Wellsboro Municipal Authority
Lifts Boil Water Order Using
Mobile Membrane Solution
BY DAVE GLOVINSKY
In 2010, the Municipal Authority of Wellsboro, Pa., be- gan noticing issues at its drinking water plant as the city’s slow sand filtration process was experiencing high
turbidity and algae events due to elevated levels in its reservoir. As a result, citizens received emergency notices to boil
their water before use. The boil water advisory not only impacted residents’ daily lives, from brushing teeth to preparing
food, but it also required business owners to shut down soda
fountain dispensers, ice machines and coffee makers in order
to avoid contamination.
Upon successful completion of a pilot test, Wellsboro Municipal Authority selected Pall Corporation’s Aria™ FAST mobile water treatment system. The unit’s membrane filtration
modules provided high-quality water, bringing the municipality into water quality compliance despite high turbidity events.
With a capacity of one million gallons per day (MGD), the
modular unit offered a compact footprint and required minimal infrastructure, allowing for an easy installation. In total,
the fully containerized system consisted of a concrete pad, a
portable canopy enclosure, electrical power connection, and
inlet and waste discharge piping.
“I was impressed with the engineering that Pall complet-
ed,” said Daniel K. Strausser, the city’s borough manager.
“The collaboration between our engineers and Pall’s with
the pre-built enclosure and supporting elements was spot on.
When the mobile unit arrived, everything fit perfectly.”
Historically, Wellsboro Municipal Authority was plagued
with filter blockages in its slow sand filters as algae in the raw
water during the warmer months began to halt water produc-
tion. With very little flow coming through the slow sand filters
during algae events, the water treatment plant knew that it
needed to identify a solution to alleviate this challenge.
With 80 percent or more of its water now being produced
by Pall, the algae problem has been alleviated as the Aria
FAST unit is able to filter out the turbidity. Previously, the mu-
nicipality had to issue a boil water notice when the slow sand
filters were clogged and unable to meet demand. However,
this has not been an issue since implementing the Pall unit,
as backwashes are able to clean the filter. With the mobile
membrane system, Wellsboro Municipal Authority now pro-
duces 700,000-800,000 gallons per day serving 8,000 resi-
dents. The Authority is now in its second year of utilizing Pall’s
membrane system to augment summer water demand as it
services 20-25 million gallons per month.
Additional benefits of the system also include a stand-alone
PLC control system and SCADA for process control and plant
data collection. Signals from the pre-existing plant process in-
strumentation are connected to the unit’s PLC, enabling the
trending and storage of data for both historical reference and
regulatory reporting requirements.
The system’s automated reporting features also ensure that
everything is monitored in the Pall system 24/7, allowing the