Using Pilot Tests to Optimize Drinking Water Treatment Processes

Holly Sun, WCWC Scientist

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 or contact us at 866-515-0550.

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