Monthly Archives: June 2014

Ozone/Ceramic filter system for rural China

Zhu J, Fan XJ, Tao Y, Wei DQ, Zhang XH. Study on an integrated process combining ozonation with ceramic ultra-filtration for decentralized supply of drinking water. Journal of environmental science and health. Part A, Toxic/hazardous substances & environmental engineering. 2014 Sep 19;49(11):1296-1303.

An integrated process was specifically developed for the decentralized supply of drinking water from micro-polluted surface water in the rural areas of China. The treatment process combined ozonation with ceramic ultra-filtration (UF), coagulation for pre-treatment and granular activated carbon filtration. A flat-sheet ceramic membrane was used with a cut-off of 60 nm and the measurement of 254 mm (length) × 240 mm (width) × 6 mm (thickness). Ozonation and ceramic UF was set up whthin one reactor. The experimental results showed that the removal efficiencies of the dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and the formation potential of trihalomethanes (THMs), haloacetic acids (HAAs) and ammonia were 80%, 76%, 70% and 90%, respectively; that the turbidity of the product water was below 0.2 NTU and the particle count number (particles larger than 2 μm) was less than 50 counts per mL. The result also showed that all the pathogenic microorganisms were retained by the ceramic and that UF. Ozonation played a critical role in the control of membrane fouling and the removal of contaminants. Exactly, the membrane fouling can be controlled in situ with 3 mg L-1 ozone at the permeate flux of 80 L m-2 h-1, yet the required dosage of ozone was dependent on the quality of the raw water. Therefore, this study is able to provide a highly compacted system for decentralized supply of high-quality drinking water in terms of both chemical and microbiological safety for the rural areas in China.

Click here for full paper (fee).


Climate “activists” speak, confirm many points made in the past on this blog

The internet and modern computing have benefitted  us tremendously. But like any technology they also have their downsides. One significant downside of the internet is the tendency towards group-think, especially in tightly controlled research groups or teams. [Follow the money. I suspect that at least some of the defensiveness that occurs is an artifact of researchers having to protect or justify their funding.] It is entirely possible today for very smart people to go through a university and make a doctoral-level contribution in a field of study without ever having had their underlying presuppositions challenged or even having them questioned. The result is development [formation] of a blind-spot, having been trained to only see the world only through a particular lens. They have no use for, no respect for, and no appreciation of the contributions from other scientific disciplines, especially in those disciplines that yield research findings contrary to their own. Eventually the discussion deteriorates so much that they simply resort to name-calling and ridicule and [activists] continue on as if it was just another political game.

Addressing climate issues responsibly is not about playing a political game. This article is very enlightening as it seems to reveal the fruit of the type of culture described above. Indeed, some comments in this article reveal a complete misunderstanding or ignorance of what other relevant disciplines are regarding climate and what those disciplines do. For example, remarks like “I want engineers to build bridges” implying they can know nothing about climate is simply nonsense.

Indeed, there is no such thing as a “climate scientist.” There are many scientists who are studying particular aspects of climate, just as there are other disciplines studying particular aspects of climate. To suggest that knowledge about climate only resides with a select few who have labeled themselves “climate scientists” is simply false.



Hepatitis E transmitted through drinking contaminated water

Mirazo S, Ramos N, Mainardi V, Gerona S, Arbiza J. Transmission, diagnosis, and management of hepatitis E: an update. Hepat Med. 2014 Jun 3;6:45-59. doi: 10.2147/HMER.S63417.


Hepatitis E virus (HEV) infection is an important public health concern in many developing countries, causing waterborne outbreaks as well as sporadic autochthonous hepatitis. HEV is mainly transmitted by the fecal-oral route in endemic areas through drinking of contaminated water. However, zoonotic transmission from animal reservoirs to humans has also been suggested. Three additional routes of HEV transmission have been proposed to occur: blood borne, human to human, and vertical transmission from mother to child. Acute HEV infection is usually diagnosed by detecting specific anti-HEV antibodies. However, the performance of the available assays in different settings is not optimal. Analysis of HEV ribonucleic acid in biologic specimens such as stools, serum, and liver biopsy by using nucleic acid amplification techniques is also employed. Nonetheless, additional consensus regarding the best technologies suitable for serosurveys and diagnosis of acute HEV infection is also needed. This review article summarizes the current status of HEV infection end epidemiology with particular emphasis in transmission, diagnosis, and clinical management.

Click here for full paper (Open Source).

Just like the IPCC and climate, NEJAC is not about justice

“The NEJAC was established in 1993 to “obtain independent, consensus advice and recommendations from a broad spectrum of stakeholders involved in environmental justice.” ” click here

The idea of bringing justice to the environment without a clear idea [definition]of what justice is results in a lowering of the focus to simply stakeholder inclusion. (In effect justice occurs when some stakeholders are included and others are not?) I have no difficulty with stakeholder inclusion, nor do I object to attempting to address disproportionate impacts of pollution in a responsible way. But ALL of the stakeholders must be included, not just the EJ activists.

And for a cool $1.6 million spent by USEPA on only one meeting a good time will be had by all.

Virus removal by ultrafiltration improved by irreversible fouling

ElHadidy AM, Peldszus S, Van Dyke MI. Effect of hydraulically reversible and hydraulically irreversible fouling on the removal of MS2 and φX174 bacteriophage by an ultrafiltration membrane. Water Research. 2014 May 16;61C:297-307. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2014.05.003.

The effect of membrane fouling on the removal of enteric virus surrogates MS2 and φX174 bacteriophage by an ultrafiltration membrane was assessed under simulated full-scale drinking water treatment operating conditions. Filtration experiments of up to 8 days using either river or lake water ascertained how the membrane fouling layer affected virus removal. Organic carbon fractionation techniques identified potential foulants, including biopolymers, in the feed water and in the permeate. Hydraulically irreversible fouling could greatly improve the removal of both viruses at moderate and severe fouling conditions by up to 2.5 logs. Hydraulically reversible fouling increased virus removal only slightly, and increased removal of >0.5 log for both phage were only obtained under severe fouling conditions. The increase in virus removal due to irreversible and reversible fouling differed between the two water sources. As the degree of fouling increased, differences between the removal of the two phage decreased. Maintenance cleaning partially removed membrane foulants, however virus removal following maintenance cleaning was lower than that of the fouled membrane, it remained higher than that of the clean membrane.

Click here for full paper (fee).

Sun influences cloud formation and rainfall via galactic cosmic ray mediation.

As the saying goes, there are many ways to skin a cat. My cat would not like any of them.

There are also many ways to study climate. Each discipline has its own point of view and assumptions. But at some point if our knowledge were nearly complete we would expect gaps between different study findings to close. However, we seem to be seeing the exact opposite. Some gaps seem to be widening suggesting we are only just beginning to understand what is going on in the atmosphere.

Here is yet another study finding the sun influences the formation of clouds and rainfall activity through galactic cosmic ray mediation.

Animesh Maitra, Upal Saha, Arpita Adhikari. Solar control on the cloud liquid water content and integrated water vapor associated with monsoon rainfall over India. Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics. DOI: 10.1016/j.jastp.2014.06.010

A long-term observation over three solar cycles indicates a perceptible influence of solar activity on rainfall and associated parameters in the Indian region. This paper attempts to reveal the solar control on the cloud liquid water content (LWC) and integrated water vapor (IWV) along with Indian Summer Monsoon (ISM) rainfall during the period of 1977–2012 over nine different Indian stations. Cloud LWC and IWV are positively correlated with each other. An anti-correlation is observed between the Sunspot Number (SSN) and ISM rainfall for a majority of the stations and a poor positive correlation obtained for other locations. Cloud LWC and IWV possess positive correlations with Galactic Cosmic Rays (GCR) and SSN respectively for most of the stations. The wavelet analyses of SSN, ISM rainfall, cloud LWC and IWV have been performed to investigate the periodic characteristics of climatic parameters and also to indicate the varying relationship of solar activity with ISM rainfall, cloud LWC and IWV. SSN, ISM rainfall and IWV are found to have a peak at around 10.3 years whereas a dip is observed at that particular period for cloud LWC.

Click here for full paper (fee).


Fluoride and eye cancer study is speculative at best, most likely nonsense

The study methods used here are so weak they are akin to using epidemiology to speculate that humans came from DNA seeded on the earth by space aliens (as Mr. Richard Dawkins believes). I have to wonder why all this effort to prop up communal fluoridation? There must something else going on here.

Schwartz GG. Eye Cancer Incidence in U.S. States and Access to Fluoridated Water. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2014 Jun 24. pii: cebp.0437.2014.

Environmental risk factors for uveal melanomas (cancer of the iris, ciliary body and choroid) have not been identified. In order to search for these, we examined the correlation of age-adjusted eye cancer incidence rates, a surrogate for uveal melanoma rates, in U.S. states with group level geographic and demographic factors using multivariate linear regression. Incidence rates for eye cancer were inversely correlated with the percent of the population receiving fluoridated water; i.e., higher rates were found in states with lower prevalences of fluoridation (P = 0.01). Fluoride is known to inhibit the growth of microbial agents that cause choroiditis and choroidal lesions in animals. We speculate that fluoridation protects against choroidal melanoma by inhibiting microbial agents that cause choroiditis and/or choroidal lesions in humans.