Jan 29, 2014
In some communities, wells are running dry. In others, reservoirs are nearly empty. Some have long-running problems that predate the drought.
The water systems, all in rural areas, serve from 39 to 11,000 residents.
And it could get a lot worse.
"As the drought goes on, there will be more that probably show up on the list," said Dave Mazzera, acting drinking-water division chief for the state Department of Public Health.
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Jan 28, 2014
Oil and Chemical Spills: Federal Emergency Response Framework (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)
Thousands of oil and chemical spills of varying size and magnitude occur in the United States each year. A recent spill of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol into the Elk River in early January 2014 in and near Charleston, WV, illustrates the potential magnitude of such incidents that can have broad impacts on local populations. When a spill occurs, state and local officials located in proximity to the incident generally are the first responders and may elevate an incident for federal attention if greater resources are desired. In the case of the 4-methylcyclohexane methanol spill in West Virginia, President Obama issued a federal emergency declaration on January 10, 2014, to provide alternative water supplies to affected individuals. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also is supporting state efforts to respond to the spill.
The National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan, often referred to as the National Contingency Plan (NCP), establishes the procedures for the federal response to oil and chemical spills. The scope of the NCP encompasses discharges of oil into or upon U.S. waters and adjoining shorelines and releases of hazardous substances into the environment. The NCP was developed in 1968 and has been revised on multiple occasions to implement the federal statutory response authorities that Congress has expanded over time. Three federal environmental statutes authorized the development of the NCP: the Clean Water Act, as amended; the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) of 1980, as amended; and the Oil Pollution Act of 1990.
Jan 27, 2014
Free Webinar - Cradle to Cradle Certified Products Program: A Holistic Continuous Improvement Framework
Jan 26, 2014
RESEARCH TRIANGLE, N.C., Jan. 24, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Industrial Heat, LLC announced today that it has acquired the rights to Andrea Rossi's Italian low energy nuclear reaction (LENR) technology, the Energy Catalyzer (E-Cat). A primary goal of the company is to make the technology widely available, because of its potential impact on air pollution andcarbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels and biomass.
"The world needs a new, clean and efficient energy source. Such a technology would raise the standard of living in developing countries and reduce the environmental impact of producing energy," said JT Vaughn speaking on behalf of Industrial Heat (IH).
Mr. Vaughn confirmed IH acquired the intellectual property and licensing rights to Rossi's LENR device after an independent committee of European scientists conducted two multi-day tests at Rossi's facilities in Italy.
The published report by the European committee concluded, "Even by the most conservative assumptions as to the errors in the measurements, the result is still one order of magnitude greater than conventional energy sources" [referring to energy output per unit of mass]. The report is available online at http://arxiv.org/abs/1305.3913. In addition, performance validation tests we conducted in the presence of IH personnel and certified by an independent expert.
According to a report released by the Food Bank for New York City, 48 percent of emergency food providers ran out of food required for meals or pantry bags in November.
In the South Coast region, which includes Los Angeles and Orange counties, the number of high-ozone days has dropped 21% since 2003 and state officials now estimate about 60% of people — including all coastal residents — live where smog meets federal health standards. But 6 million people in inland areas still live with unacceptably smoggy air.
In the San Joaquin Valley, only one-quarter of the population enjoys air quality that meets federal health standards for ozone. Though the number of high-ozone days in the valley has fallen 35% since 2003, some 3 million people live in areas where smog levels are too high, according to the air board's estimates.
Jan 25, 2014
Jan 23, 2014
"What happens as the cooling begins, the jet stream moves from west to east in very large waves, but the amplitude, that is the north-south orientation of those waves, increases. It's called a meridional pattern of weather, and that's why you see the record colds that you had in the U.S. recently, but also record warms," Ball explained.
"Look at eastern Australia as an example, or Siberia earlier in the winter. So if you imagine these waves where you've got cold air pushing toward the equator in one area, you've also got warmer air pushing further toward the poles in other areas. That's why you've got this increasing variability of the weather," said Ball, who noted that history tells us exactly what these conditions mean.
"If you look at the historic record, and I mean going over 10,000 years, this pattern occurs as the earth starts its cooling down process. And that's what's going to happen," he said. "We're going to be in this cooling until at least 2040."
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Jan 22, 2014
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Jan 21, 2014
Since 2010, India has hiked installed solar power capacity from a meagre 17.8 megawatts to more than 2,000MW, official figures show, as part of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's aim to make "the sun occupy centre-stage" in the country's energy mix. Key to the progress has been a rapid fall in the cost per unit of solar electricity to close to what is known as "grid parity" -- the cost of conventional electricity generated by carbon-gas emitting coal. ... The next stage of expansion will see India build the world's largest solar plant to generate 4,000MW on the shores of a saltwater lake in the northwestern desert state of Rajasthan, which should drive solar power costs even lower. Operators believe economies of scale from the 280-billion-rupee ($4.4 billion) Sambhar plant to be constructed over the next seven years will reduce prices to 5.0-5.5 rupees a kilowatt-hour. "This is the first project of this scale anywhere in the world" and "is expected to set a trend for large-scale solar power developments," said Ashvini Kumar, director of Solar Energy Corp, one of five public utilities that will run the plan... Shared via feedly // published on Peak Energy // visit site
Jan 20, 2014
A boy walks to a latrine outside his makeshift home in a slum in Mumbai, India. The United Nations estimates that nearly 75 million people in India, and nearly 700 million worldwide, use unimproved toilets, while an additional 1 billion use no toilet at all.
Jan 17, 2014
Jan 16, 2014
The Waste Heat Engine is designed to run on heat as low as 500ºF from many different external sources of "wasted" heat such as:
* Commercial or small-scale industrial ovens or furnaces
* Landfill and industrial gas flares
* Engine exhaust – from vehicles or power generators
* Biomass combustion – dry, vegetative waste materials
The commercialization schedule has slipped a few years.
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Jan 15, 2014
MIT Technology Review: At a pilot plant in Menlo Park, California, a technician pours white pellets into a steel tube and then taps it with a wrench to make sure they settle together. He closes the tube, and oxygen and methane—the main ingredient of natural gas—flow in. Seconds later, water and ethylene, the world's largest commodity chemical, flow out. Another simple step converts the ethylene into gasoline.
The white pellets are a catalyst developed by the Silicon Valley startup Siluria, which has raised $63.5 million in venture capital. If the catalysts work as well in a large, commercial scale plant as they do in tests, Siluria says, the company could produce gasoline from natural gas at about half the cost of making it from crude oil—at least at today's cheap natural-gas prices.
If Siluria really can make cheap gasoline from natural gas it will have achieved something that has eluded the world's top chemists and oil and gas companies for decades. Indeed, finding an inexpensive and direct way to upgrade natural gas into more valuable and useful chemicals and fuels could finally mean a cheap replacement for petroleum.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) WaterSense program is rolling out the WaterSense H2Otel Challenge! I encourage you to help recruit your lodging industry clients to encourage their participation in this excellent program.
I'm excited about WaterSense – it's poised to become a brand as well recognized as Energy Star. Our region isn't as pervasively sensitive to water conservation as some more parched areas of the country, but our drought episodes of recent years have created a greater awareness of the importance of becoming more parsimonious (there's your word for the day) in our water use.
Your program is one that has worked to promote resource conservation for many; this sector is trying to meet an increased demand for green lodging. As you know, hotel facility managers often don't have the resources or information they need to reduce their impact on the environment. EPA is launching the H2Otel Challenge to help lodging facilities save water, energy, and money—and I believe that your program benefits from helping to promote this effort.
WaterSense is encouraging lodging facilities to take the "guest work" out of saving water by challenging them to "ACT" (assess, change, and track):
- Assess their water use and savings opportunities.
- Change products or processes to incorporate more water-efficient models and methods.
- Track their water use and savings.
EPA is offering a series of webinars and tools to help participating hotels learn how to assess water use in their facilities; identify savings opportunities; calculate the simple payback period for their investments; and track their results.
Your first "ask" of your lodging industry customers is a simple first step for promoting change: Interested hotels only need to take a pledge on the WaterSense website.
Join WaterSense Today
You may not yet know your organization is eligible to become a WaterSense promotional partner. Joining WaterSense is free and easy! WaterSense partnership connects you to a network of utilities, local governments, manufacturers, retailers and distributors, builders, and other organizations working to promote the WaterSense label and water efficiency. You will gain exclusive access to outreach and marketing resources to help you promote the H2Otel Challenge, WaterSense labeled products, and water efficiency. We encourage you to submit apartnership agreement to start benefiting from these resources today.
To learn more about WaterSense, the H2Otel Challenge, and how WaterSense can assist you in bringing the Challenge to your members, please register for our informational webinar on Thursday, January 16, 2014, from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. Central. For more information about saving water in hotels and other buildings, visit WaterSense at Work: Best Management Practices for Commercial and Institutional Facilities.
If you have any questions, please contact the WaterSense Helpline at firstname.lastname@example.org or 866-WTR-SENS (987-7367). I know they look forward to partnering with you!
Jan 13, 2014
Five years after the deadly explosion in the BAYER Institute plant, West Virginia still ignores a plan for tougher chemical oversight which was worked out by the Chemical Safety Board
Meanwhile, 300,000 residents are still without usable water after a chemical spill.
From January 12, 2014, Charleston Gazette
State ignored plan for tougher chemical oversight
Three years ago this month, a team of federal experts urged the state of West Virginia to help the Kanawha Valley create a new program to prevent hazardous chemical accidents.
The U.S. Chemical Safety Board recommended the step after its extensive investigation of the August 2008 explosion and fire that killed two workers at the Bayer CropScience plant in Institute.
Since then, the proposal has gone nowhere. The state Department of Health and Human Resources hasn't stepped in to provide the legal authority the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department needs to start such a program. And Kanawha County officials never funded the plan, and seldom mention that the CSB recommendation was even made.
Now, with more than 300,000 residents across the Kanawha Valley without usable water following a chemical accident at Freedom Industries on the Elk River, some local officials say it's time for action.
"We'd had their recommendation on the books for several years now," said Dr. Rahul Gupta, director of the local health department. "This gives us another opportunity to look at what they recommended."
Please read and follow:
See "CSB Issues Report on 2008 Bayer CropScience Explosion: Finds Multiple Deficiencies Led to Runaway Chemical Reaction; Recommends State Create Chemical Plant Oversight Regulation "