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POLYMER SELECTION PROGRAM: Municipal Trials and Bid Process

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There are some 16,000 publicly-owned wastewater treatment facilities (POTW's) operating in the United States.1 These facilities process an estimated 34 trillion gallons of household and industrial wastewater each day, generating some 6.9 million dry tons of wastewater residuals, sludge or biosolids, each year. Correspondingly, there are some 54,000 community water systems (CWS) in the United States serving the potable water needs of more than 263 million people. Approximately 8,110 of these CWS are very large, large, or medium sized, serving an aggregate of 238 million people.2

Most of these wastewater treatment facilities and community water systems rely on the use of coagulants and flocculants to effect the liquid-solid separation performance of unit processes, such as clarification, settling, thickening, and dewatering. A total of 495 million of coagulants and flocculants are estimated to have been used in the United States and Canada in 1997 for these applications. Of this total requirement, 271 million, is comprised of complex, proprietary, organic chemicals.3

In order to establish supply contracts for their requirements of these complex organic flocculants, municipalities and public agencies solicit public bids. The traditional municipal process for selecting the most cost-effective product is a two-step procedure, involving product evaluations and competitive bidding. Within this traditional approach, it has been customary for municipalities to invite vendors to participate in the formal evaluations of their products. As such, the prospective suppliers participate in the determination of their respective product's performance, including such critical factors as product dose, resultant sludge or biosolids concentration (cake solids), and capture. All of these performance factors may be utilized, along with the unit price from the competitive bid, in the comparative economic assessment to determine the most cost-effective product for award.

This presentation will explore the deficiencies and uncontrolled factors associated with the traditional polymer evaluations. It will identify and quantify some of the inherent costs related to the traditional approach. Furthermore, this presentation will provide a more effective methodology in order that the public agency or municipality may better control and manage the product evaluations and conduct a more efficient and effective Polymer Selection Program.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2003-01-01

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