The Clean Water Act (CWA) is the primary Federal statute regulating the protection of the nation’s water. The CWA aims to prevent, reduce, and eliminate pollution in the nation's water in order to "restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation's waters”.
Federal facilities have regulatory responsibilities under the Clean Water Act, including:
- Preventing Water pollution
- Obtaining discharge permits
- Meeting applicable water quality standards
- Developing risk management plans
- Maintaining records
The Clean Water Act (CWA) establishes the basic structure for regulating discharges of pollutants into the waters of the United States and regulating quality standards for surface waters. The basis of the CWA was enacted in 1948 and was called the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, but the Act was significantly reorganized and expanded in 1972. "Clean Water Act" became the Act's common name with amendments in 1972.
Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations provides the guidelines for the information required by the EPA to be monitored, recorded, and reported and for how long that information must be stored in order to stay in compliance with local, state, and federal regulations for permits.
Here are a few of the challenges that most wastewater facilities will face in order to stay in operation:
First, effluent flows must be monitored and recorded. This has been traditionally handled by paper chart recorders as seen above on the left. At most, these chart recorders can record two continuous values of data. Paper must be changed on a daily or weekly basis depending on the application. Pen arms break or run out of ink and motors burn out over time. All of these consumables can leave voids in data collection when problems arise.
Next is reporting the data. While the paper charts record the data, it takes additional steps to put this data into a “reportable” format. In some cases, the chart recorders will retransmit the data to a PLC or other SCADA software. Then the data will need to be graphed, put in a spreadsheet, or other format before submission. This is not an automated process and usually requires manual human interactions to recreate the data in a presentable format.
Finally, storing the data for potential future requirements. Sure the paper is thin, but how much space is consumed from all the charts recorders when they each contain only one day worth of data? We have seen facilities with boxes upon boxes upon boxes of used charts just sitting around for that “just in case” moment that something comes into question and needs to be recalled for evaluation. Not to mention what would happen if a fire occurred and all that data was lost…
Loy Instrument has helped several wastewater facilities upgrade their outdated monitoring and recording procedures. By utilizing the Honeywell Multitrend® GR Series Advances Graphics Recorder, we replaced twelve (12) 2-pen chart recorders with just one Multitrend® recorder which can accept up to 48 analog inputs. The rugged touch screen provides easy navigation to view all data and quickly scroll to see recent events. The solid state memory means no moving parts to break down and no paper to replace. In addition, the Trendserver software now provides a quick and easy format in which to store and report the data. The icing on the cake was the communication capabilities. Alarms can be sent via email to facility personnel when any values approach an out of compliance range. This allows them freedom to address other issues and not have to babysit the chart recorders waiting for something to go wrong.