EPA’s Homeland Security Research Program (HSRP) aims to increase the United States’ capabilities to prepare for and respond to environmental disasters involving chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear substances (CBRN). As part of this effort, EPA researchers develop scientific data, methods, and tools that can be used by various stakeholders, including laboratories and on-scene coordinators, to increase the effectiveness of response.
Nutrients in the environment from excess nitrogen and phosphorous can result in negative impacts on water quality. EPA is improving nutrient management by incentivizing the development of low-cost technology solutions, such as nutrient sensors, in collaboration with USGS, USDA, NIST, NOAA, and the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS).
To make informed decisions about how to limit exposure to cyanotoxins, utilities need information to select and implement a comprehensive and technically sound management approach. The Water Research Foundation (WRF) has been actively involved in developing effective innovative solutions to help utilities address this challenge and protect public health.
August and September are peak months for harmful blooms of algae in western Lake Erie. This year’s outbreak covered more than 620 square miles by mid-August. These blooms, which can kill fish and pets and threaten public health, are driven mainly by agricultural pollution and increasingly warm waters due to climate change.
More public and private resources than ever are being directed to protecting and preserving aquatic ecosystems and watersheds. Whether mandated for land development, farming, or in response to the growing severity and number of natural disasters, scientists from Drexel University found evidence that decades of watershed restoration and mitigation projects have taken place, but their impact is mostly perceived.
Denver Water and engineering partners resolve major water quality challenge in crucial South Platte River exchange reservoirs.
University of Miami professors who study water treatment and civil engineering say that water contamination issues point to human error.
Recently, Denver Water’s board approved its proposed “Lead Reduction Program Plan” to fully replace the estimated 75,000 lead service lines (LSLs) in their system within 15 years. The plan is an innovative solution that will remove the primary source of lead within Denver Water’s system, while avoiding the use of orthophosphate that can further exacerbate nutrient pollution problems in rivers, streams, and oceans.
Wildfire is a natural part of many ecosystems, but recently these fires have become more severe, burning more acres and causing destruction in the western parts of the United States. Recently, U.S. EPA researchers have begun to look at the impact of these fires on our water supply, the natural resource we depend on for drinking, irrigation, fishing, and recreation.
Harmful algal blooms are a significant concern for many communities across the U.S. These blooms occur when cyanobacteria grow out of control in fresh and marine waters, often because of excess phosphorus and nitrogen from stormwater runoff and other sources such as fertilizers entering the water.
When a company stakes its reputation on delivering innovative technologies, products, and services, the specter of a changing regulatory landscape is considered more an opportunity than an obstacle. In this Water Talk interview, Mirka Wilderer, CEO of De Nora Water Technologies, discusses varying topics such as pharmaceuticals and nutrients in wastewater, the synergy of the company’s new MIOX and Neptune acquisitions, and how to address the growing concern over chlorate disinfection byproducts (DBPs) in drinking water. For example, De Nora’s new ClorTec Gen III onsite hypochlorite generators generate up to 3,000 lbs./day of chlorine-based disinfectants while reducing chlorate formation and cutting operating costs by 15 percent as compared to previously available models.
The challenges of complying with the Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) and other emerging regulations in a post-Flint world are high-priority for a variety of organizations — from government agencies, to public water systems, to individual facilities such as schools. This Water Talk discussion with Megan Glover of 120 Water Audit addresses the scope and execution of those challenges. It covers everything from providing point-of-use testing kits for sampling individual water spigots to managing overall Safe Drinking Water Act and LCR compliance through cloud-based software. Most important, it gives context to practical solutions for the many utilities and facilities coping with some level of lead exceedance.
With ever-growing demand for water resources, the reuse discussion has been building for years. More utilities are considering it, policy is being created around it, and new technologies are making it more efficient. To better understand the evolving landscape, Water Talk sat down with Brown and Caldwell's regional One Water leader, Allegra da Silva.
The U.S. EPA is gearing up to limit perchlorate in public drinking water systems, so municipalities should start preparing to adopt the appropriate testing and treatment technologies. In a recent report, the agency identified several technologies as the best available to address the perchlorate problem.
When I attended the U.S. EPA-hosted PFAS Summit held at the Horsham, PA high school auditorium on July 25, 2018, the education I received from state and municipal leaders focusing on the local problem was more than just a professional briefing. It was ominously personal, due to the fact that the Water Online editorial office where I work and drink water every day is served by a utility sitting smack-dab in the middle of one of the most concentrated PFAS hotspots in the U.S.
Secondary metabolites of algae — including algal toxins and taste and odor compounds triggered by a harmful algal bloom — can find their way into source water, creating the risk that they will ultimately reach the water treatment plant to cause water-quality problems. Here is a checklist of considerations for mitigating those effects through cost-effective oxidation, or combined oxidization processes, across a variety of source water conditions.
With the proliferation of new sensors and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) initiatives now feeding SCADA systems, water industry managers lament how they are drowning in a sea of data yet starving for insights that really matter. With concepts like data democratization starting to bear fruit, advanced analytical capabilities are creating new opportunities for water insights without requiring a degree in computer science.
The use of chlorine to treat and disinfect drinking water and wastewater has been in practice for decades, with the earliest recorded attempt dating all the way back to 1893. Since then, it has come a long way.
The documented performance of ion exchange (IX) resins for treating per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) offers new opportunities for more practical solutions in many applications. IX has demonstrated its ability to reduce both capital and operating costs compared to the conventional granular activated carbon (GAC) treatment approach.
Advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) has received a lot of attention in recent years, typically regarding customer account billing. Other AMI uses within water distribution networks, however, can play equally important roles in reducing non-revenue water (NRW). Consider these contributions of networked flow meter use for automating better insights into water distribution efficiency.
While more prevalent in certain states, 1,4-dioxane has been detected in the groundwater sources of public water systems across the country. This synthetic chemical has been deemed hazardous to humans by the U.S. EPA and could potentially impact tens of millions of people. The upside is that municipalities have options to address the contaminant. Using a trusted partner can allow them to optimize technologies and process flow to achieve the best results at the lowest cost.
Proficiency Testing (PT) is the name used by the International Standards Organization for a procedure also known as “inter-laboratory study” or “external quality assessment” or “ring test”. Proficiency testing, in simple terms, comprises a sample sent to a group of laboratories for measurement. The labs know what might be in the sample, but they don’t know exactly what is there or the concentration. Their results are compared with the known or true value and the lab is assigned a “Z” score to show how closely their result came to the target.
There is little doubt about the importance of taking turbidity readings as part of drinking water treatment. However, there are certain misperceptions about the associated requirements and procedures needed to confirm the validity of those readings. The major points of confusion seem to revolve around perception of the terms “approved,” “calibration,” and “validation.” Here is a quick synopsis on what you really need to know about meeting U.S. EPA Method 180.1: Determination of Turbidity by Nephelometry for accurate turbidity readings.
Water utilities rely on accurate and dependable flow measurement for critical process controls. Regulatory agencies also require flow monitoring and reporting, with specific accuracy limits.
Most agree that Oregon, with its breathtaking mountains and rugged coastline, is a scenic wonder. Yet the geologic forces that make it so spectacular also make it one of the most earthquake-prone spots in the country.
Water utilities around the country are trying to get a handle on their PFAS problem. While the presence of legacy PFAS is well known, lesser understood replacements such as short-chain PFAS are emerging as a major issue. The short-chain compounds are particularly important because they can be more difficult to remove. In this Water Talk interview, Adam Redding, technical director for drinking water solutions for Calgon Carbon, discusses the science and economics behind effective solutions for treating water for short-chain PFAS and other contaminants.
Large-scale water-reuse treatment plants have had sustainable impact in populated areas where the volume of water to be treated and reused in a concentrated area makes them practical. Today, the flat-sheet membrane aerated biofilm reactor (MABR) technology that is delivering high-quality wastewater treatment to remote locations is poised to realize the promise of sustainable water reuse in those same locations.
The stated mandate of regulatory authorities (e.g. the FDA) and pharmacopeias (e.g. USP) is to establish and monitor safety, efficacy, and quality of manufactured drug products. This article examines the role of those authorities on quality during production processes.
Our environment is rife with testimonials to the law of unintended consequences. When it comes to water treatment, the compound 1,2,3-trichloropropane (TCP) is the latest surprise making its way through the remediation lifecycle.
Spectrophotometry is a well-established analytical method, which has been used for decades in chemistry, physics, biochemistry, and chemical engineering for quantitative analyses.
As technology improves, contaminants can be measured in ever-smaller quantities. Pollutants formerly undetected are now becoming emerging contaminants of concern. Water utility managers must stay abreast of potential new regulations and plan for ways to address these contaminants.
Fresh water sources around the globe are becoming increasingly stressed due to population growth, industry use, and changing climate patterns. These stresses drive the need to make the most out of every drop of water available. Water treatment systems inherently produce a waste stream that contains contaminants removed during the treatment process. This waste stream can often constitute 20-30% of the total water fed to the treatment system, representing a significant loss of a precious resource both in human and economic terms. Minimizing this waste stream is a key part of the solution to solving the water crisis for both industry and people.