CU grads invent water filter that targets hormones — TheDenverChannel.com

noestra

From TheDenverChannel.com (Nicole Brady):

Hormones can get into the water by seeping out of of landfills, through human and livestock waste, and industry waste. A filter like Brita won’t get rid of hormones. An expensive reverse osmosis filtration system will, but Noestra is designed to be an affordable alternative — and well worth that price, considering the impact hormones can have on our health.

“Over time, we’ve found those hormonal balances really do add up and it does have a serious effect on your overall well-being,” co-creator Emma Jacobs said.

And if you need evidence that hormones are indeed messing with our natural balance, consider what the Noestra creators found when they tested water from the Boulder Creek.

“This is what usually scares people,” says Eversbusch. “You can measure the amount of hormone by semester. So in the fall and spring it’s pretty high, and when all the students leave in the summer it’s much lower.”

Keystone: Greeley Water wins taste and odor competition at RMSAWWA conference

LadyDragonflyCC -- Creative Commons, Flickr
LadyDragonflyCC — Creative Commons, Flickr

From KDVR.com:

Nine municipalities from a three state region competed for the title of best drinking water based on taste, odor and appearance.

The judges at a taste test at the 2016 Rocky Mountain Section of the American Water Works (RMSAWWA) annual conference in Keystone deemed Greeley as the city with the best water in the region.

Nine municipalities from a three state region competed for the title of best drinking water based on taste, odor and appearance.

The winner of this competition will represent the RMSAWWA at the national “Best of the Best” taste test at the AWWA Conference in Philadelphia next June.

Castle Rock Water was named runner-up.

#AnimasRiver: #GoldKingMine update

Cement Creek aerial photo -- Jonathan Thompson via Twitter
Cement Creek aerial photo — Jonathan Thompson via Twitter

From The Denver Post (Bruce Finley):

The EPA has stabilized the collapsing mouth of the Gold King Mine, cementing heaps of rock and sediment dug up during mining’s glory days, trying to prevent another blowout and pioneer a solution to the West’s continuing acid metals contamination of coveted water.

And as the feds push through this work, they face once-resistant Colorado communities that are increasingly keen on having a clean watershed.

The action this summer in the mine-scarred mountains above Silverton is raising expectations that, whatever final fix may be made at the Gold King, it will build momentum for dealing with toxic mines elsewhere.

That all depends on Congress lining up funding.

At the Gold King’s timberline portal, an EPA team sprayed gray cement across an area 50 feet high and 30 feet wide to secure entry. Initially, EPA workers crawled into the mine on hands and knees over planks put down to keep them from sinking into orange-hued acid metals muck. They installed cement blocks and a wooden dam to divert a 691 gallons-a-minute toxic discharge…

Then the EPA team welded steel frames 63 feet deep into a cleared 18 foot-wide tunnel. They buttressed the tunnel deeper, another 67 feet in, drilling in expanding screws, steel bolts and grates. They’re pumping that acid metals discharge through a partially buried pipeline that runs 4,000 feet to a temporary waste treatment plant.

At the plant, EPA contractors — mixing in a ton a day of lime to neutralize the 8.3 pH acid flow to 3.5 pH — recently sliced open bulging sacks filled with reddish-brown sludge. They spread 3,500 cubic yards of the sludge across a flat area to dry, trying to extend the plant’s capacity to clean Gold King muck.

Generators rattle. A canary-yellow air tube snakes out the mouth as workers in helmets with head lamps hike in.

Down in town, Silverton and San Juan County leaders’ recent about-face — from a tribe-like mistrust of the EPA toward eagerness to get cleanup done at the Gold King and 46 other sites — is becoming more adamant. Some locals say they see economic benefits if mining’s toxic hangover can be cured. And Silverton’s town manager is broadening his appeal to the nation’s most ambitious geologists to make this a hub for hydrology research…

Next, the EPA must officially designate a National Priority List disaster and find a Superfund or other way to cover cleanup costs — action that’s delayed until fall. Then in the Superfund process, the EPA would start studies to find the best way to fix each of the Animas sites.

At issue is whether final cleanup should rely on water plants, costing up $26 million each, to treat mine drainage perpetually, saddling future generations with huge bills — or aim for a more complicated “bulkhead” plug approach that could contain acid muck inside mountains, perhaps using pressure sensors to give early warning of blowouts…

But Silverton and San Juan County leaders last month said they’re mostly pleased with EPA progress at the mine, though federal muzzling of front-line crews and access restrictions have impeded close-up inspection.

Outstanding issues include locals seek assurances water treatment will continue until final cleanup is done; a demand for reimbursement of $90,000 they spent — “They did pay one tithing, and promised more,” Kuhlman said; and a desire to close off an ore heap used by motorcross riders along the Animas…

A solution based on plugging likely would be controversial. State-backed bulkheads installed near the Gold King Mine “are what started this whole problem,” Commissioner Kuhlman said, referring to the plugs in the American Tunnel of the Sunnyside Mine, which backed up mine muck and doubled discharges from mines in the area — setting up the Gold King blowout. A bulkhead installed in the adjacent Red and Bonita Mine hasn’t been closed.

The appeal is that holding water inside mountains means the acidic muck, which forms when natural water leaches minerals exposed by mining, does less harm.

Lead abatement begins — The Lakewood Sentinel

Roman lead pipe -- Photo via the Science Museum
Roman lead pipe — Photo via the Science Museum

From The Lakewood Sentinel (Glenn Wallace):

A recent sunrise saw Joe Centeno, a maintenance plumber with Jefferson County schools, already busy at work at Arvada’s Peck Elementary, changing out water cutoffs, connector lines and fixtures in hopes of improving the water quality.

The district’s effort to test water outlets at all 158 schools for high lead levels found 10 elevated level sites at the 50-year-old school — a sink in the teachers’ lounge, three sinks in the kitchen and six classroom sinks, some of which had bubbler drinking attachments.

“This is the guinea pig,” Centeno said. “We’ll see if this works.”

His best guess as a plumber was that the repairs should fix the problem, based on the scattered lead readings, as opposed to schoolwide contamination that would have required more extensive and expensive replumbing.

Red Rocks Community College offers degree in water quality management

Photo via Red Rocks Community College.
Photo via Red Rocks Community College.

From The Lakewood Sentinel (Clarke Reader):

This fall, Red Rocks Community College makes Colorado history by offering a bachelor of applied science degree in water quality management technology.

Red Rocks is the first community college in the state to offer a BAS degree, the result oftwo years of work by college faculty.

“The accreditation to offer a BAS will expand the learning opportunities for the students,” said Chelsea Campbell, faculty lead of the Water Quality program, in an email interview. “This accreditation gives us the ability to offer more hands-on training for students and help them become better prepared for a career in the water industry.”

The water quality management technology program focuses on applications, regulations and technologies of water, and has been around since the 1970s, Campbell said. The campus’ water quality building contains a hard, wet lab for the two water and wastewater analytical classes, and an outdoor distribution lab. The outdoor distribution lab is a live lab where students are able to experience all of the elements seen within the distribution system. The curriculum is directed in a specific way to increase likelihood of employment in the industry.

“The BAS allows us to be pioneers in creating educational pathways that perhaps have not yet existed in this industry,” said Linda F. Comeaux, vice president of instructional services at the college. “Our students will get, what I believe, is the best learning experience, the elevated/upper division knowledge and hands-on, applicable experience to go right into the workforce and secure in-demand jobs.”

[…]

“I am most looking forward to the growth of opportunities for students, especially since the water industry has very few degrees that are specific to water,” Campbell wrote. “Most degrees are focused around the environment or more generic sciences. This degree provides students courses that match their specific interests. Employers can now hire graduates that match their specific needs and the graduates can get the degree they really want.”

As with most programs at Red Rocks, Water Quality is designed to be affordable and flexible — classes are offered in a variety of modalities including online, traditional classroom and hybrid.

“We already have Ph.D. and qualified faculty on staff that will be able to teach some of these upper division courses,” Comeaux wrote. “I am looking forward to the faculty having the opportunity to utilize additional parts of their spectrum of knowledge and do what they do best — give our students exceptional experiences.”

Bureau of Reclamation Selects Twenty-one Projects to Receive $2.93 Million to Study Water Treatment Technologies

In membrane distillation water is transferred though a hydrophobic membrane by difference in vapor pressure. The driving force of this process is temperature difference. The difference in vapour pressure allows water in gas form to pass the membrane pores while water molecules are rejected by the hydrophobic membranes. Graphic via BlueTec.
In membrane distillation water is transferred though a hydrophobic membrane by difference in vapor pressure. The driving force of this process is temperature difference. The difference in vapour pressure allows water in gas form to pass the membrane pores while water molecules are rejected by the hydrophobic membranes. Graphic via BlueTec.

From email from Reclamation (Peter Soeth):

Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Estevan López today announced $2.93 million in funding for water treatment technologies research. This funding is being provided through the Desalination and Water Purification Research Program for the development of new water treatment technologies and Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse Program for research into the deployment of new technologies that supports the expansion of water technologies in new locations.

“In a number of Western river basins, Reclamation and its partners are seeing demands for water exceed traditional supplies,” Commissioner López said. “Funding research into new water treatment technologies will expand the number of water supply resource options.”

The Desalination and Water Purification Research Program will provide $1.78 million for nine lab-scale and three pilot-scale projects. This program supports the development of new advanced water treatment technologies. Up to $150,000 will be provided for research and laboratory studies that must be completed within a year and up to $200,000 per year for pilot-scale projects that must be completed within two years.

For example, the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado, will receive $143,869 to study approaches to increase technical feasibility of using membrane distillation for desalinating high-concentration brines, brackish waters, produced waters and seawater. [ed. emphasis mine]

The Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse Research Program will provide $1.15 million to help fund nine projects in the Western United States. This program helps communities address water supply challenges by providing much-needed funding for research to establish or expand water reuse markets, improve or expand existing water reuse facilities, and streamline the implementation of clean water technology at new facilities.

For example, the City of San Angelo, Texas, will use $300,000 of federal funding and $1,094,849 of non-federal funding to perform pilot-scale testing to assess existing water treatment technologies for a direct potable reuse project. The proposed research will evaluate approaches to maximize water recovery, verify the performance of advanced water treatment processes, and assess the viability of reverse osmosis concentrate disposal using deep injection wells at an inland location.

A complete list of the Desalination and Water Purification Research Program projects can be found at http://www.usbr.gov/research/programs/desalination. A complete list of Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse Research Program projects can be found at http://www.usbr.gov/watersmart/title.

The funding provided today supports the White House’s Water Innovation Strategy to address Water Resource Challenges and Opportunities for Water Technology Innovation. The Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse Research Program also supports the Department of the Interior’s WaterSMART Program.