Volume 44 Number 4
Website of the Month: Airing It Out in Public, Stripping the Facts Bare on the Web -- Aeration & Air Stripping Online
Aeration. Air stripping. Do you think these words are synonymous? Many people do. Until recently, so did I. That was before I started calling a few experts about the topic. Soon, it was made perfectly clear to me that, within the specific industry itself, there’s a very unique distinction between the processes. And to those people, I must say -- I will never make that mistake again.
For further confirmation, I dust off the old WQA Glossary of Terms (circa 1997; By the by, if anyone at WQA’s headquarters is reading this, I have a small request -- the latest edition of the book would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.) and check the terms to see just how far apart they are in reality. In alphabetical order, I look under aeration first. Definition: ”The process whereby water is brought into intimate contact with air by spraying or cascading, or air is brought into intimate contact with water by an air aspirator or by bubbling compressed air through the body of water.” Let’s see if air stripping can beat that. Definition: ”A technique of aeration for the removal of dissolved gases and volatile substances, often pesticides or hydrocarbon products in water supplies.” Hmmm, not as inriguing but, more importantly, we find that air stripping falls under the umbrella of aeration and not vice versa.
So, for the benefit of the legions of aer/air-ated deficient folks, we bring a review of the more visible websites to provide a more thorough examination of the concepts as well as a little chalkboard lesson for all of us. Because this is such a tight-knit and relatively conspicuous segment of the water treatment market, a few websites featured here are represented by individual commercial companies. This, in no way, should signify an endorsement of these businesses or their products. And, no, the legal department didn’t force me to write that last sentence.
Two major headings are listed -- Aeration System Selection and How the AIRaider Works. The second button is self-explanatory. Knowing this is a commercial site, one can presume it will be heavily weighted toward their systems. Naturally. Still, we can tell you what types of well water contaminants the site says can be removed with these systems. Among them are radon, benzene, carbon dioxide, MTBE, THMs and hydrogen sulfide. At this point, I’m hoping that the other sites reviewed here will provide a more educational slant.
The first button (background) discusses aerators and mixers and not much else. It’s a glorified About Us page. Product Information goes through a bunch of products with images and corresponding hyperlinks. News Releases is just an extension of the company’s background. Some of its installations in 68 countries are profiled here. Back to the free kit. Once you click on the button, the invitation asks you to fill out some information but no mention is made about what the kit includes so this may be a technique used to track site activity. I mean, I’m sure there’s a kit involved but it would be nice to know a little more about it. Oh well.
If you are interested in purchasing a floating fountain for your lake or pond (I live in a city where the closest thing to a pond or lake is an arroyo -- a dry wash for you non-natives), then go back to the home page. For the rest of us, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on “Technical info.” A list of four main topics pops up. First one is Aeration Systems. Sweet! Without initially becoming too self-serving, this site actually promotes the systems in general by saying, “Aeration systems offer many advantages including much lower installation, energy and maintenance costs, more efficient oxygenation and circulation, and simplicity of design.” Of course, this is soon followed by product specifications, not to mention spiffy photos.
This isn’t to say that this is a wasteful (excuse the pun) site. It contains more educational benefits than the others, perhaps combined. The links page is quite useful. Plus, under the Ammonia strippers and Aeration lagoons, useful information in general (and not toward a specific product or company) is given to better acquaint the visitor with each application.
The Skinny on the Sites
EXTRA -- Aeration & Air Stripping
The AWWARF (AWWA Research Foundation) website, http://www.awwarf.com/, lists a number of valuable resources on the latest research on both topics by entering the terms in its search function. The same is true for the National Drinking Water Clearinghouse at West Virginia University: http://www.nesc.wvu.edu/ndwc/