214 Transcript

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[Music]
as an industrial water treater you have
to do so much
you have to know about so many things
chemistry physics environmental
electrical and the list goes on but did
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don’t wait before it’s too late
welcome to scaling up the podcast where
we scale up on knowledge so we don’t
scale up our systems my name’s trace
blackmore i get to host this awesome
podcast and nation this is like the in
between week last week we had the awt
convention
and next week is industrial water week
so
just the anticipation of being in
between those two events
what is an industrial water treater to
do well something that you can start
doing is figuring out how you are going
to celebrate next week something that
we’re going to do we do this every year
it’s not new but we change how we do it
every year we are going to bring you a
brand new episode each and every day
next week to celebrate industrial water
week so monday we’re talking about
pre-treatment tuesday we’re talking
about boilers wednesday is cooling
thursday is wastewater and friday is
careers
each and every day
i’m gonna ask you to do something and
i’m gonna ask you to share that with
everybody by hashtagging
iw21 and hashtag
scalinguph2o that will get us all in the
celebration we’re all going to see how
we are a community together and we can
really celebrate industrial water week
together well today
again pinks and blues this is where
i am answering questions that you have
and here is the question from our
listener
hey trace this is james courtney from
csc technologies i was hoping you could
speak to the benefits of running dip
slides they’re such a simple test
would you consider them an overrated or
underrated tool in the water treaters
tool belt thanks
thank you so much for that question in
fact i was hoping for a question like
that if you recall back on episode 75 i
was working in our lab and i saw an
abused corrosion coupon
now many of you know that us here at
blackmore enterprises people in the
association of water technologies and
water treatment community will send
their corrosion coupons to us
for us
to go ahead and clean up and weigh and
send pictures back to them with a report
well somebody not naming names i don’t
want to embarrass anybody but somebody
sent me a corrosion coupon that just was
not loved in any way shape or form and
by the time i got it
it just was not able to tell its story
because it was not taken care of it
wasn’t used properly it wasn’t stored
properly it wasn’t shipped properly you
name it it just was not done the way it
was supposed to do and i told that
little guy that i was going to come on
scaling up h2o and i was going to share
his story so we can all respect the
corrosion coupon a little bit more well
if you haven’t heard that that’s episode
75
and just the other day
i saw
a dip slide a bacteria fungus mold dip
slide and it was at a customer location
they weren’t getting very well taken
care of and they were still getting used
and i was thinking that reminds me a lot
of that corrosion coupon that we did the
show about and then we get this question
so we’re going to use today’s show to
talk all about the dip slides i know we
all know so much about dip slides we’re
probably all using them in our regular
day today but my hope is through today’s
show
we’re going to learn something that
maybe we didn’t know or maybe we weren’t
thinking about and now we’re going to be
able to use the dip slide as a more
reliable tool so that’s where we’re
going today
so dip slides are commonly used for the
detection of microorganisms in a liquid
specifically we use them a lot in
industrial water treatment systems
dip slides that we use are basically a
plastic paddle
and they are coated with one or two
agars most of us use the two type agar
and that has total aerobic bacteria on
one side and then it has yeast and molds
on the other now agar’s a weird word and
it’s a jelly-like substance that’s used
to culture biologicals it’s the media
that’s actually used in fact agar’s
actually used in some recipes
so i don’t know if i’d recommend
scraping off what’s on your dip slide
and putting that into one of your
thanksgiving dishes
but it is a food additive for many
recipes in some other cultures so there
you go now you know
i know most of us know what a dip slide
is but typically that plastic paddle
that i just mentioned that is put in
some sort of protective bottle we remove
that plastic paddle from its protective
bottle and we dip that into a water to
be sampled then we place the paddle back
into the protective bottle and we
incubate that
typically at 90 degrees for 48 hours
we’re going to talk a little bit about
that now today i’m specifically talking
about the total aerobic bacteria and
yeast and molds dip slides there are a
ton of dip slides on the market and one
of the great things about dip slides is
they’re so easy to use and if you’re
looking for something specific you can
talk to your supplier and most likely
there is a dip slide to test for exactly
what you are looking for now dip slides
are relatively inexpensive and they’re
pretty easy to use and i think that’s
why they’re so popular in the industrial
water treatment community
they’re so easy
but because they’re easy
i think that’s where we get a lot of our
issues that’s why it’s so easy to misuse
them and that’s going to be the bulk of
our conversation today i’m going to
start out with making sure everybody
knows it’s important to understand what
a dip slide will measure now my good
friend and friend of scaling up h2o jim
lucanich who is on episode 10 and then
sporadically over the years i’ve
interviewed jim at pretty much every
convention episode that i’ve had as well
as the different awt training seminars
that i’ve been at so i’m sure you’ve
heard jim lucanich on this podcast
before
but jim has taught me
more about
microbiology as it pertains to
industrial water treatment than all of
my biology college classes combined and
if jim were here i can just hear him
saying you have to know what the dip
slide measures
and he would probably go into a
conversation about sessile and
planktonic bacteria planktonic is the
stuff that’s floating around the system
where sessile is the stuff that is
attached and the stuff that we are
really
worried about now a healthy biofilm has
no reason
to extract part of itself and from its
healthy happy home and float around the
system
a dip slide will not
measure
what the most important thing for us to
know is which is
that sessile bacteria
this sessile bacteria is what causes
reduced heat capacity
reduced water capacity all of that stuff
is because the stuff is stuck it’s
globbed on in a certain area
it’s healthy it’s happy it has no reason
to leave
however we do realize that over time
bacteria does slough off and that now
becomes planktonic bacteria the
planktonic the stuff that’s traveling
around in the water system is the only
thing that we can measure with
a dip slide
now we can hedge our bets that if we
have a high planktonic count that it
leads us to believe we also have a high
sessile count
so it makes sense that if we can measure
planktonic we’re essentially measuring
what’s left off of healthy biofilm but
it’s also important for us to realize
that those are all assumptions
we really only know
what we can test for and the only thing
that we can test for with a dip slide is
planktonic bacteria this stuff that’s
floating around the system now the agar
on the dip slides that most of us use
only grow
the total aerobic bacteria and they have
a specific agar for that now you say
well hey if that’s total aerobic that’s
going to grow everything well not
necessarily
because some things just don’t like to
grow on that agar as it might want to
grow someplace else and it might not
want to grow at the temperature that we
are incubating it in so we have a whole
host of things
that are going on that maybe we haven’t
considered before now you’re saying
trace i follow the directions exactly
as the manufacturer says
shouldn’t the dip slide work as well as
it can because i’m following the
directions and yes it’s going to work as
well as it can but it can only work so
well it’s only a little peek
into what’s going on with the system
right there in that moment of time and
then incubated in the conditions
of how we’re incubating that so there’s
a whole host of things that can go wrong
my point is
is that we cannot test for everything
and we cannot take every bit of error
out of every test that we do
so if we know that we just have to enter
into the situation knowing that we can
only do as good as we can do but the
more that we know about what’s going on
in the system the better we can
interpret that test
also when we sample we’re only going to
capture on that media on that agar what
is present in the system at that exact
time that we are taking the sample
so for example did we just feed biocide
is the bacteria
dormant that we’re testing is it not the
right time to test because that’s not
when most things are active in the
system i don’t know the answers to these
questions but these are the questions
that we have to ask on each and every
time we test because the more we know
about the system the better we’re going
to be able to interpret those results
now dip slides are cheap they are easy
to use
but i hope as you can hear from this
conversation they are not the end-all
be-all they’re a starting point
which means the more we understand why
we’re testing the more we understand the
system we’re testing in
the better we’re going to be able to
interpret the results
and it is very likely the results of a
particular test like a dip slide are
going to lead you to another test
and the results of that test might lead
you to running another test it’s all
about what we originally thought was
going on in the system and then we have
to make a decision on do we have enough
data to act to confirm what we thought
about what was going on in that system
and if we don’t we might need to collect
more data
all in all it’s for us being able to do
something with all of the tests that we
run
so maybe now you’re thinking dip slides
aren’t as easy as you originally thought
well i’m hoping that you take that
attitude with every test that you run
and just think about it why does it do
what it does
how do i eliminate
all the error that i can so i can be
more confident in what the test is
reporting to me
and all the other things that we
discussed about the system the more you
know about that the better you are going
to be able to interpret
now after you incubate the dip slides
you’re going to get your answer in
colony forming units per milliliter
basically what this is it’s how many
dots that we have in a square centimeter
now dot size doesn’t matter i’ve had
several people come to me and say oh my
gosh look how big that dot is which is
the colony look how big that colony is
that doesn’t matter a dot regardless of
its size
is a dot and a dot is a colony and we’re
counting how many of those are in
a square centimeter
now that agar that we mentioned it has a
special dye in it that allows what grows
on it to change a particular color now
on the bacteria side typically that’s
red
and if we didn’t have that it would be
so incredibly hard for us to count so
they’ve really made these dip slides
very easy for us to take into the field
and for us to get a result
i remember in a biology class i took in
high school we actually made the agar
and we put them in little petri dishes
and then we went around this high school
and we took swabs and we swabbed
everything that we could think of i
remember we swabbed door handles toilets
keyboards drink fountain dispensers
somebody actually swabbed inside a tuba
but then we cultured them and oh my gosh
if i ever had any misconceptions that i
was thinking i was living in a sterile
world
that let me know that we are very far
from sterile we’ve got a lot of things
growing in everything around us now the
agar that we made did not have that red
dye in it it was a lot more difficult
for us to count but it was really a test
for us to learn that we have so many
things that are growing around us
so with that being said
take a lesson from my high school
biology class and realize that when you
take your sample
you’re not living in a sterile world you
have so many things that are growing on
things that we come in contact with it
is very easy for us to contaminate our
sample so we need to make sure
that things stay as clean as possible
when we’re going to get our sample it’s
advised that you wash your hands before
you start touching your dip slides and
then you don gloves before you touch
your dip slide as well and the only part
of the dip slide you should ever touch
is the little plastic paddle the little
plastic handle
that is on
the top now most manufacturers recommend
that you take your sample at the exact
same place at the exact same time
each and every time you sample and the
reason for that is that’s for trending
and if you’re trying to trend data that
is a hundred percent right
but for learning what’s going on in the
system i don’t necessarily agree with
that
if you have a hypothesis of what you
think is going on in the system the
whole point of you running any test is
for you to prove or disprove what you
think is going on in the system that
might mean that i need to run dip slides
at a different time than i normally do
it might mean that i need to run the dip
slides in a different location in the
system because maybe i’m trying to track
down something maybe i’m trying to learn
more about how the system works
as i said before with any test that you
run if you don’t have a reason to run it
and you’re not thinking how am i proving
or disproving my hypothesis
there’s probably no reason for you to
run that test now really what i’m asking
you to do is think harder about why you
run the test and really form an opinion
about what you think is going on in that
system so your test can help confirm or
not confirm what you are thinking
you have to be better than your test
so many people
especially newer in the industry they
think they run their test and that’s all
that they need to do so whether it’s a
dip slide whether it’s a nitrite test
whether it’s anything
if you don’t know why you’re running
that test
please figure out why you’re running
that test and more importantly what that
test is going to allow you to accomplish
because now you have more data
about that system now when you run a
test like a dip slide it’s important
that you develop procedures and those
procedures are consistent because what
you’re trying to do is take out
all of the possible errors that can go
wrong with you running that test that’s
with a dip slide that’s with any test
that you run and i’ve heard people say
many a time it’s better to be
consistently wrong than be all over the
map so if you know what you’re doing try
to be right when you’re doing it and
read the directions make sure you’ve got
your procedures based on those
directions
but what you’re doing is you’re now
running the test and you’re taking out
as much error as possible now if you’re
using a dip slide
after you wash your hands and glove up
what you’re going to do is you’re going
to remove the dip slide from the
protective bottle that it’s in you’re
going to be sure only to touch the
handle
and then you’re going to make sure
that you don’t allow that dip slide to
touch anything else except the water
that it’s going to come in contact with
now you’re going to submerge your dip
slide into that sample
and it’s really better for you to
immerse that dip slide directly into
where that sample is coming from now
here’s what i mean by that if you’re
testing a cooling tower the best way to
do it is to take the dip slide out to
the cooling tower immerse the dip slide
in the cooling tower and then put it
back into its little protective bottle
now you might be saying there’s no way i
can do that it’s all pipes i can’t get
the dip slide in there okay well in that
situation you are going to have to place
the sample in a sample bottle but think
about what you’re doing what was the
last thing that was in that sample
bottle because chances are you’re going
to be testing for that
as well so do you use a brand new sample
bottle do you use one that’s marked as
sterile you’ve got to figure all that
out but the point is you’re thinking
about it and you’re thinking about all
the things that can contaminate that
sample and when you think that way your
tests are going to have more
meaning
be smart
use your best judgment but let’s take
you back to that cooling tower so let’s
say you’ve got everything off ready to
go you’re washed up you’re gloved up
you’re taking the dip slide by the
paddle top only and you’re going to now
immerse that into the cooling tower now
i’m only getting the aggro parts wet and
i’m typically going to let that sit for
about five seconds now your procedures
might be a little bit different but
whatever they are make sure you are
consistent now after that five seconds
when you take it out of the sample
you’re gonna have excess water on that
paddle what we do is we tap the top
where we’re holding fairly vigorously
but three four five times we just want
to get that excess water out and then
we’re going to put that paddle right
back into its protective bottle now
here’s a fact
most water treaters do not use an
incubator to incubate their dip slide
samples and i think this is an issue
things like to grow at a particular
temperature if they’re not at that
particular temperature
they’re not going to want to grow i look
at myself if i’m too hot or if i’m too
cold i don’t want to be that active so
why should they
the type of bacteria that we’re going
after in a cooling tower
it’s called mesiophiles so that’s the
fancy biological word
and essentially what that means is they
don’t like it too hot they don’t like it
too cold a mesiophile is the goldilocks
of
bacteria they grow best again when it’s
not too hot when it’s not too cold now i
know for a fact that there’s a water
trader out there listening to me and
they’re saying trace i incubate all my
dip slides in my back pocket or i
incubate them in my car trunk or i
incubate them in my garage and i’ve
never had a problem
well
my question is how do you know and
what’s your procedure again it’s better
to be consistently wrong than it is to
be all over the map but knowing where
the bacteria that we’re looking for
likes to grow and again the fancy term
is mesiophile and
right around 90 degrees is that
temperature that it loves and that’s the
same temperature of our cooling tower
bulk water if we’re not reproducing that
temperature we’re not
getting the most representative result
and that’s what this whole purpose is
about
we’re trying to get a window open
with this test to see what’s growing in
the system
that’s going to allow us to then make a
decision on how we’re going to do
our water treatment system our program
if we don’t have good data we’re not
going to make good adjustments now a fun
experiment to do and i urge you to do
this
is if you have an incubator take a few
samples from the cooling tower we just
mentioned go ahead and label them and
then put one in the incubator and
incubate it exactly as the manufacturer
has directed you to
put another one in your car put another
one in your garage put another one on
your windowsill maybe another one in
your back pocket how does somebody keep
a dip slide in their back pocket for 48
hours but i know you’re out there i know
you’re doing it
what you will learn is you will get a
different result for every single one
of those tests and it all came at the
same time from the same cooling tower
i’ve done this myself and i tell you
every single time i’ve done it i’ve
gotten different results and it’s all
because this stuff likes to grow
at a particular temperature
and we have to give it that goldilocks
temperature not too hot not too cold
just right and that’s why it’s so very
important for us to incubate dip slides
in an incubator
you know another mistake i see people do
is when they tap off the excess water
they shake it vigorously or they tap it
too hard
and that can actually create some issues
i’ve actually seen somebody one time
that they shook it so hard it fell onto
the floor and then they picked it up and
they put it in the bottle folks that’s
not a good sample
just think about what you’re doing and
you want to make sure that you’re
getting the excess water off and you’re
not introducing any other error in there
something else
that i want to discuss is the storage of
dip slides now i think the agar is good
for up to a year now notice i said up to
a year not an entire year so check the
expiration dates on that and i know many
of us know that expiration dates are
probably a lot better out than they
actually state
but they want us to reorder so they put
expiration dates on there and then to
keep everything up to code we have to
reorder that stuff well some of the
stuff we can take past expiration dates
but agar is not one of them those have a
very finite window of how viable they
are
so check with your manufacturer to see
how long that they are good for and
another thing i want to tell you not to
do with storage and i have to admit
i used to do this and it’s refrigerate
your dip slides i used to think that
that was a nice cool place it was out of
sunlight it was making sure things
couldn’t grow on them it was kind of out
of the way and i was told by our
manufacturer that was the absolute worst
thing that we could do with dip slides
dip slides the agar has to be stored at
room temperature i think manufacturers
typically recommend between 65 to 75
again call your manufacturer call your
supplier ask them what they recommend so
you can add those to your procedures
now 65 to 75
pretty much means we can’t keep them in
a hot car
we can’t keep them in a hot garage and
we can’t keep them
on
the windowsill we got to keep them out
of sunlight
now speaking of heat how hot was the ups
truck that delivered these dip slides
yeah it gives you a lot to think about
well your guess is as good as mine but
when you get them that’s the point where
you’ve got to start taking care of them
and the more reliable that your tools
are the better that you are going to be
able to use them out in the field now
here’s the bottom line whenever you have
a questionable dip slide heck whenever
you have any questionable test you
shouldn’t run it you should probably use
that as an excuse to call the
manufacturer to call the supplier and
say hey what’s going on here what does
this mean and now you’ve learned
something
my challenge for you is not to have that
learning in there take that to the rest
of your company and say hey i just
learned that when this happens that’s
what this means and now the entire
company knows so share what you’ve
learned share what you know
and by the way if
agar ever looks questionable and it’s
within that date within the expiration
date most of the manufacturers will
replace those for you for free so make
sure you’re utilizing the manufacturers
the suppliers we’ve got some great
people out there and they can answer a
lot of questions they can do a lot of
things for us we just have to let them
know so please reach out to these great
people now today i only refer to dip
slides with total aerobic bacteria yeast
and molds and i know you’re thinking
that there are so many other dip slides
out there and you can apply pretty much
this entire podcast to any one of those
dip slides just insert what’s different
than what we talked about today as far
as what you’re testing for and you’ll
probably have some different
temperatures you might have some
different holding times but the cool
thing is pretty much if there’s
something you can test out there you can
find a dip slide for it so if you didn’t
know that go on some websites i think
you will be amazed at how simple it is
to order these dip slides and test for
things that you were curious about what
were going on in the system now earlier
i said when you test for something it’s
very likely you’re going to have to test
for something else
so maybe you’re looking for anaerobic
bacteria well the dip slide’s not going
to help you at all with that so maybe
you now need to look into that maybe you
need to look at sulfate reducing
bacteria so there’s a whole line of
tests that just do things like that so
my challenge for you
is be comfortable understand the dip
slide that you use day to day but
understand all the other things that are
out there so when you want to deeper
dive into the system that you’re charged
with taking care of you know all the
tools that are available to you
one nation as i say on each and every
pinks and blues these are my favorite
episodes to do because this is where you
are asking me questions and i’m making
sure that i’m giving you information
that you can take and you can teach
other people you can talk with your
customers about and when we are
delivering better information to each
other to our customers everybody is able
to make better decisions
and the water treatment industry just
gets better because of that so thank you
again for that question
scouting up nation many of you were at
the association of water technologies
convention just last week and many of
you stuck around for saturday so you
could hear what is going on with our
supply chain simply put are we going to
be able to get products in a few months
are we going to be able to afford those
products in a few months what’s going to
happen over the next quarter and how can
we better prepare ourselves to make sure
we make the right decisions now so we
can stay in business
when that comes well unfortunately that
segment was cancelled but don’t worry we
are going to have panelists on a special
zoom call that you are invited to and we
are going to be discussing the state of
raw materials on october
14th at 5 00 pm eastern time i will be
joined with mike standish of radical
polymers with jill cavano of scranton
associates john zabrida of zybax and
gary garcia of masters company
these individuals are going to let us
know what they are seeing in the
marketplace and let us know what we need
to know so we can make the right
decisions now there will also be an
opportunity for you to ask them
questions so you know what you need to
do
to register for this very informative
round table go to scaling up h2o.com
forward slash update again that date is
going to be october 14th at 5 00 pm
eastern time make sure you join so you
are in the know
something that i’ve received tremendous
comments over people saying that they
can’t wait for the next james’s
challenge because they know they’re
becoming a better water treater each
challenge each week so here is another
james’s challenge
[Music]
hello scaling up nation the next james’s
challenge as we grow as an industrial
water treatment professional drop by
drop is
[Music]
industrial water week you’ve earned it
the fourth annual industrial water week
is october 4th through 8th remember each
day has a theme with pre-treatment
monday boiler tuesday cooling wednesday
wastewater thursday and careers friday
this is probably the easiest james’s
challenge yet because who doesn’t like
industrial water treatment right
so get out there and celebrate what you
do what we do how we make the world a
better place for our neighbors our
families and even ourselves
be sure to share your experience on
linkedin by tagging it not only with
hashtag jc21 a hashtag scaling up h2o
but also with hashtag iww21
this is james mcdonald and i look
forward to seeing what you share
nation next week is industrial water
week a brand new episode each and every
day i can’t wait to celebrate with you
but in the meantime have a great week
and i’ll see you on monday
[Music]
nation the mastermind is wildly
successful and the only thing missing is
you go to scaling up h2o.com forward
slash mastermind to see if this is the
group that you have been waiting for and
the group that can push you to your next
level of success