Passion for Our Work

I have the good fortune of representing Grande Water Management Systems for the state of Ohio. I’ve been working with Grande for almost 20 years. Over that time I’ve had the pleasure to work with Nick Grande, the owner and president of the company.

I enjoy working with Nick for many reasons, but the main reason is that he has a great passion for his work. I don’t know about you, but I think there’s no better person to work with than one that is passionate about what they do. You see his passion soon after meeting him. Nick’s an engineer, so every problem he hears about is an opportunity to provide a solution. You can practically see the number crunching taking place in his head as you’re talking to him.

Nick’s company specializes in designing and manufacturing equipment that helps to minimize combined sewer overflows (CSOs) and to lessen the impact they have on our rivers, streams, and lakes.

What got me thinking about Nick and writing this blog about his passion were photos I found on my phone of Nick the last time he was with me here in Ohio in early 2020. The photos are of Nick in a CSO storage basin working with collection systems operators. He was there to help them reconfigure and adjust equipment in the storage basin to improve its performance. It was a cold February day and Nick was harnessed up and down in the tank getting the job done. He wasn’t down there just giving directions. He was down there with a wrench in his hand showing how to properly install and adjust the equipment.

While the donuts and coffee brought to the site helped make it a little nicer, but they didn’t make any less frigid that morning.

This is not a rare occasion for Nick. This has been my experience with him for the past 18 years. He’s been down in a sewer helping a contractor correct the installation of a bending weir or out in a cold and muddy farm field helping a contractor install a flow regulator.

You have to care a lot about your job to endure these kinds of conditions to make sure the job is done right. This kind of passion is not unusual in the water and wastewater industry. It’s pretty typical for operators and maintenance crews to be called out in the worst conditions to correct a malfunction in the collection system or at the treatment plant. Look no further than what was taking place in Texas last week. Operators were out in single digit temperatures repairing broken water mains.

As an operator at a treatment plant, isn’t Nick the kind of person you want designing and manufacturing the equipment that goes into your collection system or treatment plant? His hands on, down in the trenches, work ethic means he knows what it’s like to work in the often inhospitable environments you work in. He’s going to make sure his equipment performs so you don’t have to go into those places on that cold wet night.

Contact me if you’d like to learn more about Nick, his company, my company, and the kind of solutions we can provide for your wet weather challenges.

Putting FOG/Scum in It’s Place

Anyone that’s cooked bacon knows how much grease it makes. I Googled how much grease is in uncooked bacon, and as best as I could find out, by weight, more than 2/3 of a piece of bacon is fat. So, it’s no surprise when raw bacon is cured at a processing plant a lot of grease is generated. Every evening at a major processor of bacon, they wash down the processing plant, cleaning up the days waste. You can imagine how much Fat Oil and Grease (FOG) is in the water after wash down. To avoid costly surcharges, this processor removes as much of the FOG from the wash water they can prior to sending it to their local municipal wastewater plant for treatment.

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on

We all know grease is lighter than water, so whenever the grease laden wash water enters a quiescent zone tank, the grease separates and floats to the top. And, here it stays. Once this scum layer of FOG is floating on top of the tank, it’s nearly impossible to get it back into the water.

Heavy scum layer on surface of Wash Down Water EQ Tank. So thick, you may be able to walk on it.

This is what was happening in this wash water EQ tank. Over time the layer of scum on the top of the would grow thicker and thicker, more than foot thick. Every 3 months they would bring in a contractor to break up the scum layer with a high pressure water jet at a cost of around $4,000.

While this got them by, it was very disruptive to their wastewater treatment process. So, they went looking for a more permanent solution. And, they found it with the Landia AeriGator. Taking advantage of Landia’s Trial-To-Buy program, they were able to prove the AeriGator would solve their heavy scum problem prior to buying it.

The Trial-To-Buy test began on August 28th. By August 29th they were pretty sure the AeriGator was the solution they were looking for. The combination of the air and water in the high energy jet provided the horizontal and vertical mixing energy needed to break up the very heavy scum layer.

The AeriGator 10 minutes into operation. The scum layer is already breaking up.

The Trial-To Buy ended with the bacon processor purchasing the AeriGator. And, all the Trial-To-Buy costs were applied to the purchase price of the unit.

Bacon processors aren’t the only ones that have problems with FOG and a heavy scum layers in their system. The good news is the Trial-To-Buy program is still in effect. I would love to show you what the AeriGator can do for you in your problem lift station or wet well. Let’s talk.

West Unity WWTP Success Story

The West Unity Wastewater Treatment Plant success story is in the June 2020 issue of Treatment Plant Operator magazine.

Working closely with Joshua Fritsch, West Unity village administrator, and Randy Mahlman, water and wastewater treatment plant superintendent, Poggemeyer Design Group enlisted the help of Lakeside Equipment Corp. to design the cost effective improvements to the West Unity WWTP that would ensure West Unity would have no trouble complying with their OhioEPA consent decree. The project entailed updating the 20+ year old aeration rotors in the oxidation ditch and the construction of a new headworks and headworks building.

The existing aeration rotors were not capable of supplying enough oxygen to the mixed liquor in the summer months to meet the plant’s ammonia permit limit.

Poggemeyer Design Group specified Lakeside Magna Aeration Rotors to replace the existing rotors because of their robust design and their ability to efficiently supply oxygen to the mixed liquor. The Magna Rotors have proven to be a the perfect choice for West Unity. They not only supply enough oxygen to easily meet the treatment plant’s summer ammonia limit, they do it using less horsepower than the rotors they replaced. While Josh and Randy appreciate the energy savings, they are thrilled that they no longer have to worry about meeting their summer ammonia limit.

The new Lakeside Magna Rotors have covers to protect the operators from the spray and aerosols produced when the rotors are turning. The covers also help retain heat in the winter months.

The new headworks were a major improvement to the treatment plant. Prior to installation of the Lakeside MicroStrainer screen and SpiraGrit grit removal system West Unity’s headworks consisted of just a coarse bar rack. Before the improvement project Randy spent a great deal of time pulling rags and debris off of weirs and out of pumps.

Lakeside MicroStrainer screen is on the left in this picture inside the new headworks building. Have you ever seen the floor in a headworks building as clean and shiny as this one? Randy takes great pride in maintaining the equipment and the cleanliness at his treatment plant.

The Lakeside Spiragrit grit removal uses a Gorman Rupp T Series self priming centrifugal pump to pump grit from the grit hopper to the grit classifier.

Joshua Fritsch, West Unity village administrator, on the left and Randy Mahlman, water and wastewater superintendent in the new headworks building. Josh and Randy teamed up with Lakeside Equipment and Poggemeyer Design Group and played a major role in the successful design and construction of the improvements to West Unity’s Wastewater Treatment Plant.