started six years earlier with the owner evaluating water needs and requirements for the environmental impact in the area.  The decision was to select a high recovery water treatment system and a zero liquid discharge system to minimize both water withdrawal and environmental impact. The LNG plant owner (who is also the operator) and EPC firm selected a single company to design the two systems which became one integrated system.  This decision proved efficient for both design and start-up phases.  When evaluating the operational support model, the resulting decision was to outsource the operations and maintenance to the same company designing the integrated water system. This paper discusses notable events and learnings from design, start-up/commissioning, and first year of operations.


Topic: Boiler Water

March, 2020

Peter Meyers, ResinTech Inc., West Berlin, NJ
IWC 19-02: The Death of Deep Bed Condensate Polishing

With the ever-expanding capacity of solar and wind power, most thermal power plants are now cycling rather than operating continuously at full power.  Cycling dramatically increases the transport of corrosion products and increases both corrosion and metal fatigue.  Recent EPRI guidelines for combined cycle plants is to operate at elevated condensate pH, at least 9.6 and preferably 9.8 to 10.0.  Although other types of power plants have lower pH guidelines, there is a general push at many older plants that do not have high chrome metallurgy to operate at higher pH as a way of minimizing FAC.  The increase in amine (or ammonia concentration) makes condensate polishing more difficult and in some cases spells death for Deep Bed Condensate Polishers.

Ken Kuruc, Hach, Loveland, CO
IWC 19-03: On-Line Iron Studies using a Film Forming Product and a Film Forming Amine

Film forming products (FFP) and film forming amines (FFA) continue to receive attention as a means of passivating metal surfaces in the steam cycle, especially with systems that cycle frequently. Facilities that have added these products to their cycle need to prove that their investments are effective in reducing both production and transport of corrosion products.