A discussion of the challenges of installing and starting-up UV disinfection facilities. Learn tips for avoiding common pitfalls and identify opportunities to improve operations of the UV system.

By: Todd Elliott, P.E., CH2M HILL and Paul Swaim, Vice President, P.E., CH2M HILL and President of IUVA

Todd Elliott will present their paper, “Lessons Learned During Installation and Start-up of Municipal Drinking Water UV Disinfection Facilities” at the 2013 World Congress & Exhibition hosted by the International Ozone Association and the International Ultraviolet Association (IOA- IUVA), on September 24, 2013 at 2 p.m. in Bermuda B.

Implementation of UV disinfection in the municipal drinking water industry has grown rapidly in the last decade. Despite the widespread use of UV disinfection and the dissemination of best practices, installation and start-up of UV facilities can still pose unique challenges to water utilities. The unfamiliarity with the technology and compressed project timelines can further exasperate these challenges.

For utility managers and plant operators, proper planning is key to avoiding some of the common pitfalls associated with the early project phases of incorporating a UV disinfection facility. Issues that may occur during start-up include anything from minor component failures to a major release of mercury due to a lamp break. Some issues are simply unavoidable and others provide valuable learning opportunities for the operators, utility, engineer, UV manufacturer, and regulator. Documenting the root cause of the issue and how it was resolved is extremely important to avoid a repeat occurrence after the system is operational.

The presentation will provide real-world examples of issues and lessons learned from recent large system UV installations including Cedar Rapids (IA), Syracuse (NY), Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MA), Kodiak (AK), and others.

Learn more on important considerations such as:

  • specifying adequate UV system testing and training
  • obtaining regulatory acceptance during design
  • ensuring adequate coordination between interested parties
  • verification of UV dose equation
  • testing of plant and UV control systems
  • verification of alarms and responses
  • power testing
  • monitoring of sleeve fouling and cleaning system effectiveness
  • checking UV intensity sensor performance
  • checking UVT analyzer performance
  • development and verification of automated monthly reporting systems
  • development of lamp break response procedures, and
  • providing robust training for operators.

Each stage of testing: factory, functional, and performance, will be discussed in detail. Recommendations on how to avoid common issues will also be provided. These real-world examples of issues addressed during installation and start-up activities associated with UV disinfection facilities will prepare water utilities for what to expect during start-up of their UV systems and how to avoid common pitfalls. These lessons will enhance the level of understanding for operators and managers as well identify opportunities to improve the operation of the UV system.

Todd Elliott is a CH2M HILL technologist who focuses on drinking water treatment and UV disinfection. He has more than 10 years of a wide variety of experience on water and wastewater treatment plant projects ranging from 1 to 100 million gallons per day throughout the country. He has his M.S in Environmental Engineering and B.S. in Civil and Environment Engineering, both from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.



Paul Swaim, a recognized international expert in UV disinfection, drinking water, water reuse and wastewater applications has more than 20 years of experience in the successful completion of water projects. He will complete his term as President of the IUVA this September. A CH2M HILL Vice President, Senior Principal Technologist and the Deputy Global Service Leader for Water Infrastructure in the Water Business Group, Paul is also Chair of American Water Works Association’s Disinfection Committee. He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of California at Berkeley.