Measurement in the Marine Environment
Marine environment calls for specialized sensors, methodologies and in-situ sensing capabilities. Since Navy operates in the marine environment, specialized sensing capabilities field of the biological, imaging, and optical, populations and electro-chemical approaches are given special attending. This session is devoted to the sensors and measurements in the marine environment as they pertain to the NAVY applications.
Iryna P. Dzieciuch, Scientist, SPAWAR Systems Pacific
Organizer and Contact Information
Navy Total Copper Analyzer Instrument for Real Time Measurement of Copper Concentrations in Situ
Copper is a high-profile ubiquitous contaminant, found in numerous point and non-point source effluents, including those generated by activities from shipyards. Because copper is highly toxic to larval organisms, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers this heavy metal a priority pollutant, and it’s discharge is under regulatory control. While concentrations in ambient waters are regulated as the dissolved fraction (i.e., filtered through 0.45 micrometer [μm] pore-size filter), regulation of effluents is done on the total recoverable fraction (i.e., unfiltered, acidified to pH 2.0 and digested).
Regulation of the discharge of copper in effluents is done on the total recoverable fraction, often at the single-digit μg L-1 level. Effluent copper regulation in dry docks is implemented through National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits. These permits typically allow the discharge of effluents with concentrations ranging from tens of μg L-1 to single digit μg L-1, as evidenced by the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits issued to Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. It is likely that these regulatory levels will be lowered in future permits.
Monitoring and treatment of the effluents are needed in order to comply with future permit requirements. Once the concentration in the effluent exceeds the permitted values, the effluent should not be discharged to the environment, but diverted for treatment. For example, most fixed dry docks are equipped with storm and process water collection systems to control the discharge of water generated from the dry docks. Depending on guidelines set by the regulatory permits, the collection system either discharges the wastewater directly into the surrounding marine environment or diverts it to a treatment system. A rapid characterization of the effluent is needed in order to optimize both the management of the discharge, and reduction of the operational costs of the installation. The traditional approach for the evaluation of total recoverable copper includes the collection and measurement of discrete samples of the effluent, an expensive process that takes several days. There is a need for a real-time continuous measurement of total recoverable copper, which has not been available, until now. The prototype presented in this paper, developed for the Navy, gives an opportunity to continuously measure effluent in-situ. It consists of chemical and physical treatment; performing acidification, and digestion of copper particles with an ultrasonic probe, measuring of conductivity, salinity, pH and temperature of the digested copper samples. From this data the total copper is calculated and continuously displayed on a monitor in real-time.
The development of the instrument has been challenging. The whole process of continuous measurements required regular automated calibration of each sensor while the system was in operation. The detection limits of total copper was required to be below 4 μg L-1, and accuracy to be within ±10% of the actual value, making this a precise highly- sensitive instrument. This technology, will allow greater confidence in determining the sources of pollution discharge in dry docks and the efficacy of process changes in dry dock operations to reduce the level of total copper.
Ms. Iryna Dzieciuich has received her M.S in Bioinformatics from San Diego State University with focus in metagenomic analysis of bacterial community and M.S. in Computer Science from Polytechnic Institute, with a focus in Artificial Intelligence. Ms. Dzieciuch has participated as Principal Investigator on several projects in areas supporting science, including: researching capabilities of small UUV swarms for use in IMPACT software, developing on copper analyzer project for monitoring dry dock effluents using chemo-sensing capabilities. The inclusion of the copper analyzer into the discharge system will provide a cost effective and relatively simple means of characterizing the copper concentration variance due to the implementation of BMPs or future treatment systems resulting in significant savings in operational cost. Ms. Dzieciuch has also participated as a co-investigator on projects, including: developing bio-buoy system for monitoring of amounts of bioluminescent algae plume and developing automated object detection algorithms. She has co-authored more then 30 publications in the areas of microwave detectors, image processing, AI algorithms, and E/O sensors.