Sponge made of coffee grounds scrubs lead and mercury from water

Read the full story in Chemical & Engineering News.

Homes, restaurants, and the coffee industry collectively produce about 6 million tons of spent coffee grounds every year. Researchers have now come up with a practical way to use some of this waste. They have made a rubbery foam from used coffee powder and silicone that can pull lead and mercury ions from water (ACS Sustainable Chem. Eng. 2016, DOI: 10.1021/acssuschemeng.6b01098). The spongelike material could be used to clean heavy-metal-contaminated water on a large scale, its creators say.

Trash-devouring ‘sharks’ patrol the Port of Rotterdam

Read the full story from Mother Nature Network.

Rotterdam, the innovation-minded Dutch city that relies on the unexpected and the unorthodox to tackle issues such as aging infrastructure and air pollution, is at it once again.

This city’s newest left-field problem-solving scheme involves the deployment of four particularly ravenous sharks to clean up the waters surrounding the city’s sprawling seaport — the largest and busiest in Europe. True to their given status as one of ocean’s most opportunistic feeders, the sharks in question have been “trained” to gobble up marine litter and debris — plastic refuse, in particular — before it drifts out of the port and into the North Sea.

We’re Sensing a Change in Water Monitoring: Introducing the Arsenic Sensor Prize Competition

Read the full post from U.S. EPA.

Interested in helping protect our nation’s drinking water? EPA and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) are joining forces to launch the Arsenic Sensor Prize Competition for the development of new technology to detect arsenic in water…

The first phase of the Arsenic Sensor Prize Competition is scheduled to be launched in fall 2016. Entries will be judged and cash prizes will be awarded to winners. If you are interested in receiving notifications about the Arsenic Sensor Prize Competition, email PRIZE@usbr.gov with “Arsenic Sensor Prize Competition” in the subject line to join the email list. The official prize competition announcement will be posted on Challenge.gov.

Solicitation for Members of the NOAA Science Advisory Board

Read the Federal Register Notice.

NOAA is soliciting nominations for members of the NOAA Science Advisory Board (SAB). The SAB is the only Federal Advisory Committee with the responsibility to advise the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator on long- and short-range strategies for research, education, and application of science to resource management and environmental assessment and prediction. The SAB consists of approximately fifteen members reflecting the full breadth of NOAA’s areas of responsibility and assists NOAA in maintaining a complete and accurate understanding of scientific issues critical to the agency’s missions.

Clean Water Act Industrial Stormwater Search Released on Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO)

This new Water facility search interface is tailored to the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) industrial stormwater program and makes it easier to find information about facilities that discharge under EPA’s Multi-Sector General Permit for industrial stormwater discharges. It sets the stage for enhanced transparency of new data that will be submitted electronically as a result of NPDES Electronic Reporting Rule implementation. New data available through this interface include certain elements from Notices of Intent for permit coverage, such as information related to stormwater pollution prevention plans. Please note that benchmark limits and exceedances are not yet displayed in ECHO and the goal is to add them later this year.

Also, a new Data Downloads feature allows users to download the Water datasets by state under ‘Download Data by Jurisdiction’. The data download files are large data sets that may be of particular use to academics and analysts. An ECHO goal is to provide data as broadly as possible, and these files, along with the web interface and services, offer a variety of ways to consume EPA’s enforcement and compliance data. This feature responds to user requests to separate the Water Discharge Monitoring Report (DMR) datasets into smaller files. Other recent site updates include minor bug fixes.

In St. Louis schools, water fountains are symbols of inequality again

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

Dangerous levels of lead in dozens of public schools have made the water undrinkable — but not for white, wealthy kids.

California and EPA Poised to Expand Pollution of Potential Drinking Water Reserves

Read the full story in Pro Publica.

A little-known program under federal environment law is being used to permit oil and gas companies to inject waste into the state’s aquifers, even as the thirst for groundwater grows.