EPA links fracking to contaminants in groundwater

10 December 2011

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) [on 8 December 2011]  released a draft analysis of data from its Pavillion, Wyoming ground water investigation. At the request of Pavillion residents, EPA began investigating water quality concerns in private drinking water wells three years ago. Since that time, in conjunction with the state of Wyoming, the local community, and the owner of the gas field, Encana, EPA has been working to assess ground water quality and identify potential sources of contamination. 

EPA’s analysis of samples taken from the Agency’s deep monitoring wells in the aquifer indicates detection of synthetic chemicals, like glycols and alcohols consistent with gas production and hydraulic fracturing fluids, benzene concentrations well above Safe Drinking Water Act standards and high methane levels. Given the area’s complex geology and the proximity of drinking water wells to ground water contamination, EPA is concerned about the movement of contaminants within the aquifer and the safety of drinking water wells over time.

Pretoria’s Rietvlei Dam goes toxic

10 December 2011

The Rietvlei Horses (Photo: Bill Harding)

Research samples collected this week from Rietvlei Dam, east of Pretoria, detected the presence of cyanobacterial hepatotoxins (liver toxins).  A concentration of the blue-green algal toxin, microcystin, in excess of 10 microgrammes per liter, was measured in an algal-rich sample and 5 ug per liter in the open water.  The assemblage of algae in the samples included three variants of Microcystis and an Anabaena.

Ho hum, COP18 here we come!

9 December 2011

The holiday in Durban is almost over and not much seems to have emerged, other than generating a lot of people who have attended their first COP meeting and are now experts on the subject!   Apologies for the cynicism but really!  COP meetings should be a “timeless test”, i.e. those who can make a difference should stay there, at their own cost, until such time as agreement is reached.

One aspect I have seen less of during the past two weeks is less about the “is climate change a reality or a natural, cyclical phenomenon?” debate.  Does this mean that consensus has actually been finally achieved?  Or what do the USA, China and India maintain – seeing that they remain loathe to set any form of example? Read more »

Another reason not to live in Gauteng

8 December 2011

Readers of Droplets will have ascertained some of the potential health risks of living in a province where treated wastewater (sewage) makes up a major portion of runoff to dams used to store raw potable water (the water you are eventually going to drink once made ‘potable’.  You will also have learnt about the things like pharmaceuticals and emerging pollutants of concern that are poorly removed, if at all, by even efficient wastewater treatment plants.   Read more »

FII creates Leviathan, a super-efficient biofilm reactor for wastewater and stormwater treatment

8 December 2011

Perspective view of the latest Leviathan (Source: FII)

BioHaven floating islands have gone on steroids with the latest version of the Leviathan floating biofilm reactor.  This is the most powerful technology yet available for retro-adding to existing wastewater and stormwater lagoons, as well as dairy and winery effluent dams. Read more »

Lake Texoma still suffering from an algal bloom

8 December 2011

Lake Texoma in Texas is still experiencing algal bloom problems this late in the season.

The lake is currently experiencing an outbreak of Blue-Green Algae. Please check www.tpwd.state.tx.us/fishboat/fish/recreational/lakes/texoma prior to planning a trip to Texoma. All contact with water by people and animals is prohibited. Boating is allowed, but boaters are cautioned to reduce their speed because the spray caused by higher speeds can be dangerous if inhaled. Read more »

Australian algal blooms continue…

5 December 2011

A few days ago Droplets reported on the algal blooms in the Gippsland Lakes, Victoria, in Oz.   Read more »

Headlines that kill South Africa…

3 December 2011

In the last few days we have had the government railroading through the new Access to Information Bill, plus now wording to the effect that “former South African head of Interpol goes to jail for fraud”.  All this does is progressively push our country from being attractive to investment, towards being just another backwater.  As Moletsi Mbeki, brother of our erstwhile President, puts it: Read more »

Something fishy at Hartbeespoort Dam?

2 December 2011

Fish, fish everywhere? (Photo: Bill Harding)

Readers of Droplets will have seen several posts about the so-called Metsiame Project – focussed, ostensibly, on the rehabilitation of the Hartbeespoort Dam, one of several hyper-eutrophic (grossly enriched with nutrients) South African Dams.   Read more »

Taking the P out of Roodeplaat

2 December 2011

Roodeplaat Dam in healthier times (Photo: Mike Silberbauer)

South Africa’s Roodeplaat Dam is one of the most polluted impoundments (see report here)  in the country, with a level of eutrophication that would make the notorious Hartbeespoort Dam wince!  Not too long ago, this waterbody played host to South Africa’s only olympic-level rowing venue – but problems with toxic algae and a carpet of water hyacinth, put paid to much of the recreation potential. Read more »