Archive for the 'wastewater' Category

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Lack of trickle-down in West Virginia leaves poorest high and dry

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“The ongoing water crisis in West Virginia has revealed the economic inequality in the state, as the richest shrug off inconveniences brought on by the contamination while the poorest struggle to obtain one of life’s basic necessities.

In the South Hills section of Charleston, where some homes sell for a million dollars, residents report few problems finding or affording potable water.

“There’ve been no complaints, really. People just go pick it up,” said Steve Bias, 51, the owner of Colonial Exxon gas station. “If someone said they had trouble finding water, we’d help them.”

The neighborhood’s rolling hills are home to the city’s doctors, lawyers and a few coal industry executives, whose homes — including some sprawling mansions — overlook more modest areas in the Kanawah River Valley.

An hour south of Charleston, residents in the impoverished coal mining town of Nellis in Boone County describe a very different scene than that in South Hills.

Some people work for the mine, but many have been laid off. Others drive long distances to low-paying jobs in the service industry.”

Read more: Aljazeera America


Thousands Without Water After Spill in West Virginia

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“CHARLESTON, W.Va. — As 300,000 people awoke on Friday to learn that their tap water was unsafe for brushing teeth, brewing coffee or showering, residents and businesses expressed a mix of anger and anxiety in coping with an industrial accident with no clear end in sight.

Schools were closed, restaurants locked their doors and hotels refused reservations. Store shelves were quickly stripped of bottled water, and traffic snarled as drivers waited to fill jugs from tankers delivered by the National Guard.

“It’s worrying me so much I’m having chest pains,” said Cookie Lilly, 71, who waited with her husband to get a ration of four gallons of water at the South Charleston Community Center.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, who ordered the ban on drinking, bathing and cooking with tap water in Charleston, the state capital, and nine surrounding counties, called on people not to panic.

“Help is on the way,” he said in a statement. “There is no shortage of bottled water. Supplies are moving into the area as we speak.”

Asked at a news conference about his “personal hygiene,” the governor sought a touch of levity. “It would be great to hop in a hot shower, but we’ll get through it,” he said. “We’re tough West Virginians.”

Mayor Danny Jones of Charleston said the do-not-drink order was strangling businesses. “You can’t imagine what it’s like to function like this, or not function like this,” he said, speaking as he drove home on Friday evening in uncommonly light traffic and passed a mall he said was nearly deserted.

The mayor and everyone else said their greatest worry was that no one in authority would say how long it would be before the water supply was potable again.

Officials said that up to 5,000 gallons of an industrial chemical used in coal processing seeped from a ruptured storage tank into the Elk River, just upstream of the intake pipes for the regional water company.

Authorities struggled to determine how much danger the little-known chemical, MCHM, or 4-methylcyclohexane methanol, posed.”

Read more: New York Times

Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals Linked to Fracking Found in Colorado River

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“A team of researchers from the University of Missouri found evidence of hormone-disrupting activity in water located near fracking sites – including samples taken from the Colorado River near a dense drilling region of western Colorado.

The Colorado River is a source of drinking water for more than 30 million people.

The peer-reviewed study was published this week in the journal Endocrinology.

Fracking is the controversial process of blasting water mixed with sand and chemicals deep underground at high pressure so as to fracture rock and release the oil and gas it holds. It has made previously inaccessible fossil fuel reserves economical to tap, and drilling operations have spread rapidly across the country.

The University of Missouri team found that 11 chemicals commonly used in the fracking process are “endocrine disrupters” – compounds that can affect the human hormonal system and have been linked to cancer, birth defects, and infertility.

“More than 700 chemicals are used in the fracking process, and many of them disturb hormone function,” said Dr. Susan Nagel, associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and women’s health at the University of Missouri School of Medicine and a co-author of the study, in a news release.”

Read more: National Geographic


World Rivers Review – Dec. 2013: Focus on Arts and Activism

Protecting rivers and communities from the ravages of large dams tends to involve brainy pursuits: there’s often a heavy focus on policy and political issues, and on designing strategic campaigns to stop destructive river projects and promote better options. While these efforts play a very important role in countering the powerful forces that threaten our rivers, the global river protection movement is also working to change hearts as well as minds. Around the world, groups are using the arts to reach people’s hearts and to promote a vision of water and energy for everyone, and a respect for rivers and the life, livelihoods and traditions tied to them. As one artist told us, “Art is a megaphone to project our side of the story.”

In this issue we hear from a wide range of groups who are using creativity to educate and build community for healthy rivers. This special issue ofWorld Rivers Review includes interviews, art works and essays by artist-activists using art, music, poetry and film to create social change.

To Learn More and Download the December Issue Click Here: International Rivers


Water – Making It Personal: Communicating A Sustainable Future

“Throughout history, journalism and storytelling have defined civilization. Journalists are the first responders to global crises, the pointers to important trends and the translators between disciplines. Good journalists seek out knowledge, ask thoughtful questions, listen carefully and tell unforgettable stories. The art of the story, well-told, is a powerful force because it compels the resilience and connectedness of humanity.

In China, we have one of the richest, most complicated stories unfolding that the planet has ever seen. The country is the second largest economy after the US, and its economy tripled between 2000 and 2010. China’s GDP is expected to grow by more than 7% each year over the next 10 years.166

Yet our reporting found that the priceless energy beneath Wu Yun’s family grasslands may be trapped. China faces severe constraints to its GDP growth because it may not be able to continue to mine and process its coal at current rates. 167 Mines use copious amounts of water to extract and process coal, and as water supplies dwindle, production will slow.

Just as the account of Wu Yun’s life and choices framed the reporting that introduced the existence of water and energy stresses in Inner Mongolia and China, lives of people offer keen insight into the challenges and opportunities of sustainability, consumption and the dreams that drive them.”

Read More: Circle of Blue

Uprising Grows Against Fracking in a Surprising Part of Europe

“Do you think they’re about to have sex?”, one of the group whispers. I’m in Transylvania, crouched in the bushes with a bunch of activists in balaclavas, taking turns to speculate why a car has crept to a halt close to where we are hiding out. “No, it must be the cops, you can see the light from the mobile phone”, another one says. Time to move on.

It has been over an hour since the group started trashing equipment owned by the gas exploration company Prospectiuni, playing an edgy game of cat and mouse as we struggle to stay one step ahead of the security teams and police vehicles that are now sweeping the hilltops looking for us.

Another light tears round the bend on the road and the shout goes through the team to hide. I throw myself down, stretched out once again in the cool damp grass of a Transylvanian meadow. It’s going to be a long night.

In recent weeks the sleepy Saxon communities and protected forests of Sibiu county in Transylvania, have become an unlikely front for a new battleground, pitting gas exploration companies, the Romanian government and international investment firms, against a small band of environmental activists from across Romania, who are working side by side with local farmers to resist gas and oil exploration that they claim is taking place illegally on their land.

Read More: Alternet


Residents Living on Citarum Riverbank Request to Be Relocated

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“The residents living there are willing to be controlled as long as the government relocates them to somewhere else.

Chief of RW 01 Cideng, Dadang Suherman, said that the residents hope the government would relocate them if theirbuildings were demolished. But, the relocation place must be clear, such as to flats. “There has been socialization for thenormalization of water channels in RT 17 and 18 RW 01, but until now there is no relocation from the governmentrelated to demolishment of residents’ buildings,” he stated, Wednesday (10/23).
Meanwhile, Head of Gambir Sub-District, Henri Perez, told that today, Wednesday (10/23), is the deadline for residentsto demolish their buildings themselves. Previously, his party has sent warning letter for three times. “We have sent themthree warning letters to demolish their buildings,” he uttered.
According to Perez, there are 200 illegal buildings standing on Citarum riverbank. Later, his party will demolish thosebuildings using two excavators and also deploy a dump truck. After that, Central Jakarta Water Channels ManagementPublic Works Dub-Department will do the normalization. “We’ll demolish all of the buildings today. Then, thenormalization of Citarum River will be directly carried out,” he asserted.”
Read more: Berita Jakarta

Argentina Blindly Exploiting Groundwater

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“According to the Environmental Atlas of Buenos Aires, the depth of the Puelches aquifer ranges from 40 to 120 metres, and it supplies 9,900 cubic metres of water a day. It is located between the Pampeano aquifer, which is closer to the surface, and the deeper Paraná aquifer, whose water is salty and used primarily by industry.

In the eastern region of the country are the Ituzaingó, Salto and Salto Chico aquifers. And in the province of Neuquén, in the western part of the southern region of Patagonia, groundwater reserves provide water for the oil, gas and mining industries, explained Mario Hernández, a hydrogeologist from the National University of La Plata.

There are also aquifers in the southern province of Santa Cruz. And in the northwest, an arid region with little rainfall, these groundwater deposits are recharged by river water.

In the western provinces of Mendoza and San Juan, water is supplied primarily by underground reserves. As a result, the aquifers here are studied and protected, and subject to regular monitoring, because the local wine industry depends on the water they provide.

“Groundwater resources play a key role in arid and semi-arid regions. If it weren’t for the aquifers, massive engineering works would be needed to supply water for irrigation or residential use,” Tujchneider told Tierramérica.”

Read more: IPS


The Complications Of Getting Running Water In The West Bank

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“Four enormous water tanks sit high on a hill in the West Bank. These hold the lifeblood for Rawabi, the first planned, privately developed Palestinian community, about 25 miles north of Jerusalem.

After five years, the first neighborhood is nearly built. But developer Bashar al-Masri is worried, because when it comes to water, Israel controls the spigot in the occupied West Bank.

“We’re about to have people move into the city,” he says, “and we still do not have a solid solution for the water.”

Right now, a 2-inch temporary pipe brings in less than half the water needed for construction and to run the offices. The rest is trucked in to those storage tanks, an extra expense and hassle. Rawabi’s first residents are due to move in at the end of this year. Eventually, developers hope, 40,000 people will call Rawabi home.

They also hope this will be a new kind of living experience. Rawabi is designed to offer an environmentally friendly, middle-class lifestyle. There will be walking and biking paths.

Like in Israel, but unlike in any other Palestinian city, wastewater here will be cleaned and reused to irrigate landscaping. Homes will have meters to help monitor water use and instant hot water to reduce waste.

Amir Dajani, the deputy managing director of the project, says these are big cultural changes. Most Palestinian homes have their own water tanks on the roof, because in the West Bank water comes through the pipes erratically. Some places get it several times a week; some places less than once a month.”

Read more: NPR



This Sinkhole Sucked Down 11 Barges Like They Were Rubber Duckies

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“Lake Peigneur, the site of one of the state’s most spectacular industrial disasters in 1980, kept coming up in my conversations with residents of Bayou Corne, the Cajun community in south Louisiana that has been evacuated for more than a year due to a massive, mining-induced sinkhole that now spans 24 acres—and is still growing. Last week, the state filed suit against Texas Brine and Occidental Chemical Company for damages relating to the disaster. (Read my story on Bayou Corne, which appears in the September/October issue of Mother Joneshere.) So on a sticky Sunday morning in June, I crossed over the Atchafalaya spillway to see the place for myself.

In November of 1980, in the process of generating revenue for (of all things) an environmental cleanup fund, a Texaco oil rig accidentally punctured the top of a salt mine situated beneath the lake. The water above emptied into the mine, creating a whirlpool that sucked 11 barges into the caverns below, turned the lake from freshwater to saline, and caused the Delcambre Canal to flow backwards. Three days later, nine of the 11 barges “popped up like iron corks,” the Associated Press reported; the other two were never found. Miraculously, all 55 workers who were inside the mine at the time of the accident managed to escape.

The disaster caused drilling in Lake Peigneur to cease—at least for a time. The lake showed signs of recovering from its industrial past after that, although it was several hundred feet deeper and stocked with a new species of fish that could live in the saltwater ecosystem. But industry slowly began to creep back.”

Read more: Mother Jones