From H2″NO” to H2O!

Posted by: Rhona Reid On May 22, 2018 7:00 am

 
Three students from Washington DC, Bria Snell, India Skinner and Mikayla Sharrieff, collectively known as S3 Trio, have been named as the only East Coast finalists in the NASA “OPSPARC” Challenge for coming up with an innovative way of cleaning up lead-contaminated drinking water.  

NASA student scientists: The future is in good hands.
S3 Trio at Work

The all-female team identified that water from public school fountains often contained impurities, putting the health of students at risk.  

“Our product will purify public school systems’ water by detecting impurities such as chlorine, copper, and bromine.” ~ S3 Trio 

Community Concerns

The dynamic 11th graders opted for a community project, working on the serious health issues posed

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LeeAnne Walters: An Everyday Hero

Posted by: Rhona Reid On May 1, 2018 7:00 am

 
The Goldman Environmental Prize is awarded to a small handful of people from around the world in recognition of their grassroots environmental activism.  

Heroes are not born, they are made…

Selected by an international jury, this year’s seven winners came from places as diverse as Vietnam, Colombia, South Africa…and Flint, Michigan.  

A Short History of Environmental Heroism

Just after Flint officials notoriously switched the city water source in April 2014 to save money, LeeAnne Walters started to become concerned that the water she and her four children were drinking was harmful.

She was, of course, right, but proving it was a struggle.  State authorities didn’t want to listen and LeeAnne worked tirelessly with the EPA and Marc Edwards,

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The Sins of Saint-Gobain?  

Posted by: Rhona Reid On April 10, 2018 7:00 am

 
Back in 2016, French multinational corporation Saint-Gobain ‘fessed up to releasing carcinogenic chemicals from its premises in Merrimack, New Hampshire, causing private wells in the area to become contaminated though the local groundwater.  

Industrial waste: Leaking into the landscape
Bottled Water Hand-Out

Following the spill, bottled water was provided to residents with a private well within a one-mile radius of the plant, which meant supplying around 400 properties with bottled water.  

The state gave Saint-Gobain strict deadlines to fix the problem, requiring the 350-year old corporation to conceive, design and install a water treatment solution to clean up the contamination.

A Satisfactory Solution?

Flash forward to March 2018, and state officials have reached “a monumental agreement” to ensure

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Coal Ash Ponds – Are They Contaminating Your Water?  

Posted by: Rhona Reid On March 22, 2018 12:00 pm

 
Look, don’t shoot the messenger, but there’s something else to worry about in America’s water.  

Is there coal ash contamination near your town?

Bosses at coal-burning power plants country-wide are required to file reports with the Environmental Protection Agency this month, looking into the toxins that are being released into groundwater from vast, unlined “ponds” containing coal ash and debris.

“Coal ash ponds need to be addressed as potential environmental and human health issues.”

~ Avner Vengosh, Professor of Earth and Ocean Sciences, Duke University

Coal Ash Court Cases

130 million tons of coal ash is produced each year.  Arsenic, Chromium-6, mercury and radium are just a few of the dangerous substances potentially leaching into the water supply.  

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America Brings Home Report Card; Gets a D

Posted by: Rhona Reid On March 1, 2018 12:00 pm

 
America’s Water Infrastructure Report Card for 2017 is in and it’s fair to say that there’s room for improvement. It’s not exactly new news to talk about the state of America’s pipelines and how millions of Americans are drinking water that might be harmful to their health, but the report card highlights another aspect of the problem – the waste.

Must try harder?
Pipe Down

Many pipes were laid during the early-mid 20th century and have a lifespan of 75100 years.  There are an estimated 240,000 pipeline fractures every year and with an average annual repair rate of 0.5%, the repairs will take around 200 years to complete, by which time the pipelines will have been around

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Water, Water Everywhere…

Posted by: Rhona Reid On February 7, 2018 12:00 pm

 
It sounds obvious, but water is everywhere at the moment.  From Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water cleaning up during awards season; the reckless craze for so-called “Raw Water”; the fact that South Africa’s Cape Town is about to reach Day Zero when the water runs out, and closer to home, that America’s own water supply is barely out of the news these days.  

Water is making headlines every day.
What Do We Want From Water?

Water is big news.  Of course it is, it’s a massive part of our lives.  We depend on it for life itself and yet we’re all guilty of wasting it from time to time.  So how did we become so complacent

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Why Reverse Osmosis Is NOT the Answer to Chromium-6

Posted by: Rhona Reid On February 6, 2018 7:00 am

 
The cancer-causing contaminant Chromium-6, brought to the public gaze by Erin Brockovich, is at levels exceeding public health goals in 50 states.

Chromium-6 – Here to Stay?

Millions of people are trying to find a workable solution to protect themselves and their families and to avoid drinking contaminated water.  

What Reverse Osmosis Water Does to the Pipeline

A reverse osmosis water system is sometimes touted as a possible solution on both a domestic and municipal level.  After all, it removes contaminants and that’s the goal, right?

Unfortunately, reverse osmosis is not a solution on either front.  On a city-wide basis, aside from the prohibitive cost of building the plant, the stripped-back water – though admittedly free of contaminants

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Half of All Americans Have Radiation in Their Water

Posted by: Rhona Reid On February 1, 2018 12:00 pm

 
According to this report published in January by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), 173 million people – around half of all Americans – have been exposed to radiation in their drinking water.  That means an increase in the possibility of developing certain types of cancer and can also have a detrimental effect on fetal development.  

Radioactive elements enter our groundwater…and stay there.
The “Erin Brockovich” Chemical

By studying 50,000 water systems countrywide, the EWG found that millions of people across 50 states are drinking water that contains radioactive contaminants; including the most commonly-occurring radioactive element, radium.

In Texas – one of the worst affected states – up to 80% of homes are supplied with water containing potentially dangerous levels

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The Future for Flint’s Children

Posted by: Rhona Reid On November 21, 2017 7:00 am

 
In 1990, the New England Journal of Medicine published the results of an 11-year study into the long term cognitive and neurobehavioral effects of lead exposure in children.  

What are the long terms behavioral effects of lead exposure for children?
What Does Lead Do?

The children had been exposed to lead during their childhood, in some cases relatively low levels.  132 test subjects were re-examined in 1988 and the following neurobehavioral traits were identified as being related to lead exposure during childhood:

  • School absenteeism
  • Lower vocabulary
  • Poorer hand/eye co-ordination
  • Slower reaction times
“No Safe Level of Lead”

Although some lead can be excreted by the body, children are more susceptible to long term effects from lead exposure, as their

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Can an 11-Year-Old Really Change How Lead in Water is Identified? 

Posted by: Rhona Reid On November 14, 2017 7:00 am

 
America’s water system is undeniably in crisis.  The projected cost of fixing the miles of pipeline that criss-cross the country runs to $1 trillion, according to some estimates.  There’s no quick fix.

Our infrastructure won’t be updated any time soon…
Next Generation – New Hope

But where there is a future, there is always hope.  And where there is hope, there is a future.  Maybe the next generation will come up with some answers, determined to put right what is broken and unsustainable.  This possibility has been highlighted by eleven-year-old Gitanjali Rao, winner of America’s top young scientist award.

Mythical Inspiration

Horrified by the news of lead contamination in the water of Flint, Michigan, Gitanjali quickly realized the …

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