Texas water plant making wastewater tasty through reclamation.

Image source: http://www.energytrendsinsider.com/2009/05/08/9-steps-to-making-your-green-brand-sustainable-and-relevant/

A recent article on Water/Waste Processing Magazine’s website highlights how the Big Springs Water Treatment Plant in Western Texas is using water reclamation to provide clean, drinkable water to residents in four neighboring cities. The Colorado River Municipal Water District provides 40 million gallons of water to 500 thousand people comprising the aforementioned cities, and the Big Spring water reclamation process will contribute 2 million gallons. Not a huge amount, but anything can help especially with the summer months approaching.

Water reclamation is a type of, in simplistic terms, water recycling similar to greywater. One of the main distinctions is that reclamation cleans sewer, or toilet, water for reuse. Sounds worrisome and, possibly downright nasty, but don’t fret. Like in Big Springs, TX, many measures are taken to guarantee that the water is fit for human use. Even astronauts use something similar when in space to obtain pure drinking water. Another difference is that reclamation uses bacteria, or biological means, to purify water of sludge and particles.

Image source: http://shashabee.blogspot.com/2012_08_01_archive.html


The Big Springs Plant, which will utilize nearby lakes to assist with the reclamation process, is similar to what has been seen in California, Arizona, and other countries according to the Water/Waste Processing article. The hopes are that other cities in Texas and across the nation will also construct such plants to deal with the increasing demands and potential shortages of water in our own backyards.

Would you drink purified water from your toilet? What if you already have? Do you believe its the responsibility of the local government to inform the public if a water reclamation project got underway in your hometown?

Revamped school in VA is tackling childhood obesity and making water a part of it.

Childhood overweight and obesity concerns are nothing new; however, one school in Buckingham County, VA took a whole different approach and remodeled their elementary school to promote healthy eating and physical activity, reports Lisa Stark from ABC news. Check out this video about the design and thought process behind it: The ABC write up provides [...]

Revamped school in VA is tackling childhood obesity and making water a part of it.

Childhood overweight and obesity concerns are nothing new; however, one school in Buckingham County, VA took a whole different approach and remodeled their elementary school to promote healthy eating and physical activity, reports Lisa Stark from ABC news. Check out this video about the design and thought process behind it:

The ABC write up provides some details about the cafeteria layout and highlights how water fountains are conspicuous and contain colorful signs touting its health benefits. Anisha Patel, who recently spoke at a HNFE seminar, and her colleagues at the University of California San Francisco recommend similar strategies to increase children’s water consumption. They also found that other tactics, like providing students and faculty with disposable water bottles, having filtered, cold water available, and offering water-related education materials and activities, can increase intake of water among children.

Dr. Elena Serrano, a HNFE professor and faculty member of the Water INTERface program who does research with on childhood obesity, believes that Buckingham County’s innovative strategy has pros and cons. She thinks “[t]he most disparate school divisions probably cannot afford a school like this” and that the cost of such a venture may be a barrier. However, Dr. Serrano highlights that the approach “[h]elps create a social norm around the value of food and nutrition, [i]mproves food preparation and culinary skills and ideally increases physical activity.”

Would you like to see these efforts in Blacksburg schools? How do you think the dining halls on Tech’s campus address healthy eating?

From the Pharmacy to the Tap: Emerging Contaminants from Water Reuse

Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products (PPCPs) are substances found in many of the lotions, sunscreens, soaps and medications that many of us use on a daily basis, but they are also finding their way into water sources. Many personal care products enter the waste water stream through showering and cleaning, and most drugs are not fully absorbed by the body and are excreted. PPCPs are an emerging challenge for the water industry because their concentrations vary throughout the year and current treatment methods have a limited ability to remove PPCPs from the water. For more information about PPCPs in California check out this article. For more information about PPCPs and the research being performed to remove them check out the EPA’s site.

Drinking water with pharmaceuticals

Source: http://growingblue.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/PPCPs-in-Water-300×193.jpg

To help reduce the amount of pharmaceuticals entering the water supply, the Virginia Tech AWWA/VAWEA student chapter is helping out the Blacksburg Police Department as they participate in the National Drug Tack Back program, which provides a way for the community to responsibly dispose of expired or unused medications. On April 27th from 10am to 2pm bring any pharmaceuticals that you would like to dispose of to the Blacksburg Community Center at 725 Patrick Henry Drive and help keep the rivers and landfills free of contamination. See the Town of Blacksburg Calendar for more information!

Lead found in water at 2 Navy childcare sites.

Image source: http://peakwater.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/leadwater-300×225.jpg

Lead is schools is of particular concern because children spend a significant amount of their time in school buildings. According to the EPA, up to 50% of a child’s total lead exposure can come from water, therefore, it is important that schools take proactive steps to make sure that their drinking water is safe. In the last two decades alone elevated lead levels were documented in school districts in at least 39 states. In the case of schools, the monitoring and correcting lead issues is voluntary. In fact, there are no enforceable lead standards for schools. However, in the circumstance mentioned in the article “Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Navy must test for lead in its water systems every three years” so very proactive steps were taken to ensure the safety of the children.

Original article can be found at: http://hamptonroads.com/2013/03/lead-found-water-2-navy-child-care-sites

Water scarcity-a threat to the food industry?

Paul Bulcke, the CEO of Nestle, recently addressed the importance of sustaining our water supply globally. The article mentioning Bulcke’s stance was posted on Processing Magazine’s website. He draws ties between water sustainability and the food industry, specifically how production of some foods are in danger if a solution for our water crisis is not [...]

Bottled water bans: Is boxed water the industry’s answer?

The Town of Concord, MA’s website states: “It shall be unlawful to sell non-sparkling, unflavored drinking water in single-serving polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles of 1 liter (34 ounces) or less in the Town of Concord on or after January 1, 2013.” Almost one month into the ban, the Boston Globe reports that many stores have followed [...]

Beverages: What we are purchasing is changing, but what are the implications?

According to a recent report on MarketWatch.com by The Wall Street Journal, American’s beverage purchasing patterns have been changing. Soda, juice, milk, beer, and powdered drink (e.g. instant breakfasts, iced teas, chocolate mixes, and protein shakes) sales have all declined since 2001. Interestingly, bottled water purchases have increased from about 17 gallons to 26 gallons [...]

University of Vermont students get a ban on selling of bottled water.

The students spoke and were heard. As of July 1st the University of Vermont (UVM) will no longer sell bottled water and offer more healthy options at vending machines campus-wide, according to a recent report. This will make UVM one of the first institutions in the nation to enact such a policy. Over the past four years, [...]

News Drops: Some schools in Brick, NJ found to have high lead levels in drinking water.

On Friday, this notice was sent out to residents of Brick, NJ due to elevated lead levels being found in 5 school’s drinking water. The Brick school district decided to test sources of potable water due to the aging buildings and potential for lead-related problems. Our own Marc Edwards knows all too well how lead [...]