Innovative Mercury Remediation System Reduces Contamination

Dec. 17, 2018

Rick Bacon, CEO of Aqua Metrology Systems, discusses the company’s SafeGuard H2O system

About the author:

Sara Myers is associate editor for WWD. Myers can be reached at [email protected] or 847.391.1007.

Aqua Metrology Systems has recently developed the SafeGuard H2O system. The innovative mercury remediation system has been successfully demonstrated to reduce contamination in power plant wastewater in a recent study. The system is a low-cost remediation proven to address a range of trace metal contaminants including hexavalent chromium, lead, ionic mercury and selenium.

WWD Associate Editor Sara Myers spoke with Rick Bacon, CEO of Aqua Metrology Systems, about his company, the SafeGuard H2O system and more.

Sara Myers: What does Aqua Metrology Systems do?

Rick Bacon: We have two lines of business. One line is real time online monitoring of contaminants of concern. Then, our wide range of trace metals like arsenic, lead, nickel, etc. The second is based on electric chemistry. We have essentially taken electric chemistry and applied it to the removal of a number of contaminants of concern which include mercury, selenium, and lead.

The second group family of products is based on volumetric analysis, electric industry. And we've essentially taken that same electric industry and applied it to a number of contaminants of concern which include mercury, selenium, which is found in the same sorts of bases and elsewhere.

Myers: What is an innovative mercury remediation system and how does it work?

Bacon: The system is based on an in-situ electrochemical process by which carefully controlled amounts of stannous ion are generated by dissolving a tin electrode into water. This reagent is injected into a batch off the flow of water to be treated and owing to its high reducing power will reduce the mercury present into its elemental form as a vapor. This vapor can be collected by a filter. The reaction is well understood using stannous chloride but this reagent is highly toxic and unstable making it difficult to dose accurately and safely. Stannous has none of these drawbacks. Tin is cheap, plentiful and safe.

Myers: How is the system low cost?

Bacon: Traditional treatment systems that address trace metal contaminants such as mercury, hexavalent chromium, selenium and more are historically associated with high capital and operating costs. The operation principle of the SafeGuard H2O system is based on a proprietary approach that generates an on demand a stannous ion reagent in-situ via an electrolytic process. This unique approach makes the SafeGuard H2O a relatively simple, efficient and cost effective alternative when compared to traditional, lengthy, challenging and expensive processes.

The process is a very costly process. The operating cost of chemicals you use and then remove at the end would make it very expensive. For mercury, large amounts of chemicals are dumped into the coal ash ponds for example and they grab mercury, produce the sludge which then has to be disposed of.

This all ends up in waste treatment plants. Many of which have to remove the chemical because it messes up the waste treatment plant. It’s also very problematic with water that eventually ends up in rivers because it turns the water blue.  You’re basically storing a contaminant in one place and then putting it in another. Our systems are very easy to maintain and they cost around $1 million compared to the other’s costing around $5 million.

Myers: Any final thoughts?

Bacon: I would say in the context of an intelligent water treatment system because that's where, well, the [industry is] sort of going and those are very, I think, have an interesting commercial aspect and financial aspect. But now, we don't necessarily have to sell the technology. We can be paid for treating water the gal from million gal per day that is compliant with the regulations. And, that felt [like a] very different way of thinking about water treatment technology, contradicting the municipal sector as part of your leadership where there isn't a lot of money around the world, sort of private capital.

About the Author

Sara Myers

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