On Wednesday, May 4, I spent the first half of the day in Kokomo, Indiana at the Water Pollution Control Facility with a very comfortable sized group discussing Clarifier Optimization. This session breaks down factors that can affect the ability of the solids to settle in the clarifier including construction, flow or hydraulics, temperature, upstream processes, dissolved oxygen, pH and so much more. During the flow/hydraulics portion we looked at the dreaded math formulas to see what happens to detention time, surface overflow and weir overflow rate when the flow changes. Then we looked at what happens to the solids loading rate when the flow and MLSS concentration changes during that “first flush” of a rain event compared to an extended high flow when the solids are more dilute. I will add here that the math session we held a few months ago was still in their minds and they were able to answer questions and give examples when asked (truly made me happy). Since this was a smaller group it seemed that some were more comfortable asking questions that lead to some great discussion. Before the session ended we covered microscopic examination (since it’s all about the bugs) of the floc, protozoa, metazoan and filamentous bacteria and what the predominance of each means. Of course when I left my heart was on my sleeve because during the 4-hour course there were a few operators sitting there taking notes – yep, they are eager to learn!
On a personal note, after the course at the plant we met my brother at Ray’s Drive-In of Kokomo and had a great lunch. If you are a “breaded tenderloin” fanatic (like I am) – theirs is as large as the plate and almost as thick. This is a place that was a frequent stop for our family when I was growing up and it brought back memories so that made this a fantastic day!
Then, on Thursday, May 5, we traveled to Lebanon, Indiana for the Central Indiana Operator’s Association (CIOA) bi-monthly meeting and there were about 20 people gathered at the awesome City Building downtown. We had the meeting room on the second floor and it is a wonderful set up for a speaker using a Power Point presentation (such as mine). CIOA is a homegrown organization that holds bi-monthly meetings around the central portion of Indiana to provide training and contact hours for operators. Following the meetings, the attendees tour the local wastewater treatment plant which sometimes is as informative as the presentation. I was the Secretary/Treasurer for this fantastic organization since the stone-age and finally stepped down after 15 or so years at it. So I always volunteer to do at least one session for them a year and when I do it feels like coming home. For this session I talked about Clarifier Optimization; which was very convenient since I just spoke about it the day before. The trouble is I had to condense it down from the 4-hour presentation the day before (for those that know me – you know 4 hours was already condensed – because I can talk about wastewater for days on end), but we got through it with no major important information left out. This must be a good presentation because as I looked out toward the attendees I only saw a few nodding off (see photo) but more importantly I noticed a few operators were taking notes and using their phones as cameras to take screen shots of some of the information. The only thing I regret is that I had not planned enough time in the day to allow for the plant tour. I hope they will allow me a tour the next time we come up through that way because I really do want to see it.
The reason I couldn’t participate in the Lebanon Waste Water Treatment Plant tour is that I had promised Rensselaer, Indiana that I would tour their facility later that day and I wanted to keep my promise. So we left Lebanon and headed toward Rensselaer where I spent a few hours being shown the wastewater treatment plant by two operators studying for their certification, who were very interested in learning more about their facility. This plant is a Bio-lac system (fancy lagoon) with a rotary fine screen bar-screen, screw grit removal, gravity thickener, aerated digesters and a sludge holding lagoon and UV disinfection. This is a nice looking plant that is well kept up. The town is looking at upgrading the facility to better handle the combined sewer inflow, but the employees are doing good work with what they have to work with. I can’t thank them enough for inviting me up and for taking their time to show me all parts of the plant, ask questions and take notes while we talked about options for operation of the existing equipment. It’s hard to beat Hoosier Hospitality! I love touring treatment plants!