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

How to avoid water wars between ‘fracking’ industry and residents

The shale gas boom has transformed the energy landscape in the U.S., but in some drier locations, it could cause conflict among the energy industry, residents and agricultural interests over already-scarce water resources, say researchers. They add that degraded water quality is a potential risk unless there are adequate safeguards. The article appears in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.

pic1Meagan S. Mauter and colleagues point out that a major criticism of extracting shale gas through hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” is that it requires tremendous amounts of water — 2.5 to 5 million gallons — to develop a single well. Water, along with chemicals and sand, is injected under high pressure into wells to create cracks, or fractures, in shale and release stored gas. In some water-rich places, such as Pennsylvania, this is not a significant problem. Read more

World War II water conservation posters

I found these water conservation posters online a few years ago and have been holding onto them. Many cities and other organizations create marketing materials to educate people about water conservation. In this day and time, it is strange to think about getting people to conserve water for the good of their nation, particularly for a war effort.

Wartime-water-conservation-poster1It is hard to think about anyone rationing or conserving today for a war effort (even though we are presently at war). Today, pleas for water conservation are made for the environment’s sake, your personal footprint sake, or for money saving sake. Read more