Webinar: Let it rain! Reuse for urban watersheds and drinking? Is it safe?

Tuesday, May 19, 2020 6-7:30 pm CDT
Register here.

Rainwater tanks have been a feature of urban society since the days of ancient civilizations in Persia, Greece & Jordon.

With the wide spread 20th century advent of piped water in cities, they largely fell out of favour .

However with extended drought conditions in Australian water catchments in the early 21st century, rainwater harvesting gained new interest as a supplementary source of potable (drinking) water. This acceptance was reinforced with the emergence of the Integrated Urban Water Management (IUWM) paradigm where all parts of the urban water cycle (after suitable treatment) are considered to be legitimate contributors of the urban water supply.

However when rainwater is formally incorporated into urban water supply planning, empirical knowledge of supply and safety need to converted into quantitative knowledge. This requirement lead to an extensive research program in Queensland which examined issues of supply , reliability, chemical & microbiological quality, maintenance, community acceptance , economics and regulatory/policy procedures as well as implications to stormwater management.

This webinar will touch lightly on most of these topics, with particular emphasis on assessing human health aspects of its use for drinking & non drinking end uses.

Ted Gardner is an adjunct Professor in the School of Engineering & Science at Victoria University. In a previous life he was a research leader in urban water issues in the Queensland Department of Natural Resources as well as CSIRO where he researched issues ranging from on-site sewage disposal to rainwater tanks to stormwater reuse to effluent irrigation modelling. He is also the co-editor of 3 books on Indirect potable reuse, Rainwater Tank systems and Water Sensitive Urban Design. He is now a semi-retired scientist with interests in mentoring students and undertaking the occasional interesting consultancy .

State Opposition to EPA’s COVID-19 Enforcement Discretion Policy Increases as AGs File Suit

Read the full story at JD Supra.

On May 13, nine state attorneys general filed a complaint against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) challenging EPA’s COVID-19 enforcement discretion policy, which we discussed in previous articles here and here. The plaintiff states are New York, California, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Vermont and Virginia. This article will discuss the complaint and what it means for regulated entities going forward.

List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2

EPA has developed a list of disinfectants for use against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. They also have a tool that allows consumer to more easily search the list.

Other resources from EPA include:

The surprising link between our consumer habits and deadly diseases ranging from malaria to the novel coronavirus

Read the full story at Ensia.

From age-old malaria to COVID-19, markets influence systems that drive pandemic risk. Here’s what we can do about it.

How Renewable Energy Could Emerge on Top After the Pandemic

Read the full story from 360.

The short-term prospects for wind and solar power look rocky amid the economic upheaval of the coronavirus. But long term, renewables could emerge stronger than ever, especially if governments integrate support for clean energy into Covid-19 economic-recovery programs.

Potentially fatal combinations of humidity and heat are emerging across the globe

Read the full story from the Earth Institute at Columbia University.

A new study has identified thousands of incidents of previously rare or unprecedented extreme heat/humidity combinations in parts of Asia, Africa, Australia, South America and North America, including in the U.S. Gulf Coast region.

As sea levels rise, are we ready to live behind giant walls?

Read the full story at The Conversation.

Climate change, it’s fair to say, is complicated. And it’s big. One of the main challenges of responding effectively is simply getting your head around the scale of the problem.

This is not unique in the study of the physical world, of course. Scientists and economists spend a lot of time simplifying the complex real world into simpler, smaller parts, to find out how it all works. It’s one of the reasons we create “models” – mini versions of reality in which we can play, change variables, and see what happens.

We love it when we can find something out about the real world and present it in a form that is understood by other people. In environmental research, this sometimes comes in the form of the cost-benefit analysis that is understood by politicians and money-managers everywhere: spend this much cash now to make (or save) more money later.

A new study by European Commission scientists, now published in the journal Nature Communications, is a classic of this type. It looks at the costs of protecting coastal communities from climate change. The authors underline that our coasts will suffer from sea levels that are predicted to rise as much as one metre by the end of the century, as well as from more intense storms.

Bye, Bye SEPs

Read the full story at JD Supra.

The United States Department of Justice has terminated its policy of allowing companies to perform supplemental environmental projects (SEPs) in lieu of paying civil penalties for violations of federal environmental laws. The new policy was announced in a March 12, 2020 memo by Jeffrey Clark, Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD). The policy does not, however, affect SEPs that are already approved under a Consent Decree.

How Beer Brewers are Embracing Sustainability

Read the full story at SevenFiftyDaily.

If you speak with people in the beer industry about sustainable practices, one thing quickly becomes clear: Brewing, in general, is not an environmentally friendly business.

“Beer is about as wasteful a product you can imagine,” says Joe Bolick, a director at the Iowa Waste Reduction Center (IWRC), a non-profit organization at the University of Northern Iowa that provides environmental consulting for state businesses. It takes three to seven barrels of water to make one barrel of beer, according to a paper published by the University of Vermont. A lot of energy is needed for heat during the brewing process, as well as for keeping the beer cool after. Then there are the byproducts that go unrecycled and the transportation footprint.

Using Waste Carbon Feedstocks to Produce Chemicals

Download the document.

Emerging carbon capture utilization (CCU) technologies potentially allow chemical companies and other manufacturers to capture waste carbon—in the form of carbon monoxide (CO) and/or carbon dioxide (CO2)—from industrial emissions and process it into sustainable, value-added biofuels and chemicals. Using CCU technologies to consume waste feedstocks can cut production costs; benefit the environment; monetize industrial emissions; and, depending on the region, allow companies to meet CO2 emissions goals. Moreover, using waste carbon to make chemicals can also reduce manufacturers’ reliance on fossil fuels such as crude petroleum and natural gas, an important factor, particularly for the European Union and China, given the volatility in sourcing and pricing of fossil fuels, especially those
that are imported.

This working paper: 1) explains carbon’s critical role in the production of chemicals and as a target for industrial emissions reduction; 2) describes new CCU technologies stemming from advances in fields such as industrial biotechnology and electrolysis; 3) identifies sectors and geographical locales in which these technologies are being adopted, as well as factors driving adoption; and 4) examines potential implications for U.S. and global industrial competitiveness within one sector with high emissions, the
steel industry. This paper concludes that these CCU technologies are promoting a paradigm shift that has the potential to increase firm-level competitiveness for manufacturers that adopt these processes, while also reducing the environmental impact of these manufacturers. To the extent that these technologies become widely adopted, they could result in substantial increases in supply of such chemicals globally, with potential disruptive impacts on trade and prices.