News Briefs: Town Debates Treated Fracking Wastewater Proposal

In this week's news, a town looks for a catchy biosolids brand name, and fracking wastewater causes discord in Canada.
News Briefs: Town Debates Treated Fracking Wastewater Proposal

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Two Canadian communities have discovered that fracking wastewater, even when treated, is an emotional topic for residents. According to CBC News-New Brunswick, about 100 people recently attended a public meeting in Amherst, Nova Scotia, to discuss a proposal from Atlantic Industrial Services of Debert, Nova Scotia, which would send nearly 8 million gallons of treated wastewater to the town’s treatment plant. The company would pay the town $500,000 over two years.

A similar proposal is being debated in Dieppe, New Brunswick.

The Debert municipal council rejected the wastewater because of concerns over high levels of sodium choloride and some radioactive material, which is similiar to a situation at an Auburn, N.Y., wastewater treatment plant (See, "Can Municipal Treatment Plants Handle Fracking Wastewater?"). According to CBC News, Atlantic Industrial Services says it has improved its treatment process to reduce those levels.

Greg Harrett, the chief administrative officer in Amherst, says the water will already be treated before coming to the town.

“We’ve identified the technical issues, and we think we’ve dealt with those,” he says. “And at this point in time, we’re proceeding.”

Sources: CBC News New Brunswick

Name Those Biosolids! Contest Opens to Public

Residents in Mechanicsburg, Pa., have been invited to drum up a catchy marketing name for the borough’s consumer biosolids product. According to an article on PennLive, the borough plans to sell the material, currently called Mechanicsburg EQ Compost, starting next year.

From Jan. 1 to March 1, residents can submit suggestions for the product name. Entries will be judged by the borough’s environmental advisory council, and the winner will receive one cubic yard of the compost material. Two other entries will be awarded gift certificates.

Additionally, the borough plans to hand out free samples of the product for Earth Day 2015.

Source: PennLive

Pilot Study Warns of Microplastics in Wastewater

A German study revealed that microplastics — particles smaller than 5 mm that often originate from personal care products — are not completely removed by conventional wastewater treatment plants. According to the Alfred-Wegener Institute, researchers examined wastewater and sludge from 12 German treatment plants using micro-FTIR and ATR-FTIR spectroscopy, which allowed the team to positively identify and classify manmade substances.

“Through this project we obtain for the first time concrete data on treatment plants as a possible input pathway,” says Ute Schlautmann, department head at the Lower Saxony Water Management, Coastal Defense and Nature Conservation Agency. “The results show that microplastics can be retained in treatment plants, but evidently not completely.”

The Institute also examined drinking water plants, taking samples from water wells, mains, outlets and at the consumer end. Results showed no contamination in groundwater, and only very small occurrences in drinking water, which scientists say indicates the microplastics stem from abrasion of a seal or pipe.

Source: Alfred-Wegener Institut

Report Calls for Climate Change Investment

A new report from the Center for American Progress states that climate change should be a component of all wastewater infrastructure planning. The report, released on the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, recommends that affordable, green infrastructure solutions should be considered in preparation for stronger storms, higher seas and heavier downpours.

The report, which can be read in its entirety here, makes the following recommendations:

  • Integrate climate risk into all new wastewater infrastructure
  • Finance resilience improvements through state infrastructure banks
  • Prioritize resilience in state revolving-fund investments, accounting for regional differences in climate change vulnerability
  • Invest in green infrastructure and the protection and restoration of wetlands and coastal ecosystems to protect and supplement wastewater treatment systems

Source: Center for American Progress press release


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