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Busetti F.,Curtin Water Quality Research Center | Berwick L.,Organic and Isotope Geochemistry Center | McDonald S.,Curtin Water Quality Research Center | Heitz A.,Curtin University Australia | And 3 more authors.
Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research | Year: 2014

Organic matter in Bayer liquor from an alumina production facility in Australia was characterized in terms of its molecular weight distribution and molecular structure using a suite of complementary chromatographic, spectroscopic, and thermal and chemical degradation methods. The organic matter was characterized using high-performance size-exclusion chromatography with UV-vis detection (HPSEC-UV), Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, and solid-state 13C nuclear magnetic resonance (13C NMR) spectroscopy. These techniques provided information on the apparent molecular weight distribution of the organic matter contained in the Bayer liquor, its alkyl/aromatic characteristics, and the presence of specific functional groups. The techniques of microscale sealed vessel (MSSV) pyrolysis-gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), flash pyrolysis-GC-MS, and online tetramethylammonium hydroxide (TMAH) thermochemolysis-GC-MS provided detailed information at a molecular level. Information on individual low-molecular-weight organic acids in the sample was also obtained using liquid chromatography- tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS-MS). The novelty of this work is the molecular identification of nitrogen compounds, pyridines, pyrenes, quinolones, benzoquinolines, indoles, carbazoles, bipyridines, and phenylpyridines that derive from organic matter in the bauxite or its transformation products. The results from the other analysis techniques largely confirm the high aromatic content of the liquor, with varying degrees of alkyl (predominantly methyl), carboxylic, ketone, nitrile, and hydroxyl substitution. Aromatic acids were found to be abundant, although they were poorly detected using pyrolysis methods, highlighting the importance of using a suite of complementary techniques for the analysis of Bayer liquor samples. © 2014 American Chemical Society.

Bradshaw R.,Cranfield University | Gormley A.M.,Cranfield University | Charrois J.W.,Curtin Water Quality Research Center | Hrudey S.E.,University of Alberta | And 3 more authors.
Water Science and Technology: Water Supply | Year: 2011

Do water utilities exhibit characteristics of high organisational reliability? Here, the reported characteristics of high reliability organisations (HROs) were explored within a regional water utility, and specifically within their incident response team. We found the utility well positioned to manage incidents and that many HRO principles were identifiable as management practice under these trying conditions. The observance of HRO principles contributed to the resilience of the organisation and toward the maintenance of a safe and reliable drinking water supply. An investigation of technical reliability in the system showed that the utility invested heavily in automated monitoring and control systems and took a differentiated, risk-based approach towards resource allocation to that of HROs, which maintain existing technology with zero tolerance of defective, substandard or malfunctioning equipment. © 2011 IWA Publishing.

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