Case Studies & Application Stories
TweetGreywater is water from your bathroom sinks, showers, tubs, and washing machines. It is not water that has come into contact with feces, either from the toilet or from washing diapers. Greywater may contain traces of dirt, food, grease, hair, and certain household cleaning products. While greywater may look “dirty,” it is a safe and […]
Greywater is water from your bathroom sinks, showers, tubs, and washing machines. It is not water that has come into contact with feces, either from the toilet or from washing diapers.
Greywater may contain traces of dirt, food, grease, hair, and certain household cleaning products. While greywater may look “dirty,” it is a safe and even beneficial source of irrigation water in a yard. If released into rivers, lakes, or estuaries, the nutrients in greywater become pollutants, but to plants, they are valuable fertilizer. Aside from the obvious benefits of saving water (and money on your water bill), reusing your greywater keeps it out of the sewer or septic system, thereby reducing the chance that it will pollute local water bodies. Reusing greywater for irrigation reconnects urban residents and our backyard gardens to the natural water cycle.
The easiest way to use greywater is to pipe it directly outside and use it to water ornamental plants or fruit trees. Greywater can be used directly on vegetables as long as it doesn’t touch edible parts of the plants. In any greywater system, it is essential to put nothing toxic down the drain–no bleach, no dye, no bath salts, no cleanser, no shampoo with unpronounceable ingredients, and no products containing boron, which is toxic to plants. It is crucial to use all-natural, biodegradable soaps whose ingredients do not harm plants. Most powdered detergent, and some liquid detergent, is sodium based, but sodium can keep seeds from sprouting and destroy the structure of clay soils. Choose salt-free liquid soaps. While you’re at it, watch out for your own health: “natural” body products often contain substances toxic to humans, including parabens, stearalkonium chloride, phenoxyethanol, polyethelene glycol (PEG), and synthetic fragrances.
For residential greywater systems simple designs are best. With simple systems you are not able to send greywater into an existing drip irrigation system, but must shape your landscape to allow water to infiltrate the soil. We recommend simple, low-tech systems that use gravity instead of pumps. We prefer irrigation systems that are designed to avoid clogging, rather than relying on filters and drip irrigation.
Greywater reuse can increase the productivity of sustainable backyard ecosystems that produce food, clean water, and shelter wildlife. Such systems recover valuable “waste” products–greywater, household compost, and humanure–and reconnect their human inhabitants to ecological cycles. Appropriate technologies for food production, water, and sanitation in the industrialized world can replace the cultural misconception of “wastewater” with the possibility of a life-generating water culture.
More complex systems are best suited for multi-family, commercial, and industrial scale systems. These systems can treat and reuse large volumes of water, and play a role in water conservation in dense urban housing developments, food processing and manufacturing facilities, schools, universities, and public buildings. Because complex systems rely on pumps and filtration systems, they are often designed by an engineer, are expensive to install and may require regular maintenance.
Basic Greywater Guidelines
Greywater is different from fresh water and requires different guidelines for it to be reused.
1. Don’t store greywater (more than 24 hours). If you store greywater the nutrients in it will start to break down, creating bad odors.
2. Minimize contact with greywater. Greywater could potentially contain a pathogen if an infected person’s feces got into the water, so your system should be designed for the water to soak into the ground and not be available for people or animals to drink.
3. Infiltrate greywater into the ground, don’t allow it to pool up or run off (knowing how well water drains into your soil (or the soil percolation rate of your soil) will help with proper design. Pooling greywater can provide mosquito breeding grounds, as well as a place for human contact with greywater.
4. Keep your system as simple as possible, avoid pumps, avoid filters that need upkeep. Simple systems last longer, require less maintenance, require less energy and cost less money.
5. Install a 3-way valve for easy switching between the greywater system and the sewer/septic.
6. Match the amount of greywater your plants will receive with their irrigation needs.
Types of simple systems
From the Washing Machine
Washing machines are typically the easiest source of greywater to reuse because greywater can be diverted without cutting into existing plumbing. Each machine has an internal pump that automatically pumps out the water- you can use that to your advantage to pump the greywater directly to your plants.
Drum should be strapped to wall for safety.
An example of a laundry drum system.
If you don’t want to invest much money in the system (maybe you are a renter), or have a lot of hardscape (concrete/patio) between your house and the area to irrigate, try a laundry drum system.
Wash water is pumped into a “drum,” a large barrel or temporary storage called a surge tank. At the bottom of the drum the water drains out into a hose that is moved around the yard to irrigate. This is the cheapest and easiest system to install, but requires constant moving of the hose for it to be effective at irrigating.
Laundry to Landscape (aka drumless laundry)
The laundry to landscape system gives you flexibility in what plants you’re able irrigate and takes very little maintenance.
In this system, the hose leaving the washing machine is attached to a valve that allows for easy switching between the greywater system and the sewer. The greywater goes to 1″ irrigation line with outlets sending water to specific plants. This system is low cost, easy to install, and gives huge flexibility for irrigation. In most situations this is the number one place to start when choosing a greywater system.
From the Shower
Showers are a great source of greywater- they usually produce a lot of relatively clean water. To have a simple, effective shower system you will want a gravity-based system (no pump). If your yard is located uphill from the house, then you’ll need to have a pumped system.
Greywater in this system flows through standard (1 1/2″ size) drainage pipe, by gravity, always sloping downward at 2% slope, or 1/4 inch drop for every foot traveled horizontally, and the water is divided up into smaller and smaller quantities using a plumbing fitting that splits the flow. The final outlet of each branch flows into a mulched basin, usually to irrigate the root zone of trees or other large perennials. Branched drain systems are time consuming to install, but once finished require very little maintenance and work well for the long term.
An example of a branched drain system .
From the Sinks
Kitchen sinks are the source of a fair amount of water, usually very high in organic matter (food, grease, etc.). Kitchen sinks are not allowed under many greywater codes, but are allowed in some states, like Montana. This water will clog many kinds of systems. To avoid clogging, we recommend branched drains to large mulch basins. Much less water passes through bathroom sinks. If combined with the shower water it will fall under the shower system, if used alone, it can be drained to a single large plant, or have the flow split to irrigate two or three plants.
Wetland planter ecologically disposes greywater from an office with no sewer hookup.
If you produce more greywater than you need for irrigation, a constructed wetland can be incorporated into your system to “ecologically dispose” of some of the greywater. Wetlands absorb nutrients and filter particles from greywater, enabling it to be stored or sent through a properly designed drip irrigation system (a sand filter and pump will also be needed- this costs more money). Greywater is also a good source of irrigation for beautiful, water loving wetland plants. If you live near a natural waterway, a wetland can protect the creek from nutrient pollution that untreated greywater would provide. If you live in an arid climate, or are trying to reduce your fresh water use, we don’t recommend incorporating wetlands into greywater systems as they use up a lot of the water which could otherwise be used for irrigation.
If you can’t use gravity to transport the greywater (your yard is sloped uphill, or it’s flat and the plants are far away) you will need a “drum with effluent pump” system. The water flows into a large (usually 50 gallon) plastic drum that is either buried or located at ground level. In the drum a pump pushes the water out through irrigation lines (no emitters) to the landscape. Pumps add cost, use electricity, and will break, so avoid this if you can.
Indoor Greywater use
In most residential situations it is much simpler and more economical to utilize greywater outside, and not create a system that treats the water for indoor use. The exceptions are in houses that have high water use and minimal outdoor irrigation, and for larger buildings like apartments.
There are also very simple ways to reuse greywater inside that are not a “greywater system”. Buckets can catch greywater and clear water, the water wasted while warming up a shower. These buckets can be used to “bucket flush” a toilet, or carried outside. There are also simple designs like Sink Positive, and more complicated systems like the Brac system. Earthships have an interesting system that reuse greywater inside with greenhouse wetlands.
Plants and Greywater
Kiwi fruit irrigated with greywater
Low tech, simple greywater systems are best suited to specific, large plants. Use them to water trees, bushes, berry patches, shrubs, and large annuals. It’s much more difficult to water lots of small plants that are spread out over a large area (like a lawn or flower bed).
Greywater policies differ state to state. The best policy is from the state of Arizona. They have greywater guidelines to educate residents on how to build simple, safe, efficient, greywater irrigation systems. If people follow the guidelines their systems falls under a general permit and is automatically “legal”, that is, the residents don’t have to apply or pay for any permits or inspections.
California had the first greywater code in the nation, but it had been very restrictive and usually made it unfeasible for people to afford installing a permitted system. Because of this the vast majority of systems in California are unpermitted. Using data from a study done by the soap industry, Art Ludwig estimates that for every permit given in the past 20 years, there were 8,000 unpermitted systems built. In 2009 California changed its code, making it much easier for people to build simple, low cost systems legally.
Some states have no greywater policy and don’t give permits at all, while other states give experimental permits for systems on a case-by-case basis.
Images and information by Greywater Action used above are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License., original found here: http://greywateraction.org/content/about-greywater-reuse
Tweet Using Rainwater Those of us who live in cities and towns, and eat food grown on industrial farms, depend on imported water for daily survival. Our water travels hundreds of miles to reach us. It is powered by mountain-leveling coal, mega-dam hydro-power, and nuclear power. The infrastructure that brings us this water costs billions […]
Those of us who live in cities and towns, and eat food grown on industrial farms, depend on imported water for daily survival. Our water travels hundreds of miles to reach us. It is powered by mountain-leveling coal, mega-dam hydro-power, and nuclear power. The infrastructure that brings us this water costs billions of dollars in public tax money and household utility bills.
Harvesting rainwater can reduce our need for water transport systems that threaten the health of the water cycle and our local environments. Ironically, water use is often highest in the places where rain falls the least. But whether you live in the damp Pacific Northwest, the arid Mojave desert, the thunderstorm Midwest, or beyond, you depend on problematic water infrastructures.
Rainwater harvesting is one strategy to reduce domestic water use. Harvesting rainwater and dozens of other green household practices can bring us greater sustainability. Growing plants that shade and installing insulated windows can reduce energy use. Increasing home food production reduces demand for wasteful water use in industrial fields. Above all, rainwater harvesting increases quality of life: ours, and that of life around the world.
In arid climates and places with salty irrigation water, rainwater flushes salts and chemicals out, increasing health and soil vitality.
Design landscape to welcome the rain
On any house lot, there are three potential ways to harvest the rain: direct rainfall, street harvesting, and roof harvesting.
The easiest rainwater source is that which falls on the yard. Proper placement of plants, trees, and water sources can turn your yard into a water efficient system. Shape the surface of the soil to slow down runoff, raise paths and patios, and sink all planting areas to capture the flow. Choose plants–primarily natives–that can absorb and hold water in their root systems, or pass it down to the water table. This way, rainwater doesn’t run off into the street, where it would be swept away with motor oil, into the sewer system or discharged directly into a local waterway.
The second source of rainwater is the street. Streets aren’t flat; they are graded so that water flows to the curb, down the block to a gutter and into a storm drain. In cities like San Francisco and Portland, storm drains are connected to the sewage treatment plant, and heavy rains cause the sewer plant to overflow raw and partially treated sewer into the bay or river. Other cities connect storm drains to underground creeks, and the polluted water runs straight into the bay or nearby river. By cutting curbs and digging sunken basins into the “right-of way” or “parking strip” area of the sidewalk, you can turn street rainwater from a problem to a resource. Diverted rain that falls on streets can nourish plants, protect creeks, and contribute to cleaner cities.
Store the rain- cisterns and rain barrels
The third source of rainwater is the roof. Even in areas with low rainfall this is an easy way to harvest rainwater.
For example, the roof of a 1,000 square foot house can collect around 600 gallons per ONE inch of rain! In an average year with 12 inches of rain in Los Angeles, that small roof could collect 7,200 gallons.
The rain catchment system
A water catchment system for roof rainwater is simple, and can store water for outdoor irrigation.
200 gallons of storage tucked next to a garage
• Gutters: Roof water gathers in the gutters and runs to a pipe towards the tank.
• “First Flush”: The first rain of the year is the dirtiest as it cleans the roof. This water is directed away from the tank in a “first flush system” and the subsequent water continues to the tank.
• Screen: The rainwater goes through a screen to remove leaves and debris, and then funnels into the top of the covered tank.
• Storage: The tank is dark, to prevent algea from growing, and screened, to prevent mosquitoes from entering.
• Irrigation: A hose attachment is located near the bottom for irrigation.
Rain barrels are a popular way to begin rainwater harvesting, especially in urban areas; they are low cost, and can be installed along houses, under decks, or in other unused spaces.
There is a huge range of options for cisterns, large single storage tanks. They can be made from plastic, ferrocement, metal, or fiberglass, ranging in size from 50 gallons to tens of thousands of gallons.
Ceramic drinking water filter: This highly-effective, passive filter removes pollutants and pathogens including viruses from drinking water.
In Australia, rainwater cisterns supply potable water to thousands of homes. In the US, it’s becoming more common for people to use rainwater indoors for non-potable uses. These systems can reduce or eliminate use of municipal or well water during the rainy season, when outdoor irrigation is unnecessary. Most household rainwater systems use a pump and pressure tank to pressurize water. Many states do not have codes covering indoor rainwater use, and people seeking permits may be required to filter and disinfect the water, increasing system cost and complexity. However, EPA and other research has shown that rainwater harvested using a “first flush” system and protected from light is safe to use for bathing and other household use. Filtering only the small amount of water used for drinking with passive filters such as the ceramic filter shown at left, or with slow sand filters, greatly reduces system cost, and offers an affordable solution for people needing clean drinking water.
Information from Greywateraction.org shared via Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0)
TweetEnvironmental Applications Keeping the water in our lakes, rivers, and streams clean requires monitoring of water quality at many points as it gradually makes its way from its source to our oceans. Over the years ever-increasing environmental concerns and regulations have heightened the need for increased diligence and tighter restrictions on wastewater quality. Control of […]
Keeping the water in our lakes, rivers, and streams clean requires monitoring of water quality at many points as it gradually makes its way from its source to our oceans. Over the years ever-increasing environmental concerns and regulations have heightened the need for increased diligence and tighter restrictions on wastewater quality. Control of water pollution was once concerned mainly with treating wastewater before it was discharged from a manufacturing facility into the nation’s waterways. Today, in many cases, there are restrictions on wastewater that is discharged to city sewer systems or to other publicly owned treatment facilities. Many jurisdictions even restrict or regulate the runoff of storm water — affecting not only industrial and commercial land, but also residential properties as well.
In its simplest form, water pollution management requires impoundment of storm water runoff for a specified period of time before being discharged. Normally, a few simple tests such as pH and suspended solids must be checked to verify compliance before release. If water is used in any way prior to discharge, then the monitoring requirements can expand significantly. For example, if the water is used for once-through cooling, testing may include temperature, pH, total dissolved solids (TDS), chemical oxygen demand (COD), and biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), to name a few.
Once water is used in a process, some form of treatment is often required before it can be discharged to a public waterway. If wastewater is discharged to a city sewer or publicly owned facility, and treatment is required, the quality is often measured and the cost is based not only on the quantity discharged, but also the amount of treatment required. As a minimum requirement suspended solids must be removed. Filtering or using clarifiers often accomplishes such removal. Monitoring consists of measuring total suspended solids (TSS) or turbidity.
If inorganic materials have been introduced into the water, their concentration must be reduced to an acceptable level. Inorganics, such as heavy metals, typically are removed by raising the pH to form insoluble metal oxides or metal hydroxides. The precipitated contaminants are filtered or settled out. Afterward, the pH must be adjusted back into a “normal” range, which often requires continuous monitoring of pH.
Organic materials by far require the most extensive treatment. Many different methods have been devised to convert soluble organic compounds into insoluble inorganic matter. Most of these involve some form of biological oxidation treatment. Bacteria are used to metabolize the organic materials into carbon dioxide and solids, which can be easily removed. To insure that these processes work smoothly and efficiently requires regular monitoring of the health of the biological organisms. The level of food (organic material), nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorous), dissolved oxygen, and pH are some of the parameters that must be controlled. After bio-oxidation the wastewater is filtered or clarified. Often the final effluent is treated with an oxidizing compound such as chlorine to kill any remaining bacterial agents, but any excess oxidant normally must be removed prior to discharge. Oxidation Reduction Potential (ORP)/Redox is ideal for monitoring the level of oxidants before and after removal. The final effluent stream must be monitored to make sure it meets all regulatory requirements.
The monitoring of wastewater pollution does not end there. Scientists are continuously testing water in streams, ground water, lakes, lagoons, and other bodies of water to determine if and what effects any remaining contamination is having on the receiving waters and its associated aquatic life. Measurements may include pH, conductivity, TDS, temperature, dissolved oxygen, TSS and organic levels (COD and BOD).
Environmental testing is not limited to monitoring of wastewater systems. Control of air emissions often includes gas-cleaning systems that involve the use of water. Wet scrubbers and wet electrostatic precipitators are included in this group. A flue gas desulfurization (FGD) system is one type of wet scrubber that uses slurry of lime, limestone, or other caustic material to react with sulfur compounds in the flue gas. The key to reliable operation of these units is proper monitoring of solids levels and pH. After use, the water in these systems must be treated or added to other wastewater from the plant, where it is treated by one of the methods previously discussed.
With proper monitoring, systems that maintain cleaner air and water can be operated efficiently and effectively. Such operation will go a long way toward maintaining a cleaner environment for future generations.
Myron L Meters offers a full line of handheld instruments and in-line monitor/controllers that can be used to measure or monitor many of the parameters previously mentioned. The following table lists some of the model numbers for measuring, monitoring, or controlling pH, conductivity, TDS and ORP. For additional information, please refer to our data sheets or Ask An Expert at MyronLMeters.com.
Note: When using a monitor/controller to measure pH in streams that contain heavy metals, sulfides, or other materials that react with silver, Myron L Meters recommends using a double junction pH sensor with a potassium nitrate (KNO3) reference gel to avoid fouling the silver electrode. See our 720II Sensor Selection Guide for pH and ORP Monitor/controllers for more information.
Ultrameter II 6P
Multi-Parameter: Conductivity, TDS, Resistivity, pH, ORP, Temperature, Free Chlorine (FCE)
+/-1% Accuracy of Reading
Memory Storage: Save up to 100 samples w/ Date & Time stamp
Wireless Download Module Optional
TweetWhat is pH and why do I need to measure it? pH measures the amount of acidity or alkalinity in a food or solution using a numerical scale between 1 and 14. A pH value of 1 is most acidic, a pH value of 7 is neutral, and values above 7 are referred to as […]
What is pH and why do I need to measure it?
pH measures the amount of acidity or alkalinity in a food or solution using a numerical scale between 1 and 14. A pH value of 1 is most acidic, a pH value of 7 is neutral, and values above 7 are referred to as basic or alkaline. Acidified foods have a pH value less than or equal to 4.6. The proper pH of a canned food product can be critical to ensuring the safety of the product. It is very important that pH testing be done correctly and accurately.
How is pH measured?
If you process acidified foods, you will be required to monitor the pH of the product that you produce. Depending on the pH of the product, you may be able to use paper pH strips (often referred to as litmus paper), or required to use a pH meter. Paper strips that measure pH rely on a color change in the paper to indicate product pH. Paper strips can be used to measure pH if the product pH is less than 4.0. Paper strips are an inexpensive way to test pH, but can be inaccurate or difficult to read. A pH meter measures the amount of hydrogen-ion (acid) in solution using a glass electrode immersed in the solution. A pH meter must be used when product pH is greater than, or equal to, 4.0. If you are canning acidified foods, accurately monitoring and recording the product pH is key to knowing that you are selling a safe product.
What is equilibrium pH?
Equilibrium pH is the pH of a food product after the added acid has reached throughout the food; the pH of the acid brine and the food that have equilibrated. When you monitor pH as part of process monitoring, it is the equilibrium pH that you are measuring. For a proper pH reading, you should test the pH of the product roughly 24 hours after processing, once the jars have cooled to room temperature and stabilized. Do not take the pH of a product just before or right after canning because it will not be an accurate measure of the equilibrium pH.
What should I look for if I need to purchase a pH meter?
If you are required to check your product pH with a meter, there are several things to consider.
Accuracy. Accuracy is listed as a range of +0.XX pH units. This means that the meter may read so many pH units above or below the actual pH of the product. Purchase a pH meter with an accuracy of +0.02 units or better. For instance, a pH meter with an accuracy of
+0.01 is a good choice. A pH meter with an accuracy of +0.10 is not a good choice, it is not accurate enough for all products.
All pH meters must be calibrated (checked against a known standard) to assure accuracy. Standards are colored liquids of known pH. Buy a meter that uses at least a 2-point calibration; for acidified foods you will calibrate your meter with pH 4.0 and 7.0 buffers.
Electrode. The electrode is the part of the instrument that is immersed in solution. When considering which pH meter to purchase, consider the cost of replacement electrodes. Some electrodes have special non-clog tips and these may be useful is you will be measuring the pH of foods that are not easily blended.
Temperature. pH readings are affected by temperature. In order to get an accurate reading, the pH meter must be calibrated at the same temperature as the samples being tested. More expensive meters will compensate for variations in sample temperature (too warm or too cold). Myron L meters have automatic temperature compensation. If you can afford a meter with this feature, it’s nice to have.
What should I buy?
The cost of a pH meter ranges from under $100 to well over $500. As a starting point, there are several styles that small food and beverage processors currently use.
Testing the Equilibrium pH of an Acidified Food Product
1. Open one jar and take a representative sample of your food product once it has cooled, usually 12 to 24 hours after processing. You should sample each batch. Heating will drive the acid into your food product; sampling after processing (and cooling) will give you an accurate reading of the equilibrium pH.
2. Strain the solids, draining out the liquid (brine) from the jar. Place the strained solids into a blender.
3. Blend the product, adding distilled water if necessary, to produce a slurry. Added distilled water will not change the pH of the product and will allow for effective blending. You can purchase distilled water at many grocery stores or drug stores.
4. Use a calibrated pH meter to measure pH.
The pH meter must be calibrated using at least 2-point calibration with pH 4.0 and 7.0 buffers. Myron L Meters recommends a three point calibration.
The pH meter must be calibrated each day that you use it. A pH meter must be used to monitor the pH of foods with an equilibrium pH greater than 4.0.
5. Record the results in your batch log.
*Myron L meters are used by Tyson, Sara Lee, Gordon Food Service, Better Baked Foods, Schreiber Foods, Homestead Slow Foods, and others in the food
These are our two most popular handheld pH meters:
ULTRAPEN PT2 pH and Temperature Pen
Accuracy of +/- 0.01 pH
Reliable Repeatable Results
Automatic Temperature Compensation
Durable, Fully Potted Circuitry
Comes with 2oz bottle of pH Storage Solution
Ultrameter II – 6PII
Multi-Parameter: Conductivity, TDS, Resistivity, pH, ORP, Temperature, Free Chlorine (FCE)
+/-1% Accuracy of Reading
Memory Storage: Save up to 100 samples w/ Date & Time stamp
Wireless Download Module Optional
Tweet KatherineAlfredo uses the Ultrameter II to record and analyze data in Ghana to develop a cost-effective solution for fluoride removal. The task of providing safe drinking water to the inhabitants of rural Ghana is a daunting one. Though Ghana has achieved government stability and fostered economic development over the past decade, just 71% of […]
The task of providing safe drinking water to the inhabitants of rural Ghana is a daunting one. Though Ghana has achieved government stability and fostered economic development over the past decade, just 71% of the rural population has access to improved water for drinking and sanitation, and groundwater demand is projected to increase by 69% by the year 2020.
In rural areas, groundwater is plentiful, but natural geographic contamination by inorganic contaminants like iron, manganese and fluoride render government-sponsored boreholes useless. Fluoride in the upper-east, upper-west and northern regions of Ghana often exceeds the general World Health Organization recommended limit of 1.5 mg/L.
The effects of excess fluoride consumption are serious. Mottling of tooth enamel in children progresses to structural damage to teeth. As daily fluoride intake increases, skeletal fluorosis, weight-loss, thyroid dysfunction, kidney failure and eventually death result; therefore, hand pumps in contaminated locations are capped or abandoned. This comes at a high cost to the community members and government sponsors.
Impoverished rural communities cannot afford to waste effort and funding on further drilling of boreholes contaminated by fluorides, but they do not have the resources to determine the extent and location of the contamination. Testing and mapping is needed to guide future efforts. It is this need that inspired Katherine Alfredo, a graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin, to propose a project for a Fulbright Fellowship.
The purpose of the fellowship was to map the extent of the fluoride concentration in the Bongo District of the Upper Eastern Region for use by local authorities and eventually use the data collected in the development of a cost-effective defluoridation filter for existing capped wells.
Alfredo began her research by observing and recording local water usage habits. She conducted borehole water usage counts on centrally and noncentrally located borehole sites tracking the quantity of water collected daily. Coupling this data with familial compound water usage surveys, Alfredo was able to begin understanding the volumetric demand placed on each borehole daily and how that volume translates to the household level.
Along with the quantity studies, 286 boreholes throughout the Bongo District were visited between January and March 2009 with the help of local guides using a bicycle for transportation.
At each borehole, GPS data and borehole identity information were collected. When no borehole identity number was present, the identity number of the pump was recorded; if that was unavailable, an identity was created for logging purposes. A 1-L sample of water was retrieved for testing and used for all of the water quality tests.
An aliquot of the sample water was placed in an Ultrameter II 6P to measure pH, ORP, conductivity, total dissolved solids (TDS) and temperature.
Alfredo found the Ultrameter II to be an ideal tool for her work. “I was so impressed with the Ultrameter II and its ability to hold a calibration,” she said. “This one fact not only made my sampling progression quicker, but it also saved me from carrying more than 100 mL of each calibration fluid with me on any given day, given the fact that I performed all of my sampling via bicycle, carrying all the equipment on the bicycle as well, was something of extreme importance to me.”
The Ultrameter II utilizes a KCl gel-filled pH sensor for accurate electrometric pH readings within ±0.01 pH. The pH levels of the water were of specific importance to Alfredo’s research of adsorbing fluoride on aluminum-based adsorbents. This is because the amount of fluoride an adsorbent is able to absorb is directly related to the pH of the water. The ideal pH for removal of fluoride by activated alumina from raw water, for example, is 5.5.
Conductivity readings from the Ultrameter II were within ±0.01 mV achieved through an advanced design 4-electrode conductivity cell. These readings will be used to simulate influent water containing excessive levels of fluoride in Alfredo’s laboratory. Using Bongo as a design test case, she plans to adjust the ionic strength of her synthetic influent to reflect that seen in the Bongo District.
Solution temperature measured by means of thermistor was logged automatically by the Ultrameter II with each parameter measured. Fluctuations in temperature will be studied to see how temperature affects fluoride removal.
TDS readings were used as a quality indicator of water as it is dispensed from a borehole. The amount of all dissolved solids is important in determining the potential for interference and competition for adsorption sites on the aluminum adsorbents. Preventing any ions from competing for active sites on alumina surfaces will greatly increase the efficiency of filtration. ORP readings gave a good indication of the general biological activity in the water.
Additional testing was performed using two 2-mL tubes filled with sample water to measure nitrate/nitrite and ammonia using test strips. In another 2-mL tube, a 1:1 dilution of the sample was created using distilled water to measure alkalinity using test strips. Using a 0.45-micron filter, a 30- or 60-mL sterile plastic bottle was completely filled for fluoride concentration testing later in the laboratory and was labeled with a sample ID number that was later used to correlate borehole data with water quality information.
Finally, sample time, the date and basic notes on the state of the borehole construction and surroundings were logged in the logbook. Fluoride concentrations were measured using an ion selective electrode typically within 72 hours of collection.
Each capped borehole, new borehole or nonfunctional borehole that was visited had its corresponding borehole identity (actual or created) recorded in a handheld GPS device. After each governance was covered, eight capped boreholes (due to elevated fluoride levels—not broken parts) were chosen for water quality testing to be compared to the nearby functional boreholes. For each capped borehole, additional information corresponding to the total depth of the borehole and depth to the water surface were collected.
An undisturbed sample was retrieved using a point source bailer 15 ft from the bottom of the borehole under the assumption that at this level the aquifer would be flowing through the screened interval. Water quality information and the samples were collected using the same methodology as that for functional boreholes.
Using GIS, a base map of the Bongo District was created and the sample identity number, borehole identity, latitude, longitude, measured fluoride concentration (mg/L) and pH were uploaded for each borehole tested. Using the interpolation tools in GIS, an inverse distance weighted interpolation was performed on the fluoride concentration borehole data to approximate the concentrations throughout the aquifer. This data will be correlated to the geologic and drainage information for the area during the next phase of research.
At the time of Alfredo’s departure, she had reported the pH and fluoride concentration of each well to the two water and sanitation government agencies in the Bongo area—the Community Water and Sanitation Agency and the Bongo District Assembly Water and Sanitation Team.
Alfredo continues to analyze data recorded in Ghana and experiment with cost-effective solutions for fluoride removal in rural communities.
More about the Ultrameter II here: https://www.myronlmeters.com/Ultrameter-II-6P-Multiparameter-Meter-p/dh-umii-6pii.htm
Tweet ScienceDaily (Apr. 15, 2011) — A combination of forest byproducts and crustacean shells may be the key to removing radioactive materials from drinking water, researchers from North Carolina State University have found. Complete story below: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110413111319.htm There’s always more at MyronLMeters.com.
ScienceDaily (Apr. 15, 2011) — A combination of forest byproducts and crustacean shells may be the key to removing radioactive materials from drinking water, researchers from North Carolina State University have found.
Complete story below:
There’s always more at MyronLMeters.com.
Tweet The United States Army has taken delivery of the first two units of a “revolutionary” waste-water treatment system that will clean putrid water within 24 hours and leave no toxic by-products, according to scientists at Sam Houston State University. “The system is based on a proprietary consortium of bacteria– you can find them in […]
The United States Army has taken delivery of the first two units of a “revolutionary” waste-water treatment system that will clean putrid water within 24 hours and leave no toxic by-products, according to scientists at Sam Houston State University.
“The system is based on a proprietary consortium of bacteria– you can find them in a common handful of dirt,” said lead scientist Sabin Holland.
“In the right combination and in the right medium, they have the capability to cleanpolluted water with a very high efficiency very quickly. It truly is a revolutionary solution.”
Holland said the physical systems themselves– called “bio-reactors”– use little energy, are transportable, scalable, simple to set-up, simple to operate, come on-line in record time and can be monitored remotely.
The first two units, about the size of standard shipping containers, will be deployed by the Army to Afghanistan.
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Tweet by TODD WOODY In Wednesday’s Times, I wrote about start-up companies developing solar panel arrays that float on water. The companies see a potentially large market to generate electricity from building floating arrays for irrigation and mining ponds, hydroelectric reservoirs and canals. But the great white whale for some of these solar developers is deploying floating photovoltaic arrays […]
by TODD WOODY In Wednesday’s Times, I wrote about start-up companies developing solar panel arrays that float on water. The companies see a potentially large market to generate electricity from building floating arrays for irrigation and mining ponds, hydroelectric reservoirs and canals. But the great white whale for some of these solar developers is deploying floating photovoltaic arrays on the California Aqueduct, the 400-mile long canal that irrigates much of the state’s agricultural heartland and delivers water to Southern California. Read the whole story here: http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/04/20/could-the-california-aqueduct-turn-into-a-solar-farm/ There’s always more at MyronLMeters.com.
by TODD WOODY
In Wednesday’s Times, I wrote about start-up companies developing solar panel arrays that float on water. The companies see a potentially large market to generate electricity from building floating arrays for irrigation and mining ponds, hydroelectric reservoirs and canals.
But the great white whale for some of these solar developers is deploying floating photovoltaic arrays on the California Aqueduct, the 400-mile long canal that irrigates much of the state’s agricultural heartland and delivers water to Southern California.
Read the whole story here: http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/04/20/could-the-california-aqueduct-turn-into-a-solar-farm/
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Tweet ScienceDaily (Apr. 7, 2011) — Disease-causing bacteria carrying the new genetic resistance to antibiotics, NDM-1, have been discovered in New Delhi’s drinking water supply. Click below for the whole story. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110406214332.htm There’s always more at MyronLMeters.com
ScienceDaily (Apr. 7, 2011) — Disease-causing bacteria carrying the new genetic resistance to antibiotics, NDM-1, have been discovered in New Delhi’s drinking water supply.
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Tweet Odd, persistent winds prevent river inputs from mixing with the sea By Janet Raloff As rivers empty into seas, freshwater mixes into the vast briny depths to replace water lost to evaporation. Or that’s what’s supposed to happen. But for the past dozen years, scientists now report, a large share of river inflows and sea-ice […]
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