WaterWorld Weekly Newscast,February 18, 2019

A transcript for the WaterWorld Weekly Newscast for February 18, 2019.

Content Dam Ww Online Articles 2019 02 Ww Newscast 20190219 Denmark Sword Sewer Credit Historical Museum Of Northern Jutland 200x150

EPA announces PFAS action plan; Sewer workers in Denmark unearth medieval sword; Proposed WOTUS definition open for public comment; Two injured after methane blast from digester tank; Converting waste brine from desalination into a useful resource

The following is a transcript for the WaterWorld Weekly Newscast for February 18, 2019.

Hi, I'm Angela Godwin for WaterWorld magazine, bringing you water and wastewater news headlines for the week of February 18. Coming up...

EPA announces PFAS action plan
Sewer workers in Denmark unearth medieval sword
Proposed WOTUS definition open for public comment
Two injured after methane blast from Springfield digester tank
Converting waste brine from desalination into a useful resource

Last week, the U.S. EPA announced its plan to address the presence of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, in drinking water systems across the country.

Currently, a health advisory limit of 70 parts per trillion exists, but many have called for stronger federal action as the number of communities affected continues to grow.

EPA said that it's moving forward with the process to regulate two PFAS chemicals, PFOA and PFOS, and that the agency expects to propose a regulatory determination by the end of the year.

It has also started the regulatory process for officially listing PFOA and PFOS as hazardous substances under the Superfund statute (which will enable communities to recover clean-up costs from responsible parties).

The agency also intends to add PFAS to the next round of monitoring under the UCMR program.

In the meantime, EPA will continue enforcing the 70 ppt health advisory and said it will develop a comprehensive risk communication toolbox to help utilities and municipalities convey information about PFAS chemicals to their communities.

For more details, please visit epa.gov/pfas.

Much to their surprise, two men working on a sewer line in Aalborg, Denmark, made an amazing discovery: a 700-year-old medieval sword.

The men contacted an archaeologist at the Historical Museum of Northern Jutland who estimates the sword was lost -- possibly in battle -- in the 1300s.

The sword weighs about 2 pounds and its blade -- which the museum said was still sharp -- is just over 36 inches long.

Once the sword is cleaned and preserved, it will have a new home at the Aalborg Historical Museum, not too far from where it was discovered.

The U.S. EPA proposed new definition of Waters of the U.S. has been published in the federal register and is now open for public comment.

Much of the definition remains unchanged from the 2015 rule, with a few notable exceptions:

- The new rule combines "Traditional Navigable Waters" and territorial seas into a single category.

- It excludes ephemeral flows (ones that only flow in response to precipitation) from the "tributaries" category.

- It defines the term "ditch" as an artificial channel used to convey water and it excludes ditches from WOTUS unless they meet the specific criteria for a jurisdictional water.

The new rule also excludes groundwater -- even when channelized through drainage -- as well as stormwater runoff, such as sheet flow over upland.

The public comment period is open until April 15. Please visit epa.gov/wotus-rule for more information.

Contractors working on a digester tank at the wastewater treatment facility in Springfield, Missouri, were injured when a pocket of methane gas combusted.

The three workers jumped over the side of the collapsing roof. Two were treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

An investigation into the incident is underway.

Scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have a developed a process that they think could efficiently and economically turn waste brine from desalination into a useful resource.

Their approach involves direct electrosynthesis to produce compounds like sodium hydroxide and hydrochloric acid, which can then also be used in the desalination process itself to make it more efficient.

For example, sodium hydroxide, also known as caustic soda, could be used to pretreat seawater, changing its acidity and preventing membrane fouling.

Hydrochloric acid could be used for cleaning parts of a desalination plant.

But both compounds are widely used in other industries too, suggesting market potential as saleable products.

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

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