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Grant expected for Cape Cod to create a wastewater action plan

  
  
  
  
  

An article in the Cape Cod Times annnounced that the Cape Cod Commission was expected to recieve a $3.35 million grant from the Massachusetts Water Abatement Trust. The grant is aimed at helping the Commission develop a water management plan as required by the US Clean Water Act.

Many people on the Cape and in the region support the move in addressing the excess nutrients and bacteria that are negatively affecting the embayments and waterbodies of the Cape.  Current costs estimates show the need for between $3 billion and $8 billion to upgrade the infrastructure to effectively manage the wastewater in the region.  The idea behind developing this regional plan is to set forth a clear strategy that will keep implementation costs on the lower end of the spectrum.

The Cape Cod Commission believes it could have a draft plan in place within a year if it recieves the grant.  Within three years, they could have a complete plan, which would include more planning tools, a public outreach program and monitoring, according to Cape Cod Commission Executive Director Paul Niedzwiecki.

Information use for this post taken from the article titled "First drops being to flow" by Patrick Cassidy, from the Thursday, January 10, 2013 edition of the Cape Cod Times.

For more information about wastewater, including management and treatment options, please contact Kevin P. Klein, P.E. at (508) 747-7900 extension 130 or kklein@norfolkram.com

Also available for those wanted to learn more about wastewater management, you can download our white paper on Wastewater Treatment and Disposal Options.

Sustainable Development project featured in local business Magazine

  
  
  
  
  

Mark Bartlett, the president of Norfolk Ram, has written an article about a sustainable project we are working on in the Town of Yarmouth. The article is featured in this month's issue of Cape & Plymouth Business Magazine.

The article is about a collaborative approach of our project team for the Yarmouth Village Center Project, which will be a multi-function project in which Norfolk will be designing the innovative wastewater treatment strategies. Please read the article by clicking here.

To learn more about the project or innovative wastewater treatment strategies, please contact Mark S. Bartlett, P.E. at (508) 747-7900 extension 131. More information on wastewater treatment strategies is available from a white paper on our website here.

Cover Page CPBNov12web resized 600

Pharmaceuticals in Wastewater in the News

  
  
  
  
  

Yesterday the USA today published an article about a county in Northern California, Almaeda County, who planned a vote on the Safe Drug Disposal Ordinance, requiring drug makers to pay for programs to dispose of expired and unused drugs.

Pharmaceuticals in wastewater streams have been a hot-button topic recently, with some groups concerned about flushed pills and medicine entering the groundwater supply. From the article "Clean Water Action officials said it's unclear how much of an impact the drugs in water have, but the government should not take any chances. "You don't put something in the water if you don't know what it's going to do," Jennifer Clary, a water policy analyst with the group, said Monday."

A study published in February 2007 by Springer-Verlag, did however, show that Membrane Bioreactors did remove greater than 80% of the compounds it investigated. More detail and the results of that study can be found here.

There is an existing program in Alameda County where residents can drop off their old medications at designated located, however it has been expensive for the county.   The bill's proponents said other manufacturers take responsibility for disposing their products, such as certain batteries and paint, and drug companies should join their lead.

Marjorie Powell, a representative of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, said that the safest, and cheapest, way to get rid of old medication is to just put in the trash in a sealed container mixed with substances like coffee grounds or kitty litter. Although that method is approved by the FDA, advocates say putting drugs in landfills risks chemicals seeping into the waterbed, which the drug industry said existing safeguards prevent.

There has been little consensus about how to properly dispose of medications and what evironmental impacts are associated with each method, however one thing is for certain, this isn't the last we will be hearing about this issue.

IMGP1442 resized 600Rotating Biological Contactor for Wastewater Treatment

For questions regarding Wastewater treatment, please contact Kevin P. Klein, P.E. at (508) 747-7900 extension 130 or please download our FREE Wastewater Treatment and Disposal Options white paper by clicking here.

To read the entire USA Today article, click here.

Lawsuits filed against EPA for wastewater treatment limitations

  
  
  
  
  

Two environmental groups recently filed separate lawsuits against the EPA hoping for further action in addressing nutrient loadings in our nation's waterways. The groups cited water quality problems in our nation's waterways related to excessive algae growth and other nutrient loading issues.

One of the groups concerned with the water quality in the Gulf of Mexico,  wanted numeric limitations for nitrogen and phosphorus when such standards aren't already set by each state's water quality standards. Nitrogen is a limiting nutrient in salt water bodies whereas phosphorus is a limiting nutrient in fresh water bodies. The group wants either minimum numeric criteria set or for the EPA to issue a Total Maximum Daily Load for these nutrients.

The EPA denied the group's initial petition, stating it wanted to support targeted regional and state activities and help with the development of state approaches to controlling these nutrients.

 

Algae Bloom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Algae Blooms in a fresh water pond

The second lawsuit, by an environmental organization based in New York, wanted action from the EPA on a petition it filed with the EPA in 2007. The petition asked for the EPA to publish revised information regarding the technology for municipal wastewater treatments plants, particularly to reflect recent improvements in nutrient removal in some processes. The publication regarding these treatment plants was last updated in 1985.  The group claims updating the publications would form the basis for regulating wastewater treatment plants in the future, requiring some minimum level of nutrient removal.

If you have any questions about wastewater treatment processes or nutrient removal from wastewater, please contact Kevin Klein, P.E. at (508) 747-7900 extension 130.

Information in this blog post taken from the May 2012 issue of Civil Engineering Magazine, article entitled "Lawsuits Seek to Compel US EPA to target Nutrients more Aggressively" by Jay Landers, Pg 22-25.

 

 

Using Algae for Wastewater Treatment and Biofuel Production

  
  
  
  
  

We  read a very interesting article recently in the April 2012 edition of Civil Engineering. The article by Jay Landers discusses a pilot study being done in San Lius Obispo's Water Reclamation facility.  The study is designed to test using solar energy and photosynthetic algae to treat wastewater, and then possibly using the algae to generate biofuel.  The goal is to develop an inexpensive method of treatment that will reduce nutrient levels and have a valuable byproduct (fertilizer, biofuels).  This treatment process could result in a more sustainable and cost effective approach when compared with conventional manners.

As part of the project, the facility uses raceway style algae ponds. The raceway style ponds produce algae at a much higher rate than conventional ponds, and can accelerate photosythetic oxygen production and nutrient assimilation by the algal cells.  Algae uses significantly les energy and lower volumes of chemicals than conventional approaches do, as it relies mainly on solar power. It is a more sustainable process, using much less energy than an activated sludge process.

One problem facing the systems is that solar energy requires a large amount of flat land, which may not always be available near a wastewater treatment plant facility.

If the pilot study is successful, the algae will be generated efficiently, and the removed without coagulants, hopefully by settling out to allow for harvesting. The harvested algae can be dewatered for use as fertilizer or biofuel production.

This pilot study is set to run through April 2013. We'll be very interested to see how the study works out. If you have questions about wastewater treatment processes or innovative approaches to wastewater treatment, please contact Kevin P. Klein, P.E. at (508) 747-7900 extension 130.

Information for this blog post taken from article entitled "Pilot Plant Used to Evaluation Algae for Wastewater Treatment and Biofuel Production" p40-41, Civil Engineering,  April 2012, by Jay Landers.

 

MA Water infrastructure Finance Commission releases Initial Report

  
  
  
  
  

The MA WIFC (Water Infrastructure Finance Commission) was established by the Legislature in 2009 to develop a water infrastructure finance plan for the Commonwealth and its municipalities. Governor Patrick appointed formal Norfolk Ram employee Representative Carolyn Dykema as the leading House member.

To develop this plan, the WIFC is using data from different sources:

  • municipal officials, water department and water district officials
  • groups and agencies interested in water policy
  • environmental and consumer  protection groups
  • professionals that work in water resources engineering including BSCES

This past fall, four public hearings were held throughout the Commonwealth. The WIFC attended these hearings and analyzed the data taken from then.

This past June, the WIFC released an initial report, Toward Financial Sustainability, that summarizes its findings about these hearings and includes Commission’s research.

This initial report deals mainly with seven themes that WIFC identified to investigate:

  • Aging water systems: the water and wastewater facilities in Massachusetts are nearing the end of their intended service life.
  • Increasing costs of environmental compliance: many municipalities in Massachusetts have to improve or upgrade the systems in their level of treatment to meet environmental requirements, treating wastewater and improving drinking water quality.
  • Growth requires new and/or expanded infrastructures: there is a need to invest in new infrastructure to address demands due to commercial or residential growth or emerging problems with stormwater, private wells or septic systems.
  • Increasing costs to pay off curent debt: less funding is available and debt costs are too high in Massachusetts and prevent the municipalities from investing in maintenance and expansion projects.
  • Stormwater mitigation costs are looming: there will be new federal stormwater regulations that will lead to substantial investments in compliance by municipalities without a funding source.
  • New requirements for operations, maintenance, and emergencies: investment at a sustained level will be required.
  • The public has little understanding of the systems that supply and protect its water: people do not appreciate the cost of water infrastructure and it varies greatly between communities.

The WIFC organized working group meetings in order to collect more information and recommendations for the final report.  Fourteen questions have been studied as recommendations to add to the final report.  Some of which are:

  • Fund an asset-based analysis of the gap between projected needs and revenues
  • Use a two-pronged approach to lower the Need Gap that reduces costs and increases funding
  • Adopt USEPA Sustainable Infrastructure guidelines
  • Establish a new ‘ Water Preservation Fund’ or ‘Blue Community Act’ to provide a new sustained revenue stream to assist cities and towns in their water infrastructure investments
  • Invest in Massachusetts as a hub of innovation in the field of water, wastewater and stormwater management 

 The main goal of these reports and the WIFC is to educate the public on water infrastructure and especially on its value and cost.

If you have any question about Water Infrastructure, please contact John McAllister at jmcallister@norfolkram.com or at (508) 747 - 7900 x 117.

Information in this article taken from Sept 2011, article by Peter A. Richardson, published in BSCES News.

Environmental Business Council of New England's Environ101: Wastewater Series

  
  
  
  
  

John McAllister gave a presentation last night (4/29/10) at the Environmental Business Council of New England's Environ101: Wastewater Series,  at Lir Pub on Boylston Street in Boston.  John's presentation gave background on the importance of treating wastewater, the regulations of on-site subsurface disposal systems under Title 5, as well as a brief overview of small package treatments regulated under the DEP's Groundwater Discharge Permit. 

The powerpoint slides can be downloaded here, unfortunately though, you won't be able to download the charm provided during the presentation. 

If you would like further information on any wastewater and/or permitting issues, feel free to contact John or Kevin Klein at 508-747-7900 extensions 117 and 130, respectively.

Learn about Norfolk Ram's wastewater treatment and on-site systems.

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