Monday, August 13, 2012

Keeping Pharmaceuticals Out Of The Water Supply

There is a lot to be concerned about when it comes to contaminants in our water supplies. One of the biggest concern in recent years has been the discovery of measurable concentrations of  Pharmaceutical drugs in public and private water supplies. Improvements in our ability to test for such contaminants has lead to a realization that these drugs are present and in concentrations that are concerning to say the least. The EPA ha funded a Pilot "Mail-Back Program" in an effort to asses the viability of preventing consumers from disposing of these leftover prescriptions medications in ways that allow them to get in into the water supply systems. Below is a press release that came out today about the EPA funded program.

Report Released on Pharmaceutical Mail-back Pilot Program Funded by EPA

Agency provided $150,000 grant to University of Maine's Center on Aging
to undertake study

WASHINGTON -Through a grant awarded by the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA), the University of Maine's Center on Aging has completed
the first statewide mail-back pilot program for managing pharmaceutical
waste from consumers. Studies show that pharmaceuticals are present in
our nation's waterbodies and that certain drugs may cause ecological
harm. EPA is currently evaluating the potential risks associated with
pharmaceuticals and personal care products on public health and aquatic

"This pilot is important because it has filled research gaps about the
volumes and types of medications that can end up in our waters, and
affect our ecosystems," said Peter S. Silva, assistant administrator for
EPA's Office of Water. "The pilot also gave residents a way to serve as
environmental stewards to reduce water pollution."

The program included the use of mailers to return unused and unwanted
medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, from households.

Maine Care (Maine's Medicaid program) established a limit for certain
drugs on the quantity that can be filled with an initial prescription.
This policy is targeted at reducing the supply and accumulation of
unused medications and to prevent pollution. The Maine legislature also
recognized the value of the take-back pilot and enacted legislation to
continue the program for an additional two years. As part of the EPA
grant, the University of Maine's Center on Aging  developed a handbook
on the project and collected data on the type and amount of unused

The grant is part of EPA's larger efforts to protect the health of older
adults and encourage older adults to engage in environmental stewardship
in their communities. Older adults were actively involved in the design
and implementation of the safe medicine disposal; for Maine pilot

To view the executive summary of the report:

Enesta Jones

Pharmaceuticals in my water is very bad news.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Are you still in denial of climate change?

Here is an important article that may help those who still doubt the effects of global climate change.

By James E. Hansen: Climate change brings the heat James E. Hansen Friday, Aug 3, 2012 James E. Hansen directs the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

When I testified before the Senate in the hot summer of 1988 ,I warned of the kind of future that climate change would bring to us and our planet. I painted a grim picture of the consequences of steadily increasing temperatures, driven by mankind's use of fossil fuels.

But I have a confession to make: I was too optimistic.

My projections about increasing global temperature have been proved true. But I failed to fully explore how quickly that average rise would drive an increase in extreme weather.

In a new analysis of the past six decades of global temperatures, which will be published Monday, my colleagues and I have revealed a stunning increase in the frequency of extremely hot summers, with deeply troubling ramifications for not only our future but also for our present.

This is not a climate model or a prediction but actual observations of weather events and temperatures that have happened. Our analysis shows that it is no longer enough to say that global warming will increase the likelihood of extreme weather and to repeat the caveat that no individual weather event can be directly linked to climate change. To the contrary, our analysis shows that, for the extreme hot weather of the recent past, there is virtually no explanation other than climate change.

The deadly European heat wave of 2003, the fiery Russian heat wave of 2010 and catastrophic droughts in Texas and Oklahoma last year can each be attributed to climate change. And once the data are gathered in a few weeks' time, it's likely that the same will be true for the extremely hot summer the United States is suffering through right now.

These weather events are not simply an example of what climate change could bring. They are caused by climate change. The odds that natural variability created these extremes are minuscule, vanishingly small. To count on those odds would be like quitting your job and playing the lottery every morning to pay the bills.

Twenty-four years ago, I introduced the concept of "climate dice" to help distinguish the long-term trend of climate change from the natural variability of day-to-day weather. Some summers are hot, some cool. Some winters brutal, some mild. That's natural variability.

But as the climate warms, natural variability is altered, too. In a normal climate without global warming,two sides of the die would represent cooler-than-normal weather, two sides would be normal weather, and two sides would be warmer-than-normal weather. Rolling the die again and again, or season after season, you would get an equal variation of weather over time.

But loading the die with a warming climate changes the odds. You end up with only one side cooler than normal, one side average, and four sides warmer than normal. Even with climate change, you will occasionally see cooler-than-normal summers or a typically cold winter. Don't let that fool you.

Our new peer-reviewed study, published by the National Academy of Sciences, makes clear that while average global temperature has been steadily rising due to a warming climate (up about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit in the past century), the extremes are actually becoming much more frequent and more intense worldwide.

When we plotted the world's changing temperatures on a bell curve, the extremes of unusually cool and, even more, the extremes of unusually hot are being altered so they are becoming both more common and more severe.

The change is so dramatic that one face of the die must now represent extreme weather to illustrate the greater frequency of extremely hot weather events.

Such events used to be exceedingly rare. Extremely hot temperatures covered about 0.1 percent to 0.2 percent of the globe in the base period of our study, from 1951 to 1980. In the last three decades, while the average temperature has slowly risen, the extremes have soared and now cover about 10percent of the globe.

This is the world we have changed, and now we have to live in it —the world that caused the 2003 heat wave in Europe that killed more than 50,000 people and the 2011 drought in Texas that caused more than $5 billion in damage. Such events, our data show, will become even more frequent and more severe.

There is still time to act and avoid a worsening climate, but we are wasting precious time. We can solve the challenge of climate change with a gradually rising fee on carbon collected from fossil-fuel companies, with 100 percent of the money rebated to all legal residents on a per capita basis. This would stimulate innovations and create a robust clean-energy economy with millions of new jobs. It is a simple, honest and effective solution.

The future is now. And it is hot.

End Article.

Thanks James for helping open those eyes that refuse to see the reality of global climate concerns.


Monday, August 6, 2012

When Less is More

We don't often equate less as being more but in the world of greywater recycling, AQUS provides exactly that.
AQUS is a Point of Use greywater recycling system. The system collects, filters, sanitizes and stores the waste water from a sink; most often a bathroom sink. The collected water is then pumped into the toilet tank as refill water when the toilet is flushed.
During the past 18 months, AQUS has undergone design changes that greatly improve functionality, maintenance, installation and cost. So, we have improved operation with less parts, easier installation thereby reducing the time required to install, simplified maintenance and the system retails at about half the cost of the original Aqus.
One of the things that really gets me fired up is the use of drinking quality water to dispose of toilet waste. This is an inexcusable and unnecessary waste of fresh water resources that can be easily rectified in most homes and many businesses. At a cost of less than $200 US, the average return on investment is 12 to 18 months, depending on your particular installation costs if you can't or choose not to do it yourself. The ROI can be improved even more if you use it with a Dual Flush toilet.
With about 2/3rds of the US currently experiencing extreme drought condition, flushing drinkable water down the toilet is ludicrous, especially when other options can be easily and cost effectively implemented.

That's what I think; what's your opinion?