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Home>Topics>>WaterWorld Weekly - Mar. 24, 2014

WaterWorld Weekly - Mar. 24, 2014

Mon, 24 Mar 2014|

Stockholm Water Prize awarded to Harvard professor; TEPCO halts treatment of radioactive water at Fukushima; Duke Energy cited for wastewater violations; Special Guest: American Water's Dr. Mark LeChevallier


Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

Hi, I'm Angela Godwin for Water World magazine, bringing you this weeks water and wastewater news headlines. Coming up, Stockholm Water Prize awarded to Harvard professor. TEPCO halts treatment of radioactive water at Fukushima. Duke Energy cited for wastewater violations. Special guest American Water's Dr. Mark LeChevalliet. [SOUND] The Stockholm International Water Institute has announced the winner of this year's Stockholm Water Prize. Professor John Briscoe. Originally from South Africa Professor Briscoe currently teaches at Harvard University. The Stockholm Water Prize Committee has commended Professor Briscoe for combining world class. In Stockholm. [SOUND] Treatment of radioactive wastewater at Japan's damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has been suspended indefinitely. TEPCO shut down decontamination operations after one of the treatment lines malfunctioned sending only partially-treated water to the holding tanks. TEPCO estimated that up to 900 tons of partially-treated water flowed into the 21 holding tanks. Those tanks are now unusable. And, the 15,000 tons of. Cleaned water will have to be retreated. Tepco is currently trying to determine the extent of the contamination and whether the equipment can be cleaned. The North Carolina department of environment and natural resources has cited Duke energy for dumping 60 million gallons of ash pond waste water. Into a tributary of the Cape Fear River. Duke Energy is permitted to discharge treated waste water from the ash ponds to the canal through risers, which strain water left behind after ash particles settle to the bottom. DENR found though that Duke Energy's pumping activities bypassed the riser structures accelerating the drawdown. To where the impoundments no longer properly functioned as treatment systems. Duke energy said it was using a temporary pumping system to lower the water levels to perform maintenance. The company has 30 days to respond to the citation. No downstream municipalities have reported any problems with their drinking water, but DENR officials are collecting water samples downstream of the plant to determine if it meets state water quality standards. [SOUND] In late January, the US Water Alliance announced this year's recipient of the US Water Prize. In our continuing coverage of the 2014 US Water Prize, we're pleased to welcome to the program ne of the winning organizations. Joining us this week from American Water is the director of innovation and environmental. Stewardship Dr. Mark LeChevallier. Mark, thank you so much for being with us. Glad to be with you. So tell us a little bit about American Water and the populations you serve. Sure. Well, American Water is the largest water and wastewater utility in the United States. We were founded in, in 1886 and so, we're celebrating over a hundred and 25, actually 128 years in service We operate water, waste water, desalination, reuse systems so almost, if it's wet it's part of our business. We operate in And, over four 14 states in the United States, actually provide services, in, in 30 states and parts of Canada. That's fantastic. Now this year American Water's been recognized by the U.S. Water Alliance with the U.S. Water Prize. In particular for the work done by your innovation and environmental stewardship team. So tell us a little bit about that and what you have been able to accomplish. Well, sure. Our group was, first formed in 1981 so we celebrate more than 30 years as a formal research group and that is somewhat unique in the water industry. And then in 2005 we combined our environmental compliance with that research crew. And, in 2009 we formed the dedicated team to focus on pursuing innovations. And then, in just, 2012 we brought in our laboratory so I wear four hats, research. innovation. Our laboratory and environmental compliance. But it's really the intersection between those areas that gives us our unique capability as innovation and environmental stewardship. So we can not only see the challenges that are facing the water industry from emerging regulations. To looking at new technologies. But also through our research group and our laboratory group have the tools available to do something about it. Wow, that is really, really impressive. So what, what kinds of things? Can you give some examples of what you've been able to do? Sure. Well for example, well climate change. That's that a major challenge to the water industry, And that involves being able to look at water holistically from integrated water resources management is not only looking at areas of drought like we're experiencing in California, but but considering that looking at, at wastewater and, and reuse of that? Or, for potable and non potable, purposes. But also considering technologies like desalination. And some of our research are looking at. So the challenge is in each of those areas, around best management practices. You know, we're cutting some water quality, and operational efficiencies for reuse. As well as the, some of the membrane falling, and some of the, things, that decrease the cost of And complexity of desalination. I would say also, one thing we're working on, have been for about 15 years, in drinking water is pressure management. Pressure is known. It causes main breaks, but it increases the leakage, but pressure in itself is energy and that's cost for water utilities, so, Intersecting all of those and looking at new technologies allow us to manage pressure is real important. On the waste water side we're looking at technologies that can become more energy efficient in waste water. Also looking at... In some of those green house gas emissions that come from waste water and how we will control that. All them really, a lot of the commonality we have, is focusing around, energy efficiency. Now that's a big cost for a lot of utility, but also the environmental stewardship part of that, as it affects climate change and, you know. carbon emissions. And that climate change drives some of the challenges we have on water, and, in environmentally sustainability so, it's a unique perspective, and it's really great position to be in. [BLANK_AUDIO] Now for American water and, and, your innovation and environmental stewardship team, what does it mean for you? To be recognized with the US Water Prize. Well, it's fantastic. Really it's the Academy Awards, or the Oscars for the water industry. So I'd like to thank all the little people out there that contributed to it. No, reality really come back to the our board in 1981 to have the foresight to create this position. So already we had a research group when I joined the company in 1985. And, and then the collaboration of all of our utilities. We, you know, I joke but actually it's a reality that the entire footprint of American water all across the country. As my laboratory, I have opportunity to look at these issues in real, with real utilities in real world situations, not, not something fabricated in a laboratory. So in the collaboration of our utilities have been, been great in this regard. But also, all the colleagues that we've worked with. The nice part about this is it's allowed us to interact with major universities, other research centers, U.S. EPA, CDC and other water utilities. The challenges with face are not just unique to American water. So the solutions we find. Are not only beneficial to us, they make us more efficient and prove the quality of the service that we provide our customers, but they can be shared in the industry so that we all can do a better job. That is great, well we want to congratulate you and your staff for everything you've done, and we wish you the best of luck going forward. Thanks a lot. All of the winners will be honored at an awards ceremony on April 7th in Washington, D.C. Join us next week when our guest will be the executive director of the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati. Mr. Tony Parrot. [SOUND] For WaterWorld magazine I'm Angela Godwin, thanks for watching. [SOUND] [MUSIC]

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