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Volume 9, Number 6 
December 2010/January 2011


Renewing the Bay One Experiment at a Time

The U.S. Agricultural Research Service invests time and science into developing numerous ways to restore Chesapeake Bay

Restoration of Chesapeake Bay will require the participation of the federal government, states, and local industries.

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An executive order issued by President Barack Obama in May 2009 gave a new sense of urgency and leadership to the endeavor by placing federal agencies in charge of the previously state-led attempt to restore the bay and providing funding to Chesapeake Bay watershed states and some industries to kick-start their conservation efforts. In the case of agriculture, the executive order designated $72 million in financial and technical assistance to aid farmers in implementing voluntary conservation practices in what the federal government deemed as high-priority areas. 

To help these efforts, scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) are implementing numerous projects intended to help farmers reduce pollution to Chesapeake Bay. 

Scottish Scientists Convert Whisky Wastewater Into Fuel

A shot of whisky may be the wrong thing for you to fill up on before getting behind the wheel of a car. But it may one day provide just the environmentally friendly kick your car engine needs to boost performance, according to new research from Edinburgh (Scotland) Napier University.

During the past 2 years, scientists at the university’s Biofuel Research Center have figured out a way to turn the organic waste from their nation’s most famous beverage into highgrade biobutanol capable of fueling an ordinary gasoline engine.

The university is now seeking a patent for the new biofuel, which could someday rival ethanol as a renewable fuel additive, said Martin Tangney, director of the Biofuel Research Center.

Troubled Waters

U.S. EPA proposes no-discharge zone along California coastline to improve statewide water quality

In August, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a monumental ban that would create a no-discharge zone within 4.8 km (3 mi) of the entire California coastline. The ban would apply to large oceangoing vessels of 270 Mg (300 ton) or more that have a 2-day wastewater holding capacity, including cruise ships. The rule would not apply to recreational vessels required to use available harbor pump-out stations for wastewater or small fishing boats required to treat wastewater before discharging with approved marine sanitation devices.




New treatment train for iron and steel industry produces water suitable for reuse

Miroslav Colic and Zhang Yunhua

Chemical and petrochemical wastewaters can be challenging to treat because of their complex composition and large flow rates. Oil refinery wastewater, for example, may contain hydrocarbons, nitrogen and sulfur compounds, phenols, and heavy metals. Such wastewaters typically can be treated by a combination of biological and physicochemical processes to meet discharge standards. As effluent discharge regulations become more stringent, however, many industries are considering water reuse for economic, sustainability, and eco-efficiency reasons.

In this project, researchers investigated how well moving-bed biofilm reactors and biological activated carbon filters could convert oil-refinery wastewater into effluent suitable for reuse in various industrial applications. 

Creating a Wastewater Management Strategy

A facility’s application of a sophisticated influent model leads to source segregation, source substitution, and wastewater reuse

Rachel W. Burris, Mac Kendall, and Daniel B. Wilkinson

The North Carolina biopharmaceutical manufacturing facility of Biogen Idec Inc. (Zug, Switzerland) developed and implemented a comprehensive wastewater management strategy over a period of 7 years to increase drug production rates while decreasing discharge rates. A principal component of the strategy was the development of a wastewater characterization model that projects future process wastewater flows and loads under varying production scenarios. For each production scenario, mass-loading rates for specific high-strength pollutant sources were quantified and evaluated for segregation, reduction, or reuse as a means to maintain discharge permit compliance. This article focuses on the development of the model for the batch pharmaceutical manufacturing processes and the development of a facility wastewater management strategy.



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