U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona has issued a report on water fluoridation, heralding the successes of the program and encouraging policymakers and private industry to continue to expand its availability. The report can be found at www.cdc.gov 💧
Wastewater professionals Chris de Barbadillo, Pete Goins, Dave Parker and Cindy Wallis-Lage received the George Bradley Gasciogne Medal from the Water Environment Federation for their article, “Building a Better Nutrient Trap,” which identifies a process used to remove phosphorus from effluent. 💧
Journal AWWA, the flagship publication of the American Water Works Association, celebrated its 90th anniversary in August. Congratulations! 💧
Hydroflo Inc., announced that the company’s newest subsidiary, Arsenic Removal Technologies Inc., has been re-incorporated in North Carolina and renamed Metals & Arsenic Removal Technology Inc. 💧
Watts Premier, a subsidiary of Watts Water Technologies Inc., has completed Microbial Contamination testing under the EPA Environmental Technology Verification program, demonstrating that their reverse osmosis systems achieved bacteria removal of 97.4% to 99.9999996% and virus removal of 95% to 99.9999%. 💧
Tyco Printed Circuit Group of Stafford, Conn., was sentenced on 12 counts of violating the Clean Water Act, and ordered to pay a total of $10 million in fines. The illegal practices included diluting potentially non-compliant wastewater samples, discarding of samples with excessive levels of toxic metals, and omitting samples that were not in compliance for pH. 💧
Water Depot has moved its headquarters to 99 Caplan Avenue, Barrie, Ontario L4N 9J3. The company currently has 25 storefronts throughout Canada. 💧
Pennsylvania American Water has completed the acquisition of the water assets of Sligo Borough Authority for $430,000. 💧
AWWA soliciting proposals
The America Water Works Association Research Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the science of drinking water, is requesting proposals for five new research projects. The projects, with more than $1.5 million in total funding available, are being sponsored by the foundation with one or more partner research organizations. Objectives include Reservoir Control and Maintenance, Assessment of Physical Security Technologies for Water and Wastewater Utilities, Thermodynamic Evaluation of Advanced Water and Wastewater Treatment and Risk Assessment of Water Utility Energy Management Practices. Requests for proposals and guidelines for submission can be found at www.awwarf.org
WERF project awards
The Water Environment Research Foundation and its partners on the Joint Water Reuse Task Force have awarded four new research projects addressing the emerging issue of disposing of concentrate from advanced water and wastewater treatment processes. The four awards were given to CH2M Hill; Mickley & Associates; Black & Veatch and Carollo Engineers.
The risk of world water wars
Researchers at the International Water Institute have predicted an increase in wars related to drinking water availability as a result of explosive global population growth and complacency about water use in wealthier countries. The announcement came at this year’s World Water Week in Stockholm, where officials estimated that the annual international investment of $80 billion on drinking water infrastructure needs to be doubled in order to sufficiently supply the world population.
High heat fuels Japanese growth
The Asia Bottled Water Association is reporting record sales across Japan because of soaring temperatures in the country throughout the summer. Current estimates suggest that sales of bottled water grew by between 25 percent and 35 percent in July 2004 alone.
Tube wells harming groundwater supplies
Millions of tube wells drilled by farmers in a handful of Asian countries are sucking groundwater reserves dry and threatening drinking water supplies in the region, a New Scientist Magazine report states. Most of the wells have been drilled beyond official control and are hauling up water at a rate that dwarfs replenishment by rainfall. The impact is seen both in drinking water availability and the impact upon the landscape, where the hardest hit areas have changed from lush greenery to arid desert in less than a decade.
Groundwater project in China
The Beijing Urban Construction Company has completed a groundwater project that will provide 100 million meters3 to an area northeast of the capital. The project is one of a variety of major efforts to provide water to the city, where availability per capita is less than 1/30 of the international average.
People’s Manifesto on water rights
The National Center for Advocacy Studies in India has created a People’s Manifesto On The Right To Water in the state of Pune to outline the rights and responsibilities of the citizens there as drinking water has grown more and more scarce in the last two decades. Created over the last 18 months through a conglomeration of more than 280 water interest groups, advocacy programs and activists, the manifesto has been submitted to all the political parties in the region.
Sydney Water cross-connection
Unauthorized plumbing has lead to cross-contamination between recycled water and the drinking water supply in Rouse Hill, near Glenwood. The problem was discovered by Sydney Water after more than 80 homes were affected by the cross-contamination. Sydney Water has since corrected the problem.
AWA issues e-newsletter
The Australia Water Association has issued the first e-newsletter of the Water Education Network. The premier publication features the AWA’s priorities for water education this year, as well as a chance for members to vote on a new logo for the network. For additional information, visit www.awa.asn.au
The Queensland Liberal Party is calling upon the Australian National Parliament to mandate fluoridation in drinking water throughout the country. A variety of local councils are currently debating the possibility of fluoridation in their individual regions, but the Party believes a uniform national policy is desirable.
English waterways fail EU standards
The majority of English and Welsh waterways do not currently meet forthcoming European Union regulations on water conditions. The rules do not go into effect until 2015, but conservationists and other activists say that it may be impossible for the waterways to comply because current testing methods are far narrower than the impending directive’s parameters. The directive is intended to improve waterways, ensure that water is used in a sustainable manner and to limit the need for expensive drinking water clean-up operations by curbing pollution beforehand.
High efficiency solar distillation
Netherlands-based Zonnewater BV has developed a desalination unit based on solar energy suited for coastal areas’ moderate temperatures. The prototype, installed in the Caribbean, is a small, 1 m3 greenhouse-type construction that produces 40 liters of water per day. The high efficiency rate is the result of specialized electronic equipment used to enhance activity between the evaporation and the condensation unit. The new unit has an estimated lifespan of 20 years.
Greek fountains have traces of cadmium
More than 100,000 drinking water fountains in Greece have been shut down after the discovery of high levels of cadmium in several of the appliances. The nation’s sanitary control authority (EFET) called upon all owners of similar fountains to send in water samples for analysis, but said the move was a preventative one. The latest tests of the water fountains (in June 2004) showed that six percent contained the toxic metal at higher than allowed levels.
Pollutant in treated Boston area wastewater
High levels of perchlorate have been found in water flowing out of wastewater treatment plants in Billerica and Lowell, but officials are unsure if it is linked to the presence of the pollutant in Tweksbury drinking water. State officials are investigating how the perchlorate got into the wastewater but have acknowledged that it is 158 times the limit recommended by state guidelines. The tests found none in Lowell or Billerica’s drinking water but did find the pollutant in Tweksbury. That community gets its drinking water from the Merrimack River, downriver from where Lowell’s treated water is released.
Businesses warn against mercury proposal
United For Jobs (UFJ), a project of the National Black Chamber of Commerce, Small Business Survival Committee and the United Seniors Association, is calling upon workers and their unions to petition the Environmental Protection Agency against their mercury proposals which UFJ says would drive up energy costs. The EPA is currently considering three proposed approaches to limiting mercury emissions from coal processing and industrial water treatment. Representatives for UFJ say their goal is to educate the citizens on how key environmental proposals may impact jobs.
Institute of Sustainability
The American Institute of Chemical Engineers has launched the Institute of Sustainability, the first project of its kind to promote societal, economic and environmental benefits of sustainable and green engineering in the chemical sciences. As part of its mission, the Institute will provide multidisciplinary scientific and technical rigor to sustainability discussions, encourage the concept in engineering education, advance sustainability research and development and develop measurement tools and frameworks to guide the design of more sustainable products and processes.
Activated carbon demand on the rise
The U.S. demand for virgin activated carbon is forecast to expand 4.3 percent annually to 475 million pounds in 2008. Valued at $315 million annually, the activated carbon market is volatile, with spikes in demand related to the enactment of environmental legislation or routine change outs of spent carbon. The specifics of the market growth are detailed in a new trend report by the Freedonia Group Inc., called Activated Carbon. The report is available at www. freedoniagroup.com
USGS unveils Spanish language website
The U.S. Geological Survey and Environmental Protection Agency has released a Spanish translation of USGS’s Water Science for Schools website. The La Ciencia del Agua para Escuelas website offers information on many aspects of water along with pictures, data, maps and an interactive center where students can give opinions and test their water knowledge. For more information, visit http//water.usgs.gov/gotita
Testing water on passenger aircraft
The Environmental Protection Agency has released the results of its initial testing of drinking water onboard 158 randomly select passenger airplanes. Preliminary data shows that 12.6 percent of domestic and international aircraft carried water that did not meet EPA standards. From August to September 2004, the agency tested water used in the galleys and lavatory sinks. Twenty of the aircraft tested positive for total coliform bacteria with 1.3 percent of the total also tested positive for E.coli. Both are indicators that other disease-causing pathogens may be present in the water.
California district files $23.5 million suit
Yorba Linda Water District officials have filed a $23.5 million lawsuit against the county water agency over a dispute that stems from a 34-year-old water rights agreement, the L.A. Times reported. The district is charging the county with failing to supply up to 2,800 acre-feet of water annually to eastern Yorba Linda residents free of charge. The district has been serving those customers since 1978 without knowledge of the agreement, and now believes the district should be compensated for services rendered during the last 20 years. County water officials are arguing that the agreement is not enforceable.
Kansas deodorizes with ozone
Construction has begun on a $7.5 million water treatment system in Wichita, Kan., designed to process a majority of the city’s water supply with ozone. Slated for completion in May 2005, the system, which includes a 6,000-square-foot building at Cheney Reservoir and two ozone generators, will be operational just in time to combat the warm weather algae growth that produces a bad odor and taste in the municipal water.
AFS makes strategic change of direction
The American Filtration and Separations Society is changing its focus after numerous requests from membership and others in the industry. After a meeting of the executive committee and the board of directors, the society agreed to focus their energy on “specifiers, buyers and users of filters and filtration equipment and the education of the industry.” In practical terms, the AFS will concentrate on the interests of those who buy and use filters and their needs, as well as provide education on the latest advances in filtration or separation technology. The society will also work to provide a venue to meet suppliers through AFS conferences and expos.
Colorado-Kansas suit heard in Supreme Court
A 20-year-old water rights suit between Colorado and Kansas was heard before the United States Supreme Court in October. The suit arose in 1984 after Kansas sought $322 million in damages to crops as a result of Colorado’s withholding of water from various cross border rivers. The suit has since been reduced to $53 million, though Colorado attorneys are asking the Supreme Court for a limit of $29 million.
Texas farmers seek $500 million from Mexico
More than 40 irrigation districts, water companies and individual farmers in the Rio Grande Valley are seeking $500 million from Mexico for crop loss and other damages under the 1944 water sharing treaty between the U.S. and Mexico. The treaty requires Mexico to send the U.S. an average of 350,000 acre-feet of water from the Rio Grande River while the U.S. sends about 1.5 million from the Colorado River.
Oil suits against the EPA
Attorneys for the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club are intervening in suits filed by American Petroleum Institute and Marathon Oil against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charging the oil industry with deliberately trying to weaken the Clean Water Act and threatening drinking water supplies. Under a bevy of counter suits, the activist groups said that the oil industry is attempting to narrow the 100-year-old concept of navigability of waterways in order to limit those rivers that would be protected in the event of an oil spill.
Lead levels misrepresented
The Washington Post has identified dozens of large water systems throughout the country that obscured the extent of lead contamination in their drinking water, ignored requirements to correct the problem and failed to turn over critical data to regulators. The investigation of 65 water systems revealed that some cities, including Philadelphia, New York and Boston, have thrown out tests and avoided testing homes most likely to have lead. While the newspaper also illustrated ways in which local municipalities and the Environmental Protection Agency have ignored their own reporting requirements to perpetuate the problems, EPA representatives said they have not identified a systemic problem with the way the standards are applied.
Unchecked pollution threatens desal
The United Arab Emirates is calling for swift action to control unchecked pollution in the gulf waters that could soon make it impossible to treat seawater for human consumption. About 100 oil tankers sail through the gulf daily, discharging about 8 million tons of oil sediments in their wake. Because there is naturally very low freshwater input into the gulf, the seawater is becoming more difficult to desalinate and unusuable as drinking water.
NSF opens office in Brazil
NSF International has opened an office in Sao Paulo, Brazil to help meet the international demand for independent NSF certification. The initial focus of NSF in the region will be on the bottled water industry, municipal water supply products industry and management systems registration where NSF Strategic Registrations continue to grow. Although the office will be based in Brazil, it will serve as a regional base for activities throughout South America.
42 percent rely on unsafe drinking water
More than 40 percent of the people in Sub-Saharan Africa are drinking unsafe water, more than twice the international average noted in a recent United Nations report that show more than one billion people are drinking unsafe water. The report cites the region’s political instability, population growth and the low priority of improving water infrastructure as leading factors in the growing crisis. The 42 percent figure is twice as high as the remainder of the developing world, which averages 21 percent without access to safe drinking water.
Increasing water resources in South Africa
The South African government has approved a national water resource strategy for more efficient management of the country’s water resources and address shortages. One of the driest countries on earth, South African estimates show the country will be depleted of water resources by 2020. In an effort to prolong those resources, the nation has adopted an aggressive plan to build 20 new dams and address critical sustainability issues with construction companies and other water-intensive industries.
Danaher Corp. buys Trojan Technologies
The Danaher Corporation, a manufacturer of process/environmental controls, has agreed to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Trojan Technologies Inc. for $247 million (CDN). “The acquisition of Trojan brings another premier brand name to Danaher’s Water Quality platform,” says Danaher President H. Lawrence Culp, Jr. The board of directors at Trojan unanimously agreed to support the offer on Sept. 20 and recommended that shareholders tender their shares. The Danaher offer was expected to be mailed to Trojan shareholders by the end September, with an expectation of closure by the fourth quarter of 2004.
Public comment on water quality
Health Canada is seeking public comment on a variety of reports and studies relating to the microbiological quality of drinking water. The reports include: Waterborne Pathogens and Emerging Organisms, E.coli, Heterotrophic Plate Count and Total Coliforms. Visit www.hc-sc.gc.ca for links to each of the reports; comments are due by January 13, 2005.
Aquatech 2004—A view from the trenches
Aquatech 2004 was held at the RAI in Amsterdam, The Netherlands last month. Arguably the world’s largest water show, over 22,000 visitors viewed about 800 exhibits, featuring every aspect of water and wastewater treatment.
Having attended every Aquatech since 1984, I’ve noticed subtle cultural changes along the way. This year, there were many more manufacturers from Korea and China, most showcasing POU products such as RO systems, filters, faucets, fittings and other components. I also noticed an unusually large number of attendees and exhibitors from Middle Europe—Slovenia, The Czech Republic, etc.
In addition to the usual large RO systems on display, this year there were also lots of big UV systems. U.S. manufacturers were well represented in the WQA pavilion; a relatively large number were present in other halls, too.
I saw nothing I’d consider new and revolutionary, but with number of booths, diversity of product offerings, limited time and huge crowds, I didn’t see nearly everything I might have.
Kathryn Robinson, Director of Sales and Marketing, Myron L Co., observed that the show was the best of all the Aquatechs, with more and better potential customers and she had the orders to prove it. All the other exhibitors I queried were equally enthusiastic.
—Peter S. Cartwright