Tassal Tasmanian Salmon, an Australian salmon farming company, backed away from plans to dump treated wastewater from salmon pens into...
Jeff Seibert has been president of Pall Corp.’s Water Processing Division since 1998. In his 25 years with Pall, Seibert has directed the sale, design and manufacture of process and water-related filtration and separations technologies that serve municipal and industrial markets, including chemical, petrochemical, power generation, metalworking and pharmaceutical.
Prior to his involvement in Pall’s Water Processing Division, Seibert led the filtration systems sales efforts for Pall’s industrial businesses. Consistent with his philosophy that innovation drives business growth and financial strength, Seibert holds several process and product patents for Pall. The water systems and products developed under Seibert’s leadership have enabled Pall to serve municipalities and all industrial markets.
In the following Q&A, Seibert describes the benefits Pall membrane systems provide.
MT: There are several types of membrane systems on the market today. What insights into these systems should municipalities understand prior to investing taxpayer money?
Jeff Seibert: When in the market for a membrane filtration system, municipalities should be informed about the available options, including cross-flow, vacuum and pressure-driven. Pall has invested significant resources in the research and development of pressure-driven technologies. Pall Aria membrane filtration systems are pressure-driven systems utilizing polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) fibers in an outside-in flow configuration. This approach is beneficial to our customers in many ways. For one, pressure systems are less costly to install and maintain than vacuum systems, without reduction in quality. They also provide operational and process simplicity that we believe will make vacuum systems obsolete for all but a few niche applications.
Our R&D efforts benefit our customers by enabling us to develop products with the lowest overall cost of ownership and the highest reliability. When implementing a new system, a plant will incur the cost of capital, installation, operations and maintenance. Therefore, to get the most value out of taxpayer dollars, customers should look for systems that require a compact building, are simple to install, use minimal power and chemicals, and are not labor intensive. The Pall Aria system fits that bill better than any other system on the market.
MT: Aside from cost, what sets Pall membrane systems apart from competitors’ offerings?
Seibert: While cost is very important, it is not the most important factor in the decision-making process. All membrane systems are not created equal, and when it comes to differentiating our product we go right to the heart of the matter—the membranes. We are confident in stating that our PVDF membranes are the most robust on the market, and our track record is second to none. It is not unusual for Pall plants never to see a fiber breakage. This achievement is unparalleled in the water treatment industry.
MT: Regulations affecting municipalities have been evolving rapidly recently. How can Pall enable communities to comply with ongoing regulatory requirements?
Seibert: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s new Long Term 2 and Arsenic rules are driving water suppliers to higher standards of treatment. Recent business history has taught us that flexibility is key to growing in an evolving marketplace. Municipalities need systems that are compliant and can grow with their population.
On the compliance side, it is well known that Pall membrane systems provide an absolute barrier to pathogens such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium. Customers can build on the membrane system’s capabilities by safely and easily adjusting their water chemistry. They can incorporate oxidation and/or coagulation to remove metals like iron, manganese, arsenic and TOCs.
On the growth side, Pall systems’ modular design enables customers to accurately match demand and capacity on a small footprint. “Pay-as-you-play” build-out also makes the planning and budgeting process easier, and keeps expansion costs low. From both the compliance and growth perspectives, the Pall membrane system is a foundational technology upon which municipalities can cost-effectively plan, budget and build for their future water needs.
MT: What successes can you share that demonstrate the value that a Pall membrane system delivers?
Seibert: Pall membrane systems are employed in many different feedwater situations. Customers tell us they value the consistency in treated water quality despite feedwater variation, and they value the reliability of membrane integrity. For example, the Pall Aria system at San Patricio, Texas was the first large (7.8 mgd) plant installed by Pall in December 1999. Once commissioned and fully operating, we saw proof of the efficacy and efficiency our module and operations manuals provide. Since that time, the San Patricio plant has run worry-free. In fact, it added another 2 mgd of Pall membrane capacity in 2006.
We’re quite proud of our track record, especially with respect to system integrity. Our membrane systems have the fewest fiber breaches in the industry and therefore the highest system integrity. The Cal Water treatment plant in Northeast Bakersfield is a good example. After the initial start-up phase, this 20-mgd drinking water plant has not experienced a fiber breach in almost four years of operation. Cal Water has since added another Pall Aria membrane plant in Northwest Bakersfield. In the rare event when our pressure hold procedure detects a breach, our operations manual walks the operator through the steps needed to repair the module. The repaired module rack can be back on line and running in less than 20 minutes.
The magic of our track record is more than the module. We’ve translated Pall membrane science into practical operation for the entire system. The system’s visual and electronic indicators follow operator intuition, thereby simplifying installation, maintenance and expansion. Overall, the Pall membrane system is a powerful package that delights plant operators.