Groundbreaking Technology Recycles Both Home Water and Energy Waste

The Nexus eWater Recycler captures most home wastewater and reuses it. Image courtesy of GranitArchitects

The Nexus eWater Recycler captures most home wastewater and reuses it. Image courtesy of GranitArchitects

The average family of four uses 400 gallons of water daily, approximately 70 percent of which is used indoors. About 95 percent of that clean, drinkable water goes down the drain. Over a quarter of it flushes toilets. Approximately 70 percent of home wastewater comes from washing machines, toilets and sinks.

Now, imagine the savings if we captured and reused 70 percent of that water!

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The number of oil spills keeps increasing

Gulf oil spill 2010Oil spills make the news on a regular basis. Are we so used to hearing, seeing and/or reading about them that we take them for granted as a way of life? We humans can get used to anything if we have to, but are we becoming desensitized to this growing environmental disaster? Continue reading

Encouraging test process helps remove drug residue from wastewater

Pharmaceuticals and fishThe proliferation of drug residue in our waterways has become an increasingly challenging health hazard, one that until now has seen no large scale solution, other than educating the public to dispose of unused medications properly.

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New efficiency Standards – good for consumers and the environment

The Dept. of Energy announced new federal energy efficiency standards for washers and dishwashers

The drive for greater energy efficiency has become part of our culture. So to is the growing awareness that water is a precious commodity we can no longer take for granted.

Manufacturers recognize that consumers are demanding better performing and less wasteful products. This resulted in 2010 in a gathering of oddfellows that under other circumstances wouldn’t have occurred.

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Drinking reclaimed wastewater – the pros and cons

Several years ago I got to tour the local wastewater treatment plant. Towards the end of the tour, the group I was part of was shown the machinery that did the final “scrubbing”.

In explaining the process, our guide mentioned that one of the final steps included putting the “cleaned” water through reverse osmosis. That brought the former wastewater up to drinking standards!

But is reclaimed wastewater really safe for drinking?

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Urban farming meets fresh fish

More urban gardeners are incorporating aquaponics for more sustainability

From small backyard gardens to larger community spaces and rooftop ventures, urbanites are rediscovering the value and freshness of home-grown food.

Aquaponics is a new trend that’s making headway that promises to enhance the quality of urban gardening while adding an unusual supply of sustainable protein.

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Ban on dishwasher detergents with high phosphates to begin July 1st

 

Beginning July 1st, it will be illegal for retailers to sell high phosphate dishwasher detergent in sixteen states. The new phosphate limit of 0.5 percent phosphorus by weight only applies to non-commercial dishwasher detergents. 

A ban on phosphates had been in the works in a number of states since 2008, to give detergent companies time to develop effective dishwashing alternatives. 

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Earth Creations offer eco-friendly fashion

Earth Creations makes sustainable clothing with no harsh chemicals

 

Approximately one-third of a pound of chemicals are used to grow the cotton in one t-shirt. There are an array of harsh chemicals that are used throughout the garment manufacturing process, most of which are toxic to humans. These include chlorine, sodium hydroxide, heavy metal salts and formaldehyde. Residuals of these toxins stay in the fabric. They also find their way into wastewater systems, particularly in developing countries.     

Many dyes that are excluded from the Organic Standards contain toxic components, said Martin Ledvina, co-founder of Earth Creations, Inc. Most conventional dyes don’t comply with EPA regulations so they’re sent overseas. The products that use these dyes, often made in sweatshops, make their way back here.     

Earth Creations makes fashionable sustainable clothing from materials like hemp and organic cotton, using natural clay-based dyes and others that have a low impact on the environment.     

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Will Mexico's new planned wastewater plant harm lush farmland?

the lush Mezquital Valley, Mexico

the lush Mezquital Valley, Mexico

Sewers of Mexico city  have been spewing “black water” 60 miles downhill to irrigate what is now lush farmland in the Mezquital Valley, in the Mexican state of Hidalgo. Though the stench belies the bucolic view of corn and alfalfa fields, the water is filled with toxins, including chemicals dumped by factories.

Mexico City has flushed its wastewater for the past 100 years to help irrigate this farmland through a series of canals that then trickle out onto the fields. The government recently announced plans to build a giant wastewater treatment plant, the first proactive measure it’s taken to manage flooding wastewater in almost 40 years.

Budgeted to cost $1 billion, the plant will begin operating in 2012 and will clean 60 percent of the city’s wastewater.

Farmers fear the new treatment plant will take away not only the harmful chemicals but also the natural fertilizers thy count on for their crops. Currently, the black water irrigates 350 square miles of the Valley. Because of the toxic brew, government officials direct farmers not to grow crops where the edible part comes into contact with the irrigation water and is eaten raw. This covers vegetables like lettuce, carrots or beets. Spotty enforcement and a flexible interpretation of the regulations often has farmers circumventing these rules.

This leads me to wonder. Having grown up near the southern border of Texas, we were always warned not to eat food from street vendors or risk severe stomach problems – “Pancho Villa’s Revenge”. In light of these farming practices,  the pieces of the puzzle finally fall into place. It’s easy to understand how food there can become contaminated.

Yet long-held beliefs are hard to shake.

A  75-year-old, fifth-generation farmer, Jesús Aldana Ángeles, says “Bad water would never make anything green,” he said. “But here the black waters turn everything green.”

New kit will help keep pharmaceuticals out of our water

Prescription drugsOn March 10, 2008, MSNBC’s website read:

“Pharmaceuticals lurking in U.S. drinking water … AP probe found traces of meds in water supplies of 41 million Americans”

More stories have since revealed how extensive the problem’s  become. The real ramifications of prescription drugs in the water we drink hasn’t been fully determined but this news is certainly enough to scare the heck out of most of us.

Leave it to the ingenuity of a pharmacist and an engineer to come up with a viable solution.

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