Wednesday, April 13th was a fantastic day to be out on the road. The weather here in Indiana is finally starting to act like spring is actually a true thing. So for this wonderful day we made our way down to Bloomington, Indiana for a tour of the Dillman Road Wastewater Treatment Plant and then a 2 hour presentation covering Biological Phosphorus Removal (Bio-P). Now, Bloomington as well as most of the state of Indiana (and surrounding states) has been inundated with rain or snow or sleet or a mixture of all three within a 2 minute time period with the temperature starting at 65° and ending at 32° and wind gusts to match those of a tornado. With all that said, it isn’t hard to predict how well the solids were settling at the plant – just as expected the solids weren’t wanting to settle which meant floc, which meant young sludge and their ammonia was slightly elevated (no violations). Well we all know young sludge doesn’t settle, so more floc. When that floc doesn’t settle those bacteria don’t make it back to the head of the aeration basin, creating a young sludge – famous Catch-22. At the same time, the Autotrophic Bacteria (nitrifiers) don’t form floc so they are the first on the list of bacteria to be affected by anything unusual such as temperature changes, high flows, hydrogen sulfide, etc. However, the good news is they were on top of it that day and were minimizing the impact and minimizing the problems. Now I am sure that when the men and women from Bloomington read this they will be shocked that I said anything about the floc – but let’s be honest here – with the weather we have been having the only plants not having “some problem” are the ones that “dry sink sample”. What I like to see is when a plant problem becomes a learning experience for everyone and that is what happened on Wednesday. Before my talk about Bio-P we discussed what I saw out on the plant and was overjoyed when I heard the operator’s comments. It was great to know that for all the time I have been going down there and talking they were putting those training sessions into practice and keeping things under control. So this may not be the normal blog you read about me “teaching” at a plant, but it is one that makes me very happy to share with you. One that shows that even though you have been doing the same thing for 20 years there is always room for improvement and the power of understanding that education has. I always enjoy my days and evenings in Bloomington, Indiana (be it the Dillman Road or Blutcher Poole plants), they are some of the friendliest operators and always make me feel welcome. On a personal note, I really missed seeing the smiling face of Danny McConnell who retired just this month. Keep in touch Danny!!