Category Archives: Environmental concerns

World Oceans Day ~ Terrific Video

1-WORLD OCEANS DAY_2014

World Oceans Day ~ June 8th

and today is the day you can help!

But first a let’s watch a terrific Youtube video, “The Ocean”, uploaded on 8 Jun 2010 by The Cube -

…A staggering 80 percent of all the life on Earth is to be found hidden beneath the waves and this vast global ocean pulses around our world driving the natural forces which maintain life on our planet… Without the global ocean there would be no life on Earth…

Helping the ocean and its animals is just a click away.
Celebrate World Oceans Day by showing your support for clean energy.

You can help celebrate #WorldOceansDay! Support wind energy to protect the ocean and its animals http://owl.li/xABhA

 We love the ocean! Do you? Take a selfie for the sea for #WorldOceansDay and share how you want to help http://owl.li/wqwFh
– Click here to tweet now

If you are unable to pledge here are a number of ideas where you can make a big difference!

BAGI promise to use reusable bags at the
grocery store

 

BOTTLEI promise to use a
reusable water bottle

 

MEATI promise to not eat
meat on Mondays

 

SHOWERI promise to take shorter showers

 

BUSI promise to take public transportation
to school/work once a week

 

FOODI promise to only eat sustainably caught
or farmed seafood

 

THRIFT STOREI promise to shop a thrift store first
instead of buying new

 

UNPLUG

I promise to unplug my electronic
chargers when not using them

 

 

TURN OFFI promise to turn off all the lights and
the heat or A/C when I leave my house

 

BIKEI promise to bike instead of drive for at
least one errand a week

 

 

LITTERI promise to participate
in a litter cleanup

 

 

PESTICIDESI promise to not use toxic pesticides
on my garden or lawn

 

Canada’s nutrient problem ~ severely threatened Lake Winnipeg

1-LAKE WINNIPEG

The following article “OVERLOADED ~ Deammonification processing can address Canada’s nutrient problem, especially in a severely threatened Lake Winnipeg’  by Simon Baker and Beverley Stinson appeared in the Mar/Apr issue of WaterCanada

BASIN INITIATIVEIn 2013, Lake Winnipeg was named the world’s “threatened lake of the Year” because of increasing pollution from agricultural run-off and sewage discharges. Excessive nutrients – particularly nitrogen and phosphorus – in Canada’s lakes and riversGREAT LAKES INITIATIVE are becoming a growing public concern. In response, environment Canada has launched two major government programs worth millions of dollars: the Lake Winnipeg Basin Stewardship Fund and the Great Lakes Nutrient Initiative.

Lake Winnipeg named worlds most threatened | CTV News.
Research has focused on the specific role of municipal wastewater treatment in contributing to the problem. Analyzing more than 116,000 tonnes of nutrients released from public and private industrial facilities, a study by the federal government’s national pollutant release inventory reported that 85 per cent originated from municipal water and sewage systems.
n and d cycle Municipal wastewater treatment can include nitrogen removal processing to help the level of total nitrogen in effluent prior to its discharge. One of the most common methods is nitrification/denitrification. It is a two-step process that involves first converting the wastewater’s ammonia content into nitrates so that it can then be converted into nitrogen gas, a harmless byproduct.

IMAGE5  A typical wastewater treatment plant can reduce total nitrogen levels in effluent down to 5 mg/l in the winter and less than 1 mg/l in the summer using nitrification/denitrification processing, CCMEAccording to the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment. This approach is not, however, without its disadvantages. It involves significant power consumption and, in some cases, the use of costly and hazardous chemicals, predominantly methanol.
   Nitrification/denitrification processing is the conventional option, but if growing public concern over water quality issues leads to new or more stringent nutrient removal requirements for wastewater treatment processing, the associated rise in operating costs will likely be significant.
DEAMONIFICATION  A growing awareness of this problem within North America’s municipal water sector is leading some to consider an emerging solution – to help reduce both the energyANAMOX and chemical costs of conventional processing. Deammonification is based on the innovative development of a newmethod using the anaerobic ammonium-oxidizing (anammox) microbial process.
This microbial process involves a previously unknown bacterium, first Discovered in 1995 by scientists at Delft Technical DELFT UNIVERSITYUniversity in the Netherlands. The bacterium’s unique characteristics provide a completely different metabolic pathway. Nitrogen can be processed under anaerobic conditions, rather than aerobic conditions, thereby reducing energy and chemical costs.
The greatest opportunity to reduce energy and chemical costs with deammonification lies in adapting the technology to mainstream treatment configurations. Achieving this goal is the focus of an AIZinternational collaborative research effort. The team is led by water agencies in Austria (Achental- Inntal Zillerta Waterboard) and the United States (District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority and the Hampton Roads Sanitation District, Virginia) and supported by ARa Consult GmbH and AECOM.
WASHINGTON DC Extensive bench and pilot scale work was undertaken at the Blue Plains wastewater treatment plant in Washington, D.C., and smaller facilities in Virginia to explore viable control strategies for mainstream deammonification with great success.
The existing nitrification/denitrification configuration at Blue Plains was identified as the plant’s largest energy-consuming process, accounting for 27 per-cent of the total electrical demand. The chemical cost of the methanol required for the processing totals between US$9 million and US$10 million per year. The results from a pilot study and demonstration phase using a mainstream deammonification configuration indicated Blue Plains could obtain a theoretical 65 per cent savings in energy and a 90 per cent savings in chemicals while meeting stringent effluent discharge requirements for nitrogen.
STRASS CENTRE  Based on those findings, the team launched a project at the Strass wastewater treatment plant, near Innsbruck, Austria, in 2011, which successfully demonstrated the feasibility of a mainstream deammonification configuration. The plant was able to remove more nitrogen and maintain more stable performance while operating under deammonification than it had achieved while operating in the conventional method during the previous winter.
While the work in Austria and the United States is helping develop deammonification into a proven solution for mainstream treatment configurations, the first, albeit smaller, steps in Canada are taking place in terms of the technology’s application to sidestream treatment.
NORTH WPG SYSTEM      Last year, the City of Winnipeg retained AECOM to prepare an optimization Study for the centrate treatment plant at its North End Water Pollution Control Centre, Winnipeg’s largest wastewater Treatment plant. The study looked at a review of alternative configurations, including sidestream deammonification, to explore options for reducing the energy and chemical costs related to nutrient removal.
CONVERT INTO NITRATES Using the plant’s current nitrification/denitrification configuration as a performance measure, the study suggested deammonification could provide a significant savings in power consumption and methanol, representing an 83 per cent reduction in operating costs when compared to the reference case. Deammonification’s results in lowering these operating costs were also significantly better than those achieved through the other conventional alternatives examined, which ranged from four to 42 per cent.
  LAKE ERIECanada has a strong track record in responding to concerns over water quality issues. After being declared “dead” in the 1960s, Ontario’s Lake Erie became an environmental recovery success story once wastewater treatment plants began to treat effluent by removing phosphorus loads. It is a valuable lesson to remember, but one that comes with an important distinction.
WATER AND SEWAGE SYSTEMSIf today’s municipal plants were similarly required to improve their treatment capabilities, they would be doing so in a far different operating environment than their counterparts of more than 50 years ago. Any upgrade investment would need to anticipate the continuing steep rise in associated energy and chemical costs.
The potential of deammonification lies in its value of offering a solution to the environmental challenge of reducing nutrient loads, but at the same time allowing operators to manage the inescapable economic realities involved in this challenge.
Simon Baker is a Winnipeg-based, aecom wastewater expert. Beverley Stinson is aecom’s technical lead for biological nutrient removal and director of applied research.

 

 

SHOCKING! ~Toxic fluoride in drinking water! ~ Must Watch Video.

FLUORIDE_TOXIC_DANGEROUS

Quote from video: “If fluoride kills cows, crops and fish and is considered a hazardous waste chemical by the EPA, then how can it be healthy to ingest?”


Monday, July 29, 2013 by: Carolanne Wright

THYROID GLAND(NaturalNews) As more information comes to light about fluoride poisoning across the country, connections between the chemical and weight gain are garnering attention. A known suppressor of the thyroid gland, fluoride is a major player in the rampant increase of obesity. But the toxicity of fluoride is subtle and can also manifest as creeping additional weight that is nearly impossible to shed.

SLIM BODY croppedOne aspect is certain: If we desire a slim and healthy body, getting a handle on fluoride exposure is crucial.

WEIGHT SCALE2Unexplained weight gain and poor health linked with depressed thyroid:
If you find yourself struggling with unexplained weight gain, fatigue, depression and general malaise, a malfunctioning thyroid may be the cause. According to “Fluoride Poisoning – It’s All Over,” German and Austrian researchers discovered in the 1930s that an overactive thyroid could be treated by bathing in fluorinated water – illustrating the powerful suppressive effect it has on the gland. For those who have a normal or low functioning thyroid, exposure to fluoride is a disaster for health. The article continues with a laundry list of staggering consequences:

 SIDE EFFECTS“Deliberately damaging the thyroid will produce a plethora of symptoms affecting the entire human body from head to toe. Symptoms of thyroid damage and fluoride poisoning include weight gain, edema, kidney disease, kidney failure, hair loss, depression, aggression, aches, pains, skin problems, bone deformities (likely including “arthritis” and spontaneous fractures), sexual/erectile dysfunction, memory loss, weakness, fatigue, heart disease, irritability, cancer, digestive disorders including severe GERD as a result of swallowing fluoride, nausea, vomiting, visual problems, gum disease, “high cholesterol,” connective tissue damage, brittle teeth, wrinkles, premature aging, dehydration, and long, long after the whole body has been damaged, “cosmetic fluorosis” might finally show up in a tooth or two.”

REDUCE CONTACT AND DETOX

FLUORIDE ALERTTo avoid fluoride induced disease and malfunction, the first step is to avoid water contaminated with the chemical.

PETITION GOVERNMENTThe ultimate solution is to petition local government – urging the removal of fluoride altogether from the water supply. However, until this happens, each household is responsible for their own water purification and safety. This requires a full house water filtration system that specifically targets fluoride, such as reverse osmosis (see video below). Once exposure is minimized, the next course of action is to detoxify fluoride already within the system.

Here are Martin’s YouTube videos explaining the benefits of our Rainsoft Reverse Osmosis drinking water system  and our whole house carbon system.

Rainsoft Reverse Osmosis water treatment systems not only remove all the toxic fluoride present in your water, but also 99% of the dangerous chemicals and pharmaceuticals.

Our Rainsoft Whole House Carbon Filtration System will give you added protection by removing toxic VOCs  (Volatile Organis Chemicals) – IE. chlorine, benzine, etc.

 Selenium – While this nutrient doesn’t expel fluoride from the body, it helps to negate it’s damaging effects. Found abundantly in Brazil nuts, fish and grassfed meats, selenium is an exceptional protective mineral. The National Institute of Health recommends a maximum 400 micrograms per day.
Tamarind – Detoxifies fluoride from the body. Enjoy several cups of the tea each day.
Nascent Iodine – Protects the thyroid from damage and removes sodium fluoride through the urine.
Infrared Sauna – A staple in any detoxification protocol, a dry sauna session assists the body in excreting fluoride from fatty tissues. Always remember to drink plenty of purified water to further sweep toxins from the system.

In the end, water fluoridation is an unnecessary and dangerous practice. Dr. J. William Hirzy, vice president of the Union of Scientists and Professionals, asserts:

NEUROTOXIN” . . . we hold that fluoridation is an unreasonable risk. The toxicity of fluoride is so great and the purported benefits are so small – if there are any at all – that requiring every man, woman and child in America to ingest it borders on criminal behavior on the part of governments.”

 Sources for this article include:
 http://science.naturalnews.com
 http://lindamelosnd.com
 http://www.thenhfireland.com
 http://www.womentowomen.com
 http://www.naturalnews.com
 http://therapybook.wordpress.com
 http://science.naturalnews.com

 CAROLANNE WRIGHTAbout the author:
Carolanne enthusiastically believes if we want to see change in the world, we need to be the change. As a nutritionist, natural foods chef and wellness coach, Carolanne has encouraged others to embrace a healthy lifestyle of organic living, gratefulness and joyful orientation for over 13 years. Through her website http://www.Thrive-Living.net she looks forward to connecting with other like-minded people who share a similar vision.

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/041395_obesity_fluoride_thyroid.html#ixzz2aaTzIF9b

 

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

Threatened species saved by constructed wetlands in Sweden

WETLANDS SAVE WILDLIFE


This article is from Science News Jan. 21, 2014 “Constructed Wetlands Save Frogs, Birds Threatened With Extinction”

SWEDENOver the last few decades, several thousands of wetlands have been constructed in Sweden in agricultural landscapes. The primary reason is that the wetlands prevent a surfeit of nutrients from reaching our oceans and lakes. A study from Halmstad University shows, in addition, that wetlands haveRED LIST contributed to saving several frog and bird species from the “Red List” – a list that shows which species are at risk of dying out in Sweden. In the latest update, five of the nine red-listed bird species that breed in wetlands -

CONSTRUCTED WETLANDS

including the little grebe and the little ringed plover could be taken off the list. Yet another bird species was moved to a lower threat category. As regards batrachians, four species-among them the European tree frog-have been taken off the list, and two species have been moved to a lower threat category.
Great effect on biological diversity
Definition of eutrophication: the process by which a body of water becomes enriched in dissolved nutrients (as phosphates) that stimulate the growth of aquatic plant life usually resulting in the depletion of dissolved oxygen.

WEISNER“An important objective in constructing wetlands is reducing eutrophication – over-fertilization. It’s surprisingly positive that they’ve also had such a great directHALMSTAD U SWEDEN effect on biological diversity,” says Stefan Weisner, Professor of Biology specialising in environmental science at Halmstad University.
During the 19th and 20th centuries, the amount of wetlands in Sweden decreased drastically: almost all original wetlands in agricultural areas have disappeared through drainage and land reclamation. This has affected many of the plants and animals that depend on these types of environments.
An inexpensive way to reduce eutrophication

EUTROPHICATION

Over the last 15 years, nearly 3,000 wetland areas have been constructed in agricultural landscapes around Sweden. Farmers SWEDISH AGRICULTURE LOGOhave the possibility of receiving economic support for this from sources such as the Swedish Board of Agriculture. The primary reason is because wetlands catch the surfeit of nutrients from agriculture such as nitrogen and phosphorus-substances that would otherwise have leaked out into the seas and lakes and contributed to eutrophication.IMAGE6
The study shows that creation of wetlands is a cost-effective to catch the nutrients.
“It’s a very effective way of purifying the water.

TREATMENT PLANTIt’s less expensive than constructing treatment plants, and in addition it contributes to biological diversity,” Prof Weisner says.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01 /140121092911.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Fearth_climate%2Fwater+%28Water+Conservation+News+–+ScienceDaily%29

Story Source:
The above story is based on materials provided by Expertsvar.
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.
Journal Reference:
John A. Strand, Stefan E.B. Weisner. Effects of wetland construction on nitrogen transport and species richness in the agricultural landscape—Experiences from Sweden. Ecological Engineering, 2013; 56: 14 DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoleng.2012.12.087

Designing water reclaiming and recycling programs – green technology

ROOFTOP GARDEN

This article, ‘Function and Beauty – A new reality for watershapes’, by Aviram Müller, appeared in the Jan/Feb issue of WaterCanada magazine.

Please note that I’ve added a YouTube video, uploaded Sept. 15, 2010 by Aviram Muller, regarding the BioReSys – Bionic Regeneration Systems which I definitely recommend – should be a must for our current school curriculum.  This video is the first of five parts which you can access after watching Part 1.

In recent centuries , designers have done a tremendous job of figuring out how water looks and sounds. As environmental concerns become increasingly important, however, we’re being challenged to think differently about water – how it affects us physically and the essential role it plays in maintaining a healthy world.
2ND PARAAs a species, we’ve done a great deal to squander water as an asset, whether by contaminating and otherwise polluting natural bodies of water or by treating pools and other watershapes with harsh chemicals. Isn’t it ironic that spas, which exist primarily so we can take advantage of their healthful benefits, are commonly sanitized with chlorine or other powerful oxidizers that may be hazardous to our health?
3RD PARAIn trying to use water to achieve healthful or recreational ends, we have in fact turned away from its natural value and benefits. And it’s not just spas or swimming pools—even with decorative, purely visual water features such as fountains, we have for years turned our backs on natural processes while
pursuing our aesthetic goals.
Point of crisis
Today’s culmination of economic and environmental crises presents an amazing opportunity for watershapers to step back and set the foundations for a fresh, sustainable direction.
5TH PARAWhen water features emerged in Classical times, Islamic and later European societies, they introduced fountains as the public source for potable water. It was only after centuries of performing this public function that fountains moved decisively away from their original purpose and became more or less purely decorative.

6TH PARAThe time has come for water feature to come full circle. Not only must water features be beautiful and soothing, but henceforth, they must be functional, purposeful in the reclamation and decontamination of water. And if water features as part of water management also remediate existing environmental damage or contribute to the cooling of interior spaces, even better.
Increased scope
7TH PARAIn recent years, the typical water feature (fountain, pool, spa, pond or stream) has essentially been a standalone unit in which water is circulated, filtered and treated in a closed loop. As such, these features have very little (if anything at all) to do with the overall performance of adjacent buildings or spaces.
8TH PARABut water features could be part of a much larger system. Water could be reclaimed from roofs and other impermeable surfaces, moved into storage in various cisterns or reservoirs and then treated biologically in planted pond or wetland areas or used as part of a water feature. Then, this same water can be used for irrigation, firefighting, air conditioning or the cooling of manufacturing, industrial and power-generating systems.
Some of the pioneering work has already been done. What may seem revolutionary to some in North America is, in fact, already widely practiced in Europe and has been part of the designer approach for more than 20 years. In some places, natural resources and environments are so restricted by population density that designers have already moved in this direction out of necessity.
For years, they’ve dealt with acid rain, groundwater contamination and rivers so polluted that swimming in them has become hazardous or impossible. Under those constraints, system designers think differently about how they manage, reclaim and reuse water.
Using biology
In North America, we have been taught that water can only be effectively treated through use of chemicals and mechanical filtration. But in Europe, the effluent from car washes, water discharged from nuclear power plants, cooling water from large office buildings, and even the water that emerges from zoological exhibits are treated biologically. In addition, the European experience has shown that biological filtration using specific types of plants can help remediate contaminated water by removing heavy metals and organic compounds introduced into water supplies via the fertilizers used by agricultural or industrial operations.
Whether they take the form of ponds with wetland areas and planted floating islands or of green roofs that bring park like features to urban settings, biological systems can be beautiful. Once humdrum settings, such as retention basins, are now accented with plants, pathways, docks, floating fountains, floating islands and diverse varieties of wildlife.
Specific measures
PARA 14Currently, there are no classifications or criteria in the LEED certification program referring specifically to water feature designs. The Water Efficiency category, however, emphasizes reducing the use of potable water supplies and thus presents several opportunities for creative applications.
PARA 15Already, according to current LEED provisions, a green roof can be used to capture rainwater. Once captured, the water is treatment by flowing either to a gravel-based wetlands zone/retention basin or into a body of water that contains floating islands and myriad plants that take up contaminants.
PARA 16When water exits these basins, no matter its condition, it can be used for water features, irrigation, or numerous other reasons. Alternatively, this water can be channeled into an “infiltration” basin where water is injected into the ground to help recharge aquifers. This can be helpful in areas where there are issues with seawater intrusion or underground plumes of pollution.
PARA 17Some LEED projects seek designs that involve remediation of environmentally damaged areas. Indeed, contaminated soil can be helped by properly designed water management – for instance, designs can include choosing plants specifically meant to biologically treat water containing certain contaminants.
Active participation
In sizing up the LEED point potential of water features, it’s important to recognize that the water features will help earn credits relative to specific situations. The LEED point system and the relative value a “functional” water feature can bring opens the discussion of the role the designer can play in the final design of commercial complexes and residential developments.
PARA 20  Traditionally, designers in their more aesthetic or recreational roles are among the last consulted in a project. Until recently, in fact, fountains, swimming pools, spas, ponds, cascades or interactive water features have been seen as separate and divorced from everything else on site.
LAST PARAWith this new green philosophy, designers are becoming integral participants in the process of designing water reclaiming and recycling programs, and providing beauty with function.

MULLERAviram Müller is the founder of Karajaal, a Quebec-based company that designs and engineers distinct and interactive venues using water, lighting effects, fountains and pools.
A graduate of Frankfurt University, Aviram has dedicated 25 years to the creation and development of water-based art. Aviram is recognized by his peers as an artist and sculptor with a strong engineering and technical foundation.

 

Devastating effect on Canada’s lakes caused by acid rain

BLAME IT ON THE RAINThe following article, “Blame it on the Rain” appeared in the Jan/Feb 2010 issue of Watercanada magazine, written by Rebecca Taggart.

Acid rain leaves its mark in Canada’s freshwater lakes:

Calcium deficiency is commonly  considered an ailment of the elderly. However, many of Canada’s freshwater lakes are now being diagnosed with a similar condition.
Calcium levels in many of Canada’s freshwater lakes are dropping. Just as it’s necessary for a healthy human body, calcium is also essential for supporting life in aquatic ecosystems. Environment Canada scientists are involved in collaborative research that sheds light on a pattern of calcium loss in our small lakes and wetlands. For almost 30 years, samples were collected from lakes across southeastern Canada to monitor chemical levels in ecosystems sensitive to acid rain. In an assessment of chemical changes from 770 Ontario lakes, researchers noticed a troubling pattern of declining calcium.

MAKING A RECOVERY:  When rain falls on the land or drainage basin surrounding a lake, it washes a small amount of calcium from the soil and drains it into the lake. This natural process has occurred over thousands of years, and accounts for most of the calcium found in lakes.
Acid rain speeds up this process by washing calcium from the soil and into lakes at a much faster rate than regular rain.
BLAME IT ON THE RAIN
Acid rain also increases the acidity of lake waters, which can negatively affect the aquatic species that rely on the lake to survive. Acid rain peaked during the 1970s and 1980s because of increased urban and industrial development throughout eastern North America. Since then, aggressive environmental policies have reduced the harmful emissions that cause acid rain, and have succeeded in reducing its occurrence.

However, those decades of faster calcium leaching due to acid rain have depleted the natural stock of calcium found in the soil of land in lake drainage basins. Now that we are seeing less acid rain, calcium concentrations in some lakes are declining, perhaps to levels that are lower than those before acid rain became a problem.
This means that there may not be enough calcium available for some aquatic species to survive in these lakes. Low calcium levels may also slow the biological recovery of lakes from the higher acidity levels that were also caused by acid rain.
GETTING TO THE CORE OF OUR LAKES: To demonstrate the effects of this problem, research scientists studied Daphnia, a crustacean that lab studies have shown is strongly dependent on sufficient calcium concentrations in lakes.
BLAME IT ON THE RAIN2
Researchers conducted a paleolimnological survey, which involves using a coring device to remove a sample of the lake’s sediment floor. Lying within these sediments are remains of plants and animals that have been preserved over time.

BLAME IT ON THE RAIN3
Based on an analysis of lake sediment cores, scientists found that Daphnia began to decline in the 1970s, showing a strong link with measured declines in lake calcium levels.
Declines in Daphnia and other calcium rich foods have the potential to threaten many other species. Daphnia graze on algae, which regulates their presence in a lake. This affects other animals in the food chain such as fish and birds.

BLAME IT ON THE RAIN1
The results of this research teach an important lesson about the role that each creature plays in an ecosystem. Small lakes and wetlands provide important habitat for many species. The individual roles these species play in our ecosystems demonstrate the interconnectedness of all life forms and illustrate the potential for habitat pollution and other impacts to have complex consequences for ecosystems. WC Rebecca Taggart is with Environment Canada.

Here’s a link to a related and more in-depth article, “Acid rain legacy hurting lakes”
ONTARIO'S PLASTIC LAKE
http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2008/11/28/acid_rain_legacy_hurting_lakes.html

BLUE-GREEN ALGAE LINKED TO MOTOR NEURON DISEASE

BLUE GREEN ALGAE

Breakthrough Discovery Links Blue-Green Algae With Motor Neuron Disease

The following excerpts are from Water Online, September 25, 2013

In summary:

  • UTSFor the first time UTS and US research has found a link between toxins produced by blue-green algae and motor neurone disease
  • Over 90 per cent of motor neuron diseases have had no known cause or cure   

M N DISEASEA recently identified link between a toxic amino acid found in blue-green algae and several motor neuron diseases could help researchers devise a therapy for the fatal conditions.

Blue-green algae (cyanobacteria), most often associated with nutrient runoff in coastal waters, produce a neurotoxic amino acid called β-methylamino-L-alanine, or BMAA.

RIVERAustralian waterways regularly succumb to toxic algal blooms, the NSW’s Barwon-Darling River System suffering one of the world’s largest in the summer of 1991-92 when a bloom spread for over 1000 kilometres.

There has been increasing evidence of a link between motor neuron disease and the consumption of food or water contaminated by blue-green algae but it wasn’t clear how the algal toxin was damaging the central nervous system.

KEN ROGERSNow, University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) researchers led by Dr Ken Rodgers, in collaboration with leading ethno botanist Dr Paul Cox and researchers fromPAUL COX the Institute of EthnoMedicine in Wyoming in the US, have discovered that BMAA mimics an amino acid called serine that is used to make human proteins. BMAA is mistakenly incorporated into human proteins in place of serine, resulting in damaged proteins which over time, build up to toxic levels and kill the cells.

The research findings are published today in the journal PLOS ONE. The first author of the paper, Dr Rachael Dunlop, said for many years people had linked BMAA with an increased risk of motor neuron disease.

“The missing piece of the puzzle was how this might occur. Finally, we have that piece,” said Dr Dunlop. “Common amongst all neurodegenerative diseases is the problem of clumps of proteins overloading cells and forcing them to ‘commit suicide’. This research reveals that BMAA can also trigger this process,”

MOTOR NEURONBMAA was originally identified in Guam after the indigenous people, the Chamorros, were found to suffer motor neurone disease up to 100 times more often than other people. The Chamorros used seeds from cycad palms to make flour, and regularly ate fruit bats, which also ate the seeds. Both these foodstuffs contained BMAA.  Since then, research has revealed increased incidences of MND in people who lived near lakes subject to frequent cyanobacterial blooms, among consumers of contaminated shellfish, and in soldiers deployed to the Gulf War between 1990-1991.

Over 90 per cent of motor neuron diseases have no known cause or cure. The diseases kill motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord, progressively paralysing the body.  Though MND is relatively rare, it has a high profile as a result of a number of high-profile people being affected including Professor Stephen Hawking.

SOURCE: University of Technology, Sydney (UTS)

untitled

link to article ~ http://www.wateronline.com/doc/breakthrough-discovery-blue-green-algae-motor-neuron-disease-0001?sectionCode=News&templateCode=SponsorHeader&user=2702840&source=nl:38437

P.E.I.’S NEW WATER AUDIT PROGRAM

PEI WATER AUDIT

Switching to low-flow shower heads can cut water-use by half and save thousands of dollars from a hotel’s water bill. It’s just one of the suggestions the City of Charlottetown floated to hotels in a recent water audit. Laura Chapin explains in this CBC audio, ‘Conservation, policies and PEI’s water-use laws’, May 16, 2013 ~
http://www.cbc.ca/islandmorning/episodes/2013/05/16/conservation-policies-and-peis-water-use-laws/

The following article, Be My Guest ‘Hotels participate in a new water audit program in Prince Edward Island.’ by Clark Kingsbury appears in the May/June issue of WaterCanada magazine.

Charlottetown’s Water and Sewer Utility Department has launched an innovative project aiming to improve water efficiency in the city’s hotels. The Hotel Audit project offers to identify easy, cost-effective way for hotels to reduce water waste by both guests and staff. The project will be executed in partnership with Holland College’s Energy Systems Engineering Technology program. Three hotels are currently involved.

“This pilot supports the tourism industry while also reducing the amount of water used in our city during the busy summer months,” says Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee. “Involving Holland College in the process allows us access to the expertise of its energy systems engineering technology program managers and provides students with an excellent educational opportunity.” The project requires students to perform the audits with water and sewer utility staff members.

Despite public concern about the amount of water consumed by cruise ships docking in Charlottetown’s harbour, the city’s hotels actually consume more water than the Harbour Authority uses in an entire year.

“It seems lately that the focus has moved from conservation to trying to assign blame to a particular industry for high water usage, but the reality is that it’s not one industry or sector that is to blame,” says the water and sewer utility’s chair, Edward Rice. “Conserving water and finding ways to keep water use down during the summer months is the collective responsibility of all businesses, sectors, and industries, as well as governments and residents.”

The audit includes testing of all water use in the participating facilities, and provides recommendations with payback periods based on anticipated savings on water and energy bills.

 

PROGRAM REDUCES E. COLI THREATENS TORONTO’S CHERRY BEACH

CHERRY BEACH1

Excerpt from WaterCanada magazine’s July/August issue – “A power plant works to mitigate E. coli that threatens the sandy shores of Toronto’s Cherry Beach“, by Leslie Hetherington, as printed in the
On a summer day, residents and tourists often flock to one of Toronto’s many Lake Ontario beaches.

E COLI

However, leisure activities can be curtailed by high levels of Escherichia coli (E. coli) in the lake water. Although most E. coli strains are harmless, some can cause serious health problems to humans who swallow them or swim in water that has been contaminated by them. To protect the public, Ontario warns against swimming when tests show 100 E. coli-colony-forming units per 100 millilitres (CFU/100 mL) of water at a specific beach and has set this value as a Provincial Water Quality Objective (PWQO).
ENERGY CENTREAs a local natural gas-fired power plant with a community focus and an active ecological sustainability strategy, the Portlands Energy Centre (PEC) is well aware of the threats E. coli pose to nearby Cherry Beach, an eco-labelled Blue Flag beach for its adherence to strict global standards.
BLUE FLAGThe Blue Flag is a voluntary eco-label that works towards sustainable development of beaches and marinas through strict criteria dealing with water quality, environmental education and information, environmental management, safety, and other services.
The 550-megawatt (MW) PEC was built in 2008 to meet 25 per cent of Toronto’s electricity needs, primarily during peak demand times, and offset emissions from Ontario’s coal-fired generating TORONTO HARBOURstations. During operation, it takes water from Toronto Harbour’s ship channel and turning basin for generation processes and cooling, treats it on site, then releases it into the discharge channel and back to Lake Ontario’s Outer Harbour.
Some E. coli in sanitary sewer and storm water runoff from Toronto neighbourhoods north of the plant enters the ship channel and turning basin from two of the city’s overflows and then enters PEC’s water intake. From there, it may be inadvertently transferred to the Outer Harbour through normal discharge of cooling water, and could potentially reach the popular Cherry Beach.
MINISTRY ENVIRONMENT As part of the its Certificate of Approval for water permits, the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) requires the PEC to implement an E. coli control program for the water it uses, but the plant’s management chose to go further.
ECOMETRIXIn 2008, it hired EcoMetrix Inc., an environmental consulting firm, and embarked on a comprehensive four year E. coli monitoring program during the summer months that included the ship channel, the discharge channel, the intake basin, the Outer Harbour, Cherry Beach, and the Eastern Gap.
During the first summer, the firm established a baseline by measuring E. coli concentrations before the plant was operational. As expected, these data revealed no direct relationship between E. coli in the discharge channel or the ship channel during pre-operations.
The consulting firm followed this research in 2009 by looking for relationships between E. coli levels and various aspects of the plant operations. This included studying the effects of operational factors, including volume and temperature of the cooling water intake discharge flows. The team also studied how rainfall influenced E. coli concentrations. In the third summer, team members collected daily samples for 22 weeks to research potential associations between E. coli in cooling water effluent and E. coli at Cherry Beach.
Efforts also included measuring E. coli levels throughout the Outer Harbour after significant rainfall events to narrow down the most probable source of E. coli that could potentially impact Cherry Beach. DON RIVERFindings suggested that the Keating Channel running from the Don River, via the Eastern Gap, was the most likely source of E. coli to affect the popular beach.
Monitoring studies found that changes to flow volume and water temperature caused by plant operations did not appear to influence E. coli concentration in the cooling water effluent. Similarly, E. coli levels in the discharge water were generally the same as those in the intake basin. From this they concluded that on its own, discharged water from the plant was unlikely to increase E. coli concentrations at Cherry Beach.
EAKINSThe same could not be said for precipitation. “We saw E. coli concentrations typically spike to 3,600 to 8,700 CFU/100 mL, during the two to seven hours after we received at least 10 millimetres (mm) of rain within a 24-hour period,” explains Robert J. Eakins, an associate and senior fisheries ecologist at EcoMetrix. “Our modelling studies further indicated that when these E. coli levels reach 3,500 CFU/100 mL, they could potentially cause corresponding levels at Cherry Beach to rise above 100 CFU/100 mL.”
CHERRY BEACHMore importantly, in 2011, the team began to test the effectiveness of using a specialized hyper chlorination process to treat the cooling water effluent to reduce E. coli in it. They pumped a small amount of sodium hypochlorite into the effluent, followed by sodium bisulfate to neutralize and reduce chlorine concentrations to levels below 0.01 milligrams per litre before it’s discharged, as specified in the Certificate of Approval. The impact was almost immediate; E. coli levels in the effluent decreased by approximately 90 per cent within five seconds of treatment.
“With these results, we began to ask what steps we could take to treat more than the mandated amount of water we use and create farther reaching benefits,” says Curtis Mahoney, general manager at PEC. “We coordinated with the City of Toronto and the MOE to implement a larger-scale control program to mitigate E. coli that threatens Cherry Beach and help maintain Blue Flag swimming conditions, even during seasonal periods of heavy rainfall.” …
This summer, the team plans to collect hourly samples before, during, and after significant rainfall events to explore potential program refinements, such as shortening the duration of each chlorination treatment.
With PEC’s program and concerted efforts from other organizations, this summer should offer residents and tourists many carefree hours enjoying Toronto’s Cherry Beach.
LESLIE HETHERINGTON

Leslie Hetherington is communications director for Hardy Stevenson and Associates Ltd.