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

The news article entitled, The Optimistic Futurist: Waste not-make electricity instead, written by Francis Koster in March 23rd 2013 it was published by the salisburypost.com. Francis P. Koster lives in Kannapolis. His “Optimistic Futurist” column appears every other Sunday. He has published a collection of his columns, “Discovering the New America: Where Local Communities Are Solving National Problems”. The content with in the story relates to water hydraulic management regarding sewer systems and their treatment process and ability.  It focuses early on the amount of containments our sewer systems can gather ranging from all different types of toxins and chemical compositions. Stating that, “Our future may also be impacted by these chemicals combining with each other in the environment and making new chemicals, a process known as ‘ecotoxicology’.” (Koster). Noting that sewer systems in America are not suitable to process these chemicals, the article refers to the American Society of Civil engineers view and grade for the 14000 sewage treatment plants in the U.S.  For the 2013 grade report regarding infrastructure in America , it received a D.

In 2009 the EPA conducted study on bio-solids with in sewer facilities and found harmful and hazardous content regarding samples taken from Sewer treatment plants.  One solution pushed in this article is the incineration of these bio-solids in order to reduce waste and even self-power the treatment management. Stating that, “Of the 200 facilities that have put such high-temperature incinerators in place, the more creative ones are actually using the burning process to generate electricity.” (Koster). This solution is relevant to waste water engineering that correlates heavily with hydrology in order to manage the available water as resource.  The solution seems plausible and if it occurs already with in treatment facilities, using the heat generated for electricity could be another plus.
This issue regarding waste management of bio-solids that prevents any contamination to the environment is important on an economic level as well as societal. Producing the energy needed to manage the waste by burning it can help lower costs to managing bio-solids. In regards to the societal aspect, people with in the district for that sewer facility won’t have to pay the price.  This article and issue pertains specifically to every citizen in the U.S. who relies on their water to be managed for them by sewer systems.

The basic cause for management of bio-solids is the over accumulation of it, the more we continue to consume the more we have to manage. Since water is essential to every life source or creation, waste water should be a number one priority in every community.

Koster, Francis. “The Optimistic Futurist:   Waste not – make electricity instead.” Salisbury Post 24 March   2013. Electronic.   <http://www.salisburypost.com/article/20130324/SP05/130329881/1012&gt;.