Governor Corbett Announces $115 Million Investment in Water Infrastructure Projects in 17 Counties

images 1 Water“These projects will significantly contribute to improved waterways, including the Chesapeake Bay, and will also create hundreds of new jobs that are so vital to our local communities,” Governor Corbett said. “These projects serve the dual purposes of responsible environmental stewardship and steadfast economic recovery, both of which are critical to the future of Pennsylvania.”

Of the $115 million total, $82 million is for low-interest loans and $33 million is offered as grants.

The awards range from a $19 million loan/grant combination to upgrade a wastewater treatment system in McKean County, allowing for business expansion and the creation of 60 new local jobs, to a $266,000 grant that will construct nutrient-management facilities on a farm in Lancaster County, contributing to the improvement in the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay.

The funding comes from a combination of state funds approved by voters, federal grants to PENNVEST from the Environmental Protection Agency and recycled loan repayments from previous PENNVEST funding awards. Funds for the projects are disbursed after bills for work are paid and receipts are submitted to PENNVEST. Article & Projects Listing: Governor Corbett Announces $115 Million Investment in Water Infrastructure Projects in 17 Counties

NASA Finds Sea Ice Decline Driving Rise in Arctic Air Pollutants

ArcticIce AMAP web 468x312 1 300x200 WaterDrastic reductions in Arctic sea ice in the last decade may be intensifying the chemical release of bromine into the atmosphere, resulting in ground-level ozone depletion and the deposit of toxic mercury in the Arctic, according to a new NASA-led study.

The connection between changes in the Arctic Ocean’s ice cover and bromine chemical processes is determined by the interaction between the salt in sea ice, frigid temperatures and sunlight. When these mix, the salty ice releases bromine into the air and starts a cascade of chemical reactions called a “bromine explosion.” These reactions rapidly create more molecules of bromine monoxide in the atmosphere. Bromine then reacts with a gaseous form of mercury, turning it into a pollutant that falls to Earth’s surface.

Bromine also can remove ozone from the lowest layer of the atmosphere, the troposphere. Despite ozone’s beneficial role blocking harmful radiation in the stratosphere, ozone is a pollutant in the ground-level troposphere.

A team from the United States, Canada, Germany, and the United Kingdom, led by Son Nghiem of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., produced the study, which has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Geophysical Research- Atmospheres. The team combined data from six NASA, European Space Agency and Canadian Space Agency satellites, field observations and a model of how air moves in the atmosphere to link Arctic sea ice changes to bromine explosions over the Beaufort Sea, extending to the Amundsen Gulf in the Canadian Arctic.

“Shrinking summer sea ice has drawn much attention to exploiting Arctic resources and improving maritime trading routes,” Nghiem said. “But the change in sea ice composition also has impacts on the environment. Changing conditions in the Arctic might increase bromine explosions in the future.”

The study was undertaken to better understand the fundamental nature of bromine explosions, which first were observed in the Canadian Arctic more than two decades ago. The team of scientists wanted to find if the explosions occur in the troposphere or higher in the stratosphere.

Nghiem’s team used the topography of mountain ranges in Alaska and Canada as a “ruler” to measure the altitude at which the explosions took place. In the spring of 2008, satellites detected increased concentrations of bromine, which were associated with a decrease of gaseous mercury and ozone. After the researchers verified the satellite observations with field measurements, they used an atmospheric model to study how the wind transported the bromine plumes across the Arctic.

The model, together with satellite observations, showed the Alaskan Brooks Range and the Canadian Richardson and Mackenzie mountains stopped bromine from moving into Alaska’s interior. Since most of these mountains are lower than 6,560 feet (2,000 meters), the researchers determined the bromine explosion was confined to the lower troposphere.

“If the bromine explosion had been in the stratosphere, 5 miles [8 kilometers] or higher above the ground, the mountains would not have been able to stop it and the bromine would have been transported inland,” Nghiem said.

After the researchers found that bromine explosions occur in the lowest level of the atmosphere, they could relate their origin to sources on the surface. Their model, tracing air rising from the salty ice, tied the bromine releases to recent changes in Arctic sea ice that have led to a much saltier sea ice surface.

In March 2008, the extent of year-round perennial sea ice eclipsed the 50-year record low set in March 2007, shrinking by 386,100 square miles (one million square kilometers) — an area the size of Texas and Arizona combined. Seasonal ice, which forms over the winter when seawater freezes, now occupies the space of the lost perennial ice. This younger ice is much saltier than its older counterpart because it has not had time to undergo processes that drain its sea salts. It also contains more frost flowers — clumps of ice crystals up to four times saltier than ocean waters — providing more salt sources to fuel bromine releases.

Nghiem said if sea ice continues to be dominated by younger saltier ice, and Arctic extreme cold spells occur more often, bromine explosions are likely to increase in the future.

Nghiem is leading an Arctic field campaign this month that will provide new insights into bromine explosions and their impacts. NASA’s Bromine, Ozone, and Mercury Experiment (BROMEX) involves international contributions by more than 20 organizations.

Where is your water?

siggy head 223x300 WaterBy Sig Britt Ivey

According to the Hopi prophecies,
“…there are things to be considered….

Where are you living?
 What are you doing?
Where is your water? “Water is sacred. It is a great mystery and the source of all life. Our bodies are 70% water as is the Earth. Without water we would die and so would all life on earth. What we do to our soil and water we do to ourselves. Years ago I wrote an article about toxic waste being used as fertilizer. It was apparent to me that polluting our soil would eventually pollute us. Who comes up with these crazy ideas anyway ? It’s so outraegeous that its somehow accepted as okay. The fracking controversy involving pumping hundreds of toxic chemicals into the earth to extract natural gas is a similar outlandish proposal and practice. These toxic chemicals eventually leak into the groundwater polluting the soil, animals and people along the way. When will we as a species, learn that it’s not a good idea to spoil your own nest ?

No other animal behaves in such a ludicrous manner.The documentary GASLAND explains what’s happening all over the country where natural gas drilling is taking place. Clean drinking water becomes a rare commodity in many areas where fracking is allowed and people and animals are getting sick and possibly even dying. The quality of water we drink has a direct effect on brain function since the human brain is 85% water. A strong movement against fracking is developing in New York State where many people are calling for a ban. Citizen’s are outraged by stories of polluted water in Pennsylvania where there have been numerous complaints of toxic drinking water. Fracking has been linked to over 1000 incidents of groundwater contamination across the U.S. including many cases where people can actually ignite their tap water. Just go to: You Tube and input “Tap water on Fire” and you’ll see for yourself.

Fracking involves injecting secret, highly toxic chemicals deep underground to break up shale formations. The process is unregulated and the Environmental Protection Agency, in charge of supposedly protecting our health, has a cozy relationship with the industries they are suppose to regulate. Furthermore, the energy companies doing the fracking have a lot of money and political power. In the case of New York, Governor Cuomo will likely side with the energy companies and economic growth over the rights of people for safe drinking water. This begs the question, why isn’t our government doing its job and protecting our basic right to clean water ?

Natural gas development is booming in the U.S. especially coalbed methane (CBM). Hundreds of companies are looking to drill for CBM wherever there are viable deposits of coal. In at least 10 states (Alabama. Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Montana, New Mexico, Virginia, Washington,West Virginia and Wyoming) these coal formations contain drinking water aquifers.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)” does not regulate the injection of fracturing fluids under the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974.

The oil and gas industry is the only industry in America that is allowed by the EPA to inject hazardous materials –unchecked- directly into or adjacent to underground drinking water supplies.

In 2000, the EPA initiated a study of the threat to water supplies associated with the fracturing of coal seams for methane production. The EPA states in their own report that many chemicals in fracking fluid are linked to serious  health problems including cancer, birth defects and disorders of the liver, kidney, brain and respiratory systems. People drinking and bathing in these polluted waters report illness, burns, rashes and severe allergic reactions. Ingesting water with toxic chemicals is obviously hazardous to your health. Until this process can be proven safe, all toxic substances should be eliminated from fracturing fluids and the practice should be seriously called into question by public health officials. The fact that it isn’t in many areas is a scandal in and of itself. We need not spoil our nest. Take responsibility for your own health and our precious Earth because we can’t rely on the government to protect us when they are protecting big business instead. We need to ensure safe drinking water for our children and the future generations of all life on Earth.

Sig Britt Ivey is an eco entrepreneur based in Marin and Napa counties with a passion for creating a better world. A mother, wife and businesswoman she is a pioneer in the holistic and green movement.

Jacques Cousteau’s Granddaughter: Ocean Exploration Is ‘This Generation’s Space Race’

By Brett Israel, OurAmazingPlanet Staff Writer

AlexandraCousteau 300x238 WaterFor the first time, five members of the Cousteau family appeared together last night (Oct. 19) here at the Society of Environmental Journalists 21st annual conference.

Jean-Michel, the oldest son of Jacques Cousteau, the world famous oceanographer, and four Cousteau grandchildren – Fabien, Celine, Philippe Jr. and Alexandra Cousteau –gathered together onstage to talk about the Cousteau legacy, which lives on in the quest to unravel the ocean’s mysteries and inspire others to protect the treasures of the deep.

An audience of more than 400 journalists from around the world heard the Cousteau clan hammer home the importance of protecting the world’s water, not just the big oceans, but also the lakes, rivers and streams.
”We’re still using it as a garbage can, as a universal sewer,” said Jean-Michel, Cousteau’s oldest son. “We need to take care of it if we want to take care of us.”

Ever since the documentary “The Silent World” hit movie screens around the world in 1956, Jacques Cousteau (1910 – 1997) and his red cap have been synonymous with ocean exploration. Commander Cousteau’s prolific career included more than120 television documentaries, 50 books and his 300,000-member environmental foundation, the Cousteau Society.

Sailing around the world on his iconic ship Calypso, Cousteau captivated audiences with the mysteries of the ocean and inspired future generations of ocean explorers. Several privately funded adventurers, as well as scientists, have recently ramped up efforts to explore the oceans, especially the very deep sea.

“I see this as our generation’s space race, to protect the water treasures that are not half a world away, but in our own backyards,” Alexandra, Cousteau’s granddaughter, said.
Today, the Cousteau clan is each working in their own way — whether through filmmaking, activism or education — to further the Cousteau legacy.

“The mission that started with Jacques Cousteau is going on,” said Jean-Michel, father of Fabien and Celine. 
Celine, who is pregnant with the next generation of the Cousteau family, echoed that sentiment. 
”I think it’s a true testament that the four of us in this generation have decided to take that baton and continue the work in our own way,” Celine said. “I think that that is a phenomenal example of the power of one person to inspire us, and one person to inspire generations across the planet.”

Rainwater Can Now be Only Source of Residential Drinking Water in King County

King County Councilwoman Kathy Lambert, who represents Woodinville and other cities, announced the news last week. Anyone in King County can now harvest rain for drinking water.
drinking water11 235x300 WaterThe King County Board of Health on Thursday approved an environmental sustainability measure that opens new opportunities for the use of rainwater captured from roofs as the sole residential water source.
Boardmember Kathy Lambert proposed the addition of rainwater catchment systems as an additional tool to potable water sources. The proposal was in response to requests from constituents who want to build sustainable homes that reduce their impact on the environment as much as possible, and are at hardship of obtaining other water options
“Extending public water lines or digging a well are not always available or feasible in rural and rugged areas of King County, or they can be so expensive to install that they render a lot unbuildable,” said Lambert. “The ability to utilize rainwater will be a particular advantage in mountainous areas of the county with terrain and soil conditions that make it difficult to site a well and on-site sewage system that do not interfere with each other.”

The code change follows recent action by the Washington Department of Ecology to remove permit requirements for rainwater harvesting. Since last year, Public Health rules have allowed use of rainwater for drinking, but only as a secondary source in addition to public water, a well or a spring source. Today’s action allows homes with septic systems to rely only on rainwater for all uses, under certain conditions.
The new regulation requires specific roof materials and qualifications for designers of rainwater catchment systems, and also requires the systems to include filtration and disinfection systems. Cisterns would need to accommodate enough storage volume to last through dry summer months.

“An important advantage of rainwater catchment is to prevent depletion of groundwater supplies essential for adequate streamflows in low rainfall months,” Lambert said. “Harvesting rainwater also prevents stormwater runoff from roofs that otherwise would carry surface water and pollutants into watershed streams and rivers, contributing to flooding and water quality degradation.”

“Roof-top rainwater collection systems could be good solution for homeowners who want to maximize water conservation,” said Larry Fay, Manager of Community Environmental Health at Public Health – Seattle & King County.  “These systems require close attention to water use management, so they aren’t right for everybody, but I’m pleased it’s now an option for single family homeowners.”
“Use of rainwater as the sole source for household water encourages conservation every day, and conservation is the way we will be able to meet the water demands of the future,” said Lambert.

Magma ocean explains volcanoes on Jupiter’s moon

Io NASA1 300x300 WaterThis image from NASA’S Galilieo spacecraft shows Jupiter’s moon Io.

Scientists believe there’s a bubbling, subsurface ocean of molten magma on Io, the innermost of Jupiter’s four Galilean moons.
That goes a long way toward explaining why Io is the most volcanic body in the known solar system, producing about 100 times more lava every year than all the volcanoes on Earth.
Researchers determined the existence of the massive magma ocean when the Galilieo spacecraft detected strange patterns in magnetic field data  from the moon.
“It turns out Io was continually giving off a ‘sounding signal’ in Jupiter’s rotating magnetic field that matched what would be expected from molten or partially molten rocks deep beneath the surface,” the UCLA’s Krishan Khurana, lead author of the study, said in a NASA statement.
Rock samples studied by Khurana’s team showed molten magma is present just under Io’s crush. Unlike on Earth, it’s not likely to just be gathered in pockets near fault lines.

Instead, scientists describe a “global magma ocean” miles below the moon’s surface.
That might have also been the case on Earth and the Moon billions of years ago, according to NASA:
While Earth’s volcanoes occur in localized hotspots like the “Ring of Fire” around the Pacific Ocean, Io’s volcanoes are distributed all over its surface. A global magma ocean about 20 to 30 miles (30 to 50 kilometers) beneath Io’s crust helps explain the moon’s activity.

“It has been suggested that both the Earth and its moon may have had similar magma oceans billions of years ago at the time of their formation, but they have long since cooled,” said Torrence Johnson, a former Galileo project scientist based at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif. He was not directly involved in the study. “Io’s volcanism informs us how volcanoes work and provides a window in time to styles of volcanic activity that may have occurred on the Earth and moon during their earliest history.” Source: Seattle News