EPA awards CU $4 million grant for research of drinking water purification

October 27, 2014
The water treatment process

The water treatment process

From CUIndependent.com (Gabriel Larsen-Santos):

In early September, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency granted $4 million to CU Boulder’s engineering department to establish a national center to improve drinking water treatment facilities for small towns and rural communities.What do you think?

Known as DeRISK, or Design of Risk Reducing, Innovative Implementable Small System Knowledge Center, this new center will develop sustainable methods to reduce water contaminants.What do you think?

“In order to create more natural and cost-efficient water treatment systems, we’re focused on improving how these systems are implemented, as well as developing technologies that don’t require any chemical addition,” said Professor R. Scott Summers, director of DeRISK and an engineering professor at CU.What do you think?

Hundreds of various contaminants are legally discharged into rivers and aquifers across the United States every day, causing harmful chemicals to flow into drinking water.What do you think?

“This center will facilitate public health for the rural communities that don’t have access to low-cost treatment options,” Summers said.What do you think?

DeRISK has two major focuses — a front end of outreach and ease of communication, and a back end of developing non-conventional technologies for public use.What do you think?

“Part of what we’re doing is evaluating sustainability,” said Elizabeth Shilling, a 22-year-old graduate student researcher and environmental engineering major. “This includes the cost of building facilities, the ongoing cost of operations, and also environmental factors — waste and emissions management.”What do you think?

It’s more difficult for rural communities to afford the scientists and technicians that larger urban water treatment facilities employ. But other resources, such as cheaper and more plentiful land, put some rural communities in a unique position over cities to benefit from non-conventional water purification systems.What do you think?

Examples of non-conventional systems that minimize overall costs include using the sun’s ultraviolet radiation to purify water in ponds, or using bacterial filters that reduce chemical contaminants. Conventional water treatment includes methods like water chlorination, which may be right for some communities, but produces chemical byproducts.What do you think?

Most importantly, DeRISK is developing a uniformed approach to make it simpler and more affordable for rural communities to implement the water treatment technology that suits their environment. Small towns might have miles of pipeline between two houses, so water quality is more likely to degrade in rural areas as it stagnates in the pipes and develops bacterial contaminants.What do you think?

“In order to make it easier for smaller drinking water plants to figure out the best treatment system for their parameters, we’re developing a sustainability index,” Shilling said. “Basically, it will show these small town facilities which technology would be best for them in terms of long term costs and environmental impacts.”What do you think?

One of the many goals of DeRISK is to develop technologies that can be installed in the distribution systems themselves, instead of in centralized water treatment facilities, which is the solution typically utilized across the United States. This would ensure that water remains drinkable no matter how far it travels from the primary treatment center.What do you think?

“We see it as a service to public health,” Summers said. “So that when you stop at a gas station someplace out in the country and you drink from the water fountain, you won’t have to worry if the water’s safe to drink, because that gas station could double as a water treatment facility.”

More water treatment coverage here.


H2Ooohh: Halloween water facts

October 24, 2014

Originally posted on Mile High Water Talk:

Whether you are carving a pumpkin, bobbing for apples or running from zombies this Halloween, water is bound to be part of the festivities.

Below are 10 not-so-scary water facts to share over a steaming cup of witches’ brew at your Halloween party.

Erik Holck, Denver Water construction project manager, grew a giant pumpkin weighing in at 657 pounds this summer. For one stretch in August, the pumpkin grew about 28 pounds a day!

Erik Holck, Denver Water construction project manager, grew a giant pumpkin weighing in at 657 pounds this summer. For one stretch in August, the pumpkin grew about 28 pounds a day!

  1. It takes 350,000 gallons of water over a 100-day growing season for a one-acre corn maze.
  2. A pumpkin is 90 percent water.
  3. The optimal water level to bob for apples is 5 gallons in a 10-gallon tub.
  4. A black cat drinks 2-4 ounces of water each day.
  5. A kettle of witches’ brew contains very little water; it’s mostly dead leaves, seaweed and rotten eggs.
  6. Cleaning your teeth is a must after eating Halloween candy, but…

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Colorado Water Toolkit: Live Like You Love It! — Colorado WaterWise

October 23, 2014

ColoW LLYLI Release final

Tomorrow at the Colorado WaterWise Water Conservation Summit, Colorado WaterWise will launch an educational water toolkit to raise awareness about the value of water in Colorado. Colorado Water: Live Like You Love It, provides communication tools and resources for water stakeholders to help communicate the importance of water, focusing on conserving water, caring about water quality and committing to learn about this critical resource.

Six water and environmental organizations sponsored the development of the toolkit including Loveland Water and Power, The City of Greeley Water Conservation Program, Colorado Springs Utilities, Northern Water, One World One Water and Western Resource Advocates. Colorado WaterWise initiated the toolkit when research revealed the need to educate the public, particularly young adults about how we get our water, the scarcity of the resource and the importance to care for water quality.

As a headwaters state, Colorado water is the topic of great discussion as 18 states plus Colorado depend on it. With the Colorado population alone expected to double by 2050, the need to Live Like You Love It is more important than ever. By utilizing the professionally created tools available in the toolkit, water organizations and other interested stakeholders can easily spread the word about protecting this finite resource, doing our part to conserve and committing to learning about water issues. The toolkit includes tips, videos, fact sheets and a communications plan to help Colorado to Live Like You Love It. An organization must be a member of Colorado WaterWise at the $300 level and agree to terms of use to use the materials.

“With the state of Colorado embarking upon creating its first water plan, we believe on of the findings will undoubtedly be that there is a need for more education in our state about the value of our water,” said Alyssa Quinn, the Colorado WaterWise committee chair. “This toolkit provides stakeholders with materials and messaging to educate the public, particularly the millennial age group, about the value of water. Customers in that age group are going to be the generation making key and sometimes tough decisions about our water. They need to be informed.”

To join the movement and Live Like You Love It, Like Love Colorado Water on Facebook or follow it on Twitter at @LoveCOWater. To find out more about the toolkit, visit Colorado WaterWise at http://coloradowaterwise.org.


Why do you want to go to H2O Outdoors Camp?

October 22, 2014

Originally posted on Mile High Water Talk:

2013 H2O Outdoors campers.

2013 H2O Outdoors campers.

“The one thing that is most interesting to me is that we can drink from any water faucet. Back in Tonga we weren’t allowed to drink from the water faucet. The water from the faucet was really bad and it could make you sick. It wasn’t a good idea at all.” – Former H2O Outdoors camper

Twice a year, Denver Water’s Youth Education team meets up with Aurora Water and the Colorado River District at Keystone Science School in Summit County for a three-day water camp called H2O Outdoors.

“This camp provides high school students from varied backgrounds throughout Colorado with an opportunity to learn about water in the state and all of its complexities in a fun, hands-on environment,” said Matt Bond, Denver Water’s Youth Education manager. “These students will be future decision-makers, and the camp sets them up to be experts on the state’s…

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Colorado Water Congress: Join us Nov. 19 for a day of fact-filled workshops

October 15, 2014


Twenty-five years of exploration: South Platte Forum

October 14, 2014
South Platte River Basin via Wikipedia

South Platte River Basin via Wikipedia

Here’s the release from Colorado State University:

The 25th annual South Platte River Forum will be held Wednesday, Oct. 22, and Thursday, Oct. 23, at the Plaza Event Center, 1850 Industrial Circle, Longmont. The forum, “Water and Wisdom,” will examine issues such as flood impacts on stream restoration, fisheries and hydrology, oil and gas exploration, hydraulic fracturing as well as hydropower, and overviews of South Platte River basin projects. The forum strives to provide an avenue for a timely, multidisciplinary exchange of information and ideas important to resource management in the basin.

The first day of the forum includes several presentations on flood recovery efforts, updates and concerns, as well as a history of floods on the South Platte. The Friends of the South Platte Award will be presented to Patricia J. Rettig, Head Archivist, Water Resources Archive, at Colorado State University Libraries. The keynote luncheon on Oct. 22 will be “Proposed Rule: Definitions of Waters of the U.S.” by Karen Hamilton, Chief of the Aquatic Resource and Accountability Unit, U.S. EPA Region 8. Afternoon sessions will discuss oil and gas exploration and hydraulic fracturing, and water education efforts. The day will conclude with a reception and information on water storage projects in the basin.

The final day of the forum will include a presentation on the Colorado Water Plan by John Stulp, special policy advisor to Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper on water, followed by presentations on South Platte basin water plans, and a panel focused on water quality concerns. The day will conclude with a luncheon presentation on “At the Confluence: The Poetry of Colorado Water” by Colorado Supreme Court Justice Gregory J. Hobbs, Jr.

Winners of this year’s photo contest will be recognized during the forum and their photographs will be on display.

The South Platte River begins high in the Colorado mountains near Fairplay. It flows through Denver and continues eastward into Nebraska, joining the North Platte River near the town of North Platte, Neb.

The South Platte Forum is sponsored by Deere & Ault Consultants, Inc.,; SP WRAP,; XRI Geophysics; Applegate Group, Inc.; the Consortium for Research and Education on Emerging Contaminants (CREEC); Platte River Recovery Implementation Plan (PRRIP); Riverside Technology; Tetra Tech,and Integral Consulting, Inc. The Forum is organized by Colorado State University Extension, Colorado Water Institute, Aurora Water, Denver Water, Northern Water, Metro Wastewater Reclamation District, Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife, St. Vrain and Left Hand Water Conservancy District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. EPA, U.S. Geological Survey.

Registration is available at the door for $115 per person. For a schedule of events, visit http://www.southplatteforum.org/schedule. For additional information, contact Jennifer Brown at (402) 960-3670 or Jennifer@southplatteforum.org.

More South Platte River Basin coverage here.


Roaring Fork Conservancy District: We’re hosting a middle school teacher workshop on November 1

October 13, 2014


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