About Mickley & Associates

Background & Experience (test)

Mickley & Associates is a Boulder, Colorado-based consulting science and engineering firm specializing in water and wastewater applications of separation and treatment technology.

We offer a wide range of services, from research and development through permitting of effluent stream disposal. We can assist in one specific area or provide ongoing assistance through months and years of program development. Our strong research and development capabilities combined with traditional engineering have proven attractive for clients considering:

  • Feasibility studies
  • Evaluation and selection of processing alternatives
  • Process research and development
  • Lab-scale, bench-scale, and pilot performance studies necessary for evaluation, demonstration, and scale-up
  • Membrane and process technology
  • Environmental assessments and evaluations
  • Industry surveys
  • Waste recycling, reuse, and disposal
  • NPDES permitting
  • Master planning of technical projects
  • Technical problem solving through study, testing, and analysis

Our associates bring their particular areas of expertise, making Mickley & Associates an association of consulting scientists and engineers with decades of experience and relatively low operating and overhead costs.

A major area of focus has been membrane and process technology. We have researched, developed, tested, and evaluated membrane products (membranes, devices, and systems), as well as designed pilot and full-sized systems and supported their permitting and startup. Since membrane systems are frequently interfaced with other treatment steps in hybrid processes, we are necessarily experienced with a wide range of water and wastewater treatment technologies, including innovative new technologies. We have developed expertise in the disposal of membrane concentrate and other waste products.

As a reflection of our work focus, of our last 30 projects:

  • 19 have been membrane-related
  • 13 have involved laboratory research (on our part)
  • 9 have performed feasibility studies
  • 7 have developed reference books or documents
  • 7 have developed software
  • 3 have conducted industry-wide surveys
Dr. Michael Mickley's Membrane and Desalination background and experience


Dr. Mickley has over 34 years of experience in the field of membrane and desalination technology, beginning with thesis work for graduate degrees. This experience ranges from the theoretical to the practical and includes research, development and manufacturing experiences with both products and processes, consulting, giving invited presentations in the U.S. and Europe, and the teaching of a graduate school course in membrane technology.

Graduate School -- This work at the University of Colorado was in connection with the use of membranes in the biomedical industry.

  • Master's Thesis - concerned with the mathematical modeling of an artificial kidney membrane device.
  • Doctoral Thesis - involved the theoretical modeling of mass transport through synthetic membranes and the experimental determination of concentration gradients and fluxes through membranes using a laser interferometer.

Cobe Laboratories -- In 1976, Dr. Mickley began working with Cobe Laboratories of Lakewood, Colorado, a medical device company whose products included hollow fiber and flat plate membrane artificial kidneys.

  • As process controller of the hollow fiber artificial kidney manufacturing process, Dr. Mickley performed a design optimization of the product, developed quality control procedures, and improved the manufacturing yield.
    As manager of Advanced Projects Department, he had full technical responsibilities for the development of a new product line - a system of hardware and software devices for continuous separation of plasma from blood by means of microporous membrane technology and centrifuge technology.
  • In the same position, he had full responsibility for a membrane development program aimed at the in-house manufacture of less expensive, high quality membranes for several Cobe products. He developed a new cellulose solvent system for use in membrane production, cast flat sheet membranes and spun hollow fiber membranes at a laboratory scale.

Coury and Associates -- In 1980, Dr. Mickley began work at this small engineering services and consulting company whose work included process research and design for the geothermal, desalination, water treatment and energy industries. Most of the work did not involve membranes per se, but much of it involved water treatment.

  • Developed selective ultrafiltration process that utilized complexing agents to modify transport properties of selected solutes for their removal and recovery.
  • Determined mechanisms and conditions under which silica scales reverse osmosis membrane devices.

Mickley & Associates -- Since the formation of Mickley & Associates in 1984, several projects have involved membranes.

  • Development of proprietary techniques for modifying surfaces of membranes.
  • Taught graduate chemical engineering course in membrane technology; sponsored by both the University of Colorado and the National Bureau of Standards.
  • Consulted for a large mining and mineral company on the cleanup of wastewaters for recovery of metals and the reuse of water.
  • Consulted for large California power company on treatment of contaminated groundwaters.
  • Three contracts with the USDA on the modification of membrane surfaces for membrane processing of irrigation runoff waters.
  • One contract with DOE on developing surface modified membranes for softening applications.
  • Consulted for major biotechnology company on the use of and cost of membrane processing in separation and purification schemes.
  • Worked with National Bureau of Standards on a project involving the research and development and possible commercialization of a unique type of membrane.
  • Served as member of the ASTM Committee E-48 on Biotechnology; developing standards in membrane separation of bioproducts.
  • Served on several thesis committees for graduate students in the Chemical Engineering Department at University of Colorado for work involving membranes.
  • Principal Investigator on 2-year study to address issues concerning the disposal of membrane concentrate waste, for the American Water Works Association Research Foundation (AWWARF). Resulted in book, Membrane Concentrate Disposal.
  • Evaluated feasibility of new membrane product ideas for leading ion chromatographic manufacturer.
  • Conducted research (NSF SBIR contract) to develop low-fouling ultrafiltration membranes.
  • Conducted pre due diligence study evaluating technology, market, and staff of membrane/membrane device company being considered for possible purchase by major company.
  • Provided R&D services for a major producer and washer of aluminum cans for the development of a new detergent system complete with membrane process recovery of detergent and recycle of process waters.
  • Providing consulting services for diagnosing membrane performance problems with commercial membrane systems. Tasks include water analysis, analysis of scaling and fouling potential, analysis of operating records, membrane wet tests, membrane autopsy, and analysis of foulants/scalants.
  • Investigated feasibility of using ultrafiltration and microfiltration ahead of reverse osmosis as a pretreatment step for various wastewater applications.
  • Developed small membrane area tests for determination of fouling characteristics due to irreversible fouling.
  • Offered training sessions for operations personnel of membrane treatment plants.
  • Assisted several Florida membrane drinking water plants in their permitting efforts dealing with membrane concentrate discharge to surface waters.
  • Won the award for best poster presentation at the 1994 Biennial Conference and Exposition of the American Desalting Association held at Palm Beach, Florida. The poster was entitled "The Usefulness of Networking in the Design and Operation of Membrane Plants."
  • Keynote speaker at the International Water Supply Association workshop on Membranes in Drinking water Production held in Paris on March 27 - 29, 1995. Presentation was entitled "Regulation and Disposal of Membrane Concentrate in the United States."
  • Co-chair of membrane concentrate disposal workshop at AWWA Membrane Technology Conference held in Reno, Nevada, August 1995. Four presentations: two at workshops and two at conference sessions. Titles include: "Promoting the Benefits of Membrane-Produced Drinking Water" and "Membrane Concentrate and Common Ion Toxicity"
  • (August, 1995) contract from American Water Works Association Research Foundation (AWWARF) to study of common ion toxicity in membrane concentrates
  • (October, 1995) consulting work for VBB Viak, Stockholm, Sweden in area of membrane concentrate disposal.
  • (November, 1995) gave several presentations as part of a pollution prevention workshop in San Jose, Costa Rica
  • (February, 1996) Invited presentation at the American Water Works Association Research Foundation (AWWARF) Tampa Technology Transfer Conference: Meeting The Management Challenge Through Research. February 8-9, 1996. Tampa."
  • (April, 1996) Contributing author to Technology Transfer Handbook: Management of Water Treatment Plant Residuals. April 1996. EPA/626/R-95/008. ASCE and AWWA.
  • (May, 1996) Invited presentation at "The Role of Membrane Technology for Water Quality Improvement" workshop at Ben Gurion University, Beer-Sheva, Israel, May 8-9, 1996.
  • (December/January 1997) consulting work for Black & Veatch, Gaithersburg, Maryland on reviewing disposal options for membrane-based plant planned to treat effluent from computer chip manufacturing plant.
  • (February, 1997) Presentation entitled "Essential Ion Toxicity in Membrane Concentrates" given at American Water Works Association (AWWA) Membrane Conference, New Orleans.
  • (October, 1997) Invited presentation for the annual meeting of the States Association of Drinking Water Administrators in Savannah. Topic in membrane concentrate disposal and toxicity issues.
  • 1997-1999 Consulting work for various Florida drinking water utilities dealing with membrane concentrate disposal to surface waters.
  • (September, 1998) Outstanding Paper Presentation award given for presentation given at 1998 American Desalting Association North American Biennial Conference & Exposition, Williamsburg, Virginia, August 5.
  • (Ongoing October, 1998) grant from Bureau of Reclamation to conduct an in-depth survey (with emphasis on waste disposal practices) of all membrane drinking water and wastewater facilities in the US as well as all public and private thermal desalination plants in the US; regulations affecting concentrate disposal will be reviewed on a state-by-state basis; disposal issues will be identified and discussed
  • (November, 1998) consulting work for contractor to Los Alamos National Laboratories on disposal of membrane concentrate
  • (November, 1998) Invited presentation in the United Kingdom to IChemE Water Subject Group Meeting entitled "RO Membrane Concentrates," November 23, Nottingham.
  • (1999) Development of broad laboratory protocol to allow definition of all causes of toxicity that might be present in membrane concentrate; this will supplement EPA TIES and Florida protocols
  • (February, 1999) Invited presentation given in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida for the AWWARF Technology Transfer Conference entitled "Advancing the Science of Water: Research Solutions to Treatment, Distribution, and Management Problems."
  • (March, 1999) Bureau of Reclamation grant being extended to include task of gathering cost information associated with concentrate disposal.
     
  • (Ongoing) consulting work for Black & Veatch, Las Vegas, Nevada on definition and evaluation of thermal desalination technologies for treatment of membrane concentrate and production of drinking water, and on disposal of any resulting waste streams; part of Research and Development of the Saline Shallow Aquifer in the Southeastern Las Vegas Valley; project funded by Southern Nevada Water Authority. 4/00

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........................................Phone: 303/499-3133...Fax: 303/499-5305 ....www.mickleyassoc.com