Danville Sanitary District receives energy grant

Read the full story in the Danville Commercial-News.

The Danville Sanitary District is one of three public wastewater treatment plants to receive a third-round grant for energy efficiency upgrades through the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.

Study finds minimal risk of exposure to legionella from irrigated wastewater at a safe distance

Read the full story from the Prairie Research Institute.

Potential exposure to legionella bacteria in municipal wastewater used to irrigate crop fields will likely not pose a health threat to residents living downwind, according to a postdoctoral researcher at the Illinois Natural History Survey.

Using reclaimed wastewater from water treatment plants to irrigate crops can be a viable solution to ease the effects of drought and reduce stress on local surface and groundwater resources. Yet, legionella pneumophila, which is widespread in man-made water systems, can survive the aeration and air transport from irrigation systems with potential harmful effects. People who inhale the tiny water droplets can contract Legionnaires’ disease, a serious form of pneumonia.

KC Water hosts tour at future biosolids facility site

Read the full story at Northeast News.

The Blue River Wastewater Treatment Plant, located near I-435 and Front Street, is transforming into one of the most critical water infrastructure projects in the Kansas City area, the Blue River Biosolids Facility.

Maybe PFAS aren’t as sturdy as previously thought

Read the full story at Chemical & Engineering News.

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have quickly become ubiquitous in the environment. Used for decades in everything from firefighting foams to nonstick skillets, these potentially toxic compounds are now being found in soils, groundwater and even rain and snow.

And they’re expected to stay in the environment for years—perhaps centuries—as the compounds’ sturdy fluoride-carbon bonds make it nearly impossible for them to degrade naturally. But now, scientists have developed a way to permanently break down two classes of these “forever chemicals” using relatively low temperatures and a few common reagents (Science 2022, DOI: 10.1126/science.abm8868). Brittany Trang, who co-led the study, presented the work on Wednesday at the ACS Fall 2022 meeting in the Division of Environmental Chemistry. William Dichtel, a chemist at Northwestern University, also introduced the work at a presidential event symposium on Tuesday.

Developing tech to eliminate ‘forever chemicals’ from water

Read the full story from the University of Illinois Chicago.

Engineers at the University of Illinois Chicago have been awarded just over $1 million from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Alliance for Water Innovation to build a system that selectively removes and destroys poly- and perfluorinated substances, commonly called PFAS and referred to as “forever chemicals,” from industrial and municipal wastewaters. PFAS are man-made chemicals found in many common materials, and the grant will support the team’s work for three years. 

Texas A&M AgriLife develops new bioremediation material to clean up ‘forever chemicals’

Read the full story from Texas A&M.

A novel bioremediation technology for cleaning up per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, chemical pollutants that threaten human health and ecosystem sustainability, has been developed by Texas A&M AgriLife researchers. The material has potential for commercial application for disposing of PFAS, also known as “forever chemicals.”

Published July 28 in Nature Communications, the research was a collaboration of Susie Dai, associate professor in the Texas A&M Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, and Joshua Yuan, chair and professor in Washington University in St. Louis Department of Energy, Environmental and Chemical Engineering, formerly with the Texas A&M Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology.

grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and support from Texas A&M AgriLife funded the work.

‘Forever chemicals’ destroyed by simple new method

Read the full story from Northwestern University.

PFAS, a group of manufactured chemicals commonly used since the 1940s, are called “forever chemicals” for a reason. Bacteria can’t eat them; fire can’t incinerate them; and water can’t dilute them. And, if these toxic chemicals are buried, they leach into surrounding soil, becoming a persistent problem for generations to come.

Now, Northwestern University chemists have done the seemingly impossible. Using low temperatures and inexpensive, common reagents, the research team developed a process that causes two major classes of PFAS compounds to fall apart — leaving behind only benign end products.

The simple technique potentially could be a powerful solution for finally disposing of these harmful chemicals, which are linked to many dangerous health effects in humans, livestock and the environment.

The research was published on Aug. 19 in the journal Science. 

Why has agriculture been so slow to embrace the use of grey water?

Read the full story at Modern Farmer.

The lightly used water is perfectly safe to reuse on gardens and crops—a ready tool to help farmers in arid regions. But with high cost and little output, large-scale grey water irrigation systems have yet to take off.

Could human pee be the key to saving seagrass?

Read the full story at Hakai Magazine.

Treating wastewater creates struvite—a nutrient-rich crystal that might just be the key to bolstering struggling seagrass beds.

Searchable Clearinghouse of Wastewater Technology (SCOWT)

The Searchable Clearinghouse of Wastewater Technology (SCOWT) is an information-sharing platform that provides resources on the cost-effectiveness and performance of innovative, alternative, and reuse wastewater technologies. SCOWT includes information for both centralized and decentralized treatment systems, which is separated into two searchable databases featuring resources such as reports, case studies, and webinars, in addition to a map function that allows users to search resources based on geographic location.