EPA Announces Groundwater Awareness Week Video Challenge

EPA  announced its first National Groundwater Awareness Week Video Challenge.

Beginning February 1, EPA invites the public to create and submit a video that increases awareness and understanding about the importance of protecting and conserving groundwater. Example video topics may include demonstrating the importance of groundwater, explain where groundwater can be found or what you can do to protect sources of groundwater.

The winning videos will be posted on EPA’s website and recognized during National Groundwater Awareness Week from March 5-11, 2017.

EPA Releases Guidance for Sampling and Field Testing During Water Contamination Incidents

To aid drinking water utilities in preparing for sampling and field testing that could occur during water contamination incidents, EPA released Guidance for Building Field Capabilities to Respond to Drinking Water Contamination.  The guidance outlines basic and advanced field response activities and also provides information pertaining to staffing, quality assurance, and other procedures.  Additionally, the document contains useful resources; downloadable and customizable report forms and templates;  supplemental information on the application;  and relative costs of field testing instrumentation and test kits.

Find other water sampling and analysis resources at https://www.epa.gov/waterqualitysurveillance/sampling-and-analysis-resources.

EPA Releases Sampling Guidance for Unknown Contaminants in Drinking Water

EPA  released an updated version of its Sampling Guidance for Unknown Contaminants in Drinking Water. The guidance provides procedures for conducting routine and baseline monitoring in response to a triggered event and sampling in support of remediation or decontamination efforts.  It brings together recommendations for collecting, storing, preserving and transporting samples of potentially contaminated water. It also provides recommendations to support the detection and identification of many types of contaminants in drinking water.  This guidance can be used to support routine sample collection, in response to a contamination incident or during remediation or decontamination efforts.

The recommendations provided in this guidance are not mandatory and may be modified and leveraged as needed to meet the needs of individual utilities, responders and laboratories. The recommendations provided in this document are intended to aid coordination between the utility, emergency response and laboratory communities during the response to a contamination incident.

EPA Updates Human Health Benchmarks for Pesticides in Drinking Water

EPA has updated its Human Health Benchmarks for Pesticides in drinking water to reflect the latest scientific information. The benchmarks are levels of certain pesticides in drinking water or source waters for drinking water at or below which adverse health effects are not anticipated from one-day or lifetime exposures.

First developed by EPA in 2012, the benchmarks are intended to be used for informational purposes by states, tribes, water systems and the public to help interpret monitoring data for pesticides for which there are no drinking water standards or health advisories. These revised benchmarks incorporate updated toxicity assessments from the pesticide registration process and exposure assumptions derived from the EPA’s Exposure Factors Handbook.

Scientists are Investigating Membranes Made from Aqua Material For Water Purification

Read the full story in R&D Magazine.

Water purification processes usually make use of robust membranes for filtering off contaminants while working at high pressures. Can materials employing water as major component be made strong enough to suit such a demanding application? Israeli scientists now report in the journal Angewandte Chemie that a supramolecular aqua material can be utilized as a sustainable membrane for water purification at high pressures.

Institute for Journalism & Natural Resources accepting applications for 2017 Drinking Water Institute

Applications due February 10, 2017
Apply at https://ijnr.submittable.com/submit/73785/institute-application

Lack of access to clean, safe drinking water is often seen as a problem suffered in “developing” countries. Recent events in North America, however, have highlighted the fact that our own water is not to be taken for granted.

There is no better place to explore these issues than the Great Lakes -where 40 million people get drinking water from a basin holding one-fifth of all of the world’s available fresh water. From April 2nd through the 8th, 2017, IJNR will get journalists out from behind their desks and take them into the field to see how safe, clean drinking water is “made” and what issues threaten that supply.

During this expenses-paid, weeklong fellowship journalists will:

  • Tour the water treatment plant in Toledo, Ohio to learn what’s being done to prevent a future event like the 2014 algal bloom in Lake Erie that cut off the water supply of half a million people.
  • Travel to Flint, Michigan to talk with residents about how they’re dealing with the aftermath of the lead crisis and meet city and state officials trying to restore faith in the municipal water system.
  • Spend a day in Walkerton, Ontario, where a deadly e. coli outbreak in 2000 brought the issue of drinking water security and agricultural runoff to the front page, leading to the creation of strict new water laws and the state-of-the-art Walkerton Clean Water Centre, where thousands of Ontario water providers have been trained to manage their own supply.
  • Speak with officials in Guelph, Ontario about their concerns over the future of their public drinking water aquifers as both their growing population and private water-bottling companies like Nestle seek to draw water from the same wells.
  • Learn how nutrient pollution and a resulting “dead zone” in Lake Erie complicate the job of the water department in Cleveland.
  • Meet scientists and engineers working on the latest clean water technologies.

Join your colleagues as they explore these and other to-be-determined issues in our freshwater supply and security. IJNR will also provide training sessions in some of the latest digital media technologies and other techniques to improve writing and reporting on natural resource issues. Participants will return to work armed with story ideas, background knowledge, expert sources and training to tell these stories better and inform and engage their readers, listeners and viewers across North America.

Making a Case for Water as a Key Component in the Smart City

Read the full story at FutureStructure.

Water has yet to take a place in the roster of smart city regulars, but there’s much that technology could do to improve water infrastructure.