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Water Processing

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Fluid handling technology is vital in the water industry, guaranteeing the safe and efficient collection, treatment, and distribution of water. This includes precise measurement, analytics, pumps, valves, and filtration systems that assist in purification, desalination, and distribution processes. Such technologies are essential for maintaining water quality standards and ensuring public health and safety.

Safe and clean water is vital for everyday life. Water is essential for health and hygiene.

Drinking water sources are subject to contamination and require appropriate treatment to remove disease-causing agents. Public drinking water systems use various water treatment methods to provide safe drinking water for their communities.

  • Pathogens – disease-causing organisms that include viruses, bacteria, amoebas, and the eggs and larvae of parasitic worms.
  • Harmful chemicals from human activities (industrial wastes, pesticides, fertilizers).
  • Chemicals and minerals from the natural environment include arsenic, common salt, and fluorides. Some non-harmful contaminants may influence the taste, smell, color, or temperature of the water.

a view of a modern water treatment plant

The water treatment processes may vary slightly at different water treatment plants, depending on the available technology and the water it needs to process. Still, the basic principles are broadly the same.

1. Coagulation / Flocculation

Coagulation and flocculation remove color, turbidity, algae, and other microorganisms from surface waters. Liquid aluminum sulfate (alum) and polymer are added to the untreated water during coagulation. When mixed with the water, this causes the tiny particles of dirt in the water to stick together or coagulate. Next, groups of dirt particles stick together to form larger, heavier particles called flocs which are easier to remove by settling or filtration.

2. Sedimentation

The flocculated water then flows to the following primary unit of the water purification process, called sedimentation. The sedimentation process aims to remove suspended solids (particles) that are denser (heavier) than water and reduce the particulate load on the filters.

As the water and the floc particles progress through the treatment process, they move into sedimentation basins where the water moves slowly, causing the heavy floc particles to settle to the bottom. Floc which collects on the bottom of the basin is called sludge and is piped to drying lagoons.

This sedimentation process removes almost ninety percent of the solids in the water. The more transparent water on the surface is collected in the launder tubes that direct the water to the filter gallery to remove the remaining ten percent of solids.

3. Water filtration process

Water flows through filters of varying compositions (sand, gravel, and charcoal) and pore sizes to remove dissolved particles, such as dust, parasites, bacteria, viruses, and chemicals in the water filtration process. Filtration collects the suspended impurities in water and enhances the effectiveness of disinfection.

4. Disinfection

After the water has been filtered, a disinfectant (for example, chlorine, chloramine) may be added to kill any remaining parasites, bacteria, and viruses and protect the water from germs when piped to homes businesses. Chlorine is used because it is a very effective disinfectant, and residual concentrations can be maintained to guard against possible biological contamination in the water distribution system.

5. Sludge Drying

Sludge drying is transforming sludge into valuable products or green fuel. It significantly reduces the volume and weight of the sludge so that it is easier to recover.

6. Fluoridation

Water fluoridation is the controlled addition of fluoride to a public water supply to reduce tooth decay. Fluoridated water contains fluoride at a level that is effective for preventing cavities.

7. Water Process Laboratory

The water treatment plant has a process laboratory to ensure that the water cleaning process is optimized and that the water is safe to drink.

Inside a water treatment plant

Desalination, also called desalting, removes dissolved salts from seawater and, in some cases, from the brackish (slightly salty) waters of inland seas, highly mineralized groundwaters (e.g., geothermal brines), and municipal wastewaters. This process renders such otherwise unusable waters fit for human consumption, irrigation, industrial applications, and other purposes. One by-product of desalination is salt.

Water recycling is converting wastewater into water that can be reused for other purposes. The water recycling process is straightforward and utilizes basic physical, biological, and chemical principles to remove contaminants from water. Reclaiming water for reuse applications instead of freshwater supplies can be a water-saving measure.

Water processing companies offer chemical and equipment solutions to companies to manage and optimize their water resources and process challenges across various industries. Water processing companies support organizations looking to address water consumption, improve efficiency, lower costs, improve social responsibility, and explore water reuse opportunities.

The water cycle process, also called the hydrologic cycle, involves the continuous water circulation in the Earth-atmosphere system. Of the many processes involved in the water cycle, the most important are evaporation, transpiration, condensation, precipitation, and runoff. Although the total amount of water within the cycle remains typically constant, its distribution among the various processes is continually changing.

Three factors have primarily driven the development and implementation of water treatment technologies:

  • The discovery of new rarer contaminants
  • The promulgation of new water quality standards
  • Cost

But now, we see a dramatic change in the water industry’s approach to water treatment. Water utilities have seriously considered alternative treatment technologies to the traditional filtration/chlorination treatment approach.

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Articles about Water Processing

Experts for Water Processing

Eric Heilveil is a 30-year plus veteran in the process instrumentation marketplace. He started out his career working for Emerson Electric and later moved on to work with his current employer Siemens Process Instrumentation Flow Division. Throughout his career in industrial flow measurement he has held positions as a field service manager, a field sales manager, application engineer, product line manager, sales and product trainer, among other roles. Eric has worked extensively in the semiconductor, biotech, water and wastewater, food and beverage, automotive, oil and gas, and chemical industries. His current position with Siemens is as a Product Marketing Manager for flow products. Eric holds a dual MBA in marketing and finance. Based in Harleysville, Pennsylvania, throughout his career Eric has been responsible for business development and marketing of the Coriolis, clamp-on ultrasonic, magnetic flow and vortex flow products. He has been expertly selling, managing, consulting, designing, training, marketing and writing about flow measurement and control products that serve industry for his entire career.
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Dietmar Saecker is temperature measurement expert at Endress+Hauser in Nesselwang, Germany. His experience covers technical sales support, consulting for difficult temperature measurement applications and international know-how transfers, especially in the Life Sciences industry. He also teaches at the Kempten University of Applied Sciences. Dietmar studied Chemical Engineering with a focus on measurement and control technology at the University of Dortmund. Experience from many customer visits has shown him that many problems arise from an incorrect choice of equipment. In lectures and training courses on temperature measurement technology, he demonstrates the complexity of the subject and regularly surprises numerous listeners with his thoughts and experiences. His recipe: “Recognizing trends and sharing knowledge. Because only when we share knowledge can we develop better solutions together.” Dietmar is looking forward to your questions and the exchange with you.
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Hello, my name is Lee Sandry and I am a Sector Training Manager at Watson-Marlow Fluid Technology Solutions. My role primarily involves training sales colleagues to provide customers the best fluid handling solutions in industrial sectors, including water treatment, mining, chemical and construction applications. Being from Cornwall and surrounded by the mining industry, with a father who worked underground, my local environment was always about engineering and mineral processing. My apprenticeship when I left school was with the large mining machinery manufacturer, which has led me onto greater things. My background at Watson-Marlow started in 1996 when I was involved in the production of hundreds of parts that go into the manufacture of our pumps. This was followed with becoming a Technical Support Engineer, working directly with colleagues and customers globally. Site visits and constant customer-facing support at Watson-Marlow Fluid Technology Solutions, gave me the opportunity to experience many aspects of installation and operation of our peristaltic and sinusoidal pumps range. My aim is to enable sales teams around the world to provide robust solutions for demanding pumping applications, helping customers improve the efficiency and safety of their manufacturing process. Choosing the right pump can overcome problems that cause other pump types to fail. With no rotors to wear, or seals and glands to flush, peristaltic hose pumps handle abrasive fluids without the maintenance costs of other pumps. Whilst the extremely low shear and high suction sinusoidal pumps reduce product damage and cut waste in high viscosity fluid transfer duties.
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Martin Hangaard Andersen, Technical Supervisor with Landia a/s has 20 years of experience with mixing technology, pumps and pumping systems. Martin holds a bachelor’s degree in Technology Management and Marine Engineering and he has worked extensively with projects involving waste water management, food industries and biogas production. The past 20 years Martin has worked as Technical Supervisor at Danish Pump and Mixing company Landia a/s, consulting customers and colleagues on a wide range of technical solutions. Whether it is handling and preparing food industry by-products for recycling or updating sludge processing for biogas production in sewage treatment plants – Martin is the expert, providing in-depth advice, sustainable solutions as well as highly specialized products for handling demanding liquids and industrial waste products. He takes great pride in providing reliable, high-quality and long-lasting technical solutions, tailormade to match individual customer needs. Throughout his years of experience Martin has gained vast knowledge and expertise in his field and product development has been a natural part of his job description, resulting in durable and effective solutions such as Landia GasMix. A unique method for treating and mixing sludge for optimal anaerobic digestion used in sewage treatment plants in Denmark and worldwide.
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Gerard joined Panametrics in 2008 as a Flow Product Specialist for the Europe, Middle East and Africa Regions and is now the Global Flow Commercial Development Leader. He started his career in 1990 in the process industry after receiving his MSc. Before joining Panametrics, Gerard had several technical and commercial roles with several industries. Subject Matter Expertise – Flow, field instrumentation and process industries
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Natalie Waldecker, Portfolio Manager Food and Pharma, knows the challenges of the demanding industries inside out. With her broad application knowledge, she is at home on topics such as hygiene design, certificates and cleanability. As product manager for pressure measurement technology, she is also responsible for one of the most important measuring principles for the industry. Natalie gathers her knowledge as close to the application as possible. Preferably directly at the customer’s site, experiencing “real world” practice. She has thus gotten thoroughly acquainted with international customer requirements and knows the ins and outs of the market. With this background, she is able to not only explain technical relationships in an understandable way, but also offer valuable tips and convincing solutions. In the 12 years she has been with VEGA, she has steadily improved her expertise which makes her the right person to contact for new product ideas and tailored customer solutions.
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Casey Williamson is Head of Business Development Microelectronics Global Industries for Georg Fischer. For the last 25 years, he has provided support for the semiconductor and photovoltaic sub-segments; through the years, he has been instru­mental in defining fab construction requirements as they apply to piping systems for the conveyance of high-purity liquids, process cooling, and chemical waste streams as well as analytical control systems to optimize the operations of UPW and waste systems.
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Dave is Vice President of Sales at Hawk Measurement (HAWK) and has more than 40 years of experience in the process instrumentation industry. Dave started working as an outside sales engineer in 1979 for his father’s company, AO Grumney. While there, he learned the importance of value added selling and superior customer support. He later became a manufacturer’s rep for various companies such as Siemens, Miltonic’s, AMETEK and many others. Several years later, Dave started his own company, Delta Instrumentation, a manufacturers’ rep agency which serves the process instrumentation and automation industries. In 1989 Dave started FLO-CORP, a US manufacturing company of flow, level and monitoring instrumentation. Through manufacturing his own line of process instrumentation, he found it allowed him to gain more control over origin of product, quality and lead times. In 2019, FLO-CORP merged companies with Hawk Measurement, the world leader in level, positioning, asset monitoring and flow measurement technology that provides cutting-edge equipment and complete solutions to the global industrial market. Throughout his wide range of experiences as sales engineer, sales rep, president, owner and CEO, the position he currently holds at Hawk Measurement as VP of Sales, allows him to do what he loves. Dave has always had a passion for meeting new people, building relationships and helping customers solve problems. His values align with HAWK’s as they are committed to providing best-in-class products, services and technologies that will have unsurpassed value to their customers.
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