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Throughout history, mankind has intuitively recognized water as one of the critical pillars of life. Unfortunately, water is becoming increasingly scarce in the face of skyrocketing world population growth. The World Health Organization estimated that in the year 2000, at least 1.1 billion people lacked access to safe drinking water and 2.4 billion people were living without access to sanitation systems.1 The critical need for safe drinking water catalyzed the founding of World Water Day in 19932 and the declaration of water as a “fundamental human right” by the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in 2002.
Reacting to the mounting cry for safe drinking water, the government of Ontario, Canada established the Walkerton Clean Water Centre (the Centre) in 2005. The Centre is charged with safeguarding the drinking water of the province through the training and education of operators, operating authorities and owners of Ontario’s drinking water systems. The Centre is particularly focused on delivering training and advisory support to small drinking water systems, especially older and rural systems.
A key strategy of the Walkerton Clean Water Centre is to provide Ontario’s smaller water systems with access to advanced water purification technologies. This is accomplished by demonstrating cutting-edge technologies and creating practical training tools for water professionals. Ozone technology is one of the important components of the Centre’s advanced technology strategy. The facility also researches issues that impact safe drinking water, including applications of ozone technology.
The Walkerton Clean Water Centre develops and delivers a wide variety of water systems training courses, including courses mandated by the Ministry of the Environment, as well as specialized courses on advanced water treatment and technologies. Every effort is made to ensure that training is available to all water system operators, operating authorities and owners throughout the province—especially in distant, rural systems in the far north. The Centre provides many courses remotely through correspondence programs and online learning.
All courses are tested by engineers and training professionals, and delivered by experienced water systems trainers. The goal of the advanced training is to provide operators with the information and skills necessary to utilize a broad range of water treatment technologies, including membrane, ozone, UV and other technologies.
“Ozone Design, Operation and Optimization,” an advanced ozone training course, is designed for utility operators considering ozone as a treatment process, as well as plant operators and ozone system design engineers. The areas of study include the following:
The Walkerton Clean Water Centre is developing a state-of-the-art technology demonstration facility. Currently housed in an interim location, the facility provides unique, hands-on opportunities for education, demonstration and research. The demonstration facility is designed to be a practical training tool for water professionals and a resource for those interested in the technologies that make safe drinking water possible. As with the training programs, the demonstration facility provides critical access to important technologies for owners and operators of small, rural water systems. The goal of this program is to catalyze adoption of new technologies, leading to improvements in water quality throughout the province.
The Centre issued a general invitation for donations of equipment from suppliers and manufacturers to help outfit the demonstration facility. In response, Pacific Ozone Technology, Inc. donated an SGC11 ozone/oxygen system.
“We were pleased to be able to respond to the Centre’s initial request for donations of equipment,” said Brian Johnson, chairman and CEO of Pacific Ozone Technology. “We recognize the importance of making ozone technology available to owners and operators of smaller water systems. Hopefully, the exposure to advanced technologies the operators receive at the Walkerton Centre will help them realize that ozone and other technologies are not beyond their reach. In fact, ozone water treatment is quite feasible for a broad range of applications and is proving to be a powerful tool for many operators of small water systems.”
The donated ozone equipment has also created a venue for research into applications of water treatment tech- nology. The mandate of the Centre includes advising the Ministry of the Environment on research needs related to safe drinking water and undertaking appropriate research projects. The Centre has initiated a study of the effect of ozone on cold water coagulation to investigate the impact of precoagulation ozonation on filtered water turbidity, particle count and filter performance.
The results of this study will be reported at the World Congress on Ozone and Ultraviolet Technologies, Aug. 27 to 29, 2007, in Los Angeles. The meeting is being organized by the International Ozone Association (IOA) and International Ultraviolet Association to demonstrate the recent developments and benefits of ozone and ultraviolet technologies in a joint technical conference. The Centre is also sponsoring and participating in research to investigate the removal of endocrine disruptors using membrane filtration.
Looking to the future, the Centre plans to leverage its close working relationships with community colleges and other partners in training to attain the goal of making training available across the province. Web-based training will be explored to ensure that operator training is up to date, regardless of location within the province. The demonstration facility will be complemented by a mobile pilot unit, which will provide similar hands-on training opportunities for operators in northern Ontario. Also, the Centre’s website will be expanded to include to technical, scientific and regulatory information.
Paul Overbeck, executive director of the IOA, commented on the success of the Centre, “The IOA applauds the Walkerton Clean Water Centre for its vision and the investment it is making in training, education and the adoption of new technologies to advance water treatment and safeguard public health. We see the efforts of the Centre as very synergistic to those of the IOA. We look forward to the Centre’s continued success and contribution to the growing knowledge base in water treatment.”