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2003 and 2004 Research and Technology News

December, 2004

New Mexico's Sandia National Laboratories to test innovative arsenic-removal technologies

Over the next few weeks researchers at the National Nuclear Security Administration's Sandia National Laboratories will begin testing innovative ways to treat arsenic-contaminated water in an effort to reduce costs to municipalities of meeting the new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) arsenic standard which goes into effect in 2006. The testing is sponsored by the Arsenic Water Technology Partnership (AWTP), a multiyear-program funded by a congressional appropriation through the U.S. Department of Energy, and will be conducted at a geothermal spring used to supply drinking water to Socorro, N.M., a town of about 9,000 residents located 80 miles south of Albuquerque. AWTP members include Sandia, the Awwa Research Foundation (AwwaRF), and WERC, a Consortium for Environmental Education and Technology Development. Science Daily_ 12/23/04

November, 2004

University of Oregon researchers develop molecules to trap and immobilize arsenic in drinking water

It's a step toward effective, affordable technology to treat arsenic poisoning and lower arsenic levels in the world's drinking water. Assistant professor of chemistry Darren Johnson and doctoral student Jake Vickaryous published their work in the Nov. 5 issue of Angewandte Chemie International Edition, the world's leading chemistry journal, according to a University press release. Oregon Daily Emerald_ 11/29/04

IBM and top scientific research organizations ask web users to join science grid to solve complex social problems like protecting the water supply

Volunteers will be asked to download a program to their computers that runs when the machine is idle and reaches out to request data to contribute to research projects. The project is designed to handle up to 10 million participants, or more, if demand is greater, IBM said. Details at  Reuters_ 11/16/04

NASA working to improve water recycling for the International Space Station

Systems developed in conjunction with Hamilton Sundstrand Space Systems International, Inc., Windsor Locks, Conn., and other contractors will support up to a seven-member crew. Press Release_ 11/12/04

October, 2004

Syracuse, New York, hopes to save energy and clean up a polluted lake by using Lake Ontario to cool buildings

Cornell University was the first in North America to do it. Then Toronto, Canada did it. Now, Syracuse is seeking a $1.5 million federal grant for Onondaga County's Metropolitan Water Board to study a lake water cooling system for downtown buildings. The naturally chilled water from the lake's bottom would be pumped to Syracuse, used to remove heat from air conditioning systems in public and private buildings, and recycled to help clean up Onondaga Lake, one of the nation's most polluted bodies of water. AP/Newsday_ 10/24/04

India tests a diesel-powered, mobile desalination plant

The recently-developed and tested prototype, designed by Tata Projects, Hyderabad, works on a skid mounted unit to convert brackish water containing fluoride, arsenic, nitrate and pathogenic bacteria into potable water. The unit has the capacity to produce 4,000 litres of potable water per hour. NewIndPress_ 10/13/04

Radio transmitters for water meters turned down by Fitchburg, Massachusetts city councilors who want more information

Deputy Water Commissioner Randy Swigor proposed spending a total of $1.4 million to equip 12,000 household water meters with radio transmitters to replace the current manual system. He asked the city for $450,000 of the total. Swigor said the technology would allow city workers to do three months' work in three days. Fitchburg, Massachusetts Sentinel & Enterprise_ 10/1/04


September, 2004

Arizona State University research will tap into Phoenix

ASU will use Phoenix as a living laboratory for a $6.9 million research center that will help desert cities look for ways to balance growth with limited water resources. The National Science Foundation, an independent government agency, will fund the ASU Decision Center for a Desert City and four other programs, all aimed at solving problems created by changing or uncertain climate conditions. Arizona Republic_ 9/29/04 (logon required)

Engineer builds prototype of water-walking robot

With inspiration from nature and some help from research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a team led by Carnegie Mellon engineering professor Metin Sitti built a tiny robot that can walk on water, much like the insects known as water skimmers or Jesus bugs. With a chemical sensor, it could monitor water supplies for toxins; with a camera it could be a spy or an explorer; with a net or a boom, it could skim contaminants off the top of water. Oh, yes. The cost: $10. AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 9/10/04

U.S. lab at Sandia, New Mexico tests water-saving agriculture that could reduce possibility of future wars

The method for lessening water use is being tested by 42 wireless sensors being installed in a forage-growing hydroponic greenhouse under the supervision of the National Nuclear Security Administration's Sandia National Laboratories, a U.S. national security lab. The potential savings in water is particularly important in New Mexico and the American Southwest, Mexico, water-parched regions like the Middle East, certain lands between India and Pakistan, and northern China. Preliminary indications are that hydroponic greenhouses in New Mexico, for example, could reduce the current 800,000 acre-feet of water to 11,000 acre-feet to produce an equivalent amount (dry weight) of livestock forage, and do this on less than 1,000 acres instead of 260,000 acres. Science Daily_ 9/9/04

August, 2004
$49,000 toilet at Purdue University may be the answer to man's survival on Mars
As part of a five-year, $10 million, NASA-financed program for developing technologies to survive lengthy space travel, researchers at Purdue have built a Rube Goldberg system using plants and bacteria to transform feces and urine into plant fertilizer and clean water. New York Times_ 8/24/04 (logon required)

Satellites measure water. When it shifts, so does Earth's gravity

Measurements of tiny changes in the Earth's gravitational field have given the clearest picture yet of where the water is going. The data, from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment, a pair of satellites, show the seasonal changes in water distribution around the globe, particularly in the Amazon basin, the largest watershed on the planet. The project, known as Grace, is designed to track changes in earth's water mass, according to an article in the July 23 issue of the journal Science. New York Times_ 8/3/04 (logon required)

July, 2004

Arizona State University researchers demonstrate new nanotech effect - moving water molecules by light

They believe the phenomenon could have widespread use in analytical chemistry and possibly pharmaceutical research. The ASU team now is working to design a device that can move drugs dissolved in water, or droplets of water and samples that need to be tested for environmental or biochemical analyses. Arizona State University press release_ 7/29/04

State issues water conservation invention RFPs
The state of New Mexico is offering $10 Million in contracts  for inventors and business people who are developing innovative technologies to help conserve water or develop new water supplies.  Deadline for submitting applications is Aug. 11.  New Mexico Business Weekly _ 7/21/04

New interim water purification facility sending purified water to Orange County's seawater intrusion barrier
The Orange County (California) Water District's (OCWD's) new Interim Water Purification Facility is now sending five million gallons a day of purified water to the county's seawater intrusion barrier that keeps the ocean out of its drinking water supplies. The seawater barrier is a series of injection wells that build an underground mound of water along the California coast, higher than sea level, to keep salt water out of Orange County's fresh water groundwater basin.  Press Release _7/13/04

Japanese water plant experiments with microbes from coal ash for purification
Tohoku Electric Power Engineering & Construction Co. said it was the first purification system to use so-called clinker ash to breed water-purifying microbes. In a related development, Chubu Electric Power Co. has experimented with using clinker ash to purify water without the use of microbes.   Daily Yomiuri_ 7/13/04


June, 2004
Hard water softening system malfunctions in Chelsea, Michigan: Water is safe, but don't try to take a bubble bath
The new water treatment system has been malfunctioning since late April and fixing the plant may mean higher water rates. The water being distributed to 2,000 customers citywide has a hardness level of 400 parts per million (23 grains per gallon), four times the reverse osmosis water softening system was designed for. City officials are working with GE Osmonics, the vendor; TetraTech MPS, design engineers; and Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr and Huber, consulting engineers, to solve the problem.  Ann Arbor News_ 6/14/04

May, 2004

New gates on New Mexico's San Acacia dam offer precise flow
Assistant Secretary of the Interior Bennett Raley said at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for two new water-saving gates that he is excited about what Secretary Gale Norton wants to highlight; stretching water resources even further and changes to structures. The two gates, installed by the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District and built by Aqua Systems 2001 Inc., can be remotely controlled and monitored. El Defensor Chieftan_ 5/29/04

Ohio State University study helps satellites measure Great Lakes' water quality
The study -- the first ever to rate the effectiveness of various computer models for monitoring the Great Lakes -- might also aid studies of global climate change. When algae levels are too high, water takes on a foul taste and odor that isn’t easily removed by traditional treatment methods. Satellite images show the algae and the Ohio State researchers determined which four computer models may perform well for studies of the Great Lakes. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Cooperative Institute for Limnology and Ecosystems Research funded this study. Press Release_ 5/25/04

San Francisco Bay as you've never seen it before, thanks to the USGS

The U.S. Geological Survey has opened a new window on the bay beneath the waves in a stunning set of underwater maps. They are part of a 30- page report by geologist John Chin and colleagues documenting how nature and humans have transformed the floor of the central bay.  San Francisco Chronicle_ 5/25/04

Download the USGS report

You turn off the lights when you leave the house. Why not turn off the water, too?
Flo-Guard Inc. of Clinton Township, Michigan is marketing a water shut-off system that uses a switch or control panel to shut off the water supply in a home or business - preventing costly water leaks before they can happen. A valve in the main water supply line of a home or business is attached to a switch that can be placed by the back door or other convenient location to flip the water on and off.  Macomb, Michigan Daily_ 5/15/04

Underwater robots could be answer to terrorist threat to nation's water supplies
Technology pioneered at the University of Minnesota could cut the time it takes to test water samples, instead using robots to beam up a near-real-time environmental profile of lakes, reservoirs and rivers. AP/WALB.com_ 5/12/04

Biowhirlwind: New technology to kill diseases in water

Bioantigen, of Port Talbot, Wales, and its German partners developed the new bug-busting device which could help combat bio-terrorism. Its makers say it has attracted interest from the British Ministry of Defence as well as leading scientists from around the world. BBC News_ 5/4/04

Manteca, California officials fear limits of technology will drive city water bills past $100 per month to increase wastewater treatment

Conservation already has decreased water use by 10 percent but regional authorities in the Central Valley say more aggressive conservation could help keep bills down. City officials want the state to ease up on requirements for cleaning wastewater. Manteca Bulletin_ 5/4/04

April, 2004
Haestad Press, publisher of water resources textbooks and modeling software, announces its latest civil engineering textbook, "Wastewater Collection Systems Modeling and Design."

This book guides its readers through the model-building process and provides real-world applications to address a variety of wastewater challenges, including designing new systems, detecting and correcting inefficiencies, and minimizing pumping costs in systems. Press Release_ 4/27/04

Dectron Internationale subsidiary International Water Makers Inc. sells "water from air" to Chevron USA in the Gulf of Mexico
The patented Moisture Recovery Unit(R) (MRU) supplies pure water, pre- programmed for automatic on-line gas turbine blade cleaning. The MRU(R) system has been designed to generate significant quantities of water from the ambient air surrounding the platform. The water will be filtered through Dectron's 5-stage purification and deionization process to render it safe for both turbine washes, and potable use. Press Release/PRNewsWire_ 4/27/04

Vermont's Seldon Laboratories LLC wins U.S. Air Force contract to develop a water filter that uses carbon nanotubes to stick it to pollutants
Founded only 16 months ago, Seldon Laboratories LLC has already delivered a prototype filter that skewers biological pathogens as a soldier gulps water into his mouth. Next up is a $2 million contract to make an improved version that blocks poisons, debris and other pollutants, resulting in water pure enough to use for medical purposes right on the battlefield. Alan Cummings, the lab's co-founder and chief executive officer, said the ultimate goal is a filter that can quickly purify water from any source – a river, ground well or mud puddle, for example – into a form pure enough that it can be mixed with freeze-dried blood for immediate transfusions. Small Times_ 4/26/04
No joke: No more brown water for Moss Point, Mississippi
Today, residents get a full review of how engineers plan to use $9.4 million from Rohm and Haas chemical company to install Project Crystal Clear, a reverse osmosis water filtration system that removes color and odor from water. AP/Sun Herald_ 4/26/04

New fire fighting chemical looks and acts like water but doesn't cause water damage

Tyco Fire and Security calls the chemical "Sapphire" and it will be used in commercial automatic fire sprinkler systems. ABC TV 4/15/04

A faster, more efficient way of tracking water pollution and carrying out environmental surveys is being developed in the UK
Work has begun to build “Springer”, an unmanned surface vehicle (USV) that will be able to operate in shallow water. innovations report 4/5/04

New water treatment technology for Wyoming's coal-bed methane problem
Water discharged from coal-bed methane wells isn't always friendly to plants, but two companies are working to change that. Harmon Systems International LLC, of Bakersfield, Calif., is treating methane water with a "sulfur burning" generator, reducing alkalinity to make it more like rainwater so it can be used to irrigate fields. Sheridan-based EMIT Water Discharge Technology is pumping 13,000 barrels of production water per day through two devices that introduce resin. The resin removes sodium, then both the sodium and resin are separated from the water. AP/Yahoo! News 4/5/04

Government of Canada partners with Trojan Technologies in the development of ultraviolet water treatment technology
The government's Technology Partnerships Canada (TPC) invested $9.36 million as part of a $31.2-million research and development project being undertaken by Trojan Technologies Inc. to refine its purification technology to destroy toxic chemicals and pathogens, and to improve its energy efficiency.

March, 2004

Tectonic Engineering solves cell site selection and construction issues with new program
Tectonic, as program manager, and American Water, the leading water services provider in the United States, have teamed up to make over two thousand facilities (water tanks and towers, raw land, rooftops, etc.) in 19 states nationwide available to the cellular industry. These locations involve some of the most challenging states to obtain zoning approval, including New York, New Jersey, Virginia and California.  Press Release 3/27/04

California fuel cell project taps wastewater methane
A 500 kW fuel cell project will be installed at Santa Barbara's El Estero Wastewater Treatment Plant that will harness methane gas from the anaerobic digesters as the fuel source. FuelCell Energy, Inc. and Alliance Power will partner on the project, with Fuel Cell Energy providing two 250 kW Direct FuelCell (DFC) power plants to supply electric power and heat. 3/10/04

MIT Filter Cleans Nepalese Drinking Water
An easy-to-use, inexpensive filter developed by MIT researchers for treating contaminated drinking water will be installed in 25 Nepalese villages this year, thanks to a $115,000 award from the World Bank Development Marketplace Global Competition. Press Release 3/9/04

February, 2004

Pennsylvania State University scientists generate electricity from wastewater. Microbial fuel cells work through bacteria to clean water and generate electricity. Press Release 2/23/04

January, 2004

Slough that supplies drinking water to California cities in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta turns ugly in heavy rains. Technology test may turn the slough into a year-round dependable supply of drinking water. Fairfield-Suisun Daily Republic 1/20/04

Oregon orchard operator hoping to turn wastewater into fuel. It's a sweet thing. Statesman Journal 1/5/04

December, 2003

University of Nebraska one of 22 institutions nationwide to receive $335,000 USDA grants to help farmers improve water quality. Southwest Nebraska News 12/12/03

An Indian scientist working at Lehigh University has developed an inexpensive hand pump system that filters arsenic from drinking wells. The system is financed by Water for People and other nonprofits.  ScienceDaily News Release 12/9/03

The Measure of Water: NASA Creates New Map for the Atmosphere. SpaceRef 12/5/03

University of Texas at San Antonio establishes Institute for Water and Natural Resources. Institute will house new doctoral program in engineering and environmental science.  Press Release 12/2/03

November, 2003

Water starved Aguni, Japan gets new desalinization plant. Installation marks the end of water rationing. Japan Update 11/28/03
Scanners vs. Radio Wireless: Small Massachusetts town finds scanners are the better financial deal.
The Beacon Villager 11/28/03

Los Angeles Water and Power testing a cheaper, more environmentally friendly desalination idea. If it works, a bigger plant could be built in Long Beach.  Press-Telegram 11/13/03

M&Ms a cure for bad tasting water? Scientists test sweets to take the musty flavor from surface water.  BBC News 11/6/03

October, 2003

Idaho researchers working on NASA project to design a computer chip that detects E. coli bacterium in astronauts¥ drinking water during the recycling process in space.  Idaho Statesman 10/28/03

Santa Fe, New Mexico elementary school to serve as water-harvesting model. Rainwater collected on the roof will irrigate park and playground.  AP/KOB-TV 10/25/03

Climate experts meet in Nevada under record-breaking temperatures. They're studying global warming and its impact on water supplies.  AP/Las Vegas Sun 10/22/03

Let water power your cell phone? Canadian scientists develop new way to produce electricity.  Press Release 10/19/03

Safe drinking water a mouse-click away. Canadian company monitors water quality for several communities from one computer room.  Edmonton Journal 10/19/03

Feature: Colorado farm community looks to Utah for dual use water system.  Lamar Daily News 10/14/03

Burning thirst? Scientists get water from diesel exhaust. Coming soon to a traffic jam near you?  CNN

Self-sufficient house in Thailand even produces its own water supply.  Arab Times

University of Florida researchers working on energy-saving, more efficient desalination process. Solar power turns salt water to fresh.
Columbia University scientists offer solution to arsenic in Bangladesh drinking water wells.

From the Rio Grande to the Columbia River, NASA's satellites are helping the West understand water flows.
Singapore company looking to fuel cells for cheaper drinking water. Channel NewsAsia

August, 2003

Alzheimer's link to tap water? Copper levels studied. Arizona Republic

Toronto having second thoughts on wireless water meters. Leaders fear cost of state-of-the-art technology. Inside Network

Elkhart, Ind. water district goes remote. Meter readers use computers in their cars. No more hoofing it house-to-house.   Elkhart, Ind. eTruth

Hayward, Calif. water users may be able to pay bills online. Oakland Tribune


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