EPA Loophole Allows Streams of Wastewater in Wyoming
The Environmental Protection Agency last month issued revised permits for oil companies to dump literally rivers of wastewater—including hydraulic fracturing fluids—on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming.
Some of the chemicals the companies have told the EPA they are adding to the wells, or that have been found in the wastewater, include benzene, arsenic and hydrogen sulfide. These chemicals are known to or likely to cause cancer or other serious effects when consumed or breathed in at high enough concentrations. The remote streams of wastewater are used by livestock and wildlife, but not by people as drinking water, creating a regulatory loophole.
High Country News_ 4/14/15
MIT Water Innovation Prize Awards Three Student Startups with $20,000 in Innovation Grants
As concerns about water scarcity, a growing world population, and mounting pressures from climate change put further strain on our global water resources, so does the MIT community strive harder than ever to promote the importance of water innovation. On April 6, the student-led MIT Water Club hosted the final pitches for its inaugural Water Innovation Prize — an opportunity for MIT students to work in tandem with real-world investment, corporate, and/or entrepreneurial mentors on ventures with application in monitoring and analytics, oil and gas, recycling and reuse, and drinking water and sanitation.
How the Earth Made its Own Water – Out of Rocks
Scientists have long believed that icy comets brought water to Earth. But Dr. Wendy Panero, an associate professor of earth sciences at Ohio State University, says Earth's water may have been here all along, locked up in the planet's rocky mantle — and there may still be lots of water still trapped there. PRI_1/10/15
Give-and-Take Origin for Earth's Water?
Where, exactly, did our oceans come from? New research suggests that asteroids might have both delivered and removed lots of water — and that Earth itself might have locked it away deep inside. Ours is the only planet with abundant liquid water on its surface, and life (as we know it) wouldn't be possible without it. Sky & Telescope_ 1/2/15
California Water Issues
California Water Saving Mandate Shrinks Cuts for Some Cities
In an acknowledgment that some areas have done a better job of conserving water during California's severe, and worsening drought, state water officials on Saturday rolled out a revised water-reduction plan that eases required cutbacks for some communities while increasing mandatory targets for others.
The plan's release ahead of the summer season when water use typically spikes came in the wake of criticism that Gov. Jerry Brown's statewide reduction mandate was too broad and penalized too many communities that have already curtailed water use. San Jose Mercury News_ 4/18/15
Nestlé's Permit to Pump California Spring Water Expired Decades Ago
Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water officially takes its name from a rock formation in the San Bernardino Mountains. But news that the company, which is owned by the food giant Nestlé, has been pumping spring water out of the San Bernardino National Forest under a permit that expired in 1988 puts the brand more in line with the historic water grab of Lake Arrowhead than with any geological feature.
California Gov. Jerry Brown Signs $687 Million Drought Relief Bill
The bi-partisan legislation requires the state’s Department of Public Health to adopt new groundwater replenishment regulations by July 1, and the State Water Resources Control Board and the Department of Public Health to develop other ways that allow the recycled water and storm water to increase the available water supply. Southern California Public Radio_3/1/14
California Water Issues Opinion
How to Fix California's Drought Problem
By now you've heard about the epic drought threatening every California water user, from almond growers to swimming-pool owners, resulting in mandatory cutbacks and ostracism from neighbors for being the last on the block with a green lawn. So would it surprise you to learn that the state actually has more than enough water to go around?CNBC_4/13/15
No, Farmers Don’t Use 80 Percent of California’s Water
The statistic is manufactured by environmentalists to distract from the incredible damage their policies have caused. As the San Joaquin Valley undergoes its third decade of government-induced water shortages, the media suddenly took notice of the California water crisis after Governor Jerry Brown announced statewide water restrictions. In much of the coverage, supposedly powerful farmers were blamed for contributing to the problem by using too much water. National Review_ 4/14/15
Around the U.S.
Shipping Great Lakes Water? That's California Dreaming
Amid rising water supply crises, could the parched American Southwest ever get its hands on the world's most abundant and valuable liquid fresh water supply — our Great Lakes? Setting aside the astronomical expense and infrastructure requirements, as a policy matter, a large-scale diversion of Great Lakes water is a virtual impossibility. But that's only because of states and Canadian provinces around the lakes coming together to solidify protections within the last decade.
Don't think the idea of a raid on Great Lakes water is that far-fetched. Plans were in the works to allow a Canadian company to sell Lake Superior water to Asia via tanker ships as recently as 1998. A coal company in 1981 wanted to pipe Superior water to Wyoming to move its semi-liquefied product back to the Midwest. And in 1982, Congress mandated that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers study the feasibility of using Great Lakes water to replenish supplies needed for the heavily agricultural Plains states. (It wasn't feasible.) Detroit Free Press_4/19/15
Water supply tainted after oil spill
Eastern Montana residents rushed to stock up on bottled water yesterday after a cancer-causing component of oil was detected in public water supplies downstream of a pipeline spill on the Yellowstone River. Elevated levels of benzene were found in water samples taken from a treatment plant that serves about 6,000 people in the agricultural community of Glendive, near North Dakota. Some criticized the timing of Monday’s advisory, which came more than two days after 50,000 gallons of oil spilled from the 12-inch Poplar pipeline owned by Wyoming-based Bridger Pipeline Co. The spill occurred about 5 miles upstream from the city.
Adding to the frustrations was uncertainty over how long the water warning would last. Also, company and government officials have struggled to come up with an effective way to recover the crude, most of which appears to be trapped beneath ice covering the Yellowstone River. By yesterday, oil sheens were reported as far away as Williston, N.D., downstream from the Yellowstone’s confluence with the Missouri River, officials said. The Columbus Dispatch_1/21/15
Western Water Miners Turn on the Taps for Fine, Bottled Agua
Bottled water remains hot in the U.S., with Americans guzzling nearly 11 billion gallons — a record high — in 2014. The sizzle is drawing investors eager to share Rocky Mountain water with the masses. But instead of competing with heavyweights like Nestle, PepsiCo and Coca-Cola on grocery shelves, these upstarts are taking their fight to the West's resorts, aiming to topple the top-shelf brands such as Perrier, San Pellegrino, Fiji, Evian and Voss. Denver Post_1/4/15
Citing Drought, California Town Rushes Water Plant
California's drought declaration has triggered only local limits such as restrictions on washing cars or watering lawns for most communities, but one Pacific Coast tourist town has seized it as an opportunity to build a long-desired desalination plant.
The new project will turn salty water to drinking water for the 6,000-resident town of Cambria, which hugs the cliffs of the central coast, 6 miles south of William Randolf Hearst’s famous castle at San Simeon. It is one of the biggest infrastructure projects undertaken in response to Gov. Jerry Brown’s drought emergency decree last year. SF Gate_1/3/15
Radisson Blu Partners with “Just a Drop,” International Water Aid Charity
To raise awareness of the millions of people across the globe that do not have access to safe drinking water, Radisson Blu hotels around the world will hold Walk for Water events on April 22-24. The events will benefit the “Just a Drop” international water aid charity. Over the course of three days, beginning on Earth Day, April 22,Radisson Blu hotels will invite guests to walk for roughly 35 feet/10 meters carrying ‘jerry cans’ full of water to illustrate the daily struggle millions of people around the globe face in their efforts to access safe drinking water. For every 330-feet/100 meters walked, Radisson Blu will donate the funds to provide one child with safe drinking water for life through Just a Drop. Through these events, Radisson Blu expects to provide more than 280 children with access to safe drinking water. Forimmediatrelease.net_4/17/15
Feds Laud Energy-Saving Efforts at Fort Worth Wastewater Reclamation Facility
You may not want your wastewater, but one of nature’s curiosities is that there are creatures out there that do. Very tiny little creatures, with questionable taste. Fort Worth’s Village Creek Water Reclamation Facility has found a way to put those microorganisms to good use, capturing the methane they release to power 75 percent of the plant’s energy needs — a bit of ingenuity that has made the site a model of energy-saving success. “We take what nature does and speed it up,” said Jerry Pressley, the facility’s water-systems superintendent. “There’s very much a science to it. We’ve established conditions that favor one group of organisms to do what we want them to do.” Dallasnews.com_4/19/15
FROM SEWAGE TO DRINKING WATER
Potable water reuse or recycling — purifying wastewater so it can be used as drinking water — eliminates the need for a separate network of purple pipes. However, it also has faced fits and starts in this region because of the “yuck factor” and other reasons. In January, (San Diego) Mayor Kevin Faulconer and some environmentalists formed a coalition to promote potable water recycling. Their name for the concept: the Pure Water Project. From each gallon of wastewater, the city envisions converting 80 percent into ultra-clean water and flushing the remaining 20 percent as waste. The pitch is part of a complex request that needs clearances from federal and state regulators. The plan is to release the repurified water into reservoirs, to be treated again along with incoming fresh water. This plan is called “indirect potable reuse,” as opposed to direct potable reuse, in which repurified water is directly piped back to customers. If all goes well, the city estimates that by 2035 it can produce 83 million gallons of drinkable water per day from the project. That would be about one-third of San Diego’s total potable water consumption by then. UTsandiego.com_ 4/18/15
Study Raises Questions About Measuring Radioactivity in Fracking Wastewater
Commonly used testing methods may underestimate the total radioactivity of wastewater produced by gas wells that use hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to tap the Marcellus Shale, a geological formation in the northeastern United States, concludes a new study. The findings suggest government agencies should consider retooling some testing recommendations and take a fresh look at possible worker exposure to potentially harmful waste, the authors say. But some outside researchers are skeptical that the laboratory study reflects real-world conditions. Sciencemag.org_4/9/15
Long-term option for wastewater disposal eludes shale gas industry
Defining wastewater disposal in the Marcellus shale fields has been a moving target. Drillers initially sent millions of gallons to public water treatment plants, till regulators mentioned the plants had been not equipped to appropriately clean the salt- and metal-laden water that comes from shale gas wells. The traditional process of injecting it back into deep wells is significantly less feasible in Pennsylvania, which has few such wells, and Ohio is accepting significantly less wastewater simply because of possible links among injection and earthquakes. The search for a option has spawned an industry of firms and innovators hunting for techniques to treat or reuse the wastewater that environmentalists feared would foul drinking supplies. National Review_1/25/15
State Group Links Kansas Quakes to Wastewater Disposal
The disposal of waste saltwater from hydraulic fracturing could be to blame for a sharp increase in earthquakes in south-central Kansas, according to a geophysicist with the Kansas Geological Survey. Rick Miller’s comments are the first by a state official to clearly suggest a link between hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, and the earthquakes that have rattled the area in the last two years, The Lawrence Journal-World reported. Washington Times_1/19/15
New Contaminants Found in Oil and Gas Wastewater
Duke University scientists have discovered high levels of two potentially hazardous contaminants, ammonium and iodide, in wastewater being discharged or spilled into streams and rivers from oil and gas operations in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Levels of contamination were just as high in wastewater coming from conventional oil and gas wells as from hydraulically fractured shale gas wells. Phys.Org_1/14/15