WCWC’s pilot tests continue to help clients optimize their drinking water treatment processes. Holly Sun, who recently joined the WCWC team as a Scientist, tells us more about pilot testing with WCWC.
1. Why conduct a pilot test?
A pilot test is a small-scale practical study to evaluate the feasibility or performance of water treatment strategies and their effects on drinking water quality. These projects can help you address concerns related to health-based, operational, or aesthetic drinking water quality parameters.
2. Where are pilot tests conducted?
Pilot tests can be completed at a client’s site or at the WCWC Technology Demonstration Facility, which features conventional and advanced drinking water treatment and control technologies, such as dissolved air flotation, ultrafiltration, nanofiltration, reverse osmosis, fixed bed and magnetic ion exchange, slow sand filtration, ozonation, ultraviolet light and advanced oxidation processes.
3. How much experience do you have?
WCWC has years of pilot testing experience in areas such as optimizing coagulant doses, reducing disinfection by-products, iron and manganese, natural organic matter, arsenic, taste and odour, aluminum, and organics.
4. What pilot tests are you currently working on?
One project that I am currently working on is to reduce arsenic from a groundwater source. Arsenic is a type of inorganic found in water. It is a proven carcinogenic that can cause skin, lung, and bladder cancer. Arsenic in water mostly comes from natural deposits in the earth. Therefore, arsenic is sometimes found at higher levels in groundwater in hard rock areas through the natural dissolution of arsenic containing minerals. For arsenic contamination, the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks has set the maximum allowable concentration (MAC) at 10 µg/L for arsenic on January 1, 2018, reduced from the previous MAC of 25 µg/L. Our client uses groundwater as source water for their drinking water system. Arsenic levels in their raw water have historically been 5-12 µg/L. The high arsenic level is a big concern; therefore, our client contacted WCWC for potential pilot testing to reduce arsenic in their raw water. A series of jar testing and pilot testing will be conducted on-site using two to three selected technologies/processes to reduce the arsenic.
5. How do I start a pilot test for my drinking water system?
To learn more about pilot testing with WCWC, or to request pilot testing for your drinking water system, please visit wcwc.ca/services/pilot-testing/ or contact us at 866-515-0550.Read More
To help slow the spread of COVID-19, WCWC launched e-learning in 2020. Although uptake has been tremendous, nothing beats the information exchange possible through in-person training. Carol Siegfried, Training Coordinator, explains the ins and outs of on-site training and how to book your own private session.
What is an on-site course?
This is a private session, held at your location. If you are interested in including participants from outside of your organization, you would be responsible for billing, etc. for those participants.
Can all WCWC courses be provided on-site?
The majority of our courses can be provided as on-site training. Our courses that have a hands-on component will have special requirements. As an example the host may have to supply lengths of pipe or have a larger room to accommodate the training and equipment that is shipped, area needs to be in a bay, or other requirements.
How many people can participate?
The minimum number of participants is 10 for billing, the class maximum is based on the course itself.
What do I have to provide?
As the host of onsite training, we would ask that you provide a suitable room, an overhead projector and screen, a flipchart and markers, and lunch for your participants and the trainer if this is something you customarily provide.
Who do I contact to book an on-site course?
You can contact me or you can email your request to email@example.com and I’ll then forward you the required forms and requirements.
Are you curious about the Operation of Conventional Treatment Processes course for postsecondary students? Elliot Jones, Acting Scientist, answers your most common questions:
1.What can I expect from the course?
The course is an excellent opportunity to gain a glimpse at the roles and responsibilities associated with operating a drinking water system in Ontario. It gives attendees a chance to operate, monitor and troubleshoot our pilot-size conventional treatment plant. It also provides hands-on experience in the laboratory monitoring basic water quality parameters, and the chance to work with various on-line, bench-top, and handheld analyzers found throughout the water industry.
2.What will I learn about?
Through this hands-on course, participants gain a better understanding of operating and optimizing the conventional water treatment process. The course also provides an excellent opportunity to become familiar with jar testing at the bench-scale, collecting water quality data, and scaling the learned results to the pilot-scale treatment plant, including the necessary skills required for setting up chemical feed systems.
3.What do I have to bring?
Because this is a hands-on course, operating in both the lab and the Technology Demonstration Facility, closed toed shoes (preferably steel toe) and pants (no shorts) are required. Bring a great attitude and willingness to learn alongside industry professionals while using specialized treatment equipment to ensure you have an excellent time!
4.Is lunch provided?
Lunch is provided, and the desserts and coffee add to the great three-day experience!
Since 2007, WCWC has offered hands-on training to support students who are enrolled in Ontario colleges that include the Entry-Level Course for Drinking Water Operators as part of their curriculum. For more information on WCWC training, please visit wcwc.ca, or contact us at 866-515-0550 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
WCWC supports water systems owners, operators and operating authorities as they manage their water systems to safeguard water resources. Paula VanVeen, Curriculum Development Coordinator, tells us about WCWC’s Training and Development initiatives and what’s new for 2021.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted initiatives in Training and Development?
Historically our focus has been on the development of classroom training with the incorporation of hands-on activities to enhance the learning experience. Ontario’s public health initiatives in response to COVID-19 have encouraged us to move to more online and virtual courses. While providing quality training in the classroom will always be a priority, we will continue to enhance our online and virtual development initiatives post-pandemic. These initiatives support our mandate of delivering drinking water operator training throughout the province; small systems, First Nations, remote communities and municipalities benefit from the flexibility offered by these alternative learning platforms.
How have Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) priorities driven curriculum development?
Ontario’s operators are required to take a mandatory course every 36 months as part of their certificate renewal requirements. MECP tasks WCWC with the development and delivery of the renewal course. In January 2021 a new course was rolled out, aptly named Mandatory Certificate Renewal Course 2021-2023 (MCR2123). This new renewal course has been largely developed by WCWC in consultation with the MECP and an advisory group of drinking water stakeholders provincewide. MCR2123 will be available in classrooms throughout Ontario, virtually, and by correspondence in the Spring of 2021.
The MECP has also directed WCWC to develop an Ethics course in support of its new Code of Ethics. While the vast majority of Ontario’s operators conduct themselves with honesty and integrity, the MECP has noticed an increase in noncompliance related to unethical behaviour. Ethics for Drinking Water Operators is a three-hour online course available early in 2021. The MECP’s Code of Ethics will become part of the operator certification and renewal application process.
What’s new for 2021?
Response has been very positive for our virtual course deliveries, and there continues to be interest in eLearning from our client base. We will be adding to our list of virtual offerings using theory content from existing courses supplemented by videos and interactive online group activity.
WCWC launched a new remote monitoring system. Geordie Gauld, Technician, tells us more about how the new system will assist with pilot testing projects to support water system owners, operators and operating authorities.
What exactly is the new remote monitoring system? How does it work?
Essentially, this is a small-scale Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system with cellular connectivity. It operates on many of the same principles as the monitoring and control system at a full-scale water treatment facility. A simple programmable logic controller (PLC) will take in process signals from the pilot plant, including parameters like water pressure, flow, turbidity, pH, etc. Using these inputs, we can observe system statuses, compile datasets, and generate historical trends from right here at WCWC.
How will this benefit pilot testing projects?
It can be challenging to gather complete data from our pilot testing communities. Many are in remote regions and we cannot stay onsite for weeks to manually gather data. Operators are also very busy running their own facilities and don’t have the time to manually sample and collect the data we need and get it into our hands. This system will allow us to collect complete datasets with little to no input from operators. Complete data will lead to a more effective pilot testing process and allow WCWC and the facility owner to make more informed decisions regarding the direction of the pilot testing project, no matter where the owner’s plant is located.
Being able to view the status of the system in real-time will also allow us to confirm things are running as they should be. An undetected failure in the pilot plant can render large sets of data incomplete or inaccurate and delay the overall progress of the pilot testing project.
How is one monitoring system going to be effective for multiple pilot testing projects that may have many different requirements?
By reviewing the configurations of previous pilot testing projects, we were able to compile a list of modular hardware requirements we felt would be most useful. This allowed us to wire and pre-program the unit for common configurations with the ability to use or omit certain features as desired. This approach will allow us a great deal of flexibility working with different treatment strategies and arrangements. In our hardware selection we also allowed for several “spare” inputs which will allow us to expand our capabilities in the future.
For more information about WCWC’s pilot testing services, please visit www.wcwc.ca/services/pilot-testing/ or contact us at 866-515-0550.Read More
The WCWC Training Operations department supports our clients by coordinating mandatory and specialized training for water system owners, operators and operating authorities across Ontario. Kelly Weber, Training Support Representative, answers some common questions about WCWC training.
With all the COVID-19 restrictions, are you offering in-class training?
Yes we are continuing to offer in-class training and WCWC has incorporated a COVID-19 Training Session Protocol to enhance safety for our participants and staff. This protocol includes a pre-screening for our venues, participants and staff, social distancing and disinfection measures, and follows all guidelines for “Training in COVID-19” of the Ministry of Labour.
I am not comfortable attending a class right now, what are my options?
WCWC has been offering several of our popular courses virtually, and more are under development! These are live virtual training sessions with interaction between the instructor and participants and there is a class maximum of 15. View our upcoming schedule by visiting wcwc.ca/registration.
How do I register for upcoming courses?
You can register right on our website! Visit wcwc.ca/registration and click on the course, then “register now”.
Can I have a copy of my training certificate?
For certificates for courses delivered by WCWC, you can log in to “my profile” anytime and view your course history and reprint a copy of your certificate. Or please email email@example.com or call WCWC directly at 1-866-515-0550.Read More
WCWC has resumed in-person classroom training with a new COVID-19 Training Session Protocol to enhance safety for participants and instructors. Stephanie Meades, Small Systems Specialist, talks more about the new self-screening, physical distancing and disinfection measures.
What does self-screening involve?
Participants will be required to complete a self-screening questionnaire prior to the training session. Self-screening will include questions regarding COVID-19 signs and symptoms, travel history and contact with individuals with respiratory illness or a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19. If a participant does not pass the self-screening, they cannot attend the training session.
What can I expect at the training session?
Each training session will begin with a presentation regarding health and safety related to COVID-19. The instructor will attempt to maintain physical distancing at all times, but if it cannot be met for hands-on activities, Personal protective equipment (PPE) will be required.
Is PPE provided?
WCWC will provide masks, protective eyewear and hand sanitizer for participants. If a participant refuses to wear PPE when required, they will be asked to leave the training session.
Will there be any extra disinfection measures in place?
Facilities will be cleaned and sanitized before and after the training session. Signs will be posted to ensure policies and procedures related to COVID-19 are communicated to all participants.
How many participants will be in each training session?
The number of participants will be restricted according to the size of the room to respect physical distancing requirements. If unregistered participants arrive, they will not be allowed to enter the training session.
A variety of training sessions across Ontario are now open for registration. For further information, or to register for any of WCWC’s upcoming training sessions, please visit wcwc.ca/registration or contact us at 866-515-0550 or firstname.lastname@example.org.Read More
WCWC operates a state-of-the-art Technology Demonstration Facility in Walkerton, Ontario. Geoff Graham, Technician, explains how the Technology Demonstration Facility is used to provide education, information and advice in support of our clients.
1. What is the Technology Demonstration Facility?
The Technology Demonstration Facility is a unique platform for hands-on training and pilot testing projects for the water industry. The idea is to showcase as well as test the wide variety of equipment and processes used throughout Ontario. WCWC provides tours of the Technology Demonstration Facility to share information about the equipment and operational requirements necessary to ensure drinking water is safe.
2. What equipment is there?
The Technology Demonstration Facility features the latest conventional and advanced water treatment and control technologies, laboratory, and model distribution systems. Some of the pilot treatment units available include: dissolved air flotation; ultrafiltration; nanofiltration; reverse osmosis; fixed bed and magnetic ion exchange; slow sand filtration; ozone; ultraviolet light; and advanced oxidation processes. There is also a variety of fire hydrants and other water distribution equipment to allow demonstrations and training of operators in a controlled and safe environment.
3. How is the Technology Demonstration Facility used for pilot testing projects?
A WCWC pilot testing project is a small-scale practical study to evaluate feasibility, duration, or performance of a water treatment strategy and its effect on water quality. This can include bench or pilot-scale projects that may address multiple water quality parameters. These projects can be completed on-site or at the Technology Demonstration Facility. We have the capability to store a large volume of water on site which can then be fed through one or more water treatment processes to evaluate the treatment effectiveness.
For more information about the Technology Demonstration Facility, or to schedule a tour, contact us at 866-515-0550 or email@example.com.Read More
WCWC recently launched virtual delivery of four popular courses. Venkat Ramani, Senior Operational Instructor, talks about what you can expect at the upcoming virtual course, Prevention and Control of Nitrification:
- What is the course about?
Participants who register for this course will learn the basics of nitrification, the impact of nitrification on distribution systems and storage facilities, different treatment and operational strategies to control/prevent nitrification, key monitoring parameters that provides an insight if there is any onset of nitrification and how to prepare an Action plan to prevent nitrification.
This course is designed for operators, supervisors, managers of water utilities and consultants.
- When is it being offered?
July 7 & 8, 2020 from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
- Will I earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs)?
Our virtual courses provide the same CEUs as their classroom versions. Prevention and Control of Nitrification has a CEU value of 0.7.
- How do I access the course?
To register for the course, visit wcwc.ca/registration and a link for the session will be emailed to you. A course manual will be couriered to each participant a week prior to the course.
- What is the cost?
Virtual courses are being offered at reduced rates. The cost to register for the virtual delivery of Prevention and Control of Nitrification is $245 + HST.
Over the past decade, cyanobacteria blooms have emerged as an important issue in the water and wastewater industry. Tory Colling, Scientist, explains what water professionals ought to know about cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins in water:
1. What are cyanotoxins?
Cyanotoxins are produced by some species of cyanobacteria or as commonly known as blue-green algae. These toxins are typically stored inside the cells, but when cyanobacteria cells degrade, the toxins are released.
Cyanobacteria are microscopic bacteria that have some plant-like characteristics. They are commonly called “algae blooms” in the media.
2. Where are they found?
Cyanobacteria naturally occur in freshwater. In fact, they contribute oxygen in our atmosphere. When conditions are favourable, such as warm temperatures and nutrient-rich, shallow and stagnant waters, cyanobacteria can form blooms. Cyanobacteria blooms are made up of densely-populated cells that form discoloured water, which is often described as pea soup or spilt paint with an oily appearance.
Certain cyanobacteria can produce by-products, known as cyanotoxins. When these cyanobacteria cells form a bloom, large amounts of cyanotoxins can be detected.
3. What are the health concerns?
Health concerns can range from liver toxins, neurotoxins, tumor-promoting effects or skin irritation. There are different types of cyanotoxins and each type has different health concerns. The most common cyanotoxin is called microcystin. Microcystin is a liver toxin and can cause tumor-promoting effects.
4. What are some strategies to control cyanotoxins?
Reducing nutrient inputs to source water or effective reservoir/watershed management are long-term strategies to control cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins.
5. How can cyanotoxins be removed from drinking water?
For larger municipal systems, combining effectively operated drinking water treatment processes can provide a multiple barrier to remove intact cells or released cyanotoxins. Some drinking water treatment processes, such as coagulation, flocculation and sedimentation or flotation, are capable of removing intact cyanobacteria cells. While other drinking water treatment processes, such as chlorination or ozonation, are capable of degrading released cyanotoxins, provided there is enough disinfectant concentration and contact time with the disinfectant.
Some very small or private drinking water systems may only rely on point-of-entry (POE) drinking water treatment units. If these private drinking water systems suspect a bloom in the water supply, it is recommended to contact the local health unit and use an alternative water source. Very limited POE treatment units are certified to specifically remove cyanotoxins. However, in 2019, the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF)/American National Standards Institute (ANSI) updated NSF/ANSI Standard 53 to include a protocol to test activated carbons filters to reduce microcystins.Read More