WaterWorld Weekly Newscast, April 1, 2019

A transcript of the WaterWorld Weekly Newscast for April 1, 2019.

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Smartphone device detects arsenic; States aren't doing enough to get lead out of schools' drinking water; EPA issues SRF guidance; Fix to famous Belgian fountain will save water

The following is a transcript of the WaterWorld Weekly Newscast for April 1, 2019.

Hi, I'm Angela Godwin for WaterWorld magazine, bringing you water and wastewater news headlines for the week of April 1. Coming up...

Smartphone device detects arsenic
States aren't doing enough to get lead out of schools' drinking water
EPA issues SRF guidance
Fix to famous Belgian fountain will save water

Arsenic is a naturally occurring contaminant in groundwater that affects 140 million people around the world.

Having a simple, affordable way to test drinking water for the heavy metal on site, could help protect millions from exposure, particularly in rural and poor regions.

That was the goal of a team of researchers from the University of Edinburgh who have developed a portable testing device that attaches to a smartphone.

It contains a biosensor with genetically altered bacteria that are super sensitive to arsenic.

When contamination is detected, the bacteria fluoresce, and the levels are shown in a volume-bar-like display that's easy to interpret.

Because the device is inexpensive, easy to use and sensitive enough for real-world conditions, the researchers believe it could replace current arsenic tests.

And, they say, the approach could be modified to detect other environmental toxins.

New research from public interest groups finds that 22 U.S. states aren't doing enough to protect school children from lead exposure in drinking water.

In their "Get the Lead Out" report, researchers from Environment America and U.S. PIRG graded state policies for protecting children from lead in schools' drinking water. Of the 31 states evaluated, they gave 22 states an F grade.

There were some positive performers, though. Washington, DC, received the highest marks, with a B+, for proactively fitting lead filters on water outlets in schools and other locations frequented by children.

Illinois fared well with a B-. There, schools are required by the public health agency to take action on any level of lead detected.

To learn more about the report -- or to see how your state did -- please visit environmentamerica.org.

Last week, the U.S. EPA issued new guidance for states to use when applying for financing from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund.

The guidance highlights recent changes made to the DWSRF as a result of the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018.

Some of those changes include:

-- increasing the amount of additional subsidy available to disadvantaged communities;
-- expanding eligible uses of the DWSRF set-asides;
-- extension of the American Iron and Steel provision for DWSRF-funded projects; and
-- increasing the maximum-authorized DWSRF loan term.

To learn more, please visit epa.gov/drinkingwatersrf.

In international news, the iconic symbol of Brussels will do his part to conserve drinking water.

After a meter was placed on the Manneken Pis fountain last year, it was discovered -- much to the surprise of city officials -- that the beloved boy was relieving himself of some 300 to 600 gallons of treated drinking water every day.

A closed-loop recirculation system has now been installed and the city plans to inspect hundreds of other fountains in its territory.

For WaterWorld magazine, I'm Angela Godwin. Thanks for watching.

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