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2007 Wastewater News


December, 2007

Deluge of sewage left in wake of Washington state storm

The deluge that submerged Western Washington early this week also pushed hundreds of thousands of gallons of raw sewage into Seattle-area lakes, streams and homes. Three days after the heaviest rains abated, King County public utilities managers were still trying to determine how much sewage was released. Annie Kolb-Nelson, spokeswoman for King County's wastewater-treatment division, sewer operators around the county were forced to divert runoff and sewage into waterways to stop it from backing up into people's homes. Preliminary reports show that untreated human waste was released from county-operated sewers at nine locations, Kolb-Nelson said. In addition to the sanitary sewer overflows, the county and the city of Seattle also released runoff mixed with a small amount of sewage at dozens of other locations as part of an emergency overflow system. One of the most severe releases occurred at Medina, where 250,000 to 500,000 gallons of raw sewage flowed into Lake Washington, said Larry Altose, a Department of Ecology spokesman. SeattlePost-Intelligencer_ 12/6/07

Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District selects Veolia Water to manage regional wastewater system; 10-year, $400 million contract launches largest U.S. wastewater partnership

The Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) has selected Veolia Water North America – Central LLC (Veolia Water) to manage a regional wastewater system serving the greater Milwaukee area under a 10-year contract valued at approximately $400 million.  Approved by MMSD commissioners, the public-private partnership represents the nation’s largest wastewater contract and is expected to save approximately $35 million over the contract term compared to MMSD’s estimate to manage the system through public operations. Veolia Water’s proposal includes comprehensive programs to enhance operations and maintenance of the system. MMSD officials considered multiple factors in the competitive procurement including technical approaches, experience, corporate resources, transition plans, employee relations, community involvement and activities to bolster Small/Women/Minority Business Enterprise activity.  MMSD is a state-chartered, governmental agency providing wastewater services for 28 municipalities with a population of 1.1 million. As one of the nation’s largest and most sophisticated wastewater systems, MMSD operations include a 411-square-mile service area with a 3,000-mile system of collection sewers and a 310-mile system of interceptor and main sewers, conveying wastewater to two treatment facilities that typically treat more than 200 million gallons of wastewater each day, with a combined peak capacity of 630 million gallons. The contract also includes operation of a 26.5-mile long deep tunnel system to help control wet-weather overflows, and production management of Milorganite®, the district’s nationally branded and marketed biosolids fertilizer product created at MMSD’s Jones Island wastewater facility.  Press Release_12/4/07

San Diego City Council overrides mayor veto of recycled sewage for drinking water

The City Council voted 5-3 Monday to override Mayor Jerry Sanders' veto of a pilot program to use recycled sewage to supplement San Diego's drinking water supply. The council voted in October to initiate a one-year reclaimed water demonstration project by next July. The project would essentially be a small-scale test of how the technology would work and serve to determine the cost of its use. The results would be used to determine whether the city ultimately initiates a potable water reuse program. Sanders wants increased conservation and the exploration of new sources of water, like desalination and the exploitation of groundwater. San Diego imports about 90 percent of its water, primarily from Northern California and the Colorado River. Fox6_ 12/4/07

November, 2007

New legislation promotes latest water saving technology
In an effort to save badly neededwater from going down the drain, Governor Schwarzenegger recently signedlegislation, AB 715, requiring the installation of high efficiency toilets,both dual flush and single flush models. The law makes California the firststate in the nation to mandate high efficiency toilets (HETs), and is expectedto save about 8 billion gallons of water annually. Phase-in of the rulingbegins January 2010 and requires that 100 percent of all toilets installed orsold by January 2014 be the high efficiency type.  Reuters_11/28/07

From sewage, added water for drinking: Orange County, California, water district will purify sewer water to feed drinking water supplies, but not directly to the tap

On Nov. 30, for millions of people in Orange County, pulling the lever will be the start of a long, intense process to purify the sewage into drinking water — after a hard scrubbing with filters, screens, chemicals and ultraviolet light and the passage of time underground. On that Friday, the Orange County Water District will turn on what industry experts say is the world’s largest plant devoted to purifying sewer water to increase drinking water supplies. They and others hope the $481 million Groundwater Replemishment System serves as a model for authorities worldwide facing persistent drought, predicted water shortages and projected growth. The process, called by proponents “indirect potable water reuse” and “toilet to tap” by the wary, is getting a close look in several cities including San Diego., San Jose, South Florida and Texas. The finished product, which district managers say exceeds drinking water standards, will not flow directly into kitchen and bathroom taps; state regulations forbid that. Instead it will be injected underground, with half of it helping to form a barrier against seawater intruding on groundwater sources and the other half gradually filtering into aquifers that supply 2.3 million people, about three-quarters of the county. The recycling project will produce much more potable water and at a higher quality than did the mid-1970s-era plant it replaces. New York Times_ 11/27/07 (logon required)

UN calls for spending $10 billion a year to improve the world's clean water and sanitation

The United Nations proposed Wednesday that nations invest $10 billion (€6.75 billion) a year in supplying clean water and sanitation for the third of the planet's population who lacks them.  "The international community has failed to deliver on this basic right. Today, more than 2 billion people around the world lack access to basic sanitation services," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in naming 2008 the U.N.'s International Year of Sanitation to highlight the problem.  Some 90 percent of the human sewage in developing countries goes untreated and is allowed to pollute the public's water supplies, for lack of sewage treatment plants, according to U.N. figures.  "An estimated 42,000 people die every week from diseases related to low water quality and an absence of adequate sanitation. And this situation is unacceptable," Ban said.  At the current pace of development, it could take another 100 years to improve sanitation in sub-Saharan countries "which means that an additional 133 million African children will die if nothing changes," said Dutch Crown Prince Willem Alexander, who heads Ban's advisory board on water and sanitation issues.  Ban said investing $10 billion (€6.75 billion) a year globally could provide basic toilet facilities by 2015 for as many as half of the 2.6 billion people who currently lack them.  The money would come from the U.N.'s 192 member nations, international finance organizations, and partnerships with businesses.  International Herald Tribune_11/21/07

Reuters Interview: Toilets, a life or death issue for world's poor

Going to the toilet is a matter of life and death in the world's poorest countries where lack of sanitation and poor hygiene kill hundreds of thousands, especially children, every year. "One in four people in the world don't have a safe place to go to the toilet," said Barbara Frost, chief executive of UK-based charity WaterAid which marked World Toilet Day on Monday by launching an international campaign for more hygiene awareness and investment in sanitation. Speaking from Mali in West Africa, Frost said the absence of clean toilet facilities, access to safe water and efficient sanitation was directly related to the spread of diseases, most preventable, that killed 1.8 million children a year. Reuters_ 11/19/07

A sanitation crisis that's no joke

According to the World Health Organization, 40 percent of the globe, or 2.6 billion people, have no access to hygienic toilets. They must use latrines, outhouses or buckets — or simply the bushes or rivers nearby. The World Toilet Summit, which just took place in New Delhi, is an attempt to improve that situation by drawing attention to the problem and pushing for better sanitation technologies. It is the brainchild of Jack Sim, a Singapore real estate mogul who grew up in poverty and remembers seeing children in his neighborhood shedding worms as they ran around diaperless. In 2001, he founded the World Toilet Organization, which has a blue toilet seat for its logo. Despite the silly name, he means serious business. Toilets get too little respect, Mr. Sim argues, openly wishing that someone with more celebrity than he has would take up the cause, because lack of adequate toilets threatens more children than, for example, global warming does. New York Times_ 11/4/07 (logon required)

September, 2007

Kentucky/ Ohio water fight: Is new wastewater plant too close to Cincinnati water intake?

Northern Kentucky is spending $75 million to build a new waste water treatment plant that Cincinnati Water Works contends is too close to its drinking water intake pipes for health and safety reasons. At issue is what kind of water will be discharged into the Brush Creek in Alexandria and then flow into the Ohio River, and how that will affect the water Cincinnati takes from the Ohio and uses for drinking water. Sanitation District Number 1 is just weeks away from operating its new plant. But Cincinnati Water Works says this plant could spill a laundry list of potential hazards into the Ohio River – and into Cincinnati's drinking water. But the general manager of Northern Kentucky's Sanitation District 1, which is building the new waste water treatment plant, says his plant exceeds federal and state regulations on waste water. 9NEWS_ 9/13/07

Chicago River's link to illness studied

Most of the water in the Chicago River is treated sewage loaded with bacteria, but officials contend they shouldn't be forced to clean up the waterway unless a newly commissioned study finds people are getting sick from the murky flow. Under pressure from Mayor Richard Daley and others to turn the stagnant canals into civic amenities, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District asked researchers to survey folks who dip a canoe or kayak into the river during the next year. The goal is to compare their rates of illness to the rates for people who swim in Lake Michigan or have no contact with either body of water. Until the district commissioned the study, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency had been on track to move forward with standards that for the first time would limit the amount of bacteria allowed in the river. Environmental groups grumble that the study could delay or scuttle those efforts. District officials are drawing up plans to disinfect the region's treated sewage, something most other large cities already do. But they also argue that it might not be worth it to clean up the river. Chicago Tribune_ 9/14/07

August, 2007

Chula Vista, California business park gets treated sewage instead of drinking water--for two years

The 17 stores at Fenton Business Center in Eastlake were ordered Friday not to drink or wash their hands with tap water after tests from a private lab showed they were getting recycled water, or treated sewage, instead of drinkable water. Otay Water District officials are investigating, but it appears a mis-marked pipe was the cause. Two food-related businesses – the Candy Bouquet, which creates candy baskets, and Dream Dinners, a meal-preparation store – were shut down by the county. Some business owners are concerned a former Otay inspector who pleaded guilty to a bribery charge could be at fault. In 2005, Otay inspector William Cooper pleaded guilty to taking $5,000 in exchange for overlooking deficiencies in underground water and sewer lines on two Chula Vista residential developments. Mark Watton, Otay's general manager, confirmed Cooper was one of the inspectors on the Fenton Business Park project. He said he has not determined whether that is related to the bad connection. Lea Brooks, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Public Health, said recycled water is treated but can contain bacteria and viruses that cause diarrhea and other illnesses. San Diego Union-Tribune_ 8/23/07

Coca Cola buys bottled water for some residents of Paw Paw, Michigan after tainting groundwater

For 23 years, the Coke-owned Minute Maid plant sprayed waste water into the soil. Some companies still get rid of waste water that way but people are finding it can contaminate wells. "We believe in being responsible and this is part of being that," said a representative from the plant. A handful of people living about a half mile from the Coca Cola plant in Paw Paw received letters stating their well water contained too many metals. To combat this Coke had to shell out big money. "In conjunction with the MDEQ, we decided to build a state of the art wastewater treatment plant. We spent seven million dollars to process our waste and deliver it back cleaner to the environment," said the plant representative. NewsChannel3_ 8/27/07

Texas Water Development Board awards Harris County $7.6 million for bigger wastewater treatment plant

The state board said the financial assistance to the Harris County Water Control and Improvement District No. 89 came from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund. Located near downtown Houston, District No. 89's wastewater treatment plant is nearing capacity and is in need of expansion. It currently serves a population of about 4,300 people living in about 1,300 homes and about five commercial entities including a 240-unit apartment complex.

Houston Business Journal_ 8/27/07

Wastewater allows drug testing of whole cities

Researchers have figured out how to give an entire community a drug test using just a teaspoon of wastewater from a city's sewer plant. The test wouldn't be used to finger any single person as a drug user. But it would help federal law enforcement and other agencies track the spread of dangerous drugs, like methamphetamine, across the country. Oregon State University scientists tested 10 unnamed American cities for remnants of drugs, both legal and illegal, from wastewater streams. They were able to show that they could get a good snapshot of what people are taking. One of the early results of the new study showed big differences in methamphetamine use city to city. One urban area with a gambling industry had meth levels more than five times higher than other cities. Yet methamphetamine levels were virtually nonexistent in some smaller Midwestern locales, said Jennifer Field, the lead researcher and a professor of environmental toxicology at Oregon State. The ingredient Americans consume and excrete the most was caffeine, Field said. AP/WCVB_ 8/22/07

Singapore converts sewer water to bottled, but image is still a problem

NEWater looks and tastes like any other bottled water, and is the brand name of sewage-turned-drinking water produced by Singapore's public utilities agency. More specifically, NEWater is treated wastewater from domestic households. Since 2002, the reclaimed wastewater has been purified using dual-membrane and ultraviolet technologies, in addition to conventional water treatment processes. However, a number of Singaporeans still think of NEWater as "toilet water", and they dare not drink it. "I'm not brave enough to drink it," said Singaporean resident Hassan. "NEWater is crystal-clear drinking water and is cleaner than water from the seas, rivers or swimming pools," said Tan Ban Thong, manager of Water Hub, Singapore's premier center for research and development in cutting-edge water technologies. However, bottles of NEWater are not currently sold in the market. One of the reasons is that Singapore is one of the few countries in the world where tap water is safe to drink. In Singapore, bottled water makes up only about 0.03 percent of the total domestic water consumption. Compared to many countries like France, Indonesia and Italy, Singapore ranks among the lowest in per capita bottled water consumption. Today, NEWater is sold only to industries and commercial buildings. Since 2003, NEWater has been used for water fabrication processes, non-potable applications in manufacturing, as well as air-conditioned cooling towers in commercial buildings. In these ways, NEWater frees up potable water for domestic consumption. Jakarta Post_ 8/22/07

New Albany, Kentucky Storm Water Board resigns after criticism for awarding a $507,000 no-bid contract

Criticized by some New Albany City Council members for entering into a $507,000 no-bid contract, the city's three-member Storm Water Board resigned yesterday at the end of its regular monthly meeting. Tim Deatrick, who was appointed head of the board by Mayor James Garner after it was set up by the council last year, said a main factor in the unanimous decision to resign was the council's 6-2 vote last week to override a veto by Garner. The mayor had tried to block a council resolution that authorized filing a lawsuit to determine if two no-bid contracts, including the one involving the Storm Water Board, were valid. Both of the contracts awarded last month are with Environmental Management Corp., the company that has run the city's sewer system since 2001. First the Sewer Board, over the objections of some council members, voted 5-0 to extend its agreement with Environmental Management, but for $3.3 million annually. That is $300,000 less than under the current agreement. A few weeks later, the Storm Water Board voted 2-1, with Asberry opposed, to enter into a contract with Environmental Management to run the storm-water operations for $507,000 annually. The agreements were awarded without competitive bidding. Lawyers for both boards have contended that bids are not required under state law because the contracts are for professional services, not for specific construction or other projects. But the agreements prompted immediate council criticism, resulting in adoption of the resolution authorizing Jerry Ulrich, the council's lawyer, to ask Floyd Circuit Court if the contracts are valid. Ulrich has said he believes state law required bids for both contracts. Louisville Courier-Journal_ 8/18/07

Florida considering punishment for water treatment plant

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is reviewing enforcement options against  the Golden Gate Waste Water Treatment Plant in Golden Gate City. According to the DEP, the Collier County plant is operating above capacity and is in need of expansion. The plant is operated by the Florida Governmental Utility Authority and officials have promised in the past, under the parameters of a permit, to expand. But ABC7 has learned that the deadline for those parameters has passed and now the DEP is trying to figure out why FGUA didn't meet the proper requirements. DEP says it cannot close the plant down or punish FGUA for operating over capacity because the product it puts out is within environmental guidelines. ABC7_ 8/14/07

June, 2007

Black & Veatch to host Kansas City youth for rain garden and water engineering learn-in

The company also will award $500 scholarships to visiting students. The “Learn-in Day” for the Kansas City Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) crew on June 19 includes interactive sessions on rain gardens and water engineering. The company will award $500 scholarships to each of the six 16- to 18-year-olds taking part in the “Learn-in Day” who complete the YCC program this summer. The YCC program is co-sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation and the Full Employment Council. It provides summer projects for inner-city and minority youth that stress the importance of environmental conservation and research. One focus for the inaugural program this summer is to build four rain gardens throughout the Kansas City area. Rain gardens are sunken areas planted with native perennials that are specially designed to collect stormwater runoff and return it to the ground naturally and safely. According to recent research, properly designed rain gardens can effectively trap and retain a high percentage of common pollutants in urban storm runoff, which is designed to improve water quality. News Release_ 6/12/07

March, 2007

Gray water's red tape
Homeowners who want to recycle water jump through governmental hoops first.

The Western red bud trees, ceanothus, island snapdragon and other native flora have been planted with care and precision in front of a new Santa Monica house. Good thing they're not thirsty plants, because not one drop of water has flowed from a special irrigation system installed last June.  Homeowner Steve Glenn is frustrated. He's still waiting for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health to sign off in order to turn on the underground drip system, which will recycle water from his bathroom sinks, showers, laundry sink and clothes washer.  Using so-called gray water during what may be a record dry year seems like a no-brainer, but Glenn is finding otherwise. Residents who want to conserve a precious natural resource encounter road blocks, often in the form of red tape.  California authorized the use of gray water statewide for single-family homes in 1992. The state Department of Water Resources developed standards and provided a Graywater Guide for homeowners and others. But particulars such as permit and inspection requirements were left to local jurisdictions. In Santa Monica and Los Angeles, for example, the building and safety departments oversee gray-water construction. Both cities also require approval from the L.A. County health department.  The agencies often have different requirements, which can ratchet up a homeowner's cost to install a gray-water system. Los Angeles Times_3/29/07

Three die in Gaza sewage flood

An earth embankment around a cesspool suddenly collapsed Tuesday, spewing a river of sewage and mud that killed three people and forced residents to flee from the village of Umm Naser in northern Gaza, officials said. A local official blamed shoddy infrastructure in Umm Naser, a town of 3,000, for the disaster. A 70-year-old woman, 4-year-old boy and a man died in the sudden flood, and 25 people were injured, said Dr. Muawiya Hassanin of the Palestinian Health Ministry. At least 25 houses were completely submerged. Several major sewage treatment projects funded by foreign donors, including one in Umm Naser, were frozen after Hamas won elections last year. The U.S. and EU consider Hamas a terrorist group. AP/CNN_ 3/27/07

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the American Pharmacists Assn. sign agreement to help protect water and aquatic life from unused medicines

Officials from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the American Pharmacists Association signed a formal agreement today outlining how they will work cooperatively to build consumer awareness of the hazards posed by the improper disposal of unused and expired medications into the nation's waterways. As part of the effort - dubbed "SMARxT DISPOSAL" - they will publicize the potential environmental and health impacts of unused medications when they are flushed into our nation's sewer systems. Three small steps can make a huge difference:

1. DO NOT FLUSH unused medications. Consumers were once advised to flush their expired or unused medications; however, recent environmental impact studies report that this could be having an adverse impact on the environment. While the rule of thumb is not to flush, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has determined that certain medications should be flushed due to their abuse potential. Read the instructions on your medication and talk to your pharmacist.

2. When tossing unused medications, protect children and pets from the potentially negative effects. The pharmacists association recommends that consumers:

- Crush solid medications or dissolve them in water (this applies for liquid medications as well) and mix with kitty litter or sawdust (or any material that absorbs the dissolved medication and makes it less appealing for pets or children to eat), then place in a sealed plastic bag BEFORE tossing in the trash.

- Remove and destroy ALL identifying personal information (prescription label) from the medication container.

- Check for approved state and local collection programs or with area hazardous waste facilities. In certain states, you may be able to take your unused medications to your community pharmacy.

3. Talk To Your Pharmacist. Research shows that pharmacists are one of the most accessible healthcare professionals. As the medication experts on the healthcare team, pharmacists are available to guide you on how to properly dispose of your unused medications. News Release_ 3/20/07

Newsday Special Report part 1: Sewage no longer a dirty word in New York's Suffolk County

A growing number of local officials are starting to see their sewer plants as their greatest asset. It is the kind of talk all but unheard since the Southwest Sewer District corruption scandal of the late 1970s outraged taxpayers, killed political careers and left one of America's most populous counties reliant on backyard septic systems to handle the waste from more than two thirds of its homes. For 30 years, the word "sewer" has been taboo, and the absence of sewers has been a prime engine driving suburban sprawl and shaping the built landscape in powerful but scarcely noticed ways. But lately, a rising public demand for affordable housing, clean waterways and vibrant downtowns has compelled a rethinking. "Sewers have come out of the closet!" says Smithtown's planning director, Frank DeRubeis. How they got into the closet in the first place is a cautionary tale of the importance of getting big public works projects right. Forty years ago, Long Island planners were busy planning a sewer systems project that became a mess that reached its crescendo in 1979 when the county official in charge of the project was stabbed in the back with a fishing knife by his lover and killed, just as he was preparing to spill the beans to investigators. Newsday_ 3/11/07

Newsday Special Report: 2nd of two parts. Septic tanks foul New York waterway

Researchers and health officials think nitrogen pollution from nearby cesspools bears much of the blame for the dismal state of the Forge River, which was designated an impaired waterway last year by New York State. Nationally nearly one in four households relies on cesspools or septic systems to dispose of sewage, according the federal Environmental Protection Agency. In Suffolk, that statistic gets turned on its head: Here about three out of four households use on-site wastewater treatment. The systems discharge sewage into the soil, and eventually to the groundwater, with minimal processing. Given Suffolk's unusual reliance on septic tanks and cesspools, environmentalists say the Forge River's decline serves as a warning for the future health of other bays, streams and the aquifers that supply Long Island's drinking water. Increasingly, county regulators agree. Newsday_ 3/12/07

U.S. aid freeze hits waste water projects in West Bank

Projects meant to make sweeping changes in the Palestinians' quality of life — like the sewage treatment plant that was to have been built in Yata village near Hebron — have been put on hold by U.S. sanctions following the rise to power of the militant Islamic Hamas group. Palestinians had hoped a power-sharing deal between Hamas and the moderate Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, would revive the aid, and a $250 million package of waste and wastewater programs the U.S. had planned for the West Bank and Gaza Strip. But U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice indicated in a recent visit to the region that this won't happen unless Hamas moderates its refusal to recognize Israel's existence. Other major donors have continued their smaller-scale infrastructure projects. More than 80 percent of communities in the West Bank aren't hooked up to a sewer network, and much of their waste ends up in riverbeds, some of it running into Israel, water experts said. AP/Houston Chronicle_ 3/4/07

February, 2007

Australia's New South Wales Premier Morrie Iemma refuses to tap into recycled water

Iemma today stepped up his attack against the Opposition's water recycling plans even though opinion polls show a big majority of Sydneysiders are willing to drink water reclaimed from treated sewage. Speaking on ABC Radio Mr Iemma said Labor's plan of reserving recycled water for industrial purposes only was the right way to go and he would not set up a water policy based on "the yo-yos of opinion polls". Sydney Morning Herald_ 2/19/07

New weather, old pipes challenge U.S. water supply

The difficult separation of drinking water and sewage may face more challenges than its aging infrastructure can withstand as unpredictable weather conditions produce floods that beset the nation, a Michigan State University water expert says. The nation needs better ways to monitor the safety of drinking water, Joan Rose, MSU's Nowlin Chair in water research, told the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting Friday. Her talk, "Drinking Water and Health: Forecasting Pathogen Risks in the Great Lakes," focused on ways to identify health threats before an outbreak. Rose's Great Lakes work is part of a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration effort to develop forecasts of water quality problems for lakes, rivers and streams. She said much of her Great Lakes work is focused on a water resources system that puts its faith more in water treatment than watershed protection for providing safe water. Focusing solely on treatment, she says, puts the water systems in peril from both overwhelming weather events and contaminants that resist conventional treatment. The recipe for disaster is there, including intake points for drinking water are not consistently shielded from the sewage that periodically spills into surface waters; there is inadequate monitoring of the rivers, lakes and streams that provide drinking water and the quality of the treated drinking water; and there are signs that the water and sewer pipes are getting old. Much of the United States -- particularly in the Great Lakes and the Northeast -- has combined sewer systems, in which sewage is carried to treatment facilities, but can overflow into rivers and lakes during storms. ScienceDaily_ 2/18/07

Recycled storm water and an underground lake give hope for easing water crisis in Sydney, Australia

Thousands of litres will be pumped out of the lake, running through disused rail tunnels from St James station to Macquarie St, as a showpiece for stormwater harvesting and recycling across Sydney. The supply, known as St James Lake - about 1km long, 10m wide and 5m deep, is expected to save more than 17 million litres of water a year. Under the plan, announced by Premier Morris Iemma yesterday, water will be piped from the roofs of Parliament House, Sydney Hospital and the State Library into the lake. It will then be treated and pumped back up to the surface for use in Parliament House for air conditioning, toilet flushing and garden watering. Mr Iemma said the $110,000 project was the latest of 72 stormwater harvesting, groundwater and recycling projects costing $40 million. Mr Iemma said the 72 projects would together save 10 billion litres of water a year - only enough to supply more than 40,000 homes. Mr Iemma promised to consult more extensively with residents affected by the desalination pipeline disruption. The Government was facing mass protests over plans to dig up streets for the pipeline. Daily Telegraph_ 2/5/07

January, 2007

Who's polluting Israel's 190 kilometer Mediterranean coast?

Some local marine environmentalist groups such as Zalul, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting Israel's seas and rivers, point to Gush Dan Region's sewage management company Shafdan, headquartered in Rishon Lezion, as the country's greatest marine polluter. Gal Shoham, spokesperson and tour guide for Shafdan retorts, "It is not true. What we send to the sea is sludge - not raw sewage." And, he adds, the bacteria that end up pumped into the sea as sludge in a protected area of Palmahim beach are benign, and in fact a good source of food for fish. "The problem we do have at Shafdan is with the heavy metals still inside the bodies of the bacteria, such as cadmium and mercury." When the sludge gets pumped five kilometers from the coast at a depth of 38 meters, Shoham assures, there is not much to worry about. "We are working according to the law. If people want to argue with the law, they should speak to their municipalities." Professor Eilon Adar, head of the Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research at Ben-Gurion University, a hydrologist who works in the area of water desalination, is worried about how raw sewage from the Gaza Strip (currently untreated and dumped straight in the sea) will affect the sensitive membranes used in Israeli desalination plants. Israelis dump sludge and on some occasions also pump raw sewage into the sea. Jerusalem Post_ 1/31/07

American Water receives approval for “Green” water recycling project

American Water’s Applied Water Management Group has received New York City Department of Health certification for a state-of-the-art system that recycles wastewater at Tribeca Green, a 24-story apartment building in Battery Park City at the southern tip of Manhattan. The company also has four other “green” water recycling projects in Battery Park City, including a fully operational system at the Solaire apartment building that is generating 25,000 gallons of useable water daily. The Solaire project is the first of its kind in the nation to receive a Gold LEED rating from the U.S. Green Building Council. Other projects include a similar system close to completion at nearby Millennium Towers, another under construction for the River House tower and a fourth in the planning stages for the planned Battery Park City Site 3. Together these projects will capture about half of the wastewater produced by the buildings and return it as clean water suitable for use in toilets, gardens and air conditioning systems.

The new Tribeca Green wastewater system reduces the demand for potable water in the building by nearly half, providing a sustainable long term environmental advantage. Recycling equipment located in the basement treats and reclaims water for toilet flushing and air conditioning, plus irrigation of an adjacent park. An additional unit collects and processes storm water for reuse in the building’s roof gardens.  Press Release_1/31/07

Recycled sewage to restock West Australia's aquifers

The state's Water Corporation yesterday launched a $38 million four-year trial under which 1.5 gigalitres of treated sewage and waste water would be pumped below ground annually to boost water levels on the Gnangara mound - a series of underground aquifers that feed Perth's water supply. But to offset public anxiety about using waste water for drinking, Water Corporation chairman Jim Gill said that water from the Beenyup Waste Water Treatment Plant would not be reused for a number of years, perhaps even decades. The existence of a pine plantation in the area and overuse by irrigators, market gardeners and the corporation itself had caused underground water levels on the Gnangara mound to drop by 6m over 25 years. With Perth's 10 dams at a fraction of their storage capacity, the corporation wants to focus public attention on waste water recycling, desalination and demand management. Water in metropolitan dams dropped to 27.7 per cent last year, below the 2005 level of 35per cent and the corporation predicts further reductions in rainfall will push storage levels even further down towards the 2002 level of 17 per cent. The Australian_ 1/3/07





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