Day: September 24, 2019

Job announcement: Structural, Design, and Process Engineer (2 or more positions)

The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) has many projects funded by the US Department of Energy that focus on scaling up new technologies to capture carbon from power plants to produce energy from biomass and to make wastewater facilities more energy effective.  This position is designed to provide engineering design expertise to scale-up these technologies so that they can be deployed at industrial sites.  This position is expected to interact with agencies and outside contractors to enable the scale-up of these processes. 

ISTC is seeking two or more Structural, Design, and Process Engineers (Official Title:  Assistant Scientist, Structural, Design, and Process Engineer) positions to design and scale up of novel processes for sustainable applications.  This includes engineering design, project management, report writing, publications, and managing sub awardees and vendors for large research projects. 

Is France’s groundbreaking food-waste law working?

Watch the video or read the transcript.

A third of the world’s food goes to waste, but France is attempting to do something about it. Since 2016, large grocery stores in the country have been banned from throwing away unsold food that could be given away. NewsHour Weekend Special Correspondent Christopher Livesay reports from Paris as part of our “Future of Food” series, which is supported in partnership with the Pulitzer Center.

Here’s The Best Place To Move If You’re Worried About Climate Change

Read the full story at FiveThirtyEight.

This summer, we asked readers to send us their climate change questions. A lot of those questions sat squarely under umbrella topics we expected: how climate science works, what individuals can do to prevent greenhouse gas emissions and what crazy technological solutions might actually be effective. We’ll be coming back to those later. But first, we wanted to address a different sort of question: Who is winning climate change? Sure, climate change is a very bad thing in a larger, existential sense. But are there animals and plants whose habitats will expand in a warmer world? Is there anybody who has figured out how to profit off the coming apocalypse? Won’t some places be nicer to live in than others? You wanted to know. We’re going to find out.

Inside the Trump Administration’s Chaotic Dismantling of the Federal Land Agency

Read the full story from Pro Publica.

Internal records from the Bureau of Land Management contradict what its chief told Congress about a plan to ship 200 D.C.-based career staff out West. The plan would weaken the agency, which stands between federal lands and oil, gas and mineral companies.

Health Toll From Open Flame and Cigarette-Started Fires on Flame-Retardant Furniture in Massachusetts, 2003–2016

Rodgers, et al (2019). ” Health Toll From Open Flame and Cigarette-Started Fires on Flame-Retardant Furniture in Massachusetts, 2003–2016.” American Journal of Public Health 109(9), 1205-1211. 10.2105/AJPH.2019.305157

Objectives. To evaluate the risk of death and injury in residential fires started on upholstered furniture, with a focus on open flame and cigarette-related heat sources.

Methods. We used civilian death and injury data from 34 081 residential fires in the Massachusetts Fire Incident Reporting System from 2003 to 2016. We compared outcomes associated with fires that started on upholstered furniture ignited by smoking materials versus open flames.

Results. Although fires starting on upholstered furniture were not common (2.2% of total fires), odds of death and injury were significantly higher in these fires than in fires started on other substrates. Among furniture fires, odds of death were 3 times greater when those fires were ignited by smoking materials than when ignited by open flames (odds ratio = 3.4; 95% confidence interval = 1.3, 10.9).

Conclusions. Furniture fires started by smoking materials were associated with more deaths than were furniture fires started by open flames.

Public Health Implications. Historically, furniture flammability regulations have focused on open flame heat sources, resulting in the addition of toxic flame retardants to furniture. Interventions to reduce deaths should instead focus on smoking materials.

Urban Stormwater: An Overlooked Pathway of Extensive Mixed Contaminants to Surface and Groundwaters in the United States

Jason R. Masoner, Dana W. Kolpin, Isabelle M. Cozzarelli, Larry B. Barber, David S. Burden, William T. Foreman, Kenneth J. Forshay, Edward T. Furlong, Justin F. Groves, Michelle L. Hladik, Matthew E. Hopton, Jeanne B. Jaeschke, Steffanie H. Keefe, David P. Krabbenhoft, Richard Lowrance, Kristin M. Romanok, David L. Rus, William R. Selbig, Brianna H. Williams, and Paul M. Bradley (2019). “Urban Stormwater: An Overlooked Pathway of Extensive Mixed Contaminants to Surface and Groundwaters in the United States.” Environmental Science & Technology 53 (17), 10070-10081 DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.9b02867

Abstract: Increasing global reliance on stormwater control measures to reduce discharge to surface water, increase groundwater recharge, and minimize contaminant delivery to receiving waterbodies necessitates improved understanding of stormwater–contaminant profiles. A multiagency study of organic and inorganic chemicals in urban stormwater from 50 runoff events at 21 sites across the United States demonstrated that stormwater transports substantial mixtures of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, bioactive contaminants (pesticides and pharmaceuticals), and other organic chemicals known or suspected to pose environmental health concern. Numerous organic-chemical detections per site (median number of chemicals detected = 73), individual concentrations exceeding 10 000 ng/L, and cumulative concentrations up to 263 000 ng/L suggested concern for potential environmental effects during runoff events. Organic concentrations, loads, and yields were positively correlated with impervious surfaces and highly developed urban catchments. Episodic storm-event organic concentrations and loads were comparable to and often exceeded those of daily wastewater plant discharges. Inorganic chemical concentrations were generally dilute in concentration and did not exceed chronic aquatic life criteria. Methylmercury was measured in 90% of samples with concentrations that ranged from 0.05 to 1.0 ng/L.Abstract:

Risks of Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) for Sustainable Water Recycling via Aquifers

Page, D.; Vanderzalm, J.; Kumar, A.; Cheng, K.Y.; Kaksonen, A.H.; Simpson, S. Risks of Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) for Sustainable Water Recycling via Aquifers. Water 201911, 1737. [open access]

Abstract: The prediction of the fate of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in water recycling with urban stormwater and treated wastewater is important since PFAS are widely used, persistent, and have potential impacts on human health and the environment. These alternative water sources have been utilized for water recycling via aquifers or managed aquifer recharge (MAR). However, the fate of these chemicals in MAR schemes and the potential impact in terms of regulation have not been studied. PFAS can potentially be transported long distances in the subsurface during MAR. This article reviews the potential risks to MAR systems using recycled water and urban stormwater. To date, there are insufficient data to determine if PFAS can be degraded by natural processes or retained in the aquifer and become suitable pre-treatment or post-treatment technologies that will need to be employed depending upon the end use of the recovered water. The use of engineered pre-treatment or post-treatment methods needs to be based on a ‘fit for purpose’ principle and carefully integrated with the proposed water end use to ensure that human and environmental health risks are appropriately managed Abstract:

Hiring Managing Editor and Editor-in-Chief for Citizen Science: Theory & Practice

The Citizen Science Association is currently hiring both a Managing Editor and an Editor-in-Chief for the open access, peer-reviewed journal, Citizen Science: Theory & Practice.

Citizen Science: Theory & Practice (CS:TP) is an online-only, open-access and peer-reviewed journal established in 2014 by the CSA in partnership with Ubiquity Press Ltd. The journal seeks to advance the field of citizen science by providing a central space for scholarly communications across multiple disciplines and contexts. Our target audience is a mix of scholars, practitioners, and those with an interest in expanding their efforts into public involvement including: project coordinators, scientists, education researchers, evaluators, participants, funders, and others in a wide range of fields including ecology, astronomy, public health and many more.

At the moment, the journal publishes an average of two issues annually, each containing an average of nine papers, while receiving an average of 60 manuscripts each year. These papers are processed by the Journal’s international Editorial Board, which currently consists of 18 individuals with expertise in peer-review publication.

Each of these positions offers an opportunity to make a major impact on a young journal in a dynamic and rapidly growing field.

We seek highly motivated and highly skilled candidates with strong experience in the editorial and publishing process and the ability to work effectively and efficiently as part of a distributed global team (please see each job description for specific qualifications). Applicants can be based anywhere in the world. As this publication is in English, fluency writing and reviewing in English is required.

Applications for Managing Editor will be accepted until filled (aim to fill by mid/end of October if not before). Direct inquiries regarding this position to Jennifer Shirk,

Applications for Editor-in-Chief position will be accepted through 17 October 2019.  Please direct inquiries regarding this position to Michael Pocock,

Please share both opportunities widely with all who may have relevant skills – experience with citizen science is desirable but strong editorial background and experience is most important.

Interior watchdog investigating political appointees’ review of FOIA requests

Read the full story in The Hill.

The Department of Interior’s internal watchdog confirmed in letters to two lawmakers that they will review the involvement of the agency’s top officials in crafting agency’s public records process which allows political appointees to review and potentially withhold documents from release.

Border fence construction could destroy archaeological sites, National Park Service finds

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

Bulldozers and excavators rushing to install President Trump’s border barrier could damage or destroy up to 22 archaeological sites within Arizona’s Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in coming months, according to an internal National Park Service report obtained by The Washington Post.

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