CGER Research Focus – Craig Just

Craig Just, an assistant professor in the University of Iowa’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, explains his research on how mussels process nitrogen. This research will help Just quantify the impact mussels have on filtering nitrogen that enters the Mississippi River from Iowa, which ultimately causes a dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. Just is one of ten new faculty members hired at the University of Iowa as part of their Water Sustainability Initiative.

IPR discusses Iowa’s water

The Mississippi River. Photo by SSShupe, Flckr.
The Mississippi River. Photo by SSShupe, Flckr.

Iowa Public Radio has released a piece about the state of Iowa’s water supply.

The beginning of the segment focuses on the research of University of Iowa assistant professor, and CGRER member, Craig Just. He discusses his research using mussels to monitor water quality in the Mississippi River.

Author Charles Fishman is also part of the radio segment. He wrote “The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water.”

Check out the full story here.

UI professor hopes to foster sustainability education

Photo by Lance Cheung, Flickr.

University of Iowa professor, and Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research member, Craig Just participated in a small forum aimed at developing a booklet on sustainability education.

This booklet will soon be available on a website Just is creating. He hopes the booklet will help facilitate more constructive conversations about sustainability.

The forum and booklet were funded by the U.S. Department of Education.

Read the full article here.

Garner nets EPA grant for Sewer Upgrades

Photo by Carl Wycoff, licensed for reuse on Flickr

Thanks to a $485,000 grant from the Environmental Projection Agency, the North Central Iowa town of Garner will complete a much-needed upgrade to its sewer system by Spring of 2011, according to an EPA release.

The project includes replacing undersized sanitary sewers and rehabilitating existing manholes. An existing 12-inch sanitary sewer will be replaced with 2,650 feet of new 24-inch sewer pipe.

With a population of about 3,000, Garner is one of hundreds of small communities in Iowa that have outmoded sewer systems or lack a system entirely, according to a 2005 Iowa Policy Project Report.

That prospect poses dangers to Iowa’s environment and public health, leaving some waste to drain into Iowa’s waters.  Continue reading

Spotlight on Craig Just and sustainability

Check out this Daily Iowan profile on UI Professor Craig Just and his focus on sustainability:

Craig Just

Craig Just has not only raised awareness about sustainability in Iowa City, he’s also reached the small villages of Ghana.

Just, a University of Iowa associate research scientist and coordinator of sustainability in the College of Engineering, has pictures displayed around his office of his previous trips to the African country, where he’s helped fight polluted water.

This semester, Just is teaching Introduction to Sustainability and Engineers for a Sustainable World. He also works with UI Facilities Management and focuses on river and water-quality research — an issue, he said, he’s been interested in since he was a young boy.

“Well, I went fishing as a kid and always thought the water was clean,” Just said. “It just brought me to that.”…

CGRER’s Craig Just nets sustainability grant

From University of Iowa News Services:

A University of Iowa engineer is teaming up with Columbia University and the National Geographic Society to educate thousands of students in sustainability concepts by establishing living-learning communities at large, public universities across the country.

Craig Just, adjunct assistant professor in the UI College of Engineering Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and associate research scientist at IIHR-Hydroscience and Engineering, received an $873,318 grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education program.

The project will design, implement, evaluate and disseminate a blueprint for dozens of campus living-learning communities that would be residential experiences for first-year students. The goal of the project — which aspires to include some 500 students on the UI campus in its third year — is to educate students in concepts of sustainability that can be implemented through the democratic process.

Read more about Just and his very cool mini-wetlands project. He’s using plants to filter contaminated water.

On the Radio: Think Before You Flush

Our latest radio segment highlights the efforts of University of Iowa researchers Gene Parkin and Craig Just, who are developing an affordable and sustainable way to treat wastewater. Listen.

Iowans, do you think before you flush?

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

When you press down on your toilet lever, you probably don’t take the time to think about where your waste goes. You essentially flush it from memory.

But thinking about waste is important. Today, more than 600 communities in Iowa lack adequate sewer or wastewater treatment systems. Some lack a system entirely.

So in some cases, a flush could end up flowing directly into our rivers and streams.

Updating all of Iowa’s wastewater systems to conventional standards would cost more than $1 billion, according to the American Water Works Association.

But Gene Parkin and Craig Just, engineering professors at the University of Iowa, are researching a more sustainable way to treat wastewater at a lower cost to Iowa communities.

They have created a micro-wetlands test site that treats ammonia and other human wastes using plants and nature’s own processes.

This is important research that could soon help small communities across Iowa.

For more information visit Iowa

I’m Jerry Schnoor from the University of Iowa Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research.

Thank you, and enjoy Iowa’s environment.

Read more about the mini wetlands project.