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Dispatches from Uganda 2

     I've been in Shilongo for the past couple of days evaluating the water sources and issues that would affect their water quality. Some of the springs are testing positive for bacteria, while the boreholes are testing clean.  The topography is rather undulating, which presents quite a challenge. The students I'm working with are a talented bunch and I've been impressed with their initiative. Hopefully we'll be able to put together a helpful project for the community. ~ John

Dispatches from Uganda


     John McAllister, a project engineer, is currently on a trip to Uganda, working as a mentor for a Tufts University (his alma mater) chapter of the Engineers without Borders program. The project's goal is to provide a safe, clean drinking water supply to the people of the village of Shilongo, an agricultural village of about 1,000 people.  He will provide periodic blog updates of his journey; this is his first entry.

     I arrived in Uganda yesterday after some long travelling.  Scott, one of the project leaders, was there to pick me up at the airport in Entebbe. All together, there are five students from Tufts on the project: Christina, Dave, Drew, Laney, and Scott.  The drive from Entebbe to Mbale was a good six hours, as we got caught in rush hour traffic in the capital, Kampala.  In Mbale, we had lunch with the leader of the NGO we are working with, Foundation for the Development of Needy Communities (FDNC).  They have been very helpful in setting us up and providing us with everything we need.  They set us up in a nice home on the hillside, outside Shilongo, in Nyondo. The house is very nice and even has running water and reliable electricity, which was more than I was expecting! We are about a ten-minute walk away from Shilongo.  The people taking care of the house (David and James) are really nice and they cook delicious food for us.  Last night we played soccer in our front yard with three young kids who live nearby.

     So far the students have completed about 34 community health surveys, which is about the number we were aiming for. The FDNC has provided interns to act as translators (the native language here is Lugisu).

     Today we're going to have one group conducting more interviews and another going around to collect water samples for water quality testing, so I can see where the various sources are. Apparently, during the wet season we are in, there are multiple sources of water for the villagers to draw from.  We hope to set up some meetings with the village leaders and the women this week, and have a whole community meeting this weekend since people are busy during the week with the kids back in school.  So far, so good with the project and hopefully we can put together a successful project to help the people of Shilongo village.

Can Modified Fenton’s Reagent be Used at Sites with Light Non-aqueous Phase Liquid (LNAPL)?

Over the years, we occasionally receive calls where a client asks whether or not modified Fenton's reagent (i.e. hydrogen peroxide and an iron catalyst) can be used at a site where LNAPL is present.  Historically, the application of Fenton's reagent at sites with significant thicknesses of LNAPL has not often been recommended due to potential safety concerns or potential mobilization of NAPL.  Additionally, the application of any oxidant as a sole remedial option at a site containing substantial volumes of NAPL needs to be carefully considered, because the presence of NAPL should be seen as an indication that the mass of oxidant required could be cost prohibitive.  That said, the presence of measurable NAPL should not necessarily preclude the use of Fenton's Reagent as a significant remedial option, in some cases.

Norfolk has had substantial success in using Fenton's Reagent in conjunction with oil recovery mechanisms to enhance the recovery of heating oils and similar petroleum products.  The application of fluid temporarily reduces pore pressures and can "liberate" oil from the soil matrix.  Heat and gasses generated by the Fenton's Reagent can a do the same and also temporarily reduce the viscosity of the oil, thereby creating an opportunity to enhance recovery efforts.  We often find that LNAPL thickness will increase in wells after Fenton's Reagent applications and that oil recovery wells that had previously reached a point of diminishing returns, in terms of oil recovery, will become more productive.  At the same time, treatment of surrounding areas of the site is also accomplished (e.g. an overlying unsaturated soil zone, smear zone, and/or soils and groundwater surrounding the area of NAPL).    

2010 Massachusetts Envirothon

Norfolk's Mark Bartlett joined with over 40 Judges (forming 8 teams of 5+ judges) on May 13, 2010, for the 2010 Massachusetts Envirothon held at the Otter River State Forest in Baldwinville, MA

Over 41 of the state's high schools were represented by teams of students competing for the top prizes.  This year's issue that was addressed by each team of students was "Groundwater Protection".   Click here for more information on this terrific annual event that promotes environmental education and community involvement.

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