Category Archives: Educational

Hayley Todesco, Calgary Alta, wins Stockholm Water Prize

Hayley Todesco, 18, spent two years developing filters that use sand and bacteria to de-toxify oilsands tailings. Much of her work was done in the lab of University of Calgary professor Lisa Gieg, who provided the bacteria and the tailings.

Part 2 ~ “Hayley Todesco wins Google Science Fair”. Please see last Friday’s blog for Part 1 

~ The following article was posted on worldwaterweek.org, Sept. 3, 2014

VICTORIA HANDS ‘JUNIOR WATER PRIZE’ TO CANADIAN

Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden presented the v to Hayley Todesco from Canada for inventing a method that uses sand filters to treat oil contaminated water and recover water for reuse.The award ceremony Wednesday was part of the World Water Week in Stockholm.

Waterprijs

The winning entry is a new application of an old water treatment technology that dates back to 1804.  Sand filters have traditionally been used to treat drinking water, however Hayley Todesco   used slow sand filters on contaminated water in oil sands tailing ponds instead… “This year’s winning project addresses a neglected but pressing environmental issue. The entry displays genuine outside the box thinking. Hundreds of hours of self-driven effort achieved a project that excelled in all judging criteria,” the Jury said in its citation. 

“I am shocked but so grateful. I got the idea of using sand filters from a pen pal in Namibia two years ago, and started testing them on wastewater in a tank at home. Now I have just started studying to become a microbiologist and I hope to spend a great deal of time in the lab to continue developing the method”, Hayley Todesco said.

About Stockholm Junior Water Prize

The competition is open to young people between the age of 15 and 20 who have conducted water-related projects at local, regional, national or global levels on topics of environmental, scientific, social and/or technological importance. The aim of the competition is to increase awareness, interest and knowledge of water and the environment. As of this year the board of SIWI has decided to increase the prize sum to the winners and also to institute a new prize. The international winner will from now on receive a USD 15,000 award and a prize sculpture, the winner’s school receives USD 5,000 (new category)…

Hayley Todesco wins Canadian Google Science Fair

Part 1 of  2,  Calgary’s Hayley Todesco wins Canadian Google Science Fair prize

The following excerpt is from, “Filters made from sand and bacteria clean toxic oilsands tailings 14 times faster” posted to CBC News, July 11, 2014, by Emily Chung.

Hayley Todesco, 18, spent two years developing filters that use sand and bacteria to de-toxify oilsands tailings. Much of her work was done in the lab of University of Calgary professor Lisa Gieg, who provided the bacteria and the tailings.

A young woman from Calgary has invented a faster way to clean up toxic waste generated by oilsands extraction, using filters made from sand and bacteria. The new technology has made Hayley Todesco, 18, the Google Science Fair’s regional winner for Canada, Google announced in a news release this week…Todesco says that based on her research, her technique could break down toxic compounds found in oilsands tailings 14 times more quickly than letting them sit, stored in tailings ponds as they mainly are now.

“The significance of these results is the discovery of a sustainable way to decrease the detoxification of tailings ponds from centuries to decades,” she wrote in a summary posted on the Google Science Fair website.

Watch Hayley Todesco’s video about her project Tailings ponds occupied about 176 square kilometres in 2010 or roughly the area of B.C.’s Saltspring Island, according to the environmental think-tank the Pembina Institute. That area is expected to grow to 250 square kilometres by 2020…

Todesco said that having been born and raised in Alberta, she was very aware of this pollution problem. She was trying to think of a science fair project that would help solve it, when she thought back to a demonstration in her Grade 5 class. The class had been raising money to send filters to Africa for drinking water, and a guest speaker helped the students make some from pop bottles and sand. “We put muddy water in the top and it came out totally clean,” Todesco said. When she remembered that, she added, “That’s kind of when I had my eureka moment.”

li-syncrude-620-cp301940A tailings pond reflects the Syncrude oilsands mine facility near Fort McMurray. Such ponds of toxic waste are expected to cover 250 square kilometres by 2020. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

Todesco was also interested in biology and bioreactors that use bacteria to break down waste, so she decided to make a bioreactor that incorporated sand, similar to devices invented to clean European sewage in the 19th century. Todesco wanted it to break down naphthenic acid, a major toxic component of oilsands tailings…Lisa Gieg, an assistant professor in biological sciences at the university, agreed to let Todesco work in her lab with the bacteria and tailings they had already collected. Because it was a biology lab, they didn’t have much in the way of supplies for building filters, but they did offer her some tubing…Todesco then began work designing the filters, using aquarium sand, empty IV bags, and other materials she picked up at hardware and dollar stores. Initially, to speed things up, she hooked her system up to a fountain pump from Home Depot, which promptly caused it to overflow…“A few months of work was basically ruined when I turned it on,” she said. “Building and engineering was definitely the hardest part.”

It took her seven months and about 120 tries with different designs to get a working system, which relied on gravity to pull oilsands tailings through sand topped with a film of bacteria in IV bags. In all, it took two years to complete the project, including the experiment and the analysis – she checked naphthenic acid levels in about 100 samples using the lab’s gas chromatograph. Each sample was prepared for analysis in an hour-long procedure that included several minutes of vigorous shaking…In addition to going into the lab for three or four hours after school, she spent her March Breaks there and also missed lots of her Grade 12 classes at Queen Elizabeth Junior Senior High School, which her teachers later allowed her to make up. So it was with much anticipation that she stayed up late to see if her efforts and labour would get recognized by the Google Science Fair regional judges. The regional winners were quietly disclosed online at 1 a.m. ET on June 26.

“I like freaked out and woke my sister up and it was great,” Todesco said. “This is really the height of my recognition for all the work that I’ve done.”

The global finalists will be announced Aug. 6, and will have a chance to compete for prizes including a $50,000 scholarship, a trip to the Virgin Galactic spaceport and a trip to the Galapagos Islands.

Hayley TodescoHayley Todesco
Hayley Todesco, 18, has just finished Grade 12 at Queen Elizabeth Junior/Senior High School in Calgary. (Courtesy of Google)

WATER DROPLET1_FOR BLOG ICONPlease see our followup blog next Friday ~ “Hayley Todesco, Calgary Alta, wins Stockholm Water Prize”

Fun Friday ~ Quirky USA Town Trivia

The following article and photos were posted on Huffington Post’s “The Blog” Sept. 3, 2014 – taken from Travel+Leisure July 12, 2014 by Katrina Brown Hunt
America’s Quirkiest Towns (PHOTOS)

Paul Stone loves the colorful locals he sees on Boulder, Colorado’s downtown plaza, the no-cars-allowed Pearl Street Mall…
 That double-jointed blend is probably why the Colorado mountain town also made the top 20 for quirky locals, according to Travel + Leisure readers.
They ranked hundreds of towns for such magnetic qualities as vibrant main streets, coffee bars, and an eco-friendly vibe. And while plenty of those features may contribute to a town’s unique personality, the top 20 winners in the quirky category take it a step further. One highly ranked town is an unlikely hotbed for Tibetan monks, while another largely forgoes Valentine’s Day to celebrate Charles Darwin instead. Asheville, North Carolina, for instance, ranked highly for its booming craft beer industry and diverse dining scene — but here, “diverse” goes well beyond a few good places to eat pho. On his No Taste Like Home tour, Ashevillian Alan Muskat lets visitors forage in the woods for – and then sample – wild local delicacies like “fairy potatoes,” which grow on vines, and reishi, known as the Mushroom of Immortality. “Asheville sits smack in the middle of the most biodiverse temperate bioregion on the planet,” Muskat boasts. “So even our plants are freaky.”

No. 1 Asheville, NC
1 ASHVILLEIs it the thinner mountain air or that the locals are standing too close to a vortex? Either way, these North Carolinians are tops for eccentricity thanks to both old and new charms: the vortex-laden terrain, which purports to send off good energy; the Friday night drum circle in downtown’s Pritchard Park; and the seemingly bottomless love of local beer. To tap into their vibes, try the beer-and-moonshine “hoptails” at Grove Park Inn’s Great Hall Bar, the BRÖÖ shampoo at the Earth Fare shop, or the port cake at Short Street Cakes. Asheville also ranked in the top 10 for great bakeries; Vortex Doughnutsoffers a local beer-of-the-day donut.
No. 2 Provincetown, MA

2  PROVINCETOWN

With its history of artists and theater types—Eugene O’Neill, Al Pacino, and Barbra Streisand all cut their teeth here—Provincetown has always provided a colorful contrast to the otherwise seersuckered Cape Cod. For a suitably quirky place to stay, check in at the Salt House Inn, where each room has a “wall of curiosities” featuring vintage art or interesting objects found along the beach. The longtime gay-friendly destination also impressed readers with its seafood shacks (such as the Red Shack, which does Mexican and Moroccan lobster rolls) and cool souvenirs, such as a photo of your aura, done by Whaler’s Wharf psychic Carolyn Miller.

No. 3 Ithaca, NY

3 ITHICA

This upstate New York college town has deep hippie roots—it’s the home of legendary vegetarian restaurant Moosewood—but these are not your typical flower children. Come February, instead of celebrating Valentine’s, the town makes a big to-do over Charles Darwin’s birthday, in its Darwin Days. Thanks to the area’s Cayuga Wine Trail, Ithaca also scored in the top five for vino. Start your taste testing with Six Mile Creek, which uses grapes even for distilled spirits like its Chardonnay-based gin.

No. 4 Boulder, CO

4 BOULDER

This lovable mountain town is so outdoorsy (and granola) that each July, locals hold a Tube to Work Day. And while Colorado has recently become more famous for its smokable “herbs,” you can still explore the town’s original herbal high on a free tour of the Celestial Seasonings tea factory, or sit down for afternoon tea and samosas at the elaborately hand-carved Boulder Dushanbe Tea House, originally built in Boulder’s sister city in Tajikistan. To see why the town also ranked well for burgers, check out the grass-fed wonders at The Sink, which is completely wind-powered.

No. 5 Lambertville, NJ

5 LAMBERTVILLE

To folks in this quaint town along the Delaware River, the real weirdos may be the motorcycle riders and Wiccans across the bridge in New Hope, PA. Still, these Jersey denizens—artists, gardeners, and perhaps actors gunning to play General Washington in the next historical reenactment—get props for their serious attitude toward antiques. The four-story People’s Store has been selling treasures since 1832 (when such things weren’t old). For people-watching, go to coffee and gourmet shop Lambertville Trading Company, where the java is old-school, too: iced coffee served with frozen cubes of coffee and a full range of bone-china mugs.

No. 6 Aspen, CO

6 ASPEN

This tiny Colorado ski town attracts more than just the designer snowsuit crowd. Check out Woody Creek Tavern, one of Hunter S. Thompson’s favorite hangouts, with its sensory-overloaded walls of newspaper clippings and children’s art. Residents have a soft spot for pet lovers: the local shelter’s Rent-a Pet program lets you visit with a designated cat or dog during your stay. Aspen also ranked well for its sense of adventure, which can extend from outdoor sports to food and drink. AtZocalito’s, you can order your guacamole withchapulines (grasshoppers), and at Hotel Jerome’sJ-Bar, be sure to try an Aspen Crud, the bourbon-laced milkshake cocktail that dates back to Prohibition.

No. 7 Fayetteville, AR

7 FAYETTEVILLE

Whether you chalk it up to kookiness or school pride, this college town celebrates New Year’s each year with its own Hog Drop. The home of the University of Arkansas Razorbacks also ranked well for its sense of history: at the Clinton House Museum, you can stand in the modest little home where the former president and secretary of state once lived (and even got married, in the living room). To feel even more like an insider, stay at theInn at Carnall Hall—an elegant hotel built from a rehabbed women’s dorm—and tuck in at one of Fayetteville’s high-ranking diners, such as theRolling Pin Café, where on Saturdays you can order your biscuits with chocolate gravy.

water-dropletHope you all enjoyed your armchair travel time with us and have a great weekend.

PEI potato industry lobbies for deep well

1-PEI POTATO INDUSTRY

The following excerpt from “Hot Potato – The Prince Edward Island potato industry is lobbying for deep-well permits, but not without great resistance” by Rachel Phan appeared in WaterCanada’s Mar/Apr issue.

POTATO BOARDOn the East Coast of Canada, a contentious debate rages on over the Prince Edward Island Potato Board’s request to have a moratorium lifted on deep-well water extraction for irrigation.
CAVENDISHThe board, along with industry giant Cavendish Farms, began a full-scale lobby effort in January 2014 to push for deep-well permits, saying science indicates the Island has a high water-recharge rate. This has been met with significant backlash from environmentalists, citizen’s groups, and political parties that say extracting tonnes of water out of the Island’s deep water aquifer is risky business, especially since Prince Edward Island relies exclusively on groundwater. “High-volume extraction could mean individual wells could dry up. There aren’t a lot of central water systems here in TODD DUPUISP.E.I.,” said Todd Dupuis, executive director of regional programs for the Atlantic Salmon Federation. “Often the country folk have their own wells, and if they’re in close proximity to a monster  well that’s taking a lot of water out of the  ground, it can actually really lower the  water table to the point where your well  no longer produces water.”
The moratorium, which was initially intended to be in place for a year, has been in place since 2001. In the more than 10 years since the moratorium was put in place, the Prince Edward Island department of environment has studied the Island’s water recharge GROUND WATER EXTRACTIONrate. It released a provincial water extraction policy earlier this year around the same time the potato board began its lobby efforts, sparking claims the province is working in the interest of potato growers. The policy noted the province has “abundant groundwater recharge” of approximately two billion cubic metres a year, contradicting recent reports of a dwindling water supply in the province. (For more on this, see bit.ly/peiwater.)
LINKLETTER“The department of environment found that […] less than seven per cent of the P.E. I. groundwater is used by all users,” said Gary Linkletter, chairman of the Prince Edward Island Potato Board. “Of that seven per cent, […] industrial uses about 30 per cent and residential about 60 per cent. Currently, irrigation is hardly even a player in P.E.I. groundwater use. “If there was a real concern about water use, these other users are the ones where a LOGOmoratorium would actually make a difference. […] We feel it is only proper and fair that agriculture not be subject to the current, very selective moratorium.” Prince Edward Island potato growers have said that, without deep-water wells, productivity will decline and lead to the reduction of the province’s $1-billion potato industry. Some growers have expressed concerns over staying competitive, especially since American farmers can sometimes KEVIN MCISSACharvest twice the amount of potatoes from one acre. “We’re not even close to that in Canada because we don’t have the longer growing season or access to irrigation,” Kevin MacIsaac, chair of the United Potato Growers of Canada, told The Guardian…
“[Growers] add more fertilizer than they need, and that stuff is very water soluble and full of nitrate and phosphate,” Dupuis said. PEI GROUNDWATER SUPPLY“There’s always stuff left over: it leeches down into the soil, and the soil in P.E.I. is sandstone, so it is very porous. The water up high is latent with fertilizer and percolates down.”
Linkletter said the contamination of aquifers by fertilizers is actually exacerbated by dry conditions. “Proper moisture conditions for the crop to grow would reduce what fertilizer is left in the soil. […] It would be more likely to reduce problems rather than increase them.”
DEEP WELL IRRIGATIONHe added that the deep-well extraction for irrigation would only occur for a very limited portion of the year, and that such wells would be monitored to ensure “responsible supplemental irrigation.”
Since the potato industry has made its request to the province to remove the moratorium, there has been an impassioned response from concerned islanders who are attending usually empty 011514Daryl Guignion for Nigel's story ion deep water welle.committee meetings in droves. A February 26 meeting was attended by 200 Prince Edward Islanders, including biologist Darryl Guignon, who said, “None of us have been asked anything about this. Nor the department of fisheries and oceans, nor the public! It’s our water for heaven’s sake, and we can’t even have an input in a water policy?”
JANICE SHERRYEnvironment Minister Janice Sherry has said the provincial government will not make a decision on deep-well irrigation and the moratorium will not be lifted until there is further proof that such practices would not diminish the quantity or quality of Prince Edward Island’s groundwater.

Rachel Phan is Water Canada’s managing editor.

Water Balloon Fight on a Whole New Level!!!

1-WATER BALLOONS

I Want This Guy On My Side For My Next Water Balloon Side. I’d Definitely Win The Fight.
Every once in a great while an invention comes around that changes the way we live and engulfs our life. Things like the automobile, the television, the internet, the smart phone. They are things we can simply no longer live without. That’s basically the case with this new invention that will change the course of history forever. I remember a day when I would wait patiently by the hose to fill up a bucket of water balloons. This usually took me around 15 minutes for a small bucket. As soon as I would demolish my friends, I would be back at the hose for another 15 minutes completely vulnerable to the attacks that were heading my way. This is simply inefficient warfare and we have been fighting our front yard battles this way for far too long. Well the future is here my friends and your enemies won’t stand a chance.

A father of 8 created this product after a few summers of filling up thousands and thousands of water balloons. He started a Kickstarter campaign that has far exceeded the goal of $10,000! Right now the pledges have accumulated to over $658,000!…

Take a look at how simple it is to fill a huge bucket with water balloons in just a few minutes in the following Youtube video, “Win the water balloon arms race!” ~ published on Jul 24, 2014

Fill and tie hundreds of water balloons in minutes with our attachment that comes ready-to-go, no preparation necessary!

 Water balloons how it works ~
Water balloons 1
You simply attach the end of the Bunch O Balloons to your hose. Turn it on and give the hose a little shake. The balloons are pre-tied and simply fall off the hose and are ready for battle.
Water balloons 2
With this new product you can fill over 100 balloons in under a minute. Your enemies won’t have a chance.
Water balloons 3
This is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen and on top of tons of fun the balloons are biodegradable.
Water balloons 4
I can only imagine how many more water balloon fights we will be having.. I mean how many more water balloon fights the kids will be having. This makes it easy and fun. 
Here are some step by step instructions. Why wasn’t this invented years ago?

While enemy combatants are slowly building their stockpile one weapon at a time, you can quickly gain superiority in your next water balloon war with this dad’s genius invention.It’s called ‘Bunch O Balloons’ and with it, you can fill 100 water bombs in less than a minute! 

Your enemies will have no chance and there will be a water bath of destruction when you unleash your fury and hundreds of water balloons. Prepare for neighborhood domination with this awesome product.

Great weekend (for water sports) coming up in our area – choose your weapons folks and have a great weekend!

Wibit ~ What? ~ WOW! ~ Awesome water sport!

From time to time I will be repeating one of our more popular blogs and this one, which I published in April 2012, falls into that category. I decided to share it again as our wonderful summer weather is probably calling you to the water somewhere – enjoy!

 

SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE WHO DELIGHTS IN WATER RECREATION!

 

What is Wibit?

Wibit is the brainchild or two entrepreneurs that wanted to bring fun and excitement to pools and resorts around the world. Wibit’s interlocking and standalone modules make creating and expanding your Sports Park easy. Whether you need to accommodate 10 or 100 people at a time, there’s a Wibit Sports Park that’s perfect for you.

These cool inflatable water parks produced by the German company Wibit are the real water playgrounds that take only three hours to install. Their key feature is the modular design – the costumer is able to create his own combination of modules for maximum entertainment.

The German watersports company Wibit Sports GmbH has been producing inflatable water sports products for commercial grade for over 15 years.They are distributed in over 50 countries worldwide. From Commercial Pools, Resorts, Camps or Open Water Locations. Wibit believes people everywhere should experience the excitement of play on the water.

Founded in 1997 by two friends Robert Cirjak and Romann Rademacher. The team is constantly working on new water sport creations. Inspired by a passion for sports, Wibit promotes motor skill development and social interaction through its AquaGames.

 Video link:

http://www.wibitsports.com

 

Blue City (Water Sustainable) of the future

1-BLUE CITY

The following excerpt,Blue City – What does the water sustainable city of the future look like?”, by Kirk Stinchcombe, Louise Brennan, and Jenn Willoughby is from WaterCanada Magazine, March/April 2014 issue

… Embedded in the phrase Water Sustainable City of the Near Future are four concepts:
• By city we mean a municipal environment of any size. We tend to think specifically of Canadian cities, but many of the insights would apply anywhere.
• By sustainable, we mean the capacity to endure. This includes biological systems that remain diverse and productive over time. It also implies the potential for long-term maintenance of human well-being. We think broadly and include ecological, community, and financial aspects.
• By water, we mean drinking water, storm water and waste water. We think of water quality, quantity, and availability.
• By near future, we think along variable time frames.
Some aspects of water sustainability are attainable within
as few as five years. Changes that are more difficult could
take perhaps 20 years to realize. Still others, such as
replacement of major infrastructure, may take more time…

Eight Blue City Case Studies.
Blue City is an attainable place. Many of its exemplary
characteristics are found in real cities across Canada and
around the world. The full report contains eight case
studies that describe various aspects of a water sustainable
urban environment.
ATRIUM1. Building Design (City of Victoria, British Columbia)
The Atrium Building is a seven-storey, 204,000-squarefoot retail and office building at the edge of downtown Victoria. It is a multi-award winning project with acclaimed stormwater innovations.
OKATAKS2.  Water in Decision-Making (Okotoks, Alberta)
Okotoks is a town of 24,511, located just south of
Calgary. The town has an innovative relationship
between bylaws and incentive programs to encourage continuous improvements in water conservation.
3. Blue Built Program (Guelph, Ontario)BLUE BUILT
The City of Guelph administers a certification program that provides rebates for new homes that meet an approved set of water-efficient standards, ranging from faucet aerators to rainwater harvesting systems.
4. Conservation-Oriented Pricing (Seattle)SEATTLE
Seattle Public Utilities has charged rates based on
volume for decades and has been fully metered since
1920. In 1989, it was among the first in North America to introduce seasonal surcharges.
GREEN ROOF5. Developer Incentives (Chicago)
The Green Permit Program offers progressive developers an expedited permitting process and other incentives in exchange for incorporating items from a “Green Menu” of strategies and technologies in their projects.
EPCOR6. Performance-Based Regulation (Edmonton, Alberta)
Since 2002, the City of Edmonton and EPCOR Water Services have operated according to performance based regulations, a mechanism that prevents overspending, defines expectations, and lays out
penalties in the case of under performance.
HALIFAX7. Utility Performance Measurement (Halifax, Nova Scotia)
Halifax Water is the first regulated water, wastewater, and stormwater utility in Canada. Its pressure and
leakage management program has resulted in annual
savings in operating costs of $600,000.
AUSTRALIA8. Source Substitution (Australia)
Pimpama-Coomera is a large greenfield development located on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia.
It has a dedicated Class A+ recycled water treatment plant and entirely separate pipe system to supply homes and businesses in the area with water suitable
for toilet flushing and garden irrigation…
Blue City offers a vision of a place where water is visible and valued, recognized as integral to the community’s economic, social, and environmental well-being…

Areas for Action
The water leaders interviewed in Blue City identified four priority areas for action: 
1 Financial Responsibility:
Sustainable utilities focus on levels of service, develop asset management plans, and embrace life-cycle costing.
In pricing services, utilities aim for full-cost recovery and structure their rates to influence behaviours.
2 Progressive Regulation and Governance:
Progressive regulations and incentivebased programs complement each other in driving performance and ultimately achieving water
sustainability goals. A well-designed utility governance structure facilitates information flow and achieves resource efficiencies.
3 Customer-Oriented Information:
Utilities measure their performance. This facilitates transparent reporting and informs planning processes. In a sustainable
city, information is shared, integrated, and audience-specific.
4 Cutting-Edge Technology:
Transformative utilities figure out how to incorporate technology
that makes source separation economically viable. Sustainable
cities have infrastructure that maintains the natural environment
and minimizes the impact of activities on native ecosystems…

The idea at the heart of the report is that the decisions
we make today will determine what the city looks like in
five, 10, and even 100 years. With a shared vision in place, taking small, frequent steps is possible. Together, we can navigate diversity and complexity, and ultimately move a real city toward a better future.
AUTHORS

Kirk Stinchcombe and Louise Brennan are Sustainability Specialists at Econics. Jenn Willoughby is Manager of Strategic Marketing and Outreach at Canadian Water Network.

The full version can be found online at http://www.blue-economy.ca.