Water Technology / Treatment

  • WaterThe quality of the U.S. groundwater

    About 115 million people — more than one-third of the U.S. population — rely on groundwater for drinking water. As the U.S. population grows, the need for high-quality drinking-water supplies becomes even more urgent. The recently completed USGS’s national summary report of the quality of the Nation’s groundwater is now available online. Nine associated reports (USGS circulars) detail regional-scale assessments of groundwater quality in about thirty of the most heavily used principal aquifers across the United States.

  • WaterFunding water projects in times of financial uncertainty

    Currently, water projects in California are partly funded with municipal bonds, some of which must be approved by voters. A new analysis produced by Stanford University’s Water in the West Program provides a blueprint for overhauling the way California funds water infrastructure and innovation projects. The analysis recommends small per-usage fee — known as a public goods charge (PGC) — as appropriate way to pay for proper management of resources.

  • WaterRemoving iron from contaminated water

    High concentrations of dissolved iron from abandoned coal mines in Pennsylvania have been contaminating some of the Pennsylvania’s streams and rivers for many years, potentially affecting aquatic habitats and drinking water for millions of residents. To combat this problem, a team of Penn State researchers has proposed a method to eliminate much of the iron before it reaches the waterways.

  • DroughtsWarming pushes Western U.S. toward driest period in 1,000 years

    Study warns of unprecedented risk of drought in twenty-first century. Today, eleven of the past fourteen years have been drought years in much of the American West, including California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Arizona and across the Southern Plains to Texas and Oklahoma. The current drought directly affects more than sixty-four million people in the Southwest and Southern Plains, and many more are indirectly affected because of the impacts on agricultural regions. A new study predicts that during the second half of the twenty-first century, the U.S. Southwest and Great Plains will face persistent drought worse than anything seen in times ancient or modern, with the drying conditions “driven primarily” by human-induced global warming.

  • Water & superbugThe water industry needs to join the fight against superbugs

    By Peter Fisher and Peter Collignon

    The fight against antibiotic-resistant bacteria — so-called “superbugs” — is a huge challenge, one that the World Health Organization has described as a grave global problem. The problem of antibiotic resistance is being exacerbated worldwide by the pollution of waste water with leftover drugs, providing breeding grounds for resistant bacteria and their genes. The problem can persist for years, constantly refreshed by new discharges of both drugs and of resistant bacteria themselves, shed by people and animals. It is time for the health and water industries to strike a bargain. Health professionals need to be aware of the need for pharmaceuticals to be managed as organic and persistent pollutants. Tackling hot spots in “source control” such as hospitals and clinics could make significant inroads on the amount of waste drugs entering treatment plants. The water industry should ensure that treatment plants are operating under optimal conditions and that the older ones are either replaced or upgraded.

  • WaterDangerous levels of arsenic found in many U.S. wells

    Naturally occurring arsenic in private wells threatens people in many U.S. states and parts of Canada, according to new studies. The studies, focused mainly on New England but applicable elsewhere, say private wells present continuing risks due to almost nonexistent regulation in most states, homeowner inaction, and inadequate mitigation measures. The reports also shed new light on the geologic mechanisms behind the contamination. The studies come amid new evidence that even low doses of arsenic may reduce IQ in children, in addition to well documented risks of heart disease, cancer, and reduced lung function.

  • WaterInvention slows water evaporation, generates energy

    A new technology offers a positive environmental impact by slowing the evaporation of water from bodies of water such as mining tailings ponds and reservoirs, while simultaneously generating solar energy. The invention, called Hexocover, consists of floating hexagonal plastic panels that sandwich 4-inch balls linked together to form a cover to prevent evaporation. The panel design addresses the need for mobility through the inclusion of a propulsion system as well as GPS, so the panels can be built to be remotely configurable. Further, when configured with solar cells, the panels can generate electricity.

  • WaterChina’s water stress to worsen with transfer initiatives

    New research paints a grim picture for the future of China’s water supply, as its booming economy continues to heap pressure on its natural resources. The study determined that water stress is only partially mitigated by China’s current two-pronged approach: physical water transfers to water-depleted regions, including the major South-North water transfer projects, or the “virtual” water embodied in traded products between regions and countries.

  • WaterProject cuts phosphorus levels in river

    A 7-year pilot project in the 12,000-acre Pleasant Valley subwatershed of the Pecatonica River in southwestern Wisconsin has helped to reduce the amount of phosphorus and sediment entering the river after major storms by more than a third. The project involved changing practices on just ten of the valley’s sixty-one farms. Certain practices, such as reducing tillage and planting crops that leave more residue to protect the soil, caused the estimated annual amounts of phosphorus and sediment entering the river to drop by 4,400 pounds and 1,300 tons, respectively.

  • California waterL.A. water supply vulnerable to disruption by earthquakes

    Eighty-eight percent of Los Angeles’s water comes from the Colorado River, Owens Valley, and the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, passing through three major aqueducts and into the region. The aqueducts cross the San Andreas Fault a total of thirty-two times, making them vulnerable to the much anticipated Big One.A large temblor on the fault could destroy sections of the aqueducts, cutting off the water supply for more than twenty-two million people in Southern California.

  • California waterIt will take 11 trillion gallons to replenish California drought losses: NASA

    Since 2011, the Sacramento and San Joaquin river basins decreased in volume by four trillion gallons of water each year (fifteen cubic kilometers). This is more water than California’s thirty-eight million residents use each year for domestic and municipal purposes. About two-thirds of the loss is due to depletion of groundwater beneath California’s Central Valley. It will take about eleven trillion gallons of water (forty-two cubic kilometers) — around 1.5 times the maximum volume of the largest U.S. reservoir — to recover from California’s continuing drought, according to a new analysis of NASA satellite data.

  • WaterWater’s role in the rise and fall of the Roman Empire

    The Roman Empire, stretching over three continents and persisting for many centuries, was home to an estimated seventy million people. In such a vast area ensuring a stable food supply was no easy task, particularly given the variable and arid climate of the Mediterranean region. Smart agricultural practices and an extensive grain-trade network enabled the Romans to thrive in the water-limited environment of the Mediterranean, a new study shows. The stable food supply brought about by these measures, however, promoted population growth and urbanization, pushing the Empire closer to the limits of its food resources.

  • InfrastructureNimble robot expedites, simplifies water pipe inspections

    See video

    Between 30 and 50 percent of Europe’s drinking water are being lost every year due to pipe leakages. Norwegian researchers have developed an inspection methodology for water distribution grids. A long, torpedo-like and propeller-driven robot is guided through the water and district heating pipe systems. It is equipped with sixty-four large ultrasound transducers which transmit and receive ultrasound signals. It collects data which enable us calculate the thickness of, and levels of corrosion in, the pipes.

  • WaterDebate over California’s Salton Sea rescue plan coming to a head

    The California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) is currently reviewing a plan to arrest the deterioration of the Salton Sea, a shallow, saline lake which runs along the state’s Imperial and Coachella valleys above the San Andreas Fault. The Salton Sea was inadvertently created by engineers with the California Development Company when they cut off a series of canals in an effort to manage river flooding between 1904 to 1906. It has since been a popular vacation destination.

  • WaterA solution to the U.S. water problem: People who use more water, pay more

    Approximately one-third of the United States is in at least a moderate state of drought. Exacerbating the drought is a rapidly increasing population. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates the country’s population will balloon from nearly 310 million in 2010 to more than 420 million in 2060. Experts say that current levels of water consumption cannot continue. One expert says that seasonally adjusted increasing block rates could be the answer. In short, people who use more water, pay more.