News from Mission Communications for the Water and Wastewater Professional
Issue 18, Spring 2015
Oregon Home Brewers Tap Into Recycled Wastewater
Multipurpose Treatment Plants for Weddings, Bird Watchers and Nature Lovers
How To Avoid Wire Fault Alarms Triggered by Electrical Noise
Microbes Resonate With Mozart


Certain key words used on your web portal prompt special reports to appear.


Analog inputs labeled "Chlorine" or "Cl" populate the Chlorine report.


Digital inputs labeled "CSO" populate the SSO/CSO report.  


Pulse inputs labeled "Rain" populate rainfall data from a local source.


NVWEA Annual Conference
April 7-8
Las Vegas, NV

VRWA Annual Conference
April 13-15
Roanoke, VA

CO RWA Annual Conference
April 13-15
Denver, CO

WY Rural Water
April 21-24
Casper, WY

CWEA Annual Conference
April 28-May 1
San Diego, CA

  PNWS 2015
April 29-May 1
Bellevue, WA

AZWA 88th Annual Conf. & Expo
May 6-8
Glendale, AZ

May 12-14
Greensboro, NC

NJWEA 100th Tech Conference
May 11-15
Atlantic City, NJ

ACE 2015
June 7-10
Anaheim, CA




March 25

 Week 4: Web Portal II -  Supergraph, Reporting, Volumetric Flow and Advanced Topics

 April 1

Week 1: Survey of Features

Week 2: Hardware, Instrumentation and Installation 


 April 15

Week 3: Web Portal I - Notification and Unit Setup Options

April 22

Week 4: Web Portal II -  Supergraph, Reporting, Volumetric Flow and Advanced Topics


April 29

  Week 5: Special Topics 
 Week 1: Survey of Features
May 13
Week 2: Hardware, Instrumentation and Installation

May 20
Week 3: Web Portal I - Notification and Unit Setup Options

June 3
Week 1: Survey of Features

June 17
Week 2: Hardware, Instrumentation and Installation 























































































































































































































Clean Water Services Educates
With Home Brewing Project
Life as we know it would not exist without water and neither would beer. Water accounts for 90 percent of the beer brewing process. Clean Water Services (CWS), the largest water reuse provider in Oregon has partnered with the Oregon Brew Crew (OBC) in an attempt to educate the public about the importance of wastewater reuse. CWS is a Mission customer and the first wastewater utility in the nation to provide home brewers with purified potable wastewater for the brewing of lagers, ales and stouts.

Judges taste craft brews at a competition in September 2014. Photo by: Clean Water Services.

CWS Government and Public Affairs Manager Mark Jockers says they want to increase public understanding and acceptance of water reuse and the important role recycled wastewater can play. CWS formed a natural partnership with home brewers who have a passion for quality water. He says beer is a great way to start a dialogue about the urban water cycle.

"This whole project is really about starting a conversation about the nature of water, it's about the fact that all water has been consumed before and will be consumed again," explains Jockers. "We are trying to broaden the discussion of water reuse in Oregon and in the nation in terms of how water is recycled."

Starting the Dialogue About Recycled Water
CWS runs four wastewater treatment facilities serving more than 500,000 residents in Washington County, Oregon. The company has provided reuse water for irrigating athletic fields, golf courses and for wetland recharge for more than 25 years. The utility will furnish OBC with highly purified potable water recycled from the Forest Grove secondary treatment plant. CWS uses a high purity water system that treats effluent in a three-step process which includes reverse osmosis, ultra-filtration and disinfection. The end product meets federal safe drinking standards. It offers the perfect "blank palate" home brewers can use to create different types of beers.

"It is getting people to understand there isn't any new water. All water is reused," explains Jockers. "I think we are shortening the distance between used and reused with projects like this."
The beer brewing project still requires approval from the Oregon Environmental Quality Commission. That decision is expected in April of this year.

Mission Keeps CWS Purity Flowing
CWS officials use Mission M800 RTUs and equipment to monitor their 40 major pump and lift
An M800 RTU monitors a Clean Water Services pump station. Photo by: Clean Water Services.
stations. Personnel oversee wet well levels, pump runtimes, pump amperage and pump capacity. They also monitor flow meters and watch for pump, generator and air failures. Forest Grove treatment plant manager C.J. Baxter says all treated wastewater must meet strict standards for pH and be biologically treated to DEQ requirements. Mission plays a key role in maintaining that purity.

Baxter says prior to partnering with Mission, they used an older, unreliable autodialer system. They had no way to determine if they lost communication with remote equipment until long after an interruption occurred. Since lift stations were on a weekly maintenance schedule, there could be serious lag time between an interruption and when personnel discovered it. Scheduling people and destinations for after-hours alarms were also problematic.

 "You could visit the station one day and have communication and the next time you visited the station, you might not have telephone service," explains Baxter. "You wouldn't know when you actually lost that service. With Mission, you know immediately if you have communication with your pump station."

Baxter says they looked into radio telemetry, but found it too cumbersome and costly to install. They required a reliable alarm or data logging system that would detect communication failures at pump and lift stations. They also needed to be able to handle at least eight alarms and call out to different alarm groups.

"Before Mission, you would have to go to each dialer if someone was ill or if a phone number changed," says Baxter. "With the Mission system, anyone can go in and alter schedules on one convenient website, rather than go to each individual site and reprogram dialer units."

Real-time Monitoring Prevents Problems
Baxter says he especially likes the ability to view pump station status in real-time during a rainstorm or severe weather event. He says it gives them a current snapshot of what is occurring at the stations.

"When we had a wind storm, we were having problems with power bumps to one of our stations," explains Baxter. "Using the Mission real-time software, we were able to see how the pumps were performing, to determine whether we needed to call in staff during the night."

Service personnel can also troubleshoot stations at multiple locations. Mission's real-time data and alarms have prevented pump failure when a pump started to get plugged. CWS employees have caught excessive runtimes from partially blocked pumps or check valves that are stuck open.

Baxter regularly uses the Mission Pump Runtime Variance report and weekly communication management report.  The pump runtime variance data has allowed him to flag abnormal runtimes at one or more pumps. He says the Real-time Viewer application and trending data help him decide whether or not to schedule maintenance ahead of normally scheduled rounds if he finds an issue. Two or three problems are averted every month because of the report.

"I'm just really happy that Mission has been eager to listen to our feedback and prompt to address any concerns we have had," says Baxter. "That has been a real positive benefit of working with Mission and Correct Equipment, the providers here in Oregon."

Multipurpose Treatment Plants for Weddings, Bird Watchers and Nature Lovers

 Municipalities across the nation are designing zero-impact wastewater treatment plants that are not only environmentally-friendly, but attractive event facilities and recreation areas.

The Brightwater Treatment Center north of Seattle is a state-of-the-art treatment facility with an education/community center that can serve as a wedding venue on weekends. When the plant was built in 2011, land was set aside for green space with a center that could be used by the public. Nuptials are now performed indoors at the community center or on the grounds for a rental fee of $2,000.
Use of the facility is half the cost of other Seattle wedding venues. 


A couple weds at Brightwater Treatment Center. Photo by: A Moments Reflection Photography.


The facility accommodates up to 260 people and features a full catering kitchen, multimedia equipment, dance floor, large meeting rooms and lush landscaping. Susan Tallarico, Brightwater Environmental Education and Community Center director says they have hosted over 181 events since the center opened to the public in 2014. Three weddings were hosted last year with three more already scheduled for 2015. Tallarico says more wedding inquiries are coming in for summer and fall.   

"People really like the building design and the fact that it is a sustainably built platinum-certified Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) facility," explains Tallarico. "They like the natural areas around the buildings and also the cost which is very reasonable compared to other spaces."

Proceeds from events support free environmental education programs at the Brightwater Center and cover about one-quarter of the facility's operation costs. In spite of recent popularity and national attention, the facility has its share of couples who are hesitant to get hitched next to a sewage treatment plant. She says their location hasn't hurt business, especially since it is a zero-odor facility. 
A Red-shouldered Hawk in a Monterey Pine at the Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary. Photo by: Leslie Scopes Anderson.

Birds Flock to California Treatment Center
Arcata Wastewater Treatment plant in California is popular with ornithologists. The high tech plant doubles as the Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary, encompassing over 300 acres of land along the Pacific flyway. It attracts 327 different species of birds with oxidation ponds, treated wetlands and enhancement marshes that filter sewage. The unique environment offers a perfect place for migratory birds. The facility was given the Innovations in Government award from the Ford Foundation and Harvard University Kennedy School of Government.


Sewage from the City of Arcata is treated at the facility and released to Humboldt Bay via complex flow routing of ponds, wetlands and marshes. The innovative wastewater treatment system includes treatment wetlands and enhancement marshes to improve oxidation effluent quality that meets federal treatment standards. Disinfection and de-chlorination are the final steps in the treatment process before effluent is discharged into the bay.

Innovation Reigns in Georgia
Fulton County, Georgia is home to Johns Creek Environmental Campus (JCEC), a 2010 National Design-Build Award winning wastewater treatment plant. The $137 million facility is the largest membrane bioreactor (MBR) plant in the United States. Facilities using MBR technology process water to higher standards than the required reclamation process. They produce a smaller environmental footprint than conventional wastewater treatment.

The JCEC plant uses low-impact design elements that incorporate extensive noise and odor abatement technologies, while integrating with the surrounding ecosystem. The plant includes an educational facility, park, nature trail, cascading stream and pond system. The wastewater treatment facility was designed by Brown and Caldwell engineers. Kelly Comstock, Brown and Caldwell project manager says the JCEC design sets new standards.

"This design challenges the idea that wastewater treatment facilities are odorous and noisy with negative impacts on the surrounding community," explains Comstock in an official statement.

Wastewater treatment plant innovation continues to be the new status quo across the nation as municipal officials seek more cost-effective, environmentally-friendly ways to treat wastewater. Federal grants to develop new wastewater technologies are listed here.  


How To Avoid Wire Fault Alarms  

Triggered by Electrical Noise     

Voltage spikes or noise can be generated as control relays are de-energized. These spikes can travel through the electrical panel, and potentially damage equipment or cause nuisance alarms and data to be less accurate. Skewed readings are a problem that can be alleviated by a few simple solutions.

A common scenario seen by Mission Technical Support is wire faults caused by electrical spikes when pumps turn off. When a pump de-energizes, a voltage spike or electrical noise can be picked up by the inputs on the main printed circuit board (PCB). The digital inputs source voltage to dry contacts. The digital inputs will record a wiring fault if a voltage spike supplies more than the specified voltage. Since all of the inputs on the main PCB are scanned every six seconds, a wire fault can appear on one or more inputs. Look for correlating pump starts and stops on the Digital Data page if you are experiencing excessive wiring faults across your digital inputs with M800 RTUs. Contact Mission technical support if you are having wiring fault issues with an M110 RTU.

Pump 1 de-energized and caused input 8 to go into wire fault.

There are several ways to prevent wire fault problems.
  1. Follow wiring best practices. Low voltage cables should not run parallel to high voltage AC wires. Induced voltage will interfere with the signal and can cause erroneous readings. Where low voltage and high voltage wires must cross, do so at 90 degree angles. Use shielded, twisted pair wire on all inputs to reduce electromagnetic interference and crosstalk interference from other wires.
    MOVs divert excess voltage away from relay terminals.
  2. Install a properly sized transient suppressor across the AC coil terminal. A common device is a metal oxide varistor (MOV), or transient voltage suppressor (TVS). A MOV shunts voltage above its rating away from the RTU inputs. It will remain non-conductive during normal operation when the voltage across it remains below the clamping voltage. If a MOV is rated for 150 VAC, it will suppress voltage in a 120 V circuit. Any voltage above 150 V will be shunted. Degradation will occur on MOVs. The life of the device depends on the energy rating of the MOV and the number of transient pulses that it accommodates. Over time, MOVs will need to be replaced.
  3. Install a diode across DC coil relay terminals. Attach the cathode end to the positive terminal. DC-operated coils will always generate spikes.

Mission equipment should be included in your preventive maintenance schedule. Our Spring Cleaning document has several assessments we recommend to verify the proper operation of your equipment.

Microbes Resonate With Mozart
The music of Mozart has inspired people across the globe for over 200 years. Classical musicenthusiasts are particularly fond of "The Magic Flute", which is one of Mozart's most famous operas. The Treuenbrietzen Sewage Centre in Germany, 43 miles southwest of Berlin,broadcasts The Magic Flute throughout the facility to encourage microbe biosolid digestion. Biomass or biosolids arethe semisolid or untreated liquid residue that develops during the treatment of sewage. Plant operators at the treatment plant say the chords and cadences of the Mozart composition stimulate the organisms.
Painting of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozartby Barbara Krafft, circa 1819.

Treuenbrietzen plant operator Anton Stucki installed special loudspeakers that broadcast Mozart operas throughout the plant to recreate the acoustics of a concert hall. According to The Guardian, Stucki says The Magic Flute is the most effective at stimulating microbes to work harder. This results in less sludge that must be shipped to farmers who spread it on their fields. Treuenbrietzen reduced biosolids by 35,000 cubic foot after the technology was installed.

 "We think the secret is in the vibrations of the music, which penetrate everything, including the water, the sewage and the cells," explained Stucki. "It creates a certain resonance that stimulates the microbes and helps them to work better."

Wastewater treatment plants typically break down filtered sewage with bacteria-activated sludge systems or aerobic (oxygen aerated) digestion. Organisms consume the biosolids and convert it to C02. Some facilities use anaerobic digestion to break down biosolids, which produces methane gas. Sewage from both methods is disinfected and chemically treated to an acceptable pH and purified into Class A biosolids. An innovative way to speed these processes would offer a cost savings to treatment plants.

The Key Is in the Frequency
The fact that microbes respond better to The Magic Flute is thought to be due to the vibrational frequencies in the musical scaling. Scientists have discovered that organisms contain an internal vibrational frequency and are stimulated by similar frequencies in the environment. In 2014, Dr. Jennifer Ogilvie, associate professor of Physics and Biophysics at the University of Michigan studied the growth of spinach leaves. She determined that vibrations in nature impact photosynthesis and its efficiency in plants.

Scientists also discovered that sound waves increase cell growth and metabolic behavior in other organisms. A 2009 study conducted in China found audible sounds increased the colonization of Escherichia coli bacteria by lowering metabolic stress levels of the organism. Certain vibrational frequencies can even destroy an organism.

Researchers at Arizona State University (ASU) discovered that vibrational frequencies were effective at killing simple viruses. When ASU scientists bombarded the satellite tobacco necrosis virus with the correct "resonant frequency," the virus began to break down.

Some frequencies also have the potential to protect cell structures. NASA scientists determined that high frequency vibrations may offer a way to prevent bone loss and muscle atrophy in astronauts during prolonged periods of weightlessness. They found that tissue and bone did not degrade in laboratory animals after being exposed to plates that vibrated at 90 Hz in a weightless environment. This particular frequency stimulated tissue and bone, preventing atrophy. Scientists say this discovery holds potential for treatment of osteoporosis.

There Is Harmony in Innovation
New innovations like vibrational frequencies in wastewater treatment can save money.  Microbe stimulation saved the Treuenbrietzen treatment plant an estimated $13,600 the first year the technology was implemented. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) encourages wastewater treatment innovation by making funding and other resources available within its Water Technology Innovation Blueprint.

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