News Briefs: ​Yorkshire Debuts Nature-Based Wastewater Treatment Works

Also in this week's water and wastewater news, a program on NPR outlines how Oklahoma's medical cannabis industry is straining some rural utilities

A wastewater treatment works using 20,000 wetland plants was recently completed by Yorkshire Water — a water supply and utility company in Yorkshire, England.

The Clifton wastewater treatment works features wetland ponds as the only wastewater treatment process on site as a trial to see how nature-based treatment can perform.

“The clay and wetland plants will naturally treat the wastewater at Clifton, reducing the reliance of energy-heavy treatment processes, providing a sustainable way to remove phosphorus while creating wildlife diversity and achieving a biodiversity net gain,” Michael Housby, lead project manager at Yorkshire Water, told the Doncaster Free Press. “This project will hopefully lead to the creation of other similar sites across Yorkshire, and we have already earmarked a number of treatment works around the region where we believe nature-based solutions can be implemented.”

Medical Cannabis Industry in Oklahoma Strains Some Utilities

A recent program on NPR outlined how the medical cannabis industry in Oklahoma has increased the demand for water and electricity throughout the state, putting a strain on some rural utilities.

More than 8,000 growers are now operating in the state since medical cannabis was approved in 2018, and they’re using powerful lights, fans and large tanks of water to operate.

A water district manager from Wynnewood told the program’s host that he’s pumped 40 million gallons of water from an aquifer this year and the utility is at risk of running out of water allotted by the state’s resources board. He’s now limiting growers to 10,000 gallons of water per month.

“If I start pumping — overpumping — I start robbing from my neighbor over here, and then he don’t have any water. And then pretty soon, nobody has water,” he told NPR.

USDA Seeks Applications to Improve Water and Waste Treatment in Rural Areas 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced that it is accepting applications for grants to improve water treatment and waste disposal systems in rural areas. The applications are being accepted under the Water and Waste Disposal Technical Assistance and Training Grants program. The program helps small communities improve water and waste treatment facilities for households and businesses.

Nonprofits that have the proven ability, background, experience and capacity to provide technical assistance or training on a national, regional or state basis are encouraged to apply. Eligible project areas include cities, towns and unincorporated rural areas with populations of up to 10,000 residents or tribal lands in rural areas. Special consideration may be given to projects that serve areas with populations of less than 5,500 residents or less than 2,500 residents.

Funds may be used to identify and evaluate solutions to water problems related to source, storage, treatment, distribution, collection, treatment and disposal; provide technical assistance and training to improve management, operations and maintenance of water and waste disposal systems; and prepare water and waste disposal loan and grant applications.

Projects should be completed in 12 months, and applications must be submitted through by Dec. 31.


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