Removing Iron and Revamping Water Systems in New Jersey

 

 

 

If you live in or near Berkeley and Bayville, New Jersey, this one’s for you: Aqua New Jersey recently completed capital improvement projects on three all-new water treatment facilities to add iron removal processes that ensure safe and reliable water for the community.

To learn more about the nitty-gritty details of these infrastructure upgrades—and why they’re so important—we spoke with Aqua New Jersey Project Manager Michael Convery

What exactly did the project involve?

In a nutshell, the central purpose of the project was the addition of iron removal treatment processes at our existing Lifetime Well 4 and Pinewald Wells 3 & 5 sites. It also involved the creation of a brand-new well at the Sherman Well 6 site, also with—you guessed it—iron removal treatment. 

 

The projects at all three sites involved the construction of new treatment buildings and the replacement of all existing well pumps, variable frequency drives (VFDs), chemical pumps, and other treatment-related equipment. Plus, all three sites introduced backwash tanks, allowing the ability to recycle 85% of backwash water, and upgraded existing Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems. 

Were all the project sites the same? 

Not quite—each site required its own unique dose of TLC. It was out with the old and in with the new at the Lifetime site, where crews retrofitted the old well treatment building with new equipment and constructed an additional treatment building for the iron removal filters with concrete masonry units (CMUs) and brick materials. 

Over at the Sherman site, crews drilled a new well and built a treatment building complete with all-new pumping and treatment equipment. This structure was constructed with CMUs and vinyl siding materials to blend in with the surrounding environment.

Finally, crews at the Pinewald site constructed a new iron removal treatment building made with CMUs and brick material for wells 3 & 5 following the demolition of the old treatment building. As an added bonus, all three sites now have GreensandPlus pressure filters for iron removal. (Trust us—in water provider language, that’s a huge plus!) 

What’s the big deal about removing iron from water?

At these plants, it’s essential to ensure the filters operate properly and backwash on the right parameters to achieve proper iron removal (and thus to achieve proper water quality). Luckily, there are controls in place at each location to make sure everything operates smoothly. 

According to Convery, the iron removal process involves using pressure filtration with manganese dioxide coated sand, which is known as GreensandPlus. “The system includes filter face piping with automatic valves and controls,” he adds. “The process involves air scouring capabilities to allow for efficient cleaning of filter media during backwashing.”

What happens next? 

Now that the intensive project is complete and Aqua New Jersey customers are benefiting from the upgraded facilities, Convery can look back fondly on the whole process. 

“The local operations group—especially Ron Suto, Mike Ricciardella, and Forrest Wolf—worked hard to keepthe system fully functional throughout the entire project,” he says. “It was a true team effort. Without all ofthe hard work of the New Jersey team and local operations, this project would not have been possible.”

Teams like these New Jersey employees are perfect examples of our commitment to the pursuit of excellence here at Aqua. Stay on the lookout for our next Aquastructure blog, where we’ll chronicle another chapter in our ongoing infrastructure improvement story!

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What really happens when you wash your hands?

It’s posted on bathroom walls, it’s the golden rule of basic hygiene, and it’s the command children are met with every time they exit the restroom: “Wash your hands!” 

While the frequency with which you hear this request decreases as you get older, the sentiment remains the same. Hand-washing is a key part of both personal and public health—but are you doing it right? At Aqua, we recognize the role water plays in keeping our customers healthy and happy. Here’s some insight about how to make the most of your hand-washing habits—and what goes on behind the suds. 

When to wash

As a general rule of thumb, you should always wash your hands after using the restroom. It’s equally important to lather up the hand soap after blowing your nose or coughing into your hands, touching animals, playing outside, or visiting a sick friend or loved one.

Washing your hands prevents the germs that accumulate in these settings from spreading to others. While the more obvious source of germs comes from feces-related processes like using the toilet or changing a diaper, germs like Salmonella, E. coli O157, and norovirus can also spread from handling raw meats with invisible amounts of animal waste on them. Yuck, right?

What does hand-washing really do?

Think about how often you’ve touched your face today. Now think about how many publically shared surfaces you’ve also touched today. Washing your hands with soap works by removing germs that cause infections, including infections of the skin and eyes.

Because germs are nearly invisible, it can be hard to see the tangible impact of washing your hands. However, proper hand-washing not only reduces the number of people who catch respiratory illnesses (think: common colds), but it also reduces the number of people who get sick with diarrhea and gastrointestinal illnesses. If that’s not enough to convince you to wash your hands, unwashed hands can spread bacteria to your face that ultimately results in an accumulation of acne. If not for your gut, do it for your skin!

The steps for soapy success

In order to reduce the risk of illness, stomach problems, and pesky pimples galore, follow these steps to become an expert hand-washer:

  1. Use warm water to wet your hands. 
  2. Lather with soap—the FDA says both antibacterial and regular soap are fine—for 20 to 30 seconds.
  3. Work the soap into both sides of your hands, your wrists, and between your fingers.
  4. Rinse with water, then dry your hands thoroughly with a clean towel. 

Whether you’re teaching the little ones or incorporating these practices into your own routine, taking an extra minute to wash your hands properly makes for a happier, healthier home, work, or school environment. Hand-washing might not be the most glamorous topic, but believe us—the consequences of not washing your hands are much worse. 

 

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4 Ways to Use Water for Wacky Outdoor Fun

Photo used via Creative Commons from Flickr user Blue Temora

It’s finally starting to feel like summer, and we all know what that means: It’s time for long days and nights spent outside, pool parties, running through sprinklers and everything else that’s fun in the sun.

With summer comes lots of water, and naturally, we want you to use your water, not abuse it. Why not cool off, entertain the kids and water the lawn at the same time? We’ve got four ideas for summer fun that’ll allow you to do just that.

Finding kid-friendly summer activities isn’t too hard, but it can be a little rough on the wallet. These activities use common household items that you probably already have, and if you don’t, you can find them for low costs at any dollar store.

Get ready for some fun!

Sponge Races

What you need:

·       Four medium-sized buckets (six if you want to play three games at a time)

·       Two large car-washing sponges

·       A permanent marker

How it works:

·       Take the permanent marker and draw a line horizontally around the middle of the bucket. Make sure it’s in the same place for each bucket – you don’t want to start any fights!

·       Fill two of the buckets up to the line and place them outside in the grass.

·       Set up the other two buckets about five feet apart for younger children, or eight to 10 feet apart for older kids.

·       Let the races begin! The first person or team to transfer all the water from one bucket to the other using the sponge is the winner.

Pro tip:

·       Add a dash of dish soap to the water to make the races soapy and extra fun.

Mega Bubbles

What you need:

·       6 cups of water

·       1 cup of corn syrup

·       2 cups of dish soap

·       A mixing bowl and spoon

·       2 metal rods or any kind of stick — this can be slim PVC pipe or wooden dowel

·       Cotton string

How it works:

·       Mix the water, corn syrup and dish soap in the bowl until everything is combined and there aren’t any layers on top.

·       Cut one piece of string that is the length of your child’s arm, then cut another that is the length of their wingspan.

·       Tie the ends of the short string to the ends of the long string. 

·       Attach the tied strings to the ends of the metal rods.

·       Holding the rods together, dip the string into the bubble solution.

·       Pull the string out, slowly spread the metal rods apart and then pull through the air to create your giant bubble.

Pro tip:

·       Add a little bit of food coloring to make colorful mega bubbles.

·       Check out this YouTube video to see a more in-depth explanation of how to create the giant bubble wands.

Colorful Ice Spheres 

What you need:

  • Water balloons
  • Non-gel food coloring
  • A sink and a freezer
  • A pair of scissors

How it works:

  • Fill a water balloon with water, using a little bit less than you would for normal water balloon usage.
  • Squirt a couple drops of food coloring into the balloon. Fewer drops will mean a lighter color, while more drops will produce a darker color.
  • Tie the water balloon and give it a little shake.
  • Place all the water balloons in the freezer and let them freeze completely. This can take anywhere from two hours to five hours, depending on the size of the balloons.
  • Once frozen, take balloons out of the freezer and use the scissors to cut off the bottom, then peel off the rest of the balloon.
  • The choice of what to do now is yours, but can we recommend creating a game of outdoor bowling?

Pro tip:

  • If you make a ton of little balloons, you can use them to spruce up your cooler. Mix them in with the rest of your ice so that every time someone grabs a drink, they’ll get a colorful surprise.

Make it Rain                     

What you need:

  • Hot water
  • Ice cubes
  • A glass jar
  • A paper plate or bowl

How to do it:

  • Add about two to three inches of hot water to your glass jar.
  • Put your paper product on top of the glass jar and wait a few minutes.
  • Place a few ice cubes on top of the plate.
  • Watch it start to rain inside your jar!

Pro tip:

  • Place one ice cube outside and one inside and have your child observe the differences in the rain. Ask them how they think the temperature or the setting is changing the weather in your little jar. It’s a perfect way to explain the water cycle.

Even though you’ll be busy having a blast with these fun activities, always remember to use your water wisely. By doing each of these activities on the lawn, the water will be put to good use. Be safe, lather up the sunscreen and stay hydrated for an unforgettable summer!  

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