Daily Archives: September 11, 2014

Shale Gas Wastewater and Disinfection By-Product Formation

Parker KM, Zeng T, Harkness J, Vengosh A, Mitch WA. Enhanced Formation of Disinfection By-Products in Shale Gas Wastewater-Impacted Drinking Water Supplies. Environmental Science and Technology 2014 Sep 9.

The disposal and leaks of hydraulic fracturing wastewater (HFW) to the environment pose human health risks. Since HFW is typically characterized by elevated salinity, concerns have been raised whether the high bromide and iodide in HFW may promote the formation of disinfection byproducts (DBPs) and alter their speciation to more toxic brominated and iodinated analogues. This study evaluated the minimum volume percentage of two Marcellus Shale and one Fayetteville Shale HFWs diluted by fresh water collected from the Ohio and Allegheny Rivers that would generate and/or alter the formation and speciation of DBPs following chlorination, chloramination and ozonation treatments of the blended solutions. During chlorination, dilutions as low as 0.01% HFW altered the speciation towards formation of brominated and iodinated trihalomethanes (THMs) and brominated haloacetonitriles (HANs), and dilutions as low as 0.03% increased the overall formation of both compound classes. The increase in bromide concentration associated with 0.01%-0.03% contribution of Marcellus HFW (a range of 70 to 200 g/L for HFW with bromide = 600 mg/L) mimics the increased bromide levels observed in western Pennsylvanian surface waters following the Marcellus Shale gas production boom. Chloramination reduced HAN and regulated THM formation; however iodinated trihalomethane formation was observed at lower pH. For municipal wastewater-impacted river water, the presence of 0.1% HFW increased the formation of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) during chloramination, particularly for the high iodide (54 ppm) Fayetteville Shale HFW. Finally, ozonation of 0.01%-0.03% HFW-impacted river water resulted in significant increases in bromate formation. The results suggest that total elimination of HFW discharge and/or installation of halide-specific removal techniques in centralized brine treatment facilities may be a better strategy to mitigate impacts on downstream drinking water treatment plants than altering disinfection strategies. The potential formation of multiple DBPs in drinking water utilities in areas of shale gas development requires comprehensive monitoring plans beyond the common regulated DBPs.

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“Climate Change” views linked to Government Money

“And finally Carl Wunsch, late-career professor emeritus at M.I.T. was pretty frank about the new research and the state of climate science:

The central problem of climate science is to ask what you do and say when your data are, by almost any standard, inadequate? If I spend three years analyzing my data, and the only defensible inference is that “the data are inadequate to answer the question,” how do you publish? How do you get your grant renewed? A common answer is to distort the calculation of the uncertainty, or ignore it all together, and proclaim an exciting story that the New York Times will pick up. “

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Social capital and drinking water access

Affordable energy and drinking water availability go hand-in-hand. Studies such as this do not consider the prevailing attitudes, policies, and availability of affordable energy. This work may provide some insight but is inadequate.

Meaningful progress to improve availability and access to drinking water will not be made until the connection between energy, power, and water are properly acknowledged and considered.

Bisung E, Elliott SJ, Schuster-Wallace CJ, Karanja DM, Bernard A. Social capital, collective action and access to water in rural Kenya. Soc Sci Med. 2014 Jul 30;119C:147-154. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.07.060.

Globally, an estimated 748 million people remain without access to improved sources of drinking water and close to 1 billion people practice open defecation (WHO/UNICEF, 2014). The lack of access to safe water and adequate sanitation presents significant health and development challenges to individuals and communities, especially in low and middle income countries. Recent research indicates that aside from financial challenges, the lack of social capital is a barrier to collective action for community based water and sanitation initiatives (Levison et al., 2011; Bisung and Elliott, 2014). This paper reports results of a case study on the relationships between elements of social capital and participation in collective action in the context of addressing water and sanitation issues in the lakeshore village of Usoma, Western Kenya. The paper uses household data (N = 485, 91% response rate) collected using a modified version of the social capital assessment tool (Krishna and Shrader, 2000). Findings suggest that investment in building social capital may have some contextual benefits for collective action to address common environmental challenges. These findings can inform policy interventions and practice in water and sanitation delivery in low and middle income countries, environmental health promotion and community development.

Click here for full paper (fee).