Product Focus: California Water Utility Adopts New Fluoridation Technology

Dec. 1, 2012
Park Water Company in Downey, Calif., is using new sodium fluoride saturator and feed technology to treat the well water it provides to 28,000 customers in southeast Los Angeles County.

Park Water Company in Downey, Calif., is using new sodium fluoride saturator and feed technology to treat the well water it provides to 28,000 customers in southeast Los Angeles County.

Developed by Integrity Municipal Services (IMS) of Poway, Calif., the system uses a secondary solution storage tank which effectively eliminates the carryover of sodium fluoride solids from the saturator tank into the metering pump. In addition, both the saturator and storage tanks are placed inside a FRP containment structure capable of holding any spillage. This prevents the risk of sodium fluoride solution entering floor drains.

The fluoride saturator and feed system at Park Water was supplied as a pre-wired and mounted skid system.

Park Water Company is a Class A private investor-owned utility which collects, stores and distributes water to customers. Their water supply originates from three sources: imported potable and recycled water from the Central Basin Municipal Water District, and groundwater from the Central Groundwater Basin.

Funds to provide and install the new systems at Park were provided by California's unique "First 5" program which supports health initiatives for the first five years of children's lives.

Since Park's purchased water supply is already fluoridated, the addition of these systems has allowed the company to provide an optimal level of fluoride to its customers, according to Victor Seanez, Production Foreman for Park. The company recently decided to take advantage of the First 5 funding and begin fluoridating the water it was pumping from groundwater sources.

"We have five systems that have been in operation for just over a year," Seanez said. "They have been working very well and one additional system will be installed at our new groundwater well later this year."

Khaled Roueiheb of IMS says his company developed the fluoride saturator and feed technology based on a need expressed by customers for a factory assembled, fully contained, and low maintenance system. He explained that, traditionally, fluoride solutions have been formed by saturating a bed of sodium fluoride with water and then withdrawing the fluoride solution through a metering pump and injecting it at the destination point.

The IMS system differs by directing the solution to a secondary storage tank to ensure that sodium fluoride particles do not carry over into the metering pump and cause maintenance problems.

"First, soft water flows up through the saturator via a PVC distributor pipe system," Roueiheb said. "Then the saturated sodium fluoride solution gently flows into the secondary tank through an overflow pipe."

From there, a metering pump injects the solution into the water line. The system is fitted with switches which automatically signal low and high levels in the secondary tank, and control the make-up water flow accordingly. The rate of solution feed can be controlled automatically via an external signal based on well pump flow rate. The metering pump can also be set to operate manually at a pre-set feed rate.

The IMS systems are controlled by a single electrical panel, pre-wired at the factory and powered by a 110-volt electrical supply. The systems are completely pre-mounted and tested at the factory.

"The arrangement of the equipment inside the FRP enclosure eliminates the risk of leaks or spills," Roueiheb said. "A high level switch in the containment structure will activate in case any liquid is detected inside the compartment, and this will trigger a system shutdown."

The alarm system can be remotely wired to a customer's SCADA system.

Park has enjoyed the compact nature of the systems, Seanez said. "They are a nice, small piece of equipment, and they fit easily into our chlorine room."

He said maintenance has been minimal. "We have just had to clean debris out of the foot valve on occasion," he said.