TEAMS Competition 2017 Scenario # 2. Water Treatment. From Potentially Poisonous to Potable through Purification

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1 TEAMS Competition 2017 Scenario # 2 Water Treatment From Potentially Poisonous to Potable through Purification Take a moment to picture yourself at the bank of a river; you re absolutely parched, but the clear water bottle you packed is completely empty. The water looks clean, so you decide to dip the bottle into the river until it fills completely. As you raise the mouthpiece to your lips, a repugnant smell causes you to freeze. In disgust, you reexamine the contents of the bottle to find tiny grains of matter floating throughout the water. Against your better judgment, you take your fingers to clamp your nose and take a quick sip of the putrid water. Even the attempt to dull the odor couldn t protect you from the metallic, almost mineral-like, taste. At this point, it is overwhelmingly obvious that the water in your bottle is not potable, which is the technical word for safe to drink. You turn to look upstream and see a pipe spilling waste water into the river, potentially from one of the factories in the industrial complex. What will it take to refurbish our water sample in order to make it potable? Within environmental engineering, this question leads us to water treatment. Basics of Water Treatment Refurbishing Water for the Public Hardness One simple procedure that needs to be performed on select waters is called softening. While not technically harmful to humans, the charged ions from minerals like calcium, magnesium, and iron can easily dissolve into a water supply from limestone and other rocks. If water contains enough of these ions, we say the water has hardness; in fact, the metallic taste from our scenario was due to this property. Calcium and magnesium tend to contribute the most to the total hardness of a water sample, so it can often be approximated by only looking at the sum of the two mineral s components. Thus, the total hardness HTotal can be calculated as follows: HTotal = (Multivalent cations) Ca Mg 2+ 1

2 There is a slight unit issue to contend with as the components cannot be added directly. Two units are used, mg/l as CaCO3 and meq/l. Note that meq is an abbreviation of milliequivalents of solute (what dissolves) per litre of solvent (what does the dissolving), which is a common measure in chemistry. To convert a concentration of a mineral from mg/l (C) to meq/l (C q ), we divide the concentration by the equivalent weight of the substance W eq. C C q = W eq Now we need to define W eq. The first step is to find the substance s atomic weight W A or molecular weight W M, then divide that quantity by its valence or ionic charge (n), a measure of its combining power with other atoms. The valence is the superscript appended to the elements/molecules, so Fe 3+ has a valence of +3. W eq = W A = n The units for W A and W M are g/mole and n has units of equivalents/mole (eq/mol). The atomic weight of calcium and magnesium are 40.1 g/mol and 24.3 g/mol respectively. Sodium chloride (NaCl) has a valence of 1 and a molecular weight of g/mol. W M n If we want our concentration in mg/l as CaCO3 instead of meq/l, then there is a straight forward conversion formula we can use: C CaCO3 = 50C q For reference, Table 1 contains a set of ranges for hardness used to determine if the water is suitable for domestic use. Table 1: Water Hardness Classifications Hardness Classification meq/l Mg/L as CaCO3 Extremely soft to soft Soft to moderately hard Moderately hard to hard Hard to very hard Very hard to excessively hard Too hard for domestic use >5 >250 Reference: L.A. Lipe and M.D. Curry, Ion Exchange Water Softening, 2

3 Hardness can be divided into two components, carbonate hardness (called temporary hardness H Temp ) and noncarbonate hardness (called permanent hardness H Perm ) H Total = H Temp + H Perm We can find the temporary hardness by finding the smaller of alkalinity and total hardness, then the permanent hardness is the difference between the total hardness and the temporary hardness. Alkalinity (units: meq/l) is the measure of how well water can neutralize acid, H +. To calculate this measure, we can approximate it: Alkalinity (HCO ) 3 where (HCO ) is bicarbonate. 3 Hardness is often removed through ion exchange, or zeolite. This process is often implemented in well water systems. Hard water is sent through a column that contains resin, which absorbs the ions causing hardness and exchanges them for sodium ions. The relevant equation is derived using principles of material balance around a mixing point: Q IX H IX + Q BP H BP = Q 0 H f Where Q (units: L/day) is the amount of water flowing initially (0), through ion exchange (IX), and bypassing the ion exchange (BP) and H (meq/l) is hardness. One design decision is to determine how much water should be bypassed; this can be found by looking at the initial hardness H 0 and the desired hardness H D. % Bypass = 100 H D H 0 Given information: Volume of a cylinder: Surface area of a cylinder: 1 m = 3.28 ft 1 gallon = 3.79 liters 1 ft 3 = 7.48 gallons V = π r 2 h A = 2π r 2 + 2π r h 3

4 Questions 11. A water sample contains 50 mg/l of calcium, 20 mg/l of magnesium, and 10 mg/l of sodium. What is the total hardness? a. 7.0 meq/l b. 3.3 meq/l c. 4.1 meq/l d. 150 meq/l e. 200 meq/l 12. Researchers take a water sample from a nearby river and deduce the total hardness is hard to very hard. A deeper analysis reveals there is twice as much calcium as there is sodium. Likewise, there is three times as much magnesium as there is sodium. How much calcium is in the sample? a. Between 2.50 meq/l and 5.00 meq/l b. Between 2.01 meq/l and 2.34 meq/l c. Between 2.60 meq/l and 3.40 meq/l d. Between 1.95 meq/l and 2.55 meq/l e. Between 1.04 meq/l and 1.36 meq/l 1

5 Questions 13. Water with an alkalinity of 100 mg/l as CaCO3 about to enter the softening process is sampled and contains the following components: Component Concentration (mg/l) Na + 10 Mg NaCl + 30 Ca What is the permanent hardness? a. 255 mg/l as CaCO3 b. 155 mg/l as CaCO3 c. 2 mg/l as CaCO3 d. 3.1 mg/l as CaCO3 e. 0 mg/l as CaCO3 14. A water softener processes liters of water per week. If the incoming water has a hardness of 3 meq/l and softened water needs to be 1.2 meq/l, how much water should bypass the softener per day? Assume the softener contains fresh resin such that the hardness within the softener is zero. a. 0 L b L c L d. 260 L e. 600 L 1

6 Coagulation and Flocculation In our scenario, we noticed tiny grains floating in the water. It is not uncommon for raw surface water to have clay and silt particles suspended throughout the source. To treat the water, coagulants (a type of chemical) like alum or lime and polymers are added to neutralize the charge on the particles, called suspended solids SS, and force them to form larger particles that will quickly settle - assisting the growth of larger particles is called flocculation. This entire process is called coagulation. We need to be careful though, as adding a metal salt can affect the alkalinity. The following relationship defines how this balance is achieved: 1 meq/l of coagulant consumes 1 meq/l of alkalinity, but creates 1 meq/l of chemical sludge We can describe the total amount of sludge generated using the following equation: Total Sludge = Chemical sludge + SS removed Settling Once the particles have settled, the next part of the purification process involves a gravity settling tank. Simply put, the tanks allow for particles heavier than water to gradually float down to the bottom. Since we inadvertently produced sludge, which is not highly biodegradable, it will need to be removed every few weeks via a mud valve placed at the bottom of the tank. The hydraulic retention time, a measure of the average length of time that a compound will remain in a storage tank, is given by V t = Q where V is the volume of the tank and Q is the flow rate of the water. We can note that flow rate can be rewritten as Q = Av Where A is the area through which the flow occurs and v is the velocity. In the case of the settling tanks we will be considering, A = HW where H is the height of the tank and

7 W is the width of the tank. In order to remove the most particles, we need to have a settling velocity less than the critical particle settling velocity. The critical velocity of the particles is given by H Q v 0 = = t where A s is the surface area of the tank (often W x L, where L is the length of the tank). The equation above allows us to define an extremely important parameter for designing settling tanks called the overflow rate (given in m 3 /d/m 2 ). This rate intimately connects all of the variables associated with settling tanks together such that we can examine how altering individual variables affect the others. Filtration Next, we have the process of filtration. Water from the settling tank enters a filter, called a rapid sand filter, and travels through a sand and gravel bed, then into a storage container. Filtration allows us to capture remaining suspended solids that escaped flocculation, but excessive particles will clog the filter (cleaning the filter is called backwashing). One design parameter for filters is the filtration rate, which is simply the rate of water applied to the surface area of the filter: A s Q Filtration Rate = As The filtration rate often varies between 5 and 24 m 3 /hr/m 2, but state regulations often narrow this interval down to a maximum of 8 m 3 /hr/m 2. Disinfection In case the water still contains organisms, harmful or not, the water enters a stage of disinfection where chlorine is added to the tank. Since the chlorine oxidizes organic material, the remaining organisms in the water have little chance to survive this stage. To adequately disinfect a supply of water, we must balance the concentration of the disinfectant C and the contact time T. The amount of chlorine we apply (mg/l) is M Chlorine Applied = Q

8 Where M is the amount of chlorine in kg per day and Q is the amount of water flow. Since humans are susceptible to adverse effects due to chlorine, we cannot get too carried away with the disinfection step. The allowable residual chlorine ranges between mg/l; any value above the allowable residuals is considered unacceptable.

9 Questions 15. We add 60 mg/l of alum to coagulate a water sample that contains 200 mg/l of suspended solids. If the water treatment plant processes 100,000 liters of water per day, how much sludge is generated per day due to coagulation if Al(OH)3 (the sludge) is precipitated when only 5 mg/l of suspended solids remain? (Note: the equivalent weight of alum is 100 mg/meq and the equivalent weight of Al(OH)3 is 26.0 mg/meq) a. 21 kg/day b. 211 kg/day c. 16 kg/day d. 228 kg/day e. 2 kg/day 16. A small treatment facility processes 1000 liters per day that contains 155 mg/l of suspended solids generating 840 grams of total sludge during a week. How many suspended solids remained after coagulation if 10 mg/l of chemical sludge was generated in one day? a. 145 mg/l b. 110 mg/l c. 675 mg/l d. 45 mg/l e. 119 mg/l

10 Questions 17. A rectangular settling tank with a length of 10 meters, a width of 5 meters, and a height of 2 meters receives a raw water inflow at a rate of 0.5 m 3 /s. Assume the settling velocity is m/s. To improve the tank s efficiency, we redesign the tank to increase the length. What should the minimum possible length of the tank be to optimize its ability to allow particles to settle? a. 10 m b. 15 m c. 20 m d. 200 m e. 0 m 18. A 180 m 3 settling tank has an overflow rate of 40 m 3 /d/m 2. The design as proposed calls for a length of 15 m and a width of 3 m. With these specifications, what is the retention time for the tank? a. 2.4 hours b. 4.5 hours c. 15 hours d hours e. 0.1 hours

11 Questions 19. A tank of 20 m in width and 15 m in height has a 10 m by 5 m filter that receives 12 million liters per day. What is the filtration rate? a. 30 L/h/m 2 b. 160 L/h/m 2 c. 10,000 L/h/m 2 d. 40,000 L/h/m 2 e. 240,000 L/h/m One million gallons of water are treated each day at a plant to remove parasites from the supply. The plant allocates 21 kg of chlorine for the week. The daily chlorine demand to meet the needed residual level is 0.4 milligrams per liter of water. What is the minimum adjustment to the chlorine treatment to stay below the allowable chlorine residuals? Given: Chlorine Residual = Chlorine Applied Chlorine Demand a mg/l b mg/l c. 0.6 mg/l d mg/l e. 2.4 mg/l

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