It is estimated that wastewater treatment facilities in the U.S. will require nearly $300 billion in capital investments over the next two decades to improve operations and stay up to code with ever-changing federal and state regulations, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers.
The demand for more efficient treatment processes will drive new innovation and technological advancements to recycle sewage water at faster rates, but require less energy to do so. Having the proper materials, equipment and knowledge to move forward with ambitious energy goals is not just a matter of remaining compliant with government guidelines, but also creating a more reliable, and environmental-friendly operation.
The largest challenge wastewater facilities face is the efficient treatment of sewage water, for which contaminants, biological pollutants and viral and bacterial microbes are removed in a three-step process of filtration. A facility that does not have the necessary upgraded equipment to handle these functions effectively will quickly become susceptible to the spread of disease and will inherently pollute the water it originally was trying to purify. Plus, the affected water will runoff into surrounding environments, damaging wildlife and harming anyone who comes into contact with the polluted water.
Enhanced HVAC performance
Though a large portion of wastewater treatment plants reside outdoors, HVAC processes still play a vital role in sustainability goals. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency noted retrofitted HVAC systems can reduce total energy costs in wastewater facilities by 10 to 40 percent.
In addition, more efficient HVAC systems are better able to recover heat and reduce air, water and gas leaks. These combined effects make it easier for operations managers and engineers to keep temperature, pressure and humidity levels within proper ranges, thus creating optimal conditions for the treatment process to work more effectively.
Because water must be heated and cooled to certain temperatures, the surrounding air and moisture also needs to be closely regulated. A one degree change in temperature can have damaging effects on the quality of air and water – not to mention, cause energy costs to rise.
Another important HVAC function is ventilation, which is paramount in wastewater treatment centers because of the types of particles and chemicals involved. The California Energy Commission indicated airflow levels should be equivalent to ventilation needs, which will prevent the loss of air and minimize the need to constantly update temperature controls.
An optimized airflow channel will effectively force out odors and microbes, disallowing particles to settle into the water.
Save costs in the long run
HVAC systems operating in treatment facilities require a large amount of energy to run at optimal speeds for long periods of time, and the smallest inefficiency can have a compounding effect on the rest of the unit. A tiny pinhole leak can lead to water and air loss, which throws off temperature controls and potentially leads to buildup and corrosion. Further, whenever a damaged part exists inside of an HVAC unit, the problem will only worsen unless action is taken.
Outfitting HVAC systems with new HVAC coils can immediately improve the quality of air filtering out of the machine. Additionally, with advanced equipment, the unit as a whole runs on less energy, which saves facilities money on a monthly basis in the form of cheaper electricity costs.
Since the high level of contaminants present in the surrounding environment can potentially harm the HVAC system, building managers should also invest in corrosion protection. HVAC coil coatings increase the lifespan of coils and prevent the buildup of mold and rust due to their superhydrophobic properties.
Rahn Industries has a full lineup of spray and immersion (dip)/ Bake protective coatings to meet your needs.