News Briefs: Mold! Wet Conditions Create Safety Hazard at Plant

In this week's water and wastewater news, a moldy situation develops at a Hawaiian plant, and Antarctica is set to receive its first advanced wastewater treatment plant.
News Briefs: Mold! Wet Conditions Create Safety Hazard at Plant

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Workers at a wastewater treatment plant in Hilo, Hawaii, have had to take special precautions recently, thanks to a mold problem in the facility’s administrative building. As a temporary fix, a trailer office was delivered to the site, and workers were supplied with respirators to use if they had to enter the contaminated area, which includes the plant’s laboratory.

The scope of the problem was discovered during a roof repair, but it’s a situation that has been building for some time. According to a report in West Hawaii Today, the department has been placing buckets throughout the building and covering equipment with plastic for years. 

“Sometimes it would rain real hard. It stopped raining outside, but it sill would be raining inside,” said one of the plant’s employees in the article.

A May 4 report from Compliance Solution LLC stated mold had been found on bookshelves and blueprints, behind bulletin boards and in drywall and drop ceiling tiles.

Four wastewater employees have filed incident reports and one has filed a complaint with OSHA.

The roof is being repaired, and according to the article, it is still unclear how — or when — the mold will be removed.

Source: West Hawaii Today

Antarctica to Receive Advanced Wastewater Treatment

Australia has plans to ship an advanced sewage treatment plant to Antarctica’s Davis Station. The new plant, which will produce water good enough to drink, is an effort to solve problems caused by raw sewage released from research bases. Scientists have discovered that raw sewage has contaminated the coast and affected marine life.

“I think that’s something we should be very concerned about,” says Dr. Jonny Stark, an ecologist from the Australian Antarctic Division, in an ABC report. “We don’t know what the long-term implications of that might be, but it’s probably not a good thing.”

Dozens of bases are permitted to release macerated sewage out to the sea under the Antarctic Treaty rules. A 2008 study showed that 37 percent of Antarctica’s research bases did not treat wastewater.

Australian researchers are hoping the new plant will inspire a conversation about recycled water and water efficiency.

“At the moment [expeditioners] desalinate water from a hypersaline tarn — so very salty water,” says Professor Stephen Gray, Victoria University. “It’s cold, so the amount of energy that they actually have to use to heat that water up before they treat it and make it available for drinking is quite a lot of energy.”

Source: ABC 



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