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The Water Treatment Technology Program Newsletter - No. 7 - Spring 1997


Through the Water Treatment Technology Program (WTTP), Reclamation is forming partnerships with private industry, universities, and local communities to address a broad range of desalting and water treatment needs. The overall objective of the program is to reduce the cost of desalting and water treatment technologies. For more information about the WTTP, contact Kevin Price at 303-445-2260. Or, visit the WTTP website at: http://www.usbr.gov/pmts/water/


Reclamation's Water Quality Improvement Center (WQIC), located at the Yuma Desalting Plant (YDP) in Yuma, Arizona, held its official Grand Opening and Inauguration on January 23, 1997, at which time it was designated as the first National Centers for Water Treatment Technology (NCWTT) facility. The NCWTT program was initiated by Reclamation, the US Army, and the National Water Research Institute (NWRI), and is a consortium of Federal agencies, private companies, and universities who are willing to make their research test facilities, expertise, and other resources available to any researcher who has developed a promising new desalting or water treatment technology, but does not have adequate facilities to test it. As the first NCWTT facility, the WQIC will serve as a cornerstone for the program. The purpose of the WQIC is to provide a state-of-the-art water treatment facility for advancing the development and transfer of water purification technologies through field tests and hands-on training. The intent is to make pilot water research and field testing more cost effective and practical for entities such as the US Government, desalting researchers, universities, water treatment companies, municipalities, private industries, and foreign governments.

The WQIC offers advanced technologies including: grit sedimentation, softening, rapid mixing, flocculation, clarification, sludge removal, and dual/multi media filtration. Chemical processes available include: disinfection by chlorination/dechlorination, ammonia/chlorination, pH adjustment-acid/caustic, anti-scaling chemical addition, membrane rejuvenation, or other customer supplied chemical processes. Membrane processes available include: RO, NF, UF microfiltation, or other customer supplied processes. All processes are fully instrumented and feature a network Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition computer system, with Internet access. The WQIC also offers: secure processes, laboratories, and office areas; all utilities, except steam; warehouses for shipping, receiving, and storage; chemical, civil, mechanical, and electrical engineering support for design, installation, data reduction, and data analysis; 24-hour licensed operators; state certified water analysis laboratory; and complete maintenance support. Multiple feedwater sources are available and range in TDS from 250 to 10,000 mg/L. The WQIC is also available for hands-on training for operators, engineers, or managers.

The Grand Opening events included opening ceremonies, an inauguration of the building, tours of the facility, and an afternoon workshop focusing on the "Desalting Research Needs of Tomorrow." The day's program was sponsored by Reclamation, the American Desalting Association (ADA), and NWRI. Paul McAleese, YDP's research coordinator, moderated the morning session which featured speakers who are well known in the desalting and water treatment community. Gary Bryant, Yuma's Area Manager, opened with a discussion on the WQIC and introduced the keynote speaker, Reclamation Commissioner Eluid Martinez. Commissioner Martinez, who has a background in water engineering, challenged the audience to participate more in water treatment research and development to lower costs of desalted water. Ian Watson, ADA's president, discussed ADA's views on the need for pilot scale research facilities, such as the WQIC. Presenting the concept of the NCWTT was Dr. Stan Ponce, Reclamation's Research Director; and Dr. Chuck Moody, from Denver's Technical Service Center presented some specifics on the capabilities of the WQIC. The afternoon workshop was moderated by Dave Furukawa of Separations Consultants, Inc. After an introduction by Lisa Henthorne, WTTP Manager, speakers included Randy Truby, Fluid Systems, on technology problems and challenges; Dennis Kasper, Engineering Science, on research at the WQIC; and Ron Linsky, NWRI, discussing the Simon Bill (the important authorization bill approving the concept of expenditures for desalting and water treatment research, without providing actual allocation for the expenditures). Group breakout sessions provided the opportunity for participants to brainstorm several topics relating to the WQIC, research needs of the industry in general, and the importance of industry representatives working to identify suitable projects and sources of funding with respect to the Simon Bill.

Since the opening, Paul McAleese has received several inquiries from desalting and water treatment industry entities expressing interest in using the WQIC for various projects, including use of membrane processes to improve Colorado River water quality, and testing of new RO membrane materials. The WQIC is offered on a cost-shared or cost-reimbursed basis. Through the NCWTT, a limited number of grants are available to assist entities without sufficient resources to conduct pilot scale and demonstration project research at the WQIC. Except when the Government provides direct technical guidance, patent rights are retained by the researcher/developer. Cooperative Research and Development Agreements can be individually structured. For more information, contact Paul McAleese in Yuma at 520-343-8229.


The Membrane Element Autopsy Manual has been published and is available for distribution. The goal of the manual is to provide the user with the tools necessary to perform a successful and informative membrane element autopsy. The manual contains autopsy procedures, forms for taking notes and making a formal record of the results, a list of available resources, and MSDSs for compounds frequency used. At this time, the manual relates only to spiral wound RO elements and similarly packaged filtration membranes. A copy of the manual can be obtained by contacting Susan Martella at 303-445-2257. The autopsy forms are available from the WTTP website at: http://www.usbr.gov/water/publications/reports.html.


The WTTP recently entered into a cooperative project entitled "Microbial Removal and Integrity Monitoring of High-Pressure Membranes Used for Water Treatment," with the American Water Works Association Research Foundation. The objective of the project is to assess removal capabilities and develop a reliable method of determining microbial removal effectiveness and integrity of RO and NF systems. The project will include the following: assessment of existing membrane integrity monitoring techniques in water treatment and industrial literature; review of previous research findings on microbial removal achievable by RO/NF membranes; and microbial removal studies using RO/NF systems and assessment of their use for disinfection.


Water from Water is published by Reclamation's Water Treatment Engineering and Research Group - Susan Martella, Editor. For more information about the DesalR&D program, contact Kevin Price at: Bureau of Reclamation, 86-69000, PO Box 25007, Denver CO 80225; phone (303) 445-2260; or e-mail a message to MPrice@usbr.gov.