Chapmanville Trial and Error

By Lucian Adkins, General Manager/Chief Operator Chapmanville Water/Wastewater Board

In the Fall of 1997, Sonny Moore stopped by our treatment plant on one of his many visits during his time of duty as circuit rider. He caught me at a time when I was putting aluminum sulfate and lime in the feeders. After my usual bout of coughing, then cursing for a while, we sat and discussed what alternative chemicals were on the market. After discussing various chemicals that were available and being used in my area and the distributors, I obtained a sample of DelPAC 2020. Granted, I was a little skeptical, having come from the old school of trial and error. I had contacted an operator at the Williamson Treatment Plant, and in his words, “It is a miracle chemical” and that they were totally satisfied with its performance and cost.

For those of you who know me, as usual the word COST got my attention and, if for no other reason, warranted a try. With the help of Sonny and Barry, one of my operators, we put the DelPAC through as hard a jar test comparison with Alum as possible. On every test, the DelPAC was far superior to Alum. The very next day, I contacted a local distributor and talked them into giving me a 5-gallon container to try.

Not knowing that much about the product, we fed at what we later discovered to be a much higher ppm than was necessary. We then decided to purchase three, fifty-five gallon drums and give it an honest and truthful try. After using the DelPAC 2020 for a couple of weeks, we realized that we were definitely onto something, and the operator from Williamson might just be right about it being “a miracle chemical”I contacted Delta Chemica [now part of USALCO, LLC] l, the manufacturer and HVC Inc., who distributed in our area to request MSDS sheets, specific gravity, etc., and started keeping very close records on the usage with comparisons to aluminum sulfate. It did not take long to realize that the savings and performance were going to be substantial.

I contacted Delta Chemical, the manufacturer and HVC Inc., who distributed in our area to request MSDS sheets, specific gravity, etc., and started keeping very close records on the usage with comparisons to aluminum sulfate. It did not take long to realize that the savings and performance were going to be substantial.

We discovered that by using just DelPAC with no pH adjustments, you get no pH change from the time the raw water enters the treatment plant and exits the plant. We were then astonished to discover that the alkalinity and hardness also remained unchanged. We are fortunate to have a raw water pH that nearly never drops below a 7.5 and can go as high as an 8.4, but routinely stays in the high 7′s. The alkalinity and hardness are also very acceptable.

After sometime, we bought the DelPAC in bulk, 2,000 gallons and dropped the cost tremendously compared with the 55 gallon drums. We shut down four small electric motors used with the lime and alum feeders. We now use one small chemical feed pump.

The DelPAC is fed directly into the raw water intake before the inline flash mixer. The Alum and Lime were dry fed into a mixer and then fed by induction into the raw water line. For those of you who use these feeders, you can realize how much treated water is used by these feeders in a day of operation resulting in water loss that could be put into the system.

I feel that one of the biggest advantages of the DelPAC is not having to dump the Lime into the feeders. As you know, no matter how careful you are a fine white dust will settle over the complete treatment plant and possibly your lungs.

Our raw water pumps are slightly oversized to allow for the wear and tear of age and, of course, the efficiency rate which can be rather unpredictable. We use a by-pass on the raw water lines to compensate for high raw turbidity at times. The raw water turbidity can range from a 4.0 to as high as 2800. When the turbidity rises, we by-pass before any treatment. We can treat the higher raw turbidity at a much higher g.p.m. than was possible with the Aluminum Sulfate. Again, we saved money by lowering the time of operation of the treatment plant.

After a full year of use, I calculated the average daily raw water turbidity to be a 22.61. Our average usage of DelPAC resulted in a daily part per million of 15.29. These calculations were determined by using the formula: a million gallons x 5.34 x pounds = parts per million. The weight of DelPAC is determined by: specific gravity that is 1.29 x 8.34 = Ibs. Per gallon or 10.7586 Ibs. per gallon.

When we received shipment of the bulk DelPAC, the manufacturer had developed a newer version, a DelPAC 2500. The 2500 will cost more than the 2020, but the 2020 has a longer shelf life. So if you think it is going to be around for six or eight months, or even longer, I would suggest the 2020. Having used both types, I honestly cannot see much difference in the performance. However, I am sure that different types of plants with different sources of raw water may receive different results.

The sales representative gave me a high tech dropper to use for jar testing, but I still find jar testing to be somewhat of a “guesstimate”, but it will get you in the ballpark. Nothing new for me though, that is about the best that I could do with the Alum.

We fed DelPAC from a 1,000 gallon tank. As you might guess, getting the correct daily usage can be quite difficult. We measure in 1/16 inch increments which equals 1.59 gallons or 17.09 Ibs. In a 1,000 gallon tank, it is not easy; but if you miss read it one day, you will get it the next day, and it will even out in due time. DelPAC is produced by Delta Chemical that accounts for the Del in its name. The actual name of the chemical is poly aluminum hydroxy chlorosulfate.

My yearly calculations for 1998 are calculated for the cost of production of 1,000 gallons of water. Everything, including electricity and all chemicals used, have been calculated into the cost. However, labor has not been calculated into the cost. I feel that the difference in salaries could vary considerably, and would not give a good comparison figure for all plants, but chemicals and electricity should be comparable. Calculations reflect cost and comparisons for 1998 to 1997 and use of alum and lime:

1997 – using alum and lime the cost of production of 1,000 gallon was 27.36 cents per thousand.

1998 – using DelPAC the cost of production was 20.399 cents per thousand

This is a saving of 6.961 cents per thousand or 25.49%. To put these figures in perspective, we produced 20 million gallons more in 1998 than in 1997, even with this increase, we did it be spending $4,466.85 less than 1997.

If you are interested in making a change or finding out more about DelPAC, Delta has a pleasant web site at www. deltachemical. com. Spring, 1999

I am in no way endorsing DelPAC, I am only stating our experience with the product. As with most things, what works for one may not work for another. If you decide to use DelPAC or any other new product, I would suggest purchasing small quantities to make sure it meets your expectations. Don’t purchase bulk quantities, although it might be much less expensive because if it does not work you could get caught with a couple thousand gallons on hand.

I would like to thank Tim Pittman with HVC, Jack Colgan with Delta Chemical, all the staff of Rural Water that helped me with the changeover and, most of all, Sonny Moore.

If I can be of help to anyone, feel free to call me at (304) 855-3276.

Mountain State Water Line A Publication of the West Virginia Rural Water Association SPRING OF 1999