CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 11, 2012 |
Opponents malign it as "toilet to tap. " But a new National Research Council report says that reclaimed water can contribute a growing portion of the nation's drinking water supplies and be as safe as conventional sources. The assessment is especially relevant to Southern California, which has been a pioneer in recharging local aquifers with treated wastewater but still sends most of its runoff and treated water to the Pacific Ocean. A decade ago, public outcry and electoral politics thwarted a Los Angeles plan to partially replenish San Fernando Valley groundwater with recycled supplies.
October 21, 2011 |
The Environmental Protection Agency said it planned to regulate wastewater discharged by companies producing natural gas from shale formations, including chemically laced water used in a controversial extraction process known as hydraulic fracturing. The EPA's initiative comes as water-intensive natural gas production has spread around the country, raising concerns about the effects on drinking-water supplies. The practice, also known as fracking, involves shooting water infused with chemicals and sand at high pressure into shale formations to unlock reservoirs of natural gas. The EPA will try to determine what to do with water used during fracking, as well as water that is already underground and flows back up the well.
October 6, 2011 |
Here's a posting from the "ick" files. Scientsts are now delving into an uncharted environment to study human and other viruses: raw sewage. In a study published Tuesday in the online journal mBio, researchers from the U.S. and Spainfound that untreated human wastewater -- "the effluence of society," they wrote -- contains an incredible diversity of viruses ... and that the vast majority are viruses we hadn't known of before. Click for the abstract . At this point, biologists know of about 3,000 different viruses, representing 84 different viral families -- but they suspect that those known bugs are just the tip of the iceberg.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 18, 2011 |
It started last month when workers at a Paso Robles wastewater treatment plant noticed what appeared to be a giant rodent roaming the facility. The creature eventually swam toward the Salinas River and disappeared from sight, but not before worker Nick Kamp had taken a few photos. He and a co-worker called the California Department of Fish and Game to report what they had seen. Responding wardens used the pictures to confirm that the animal was in fact a capybara — an adult they believe weighs 100 to 120 pounds.
December 10, 2010
Since 2007, members of the Achuar tribe, indigenous to Peru's Amazon rain forest, have been fighting to have their class-action suit against Occidental Petroleum tried in the United States. The Achuar allege that over a 30-year period, the Westwood-based oil company dumped millions of gallons of wastewater into their rivers and disposed of waste in unlined pits, sickening people and contaminating the land. The company, they maintain, should be held accountable in California courts. This week the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed, overturning a lower court ruling that said Maynas Carijano vs. Occidental Petroleum should be tried in Peru.
August 14, 2010 |
Landfills, with the tendency to belch noxious greenhouse gases, have long gotten a bad rap from environmentalists. But now several clean-power technology companies believe waste can be a source of environmentally friendly energy. FlexEnergy, an Irvine company, showed off a pilot generator Thursday that converts previously unusable methane gas seeping from a Riverside County landfill into 100 kilowatts of electricity. That could be used to help run the sprawling landfill operations or light up more than 100 homes.