Valveless Metering to Help Combat Toxic Algae Blooms

Algae is a natural part of our world, its genus comprises organisms that vary from small, singled-celled forms to complex multicellular entities. Algae is prolific and can be found in most environments, from freshwater to hot springs, highly acidic fluids, even snow and ice. Normally, algae serve an important purpose in aquatic life by providing organic matter at the base of the food chain and by producing oxygen. However, toxic algae can form and create Harmful Algal Blooms or HABs which grow and thrive in warm, calm, nutrient-rich water. Under these conditions, the algae bloom produce toxins, which can be harmful to people, animals, fisheries, and wreak havoc on entire ecosystems. One of the main sources that contribute to HABs is the effluent produced by wastewater treatment plants. The effluent contains high levels of ammonia, which through a process of bacterial degradation is converted to nitrates. Many wastewater treatment plants use a process known as “denitrification”, in which nitrates are reduced to nitrogen gas. The gas can then be vented into the atmosphere instead of being released into waterways.  There are several common denitrification processes, including pre-treatment basins, aeration tanks, and blowers. However, one of the most cost-effective options is with the use of methanol.

Methanol is most commonly known as a fuel, but it’s also highly prized by industry for the many methanol derivatives that it’s used to make. Methanol is a volatile; it’s colorless, flammable, and biodegradable, and in wastewater applications it acts as the carbon source that breaks down the nitrates.

Because of its volatility, wastewater treatment facilities that use methanol will also need to select metering pumps that are specially designed monitoring to dispense the chemical. They must have features such as chemical compatibility of wetted parts and electrical ratings for the area where the pump is being installed.

Ideally suited for the metering of methanol and many other chemicals is our CeramPump® line of valveless metering pumps. This innovative product has only one moving part and is constructed from inert and corrosion resistant ceramic parts, which provides a number of advantages. It is highly reliable and extremely precise, with an output variation of only ±1% of set value. This level of precision makes CeramPump® well suited to the low flow volume requirements in industrial and wastewater treatment applications.

To learn more about our CeramPump® valveless metering pump, visit our website and how it can help with your analytic instrumentation applications needs. We also post more industry news and company updates on our Twitter and LinkedIn.

‘Get Into the Flow’ and Help Protect Our Environment

Water pollution is a global issue. Here in the U.S., the Clean Water Act was passed more than 40 years ago – in 1972 – after many years of unmonitored pollution finding its way into our nation’s waterways. According to a timeline on, “Passed in 1972, the Clean Water Act was a response to the nearly unchecked dumping of pollution into our waterways. At the time, two-thirds of the country’s lakes, rivers and coastal waters had become unsafe for fishing or swimming.”

Today, conditions have improved, but water supplies are routinely monitored, thanks to the Clean Water Act. The PBS timeline also states, “The goal of the Clean Water Act was to reduce pollution in all U.S. waters to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of our nation’s waters.” Specifically, the law mandated “zero discharge of pollutants into navigable waters by 1985, and fishable and swimmable waters by 1983.”

While times have changed and water conditions have improved overall, the world’s drinking water supply still remains at risk today. Contaminated water threatens quality of life on a global scale. On its website, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) says, “Many of our water resources also lack basic protections, making them vulnerable to pollution from factory farms, industrial plants, and activities like fracking.” That’s where the measurement of water flow patterns can play a significant role.

Dye fluorometry – or water tracing – is used for tracing pollutants in our water sources, according to this article. Fluorescent dye, such as rhodamine, can measure the time of travel (TOT) for surface and ground water. The dye mimics the movement of water molecules. It indicates how water moves – which ultimately can reveal the source of contaminants and pollutants.

For the best results in water tracing studies, metering pumps should be used for precision injection of the rhodamine dye. Low current metering pumps, such as Fluid Metering’s QBG pumps, are ideal for this application because they offer:

  • Accuracy and precision – the pumps’ valveless design features only one moving part in the fluid path.
  • Inert internal components – chemically inert ceramics and fluorocarbon wetted parts will not skew results.
  • Low current operation – the QBG pump runs at low current and will operate on battery power for extended periods of time, making it perfect for environmental studies in remote locations.

Through water tracing efforts and the measurement of water flow, we can monitor our waterways. Our future – and the future of our grandchildren – depends on the protection and sustainability of the world’s water supply, and the protection of our environment, in general.