Vail PWO Seminar

October 13, 2021

26th Annual RMWEA/PWO Vail Operator Training Seminar

Lionshead Grand View Room in Vail, Colorado
395 E. Lionshead Circle
Vail, CO 81657

$90 for members. Non-members may join RMWEA as an associate member for $35 and then register as a member.

Registration includes lunch and refreshments.
Seminar starts at 8:00 am

Click here for Registration

For more information contact Tim Drescher at 970-477-5495 

26th Annual RMWEA PWO Vail Training Seminar
October 13th, 2021
Lionshead Grand View Room in Vail, CO
Seminar is currently planned to be in-person, all attendees will be notified via email by Oct. 8 if the local public health department recommends that the Seminar move to a virtual environment.
8:00 – 8:15 am
8:15 – 9:15 am
Preparing for a Compliance Evaluation Inspection (CEI) and the Ins and Outs of Discharge Monitoring Reports (DMR’s)
Aspen Coombs, Senior Field Engineering, CDPHE Water Quality Control Division, Field Services
Compliance Evaluation Inspections are a required element for all permitted entities. This presentation will cover the various aspects addressed during a compliance evaluation inspection (CEI) and help permitted entities prepare for their next inspection. A large portion of the CEI is a review of the permittee's data submitted in discharge monitoring reports (DMRs). This presentation will also cover some of the common mistakes seen during a DMR review and provide some helpful tips for completing DMRs accurately.
9:15 – 10:15 am
Phosphorus Removal Strategies: A Crash Course & State of the Market
Greg Page, Western US Business Development Manager, Neo Water Treatment
Jason Hock, Senior Technical Engineer, Neo Water Treatment
Phosphorus is an essential ingredient for all life on earth, but an excess in our rivers and lakes can cause far reaching damage to the environment. Challenges with current regulations for phosphorus on both a state and national level will be discussed in regard to their discharge to receiving water bodies. This presentation will discuss the general interworking’s of phosphorus chemistry and methods of removal using the most common chemical agents, followed by an overview of biological phosphorus removal processes and a discussion about the comparative economics of each approach.
10:15 – 10:30 am
10:30 – 11:30 am
Too Much of a Good Thing – Return Sludge Flow and Mixed Liquor Recycle (Part I)
Bacterial and Archaea DNA Test Results and Utilization (Part II)
Ron Schuyler, Owner, COWAC
1.  Return sludge flow (RSF) is required at an activated sludge plant to return settled and starved biomass from the clarifier back to the bioreactor.  Mixed liquor recycle is required to return nitrate from the end of the aeration tank back to the anoxic tank for denitrification; however, too much of either causes lower BOD and ammonia concentrations that the bacteria see when mixed with influent flow.  Lower food concentrations cause slower bioactivity.  Compensating for lower activity requires either longer detention time each pass through the bioreactor or a higher Mean Cell Residence Time to maintain good BOD and ammonia removal.  That means more tankage is required or use of an older sludge.  Most of us do not have extra tanks, so that means older sludge is required.  However, old sludge conditions cause more problems with which we must contend.  Let’s optimize RSF and MLRcy flow to better utilize available tankage and minimize old sludge issues.  2.  Microbial DNA testing is providing significant process details that have not been available with only microscopic examination.  Let’s look at some of the things we can learn using DNA testing in addition to standard microscopic exams.
11:30 am – 12:30 pm
Going Vertical: Simplifying Dewatering by Minimizing Cake Conveyance
Matt Gough, Vice President, HDR
Tanner Kraft, Wastewater Superintendent, City of Westminster
The City of Westminster Colorado (City) was in need of a new solids dewatering facility to replace its aging gravity belt thickening system.  Primary considerations included determining the optimum layout that eased operations efforts and provided the greatest process reliability.  One significant component of a biosolids dewatering facility is conveyance of dewatered cake which affects entire building layouts and challenges traditional approaches to successful operations.  This presentation discusses the challenges with conveying dewatered biosolids cake, reviews the process employed of pursuing layouts and options to minimize conveyance issues, and establishes criteria that allows other facilities to evaluate what’s best for them. To meet the City’s needs, a vertical equipment layout was chosen during evaluation to minimize dewatered cake conveyance requirements. The City’s new facility was completed in August of 2020. The presentation will also provide lessons learned since start-up including polymer nuances, phosphorus removal, optimization of centrifuges, ferric feed system, centrate equalization strategies and switching from liquid to cake for the biosolids land application program.
12:30 – 1:15 pm
1:15 – 2:15 pm
Nobody Said There Would be Math Today!
Steve Walker, Operations Assistance Group, Carollo Engineers
Math is used for process optimization, permit reporting, developing budgets, and process design sizing. Knowing and applying the terminology can make you a better operator.
2:15 – 3:15 pm
Essentials of WET Testing
Taylor Couillard-Rodak, Laboratory Manager, SeaCrest Group
Whole Effluent Toxicity testing (otherwise known as WET testing) is required for certain NPDES permittees. WET testing is a type of biomonitoring that can be used to detect a broad range of contaminants, and is often used in conjunction with chemical data to detect and identify toxicity in effluent samples. There are two main types of WET testing: acute and chronic. The most common species required to be tested for Colorado permittees are the Ceriodaphnia dubia and the fathead minnow. This presentation will cover the basics of WET testing, the differences between a chronic and an acute test, some basics of reporting results, and a brief discussion of next steps after a test failure including accelerated, PTI, and TIE testing.
3:15 – 3:30 pm
3:30 – 4:30 pm
Advanced Aeration Controls: Stepping Up to a New Paradigm
Christopher Marks, Treatment Process Engineer, City of Boulder / Water Resource Recovery Facility
Aeration systems tend to be the largest energy user at a treatment facility while also being a defining factor in how your activated sludge system performs. Whether you decide to only dip your toes in, or go full bore and make dramatic shifts towards predictive controls, the things we’re going to look at are based on what has worked for us in Boulder starting from an older paradigm of DO control and working our way forward to an ammonia based aeration control system. We’re also going to talk about some predictive software we’ve been working on that won the Intelligent Water Systems challenge at WEFTEC in 2019, but come ready with a machete because that part is in the weeds a bit.


COVID Protocols
Our goal is to conduct this year’s seminar in-person. However, due to the ever-evolving nature of the pandemic, we must remain vigilant in protecting each other, as many of the participants serve vital roles in protecting public health in their communities. We will continue to monitor public health guidance regarding COVID-19 and its related variants from Eagle County Public Health in the days and weeks that lead up to the event.
  • The number of registered attendees will be capped at 25 this year in an effort to space out attendees inside the conference room
  • Face masks will be required inside the building unless eating, drinking, or if presenting
  • Snacks and food will be individually wrapped for all attendees and we will skip buffet style servings this year
  • If you are experiencing any COVID related symptoms, please do not attend this event.  Please notify us if you are experiencing any of these symptoms and need to request a refund for this event. Refund requests are handled on a case by case basis.
  • Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions regarding these policies @

Past Vail PWO Seminar Presentations

*RMWEA sponsored training is offered at member and non-member prices. Generally, non-member registration fees are $35 higher than member fees for one-day seminars and training events. Non-member prices include a one-year associate membership in RMWEA if desired. Non-members must pay non-member registration fees regardless of whether they decide to become associate members. Attendees who choose to become members will receive our bi-monthly journal, RUMBLES, and our monthly electronic newsletter, e-Rumbles. New members are eligible to attend future training events at member prices.