Monthly Archives: December 2011

Dodd et al 2011: Two-year drinking water carcinogenicity study of methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE) in Wistar rats.

This toxicology study concluded that MTBE was not associated with tumors in Wistar rats.

D. Dodd, G. Willson, H. Parkinson, and E. Bermudez. Two-year drinking water carcinogenicity study of methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE) in Wistar rats. J Appl Toxicol. 2011 Dec 7. doi: 10.1002/jat.1776.

Abstract: Methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE) has been used as a gasoline additive to reduce tailpipe emissions and its use has been discontinued. There remains a concern that drinking water sources have been contaminated with MTBE. A two-year drinking water carcinogenicity study of MTBE was conducted in Wistar rats (males, 0, 0.5, 3, 7.5 mg ml(-1) ; and females, 0, 0.5, 3, and 15 mg ml(-1) ). Body weights were unaffected and water consumption was reduced in MTBE-exposed males and females. Wet weights of male kidneys were increased at the end of two years of exposure to 7.5 mg ml(-1) MTBE. Chronic progressive nephropathy was observed in males and females, was more severe in males, and was exacerbated in the high MTBE exposure groups. Brain was the only tissue with a statistically significant finding of neoplasms. One astrocytoma (1/50) was found in a female rat (15 mg ml(-1) ). The incidence of brain astrocytomas in male rats was 1/50, 1/50, 1/50 and 4/50 for the 0, 0.5, 3 and 7.5 mg ml(-1) exposure groups, respectively. This was a marginally significant statistical trend, but not statistically significant when pairwise comparisons were made or when multiple comparisons were taken into account. The incidence of astrocytoma fell within historical control ranges for Wistar rats, and the brain has not been identified as a target organ following chronic administration of MTBE, ethyl tert-butyl ether, or tertiary butyl alcohol (in drinking water) to mice and rats. We conclude that the astrocytomas observed in this study are not associated with exposure to MTBE.

Click here for the full report (fee).

Encinitas (CA) obtains low-interest loan for water plant renovation

Olivenhain Municipal Water District gets $17.8 Million state loan to help finance renovation of water plant.

This type of approach (government low-interest loans) is closer to being financially sustainable than a grant….however the money to capitalize the state revolving loan funds must come from somewhere…or else it is just printed (creating a currency risk) or it is borrowed from China, the Federal Reserve, or somewhere else.

The interest rate difference between what is paid to China and what the water district pays is the net cost to the rest of the country, plus the cost of government accounting and administration of the loans, which is not cheap.

Water districts should take advantage of such low interest loans (and grants) as long as they are available….but overall the current SRF system (water and wastewater) is not financially sustainable…..


Santa Clara Valley Water District (CA) renegotiates union contracts

The three new contracts are expected to save the water district $7.7 million over the life of the contracts. A small savings compare to the $600 million needed to renovate 6 of 10 dams….click here for news report…

Compo and Sardeshmukh 2009: Oceanic Influences on Recent Continental Warming

Compo, G.P., and P.D. Sardeshmukh 2009. Oceanic influences on recent continental warming. Climate Dynamics, 32, 333-342 doi: 10.1007/s00382-008-0448-9.

 Abstract: Evidence is presented that the recent worldwide land warming has occurred largely in response to a worldwide warming of the oceans rather than as a direct response to increasing greenhouse gases (GHGs) over land. Atmospheric model simulations of the last half-century with prescribed observed ocean temperature changes, but without prescribed GHG changes, account for most of the land warming. The oceanic influence has occurred through hydrodynamic-radiative teleconnections, primarily by moistening and warming the air over land and increasing the downward longwave radiation at the surface. The oceans may themselves have warmed from a combination of natural and anthropogenic influences.

 Click here for the original publication (free).

Click here for author-version of the paper.

EPA Region 9 & CA DWR: Climate Change Handbook for Regional Water Planning

Click here or on the cover below for the recently released (Nov 2011) Climate Change Handbook for water planning, published by EPA Region 9 and the California Dept of Water Resources. Like other government documents, which are produced with a political motivation, this document is no different in that it references the IPCC as the basis of the science behind its purpose and holds up as icons the work of utilities who have taken action that fits the global warming premise. (I don’t at all fault a system board who chooses to take action, but recognize that the global warming-CO2 premise is false.) 

The consultant who produced the report, CDM, is a very large Boston, Massachusetts-based consulting firm….certainly not an unbiased observer here….but they do a great job in report production….the document looks terrific…

Let’s take a look at just a few aspects of this document…..below….

In the early 1990’s, integrated water resources management planning (IWRMP)  was getting off the ground in AWWA (where I was a staff member)….I recall working with Bill Miller (former long-time Manager of Denver Water) and a group of utility managers, many from California, on a wetlands mitigation policy and on a statement to define IWRMP… California utilities are well beyond those early days, but a few things have not changed:

It is much easier to draw a nice planning chart as to how things should work to integrate something into something else…..but very much another thing to do it. Especially in this case becasue the work of the IPCC and climate modelers has been so discredited (even people in California will eventually realize this)…that it draws the entire exercise into question….

Also, a policy or actions based on a false premise or bad science will fail, even if they seem to be good things to do now….this is why the underlying climate science must have some minimal level of integrity….which seems to have disappeared in the wind somewhere…

The handbook provides a high-level policy discussion of integrating climate change (with no definition) into IWRMP…..a sales presentation, if you will….

If one studies this chart, it would make sense, especially to a water policy and planning wonk. However, to most other people involved in utility planning, it would make as much sense if it were turned up-side-down.  Like I said, the drawings are the easy part….getting it to work and implementing it fairly is another question altogether….

The document has some interesting case studies of what some water systems have done. I don’t object or fault them for their activities…but I would stop short of calling these utilities the “leaders”.  Afterall, what is at risk?…the well-being of their customers (the humans, remember them?). The best available science does not justify actions to mitigate global warming by controlling CO2…..but water boards can certainly choose to spend their rate payers money as they would like….the rate payers may start objecting, however…. 

Like many similar government reports I have seen, sprinkled here and there throughout are false statements that continue to be perpetuated by global warmists. Let’s take a look at a typical page:

Fortunately, the report is not written in an alarming tone. The figure above is very typical of those I have seen showing projections of future temperature using climate models (6 in the graph above). Planners usually argue this way…..let’s run 6 or 10 or 20 models and then average the result together….What they ignore is that the average of 6 wrong model projections is still wrong, and provides no idea of what the true value would be….because one does not have complete knowledge of the future, the models do not adequately represent the physical phenomena, and it is incorrect to assume that the future will be like the past.  Hence, the temperature projections for Pasadena are fictional…they can believe them if they so choose…(They could also believe that Governor Brown is going to balance the California budget, which would be wishfull thinking as well.) The projections of California temperature changes are unreliable….

I am reminded of the story of the stock picker who chose stocks to buy using a dart thrown at the stock listings in the Wall Street Journal. He did as well as a trained stock picker overall……we could project temperature just as well with a lap top (or maybe even by just closing our eyes)….

At the bottom of the page above, the statement is made that extreme weather will increase as a result of warming. The science I’ve seen does not support this statement…..

Now I would like to see EPA Region 9 fund a study to examine the offsetting risks created by the utilities as a result of the actions taken described in this report and the opportunities lost due to diverting funds into these projects compared with other pressing projects….. 

California Water Commission draft report: Benefits of Water Storage Projects

The draft report “Description and Screening of Potential Tools and Methods to Quantify Public Benefits of Water Storage Projects” examines five benefit areas: ecosystem improvement, water quality, flood control, emergency response and recreation.

California Water Commission will discuss the report at its meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 18, in Sacramento. Public comments are being accepted.

Click here or the image below for the report….


Press Spin: Atmospheric methane increase faster than expected?

Well, this National Science Foundation press release (click here) stimulated alot of alarming headlines about how methane levels are increasing. The graphic is interesting….

Click here for a discussion of the various alarming news articles that have been published on this topic….and the correction…..

But do the above claims represent reality? The NSF funds much of the global warmist modeling efforts…..Click here for a discussion of actual methane gas trends (below).