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URL: http://www.dw.com/en/clearer-picture-emerging-over-brazils-mining-disaster/a-19006554

The article “Clearer picture emerging over Brazil’s mining disaster” was written by Sam Cowie for Deutsche Welle on January 27, 2016. This news of the Mariana mining disaster is a hydrology issue of water quality and environmental protection.  The article is an update about the Samarco mine tailings dam failure that occurred on November 5th, 2016.  The failure has been called “Brazil’s worst environmental disaster” because it released millions of tons of mud containing mineral residues into the Rio Doce. The environmental damage was extensive as the mud traveled down the Rio Doce to the Atlantic Ocean.  The flooding from the dam failure destroyed nearby communities in the municipality of Bento Rodrigues, killing seventeen people and leaving hundreds homeless.  The article by Cowie calls the mud “toxic”, which has been a source of controversy ever since the disaster occurred. Samarco originally claimed that the water and mud released by the dam failure were not toxic.  However, the United Nations human rights agency released a statement that contradicted Samarco by saying that the mine waste “contained high levels of toxic heavy metals and other toxic chemicals” (Reuters, Nov. 26, 2015).  Another recent article that describes the growth of the spill into the Atlantic Ocean also describes the mud as “contaminated” and “toxic” (Alves, Jan. 7, 2016). This issue is still being debated as more evidence is gathered. The article by Cowie fails to mention this debate, but it does give a thorough description of the far-reaching impacts of the disaster.

This water resources engineering issue of mine tailings dam failure, flooding, and pollution influences economic, environmental, and societal context areas. The economic context relates to local and global economic issues, the environmental context relates to how the environment is being damaged, restored, and/or protected, and the societal context relates to the impacts on community members and their relationships with each other and/or the government.  These context areas are often connected, and they are certainly interrelated in the aftermath of the Samarco dam failure. The disaster has affected the regional economy because of the entry of contaminants into the Rio Doce.  The mine waste killed most of the fish in the river and consequently destroyed the livelihoods of fishermen along the river (Cowie, Jan. 27 2016).  Samarco, owned by Vale and BHP Billiton, has been charged by the Brazilian government to pay $5 billion in fines as well as the costs of temporary housing for citizens displaced by the disaster. This could affect Samarco employees and both Vale and BHP Billiton stockholders all over the world. A full environmental assessment has not been made yet, but it is estimated that it could take 10 to 50 years for the region to recover (Cowie, Jan. 27 2016). In addition to killing fish, drinking water sources were polluted.  This created both economic and societal issues in Brazil.  Brazilians in the region of Bento Rodrigues were left with no home, no source of income, and no clean water in the wake of the disaster.  This has caused some unrest and has put strain on many communities.  Li and Azam’s review of Tailings Dam Failures confirms that failures at the scale of what occurred in Brazil have large socio-economic impacts and are associated with environmental pollution and infrastructure damage (Dec. 2010).  Cowie showed how the Marianas mining disaster will have long-lasting direct effects of human suffering and environmental damage.  These effects will continue to be felt in Brazil’s economy, environment, and society for decades to come. Proper design and monitoring of tailings dams is important in order to ensure that disasters like the Samarco dam failure don’t occur in the future.

Images:

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Figure 1: Many homes in the municipality of Bento Rodrigues were destroyed by flooding from the Samarco dam failure. Source: Deutsche Welle

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Figure 2: The release of millions of tons of contaminated mud into the Rio Doce has killed most fish in the river and left thousands of fishermen with no source of income. Source: Deutsche Welle

 

 

References:

Alves, Lisa. Jan. 7 2016. Brazil’s Samarco Dam Mud Spill Grows in Atlantic Ocean. The Rio Times. Retrieved from: http://riotimesonline.com/brazil-news/rio-politics/mud-spill-from-samarco-dam-grows-in-atlantic-ocean/#sthash.UahtT2DV.dpuf

Azam, Shahid & Li, Qiren.  Dec. 2010. Tailings Dam Failures: A Review of the Last One Hundred Years. Waste Geotechnics, Geotechnical News 50-53. Retrieved from: http://www.infomine.com/publications/docs/Azam2010.pdf

Cowie, Sam. Jan. 27 2016. Clearer picture emerging over Brazil’s mining disaster. Deutsche Welle. Retrieved from: http://www.dw.com/en/clearer-picture-emerging-over-brazils-mining-disaster/a-19006554

Reuters. Nov. 26, 2015. BHP-Vale Samarco: Mud from Brazil dam burst is toxic, UN says. The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved from:  http://www.smh.com.au/business/mining-and-resources/bhpvale-samarco-mud-from-brazil-dam-burst-is-toxic-un-says-20151125-gl8a4a.html#ixzz3yZAnBExC

 

Original Article: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/23/science/ban-on-microbeads-proves-easy-to-pass-through-pipeline.html?ref=topics&_r=0

Author: Melissa Multer

Water Resources Engineering (WRE) connects engineering hydrology and hydraulics with global, economic, environmental, and societal issues. Our student, Melissa Multer, makes this connection here…

The news titled, “Ban on Microbeads Proves Easy to Pass Through Pipeline” was reported by The New York Times in their December 22, 2015 online news. This news relates to the WRE hydrology as microbeads slip through wastewater treatment systems and into water ways as they are too small to be stopped by any filter or screen. This specific issue relates to the movement of water. In summary, this article reports on the recent bill that was passed through the congress and senate banning microbeads most commonly found in in beauty and health products. This law will require that companies stop using the beads in their products by July 2017. Microbeads have become a huge issue in many waterways, and it is estimated that 11 billion microbeads are released in waterways each day. Although the beads are not considered toxic, they attract harmful chemicals which adhere to their surface. Marine life consumes these beads with the chemicals and they then travel up the food chain. This is a step in the right direction, but it should be known that much more needs to be done to lower the amount of plastic that enters waterways each year. Based on my understanding of water resources and engineering the WRE facts in the news are accurate, as I show from the following sources. Rochman (2015) states how banning microbeads from products that enter wastewater systems will protect water quality and wild life. Schneiderman (2015) explains the research done to find the direct relationship between microbeads and pollution. Based on critical thinking of this story I think that the article has failed to show in how companies affected by this ban can change their formula naturally using natural exfoliates such as sugar, salt, and coffee grounds.

Water resources engineering affects many other context areas. This particular issue impacts environmental and economic context areas. These are defined as follows: the environmental context relates to the environmental impact the issue has and the economic context relates to the monetary impact on society and the government. Based on the article microbeads impact the environment by causing chemicals to adhere to them which gets transferred to the water. The microbeads ban will also impact economics as it will lead to a change in many products possibly causing the prices of these products to increase. I found that the environmental impact is also reported by Bruggers (2016), which entails the threat of microbeads being consumed by aquatic wildlife. The cause and effect between microbeads and the environment is that chemicals adhere to microbeads which are then consumed by fish and thereon travel up the food chain and transport chemicals.

IMAGES:

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Figure 1: A sample of microbeads and other tiny plastic particles taken from Lake Ontario. The Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015 sailed through Congress in an age when most legislation plods.

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Figure 2: Samples of microbeads shown from different facial and body products.

References

Schwartz, J. Ban on Microbeads Proves Easy to Pass Through Pipelines. The New York Times. Published: Dec. 22, 2015.

Schneiderman, E.T. Unseen Threat: How Microbeads Harm New York Waters, Wildlife, Health, and Environment. New York Office of Attorney General. 2014.

Rochman, C.M., Kross, S.M., Armstrong, J.B., Bogan, M.T., Darling, E.S., Green, S.J., Smyth, A.R., Verissimo, D. Scientific Evidence Supports Ban on Microbeads. Environmental Science & Technology. 2015, 49 (18), pp 10759–10761, DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.5b03909

Bruggers, J. Are you Flushing Plastic into the Ohio River? Courier Journal. January 6, 2016.

Original Article: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/08/150812-shade-balls-los-angeles-California-drought-water-environment/

Author: Lisa Ponce

Water Resources Engineering (WRE) connects engineering hydrology and hydraulics with global, economic, environmental, and societal issues. Our student Lisa Ponce makes this connection here…

The news article titled, “Why Did L.A. Drop 96 Million ‘Shade Balls’ Into Its Water?” was published by National Geographic in their August 12, 2015 online news page. The news relates to the WRE domain of hydrology and the specific issue of water evaporating from a reservoir in drought stricken Southern California. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power had millions of 4-inch black plastic balls put into the Sylmar reservoir. The Sylmar reservoir provides L.A. with billions of gallons of drinking water. The city was hoping to reduce the amount of evaporation, algal and bacterial growth within the reservoir by providing shade over the water. The balls have been tested and have the potential to save the city millions of gallons of drinking water a year. The shade balls are also being used in other parts of California to reduce water usage. According to studies done by the Department of Agricultural Engineering at Oklahoma State University (1965), white floating plastic balls placed in testing ponds were able to reduce evaporation by 78%. The article on ‘shade balls’ stated that they are expecting a reduction in evaporation of 85-90%. This difference may be due to a difference in weather conditions or the difference in color of the balls (black vs. white). Although the ‘shade ball’ idea may reduce evaporation and reduce the amount of water use in L.A., the balls are made out of plastic and could potentially leach contaminants into the water. A study completed by Wagner and Oehlmann (2009) demonstrated that plastic bottled water can contain endocrine disruptors due to the leaching of chemicals from the plastic material. One very important fact that was missing in the National Geographic article was proving that the balls would not leach contaminants into the water. The article only mentioned that a senior policy analyst from the Natural Resources Defense Council stated that the shade balls, “probably won’t release any toxic materials into the water supply.”

The broader contexts areas of economics and society are impacted by the hydrology domain issue of the evaporating water supply in Southern California. The context of society involves the people affected by the issue at hand. This can include people in power such as the government and the people working to create and place the plastic balls, as well as the residents who will be drinking the water. The evaporation of water from the Sylmar reservoir greatly affects the economics of the area because money is being lost due to the loss of water. Society is being affected because the people living in this area are depending on the water sources around them to survive. If the shade balls can greatly reduce the evaporation from the reservoir and other water sources nearby, then Southern California and other parts of the world will have found a way to mitigate the loss of water during extreme drought. If successful, the ‘shade balls’ could save cities millions of dollars by preventing algal and bacterial growth, as well as reducing evaporation. A study published by the National Academy of Sciences displays that as global temperatures have continued to increase, the amount of evaporation in California has also increased (Hayhoe et al., 2004). If an increase in evaporation continues a cause and effect situation would result in civilians being forced to move out of the area which in turn would cause the economy to suffer.

Images:

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References

 

Hayhoe, K., Cayan, D., Field, C., B., Frumhoff, P., C., Maurer, E., P., Miller, N., L. (2004).

Emissions Pathways, Climate Change, and Impacts on California. Proceedings of the National Academy of the United States of America, 101, 12422-12427. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0404500101

Howard, B., C. (2015). Why Did L.A. Drop 96 Million ‘Shade Balls’ Into Its Water?. National

Geographic. Retrieved from http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/08/150812-shade-balls-los-angeles-California-drought-water-environment/

Manges, H., Crow, F. R. (1965). Evaporation Suppression by Chemical and Mechanical

Treatments. Oklahoma Academy of Science, 46. Retrieved from file:///C:/Users/TEMP/Downloads/4466-9417-1-PB.pdf

Wagner, M., & Oehlmann, J. (2009). Endocrine Disruptors in Bottled Mineral Water: Total

Estrogenic Burden and Migration From Plastic Bottles. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 16, 278- 286. doi: 10.1007/s11356-009-0107-7

Our ESF Club, Engineers without Borders, is collaborating with the Syracuse Professional Chapter of EWB on sanitation projects for a primary school in Las Majadas, Nicaragua, near Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. The EWB project is part of the Healthy Schools Program in the Palajunoj Valley managed by Primeros Pasos, a Guatemalan non-profit dedicated to holistic approaches for improving health care. When the Primeros Pasos program provided free medical examinations for nearly 1000 children in the Palajunoj Valley, they discovered many children suffered from gastrointestinal parasites and the associated problems of malnutrition and diarrheal diseases. To combat these problems, Primeros Pasos developed a holistic plan that involves health education workshops and training to school staff, teachers, children, and their parents to reduce the incidence of gastrointestinal parasites and enable the community to achieve the health and well-being needed to engage in learning and working and living. This January 2016 our ERE students will join the team in Guatemala!

Palajunoj Valley, south of Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, and site of the EWB sanitation project at the Las Majadas primary school.

Palajunoj Valley, south of Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, and site of the EWB sanitation project at the Las Majadas primary school.

Below we post a project description from the EWB website:

“Our mission, as the Syracuse Professional Chapter, is to plan, evaluate, construct, and maintain the latrines at the Las Majadas school, in addition to constructing additional handwashing stations. The Chapter will act on its vision to improve the quality of life for Guatemalan rural communities through access to adequate sanitation, integrated health education programs, and access to medical services. Improving the school’s infrastructure will encourage students to practice hygienic habits in school, reducing their risk of contracting parasites. The Chapter hopes to meet the needs of the community and empower the people with knowledge and skills by emphasizing community training during construction.

EWB Members in Las Majadas, Guatemala.

EWB Members in Las Majadas, Guatemala.

We visited the region and six schools in the Palajunoj Valley in October 2013, and we returned from a second trip in May 2014. The purpose of the second trip was to finalize the Project Partnership Agreement with the community and to collect the remaining technical information needed to move on to the design phase.  The travelers took measurements to map the layout of the school and photographs to document site conditions.  Specific technical tasks completed included further inventorying of the school’s infrastructure, characterizing soil, conducting soil percolation tests, projecting latrine usage, investigating local building regulations, documenting specific materials costs, and mapping out alternative routes for site material delivery.

Children of the Las Majadas, Guatemala primary school.

Children of the Las Majadas, Guatemala primary school.

The existing latrines at the Las Majadas primary school were constructed in a piecemeal fashion, with latrines added when previous ones failed. The school has been unable to provide an adequate number of latrines and handwashing stations for its students. Maintenance has also been a major barrier, as the current unimproved pit latrines provide no ability for reuse. Improved designs will allow the community to maintain these new latrines far into the future.

Currently we are working on developing our Alternatives Analysis Report for installing latrines at Las Majadas. We are comparing ventilated pit latrines, composting latrines, pour flush toilets or a hybrid of the a ventilated pit latrine and composting latrine. Our goal is for project implementation and construction to occur in August 2015. If you’d like to travel and help with construction, we need your regular participation at meetings.

The Las Majadas community supports our work in their community and eagerly anticipates our design.  We are partnered with the local school director, a teacher, interested parents, Primeros Pasos (an NGO operating in the Palajunoj Valley), and a Peace Corps Volunteer in the area.”

ERE faculty, in collaboration with ERE student-club leaders, coordinated an orientation retreat for freshman at ESF property in the Adirondacks, along Rich Lake near Newcomb, NY. The students spent the weekend in October engaging in a variety of activities, including bonfire games, a hike up Goodnow Mountain, canoe voyages across Rich Lake, visits to the Adirondack Ecological Center, and homework sessions on the beach. Faculty and instructors in attendance included Chuck Kroll, Chris Somerlot, Lindi Quackenbush, and Ted Endreny. Students who represented the ERE Club and coordinated many of the activities were led by Maria Scicchitano and Ben Taylor, Emma Averse, Amanda Chudow, Ariel Roy, Haley Canham, and Nidhi Baid.

Students, Faculty, and family members at Goodnow Mtn Fire Tower.

Students, Faculty, and family members at Goodnow Mtn Fire Tower.

ERE is proud of our high quality students and we work to build strong social networks within the freshman cohort as well as between freshman and the ERE faculty, staff, alumni, and older students to help retain those freshman in the ERE major. This Adirondack retreat is a signature event in our social networking effort, using ESF property to help establish the students sense of place.

Canoe launch onto Rich Lake.

Canoe launch onto Rich Lake.

 

Signaling our allegiance from Goodnow Mountain bedrock.

Signaling our allegiance from Goodnow Mountain bedrock.

 

Gathering of the first wave of students along Rich Lake bonfire.

Gathering of the first wave of students along Rich Lake bonfire.

Calculus and biology homework on the beach, Saturday afteroon.

Calculus and biology homework on the beach, Saturday afteroon.

ERE professor Dr. Wendong Tao and his Ph.D. students Anayo Ukwuani and Jonathan Masih Das won their EPA People Planet Prosperity (P3) sustainability award in the challenge areas of materials, chemistry, and water. Their project, Developing a Vacuum Distillation – Acid Absorption System for Recovery of Ammonia from Dairy Manure. To appreciate the sustainability of this development, consider that dairy manure has high ammonia concentrations and contributes to air and water pollution. Dairy farms need cost-effective methods to upgrade their nutrient management plans. Our goal is to develop an innovative technology coupling vacuum distillation and acid absorption for sustainable recovery of ammonia from both anaerobically digested and undigested dairy manure. Ammonia in dairy manure can be distilled under a low vacuum at a temperature below the normal boiling point of water and absorbed in a sulfuric acid solution to produce ammonium sulfate as a value-added product.

Alexandria, Virginia — Student teams gather for the U.S. EPA P3 Competition at the National Sustainable Design Expo at Oronoco Bay Park.

Dr. Wendong Tao and his SUNY ESF students Anayo Ukwuani and Jonathan Masih Das gather for the U.S. EPA P3 Competition at the National Sustainable Design Expo at Oronoco Bay Park.

Alexandria, Virginia — Student teams gather for the U.S. EPA P3 Competition at the National Sustainable Design Expo at Oronoco Bay Park.

PhD student Anayo Ukwuani explains the pilot-scale vacuum distillation – acid absorption system for SUNY ESF ERE U.S. EPA P3 waste to energy invention.

Alexandria, Virginia — SUNY Albany wins a 2015 P3 Award during the P3 Awards Ceremony at Oronoco Bay Park.

SUNY ESF EREs Team wins a 2015 P3 Award during the P3 Awards Ceremony at Oronoco Bay Park. Left to right, Lek Kadeli (EPA acting assistant administrator for R&D), Team ERE’s Wendong Tao, Jonathan Masih Das, Anayo Ukwuani, and William Euille, Mayor of the City of Alexandria

The specific objectives were to 1) evaluate the effects of temperature, vacuum, and dissolved solids concentration on ammonia recovery; 2) design an ammonia distillation – acid absorption system to produce ammonium sulfate granules with dairy manure; 3) construct a pilot-scale vacuum distillation – acid absorption system and develop operational parameters; and 4) perform a farm-scale economic analysis of the developed technology across its life cycle.

Kudos to this team for achieving their challenges!

 

What follows are notes from Alex Caven, President of Engineering for a Sustainable Society (ESS), and Ted Endreny, their adviser:

Instead of relaxing during over spring break, five members of our ESS club (including Jen Gienau), traveling independent of ESF, but with an ESF ERE alumnus Stan Hovey, gathered in Haiti to implement sanitation and reforestation projects. The sanitation project was developed last year when ESS members embarked on an exploratory trip to Haiti, and the reforestation project has been in the works for decades thanks to the dedication of Stan Hovey. To prepare for the trip the ESF students learned of Haiti’s long history of political exploitation, and began to understand the underlying reasons of the country’s economic, social, and environmental challenges. In short, the country lacks adequate sanitation infrastructure, emergency facilities, and has experienced severe deforestation. To assist us at the interface of humanitarian engineering ESS has partnered with SOIL and Agronomy Institute, local organizations working to improve conditions in Haiti.

SOIL – Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods – is a non-profit founded in 2006, which provides waste to resource services by composting human waste composting for families and communities. ESS became involved when SOIL identified a problem that could benefit from an engineering solution. SOIL takes in many cubic yards of waste each month, allows this to compost for several months, and the final product then must be sieved to remove the remaining cover material and other unwanted particles. The sieving process has been a burden for the workers, requiring use of pitchforks to move the compost onto a screen and push it through by hand. ESS agreed to build a bike-powered compost sifter to improve their efficiency in the post-processing and sieving of compost. During the winter of 2015 ESS students came together to talk through design challenge, consider design alternatives, gather materials, build a prototype in Syracuse (in an unheated barn owned by ESF), and coordinate logistics between Syracuse and Haiti. One logistical obstacle to note – Haiti happens to be the only country in the world prohibiting the shipment of a bike.

Compost sifter frame as reconstructed in Haiti, with chain leading to rear wheel of bike.

Compost sifter frame as reconstructed in Haiti, with chain leading to rear wheel of bike.

In Haiti, the students reconnected with their shipped materials (sans bike), and met with the SOIL team to discuss the engineering design solution. Working together with SOIL staff, we built the compost sifter over the course of two six-hour sessions. This was completed at the SOIL office in Port-au-Prince and then loaded into the back of a pickup truck and driven into and through the city dump to reach the SOIL composting site. There, we connected the bike to the structure, worked through some issues with keeping the chain running smoothly, and gave it a first sifting test. Looking for a rider was easy – the SOIL workers at the compost site were eager to ride the bike. The final product will continue to be tweaked to better handle a range of size distributions.

The reforestation project was initiated by ERE photogrammetry specialist Stan Hovey, who spent some of his childhood in Haiti where his father was tasked with promoting reforestation and building an agronomy program. More recently Stan has taken up the reigns on his father’s projects and reached out to ESS for help. During the 2015 spring break ESS students participated in the building of two tree nurseries, and worked with Haitian agronomists from 6 different regions of the country to develop record-keeping, map-making, and technical skills. During this trip, ESS members approached a school outside of the city of Petit-Goave to start environmental clubs for budding scientists to promote environmental awareness. The agronomists, when the nursery trees are ready for planting, will recruit these environmental club members to help plant the trees. Stan has introduced advanced geographic information system (GIS) technologies to the tree nursery projects, and the ESS students helped agronomists to geotag nursery locations in the EpiCollect platform.

Coffee seedlings planted by ESF ESS students, Haitian agronomists, and Petit-Goave community members.

Coffee seedlings planted by ESF ESS students, Haitian agronomists, and Petit-Goave community members.

Jen Gienau teaches Haitian agronomists to geotag locations in EpiCollect and how to download the data into a central database and upload it to a GIS map.

Jen Gienau teaches Haitian agronomists to geotag locations in EpiCollect and how to download the data into a central database and upload it to a GIS map.

In addition to moving forward with these projects, ESS plans to engage in other efforts. Smart phones and computers are needed by the agronomists to help keep records and maintain communication across sites. Financial and material resources are needed for an innovative goat program which provides families with pregnant goats, along with nursery development, management, tree disbursement and planting to provide goat food and complete a nutrition cycle. Finally, electricity is needed by the mountain community of Bon-Bon, which has a high energy stream running nearby. There is the possibility ESS will build a pico- or micro-hydro system to provide Bon-Bon with year-round electricity.

URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0169555X14001792

Water Resources Engineering (WRE) connects engineering hydrology and hydraulics with global, economic, environmental, and societal issues.  Our student Kaitlin McCann makes this connection here…

The article entitled Recent rates of sedimentation on irregularly flooded Boreal Baltic coastal wetlands: Responses to recent changes in sea level from the Journal of Geomorphology published on July 15, 2014 focuses on the hydrology and sedimentation of Boreal coastal wetlands on the coast of the Baltic Sea.  The specific issue arises from increases in sea level as a result of the movement of atmospheric pressure systems and fluctuating meteorological conditions (Ward et al., 2014).  As this article is a published scientific Journal article, in addition to my engineering education, I can say that the facts presented on this topic are very accurate.  The only information that I believe may have been missing from the article is the explanation of some of the terms used, such as glacial-isostatic adjustment.

I believe that the broader context areas impacted by this issue are mostly economic and environmental.  Flooding is a natural disaster that causes significant damage on coastlines, which can cause a huge economic burden in terms of disaster relief.  In this particular study, the focus is on wetlands and how increased sedimentation due to flooding is causing progradation of the wetlands.  This negatively affects the benefit that the environment receives from the function of these wetlands.  As my main source was a Journal article, I have found an article from the World Wildlife Fund regarding how the Baltic Sea is experiencing eutrophication as a result of increased nutrients loads (World Wildlife Fund).  This could be attributed to the progradation of the wetlands to the Baltic Sea after increased sedimentation.

Figure 1. Location of the Boreal coastal wetland study sites on the Baltic coastline.

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Figure 2. This image from the World Wildlife Fund shows the eutrophication of the Baltic Sea in the summer of 2005.

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References

Ward, R., Teasdale, P., Burnside, N., Joyce, C., & Sepp, K. (2014). Recent rates of sedimentation on irregularly flooded Boreal Baltic coastal wetlands: Responses to recent changes in sea level. Geomorphology, 217, 61-72. Retrieved March 21, 2015, from ScienceDirect.

World Wildlife Fund. (n.d.). Threat of eutrophication to the Baltic Ecoregion. Retrieved March, 22, 2015, from http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/where_we_work/baltic/threats/eutrophication/

URL: http://businesstoday.intoday.in/story/case-study-chennai-metropolitan-water-supply/1/203655.html

Water Resources Engineering (WRE) connects engineering hydrology and hydraulics with global, economic, environmental, and societal issues. Our student Anna Poliski makes this connection by analyzing the growing demand for water supply in the country of India, specifically in the city of Chennai and what is being done to fill this demand.

The WRE news article, entitled “Quenching Chennai’s Thirst” was published in the journal Business Today on March 16th, 2014.  The article focuses on the hydraulic domain of water resource engineering specifically dealing with the distribution and quality of water. The article discusses the growing population in India and the need for a more stable water supply.  Most of the water in India is dependent upon the monsoon season to fill their reservoir, which can be an extremely unstable source.  The Indian government along with private companies decided to turn towards desalination due to the country’s vast coastline. Metro Water, the leading supplier of water to Chennai, now supplies up to 831 million liters of water per day to the city (Madhavan). Although the article seems to think that desalination is a viable and long-term solution to India’s ongoing water demand, it fails to discuss other issues in India’s water system. India’s limited reservoir storage and aging piped network infrastructure are also still current issues that reduce the efficiency of water supply (Srinivasan et al).

India is just one of the countries that is increasing in size at an alarmingly fast rate.  A growing population correlates directly to a larger demand in water supply. This is not only a global and economic issue, but an environmental issue as well. Desalination was once considered a nonconventional resource to supply potable water to several countries, but with advances in technology it is now highly plausible and affordable (Ghaffour et al). Finding a reliable, clean source of water that is both affordable and environmentally friendly will be the greatest challenge for both scientist and engineers for future generations to come.

Figure 1: Model developed by Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewage Board

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References:

Ghaffour N, Missimer T, Amy G. Technical review and evaluation of the economics of water desalination: Current and future challenges for better water supply sustainability. Desalination[serial online]. January 15, 2013:309:197-207. Available from:Scopus, Ipswich, MA. Accessed Marh 12,2015

Madhavan N. Quenching Chennai’s Thirst. Business Today [serial online]. March 16, 2014;23(5):110-114. Available from: Business Source Complete, Ipswich, MA. Accessed March 12, 2015.

Srinivasan, V., S. M. Gorelick, and L. Goulder (2010), A hydrologic-economic modeling approach for analysis of urban water supply dynamics in Chennai, India, Water Resour. Res., 46, W07540, doi:10.1029/2009WR008693.

URL:http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2015/02/salina_street_sinkhole_tuesday_may_have_been_triggered_by_nearby_repair_on_satur.html#incart_related_stories

Water Resources Engineering (WRE) connects engineering hydrology and hydraulics with global, economic, environmental, and societal issues. Our student Kyle Magill-Jones makes this connection here about Syracuse’s aging water infrastructure and the potential to cause deadly sinkholes.

The article used for this blog is “Salina Street sinkhole may have been triggered by previous repairs nearby” written by Tim Knauss from Syracuse.com on February 11, 2015. This WRE news relates to hydrology because it relates to the infiltration of water from the aging distribution system that is constantly requiring repairs to stop leaks or bursts. This news story talk about how the pipe broke previously and was fixed but due to the pipe leaking it caused a sinkhole when the when the car was parked on the area where the work was done. The accuracy of this story is correct based on my two sources stating the problems with Syracuse’s water infrastructure can cause sink holes. The article forgot to add how the addition of minerals such as salt, which can add to the effect of sinkholes and make them easier to form.

This problem has created huge societal problems because with these sinkholes becoming more popular it is making the public realize the severity of this problem. With people realizing this problem they are also realizing the extremely large cost that is associated with the solution. This issue has been a very popular issue brought up by local politicians because of the large amount of money that will be needed to fix the problem. “Miner’s Syracuse Billion plan focuses on water system, infrastructure improvements” goes through the process in which the mayor has put together an agenda you fix the water infrastructure if given the money from the state. With visually dangerous affects being broadcasted it causes the mayor to have to make changes and try to fix the problem with it being so dangerous.

Figure 1: car that sank into sinkhole

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References:

Cochran, Molly. “What Causes Sinkholes to Form?” AccuWeather. N.p., 22 Apr. 2013. Web. 01 Apr. 2015.

“Miner’s Syracuse Billion Plan Focuses on Water System, Infrastructure Improvements.” Miner’s Syracuse Billion Plan Focuses on Water System, Infrastructure Improvements. N.p., 26 Nov. 2014. Web. 01 Apr. 2015.

“Salt Industry in Syracuse, New York.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 01 Apr. 2015.

Tknauss@syracuse.com, Tim Knauss |. “Salina Street Sinkhole May Have Been Triggered by Previous Repairs Nearby.” Salina Street Sinkhole May Have Been Triggered by Previous Repairs Nearby. N.p., 11 Feb. 2015. Web. 01 Apr. 2015

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