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Archive for November, 2011

SpiroFlo covers why Sterilex is the only EPA-approved chemical solution to eliminate biofilm.

You've got to earn your 100% kill rate

Back in the Biofilm 101 post, I mentioned that even though the government doesn’t endorse products, somehow Sterilex is the only EPA-approved chemical solution for eliminating biofilm. Although Sterilex is a good (albeit expensive) chemical solution for biofilm treatment, I thought it was an annoying instance of the government not following their own rules, but after chatting with Sterilex, it turns out these cries of government conspiracy need to go on mute.

Basically, when any chemical claims to completely kill any pathogen (or germ) in any application, it has to be approved by the EPA. So in the case of Sterilex claiming to completely eliminate biofilm, they had to go through a stringent process to get that EPA approval. Guess how long that approval process took?

10 years.

So one of the main reasons why Sterilex is the only EPA-approved chemical for completely removing biofilm is because no one else, thus far, can be bothered to go through that marathon process. Even though I was happy when SpiroFlo received the innovative funding for energy efficiency (IFEE) grant from the Colorado Governor’s Energy Office (GEO), this reminds me of why we don’t work with the government more often.

Interestingly enough, the EPA does not regulate devices that remove pathogens, only chemicals. This means that even though independent testing from a large multi-national has shown that the SpiroFlo device reduces the biofilm from “too many to count” to less than 100 parts per million (read: statistically zero), we can’t ever get that EPA approval. Then again, considering we’d likely have to wait until the end of 2021, I think I’m okay with that. In the mean time, SpiroFlo is exploring use in conjunction with Sterilex (and other chemicals) as the device helps keep the chemicals suspended for longer, thereby improving their efficiency, all while keeping the biofilm counts lower between treatments.

Even if we were eligible for EPA approval, I think I’d just say we’re 99.99% effective at removing biofilm and hope that people can round up.

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Colin McKay Miller is the Marketing Manager for the SpiroFlo Holdings group of companies:

SpiroFlo for residential hot water savings (delivered 35% faster with a 3.5% volume savings on every hot water outlet in the home) and industrial water purification (biofilm removal).

Vortex Tools for extending the life of oil and gas wells (recovering up to 10 times more NGLs, reducing flowback startup times, replacing VRUs, eliminating paraffin and freezing in winter, etc.).

Ecotech for cost-effective non-thermal drying (for biosolids, sugar beets, etc.) 

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It occurs to me that a lot of kids are forced into a green Thanksgiving.

No, I’m not talking about tofurkey — which sounds like a cuss word — or running screaming from turducken (which also sounds creepy: meat shoved inside meat shoved inside meat). I’m talking about leftovers. Sure, anyone can consider him- or herself green when they control how to define the term, but a number of green Thanksgiving articles do stress the importance of eating leftovers.

Tofurkey: Wash your mouth out with soap for a different reason

That got me thinking: What kid isn’t forced to eat leftovers? From the day-on reheated Thanksgiving replica meal to the week-on Is-this-paste-on-my-sandwich-even-turkey-anymore? drudgery, a good chunk of kids are forced to eat variations of that epic meal for days. Congrats though, kids; now you can wind up hating turkey in the name of environmentalism.

At the very least, I hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving meal the first time around.

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Colin McKay Miller is the Marketing Manager for the SpiroFlo Holdings group of companies:

SpiroFlo for residential hot water savings (delivered 35% faster with a 3.5% volume savings on every hot water outlet in the home) and industrial water purification (biofilm removal).

Vortex Tools for extending the life of oil and gas wells (recovering up to 10 times more NGLs, reducing flowback startup times, replacing VRUs, eliminating paraffin and freezing in winter, etc.).

Ecotech for cost-effective non-thermal drying (for biosolids, sugar beets, etc.) 

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Ecotechnology, Ltd. (Ecotech Systems) analyzes the terms that make up the world—the cliché, the misunderstood, and the “don’t tell your mama” variety—and how they play in today’s society. Today’s word is the product of an image makeover, but when you find out the truth, you may wish you’d not eaten already.

What comes to mind when you think of biosolids?

If you’re like most people, the answer is nothing, and that blank slate is exactly what proponents of biosolids want you to have in mind, because the last name brought up all kinds of negative connotations. That term? Sewage sludge.

http://www.city-data.com/forum/members/bs13690-83559-albums-animated-gifs-pic43435-green-sick-face.htmlThat’s right, biosolids are human fecal matter mixed with everything else that goes from a household water line to the wastewater treatment plant. Granted, biosolids are treated to varying degrees (and therefore changed), but sometimes you can’t shake the yuck factor. Thus far, it seems biosolids can’t get away from their origin to become the great sustainable energy resource some think they should be.

As long as wastewater plants treat water, biosolids are an inevitable byproduct. After much of the water is separated, you’re still left with a semi-solid material (containing fats, oil and greases [FOG] — matter that is difficult to treat and the number one source of drain/pipe clogs). The main solutions for biosolids disposal are landfill (which is getting less prevalent and more expensive as they get full), heat treatment (which goes up to $250/dry ton for incineration), non-heat treatment (lime, aerobic and anaerobic digesters — $85/dry ton and up, though drying biosolids at a rate much slower than heat) and land application. Regardless of what you do with the biosolids, however, some level of drying (and therefore some level of energy expenditure) is required.

Amusingly enough, although green supporters love recycling, even they often oppose biosolids use. Thing is though, biosolids are readily available, and unless something radically evolves in the human gastrointestinal tract, they’re going to continue to be around (everyone poops indeed). Fear not; biosolids are not allowed for use with food growth applications (wouldn’t that be creepy?* might actually be — see the comments), but huge, multi-year papers have concluded that biosolids are sustainable and can improve soil and crops. That said, for every 20-year pro-biosolids study I find, there are just as many touting the harmful effects.

In 2006, a U.S. E. coli outbreak from spinach spread over 26 states, causing 206 illnesses and three deaths. Though the incident didn’t involve biosolids — the outbreak was attributed to irrigation water contaminated by (untreated) cattle feces — the damaging effects gave critics a close example of what could happen with improper use.

(I’m still waiting for the news story of the angry hippie defecating on a wastewater treatment plant’s lawn, pouring chemicals on the lot and screaming, “Here’s your biosolids!” before getting hauled off in cuffs. Thus far, my Google searches have come up empty… What I did hear of, however, is when my boss visited a local biosolids plant and was warned that if he fell off the narrow plank high above the large, aerobic digester and into the muck, no one would come get him out.

Death by biosolids — not the way you want to go.)

http://designyourclothesnotyourbabies.blogspot.com/2010/06/one-mans-waste-is-another-mans-treasure.html

These bare-hands-holding-biosolids pics are common, but not enough to overcome the yuck factor

Here are the main regulations involving biosolids: In 1993, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) introduced the Clean Water Act. Part 503 of this regulation authorized the continued use of biosolids on land while addressing the public’s concerns with the reuse of human waste. The greatest potential health risk is pathogens—a disease-producing agent linked to E. coli, hepatitis A, salmonella, Giardia and parasitic worms—carried in untreated sewage. That said, pathogens are also an issue with other organic fertilizers.

Part 503 defined different types of treated biosolids: Class A biosolids contain no detectable levels of pathogens and can be applied to land the same way as fertilizers. Class B biosolids are treated, but still have detectable levels of pathogens. (There are restrictions on their use and availability to the public.) The main reason for these different standards is the efficiency of the treatment process versus the amount of time available. As wastewater volumes increase, there is not enough time to treat to class A standards. Since the Clean Water Act, an even higher standard of biosolids has come about — class A EQ (exceptional quality) — requiring lower metal counts.

Despite what you think of biosolid use, with FOG still an issue that needs to be dealt with at any stage, drying biosolids is an essential part of the process, regardless of where they end up. As a result of that, Ecotechnology Ltd. (Ecotech Systems) launched its patented drying system into the biosolids market. With a low-grade heat (~150 F) and a patented air flow, Ecotech is able to non-thermally dry biosolids for less than $1/ton. Considering the above ranges of $85-$250/ton, this is the value savings the biosolids industry is looking for.

More on that another time. Enjoy your dinner.

*EDIT: Corrections, chatter and linked-up responses (oh my!) in the comments.

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Colin McKay Miller is the Marketing Manager for the SpiroFlo Holdings group of companies:

SpiroFlo for residential hot water savings (delivered 35% faster with a 3.5% volume savings on every hot water outlet in the home) and industrial water purification (biofilm removal).

Vortex Tools for extending the life of oil and gas wells (recovering up to 10 times more NGLs, reducing flowback startup times, replacing VRUs, eliminating paraffin and freezing in winter, etc.).

Ecotech for cost-effective non-thermal drying (for biosolids, sugar beets, etc.) and safe movement of materials (including potash and soda ash).


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One of the things that throws me off about energy resources is that it seems as though there are different standards for favored power resources. For example, I’ve heard offshore oil rigs slammed as being an aesthetic blight on the beauty of the ocean, yet that same standard doesn’t seem to apply to giant wind turbines on the landscape (though to be fair, the aesthetics of wind turbines do come under fire from time to time).

That's one fine lookin' energy resource

Maybe it’s that states like Texas, Iowa and Wyoming — leaders in wind power — just aren’t as darn well perty as California, or maybe oil & gas is still too dirty of an industry, but I still don’t get how the aesthetics argument can apply to one resource (or really to any if the energy is good and safe enough) and not the other.

Can someone explain this to me?

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Colin McKay Miller is the Marketing Manager for the SpiroFlo Holdings group of companies:

SpiroFlo for residential hot water savings (delivered 35% faster with a 3.5% volume savings on every hot water outlet in the home) and industrial water purification (biofilm removal).

Vortex Tools for extending the life of oil and gas wells (recovering up to 10 times more NGLs, reducing flowback startup times, replacing VRUs, eliminating paraffin and freezing in winter, etc.).

Ecotech for cost-effective non-thermal drying (for biosolids, sugar beets, etc.) 

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When I saw the first panel, I was reminded of my disappointment of the reality behind the No Poo Movement:

See here (http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/2007-06-19/)

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Colin McKay Miller is the Marketing Manager for the SpiroFlo Holdings group of companies:

SpiroFlo for residential hot water savings (delivered 35% faster with a 3.5% volume savings on every hot water outlet in the home) and industrial water purification (biofilm removal).

Vortex Tools for extending the life of oil and gas wells (recovering up to 10 times more NGLs, reducing flowback startup times, replacing VRUs, eliminating paraffin and freezing in winter, etc.).

Ecotech for cost-effective non-thermal drying (for biosolids, sugar beets, etc.) 

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Vortex Tools analyzes the terms that make up the world—the cliché, the misunderstood, and the “don’t tell your mama” variety—and how they play in today’s society. Although “Made in the U.S.A.” used to be a term you didn’t need defined, it isn’t as straightforward as it once was.

As a company, Vortex Tools strives to use American labor and American parts assembled in, you guessed it, America. I should be able to cover this statement in that little phrase known as “Made in the U.S.A.,” but it doesn’t mean what it used to. Put it this way: Even a good slab of American flags aren’t made in America anymore.

I took a trip to Mexico over the summer, crossing over the border at El Paso, Texas. (Fear not, this is not a post on illegal immigration — wherever you stand on the issue.) In chatting with people on both sides of the border, I asked what they did for work. A number of those in Juarez took a white bus — buses that are all over down there — to work in American factories just across the border. This way, the factories get cheap labor and still get to stamp “Made in the U.S.A.” on the box.

Now I don’t think this is what the average consumer assumes “Made in the U.S.A.” means, but considering Japanese automaker Toyota is more American than the classic American Ford brand these days, should these assumptions change?

American Made: One more gimmick?

I’ve seen the sign that reads, “Whenever possible, we use American products and labor” and while there are times that being patriotic isn’t feasible in every area of a business model, the skeptic in me has come to believe that the “possible” in the previous statement often means “preferable.” I’ve even heard of companies importing cheap foreign parts and putting them together stateside, so that “Made in the U.S.A.” is tweaked to mean “Assembled in the U.S.A.”

“American Made” doesn’t have to equate to a more expensive product either. I read an article discussing how generic brands are more likely American made than brand names — check the labels — but I can’t find the article to link it. (Typing the term “generic” into a search engine seems to pop up nothing but a slew of off-brand Viagra.)

Regardless of what other businesses are doing, the SpiroFlo Holdings group of companies keep “Made in the U.S.A.” as straightforward as possible. With the President, Alan Miller, believing that he’s Scottish by birth, yet American by choice — therefore having a responsibility to give back to the country that gave him opportunity — the philosophy goes from the top of the businesses on down. With the continued economic woes, we also try to give interim jobs to people who are hurting financially. For any limitations or additional costs we incur, this just seems like good business to us.

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Colin McKay Miller is the Marketing Manager for the SpiroFlo Holdings group of companies:

SpiroFlo for residential hot water savings (delivered 35% faster with a 3.5% volume savings on every hot water outlet in the home) and industrial water purification (biofilm removal).

Vortex Tools for extending the life of oil and gas wells (recovering up to 10 times more NGLs, reducing flowback startup times, replacing VRUs, eliminating paraffin and freezing in winter, etc.).

Ecotech for cost-effective non-thermal drying (for biosolids, sugar beets, etc.) 

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