Filtering for the future

The Aries Managed Air Systems is proving beneficial to customers in terms of cost savings and operation efficiency.

While buzz words such as unique, cost-savings, value and revolutionary are bandied about freely in technology, the Aries Managed Air System is a product touted to abide by its claims.

Developed in the US by the Roberts Filter Group and distributed throughout the UK solely by GB Filters, the Aries system is said to be a low-maintenance, energy-saving and cost-effective device, with the capability to transform Britain's water filtration processes.

The system has the potential to conserve backwashed water as well as producing a more efficient backwash so the filter stays online for longer.

For a traditional water only backwash system to be converted into an air-water combination, a considerable amount of civil engineering work is required, which normally results in having to replace the entire media within the filter.

The Aries system can be installed inexpensively and without disturbing the filter media or having to resort to civil engineering work.

The system requires only half of the air to operate, 2.5 FCFM, compared with the traditional combined air-water under-drains that need 5 FCFM.

Customers who have installed Aries into their water only systems have reported an improved online time, due to a more efficient and even backwash process; an extended media life; and water savings of between 30% and 70%.

One customer, Gary Alt, is a water superintendent for the California Water Service Company (CWSC). Commenting on the effectiveness of the Aries system, he says: "We've doubled our run times and reduced backwash consumption by 50%."

Conserving energy
Due to the design, installation of the Aries system can be easily accomplished, without the need for under-drain modifications or replacements, thereby making the process a simple and straightforward procedure.

Essentially, the Aries components are clipped together and placed into the filter system thereby allowing companies to convert a single filter from a water only under-drain to an air and water system within days, while saving money in the process.

The Aries system produces an even air distribution across the filter bed, a more thorough backwash is achieved which removes the potential for air hammer within the under-drains. These can lead to joint breakages within the under-drain itself and cavities in the gravel which cause the filter sand to enter into the drain itself.

Commenting on the ease of installation, Ron Mitchell, managing director of GB Filters, says: "To add air into a sand filter, without the Aries Managed Air System, is a major construction job. However, the system allows companies to add air scour easily, cheaply and with the minimum of inconvenience.

"It is simply installed by assembling the system on top of the sand; the filter is then backwashed, fluidising the bed. The weight of the Aries results in it sinking to the bottom of the bed until it comes to rest on the gravel surface.

"The Aries pipework itself is kept in place in the filter by the supply air pipe leading to the blower. This pipe is simply bolted on to the side of the filter wall, which completes the installation."

The benefit of the system is that there is no change within the filtering process. Aries optimises the procedure while conserving energy, water, time and money, regardless of the size of the filter. In fact, for larger filters it is possible to have two or three separate Aries Managed Air Systems with their own air supply pipes.

Given the system's flexibility and cost-saving attributes, it has already attracted the attention of the UK water companies and their contractors.

With the majority of the UK's water companies currently using sand filters with water-only under-drains "it can easily be seen as to why Aries has created such interest", says Mitchell. To be able to gain proven benefits of air and water backwashing without major civil engineering work and media losses is a major benefit.

Mitchell says: "The water companies, of late, have found themselves increasingly under pressure to take considerable steps with regards to conserving water; especially, in the midst of rising pressure from the government and the media alike.

"Clearly, the Aries Managed Air System is a cost-effective procedure which has the potential to aid water conservation at the same time as improving filter performance and because of this we anticipate a surge of interest."

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