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RTW Applied Research Group

Summary   |   Background   |    Personnel 

The water and wastewater treatment industries are actively evolving with techniques and processes constantly entering and leaving the marketplace. Though new technologies can be effective and cost efficient, it is imperative that the technology and approach match the client’s needs and the chemical and physical properties of the water. A multimillion dollar treatment facility is not the place to test new, full-scale technologies and to learn the inevitable lessons from their application. Keeping abreast of the marketplace, new and emerging technologies, lessons learned from applications, technological failures, and operations issues is a critical part of the Rothberg, Tamburini, and Winsor, Inc. (RTW) approach to research and development. A thorough understanding of the processes, chemistry, and treatment requirements allows the design and implementation of targeted piloting and customized treatment at reduced costs for utilities of all sizes. In addition to staying abreast of current treatment technologies and approaches, reviewing published literature, attending conferences and seminars, RTW maintains an applied research group.

The applied research group evaluates the science and engineering behind technologies so that RTW’s process and design groups remain current and are able to predict the performance of a specific technology upon installation, including: potential for success, limitations, economics, and impacts on O&M. Through a combination of in-house capabilities and cooperation with academic institutions and commercial laboratories, RTW is able to offer state of the art experimental and analytical services to clients. Research group members possess extensive laboratory and field experience as well as the knowledge to apply sound scientific, statistical, and engineering principles to experimental design, data collection, and data analysis. By thoroughly evaluating treatment processes in the literature and at the laboratory- and pilot-scales, RTW’s applied research group seeks to reduce costs and to improve treatment for our clients.

Though it may seem obvious, engineers and consultants to water and wastewater utilities should conduct pilot testing and specify treatment process changes based on a sound understanding of a particular process as it relates to that specific utility. Unfortunately, this is not the approach employed at many engineering and consulting firms. Often, pilot tests take a “let’s try this and see what happens approach” or treatment changes are specified based on past experiences that were successful at another facility. More, competing processes may be piloted at a given facility though only one of these can be incorporated into the final design. Pilot test design may also: be conducted for unnecessarily long experimental periods, evaluate suboptimal technology, or provide flawed or insufficient data. As a result, money, time, and resources are inefficiently utilized.

RTW’s applied research group takes a different approach. By constantly monitoring the literature and staying apprised of 1) new technologies, 2) experiences with those technologies, and 3) regulatory requirements, the applied research group is able to select the right approach for the task at hand. Through laboratory- and field-scale investigations, these technologies are tested and proven effective in the most cost-efficient manner for our clients. More, by implementing innovative and novel approaches to a treatment scenario, RTW’s applied research group has successfully developed several new approaches to treatment-establishing the firm as a leader in the fields of water and wastewater treatment.

The applied research group at RTW offers clients multiple benefits that include:

  1. a thorough understanding of applicable treatment processes based on actual and expected chemistries and conditions,
  2. compatibility, treatability, and O&M implications,
  3. predictions related to ease of operations, and
  4. the ability to recommend changes in treatment or processes for pilot-scale evaluation based on laboratory data.

To offer these services, RTW has developed in-house experimental and analytical capabilities as well as collaborative agreements with universities and commercial laboratories.

Applied Research Group Personnel
RTW’s applied research group members possess a wide variety of expertise and experience.

H. C. Liang, Ph.D. brings expertise in teaching and water chemistry, with more than 18 years of experience in research, having published over twenty papers in peer-reviewed journals- including several on aqueous chemistry research.  H.C. specializes in chemical processes for the removal of inorganic contaminants including arsenic, manganese, and other metals, and is RTW’s leader in examining the emerging field of endocrine disruptors (EDCs).  He holds a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry, a master’s degree in environmental engineering, and a Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry. H. C. has taught and conducted detailed research in environmental chemistry as a former Assistant Professor of Chemistry at a major university in California.

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