News Briefs: Tornado Causes Serious Damage to Alabama WWTP

Also in this week's water and wastewater news, the U.S. Navy announces a study that will examine the effectiveness of treatment methods for water contaminated by PFAS

A wastewater treatment facility in Phenix City, Alabama, lost power and suffered significant damage in its offices and lab during a storm area meteorologists are calling an EF-0 tornado.

The tornado only touched ground for a half-mile and had wind speeds of 85 mph. The wastewater plant, which treats 5 mgd, remained operational other than allowing a partially treated wastewater spill during a 10-minute power outage.

U.S. Navy to Study Treating Water Contaminated by PFAS

The U.S. Navy has announced a pilot study that will examine the efficacy of treatment methods for water contaminated by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

Specifically, the study will extract groundwater from contaminated areas of former Naval Air Station-Joint Reserve Base Willow Grove in Horsham, Pennsylvania, and put it through a series of four carbon and ion exchange filters to study its outcome.

The study will begin this spring and is to last six months.

Flint to Receive $80 Million Loan for Water Infrastructure Upgrades

The city of Flint, Michigan, will get an $80 million loan from the state to help fix its water infrastructure, according to Michigan Radio. The money will be used to build a pipeline for a secondary water source; improve a pump station; replace water mains; and improve water quality monitoring.

“It's important to understand it’s not new funding or state funding in any way,” Rob Bincsik, Flint’s public works director, tells Michigan Radio. “The $77.7 million in funding they are referring to is part of the $100 million Water Infrastructure Improvement for the Nation Act grant we received some time ago.”

Bincsik also noted that the city’s water system needs more than $300 million more invested into it in the next 20 years.

Researchers Use New Metric to Predict Drought-Flood Risks as Global Temps Rise

Researchers at The University of Tokyo have developed a new metric for evaluating the intensification of wet and dry spells under the effects of global warming, calling it the “event-to-event hydrological intensification index,” or E2E, as described in a new study published in Scientific Reports.

“The E2E combines normalized aggregated precipitation intensity and dry spell length to capture the interconnectivity of adjacent dry and wet spells and the intensification of their phase shifts,” explains corresponding author Hyungjun Kim.

The research team conducted multimodel ensemble experiments to compare the E2E between scenarios with 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius of warming. Overall, warming was associated with a clear increase in the E2E, with significant additional increase from 1.5 degrees C to 2.0 degrees C of warming.

In addition, the study revealed geographic trends in changes in rainfall intensity under these warming scenarios. For example, more intense precipitation is predicted across much of North America.

“Our results suggest that extreme dry and wet events will increasingly co-occur, such as the switch from extreme drought to severe flooding we saw in California in the recent past,” says lead author Gavin D. Madakumbura. “At least in terms of disaster mitigation and water security, there would be significant benefits to limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius to dampen the intensification of event-to-event variability.”


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