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I spoke with Scott Powell, Judd Sundine, and Jeff Couch with Powell Water Systems, about the kind of impact they are having in communities around the US. Communities are now burdened with the task of coming into compliance by upgrading their treatment plans which can cost over 12 MILLION DOLLAR. When you live in a rural Colorado community of 200 people with an average household income of $45,000 per year this cost becomes a huge burden, BUT Powell Water may have a perfect solution for you. 

As an overview here are the top 3 lessons from the Powell Water Team’s episode:  

  1. Today’s Problems with Lagoons  
  2. What the Heck is Electrocoagulation?  
  3. Why the Powell Water System is the choice for Rural Community Systems  

Lesson #1:Today’s Problems with Lagoons 

Jeff Couch is the team expert on Lagoons and microbe systems for the Powell Water System team. He mentioned that most lagoons were installed in the late 60s, 70s, and early 80s because of how economical they were to install. Now th regulating agencies (such as CDPHE and TCEQ) are ratcheting down on the discharge limits of various wastewater treatment plants. 

Lagoons work great up to a point, but they are not able to bring limits down to where regulators want them. Phosphorus, Ammonia, and other disinfection standards have come up. 

Lesson #2: What the Heck is Electrocoagulation?

When I heard the word “Electrocoagulation” (EC) it was honestly confusing to me, and I had to learn more. If you break apart the word it means: “electro”, meaning to apply an electrical charge to water, and “coagulation”, meaning the process of changing the particle surface charge, allowing suspended matter to form an agglomeration. This is accomplished by charging a metal plate and allowing the electrons to react with metals in the water as it passes through. 

Scott explains that the EC unit works like a thermostat. As you need more treatment you increase the amount of electricity supplied to the unit. According to the EPA, EC as compared to Alum Coagulation (A chemical treatment alternative option) has 83% less solids and it filters 76% faster. 

Red Rocks Community College is the leading operator school in Colorado and second in the nation according to Scott. There you can see on display a sample electrocoagulation unit. 

Lesson #3: Why the Powell Water System is the choice for Rural Community Systems

There are many reasons why a community would be interested in using the Powell Water system. The Powell Water System is 40% of the cost when compared to MBR (membrane bioreactor) treatment plants (the popular common choice for replacing Lagoons. 

Many people complain that lagoons smell. Scott personally loves those questions. Septic things stink, but when your microalgae you put in 5 times the amount of oxygen blower can put in and there is no smell. When regulators visit a Powell Water System treatment plant they are confused at the missing smells. 

If you are developing a new subdivision or community, you typically have open space requirements to be met. Jeff explains in detail how they can and are custom locating lagoons around new developments to active as attractive features to meet those requirements. 

About Engineers for Communities 

We are here to allow smaller disadvantaged communities in Colorado and other states to connect on topics such as water, wastewater, city project planning, government funding, and everything in between. 

On the LIVE Engineers for Communities show, you’ll learn the hard-fought lessons from the front lines earned by various community leaders who have already had their teeth bashed in and lived to talk about it. We’ll share the tips, tricks, mindsets, and frameworks that allow great communities to preserve. Register to attend the live show, ask questions, and level up. It’s every Thursday starting at 12:00PM MT. 

-> Join Engineers For Communities Group on Facebook & Linkedin
-> Watch this Live show here: Facebook or  Linkedin
-> If you are interested in being a guest on a live show fill book an Onboarding Call