A group of researchers at Swansea University came up with a new, more efficient way to detect and remove pollutants found in wastewater that come from pharmaceuticals and personal care products.
The research, published in Analytical Science Advances, outlines a one-step process for quantifying and separating a range of chemicals and pharmaceuticals commonly found in medicine and personal care products that often end up in wastewater sludge. This new method could increase our understanding of which pollutants may be released from these products and help reduce their effects on the environment, according to a Science Daily article.
Contaminated wastewater makes its way into rivers and streams or is recycled as fertilizer to be used on fields. Chemicals from certain pharmaceuticals have been found to negatively impact human health and some animal species that come into contact with them. For example, multiple species of vulture in Asia have become critically endangered after being regularly exposed to components of Diclofenac, a common non-steroidal inflammatory drug. Fish populations around the world are also decreasing after being exposed to female contreceptives that cause the feminization of male fish.
The new method will allow the detection and extraction of harmful compounds using one process where multiple where needed before. Researchers hope that this process will allow for future advances in the wastewater treatment process that will ensure these harmful pollutants are degraded or removed before they come into contact with humans and wildlife.
This week’s On The Radio segments looks at a University of Iowa graduate who has organized a committee that he hopes will assist small Iowa communities in addressing wastewater treatment and water infrastructure needs.
Transcript: UI grad starts committee to address water needs for small towns
A University of Iowa graduate has started up a committee that he hopes will make wastewater projects more affordable for small communities.
This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.
Matt Wildman – a Project Manager for the Cedar Rapid-based engineering firm HR Green – hosted the inaugural meeting for the Iowa Water Environmental Association’s Small Community Committee last week. Roughly a dozen engineers as well as governmental officials at city and state level were at the meeting to discuss ways that various public and private entities can work together to improve water treatment systems and infrastructure.
Wildman – who holds a master’s degree in civil and environmental engineering from the University of Iowa – said that he hopes the members of his committee will be able to work with state regulators, city officials, engineers, and others to make wastewater projects more practical for small communities that have limited resources. He said that certain regulations can make these projects especially difficult.
“What I’ve seen occur is that new regulations come down, new permits get issued, and a lot of times this seems to be a shock to these small communities. When they get a shock then they have to figure out how to fund things. There are a lot of communities in the state that are low- to middle-income that are disadvantaged communities and doing a one million to five million to ten million dollar wastewater treatment plant is not within their financial capabilities. So to kind of give them an education of what to prepare for and address that and be ready for those financial impacts as well as look at other technologies that can help bring those costs down.”
For more information about this committee and do find out ways you can get involved, visit Iowa-Environmental-Focus-dot-org.
From the UI Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, I’m Nick Fetty.
A Cedar Rapids engineer has organized a committee to help small Iowa communities in treating wastewater.
Matt Wildman is a Project Manager for the engineering firm HR Green and he hosted the first meeting for the Iowa Water Environment Association‘s (IAWEA) Small Community Committee today in Cedar Rapids. Roughly a dozen were in attendance including representatives the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, city officials from Center Point, Walker, and Winthrop, and engineers from Des Moines-based Veenstra & Kimm, Inc. and Fehr Graham which has Iowa offices in Cedar Rapids and West Union.
Wildman – who holds a master’s degree in civil and environmental engineering from the University of Iowa – sat down with CGRER before the meeting to discuss the project.
*Some quotes have been lightly edited for clarity and length.
Tell us who you are and what got you interested in this project?
My name’s Matt Wildmann. I’m a professional engineering, a Project Manager for HR Green, a consulting firms that works around the Midwest and across the country doing water and wastewater. I started at a small firm in Minnesota doing constructive wetlands for wastewater treatment and spent about seven or eight years doing that.
Tell us about this project, the focus of today’s meeting, and what you hope to accomplish?
IAWEA is an organization that works towards clean water throughout the state and focuses primarily on municipalities, doing wastewater treatment, and working with regulators. They have committees that are focused on collection systems, on governmental affairs and many other types of issues around the state. So I felt there was a kind of a gap and that being, there’s a huge portion of the state of Iowa that is small communities that don’t really get much of the focus so I proposed to start up this small community committee to address some of those needs that the small communities have. The primary focus of what I want to do is disseminate that information out to these small communities throughout the state.
Who are some of the principle stakeholders on this committee?
So far I’m looking at some small communities, some consultants, some regulators, fund agencies including the State Revolving Fund, researchers. I’ve also contacted the League of Cities.
Why the emphasis on these smaller communities?
There seems to be a gap, from an organizational standpoint from IAWEA, to reach out to these communities but a lot of what I’ve seen occur is that new regulations come down, new permits get issued, and a lot of times this seems to be a shock to these small communities. When they get a shock then they have to figure out how to fund things. There are a lot of communities in the state that are low- to middle-income that are disadvantaged communities and doing a one million to five million to ten million dollar wastewater treatment plant is not within their financial capabilities. So we want to educate them on what to prepare for and address that and be ready for those financial impacts as well as look at other technologies that can help bring those costs down.
Right now the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has some limited resources as far as review and approval because they have a lot of projects and a lot of other things going on. So another goal of this committee would be to kind of assist the DNR in reviewing new technologies, looking for different research opportunities with the University of Iowa and Iowa State University and anybody else that can provide research opportunities to look at different technologies, and find ways to make them more affordable for these small communities and still get the same results with water treatment and improvement of water quality.