2020 South Carolina Environmental Conference (SCEC)

2020 SCEC

2020 SCEC

Sponsor, Exhibitor and Presenters at SCEC

Weston & Sampson is a proud sponsor and exhibitor at the South Carolina Environmental Conference (SCEC) taking place March 15-18 at the Sheraton Myrtle Beach Convention Center. See us in Booth #243. Representatives of Weston & Sampson also present on several topics throughout the conference.

DON GALLUCCI — "I/I Programs -- Are they Worthwhile?"
Sunday, March 15 — 10:10-10:40, Ballroom C

As wastewater collection systems age, they become more susceptible to groundwater infiltration as well as inflow from storm events.  Excessive Infiltration and Inflow (I/I) can put undue stress on treatment plants, pump stations and pipelines.  I/I taxes a system to its limits, and increases the potential for sanitary sewer overflows.  Obviously, its not desirable to allow I/I to enter a collection system.  Reducing I/I makes sense, but at what cost?  When is it feasible to reduce this extraneous flow?  How should one decide when to pursue I/I reduction?  What factors will result in an efficient and cost effective program?  How soon should a community see a meaningful payback of its invested dollars?

This presentation will review and summarize data collected over the past 3 decades related to evaluating collection systems and developing I/I reduction programs.  Data includes a compilation of costs to perform sewer evaluation, design and rehabilitation for a variety of communities.  An analysis of the effectiveness of I/I reduction for different types of sewerage systems, from small communities with populations under 10,000 to larger systems serving well over 100,000, will be provided.  Results of I/I reduction for these communities, plus a cost benefit analysis identifying potential payback, will be discussed.  Comparisons between communities will also be made based on their end discharge.  For example, treatment plant owners may see different costs than those with satellite systems.  Flow based charges can be scrutinized heavily, but how does one evaluate pumping and treatment costs when considering I/I reduction?

Moving forward, we will all have a clearer picture of when to pursue I/I reduction, what to expect for results and how to communicate the benefits to our customers.

RACHEL UETRECHT — "PFAS Treatment and Case Study"
Sunday, March 15 — 1:30-2:00, Ballroom C

Perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are emerging contaminants that have been identified in multiple drinking water systems throughout the United States. The United States Environmental Protection Agency has released guidelines for long term exposure of 70 parts per trillion (ppt). PFAS are known as “forever chemicals” and are difficult to treat. A case study focusing on a former air force base that found elevated levels of PFOA/PFOS in multiple drinking water supply wells will be discussed. A pilot study using granular activated carbon (GAC) and ion exchange resin (IX) was developed to monitor effectiveness of treatment. This presentation will give an introduction to PFAS characteristics, potential sources, treatment options, and the results from the case study.

MICHAEL SMITH — "An Innovative Approach to Brewery Wastewater Treatment"
Sunday, March 15 — 2:40-3:10, Ballroom B


Craft brewing has grown substantially in the U.S. over the past three decades.  Microbreweries have gone from being relatively unknown to taking up over 24% of a market worth over $114 billion per year.  Due to the nature of the craft brewing business, there are many small breweries springing up throughout the country, each looking for a place to discharge high-strength wastewater. Communities are concerned with microbreweries because wastewater is high in strength, impacting a community’s ability to connect new system users.

Project Goals

Alchemy Brewing, wishing to be a “good neighbor” and wanting to set a standard for environmental responsibility among their contemporaries, stated that they would provide a pre-treatment system that would bring their wastewater quality to typical average domestic wastewater strength, to minimize the impact on the community wastewater infrastructure.


In order to accomplish this aggressive goal in the most cost-effective manner possible, Alchemy Holding implemented several best management practices within their brewery which greatly reduced water consumption over typical commercial brewing operations.  A Pre-treatment system for the proposed brewery still had to be designed for a higher, more conservative, wastewater generation rate.

Alchemy Brewing then contracted with Weston & Sampson Engineers, Inc. to evaluate aerobic and anaerobic wastewater treatment technologies for their brewery. After reviewing several options, Weston & Sampson recommended a Moving Bed Biofilm Reactor (MBBR) followed by dissolved air floatation (DAF) for solids removal.

System Description and Performance

The MBBR treatment system is considered a fixed film treatment process, in that special plastic carriers are provided on which a biofilm can grow. Based on performance testing at the brewery, the MBBR/DAF system is currently meeting an average effluent Total BOD of <20 mg/L with flows ranging between 1,200 - 4,500 gpd.

Phosphorus in the brewery effluent is taken up by the biology in the MBBR reactor.  Downstream of the MBBR, post biological treatment, the wastewater solids are removed via a DAF component.  Metal salts are used to charge the sludge particles and enhance flocculation.

KYLE HAY — "Effective Strategies for Planning and Managing Risks of PFAS Contamination in Drinking Water Supplies"
Sunday, March 15 — 3:15-3:45, Ballroom C

With ever increasing laboratory testing sensitivity and more stringent regulatory standards, the extent and impact of PFAS contamination is being realized. Public water utilities should have a response plan in place should PFAS be detected in a water supply, particularly for their most vulnerable and critical sources. Water utilities across the state have recently completed vulnerability assessments to identify potential PFAS generators within their watersheds and zones of influence. This information coupled with an action plan can be useful if potential future samples should indicate elevated levels of PFAS. This presentation will give a brief refresher on the characteristics of PFAS, potential sources of PFAS exposure, and short term and long term approaches to manage PFAS impacted water supplies. Case studies for a planned, managed PFAS treatment system as well as emergency construction for PFAS treatment will be presented.

MEGHAN MOODY — "Mindful Mentoring: Optimizing Individual Potential Development"
Monday, March 16 — 8:30-9:00, Room 102/103

Do you manage people? Do you have an influential position with people? Are you responsible for teaching the next generation of talent? Then you need to understand how to develop people. Often managers and supervisors become distracted by the tasks, projects, and operations requiring immediate attention. The assumption becomes that their employees are gaining the skills necessary to advance in their own careers through assigned work. Unfortunately, a strictly on-the-job-training strategy for development removes the coaching, career planning, reinforcement, and focused attention necessary to ensure an employee reaches their full potential over the span of their career.

Development of staff must be thoughtful with a focus on skill building through targeted stretch assignments and timely mentoring that enhances growth. Further, as managers and leaders advance through the ranks of an organization their development style must advance as well. The developmental influence of our strongest leaders tends to lessen as they move into upper echelons of an organization. This loss of development focus from executive level staff creates a threshold in the development pipeline that is only crossed if an employee is fortunate enough to receive one-on-one coaching. A development culture pushed from the top down requires executive level leaders to cast a larger net through organizational coaching in addition to individual coaching of next-level talent.

Talent development is the lifeblood of a healthy organization’s succession plan. Every leader and manager should have the skills to develop people to achieve their greatest potential.

KIP GEARHART — "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap: Force Main Assessments without the Bells & Whistles"
Monday, March 16 — 1:40-2:10, Ballroom B

Force mains by their nature are difficult to access and therefore difficult to assess. Most force mains are not considered for replacement or repairs unless a set number of years have passed since installation, a line break is detected, or an upgrade is required. The value of a force main to the performance and operation of the pumping system demands a preventative maintenance mindset; but how do you know where to perform the maintenance?

Weston & Sampson has developed a force main assessment procedure that begins at the desktop and ends in the field conducting relatively cheap evaluations of the force main condition, material strength, and remaining useful life. While there are field assessment tools that provide analysis of the force main interior along its entire length, we have found these tools to be costly and to reveal much of the same information engineers and operators know intuitively based on experience and observed force main failures. In lieu of spending valuable resources on technology that assess the interior, Weston & Sampson has formulated an exterior approach using a matrix to help determine the likelihood of failure for a force main and prioritize repairs, replacement, or additional field assessment. This approach allows a utility to quickly determine, which force mains require the highest priority for assessment and maintenance and adequately allocate resources that meet their budget. Further, our assessment procedure ensures a utility will locate areas of the force main with the highest potential for failure without wasting time on areas that yield misleading results.

Weston & Sampson has been performing force main assessments in this manner for clients for many years and has been able to confidently locate areas in need of replacement and prevent capital improvement funds from being diverted to unnecessary projects. The procedure we follow and techniques we use are simple and inexpensive and can easily be performed in-house by utility owners. Our presentation will share our methods, experience, and how a utility owner may want to incorporate this procedure into their own asset management program.

STEVEN LAROSA — "Presence and Transformation of PFAS at Wastewater Treatment Facilities with Varying Source Inputs"
Monday, March 16 — 2:15-2:45, Ballroom A

Background/Objectives.   Several perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have recently been identified in drinking water supply wells at a number of locations in throughout the nation above United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines for long term exposure of 70 parts per trillion (ppt) in drinking water, including surface water intakes at large scale water treatment facilities. Due to their ubiquitous nature of PFAS, it can be difficult to identify sources contributing to surface water impacts.  PFAS are commonly found in influent wastewater streams at wastewater treatment plants. Differing manufacturing process discharges and landfill leachate disposal can result in dozens of PFAS being found in wastewater.  The wastewater treatment process often results in transformation of polyfluorinated “precursors” into terminal perfluorinated, terminal, compounds.  PFAS can also accumulate in the biosolids at the wastewater facility.  PFAS concentration in treated waters discharged to the receiving water are often higher than in the influent to the facility.  Biosolids disposal may result in transportation of PFAS to off site locations, causing contamination. Little information is available regarding “typical” wastewater treatment facility influent, effluent and biosolid PFAS concentrations.  These data are essential to determine primary sources of PFAS in wastewater, potential impacts to downgradient surface water supply treatment, biologic impacts in receiving waters and potential treatment methods to reduce PFAS in discharged waters.

The State of Vermont commissioned a study of wastewater treatment facilities to determine PFAS presence in the influent and effluent of wastewater treatment facilities. PFAS concentrations were measured from 24 wastewater treatment plants multiple times during the summer/fall of 2018.  The wastewater treatment facilities select have a wide range of input volumes, potential PFAS sources, and treatment methods.  Biosolids, leachate from several landfills and effluent from discrete industrial discharges were also analyzed.

Results/Lessons Learned. Data is continuing to be collected from this study.  All data will be collected and presented prior to the SCEC conference.  Preliminary data evaluation indicates that numerous PFAS are consistently present in all wastewater treatment facility influent and effluent samples. The type and concentration of PFAS present vary dependent upon potential source types and overall community makeup. The complete data set will be evaluated to determine trends in the type and concentration of PFAS sources, treatment plant operations and ultimate impacts to receiving waters.  Biosolid and landfill leachate specific data will also be presented and discussed.

GEORGE NASLAS — "Per- and Poly-Fluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS): A National Perspective"
Tuesday, March 17 — 10:25-10:55, Room 101

Per- and Poly-Fluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) have become an increasing concern across the nation following their detection at military sites and impacts to public water supplies. Over with the past few years there has been unprecedented interest from the public, regulators and agencies across the nation. In addition, the rate of understanding of this family of emerging contaminants regarding their toxicology, fate and transport and treatment has been remarkable. Many communities are struggling to understand if they have a health hazard in their water supply and state and federal regulators have grappled with how to regulate these compounds and how they can establish safe standards for the water supplies in their region. In addition, the wastewater industry has also been impacted as the awareness of PFAS grows and its fate and transport is understood.

In this presentation we will showcase the state of knowledge from across the country and highlight measures that other states have put in place to address the rapidly changing state of knowledge. We will review the toxicology and the science behind how standards are derived as well as discuss the different standards applied. The presentation will also discuss the implications for water supply and wastewater treatment as well as present an overview of treatment options and the planning tools that water supply and wastewater authorities are using to address this issue. This presentation is an overview and will highlight information from across the country, highlight lessons learned and see if the approach that other states are taking can help our understanding and management of our water and wastewater systems.

MALENA YABLINSKY — "A Six Step Approach to Successfully Planning and Constructing a New Utilities Support Facility"
Tuesday, March 17 — 2:40-3:10, Room 101

A Public Utility is responsible for maintaining the vital infrastructure of a community, as well as providing services which improve public safety. As communities grow over the years, so does the Utility’s work force and the amount of maintenance equipment. However, as the workforce expands along with the equipment, many of the support facilities used for storage, maintenance, and administrative operations do not. This contributes to inefficient, and in some instances, unsafe work conditions. In order to address these deficiencies, many local governments and public agencies are faced with the difficult task of budgeting funds and convincing the community that a new facility is required to meet the current and future needs.

This presentation is intended to walk the attendees through a six-step process which has been successfully used to plan more than 100 public works and utilities support facilities over the last 20 years. The presentation will start by identifying ways to “give the project a life”. It will then focus on how to demonstrate the need to the community and ultimately gain their support. Once the support is obtained, the presentation takes it to the next level of planning the proper amount of space and customizing the design to provide significant operational efficiencies. Finally, the presentation moves into construction experiences that bring life to a project which meets a community’s specific needs using real life examples.

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