» Wastewater and Water

Technology and Environmental Decision-Making: Nonpoint Source Water Contamination

Thirsty? Turn on a faucet or twist the lid from a bottle nearly anywhere in the United States. Most of us take it for granted that water is there when we need it or want it. But will it always be? And will it be clean? What is clean? How clean is clean enough? If it’s not clean enough, then what? If we accomplish the monumental task of answering these questions to our own satisfaction, then we will have necessarily learned that the quality of our local water supplies is inextricably linked to the quality of regional and even global water supply systems—that we’re all living next to Aldo Leopold’s “Round River.” Particularly in industrialized societies, we are constantly exposed to the evidence of the interconnectedness of our human systems—evidence that is manifested daily through information technology, politics, and economic activity. And more than ever before, the global interaction and interdependence of natural systems are being studied and recognized in the scientific community. Read More

Plastic Debris in 29 Great Lakes Tributaries: Relations to Watershed Attributes and Hydrology

Plastic debris is a growing contaminant of concern in freshwater environments, yet sources, transport, and fate remain unclear. This study characterized the quantity and morphology of floating micro- and macroplastics in 29 Great Lakes tributaries in six states under different land covers, wastewater effluent contributions, population densities, and hydrologic conditions. Tributaries were sampled three or four times each using a 333 μm mesh neuston net. Plastic particles were sorted by size, counted, and categorized as fibers/lines, pellets/beads, foams, films, and fragments. Plastics were found in all 107 samples, with a maximum concentration of 32 particles/m3 and a median of 1.9 particles/m3. Ninety-eight percent of sampled plastic particles were less than 4.75 mm in diameter and therefore considered microplastics. Fragments, films, foams, and pellets/beads were positively correlated with urban-related watershed attributes and were found at greater concentrations during runoff-event conditions. Fibers, the most frequently detected particle type, were not associated with urban-related watershed attributes, wastewater effluent contribution, or hydrologic condition. Results from this study add to the body of information currently available on microplastics in different environmental compartments, including unique contributions to quantify their occurrence and variability in rivers with a wide variety of different land-use characteristics while highlighting differences between surface samples from rivers compared with lakes. Read More

Using Graywater and Stormwater to Enhance Local Water Supplies: An Assessment of Risks, Costs, and Benefits (2016)

Chronic and episodic water shortages are becoming common in many regions of the United States, and population growth in water-scarce regions further compounds the challenges. Increasingly, alternative water sources such as graywater (untreated wastewater that does not include water from the toilet but generally includes water from bathroom sinks, showers, bathtubs, clothes washers, and laundry sinks) and stormwater (water from rainfall or snow that can be measured downstream in a pipe, culvert, or stream shortly after the precipitation event) are being viewed as resources to supplement scarce water supplies rather than as waste to be discharged as rapidly as possible. Graywater and stormwater can serve a range of non-potable uses, including irrigation, toilet flushing, washing, and cooling, although treatment may be needed. Stormwater may also be used to recharge groundwater, which may ultimately be tapped for potable use. In addition to providing additional sources of local water supply, harvesting stormwater has many potential benefits, including energy savings, pollution prevention, and reducing the impacts of urban development on urban streams. Similarly, the reuse of graywater can enhance water supply reliability and extend the capacity of existing wastewater systems in growing cities. Read More

WaterSense at Work: Best Management Practices for Commercial and Institutional Facilities

WaterSense,® a voluntary partnership program sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), seeks to protect the future of our nation’s water supply. By transforming the market for water-efficient products, services, and practices, WaterSense is helping to address the increasing demand on the nation’s water supplies and reduce the strain on municipal water infrastructure across the country. WaterSense labeled products are independently certified to use at least 20 percent less water and perform as well or better than standard models. In addition, WaterSense labeled new homes incorporate water-efficient products and designs, and WaterSense labeled certification programs focus on water-efficient practices by professionals. WaterSense has developed WaterSense at Work, a compilation of water-efficiency best management practices, to help commercial and institutional facility owners and managers understand and better manage their water use. WaterSense at Work is designed to provide guidance to help establish an effective facility water management program and identify projects and practices that can reduce facility water use. Read More

Climate-Ready Soil: How Cover Crops Can Make Farms More Resilient to Extreme Weather Risks

NRDC examined the carbon capture and water-holding benefits of soil stewardship methods to increase soil organic matter in the 10 highest-value-producing agricultural states in the United States. This analysis estimates that using cover crops on just half of the acres devoted to the nation’s two most ubiquitous crops—corn and soybeans—in those top 10 states could help capture more than 19 million metric tons of carbon each year and help soils retain an additional trillion gallons of water. Read More

EPA Water Research

Water research conducted at EPA provides the science and tools necessary to develop sustainable solutions to 21st century water resource problems, ensuring water quality and availability in order to protect human and ecosystem health. Read More

EPA Office of Water

The Office of Water (OW) ensures drinking water is safe, and restores and maintains oceans, watersheds, and their aquatic ecosystems to protect human health, support economic and recreational activities, and provide healthy habitat for fish, plants and wildlife. OW is responsible for implementing the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act, and portions of the Coastal Zone Act Reauthorization Amendments of 1990, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, Ocean Dumping Ban Act, Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act, Shore Protection Act, Marine Plastics Pollution Research and Control Act, London Dumping Convention, the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships and several other statutes. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Office of Water works with the ten EPA regional offices, other federal agencies, state and local governments, American Indian tribes, the regulated community, organized professional and interest groups, land owners and managers, and the public-at-large. OW provides guidance, specifies scientific methods and data collection requirements, performs oversight and facilitates communication among those involved. OW helps the states and American Indian tribes to build capacity, and water programs can be delegated to them for implementation. Read More

WaterSense (EPA)

WaterSense, a partnership program by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, seeks to protect the future of our nation’s water supply by offering people a simple way to use less water with water-efficient products, new homes, and services. WaterSense brings together a variety of stakeholders to: – Promote the value of water efficiency. – Provide consumers with easy ways to save water, as both a label for products and an information resource to help people use water more efficiently. – Encourage innovation in manufacturing. – Decrease water use and reduce strain on water resources and infrastructure. The program seeks to help consumers make smart water choices that save money and maintain high environmental standards without compromising performance. Products and services that have earned the WaterSense label have been certified to be at least 20 percent more efficient without sacrificing performance. Upgrading to more efficient WaterSense labeled products can help us to save billions of gallons of water in the country every year. Something as simple as twisting on a WaterSense labeled aerator and upgrading to a WaterSense labeled faucet could save a household 11,000 gallons over the life of the faucet. Learn more about how you can save water and help WaterSense preserve and protect our nation’s water resources. Read More

Assessing the significance of climate and community factors on urban water demand

Ensuring adequate water supply to urban areas is a challenging task due to factors such as rapid urban growth, increasing water demand and climate change. In developing a sustainable water supply system, it is important to identify the dominant water demand factors for any given water supply scheme. This paper applies principal components analysis to identify the factors that dominate residential water demand using the Blue Mountains Water Supply System in Australia as a case study. The results show that the influence of community intervention factors (e.g. use of water efficient appliances and rainwater tanks) on water demand are among the most significant. The result also confirmed that the community intervention programmes and water pricing policy together can play a noticeable role in reducing the overall water demand. On the other hand, the influence of rainfall on water demand is found to be very limited, while temperature shows some degree of correlation with water demand. The results of this study would help water authorities to plan for effective water demand management strategies and to develop a water demand forecasting model with appropriate climatic factors to achieve sustainable water resources management. The methodology developed in this paper can be adapted to other water supply systems to identify the influential factors in water demand modeling and to devise an effective demand management strategy. Read More

Core Historical Literature of Agriculture

The Core Historical Literature of Agriculture (CHLA) is a core electronic collection of agricultural texts published between the early nineteenth century and the middle to late twentieth century. Full-text materials cover agricultural economics, agricultural engineering, animal science, crops and their protection, food science, forestry, human nutrition, rural sociology, and soil science. Scholars have selected the titles in this collection for their historical importance. Their evaluations and 4,500 core titles are detailed in the seven volume series The Literature of the Agricultural Sciences, Wallace C. Olsen, series editor. Read More

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EERL is a product of a community college-based National Science Foundation Center, the Advanced Technology Environmental and Energy Center (ATEEC), and its partners.

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