London “Super Sewer” Approved

The Government has given the go-ahead to start building London’s ‘super sewer’ which will tackle the sewage pollution in to the tidal River Thames.

The 25km tunnel will run underground from Acton storm tanks in West London, and travel roughly the line underneath the river to Abbey Mills Pumping Station in East London, where it will connect to the Lee Tunnel.

The sewage collected from the 34 most polluting discharge points along the tidal river in Central London, will then be taken via the Lee Tunnel to Beckton sewage works for treatment.

Last year, 55 million tonnes of sewage polluted the tidal River Thames, far higher than the average 39 million tonnes that discharges in a typical year. (more…)

 

The Pure Water Occasional for October 20, 2014

In this mid-October Occasional, you’ll hear about the dramatic re-curving of the Kissimmee River, the worst drought ever, the prestigious Water Tank of the Year award, the political wrangling over the Passaic River, and the arsenic problem in Bangladesh.  Then there’s Pratt & Whitney pollution in Florida, leaky oil tankers in Seattle, acid draining rock, Boyan Stat’s war on plastic, the environmental perils of deep sea gold mining, the forfeiture of maritime zones by drowning islands, and Dr. Bronner’s ads that were turned down by scientific publications.  Learn how BPA pollutes the air as well as water, how smog adds water to rivers, how birth control pills kill minnows, how aluminum does (or doesn’t) cause Alzheimers,  and why the privatization of water resources seldom works. You’ll read Pure Water Annie’s thoughts on dissolved oxygen, Bee Sharper on the current water news numbers, the amazing win streak of the Lodi Flames, the perils of soda guzzling, the addition of “environmental labels” to beef to save water,  and, as always, there is much, much more.

The Pure Water Occasional is a project of Pure Water Products and the Pure Water Gazette.

To read this issue on the Pure Water Gazette’s website,  please go here.  (Recommended! When you read online you get the added advantage of the Gazette’s sidebar feed of the very latest world water news.)

You’ll sing better.

 

The Kissimmee: A River Recurved

by Amy Green

Kissimmee Straightened by the Army Corps of Engineers 

Click image for larger view.

It sounds almost superhuman to try straighten a river and then recarve the curves.

That’s what federal and state officials did to the Kissimmee River in central Florida. They straightened the river in the 1960s into a canal to drain swampland and make way for the state’s explosive growth. It worked — and it created an ecological disaster. So officials decided to restore the river’s slow-flowing, meandering path.

That billion-dollar restoration — the world’s largest — is a few years from completion. And so far, it’s bringing signs of new life, especially on a man-made canal that was dug through the heart of the river.

“Birds are back, both wading birds and ducks. They’re all over the place,” says Paul Gray of Audubon Florida. “The oxygen levels in the river are better. There’s a lot more game fish in the river like bass and bluegill and stuff. Most of the biological perimeters, the goals of the restoration we’ve already met.”

The man-made canal begins near Walt Disney World in Central Florida and flows 50 miles south. “It messed up our water management infrastructure,” Gray says. “Now we drain so much water that when it’s dry we don’t have enough water for our human needs. We over drained, and so now we’re trying to rebuild the system where we’re going to catch water instead of wasting it when it’s wet.”

For decades, piles of dirt dug for the canal have remained heaped on its banks. Now bulldozers are pushing the dirt back into the waterway, filling it and making way for the river’s old meanders to recarve their historic path. Five dams controlling the waterway’s flow are being blown up, allowing the water to flow naturally.

The 20-year restoration effort is expected to be complete by 2017. (more…)

A lifetime of sugary sodas may be 4.6 years shorter

By Lindsey Bever

You knew that drinking sugary sodas could lead to obesity, diabetes and heart attacks — but, according to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health, it may also speed up your body’s aging process.

As you age, caps on the end your chromosomes called telomeres shrink. In the past several years, researchers at the University of California at San Francisco, have analyzed stored DNA from more than 5,300 healthy Americans in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from some 14 years ago. And they discovered that those who drank more pop tended to have shorter telomeres.

The shorter the telomere, the harder it is for a cell to regenerate — and so, the body ages. (more…)

 

The Kissimmee: A River Recurved

 

by Amy Green

Kissimmee Straightened by the Army Corps of Engineers 

Click for larger view.

It sounds almost superhuman to try straighten a river and then recarve the curves.

That’s what federal and state officials did to the Kissimmee River in central Florida. They straightened the river in the 1960s into a canal to drain swampland and make way for the state’s explosive growth. It worked — and it created an ecological disaster. So officials decided to restore the river’s slow-flowing, meandering path.

That billion-dollar restoration — the world’s largest — is a few years from completion. And so far, it’s bringing signs of new life, especially on a man-made canal that was dug through the heart of the river. (more…)

Dissolved Oxygen: An important Constituent of Water

by Pure Water Annie

Gazette Technical Wizard Pure Water Annie Explains How Oxygen Gets Into Water and Why It Needs to Be There

Our atmosphere consists of around 21 percent oxygen.  Water, however, has only a fraction of 1 percent.

Oxygen dissolves into water at the point where water and air meet.

Dissolved oxygen, called DO, is made up of microscopic bubbles of oxygen gas in water.  This dissolved oxygen is critical for the support of plant life and fish.

According to one authority, “DO is produced by diffusion from the atmosphere, aeration of the water as it passes over falls and rapids, and as a waste product of photosynthesis.  It is affected by temperature, salinity, atmospheric pressure, and oxygen demand from aquatic plants and animals.”

Dissolved oxygen is measured as percent saturation or as parts per million (ppm) or milligrams per liter (mg/L).   As the chart below indicates, oxygen dissolves easily into cold water, not so easily into warm, and not at all into boiling water.

In water treatment, a high level of dissolved oxygen can make water taste better, but it can also make water corrosive to metal pipes. Dissolved oxygen is a necessary ingredient of many water treatment processes.  The use of catalytic carbon to remove iron, for example,  requires a minimum of about 4.0 ppm of dissolved oxygen in the source water, and Birm, the popular iron removal medium, will not work without sufficient dissolved oxygen.

Oxygen can be added to water by simple aeration techniques which involve exposing the water to air.  Ozone is also used in water treatment to greatly increase the oxygen content of water.

Glasses show how oxygen leaves water.  Milky water on left with high level of dissolved oxygen.  On the right, the air has gone back to the atmosphere and the water is clear.  Often a film will be left at the surface or “skin” at the top surface of the water.  When cloudy water clears from bottom to top. the discoloration is harmless air.  Water cloudy from silt clears from top to bottom and leaves residue at the bottom of the glass.

Drought Of 1934 In North America, During The Dust Bowl, Was The Worst In Thousand Years: Study

This photo shows a farmer and his two sons during a dust storm in Cimarron County, Oklahoma, 1936. The 1930s Dust Bowl drought had four drought events with no time to recover in between: 1930-31, 1934, 1936 and 1939-40.

The drought of 1934 in North America was the driest and the most widespread of the last millennium, according to a new study based on a reconstruction of North America’s history of drought over the last 1,000 years.

In the study, published in the Oct. 17 edition of Geophysical Research Letters, researchers from NASA and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, New York, used a tree-ring-based drought record between the years 1000 to 2005, as well as modern-day records, to determine that the 1934 drought was 30 percent more severe than the next worst one in 1580. The study also found that the 1934 drought extended across 71.6 percent of western North America while, in comparison, the average extent of the 2012 drought was 59.7 percent. (more…)

 

The Pure Water Occasional for October 13, 2014

In this tarnished holiday  Occasional, you’ll hear about drought and more drought, Pokegama Lake, the Cantareira, Christopher Columbus,  cholera, and the famous Broad Street Pump.  Learn about the Coca Cola war in India, the great Irish water bill protest, pollution by the steel industry,  and lead contamination from police bullets.  Learn how to save the earth by peeing in the shower and learn why fracking really isn’t so bad after all. You’ll hear about the Peruvian city that’s being swallowed by a hole and the danger of arsenic in New Hampshire wells. There are contributions by Pure Water Annie, Bea Sharper, and Tiger Tom,  and, as always, there is much, much more.

The Pure Water Occasional is a project of Pure Water Products and the Pure Water Gazette.

To read this issue on the Pure Water Gazette’s website,  please go here.  (Recommended! When you read online you get the added advantage of the Gazette’s sidebar feed of the very latest world water news.)

 

You’ll sing better.

Texans Getting Creative With Water Conservation

 by Chyristine Ayala  and Neena Satija

WICHITA FALLS, Tex. — As this North Texas city struggles through one of the most severe droughts ever, saving water is no longer just about avoiding fines or staying in the good graces of one’s neighbors.

Since the city raised water rates by 53 percent in October, it is also about saving money.

“We have big buckets in our showers that catch the cold water as it warms up, and we carry those out and pour them on trees or bushes or whatever,” said Katie Downs, who lives with her husband and 8-year-old daughter near the edge of town.

Wichita Falls’s hefty rate increase is unusual, and it is in part because extraordinary conservation efforts by residents have meant that the utility was selling less water and needed to make up for lost revenue. Water and sewer bills are going up substantially across Texas and in many other places around the country as utilities struggle to maintain aging infrastructure, deal with drought or come to grips with the rising costs of a scarce resource while searching for new supplies.

 This Wichita Falls Nursery Specializes in Plants that Don’t Need Much Water

(more…)

If Columbus deserves a “day,” so, too,  do Hitler and Jack the Ripper

by Tiger Tom

I, Tiger Tom, seldom get to write for the Gazette or the Occasional because I so seldom write about water.  But since they taught us in school that Columbus was the brave sailor who sailed the ocean blue in 1492 in his three merry ships whose names we had to memorize, his connection with water makes him fair game.

The first thing you need to know about Christopher Columbus is that he was a mediocre sailor but a skilled con man.  Above all, he was unimaginably greedy and as cruel as a snake.  Personally, Columbus was described by one historian as “an unrelenting social climber and self-promoter who stopped at nothing— not even exploitation, slavery, or twisting Biblical scripture— to advance his ambitions….”
Those are his good qualities. (more…)

A Landmark Event in the Understanding and Control of Waterborne Diseases

 

by Pure Water Annie

Gazette technical writer Pure Water Annie describes a landmark moment in the history of water’s role in disease.

Waterborne diseases like infectious hepatitis,  bacterial dysentery, cholera, and giardiasis were common until fairly recently.  Throughout the world, health impacts were staggering. Entire villages in Europe were wiped out by plagues in the 11th and 12th centuries.   In 1848 and 1849 in a single cholera epidemic alone, 53,000 people died in London.

 Dr. John Snow’s 1854 Pump Study is a landmark in the development of epidemiology (the study of infectious diseases). (more…)

Texans Getting Creative With Water Conservation

 by Chyristine Ayala  and Neena Satija

WICHITA FALLS, Tex. — As this North Texas city struggles through one of the most severe droughts ever, saving water is no longer just about avoiding fines or staying in the good graces of one’s neighbors.

Since the city raised water rates by 53 percent in October, it is also about saving money.

“We have big buckets in our showers that catch the cold water as it warms up, and we carry those out and pour them on trees or bushes or whatever,” said Katie Downs, who lives with her husband and 8-year-old daughter near the edge of town.

Wichita Falls’s hefty rate increase is unusual, and it is in part because extraordinary conservation efforts by residents have meant that the utility was selling less water and needed to make up for lost revenue. Water and sewer bills are going up substantially across Texas and in many other places around the country as utilities struggle to maintain aging infrastructure, deal with drought or come to grips with the rising costs of a scarce resource while searching for new supplies. 

 This Wichita Falls Nursery Specializes in Plants that Don’t Need Much Water

(more…)