Water

NEEFA Algal Bloom Photo Contest

Algal blooms like this one can occur in water bodies as small as a neighborhood pond and as big as the Gulf of Mexico. When algae grow out of control in our waters, the result can be unappealing, harmful to our health and harmful to the environment.

The National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the North American Lake Management Society (NALMS) want YOU to help spot and document algal blooms in our waters. Submit your photos of algal blooms where you live, vacation and recreate for a chance to win great prizes. Your submissions will help build a photo library that can be used to educate more people about algal blooms and illustrate the prevalence and impacts of algal blooms around the country.

Prizes

 

  • First Place: Nikon D5300 SLR Camera and winning algal bloom photo featured on the NALMS Lakeline Magazine Cover
  • Second Place: Nikon Coolpix AW120 Camera
  • Third Place: $100 REI Gift Card

Visit the contest web site for more information and to enter. The deadline is September 30, 2014.

 

Great Lakes month in review: What’s next in algae fight?

Listen at Great Lakes Echo.

At the end of each month, we check in with Great Lakes commentator and journalist Gary Wilson for updates on environmental stories from around the basin. For today’s Great Lakes Month in Review we’re focusing on the Toledo water crisis, which was in the news for several weeks this month, and could be again.

Farmers Generate Energy from Coffee Wastewater

Read the full story in Environmental Leader.

It is possible to generate energy, tackle climate change and protect water resources by treating discharges from coffee mills, according to project findings by UTZ Certified.

The Energy from Coffee Wastewater project was launched by UTZ Certified in 2010 in Central America with the goal of addressing environmental and health problems caused by the wastewater produced in the coffee industry.

Sunscreens as a Source of Hydrogen Peroxide Production in Coastal Waters

David Sánchez-Quiles and Antonio Tovar-Sánchez (2014). “Sunscreens as a Source of Hydrogen Peroxide Production in Coastal Waters.” Environmental Science & Technology 48(16), 9037-9042. DOI: 10.1021/es5020696

Abstract: Sunscreens have been shown to give the most effective protection for human skin from ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Chemicals from sunscreens (i.e., UV filters) accumulate in the sea and have toxic effects on marine organisms. In this report, we demonstrate that photoexcitation of inorganic UV filters (i.e., TiO2 and ZnO nanoparticles) under solar radiation produces significant amounts of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), a strong oxidizing agent that generates high levels of stress on marine phytoplankton. Our results indicate that the inorganic oxide nanoparticle content in 1 g of commercial sunscreen produces rates of H2O2 in seawater of up to 463 nM/h, directly affecting the growth of phytoplankton. Conservative estimates for a Mediterranean beach reveal that tourism activities during a summer day may release on the order of 4 kg of TiO2 nanoparticles to the water and produce an increment in the concentration of H2O2 of 270 nM/day. Our results, together with the data provided by tourism records in the Mediterranean, point to TiO2 nanoparticles as the major oxidizing agent entering coastal waters, with direct ecological consequences on the ecosystem.

Finding the Money for Water Infrastructure

Read the full story in Governing.

Enhancing the nation’s water infrastructure remains a challenge for public officials as they balance the need for improvements against constrained budgets. The recently enacted federal Water Resources Reform and Development Act has the potential to advance the nation’s water infrastructure by streamlining approvals for environmental reviews of projects, creating a pilot program to explore the use of public-private partnerships by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and making it easier to leverage private-sector investments to augment public funding.

As officials contemplate how they will finance water infrastructure improvements, one provision in the law, the newly created Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan program, is of particular interest.