Monthly Archives: September 2019

Becoming Benthic..Microplastics in the Great Lakes.

From the Great Pacific garbage patch to inland rivers, plastics are among the most widespread contaminants on Earth. Microplastics…those particles smaller than 5 milimeters are everywhere, building up as a permanent part of the planet’s sedimentary levels.

Now using the Great Lakes as a laboratory, sedimentary petrologist Pat Corcoran and her students at UWO are studying the behavior of microplastics as a geologic phenomenon.

The team found that the more organic debris in the samples,  the more microplastics. Benthic microplastics- those incorporated into into the lake bottom sediments- were also numerous near high population areas.


Surprisingly, not all plastic fibers found in benthic samples were plastic. Under analysis only 33% were plastic..the rest was dyed cotton or cellulose. It was also found there was little corelation between pop density or industry and the number of pellets. Instead , pellets were concentrated near tributaries…rivers and creeks are the main pathway used by the plastic pellets to reach the lskes

Zimbabwe’s Capitol Runs Dry.

Tempers are rising for the 2 million people of Zimbabwe;s capitol of Harare. The Capitol and surrounding area find themselves without water after the authorities shut down the main treatment plant, raising fears of disease after a cholera outbreak …while the economy crumbles even more.

Officials in Harare have struggled to raise the $2.7 million needed per month to import water treatment chemicals. Meanwhile, water levels in polluted reservoirs are dropping because of drought.

People are still using toilets..but there is no water, so the filth is backing up. The situation is critical as another 2 million non residents enter the city each day using the services and doing business.

At the main reservoir, Chivero, plastic bottles, car tires, and algae float in shallow , green , foul smelling water. Typhoid is on the rise. Wells are low or dry.

What water there is is rationed to 2o liters a day, and requires hours to get.

The situation looks bad, and looks to get worse before it gets better.

Carp Aquaculture goes back 8,000 years

Researchers analyzed fish bones excavated from the Early Neolithic Jiahu site in Henan Province, China. By comparing the bones and body lengths the researchers provide evidence of managed carp aquaculture at Jiahu dating back to 6200-5700BC.

Despite the importance of farmed fish to the world economies, the origins of aquaculture remain unknown. The Shijing, the oldest surviving collection of ancient Chinese poetry, mentions carp being raised in a pond in 1140BC. With this in mind the researchers set out to discover if aquaculture started earlier than thought.

At the completion of the study researchers felt that there were 3 stages of fish farming in prehistoric Asia. First, humans fished the marshy areas where carp gather in spawning season. Secondly, the marshy areas were manged by digging channels, controlling water ways and circulation so the carp could spawn and the juveniles harvested. Third, came constant human management.

Lead pipe replacement program updated by the City of Ottawa

The Ottawa Standing Committee on Environmental Protection , Water, and Waste Management approved  an update to the Lead Pipe Replacement Program.

Homeowners with lead water pipes that connect to non lead city pipes will be eligible for a new rebate of up to $1000, about 20% of the total replacement cost. The City would continue to offer loans for properties where by the city and private portions of the water pipes are made of lead.

As a stop gap measure homeowners with confirmed lead levels that exceed Health Canada’s recently updated guideline, or who are awaiting pipe replacements under the program, could get a year’s worth of free water filters to remove lead from their tap water.

Homeowners might have lead pipes if the home was built before 1955. To have your well tested for lead, call 3-1-1 to make an appt.

Although Ottawa’s drinking water supply is lead free, but small amounts can leach into the system through lead pipes, household plumbing , and taps.


The end of cottage season is coming up. Maybe the kids had a great time fishing for perch off the dock…well check these perch out

..and if that is not big enough for you how about some Nile perch..

Wow , those Nile perch would bend some kids rod!

EPA rolls back clean water regulations

An Obama era policy that expanded federal oversight and the threat of steep fines for polluting the country’s smaller waterways has been rescinded by the Trump administration.


The Obama admin in 2015 expanded federal oversight upstream to better protect the wildlife and drinking water from industrial runoff and pollution. The present EPA were calling this overeach. Opposition to the tightening of the regulations was opposed by farmers, property developers, chemical manufacturers, and oil and gas producers. Intrusion on property owners rights is cited as a concern.

Court battles following the Obama era ruling have led to fractured rules across the country. Due to legal challenges the new regulations are in place in only 22 states…the new decision by the Trump admin will surely spark more legal wrangling.


The Trump rules restores regulatory text that existed before the 2015 rule. Property that is no longer covered by the 1972 Clean Water Act remains protected by state rules. Major waterways, like most rivers and lakes, are already under protection of the Clean Water Act and still will be after the rollback.

Downtown Edmonton water main break.

An overnight water main break sent a geyser more than two stories into the air. Once the water was turned off business owners took a tour of the damage.

This story happened last night…no footage is available on YouTube as yet…so check out this video out from 1 yr ago in Edmonton.

What happened was a main water line exploded. Water shot in the air , high enough to land on local roof tops. Water was gushing everywhere, poring through ceilings, pooling on floors, and damaging equipment.

The businesses will have to take the time to recover…hopefully all are well insured.

Hurricane Dorian heads to the Atlantic Provinces

As Dorian heads up the east coast, taking aim at the Maritime provinces measures are being taken to reduce the impact.  The hurricane is supposed to hit Nova Scotia Saturday afternoon, taking about 12 hours to traverse the province.


A support team of up to a thousand people is being  assembled by Nova Scotia Power. Skills required are power line techs, forestry crews, and damage assessors. The crews are being assembles from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, and Ontario.

Nova Scotians should expect to lose power as forecasts call for wind gust up to 100 k per hour.

Fredericton, Saint John, and Moncton in New Brunswick may not get the big winds, but can expect rain from 50mm-100mm. PEI can expect gusting wind as high as 120kph…and 100mm of rain.

Travel advisories will be in effect this weekend, so if you are flying check with your people.