News Briefs: WWTP Building Floods With Sewage After Pipe Breaks in Basement

Also in this week's water and wastewater news, researchers use pine needle samples to trace over 70 different types of PFAS in six North Carolina counties from 1961 to the present

The Binghamton Johnson City Joint Sewage Treatment Plant in Vestal, New York, recently declared an emergency after a malfunction caused one its buildings to flood with partially treated wastewater.

A 16-inch pipe became separated from a wall in the building’s basement, causing sewage to leak, according to officials.

The emergency declaration allows the staff to spend additional money to clean up and repair the facility. To see an image of the accident, visit the source article on WSKG News.

Pine Needles Tell the Story of PFAS in North Carolina

The humble pine tree is more than just a common sight in North Carolina – it’s also a handy tool for monitoring the proliferation of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in over time.

Researchers from North Carolina State University used historical and current pine needle samples to trace the presence and concentrations of over 70 different types of PFAS in six North Carolina counties from 1961 to the present. The findings are a snapshot of the evolution of PFAS in the state over a 50-year period.

Why pine needles? “They’re everywhere in the state and free, so it’s very easy to sample numerous locations and time points without having to build and retrieve expensive sampling equipment,” says Erin Baker, associate professor of chemistry at NC State and co-corresponding author of the work.

As for the needles themselves, the waxy coating that protects them from the elements also acts as an efficient trap for airborne contaminants such as PFAS. And since pine trees drop their needles on an annual schedule, researchers can be certain about the points in time they’re looking at when they take samples.

Read more about the study here.

Company Upcycles Crab Shells for Wastewater Treatment

Forbes recently published an article about a new solution for wastewater treatment called Tidal Clear that upcycles crab shells that are discarded by the seafood industry into a biopolymer called chitosan. Then the chitosan is turned into a liquid that can be used in stormwater and wastewater treatment.

“Generally, the most consumed products in wastewater treatment facilities are the coagulants and flocculants,” Craig Kasberg, CEO and founder of Tidal Vision, tells Forbes. “The traditional coagulants are non-biodegradable, metal-based chemicals ... all non-biodegradable aluminum metals that end up in the wastewater sludge generated at the treatment sites. They are used because they are cationic, or positively charged, so they bind to the anionic or negatively charged contaminants in the water.”


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