Category Archives: Educational

Canada’s First Nations’ containerized sewage treatment

THINK INSIDE BOX

Thinking Inside the Box

For Canada’s remote First Nations, smaller towns, and suburban developments, containerized sewage treatment promises plenty of benefits. Are we ready to rethink small systems?
This article was written by Julie Stauffer and appeared in Jan/Feb 2014 issue of WaterCanada magazine.
SEWAGE LAGOONAcross the country, small towns are facing the problem of sewage lagoons nearing capacity or reaching the end of their lives. On First Nation reserves in particular, more than half the wastewater systems have been classified as high or medium risk. Meanwhile, urban Canadian municipalities are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to connect new outlying developments to existing treatment plants.
TRISHAccording to Trish Johnson, a senior environmental consultant at R.V. Anderson Associates Ltd., the status quo approach to small sewage systems no longer makes sense. “We have to do
things differently,” she says.
Bullish on boxes. ECO LIBRA SYSTEM
More and more companies are betting the answer lies in packaged or containerized sewage treatment. The concept is simple. Fit your technology—complete with plumbing and electrical—into a shipping container or trailer, transport it to your site via truck or barge, hook everything up, and suddenly, you’ve got a functioning system in a matter of days at a fraction of the cost of conventional plants. As an added bonus, the effluent that comes out the other end is just as good—or better—than in traditional facilities.
ECOLIBRATake the example of EcoLibra Systems. A few years ago, this Saskatoon based company was building sewage treatment plants from scratch with all the contracting headaches and weather delays that accompany any construction project. CEO Jason Tratch then decided to package his company’s lime-based treatment technology in a standard 40-foot sea container. The resulting system serves roughly 300 people, and to scale up, the user simply adds another container.
FILTERBOXXMeanwhile, for the past 13 years, Calgary’s FilterBoxx Packaged Water Solutions Inc. has been providing water and sewage treatment in the work camps of Northern Alberta, “literally 500 miles north of nowhere,” CEO Larry Novachis says.CEO NOVACHIS
The packaged membrane bioreactor sewage treatment systems serve anywhere from 600 people to more than 5,000. Now, FilterBoxx is expanding its clientele to small communities, First Nations, resorts, and hotels. “If the camp people put their faith in a packaged approach day in and day out in –50°C, there’s no reason why a small town or an Indian reserve couldn’t either,” Novachis says.
There are dozens of other examples. Treatment containers from Canadian-owned Nomadic have seen action everywhere from fly-in fishing camps in British Columbia to mining camps in Siberia. Siemens has installed its Xpress system at Tsuu T’ina Nation’s Grey Eagle Casino in Calgary, while Quebec-based Bionest piloted their Kodiak system in the Arctic town of Iqaluit.
And whether the company uses an activated sludge process, rotating biological contractors, chemicals, or membrane technology to treat wastewater, the objectives remain the same: provide a packaged system that is effective, easy to transport, and simple to maintain.
‘It’s a slam dunk’
So how do boxed systems stack up against conventional approaches? When compared to lagoons—the go-to solution for most Canadian communities of 5,000 people or fewer—the big CCMENEWadvantage for small systems is performance. While lagoons are a well-established technology, a 2006 Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment report cites problems with odour issues and high ammonia levels in the treated discharge.
As environmental regulations get stricter, Novachis expects more towns to look for alternatives to lagoon systems. Packaged or WATERTREATMENT PLANTcontainerized systems are highly reliable, he says. They have a significantly smaller footprint than a lagoon, plus they’re enclosed, avoiding odour issues. Most importantly, they produce an effluent that can be reused for anything from washing equipment to watering golf courses. “Really, it’s a slam dunk going packaged versus lagoon,” Novachis says.
Packaged systems have advantages over bricks-and-mortar facilities, too. In remote communities where on-site construction costs can run 10 times as high as urban areas, packaged systems make financial sense. While the material costs are similar to a so-called “stick-built” system, Novachis says, the huge savings on installation cut total ownership costs between a half and two-thirds.
Tratch also points out the economies of scale created when a company manufactures standardized packages rather than constructing a custom-built facility. Packaged systems can be designed and installed much faster than the 18 to 24 months typically required to build a plant from scratch. “We can have a sea can at your door, ready to turn the key, within three to four months,” he says.
As for suburban settings, packaged systems allow municipalities to expand without the need to connect nodes of development to treatment plants dozens of kilometres away. Tratch says he’s
getting calls from developers putting in 100 or 150 houses on the outskirts of town. “This is a big new market,” he says.
And the advantages of small systems do not end there. Packaged systems don’t require specialized expertise, which is ideal for small communities where highly trained engineers and operational staff are not always available. Take the example of an EcoLibra system: “Every three to four days, someone’s going to have to go into the plant and add the green chemical to the green bin, the blue chemical to the blue bin, and then swap out the bag that was collecting the sludge,” Tratch says. Compared to more traditional systems, this process is relatively easy.
As for FilterBoxx, it has 35 certified water and wastewater professionals in Stony Plain, Alberta dedicated to running the plants it installs.
Moving forward
In a country still dominated by big pipe,
urban-focused thinking, manufacturers of packaged and containerized systems face a few hurdles. One of the biggest, according to Johnson, is policy. “Buttoned down” and “risk adverse” federal protocols require operators and backup systems that are exorbitantly expensive, she says.

And while some provinces do allow communities to manage private systems, others insist new suburban developments should be connected to existing sewage.
Then there’s the additional problem facing any new technology: unfamiliarity.
While the engineering companies that design and build municipal plants know all about bricks-and-mortar plants, plug-and-play systems are a different ballgame. “I think the next guys that need to change is the small and the large engineering firms,” Tratch says.
However, Johnson points to economic drivers, the data flowing in from pilot plants, the federal government’s willingness to look at alternatives for First Nations, and the growing number of qualified vendors as signs that attitudes are shifting. “Once we start to put out the information and the results, and the proof of the pudding is there, we’re going to see huge changes,” she predicts. WC
Julie Stauffer is an award-winning freelance writer and the owner of Cadmium Red Communications.

http://watercanada.net/2014/thinking-inside-the-box/

Snow – an untapped commodity in Canada

Recently Updated3
MONTREAL SNOWSTORM

Waste Not, Want Not,
“Are Canadians turning a blind eye to the untapped potential of snow?” by Clark Kingsbury, assistant editor of WaterCanada.
IT IS NO SURPRISE that snow is cumbersome for cities. It must be removed from streets and disposed of as swiftly as possible, creating an organizational headache and a monetary burden. For example, the City of Montreal spent $120 million to remove 13 million cubic metres of snow in 2006.

WASTE NOT WANT NOT
Generally speaking, snow in Canadian cities is collected and dumped in a snow disposal facility (SDF), where it is left to melt over the course of the year. But alternatives where snow is treated as an untapped commodity rather than as an expensive nuisance are slowly being suggested both in Canada and abroad.
MONTREAL UNIVERSITYPatrick Evans is an architect and professor of environmental design at the Université de Québec à Montréal, as well as the author of the children’s book ‘Where the Snow Goes’. He believes that the snow Montreal receives can be used either as a source of energy, or as a “visible, celebratory, urban event.”  Evans traces his interest in snow removal and its possible re-use back to his first winter in Montreal in the 1990s.
“I think it was the sheer unadulterated awe of witnessing the late night winter choreography of snow removal in Montreal’s narrow urban streets,” he wrote in an email. “Even then, I was immediately struck by the question: where does the snow go?”
… Evans suggests that we take a more creative and useful approach to snow removal—an idea that has been gaining traction at different locations around the world.
SWEDISH HOSPITALIn their study, Potential Utilization of City Owned Snow Disposal STRANDARD SNOW DISPOSAL SITEFacilities for Seasonal Cooling in Ottawa, Canada, Paul Cipcigan and Frederick Michel state that more than 100 seasonal storage systems exist in Japan and China, as well as a seasonal cooling project at the county hospital in Sundsvall, Sweden, part of Västernorrland County.
SUNDSVALL HOSPITALPrior to the year 2000, the 190,000 metre-squared hospital used a conventional cooling system to control the indoor climate and to ensure technical equipment didn’t overheat. However, a new cooling facility was eventually constructed at a nearby repository for snow cleared from area streets. Snow is stored in a sever-metre-deep bowl-shaped asphalt basin and is insulated with wood chips during the spring and summer to slow the melting process.
VASTERNORRLANDSAccording to the Vasternorrland County Council’s website, meltwater is “pumped through the heat exchanger where the water cools the technical equipment as well as the ventilation air, which passes through the hospital.” The water warms through this process and is used to melt more snow on its way back through the system.
Efforts have been made to incorporate similar technologies in Canada. Cipcigan and Michel’s paper describes…
“The principle behind the seasonal storage of ice/snow technologies consists of utilizing the energy stored as latent heat in the phase change of water into ice during winter. The natural snow/ice collected during winter is then stored until summer when it is used as a sink for the heat removed during cooling of buildings or other industrial processes.”
“The heat transfer is done through a heat exchanger and the cooling agent can be either re-circulated or discharged after use. The most common cooling agents used are water, ice/snow meltwater, and air, which are more environmentally friendly than the ones used by the conventional chiller systems.”
Cipcigan and Michel’s study, conducted in the winter of 2008/2009, investigates the amount of potential cold energy available from the Conroy SDF in Ottawa. “The cold energy,” the report reads, “is the amount of heat that can be consumed or dissipated during cooling.”
CONROY SDFThe report determined that in the winter of 2008/2009, the Conroy SDF held around 500,000 cubic metres of snow, from which an estimated 30,430 MWh was available. The study goes on to assume a 30-per-cent loss of snow before temperatures would necessitate cooling, based on the experience at the Sundsvall hospital. Even after the snow loss, the facility would possess an estimated 21,300 MWh of available energy.
The report also presented energy use data from a city-owned office building with 39,000 square metres of floor space, which was cooled during the warmer months by a pair of rooftop chillers. The
average annual energy consumption of the two chillers from 2005 to 2009 was 512 MWh, costing $51,200 based on the cost of energy in 2009.
Comparing energy consumption figures at the office building and stored energy at the Conroy SDF, the report states that the volume of snow stored at the Conroy SDF “represents the equivalent cooling energy for over 40 buildings similar to the one analyzed, with a total floor space of approximately 1.6 million square metres and an estimated annual energy value of over $2 million.” The value was again based on energy prices in 2009.
“If all city SDFs were filled to capacity—approximately three million M3 – the energy potential after a 30 percent per season loss allowance represents roughly 130,000 MWh of cooling energy, currently worth an estimated $12.5 million annually,” the report continues.
Although the City of Ottawa, citing issues of cost and space for snow storage, decided not to pursue the exploitation of snow and ice for its cold energy potential, Cipcigan and Michel’s report, along with successful examples in Sweden and elsewhere, highlights the possibilities available to those cities lucky enough to exist in a northern climate.

“Bet you didn’t know water sponges are animals”!!!

SEA SPONGES

ROPE SPONGE2The title quotation, “Bet you didn’t know sponges are animals” is from Dr. Jonathan Bird, on his studies of living sea sponges.
TUBE SPONGESponges live at the bottom of the ocean attached to the surface – never moving.
ENCRUSTING SPONGESSponges look like plants, but are multi-cellular animals.
Sponges are found in the Arctic, Antarctic oceans and the tropics on many coral reefs. These ancient animals have been around for 1/2 billion years.
BARREL SPONGEThe most common is the barrel sponge, some of which can grow larger than a person.
According to Jonathan these sponges are “not as cool as sharks, but still fascinating animals.”

youtube video “Jonathan Bird’s Blue World: Sponges!” published on Mar 11, 2014

BASE SPONGEA sponge might not look like much, but these simple animals with no brain or ability to move have lived on Earth for hundreds of millions of years. They can hunt prey and spawn, and Jonathan demonstrates how in this fascinating segment about the biology of sponges!

There are more than 14,000 videos and webisodes on Jonathan Bird’s Blue World’s site and Youtube – all entertaining, amazing and thrilling!

Never, Ever Give Up!!! ~ Inspirational Friday with Diamond Dallas Page

NEVEFR GIVE UP

Arthur’s story is highlighted from the beginning, in the upcoming documentary, INSPIRED: The Movie.http://www.inspiredthemovie.com
(Thanks to filmmaker Steve Yu for putting this inspirational video together!) Published on Apr 30, 2012.

10 million views of the Youtube video (below) so far!

Arthur Boorman was a disabled veteran of the Gulf War for 15 years, and was told by his doctors that he would never be able to walk on his own, ever again.

He stumbled upon an article about Diamond Dallas Page doing Yoga and decided to give it a try – he couldn’t do traditional, higher impact exercise, so he tried DDP YOGA and sent an email to Dallas telling him his story.

)

Dallas was so moved by his story, he began emailing and speaking on the phone with Arthur throughout his journey – he encouraged Arthur to keep going and to believe that anything was possible. Even though doctors told him walking would never happen, Arthur was persistent. He fell many times, but kept going.

Arthur was getting stronger rapidly, and he was losing weight at an incredible rate! Because of DDP’s specialized workout, he gained tremendous balance and flexibility – which gave him hope that maybe someday, he’d be able to walk again.

His story is proof, that we cannot place limits on what we are capable of doing, because we often do not know our own potential. Neither Arthur, nor Dallas knew what he would go on to accomplish, but this video speaks for itself. In less than a year, Arthur completely transformed his life. If only he had known what he was capable of, 15 years earlier.

Do not waste any time thinking you are stuck – you can take control over your life, and change it faster than you might think. 

Hopefully this story can inspire you to follow your dreams – whatever they may be.
Anything is Possible!
If this story can inspire someone you know,
please share it with them!

For more information about DDP YOGA, visit http://bit.ly/Kqewdp

To contact Arthur or Dallas Page about this incredible story, please visit http://www.ddpbang.com and contact them.

Related article link ~

Road Deicer ~ Beet Juice! Sugarcane Molasses! Cheese Brine! ~ Say What?

ROCK SALT1

Article, “What Happens to All the Salt We Dump On the Roads?”, by Joseph Stromberg, smithsonianmag.com, Jan. 6, 2014
I’ve included 2 videos – see below.
NEW SALT TRUCK

In the U.S., road crews scatter about 137 pounds of salt per person annually to melt ice. Where does it go after that?

As much of the country endures from the heavy snowfall and bitter cold that has marked the start of 2014, municipalities in 26 states will rely on a crucial tool in clearing their roads: salt.

Because the freezing point of salty water is a lower temperature than pure water, scattering some salt atop ice or snow can help accelerate the melting process, opening up the roads to traffic that much sooner. It’s estimated that more than 22 million tons of salt are scattered on the roads of the U.S. annually—about 137 pounds of salt for every American.

But all that salt has to go somewhere. After it dissolves—and is split into sodium and chloride ions—it gets carried away via runoff and deposited into both surface water (streams, lakes and rivers) and the groundwater under our feet.

POT HOLEConsider how easily salt can corrode your car. Unsurprisingly, it’s also a problem for the surrounding environment—so much that in 2004, Canada categorized road salt as a toxin and placed new guidelines on its use. And as more and more of the U.S. becomes urbanized and suburbanized, and as a greater number of roads criss-cross the landscape, the mounting piles of salt we dump on them may be getting to be a bigger problem than ever.

MOHAWK RIVERData from long-term studies of watersheds bear this out. A group of scientists that tracked salt levels from 1952 to 1998 in the Mohawk River in Upstate New York for instance founds that concentrations of sodium and chloride increased by 130 and 243 percent, respectively, with road salting the primary reason as the surround area became more developed. More recently, a study of the Mohawk River in Upstate New York, for instance, found that concentrations of sodium and chloride increased by 130 and 243 percent, respectively, with road salting the primary reason as the surround  area became more developed. More recently, a study of a stream in southeastern New York State that was monitored from 1986 to 2005 found a similar pattern, with significant annual increases and road salting to blame for an estimated 91 percent of sodium chloride in the watershed.

ROAD SALTBecause it’s transported more easily than sodium, chloride is the greater concern, and in total, an estimated 40 percent of the country’s urban streams have chloride levels that exceed safe guidelines for aquatic life, largely because of road salt.
This chloride can occasionally impact human water use, mostly because some penetrates into the groundwater we tap for drinking purposes. Water utilities most frequently report complaints of salty drinking water during the winter, when chloride concentrations are likely to exceed 250 parts per million (ppm), our taste buds’ threshold for detecting it.

This is an especially DANGERS OF SALT CROPbig issue for people on salt restrictive diets. Overall, though, road salt-laced drinking water isn’t a widespread problem: A 2009 USGS study found that fewer than 2 percent of the drinking wells sampled had chloride levels that surpassed federal standards.

GREEN GLOBERoad salt pollution is generally a bigger issue for the surrounding environment and the organisms that live in it. It’s estimated that chloride concentrations above 800 ppm are harmful to most freshwater aquatic organisms. Because these high levels interfere with how animals regulate the uptake of salt into their bodies—and for short periods after a snow melt, wetlands nearby highways can surpass these levels. A range of studies has found that chloride from road salt can negatively impact the survival rates of crustaceans, amphibians ROCK SALTsuch as salamanders and frogs, fish, plants and other organisms. There’s even some evidence that it could hasten invasions of non-native plant species—in one marsh by the Massachusetts Turnpike, a study found that it aided the spread of salt-tolerant invasives.

On a broader scale, elevated salt concentrations can reduce water circulation in lakes and ponds (because salt affects water’s density), preventing oxygen from reaching bottom layers of water. It can also interfere with a body of water’s natural chemistry, reducing the overall nutrient load. DAMAGED TREESOn a smaller scale, highly concentrated road salt can dehydrate and kill trees and plants growing next to roadways, creating desert conditions because the plants have so much more difficulty absorbing water. In some cases, dried salt crystals can attract deer and moose to busy roads, increasing their chance of becoming roadkill.

DEERHow can we avoid killing trees and making roadkill of deer while de-icing the roads? Recently, in some areas, transportation departments have begun pursuing strategies to reduce salt use. Salting before a storm, instead of after, can prevent snow and ice from binding to the asphalt, making the post-storm cleanup a little bit easier and allowing road crews to use less salt overall. Mixing the salt with slight amounts of water allows it to spread more, and blending in sand or gravel lets it to stick more easily and improve traction for cars.


Elsewhere, municipalities are trying out alternate de-icing compounds. Over the past few years, beet juice, sugarcane molasses and cheese brine, among other substances, have been mixed in with salt to reduce the overall chloride load on the environment. These don’t eliminate the need for conventional salt, but they could play a role in cutting down just how much we dump on the roads.

JOSDPH STROMBERG SMITHSONIANJoseph Stromberg writes about science, technology and the environment for Smithsonian and has also contributed to Slate, the Verge, Salon and other outlets.

WATERCANADA MAGAZINE RELATED ARTICLE
“Where Does the Road Salt Go?”, written by Justin Clarke, appeared in WaterCanada’s Jan./Feb. 2014 issue. 
DURING MY TIME as an environmental consultant, I toured most of Southern Ontario by travelling between job sites. Over the past 15 years, I have noticed changes to our roadside landscapes. As I watched city and town limits grow, roads were often upgraded and salted in the winter to assist the local traffic… Ultimately, we must find a viable solution to keep our roadsides safe and our natural environment healthy. We must stop prioritizing one over the other. 
JUSTIN CLARKJustin Clarke who is the environmental
sales and services coordinator of
MAXIM Environmental and Safety Inc.

http://watercanada.net/archives/#

STOP KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE PETITION

KEYSTONE PIPELINE

A brief excerpt from Avaaz.com taken from an e-mail received 03.06.14

Right now, the US government is about to make the defining climate decision of Obama’s presidency - whether to approve a monstrous pipeline that will transport up to 830,000 barrels a day of the world’s dirtiest oil from Canada across the US.

If approved, the Keystone XL pipeline will help pump billions of dollars into the pockets of a few companies… but also millions of tons of carbon into the atmosphere. It’s been called “a fuse to the biggest carbon bomb on the planet”. Bold public action has delayed it once, and a court ruling last week has dealt a serious blow to the project. Now, if we act fast and in massive numbers, we can help kill it for good.

Please sign the petition here -
http://www.avaaz.org/en/stop_the_keystone_xl_pipeline_loc/?blTFScb&v=36936

I really feel confident that you will not hesitate to sign this petition before it is too late once you’ve read the Huffingtion Post article below:

STOP PIPELINE COLLAGE SIGN

The following article “10 Reasons to Oppose the Keystone XL Pipeline” is taken from Huffington Post ‘The Blog’ posted on
02/18/2014  by Rose Ann DeMoro – Executive director, National Nurses United (AFL-CIO) and California Nurses Association.

With the clock ticking down on a final decision by the Obama administration on Keystone XL, it’s a good time to summarize reasons to oppose a project that looks more like a pathway to pollution than a gateway to our gas pumps.

Citing the threat to public health and how the project would hasten the climate crisis, nurses have been on the front line of protests against Keystone, a 1,700-mile pipeline that would transport 830,000 barrels of dirty tar sands oil every day from Alberta, Canada to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries, largely for export.

Here’s 10 reasons why:

1. No jobs on a dead planet
More jobs are certainly needed, but even the just concluded State Department assessment conceded Keystone would support only 35 post-construction jobs.

Infrastructure repair and promoting a green economy is a far better solution for the jobs crisis than a project that NASA scientist and climate expert James Hanson famously calls “game over” on the climate front.

If the threshold issue is jobs, nurses should support the pipeline as a full employment act in the volume of additional patients sickened by the pipeline’s health hazards and toll from accelerated climate change. But nurses see an inseparable link between environmental justice and the health of our communities and planet.

IMAGE1

2. Don’t drink the water…
From the ground to the pipe to the refineries, Keystone’s tar sands oil, with its thick, dirty, corrosive properties, pose a far greater hazard than conventional oil — a major reason for National Nurses United and nurse opposition.

Toxic contaminants in the massive water needed for extraction are infecting clean water supplies with towns nearby Alberta experiencing spikes in cancer deaths, renal failure, lupus, and hyperthyroidism. Huge pipeline spills near Marshall, Mi. and Mayflower, Ar. have led to respiratory ailments and other health ills. Pollutants from tar sands refineries are linked to heart and lung disease, asthma, and cancer.

3. And don’t breathe the air
Mounds of Petcoke, the carbon residue of tar sands refining, piled up for export for burning, have produced toxic dust storms that have left area residents gasping near Detroit, Chicago, and other locales. Canadian scientists are also alarmed at mercury “wafting” into the air from tar sands production which, in chronic exposure, have been linked to brain damage.

4. An asthma nation
Nurses see an explosion of asthma sufferers, especially children. More than 40 percent of Americans now live in areas slammed by air pollution with levels of particle pollution that can also cause higher incidents of heart attacks and premature death.

Keystone will multiply carbon emissions and speed up climate change resulting in more polluted air, higher air temperatures which can also increase bacteria-related food poisoning, such as salmonella, and animal-borne diseases such as West Nile virus.

5. The gathering storms
In the last year alone, we’ve seen the worst cyclone ever to hit landfall, fueled by sub-surface ocean temperatures 9 degrees above normal, the largest tornado ever recorded, record droughts, and other unprecedented weather anomalies. While some discount the link to climate change, there’s no dispute that the past decade was the hottest on record.

Nurses, as volunteers with National Nurses United’s RNRN project can attest, treat the human collateral damage, thousands of patients affected by Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda in the Philippines, for example, who endured life threatening injuries and loss of their homes and livelihoods.

6. The carbon bomb
All workers and their families live in the same communities affected by the climate crisis and the pipeline health hazards. Despite naysayers who insist there is no environmental justification to block it, there is as much scientific consensus on Keystone as there is on the human hand behind the climate crisis, or the factual evidence of evolution.

In addition to Hanson, who calls Keystone “the biggest carbon bomb on the planet,” dozens of other prominent scientists signed a 2013 letter stating “the actual and potential environmental damage (are) sufficiently severe to reject Keystone to protect the climate, human health, and the multiple ecosystems this project threatens.”

In simple terms, Keystone would generate the carbon emission equivalent of 40 million more cars or 50 coal-fired power plants every year.
IMAGE2
7. Not headed to your gas pump
Contrary to the myth, Keystone would contribute little to U.S. energy independence. The oil is headed to Texas ports for a reason — to be shipped overseas. TransCanada, the corporation behind Keystone, balked at a Congressional proposal to condition approval on keeping the refined oil in the U.S., and reports say TransCanada already has contracts to sell much of the oil to foreign buyers.

8. Pipeline or bust for the tar sands industry
Proponents insist that if Keystone is blocked, the tar sands crude will just be shipped by rail. Many disagree, among them a pro-pipeline Canadian think tank that predicts without Keystone, “investment and expansion will grind to a halt,” a view shared by the International Energy Agency, Goldman Sachs and some oil executives. Increasingly, it appears, the pipeline is the linchpin for tar sands development.
9. Which side are you on?
In one corner, the American Petroleum Institute, the oil billionaire Koch Brothers, other fossil fuel giants, the far right American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and politicians they influence — the same folks behind the attacks on unions, worker rights and health care and social justice reforms.

Standing with NNU in opposition are every major environmental group, farmers, ranchers and community leaders along the pipeline pathway, First Nations leaders, most Canadian unions, and U.S. transit unions.

10. A last word, from Robert Redford
“The more people learn about the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, the less they like it,” says actor/environmentalist Redford. “Tar sands crude means a dirtier, more dangerous future for our children all so that the oil industry can reach the higher prices of overseas markets. This dirty energy project is all risk and no reward for the American people.”

PLEASE SIGN PETITION

Article link ~
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rose-ann-demoro/10-reasons-to-oppose-the-_1_b_4791713.html

Wolves change the course of rivers – Remarkable video!

WOLVES

The following excerpts are from ‘How Exactly Wolves Change the Course of Rivers’ by Ray Molina of yourdailymedia.com Mar. 1, 2014

…Trophic cascade is when the behavior of top predators have a trickling down effect on their environment. Let’s call these predators the “one percent.”
WOLVES LARGE ANIMALS
The one percent may be vicious killing machines who think only of themselves, but even bad intentions could have good outcomes. We are finding out that their murderous ways can be useful in controlling the over population of herbivores that are eating more than their fair share, which leaves little for a multitude of other animals lower on the food chain.
WOLVES WATER MAMMALS
Eventually there will be plenty of wolves, perhaps even too many, and at some point we may need to protect the rest of the food chain from these top predators.
WOLVES WATER BIRDS
But like most things, if not everything, there’s a time and a place.
WOLVES WATERFALLS
I do wonder about whether or not the Ecosystems would have just found a new way to balance themselves out over time. Who knows how long that might have taken though, or maybe it’s currently happening in ways we cannot yet witness.
WOLVES SCENES
The main culprit of our Eco failures is you and me through our destruction of habitats through land-developing and hunting and pollution. We really blew it, and now we’re trying to cut our losses by celebrating animals that repair our mistakes.

In the video below, Author/Activist George Monbiot describes to an audience at TED the effects of Wolves that were reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park in the mid 90′s.
He describes how the wolves, in a relatively short period of time, have transformed the landscape and allowed more varieties of life to flourish. And wolves did it in ways we never expected.
It’s a humbling reminder of just how connected life on this planet really is.

The original TED talk by George Monbiot, gives numerous examples of how “rewilding” our ecosystem can give us back the earth our predecessors had the privilege of experiencing.

NOTE: There are “elk” pictured in this video when the narrator is referring to “deer.” This is because the narrator is British and the British word for “elk” is “red deer” or “deer” for short. The scientific report this is based on refers to elk so we wanted to be accurate with the truth of the story.

When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in the United States after being absent nearly 70 years, the most remarkable “trophic cascade” occurred. What is a trophic cascade and how exactly do wolves change rivers? George Monbiot explains in this movie remix.

Narration from TED: “For more wonder, rewild the world” by George Monbiot. Watch the full talk, here: http://bit.ly/N3m62h

Article link – http://www.yourdailymedia.com/post/how-exactly-do-wolves-change-rivers

Arsenic Presence and Detection in Groundwater

TOADS_CANADIAN

This short article, “What the Toad Knows” appears in Jan./Feb. issue of WaterCanada magazine.
WHAT CAN AMPHIBIANS tell us about arsenic levels in groundwater? Iris Koch and a team composed of researchers
CAN LIGHT SOURCEfrom the Royal Military College of Canada and scientists from the Canadian Light Source said frogs and toads could hold the key to arsenic detection in freshwater sites.

UPPER SEAL HARBOURThe team studied amphibians living in an old mine tailings site near Upper Seal Harbour, Nova Scotia. The animals showed high levels of arsenic after being tested using synchrotron light.
CONTAMINATED WATER SIGN“Any time you have water that’s contaminated, the organisms that are living in the water will likely give you some idea of how toxic the water is,” Koch said. “Organisms might respond in ways that indicate that they are being poisoned.”
TOAD IN WATERWhile the amphibians appeared to be relatively healthy despite displaying very detectable levels of inorganic arsenic, which is typically toxic, Koch said the biggest outcome of the research is understanding arsenic movement in the environment.
TAILING POND“At the end of the day, looking at a contaminated site like the one in Nova Scotia, we are interested in whether any of the arsenic in the soil and tailings gets into plants and animals,” she said. “We can learn about what animals do with the arsenic in their bodies and this might be helpful in predicting how people might interact with the arsenic, if they were exposed to it.”
Groundwater arsenic contamination is an international health concern since many countries, including China, India, Bangladesh, and Nepal, are dealing with widespread contamination issues. —Staff

In my follow-up research I found the following information on pages 9 and 10 (including a comparison chart) of a report on arsenic found in drinking water in Canadian provinces at –   href=”http://www.fraserhealth.ca/media/ArsenicReportSurreyLangley.pdf”
“Arsenic is found in both surface and groundwater, and levels are generally higher in groundwater (Wang & Mulligan, 2006). In Canada, total arsenic levels in drinking water  generally fall well below the MAC, although elevated concentrations have been found in areas with natural sources of arsenic. High levels of arsenic have been found in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and Nova Scotia, and in British Columbia (Table 1).
MINERALSMany of the Canadian arsenic occurrences have been associated with naturally occurring mineralized deposits, usually of volcanic origin. Finding high levels of arsenic in surficial materials is somewhat unusual unless they can be traced to the mineralized source area.”

Well water testing and source protection
Well owners are encouraged to test their water periodically to make sure it is safe to drink. When testing for arsenic,
a “low level” analysis is required to ensure that the minimum detection limit of the analytical method used by the
laboratory is below the drinking water guideline.

Call us if you have concerns about the condition of your water
and your family’s health.
WATER DROPLET HAPPY ICON GIMPCROPPED We offer a free home water analysis at
Eternally Pure Water Systems, Inc.
613-742-0058
Mon. – Fri.   9:00-5:00

RAINSOFT1

Associated link ~
http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/wsd/plan_protect_sustain/groundwater/library/ground_fact_sheets/pdfs/as(020715)_fin3.pdf

Close-up and personal encounter ~ Aw-w-w! ~ What fun!

SEALS AT PLAY

How thrilling! This is definitely on my ‘bucket list’ – an amazing close-up and personal encounter!

“Seals compete to be man’s best friend as they roll over to have their bellies tickled and nuzzle up to divers in the North Sea”, published 22 January 2014 by Lucy Crossley .

  • Seal pups were captured on camera off the coast of Northumberland
  • Animals believed to be two months old, and already weigh 200-300lbs
  • Curious pups cosy up to scuba divers as they play on the sea bed
  • Seal mammals are unlikely to see humans again once they reach adulthood

Playfully nuzzling up to the camera and warmly embracing a team of divers, these cute seal pups appear more like household pets as they frolic in the North Sea.The seals, believed to be around two months old, were unperturbed by the divers and their cameras as they butt their noses against the camera lens and enjoy having their bellies tickled.The adorable pups were captured on camera by scuba diver Jason Neilus as he and his friends took to the chilly waters off the Farne Islands in Northumberland. 
Scroll down for video

Seal of approval: A friendly seal pup cosies up to a scuba diver off the coast of Northumberland

Seal of approval: A friendly seal pup cosies up to a scuba diver off the coast of Northumberland

Tickled: This playful seal enjoys having its belly tickled by one of the divers

Tickled: This playful seal enjoys having its belly tickled by one of the divers


‘We’ve been visiting here for the last six years to say hello to the seal pups and we’ve never had this much interaction before,’ he wrote on his Vimeo blog.
‘They were everywhere and all over us.’
The seals were filmed in October last year, just before the St Jude’s Storm battered Britain and much of northern Europe.

Friendly: This seal appears more like a household dog or cat as it rolls over to be tickled

Friendly: This seal appears more like a household dog or cat as it rolls over to be tickled

Encounter: A pup shakes hands, or rather paws, with one of its new human friends

Encounter: A pup shakes hands, or rather paws, with one of its new human friends

Warm embrace: A seal comes in for a cuddle with a diver in the chilly North SeaWarm embrace: A seal comes in for a cuddle with a diver in the chilly North Sea
Friendly face: The seals, believed to be around two months old, were unperturbed by the divers and their cameras

Friendly face: The seals, believed to be around two months old, were unperturbed by the divers and their cameras

Nibble: This cheeky pup appears to be nibbling on the diver's glove

Nibble: This cheeky pup appears to be nibbling on the diver’s glove

‘After a nightmare drive there with the worst traffic coupled with the imminent arrival of the St. Jude storm we didn’t think this trip was going to be worth the effort but once again the seals made every second worthwhile,’ said Mr Neilus.
Filmed without lights, so as not to upset the young seal pups, the clip captures the curious creatures as they play in their natural habitat – cosying up to the divers without a care in the world.
In the videom which has been viewed 123,000 times on Vimeo, one pup even swims into one for its new friends for a quick cuddle, while others dart across the sea bed, pausing to cheekily nibble the divers’ fingers.

Along for the ride: A playful pup grabs hold of a diver's flipper

Along for the ride: A playful pup grabs hold of a diver’s flipper

Tag along: The seals were around two months old at the time they were filmed, but had already grown to two metres long, and weighed around 200 to 300lbs

Tag along: The seals were around two months old at the time they were filmed, but had already grown to two metres long, and weighed around 200 to 300lbs

Close encounter: Diver Mr Neilus said he had not expected to come face to face with so many seals

Close encounter: Diver Mr Neilus said he had not expected to come face to face with so many seals

Natural habitat: A seal frolics in the water

Natural habitat: A seal frolics in the water

Curious: This seal gives the underwater camera a closer inspection

Curious: This seal gives the underwater camera a closer inspection

Underwater: The clip captures the curious creatures as they play in their natural habitat

Underwater: The clip captures the curious creatures as they play in their natural habitat

Mr Neilus was quick to point out that as wild animals the seals chose to interact with the divers, and were not forced to interact with the group. None of the seals were harmed by diver interaction.
The seals were around two months old at the time they were filmed, but had already grown to two metres long, and weighed around 200 to 300lbs…
‘As always once the seals get older and move off to form colonies of their own elsewhere and the majority of them will not see people again.
Fully adult seals are rarely this interactive and whilst tolerant of divers they tend to keep away after their first year of diver visits,’ said Mr Neilus.

Star of the show: A seal swoops in the take a look at the camera

Star of the show: A seal swoops in the take a look at the camera

Face to face: The seals chose to interact with the divers, and were not forced to interact with the group

Face to face: The seals chose to interact with the divers, and were not forced to interact with the group

Technique: The divers filmed their seal encounter with special underwater cameras

Technique: The divers filmed their seal encounter with special underwater cameras

Heart of darkness: The crew did not use lights so they did not upset the young seals

Heart of darkness: The crew did not use lights so they did not upset the young seals

Growing up: Once the pups reach adulthood the majority of them will move away to form new colonies

Growing up: Once the pups reach adulthood the majority of them will move away to form new colonies

Divers say hello to the seal pups with lots of interaction and playfulness

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2543781/Seals-compete-mans-best-friend-roll-bellies-tickled-nuzzle-divers-North-Sea.html

Helpless Deer Trapped ~ Father And Son Totally Brilliant

 

DEER STRANDED ON ICEFebruary 18, 2014 Viralnova post: Two Helpless Deer Were Trapped On An Icy Lake.  What A Father And Son Did Next Is Totally Brilliant.

 A guy named James saw a Facebook post about two deer that were stranded on Albert Lea Lake in Minnesota, USA.  It was iced over, so the poor deer couldn’t get their footing and make it to safety.  They were there for as long as three days before James saw this post.

That’s when he and his dad took matters into their own hands.  They got their hovercraft ready and headed to the lake.

A father, son, GoPro camera, hovercraft, and two stranded deer… that’s apparently the recipe for an incredible video. Share this awesome act of kindness with others. And because it included a hovercraft, which is just awesome.