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Unlocking the Black Box – Exploring Turbidity Data Integrity at Water Treatment Plants

This webinar was broadcast on Jan 08, 2018

Slide Deck: Turbidity Data Integrity 1-8-18

Turbidity measurements are the single most important parameter used to determine that surface water treatment plants are working correctly and that the filters are removing potential pathogenic organisms from the source water. The accuracy of the turbidimeter data generated, recorded and reported to utilities and oversight agencies is affected by a surprising number of factors that include instrument settings, sampling locations, electronic data manipulation, operational practices and human actions. The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) conducted a study of turbidity monitoring, recording and reporting practices in 25 rapid sand filter plants located in the Northwest Region of Washington State and found deficiencies in all 25 plants that could or did affect the accuracy of the turbidity data reported to the DOH. For instance, 100% of the surveyed plants had turbidimeters set to incorrectly hold and send the last shown turbidity value to SCADA when communication with the sensor is lost. With this setting treatment plant staff and alarm systems do not know that the sensor is no longer operational.

Our Presenters:

Nancy is a professional engineer with 29 years’ experience with the Washington State drinking water program, where she coordinates statewide implementation of surface water treatment rules.  Three years living among the Mossi people in the Sahel region of West Africa sparked a lifelong interest in safe drinking water.  She received her MS degree in environmental engineering from Stanford University and her BS degree in civil engineering from the University of Washington.

Steve is a professional engineer with 29 years’ experience in water and sanitation issues. He works for the Washington State drinking water program and is a consultant for Water 1st International, a non-profit water and sanitation development organization. His experience encompasses a myriad of settings, from the Kurdish refugee camps in Northern Iraq to post-war rehabilitation in Bosnia Herzegovina, and from simple pipe systems in the slums of Dhaka, Bangladesh, to development efforts on onsite non-potable water systems for urban buildings in the USA. He received his MS degree in civil and environmental engineering from the University of Washington and his BS in civil engineering from Marquette University.