VancouverSun: Sechelt, BC aims to scrub pharmaceuticals from its wastewater

Via: VancouverSun, November 13, 2014

The District of Sechelt, B.C. is pursuing a unique pilot project that will use recovered sewage solids to remove traces of pharmaceutical drugs, recreational drugs and hormones from post-treatment wastewater.

Such a system could be used to treat the province’s wastewater before it is discharged into surface water systems used for drinking water by downstream communities. Many municipalities outside the Lower Mainland discharge treated wastewater into rivers and a handful — such as Vernon and Oliver — already use it for irrigation on golf courses and hay fields.

The U.S. Geological Survey recently reported that pharmaceuticals persist for several months in irrigated soils, which Sechelt Mayor John Henderson fears could hinder consumer acceptance of foods grown with reclaimed water. Plus, trace chemicals from treated municipal wastewater are known to disrupt the reproductive systems of fish.

Sechelt is hoping to divert its wastewater for use in agriculture and Henderson hopes the pilot will help answer the “last objection” from people concerned about the introduction of trace amounts of drugs and other contaminants into the food system.

The Sunshine Coast community plans to make charcoal for filtration from wood waste, paper and solids recovered from sewage by heating it to at least 500 C, which destroys pathogens and contaminants and leaves behind a powerful filtration medium not unlike activated charcoal, according to Sechelt’s water treatment project coordinator Paul Nash.

The product — called biochar — will then be used to remove drugs, hormones and other contaminants dangerous to humans and other living creatures from treated wastewater.

A treatment facility that uses biochar made from sewage solids to filter drugs and hormones from water would the first of its kind in the world, said Henderson.

“If we succeed, we will have a way to remove pharmaceuticals from both effluent and biosolids using waste as a resource,” said Henderson.

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HydroWorld: Halifax Water generates power from a 32-kW in-pipe small hydroelectric system

Via: HydroWorld

Halifax Regional Municipality of Nova Scotia, Canada, is the first Canadian city to use an in-pipe hydroelectric generation system within a pressurized water distribution pipeline.

Flow-to-Wire Rentricity Inc. in-pipe hydroelectric system

Halifax Regional Municipality of Nova Scotia, Canada, is the first Canadian city to use an in-pipe hydroelectric generation system within a pressurized water distribution pipeline, according to Halifax Water. On Nov. 13, a 32-kW generating system within a drinking water distribution control chamber for Halifax Water began providing power.

Stakeholders for the Halifax project hope the system will power about 30 homes and produce US$29,000 in revenue annually. Officials said the project cost US$443,000 and Halifax Water; Denver, Colo.-based Water Research Foundation and the provincial government provided the funding.

Halifax Water serves the municipality’s 355,000 residents. The regulated municipality contracted Rentricity Inc., a New York-based renewable energy company, to install the in-pipe system that is rated “safe for drinking water.” The device’s viability for placement in a system from which people consume drinking water is based on Canadian and international safety standards.

According to Rentricity the company designs and installs Flow-to-Wire, their trademarked, unique energy recovery system. “The system harnesses excess pressure within water mains and uses it to generate clean electric power,” said the company. “A single Flow-to-Wire system produces between 30 and 350 kW of clean, renewable, electricity that can then be sold back to the grid.”

Continue reading : UN panel says climate change has implications for North America’s water supply


by Brent Patterson, April 8, 2014

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations organization that assesses the impacts of climate change, has released a new report, the second part of a larger assessment by the panel. The Globe and Mail reports, “(It) lists outcomes such as the displacement of populations, food shortages and economic shocks that are triggered or exacerbated by rising temperatures.”

This new report has a chapter on North America. “So far, among the most obvious impacts experienced by city dwellers in North America are meteorological, including a higher risk of dangerously extreme heat in summer, heavier precipitation and flooding events and a decreasing snowpack in winter months. …(But) larger consequences for North America are in store, including the loss of glaciers in the West, with implications for water supplies, threats to the livelihood of northern communities because of vanishing sea ice in the Arctic and impacts on coastal industries because of shifts in populations of economically important fish species.”

Natural Resources Canada has stated, “Glaciers play a role in recharging groundwater aquifers. This aspect of our hydrology is critical to understanding the variability of water supply under a changing climate…” NRC says, “Canada’s glaciers hold water resources equivalent to all of the water contained by our lakes and rivers. As a Nordic country, much of Canada’s freshwater is derived from seasonal and perennial snow and ice, which exerts important controls on the timing and magnitude of water fluxes.” And they have cautioned that there will be “decreases in water availability resulting from increased intensity and frequency of drought, declining snowpack and glacier dimunition” in Canada.

Previous news reports have also told this story. In 2011, CBC reported, “The snowpack across the northern Rocky Mountains has shrunk far more quickly in the past 50 years than in the previous 800… Runoff from those layers of snow feed rivers that supply water to more than 70 million people (in the western United States), raising concerns that the declining snowpack will lead to water shortages in western North America, reported (a) study published online in Science Express. …Robert Sandford, chair of a group that connects policy makers with scientific research on water, said the study shows the declining snowpack will add to the gradual decline in stream flows that are already happening in some of Canada’s most important watercourses.”

And Postmedia News has highlighted, “(The melting snowpack is) altering river flows in the Canadian prairies and central British Columbia, said (the study’s) co-author Brian Luckman, at the University of Western Ontario. ‘Snowpack is essential for water supply to many of these areas,’ Luckman said, noting that the Rockies feed rivers flowing through central B.C. and the Bow, Athabasca and Oldman rivers in Alberta. ‘Between 60 to 80 per cent of the water in those rivers is snowmelt from the mountains.’ …The study says the changes are affecting the Colorado, Columbia and Missouri Rivers, which together supply water to 70 million Americans.”

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow has stated,

“The issue of glacier melt is where climate justice and water justice come together. Water abuse is hurting the climate, and climate injustice is hurting water. The most important thing to remember is that water governs us. It is our lifeblood. It is not a resource for our profit and pleasure, but the most important element of the ecosystem which we depend on for life. We must build solidarity between the water and climate justice movements, between the global north and south, and among those who care for the future. We must vow to be one family and be brave because we are up against terrible forces.”

Improve International

By Susan Davis, Executive Director, Improve International

This might sound obvious, but when you build a water system for a poor community, the point of it is to provide safe water to those families, reliably, for a long time – if not forever.  That’s what charitable organizations are telling their donors, at least:  “$25 will save a life!”  Well, that water system is not saving lives if it breaks, is it?

So how does the charitable organization, or the donor, know if the water system is still working?  The customers in the community know right away when it breaks, of course, but they often don’t know who to call.  Governments in developing countries focus more on providing new water systems to communities than looking back to see whether old systems are still working. The organization that built it could send staff to visit the communities, but many say they don’t…

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$60 Million Water Consortium Supports Innovation Across Ontario Clean Technology Alliance Communities

October 01, 2012 10:28 ET
$60 Million Water Consortium Supports Innovation Across Ontario Clean Technology Alliance Communities
Ontario Aims to Be the Place Where the World Buys Its Water Technology
NEW ORLEANS, LA–(Marketwire – Oct 1, 2012) – WEFTEC 2012, Booth # 7321, Hall I –

The Ontario Clean Technology Alliance an ambitious $60 million Southern Ontario Water Consortium (SOWC) has already attracted $20 million of technology investment from IBM Canada Limited together with additional investment from the private sector, government, and universities. SOWC is a research and development platform for new water technologies and facilities for the testing and development of drinking water solutions, wastewater purification, ecotoxicological analysis, watershed management, and sensor development.

To be fully operational by 2014, the SOWC platform includes a series of facilities within the Grand River watershed, the Mimico Creek sub-watershed near Toronto, the City of London Greenway Wastewater Treatment Centre, the City of Guelph Waste Water Treatment Centre, the Sensor Development Labs at McMaster University, Drinking Water Treatment Labs at the Universities of Toronto and Waterloo, ecotoxicological labs and staging facilities at Laurier, and the Ground Water Research Facilities at Base Borden and the University of Guelph. The platform will be open to companies interested in testing technologies in a real watershed or municipal environment, companies looking for collaborative R&D with leading water researchers from eight universities, and international companies looking for a North American beachhead.
A variety of mobile facilities will also be deployed as needed across these watersheds, and all operations are being linked together by IBM’s computational and data facility installed at the University of Toronto to process, analyze, store, and distribute the data produced across the SOWC platform.

Ontario’s water industry, with 900 firms and 22,000 employees, includes well-known global players such as American Water, Danaher, GE Water and Process Technologies, Nalco Corporation, Siemens Water Technologies, Suez Degrémont and Veolia Water. Global water management problems represent a market opportunity currently estimated at $424 billion (USD). Ontario’s water industry is primed to be among the best solution-providers for this market.

“We are looking for more companies that want to grow with us in Ontario,” says Jennifer Patterson, Senior Business Development Consultant, Hamilton Economic Development and Chair of the Ontario Clean Technology Alliance. “We want to be the place where the world buys its water management technology. The Ontario government has adopted an economic growth strategy, backed by a comprehensive series of legislative, regulatory and policy initiatives that is designed specifically to support the expansion of clean, green industries including water.”

In Ontario, as in many jurisdictions, most water and wastewater services are provided by municipalities, and their needs are growing. Ontario’s water systems will need an estimated investment of $30 to $40 billion over the next 15 years for repairs and to accommodate growth. Toronto Water, for example, provides water and wastewater services for 2.6 million residents and businesses. For 2012, Toronto Water’s recommended operation budget is $893 million that includes a comprehensive renewal program first launched in 2007.

The United States is Ontario’s number one trade partner and the largest water consumer in the world. Water and wastewater treatment in the United States is a $113 billion annual market, according to estimates developed by Global Water Intelligence.

About the Ontario Clean Technology Alliance
The Ontario Clean Technology Alliance offers a highly educated workforce, excellent growth opportunities, a low-risk business environment, and generous R&D tax credits that are the envy of other countries. The Alliance includes Greater Toronto Area, Ottawa Region, City of Hamilton, Waterloo Region, Niagara Region, Windsor-Essex, City of London, Sarnia-Lambton, City of Guelph, the Municipality of Chatham-Kent and the Southwestern Ontario Marketing Alliance. The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada as well as the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation are also Alliance partners.

For more information, go to

Contact Information
Ontario Clean Technology Alliance media contacts:

Jennifer Patterson
Senior Business Development Consultant
Hamilton Economic Development
Phone: 905-536-0631
Email: Email Contact

Evelyn Allen
Industry Liaison
Southern Ontario Water Consortium
Phone: (226) 343-0352
Email: Email Contact

Jill McCubbin
Conversation Architect
market2world communications inc.
Phone: 613-256-3939
Email: Email Contact

EE: EPA to expand chemicals testing for endocrine disruption

Via: Environmental Expert

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has identified a list of 134 chemicals that will be screened for their potential to disrupt the endocrine system. Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that interact with and possibly disrupt the hormones produced or secreted by the human or animal endocrine system, which regulates growth, metabolism and reproduction. Administrator Lisa P. Jackson has made it a top priority to ensure the safety of chemicals, and this is another step in this process. “Endocrine disruptors represent a serious health concern for the American people, especially children. Americans today are exposed to more chemicals in our products, our environment and our bodies than ever before, and it is essential that EPA takes every step to gather information and prevent risks,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “We are using the best available science to examine a larger list of chemicals and ensure that they are not contaminating the water we drink and exposing adults and children to potential harm.”

The list includes chemicals that have been identified as priorities under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and may be found in sources of drinking water where a substantial number of people may be exposed. The list also includes pesticide active ingredients that are being evaluated under EPA’s registration review program to ensure they meet current scientific and regulatory standards. The data generated from the screens will provide robust and systematic scientific information to help EPA identify whether additional testing is necessary, or whether other steps are necessary to address potential endocrine disrupting chemicals. The chemicals listed include those used in products such as solvents, gasoline, plastics, personal care products, pesticides, and pharmaceuticals, including benzene, perchlorate, urethane, ethylene glycol, and erythromycin.

Also being announced today are draft policies and procedures that EPA will follow to order testing, minimize duplicative testing, promote equitable cost-sharing, and to address issues that are unique to chemicals regulated under the SDWA. After public comment and review, EPA will issue test orders to pesticide registrants and the manufacturers of these chemicals to compel them to generate data to determine whether their chemicals may disrupt the estrogen, androgen and thyroid pathways of the endocrine system. EPA is already screening an initial group of 67 pesticide chemicals. In October 2009, the agency issued orders to companies requiring endocrine disruptor screening program data for these chemicals. EPA will begin issuing orders for this second group of 134 chemicals beginning in 2011. EPA has the most comprehensive mandated testing program for hormone effects in the world. The program is the result of a multi-year effort that includes validation of the science through a transparent scientific review process.