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Top 3 Things I Learned at WEFTEC 2018

Whether I’m talking to attendees or customers in our booth at WEFTEC, or attending presentations, I always walk away with valuable information. That is the key, as you’ll see in my #1 take-away from WEFTEC.

1. Data ≠ Information

I initially heard this statement during Dr. Mark van Loosdrecht’s presentation on wastewater microbial ecology. Walking around the tradeshow, I reflected on his comments. There was no shortage of sensors being showcased. From BOD to E. Coli, and flow rates to sludge volume, the potential for data collection? is plentiful. The field of data science often describes data using the Four V’s: Volume (How much data is being acquired?), Velocity (How fast is data being acquired?), Variety (How many types of data are being acquired?), and Veracity (How trustworthy is the data being acquired?). However, the fifth, and the most important V is Value. If valuable information is unable to be extracted, then data acquisition is ultimately unsuccessful no matter how much of it you have.

Take-away: Translating data into actionable information is key! For further reading on the use of big data in the water sector, click here.

2. DNA is taking off!

LuminUltra’s launching of Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) services proved to be a massive hit at WEFTEC 2018! Now, in compliment to 2nd Generation ATP, LuminUltra can tell you how much active biomass you have and what organisms are present, along with their functional importance. We’ve been working hard to ensure we’re offering a best in class service with fast turn around times, convenient sampling and transportation methods, and easy to understand reporting with actionable information.

3. It’s time to start challenging age-old design and operation guidelines

Another highlight of Dr. van Loosdrecht’s presentation was the comparison of ecosystem theory and process design. He pointed out that design processes have not adapted to reflect new ecological information. Nitrification design theory is still largely linked to a paper published in 1906 by Harriette Chick.

New tools and information are available that can change how we design, monitor and ultimately, understand wastewater treatment processes, and now is the time to start using them! For instance, with LuminUltra’s 2nd Generation ATP, operators can determine the exact quantity of active biomass in the bioreactor without relying on outdated surrogate parameters such as total or volatile suspended solids.

Take-away: Reach out for resources and companies that can help you implement these new tools to advance the way you do business today.

See also:

GeneCount® qPCR Solutions and Services


Jordan Schmidt

Jordan has a PhD in Civil Engineering specializing in biological wastewater treatment. During his PhD, Jordan contributed to full-scale field evaluations of municipal waste stabilization ponds in the Canadian territory of Nunavut. He has a diverse background of expertise including data science, experimental design, statistical programming and full-scale municipal wastewater treatment. When he’s not working, Jordan enjoys sea kayaking, backcountry camping in Kejimkujik National Park and rock climbing.

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