Scientific credibility to underpin Great Lakes cleanup options

30 October 2012

Droplets has carried many reports on North America’s Great Lakes and the threats to these inland seas posed by pollution.  Research and interventions are the recipients of considerable amounts of state funding – some of which is linked to a pledge made by President Obama.

The University of Michigan is establishing a research program designed to bring more scientific credibility to the federal government’s billion-dollar battle to clean up the Great Lakes, officials said today. Read more »

Two years on, answers still sought about Hartbeespoort Dam ‘fix-up’ project

30 October 2012

For some years now, Hartbeespoort Dam has been the focus of the so-called Metsiame Project, an endeavour that has spent millions on apparently trying to implement a remediation plan for this long-suffering reservoir.  Despite all the money that has been pumped into this project, no results have been forthcoming – this despite claims made in self-promoting articles in soft-science or engineering journals.  Given the flagship nature of the project, quite a few peer-reviewed articles should have emerged by now. Read more »

Biofuel production from algae unsustainable: another already-known fact re-discovered

28 October 2012

The USA’s National Research Council has concluded that the production of ‘biofuels’ from algae is an energy-sucking, unsustainable option, much like devoting crops that could be used as food sources, for the same purpose. Read more »

What’s in our Waterways: An Overview

25 October 2012

This post, published with the permission of Abraxis LLC, continues Droplets theme on Emerging Pollutants of Concern (EPoCs) – and the things in wastewater that end up in our sources of drinking water!

Today’s heading … is the title of a report authored by Morgan Basiuk and Rachel Brown of
the South East Alberta Water Alliance (Seawa). Through the cooperative
efforts of the Alberta Association of Colleges and Technical Institutes, the
City of Medicine Hat, Hyperion Research Ltd., a private donation and the
Defense Research and Development Canada, the work, using thirteen Abraxis
ELISA kits, was performed during the summer of 2012.  Read more »

Blog Action Day 2012: Using the ‘power of we’ to assess freshwater biodiversity

21 October 2012

New digital technologies can be used to promote biodiversity and conservation, but it can also be used to track, monitor and assess biodiversity in a much more open, democratic and engaging way then ever before. It can actually allow the public to generate data about biodiversity.

October 15 was Blog Action Day, a day where bloggers from around the world and with different interests are brought together to discuss and share ideas about one important global topic. We’ve participated for last two years, firstly writing about water in 2010, and last year writing about food. This year’s theme is ‘The Power of We’. The issue we’ll be focusing on for this year’s Blog Action Day is the use of new digital and mobile technologies to harness the ‘power of we’ to generate information about freshwater biodiversity. In a sense, we’ll be asking whether it is possible to crowd source freshwater biodiversity informatics. Read more »

New Zealands 10 Most Polluted Rivers

18 October 2012

New Zealand is, OK, was not a place that I would associate with high levels of pollution.  From this country, apart from ideal film sets for movies about hobbits, come tales of super-clear lakes, with measureable transparencies in tens of meters!  During the last year or so, however, there has been an increasing litany of reports about impaired surface water quality. Read more »

Principle of intergenerational equity likely to fail in South Africa

18 October 2012

Photo: Des Harding

Earlier this year I had the pleasure of being interviewed by an extremely astute Oxford scholar, reading for her Masters Degree in Geography and the Environment.  She has subsequently earned that degree with distinction and has moved into the hallowed environs of reading for a PhD at Oxford.  Well done Sarah-Jane Littleford. Read more »

Floating wetland project planned for Baltimore Harbour

18 October 2012

Artists impression of the floating wetlands planned for Baltimore Harbour (Source: CBS Baltimore).

The Baltimore Marine Center is thinking big, proposing to take an acre and a half of water zoned for 80 additional boat slips, and turning it into a much larger floating wetland to help clean the water.

Cape Town and Durban residents to drink poo-lluted water!

18 October 2012

Like our hinterland compatriots, who have been drinking water substantially augmented with ‘treated’ wastewater effluents for decades, this delight is on the cards for Cape Town and Durban, so says our Department of Water Affairs.  While this has been mentioned before for KZN, this is the first open announcement that Cape Town will also be affected. Read more »

Predictable failure of Grand Lake St Mary’s alum treatment

15 October 2012

A 2-year, $8.5 million project to stop toxic algae in Ohio’s largest inland lake isn’t working.

This is not a case of 20:20 hindsight.  The use of alum as a primary control for nutrients in lakes is fraught with more difficulties that many will realize.  Quite apart from the need for a really solid understanding of the water chemistry issues and challenges, which few applicators seem to have, the sheer scale of this venture pretty much doomed it from the outset.  The applicators in this case must have been extremely bold and confident.  Shredding 8.5 million individual dollar bills and throwing them into the lake could have achieved the same outcome. Read more »