Novel technique enables air-stable water droplet networks

A simple new technique to form interlocking beads of water in ambient conditions could prove valuable for applications in biological sensing, membrane research and harvesting water from fog.

water-droplet-networks

Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed a method to create air-stable water droplet networks that are valuable for applications in biological sensing and membrane research.

Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed a method to create air-stable water droplet networks known as droplet interface bilayers. These interconnected water droplets have many roles in biological research because their interfaces simulate cell membranes. Cumbersome fabrication methods, however, have limited their use. Read more

Water filtration is an essential component to a healthy lifestyle

Clean water is a fundamental part of a healthy lifestyle. The majority of our society relies on municipal water sources to supply their household needs. Most city water sources contain highly contaminated forms of water that are then sanitized with potent chemical agents. Water filtration is especially important to make municipal water acceptable to drink.

filtered-waterMunicipal water systems contain chemical residue from pesticides, herbicides and industrial waste. It also contains several strains of pathogenic bacteria and viruses. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has accepted the definition of “pure” water as that which is free of bacterial components. This does not include the chemical contaminants that threaten human health. A water purification system focuses solely on removing bacterial components without attempting to rid the water of chemicals and minerals. Read more

Oyster aquaculture could significantly improve Potomac River estuary water quality

Oyster aquaculture in the Potomac River estuary could result in significant improvements to water quality, according to a new NOAA and U.S. Geological Survey study published in the journal Aquatic Geochemistry.

Potomac River. Oyster aquaculture in the Potomac River estuary could result in significant improvements to water quality.

Potomac River. Oyster aquaculture in the Potomac River estuary could result in significant improvements to water quality.

All of the nitrogen currently polluting the Potomac River estuary could be removed if 40 percent of its river bed were used for shellfish cultivation, according to the joint study. The researchers determined that a combination of aquaculture and restored oyster reefs may provide even larger overall ecosystem benefits. Oysters, who feed by filtering, can clean an enormous volume of water of algae which can cause poor water quality. Read more

Puget Sound’s rich waters supplied by deep, turbulent canyon

The headwaters for Puget Sound’s famously rich waters lie far below the surface, in a submarine canyon that draws nutrient-rich water up from the deep ocean. New measurements may explain how the Pacific Northwest’s inland waters are able to support so many shellfish, salmon runs and even the occasional pod of whales.

Puget-Sounds

The Juan de Fuca Canyon reaches the opening of the strait that separates the U.S. and Canada. The canyon is just under 4 miles wide and at least 450 yards deep, or twice the depth of the surrounding seafloor.

University of Washington oceanographers made the first detailed measurements at the headwater’s source, a submarine canyon offshore from the strait that separates the U.S. and Canada. Observations show water surging up through the canyon and mixing at surprisingly high rates, according to a paper published in March in Geophysical Research Letters. Read more

Researchers question emergency water treatment guidelines

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) recommendations for treating water after a natural disaster or other emergencies call for more chlorine bleach than is necessary to kill disease-causing pathogens and are often impractical to carry out, a new study has found. The authors of the report, which appears in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology, suggest that the agency review and revise its guidelines.

WaterDaniele Lantagne, who was at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at the time of the study and is now at Tufts University, and colleagues note that after natural disasters such as floods, clean water can be scarce. To prevent the spread of water-borne illnesses, the EPA currently recommends “bottle, boil, bleach” in case of a water emergency. That is, people should turn to bottled water as a first resort. If that’s not an option, then they should boil available water to disinfect it. Read more