I would also encourage you to save the date for one or more of our popular OCWA Water Talks. Moving to a webinar format this year, the series kicks off on May 27th with “Resource Recovery in Wastewater.” This session will feature a panel of industry professionals moderated by Indra Maharjan from our Innovation, Technology and Alternative Delivery group. See below for more details.

I hope that you enjoy this issue of Waterline. I am pleased to have this opportunity to connect with you and look forward to continuing to provide you with OCWA updates throughout this year. Until the next issue, please feel free to reach out to me personally with any questions or comments you may have on the Agency and our services.

Stay safe and be well. 
~ Nevin McKeown, President & CEO
Protecting Lake Erie from harmful nutrients 
OCWA piloting technology to reduce phosphorus in wastewater effluent
Elevated levels of phosphorus have long been an issue in many of the Great Lakes, particularly Lake Erie.
Phosphorus is an essential plant nutrient. However, when levels are too high, they can contribute to the formation of harmful blue green algae blooms that can lead to large-scale environmental problems.
OCWA is committed to protecting the health of the Great Lakes, from which many communities in this province source their drinking water. We support the key actions in the Canada-Ontario Lake Erie Action Plan to reduce phosphorus loadings to the western and central basins of Lake Erie by 40 per cent by 2025, by promoting adoption of innovative technology to reduce and recover phosphorous in municipal wastewater treatment and collection systems.
OCWA brought in partners, funding
Our focus is on helping municipal clients find solutions to reduce the amount of phosphorus and other damaging nutrients from entering local water sources through wastewater effluent. While plant upgrades are sometimes necessary, our goal is to optimize existing wastewater facilities through process and technical changes whenever possible.
OCWA is working with clients like the Town of Kingsville, in southwestern Ontario, where we are piloting an innovative phosphorus reduction technology (RE300) at the local wastewater treatment facility. OCWA brought in Bishop Water as a project partner and helped the Town apply to the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation & Parks for funding through the Great Lakes funding program. The Ministry also provided technical advice.
Conventional chemicals costly
The Lakeshore West Water Pollution Control Plant (WPCP) in Kingsville discharges to the western basin of Lake Erie and consistently meets the facility’s total phosphorus effluent limit. However, the number of greenhouses in the area is growing and will generate more phosphorus for the WPCP to remove from wastewater.
There are several downsides to using higher amounts of conventional iron- or aluminum-based chemicals to remove phosphorus. It is costly, it could negatively affect the treatment process, and it results in excessive amounts of chemical sludge. Additional sludge production also means higher haulage costs and could require expansion or an upgrade of the plant’s solid and/or liquid treatment processes.
No plant upgrades required
Wanting to avoid the issues associated with heavier usage of conventional chemicals, OCWA and the Town worked together to explore other phosphorous removal options.
It was determined that a rare earth-based chemical composed of lanthanum and cerium called RE300 was the best solution for the Town. In use at more than 50 treatment plans in the United States, RE300 does not cause effluent toxicity and can be used with existing chemical dosing equipment – so there is no need to expand or upgrade infrastructure.
“We’re very pleased with OCWA’s work to bring forward this innovative phosphorus reduction technology for us to pilot,” says Andrew Plancke, Kingsville’s Director of Infrastructure & Engineering. “Phosphorus loading has been a focus for the Town because of the rising number of new greenhouses in the area. OCWA was very proactive, working with the MECP and the technology provider to develop and secure 100% funding to conduct a demonstration project. If the project is a success, RE300 would replace conventional ferric chloride and offset the need for expensive capital upgrades for the Town.”
Multiple benefits
There are other benefits. Unlike iron- and aluminum-based phosphorus removal chemicals, RE300 requires a lower dose. It does not produce as much chemical sludge, it improves sludge dewatering and it does not consume alkalinity or lower pH like other coagulants.
The RE300 pilot project began in early March and will run for a period of 12 months, with technical support from both OCWA and Bishop Water.
If the pilot is successful, RE300 could be a cost-effective option for Ontario municipalities to use in reducing phosphorus loadings and meeting effluent limit targets.
Is your municipality experiencing issues related to phosphorus loading? Contact your local OCWA representative to discuss a solution that is right for your needs.
Partnering with Emo on water system upgrades
Project will reduce elevated levels of disinfection by-products
Historically, the treated water at the Emo Water Treatment Plant (WTP) has had elevated levels of THMs (trihalomethanes). Experience shows that plants with THM challenges may also have high levels of HAAs (haloacetic acids). Known as disinfection by-products (DBPs), these are chemicals that can be formed when chlorine is used for disinfecting drinking water.

In 2018, the Township of Emo contracted operations and maintenance of their water and wastewater systems to OCWA. Soon after, the Agency’s Process Optimization and Technical Services Group conducted a comprehensive evaluation of various technologies that could be employed to reduce THMs and HAAs levels in the water distribution system.  

Ensuring water remains safe 

The Ontario Drinking Water Quality Standards specifies the maximum acceptable concentration for THMs and HAAs. 

“They [THMs and HAAs] were creeping up to the point where some of the testing was over that limit,” OCWA northwest regional manager Jeff St. Pierre explained during an online project funding announcement. “This is what prompted us to look at different upgrades that we could apply. At the end of the day, it’s about ensuring that the water remains safe and potable for consumers.”

To support the evaluation, local OCWA operations staff completed a DBP Sampling Program to fully understand the factors causing and affecting the formation of THMs and HAAs at the treatment plant. 
The sampling program found that high total organic carbon (TOC) in the source water (Rainy River), the dosing of chlorine for disinfection and long water retention time in some zones of the distribution system were the main factors. Using this information, OCWA’s Process Optimization and Technical Services Group explored different solutions and worked with the Township to choose an approach that best suited its needs. 

OCWA assisted with funding application

OCWA and the Township worked together to apply for government funding for the necessary upgrades to reduce the levels of THMs and HAAs in the water distribution system. In February 2021, it was announced that the project was a successful recipient of joint federal-provincial funding through the Green Infrastructure Stream of the Investing in Canada Plan. Under this arrangement, the Township will also contribute to the project.

The project includes upgrading Emo’s WTP by flushing existing raw water intake piping to remove excess sand buildup, installing an intake screen to prevent future blockages, and upgrading the chemical feed systems with automatic conversion to back up pumps in the event of failure. It also introduces an anion exchange treatment solution (similar to the one pictured above, in use at the Rainy River WTP), which removes organic matter from the water and reduces THMs and HAAs formation. 

Work on the project is expected to begin in June 2021 and be completed by December 2022.

OCWA is committed to ensuring safe, potable drinking water for its clients. We can work with your community to find tailored solutions for your drinking water system needs and help with funding applications. Please reach out to your local OCWA representative.
OCWA Board Announcements
OCWA is pleased to make the following Board announcements:
Amy Syed is an entrepreneur, investor and volunteer who has dedicated over 22 years of her career to working with the community and driving change by leveraging technology in the healthcare sector and cybersecurity.
Amy is a Speaker, Author, Registered Kinesiologist, Rehab Professional and Cybersecurity professional. Amy is the Founder and CEO of FindYourHCP, a tech company that helps support health care providers and employers with a platform that enables workforce solutions. She is also Principal Consultant of her consulting agency with a focus on IT governance, risk and compliance with consulting experience with the top 5 accounting consulting firms globally. With experience as a Realtor, Amy is a real estate investor, with experience in purchasing rural and commercial properties.
Amy has spent years in the private sector where she developed a career in project management, specializing in change management and IT system implementation projects, with a focus on cybersecurity and risk management. Amy first began her career in the public sector where she was trained at the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health in Toronto and worked with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board in vocational rehabilitation. 

As a volunteer, Amy has been on several Boards of Directors, including Chair at the Period Purse, Board Member for Durham Catholic Family Services and the Canadian Cancer Society. Amy has been nominated as Entrepreneur of the Year by RBC, Women of Influence and has been recognized for her contributions by BMO Women, Ella at York and Scotiabank Women Initiative.
Laila Hulbert graduated from the University of Toronto with a degree in Engineering Science, with Honours, in 2013, and has worked in the semiconductor industry ever since. Laila is currently a Staff Engineer and Technical Lead for a hardware design verification team at a large industry-leading multi-national corporation. She has worked primarily on cutting-edge hardware to support Artificial Intelligence and image processing applications on mobile platforms.

Laila is passionate about increasing diversity in engineering, and has led numerous initiatives to promote women in engineering.
Join us for Water Talks 2021
Free webinar series kicks off with panel discussion on resource recovery
Our popular OCWA Water Talks series is back for 2021!

We kick things off on Thursday, May 27th with Resource Recovery in Wastewater: Creating a sustainable model for utilization of biogas and biosolids. Don’t miss this expert panel discussion moderated by Indra Maharjan, OCWA’s Director of Innovation, Technology and Alternative Delivery.

You will hear about how to transform existing WWTPs into Net Zero Resource Recovery Facilities by leveraging existing infrastructure, innovative technologies, funding and partnerships across the sector. You will also learn about the beneficial use of biogas and biosolids, and discover successful co-digestion projects taking place across Ontario.

We are excited to be joined by the following expert panelists:
  • Ed Dujlovic, Director (retired), City of Stratford
  • Carl Goodwin, Divisional Manager, Environment Services, City of Cornwall
  • Geoff Boyd, Vice President, Resource Recovery, Walker Industries
  • Gordon Lau, Senior RNG Specialist, Enbridge Gas Distribution

Register today!

Also, be sure to save the date for the entire 2021 Water Talks webinar series:
  • Planning for Long-Term Sustainability: The Importance of Capital Plans – June 24
  • Pipes and their Parts – Your Underground Assets – September 23
  • Innovative Technologies – Blue-Green Algae: Appearance & Impact – November 25

More details to come on speakers and how to register. Contact your local OCWA representative or email ocwa@ocwa.com to get on our Water Talks mailing list.
Do your residents know what not to flush?
Since the beginning of the pandemic, municipalities around the world have reported an increase in wastewater system maintenance issues related to residents flushing things they shouldn't. The main culprit is often wipes, with personal protective items like gloves and masks also making their way into systems.

Help educate your followers on social media about how to trash their bad habits not their drains. Share content from OCWA's I Don't Flush Twitter and Facebook accounts, including graphics, current news and even videos. (We also post about how important it is to properly dispose of fats, oils and grease!)

Thanks for spreading the I Don't Flush message.
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