Tag Archives: sewage

Reducing Water Pollution

It’s inevitable that every system and process on Earth results in some sort of pollution. But thanks to an increase in education about water pollution, presently this is a growing concern. The definition of water pollution is a change in the quality of water, whether it be chemical, physical, or biological. Effects pollution can be harmful to those drinking or using it and particularly dangerous to humans.

water pollution
Water pollution, ironically enough, mostly stems from human impact. Oil tankers and mines contribute greatly to water pollution. Other human sources include factories or sewage treatment plants.

How do can you tell if the water near you is polluted? Well, you can’t tell just by looking at it. The only sure way is to scientifically test a small sample. Many companies, like Filtercon for example, offer test kits to test your water at home for water pollution.

Here are some simple thing you can do in your life to prevent water from being polluted:
fish in polluted water
Non-Toxic Products
Rainwater can wash unsafe substances into nearby rivers, oceans, and other bodies of water. For this reason, try buying products that are not harmful to the environment. This includes BPA-free bottles, artificial air fresheners and disinfectants, chemical fertilizers, and flame retardants. You can find products that aren’t harmful to the environment in most local stores. If you use toxic products, simply dispose of them correctly (take them to hazardous waste sites) so they do not cause water pollution. Make sure that you aren’t dumping chemicals down the drain and check out your city’s local hazardous waste dropoff site.

Motor Oil and Cooking Oil
A good practice is not to allow your car to drip motor oil on the ground. Contact your local waste site and ask them when you can dispose of it properly to them. The same goes for cooking oil and paint, it’s a good idea not to put it down faucet. Many restaurants have a grease bin where they dispose of their cooking oil. If you can’t find a place to properly dispose of your cooking oil, ask a restaurant close by.

watering can
Yard Care
The best type of yard fertilizer for your yard is a non-toxic fertilizer, like compost. Toxic fertilizers turn into ocean and lake pollution when it rains. They can also be absorbed in the water supply, which is a result of poor drainage in the yard. It’s also good to not overwater your yard if you are using toxic fertilizer.

Dog Friendly
When walking your dog, clean up after him/her. It is courtesy, of course, but their stool sometimes can find their way to our water supply.

Your Toilet
Some people use their toilet as a garbage can. Please do not make this mistake. It is polluting to add items like dirty diapers, sanitary napkins, and tampon applicators to your toilet drainage. These items could end up polluting the ocean and can damage the water treatment effort.

To Learn More About Our Environment Friendly Products: Visit Our Website

SD Studying Concept That Turns Sewage To Drinking Water

Concept Already Being Used By Orange County Water District

POSTED: 5:36 pm PST November 7, 2011
UPDATED: 7:33 pm PST November 7, 2011
SAN DIEGO — The city of San Diego is in the midst of a one-year study to see if it can treat and purify sewage into potable, drinkable water.
At its groundwater replenishment system, the Orange County Water District cleans and purifies 70 million gallons of drinking water, which is enough water for about 550,000 people.
It takes about three days to turn raw sewage – which is more than 90 percent water – into clean water.
10News received a guided tour of the system from general manager Mike Markus, who carefully described the process.
After the Orange County Sanitation District treats the water, the water goes through three different filtration processes at the groundwater replenishment system.
The first is a microfiltration process, followed by reverse osmosis. Finally, the water is hit with an ultraviolet irradiation system. The result is perfect water.
“We stripped out all the pharmaceuticals [and] viruses in the water,” said Markus. “There’s nothing left. It’s the highest quality water that we have in the region.”
The Orange County Water District regularly tests the water for about 400 chemicals and compounds.
“When we test for these compounds, we cannot detect them,” said Markus.
Visitors to the groundwater replenishment system can sample the water directly out of the plant.
10News reporter Joe Little tested the water and said, matter-of-factly, “It’s water.”
Markus said, “Anyone in northern or central Orange County ultimately will be drinking this water and that area encompasses about 2.4 million people.”
The recycled water is also cheaper than water imported through the Metropolitan Water District. It costs Orange County about $800 per acre foot to buy water imported from the Sacramento Bay Delta and the Colorado River, while the recycled water only costs about $480 per acre foot.
The city of San Diego is studying the same process Orange County is using to take advantage of those savings.
“It’s a huge additional amount that we would have locally controlled that we wouldn’t have to buy from [the Metropolitan Water District] who sticks it to us every time they get a chance,” said San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders.
The process has proved so effective in Orange County that plans have already been approved to expand the system to recycle 100 million gallons of water per day by 2014.

SEWAGE PLANT NOT UP TO SNUFF

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Blackout’s sewage spills 75 percent greater than reported

Two sewage spills caused by the Sept. 8 power outage totaled nearly 3.5 million gallons, roughly 75 percent more than what San Diego city officials told regulators and the public in the aftermath.

The figures could become financially significant for San Diego because pollution fines typically are based on the amount of sewage spilled. Penalties in this case may run into the millions of dollars, though it’s not clear that will happen given the unusual circumstances.

Ann Sasaki, assistant director for wastewater at the city’s Public Utilities Department, said Tuesday that the previous combined total of about 2 million gallons was based on field observations. She said the numbers were updated after employees reviewed records of flow metering devices to create a more accurate estimate.

The newest figures were released in a report for the city’s natural resources committee, which plans to address related issues at 2 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall.

The report said utilities officials are studying options for backup power that could minimize the chances of repeat problems but it noted that the city successfully treated more than 97 percent of the sewage during the regional power failure.

“The Department’s emergency preparedness and response plans are consistent with industry standards and structured to cover expected emergency situations,” said the report. “The unprecedented power outage was beyond anyone’s expectations and/or planning scenarios.”

[Read the full report]

When the power went out, two city sewage pump stations failed because they each relied on electrical feeds from two separate San Diego Gas & Electric substations and don’t have onsite generators. One facility was on Roselle Street near Los Penasquitos Lagoon and the other was near Interstate 5 and state Route 54 in the South Bay.

While the blackout was still affecting parts of the region, San Diego County’s Department of Environmental Health reported the Los Penasquitos spill at 3.2 million gallons but quickly revised the estimate to 1.9 million gallons, the number that the city reported to the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board. The other spill has been consistently characterized as 120,000 gallons until the latest report for the City Council.

The updated figures show 2.6 million gallons spilled in Los Penasquitos Creek and 870,000 gallons were released into the Sweetwater River and ultimately to San Diego Bay.

Beaches in both areas were closed for days afterwards until pollution decreased below levels of concern, but the incidents raised alarms for some residents.

At Wednesday’s meeting, lawyers from San Diego Coastkeeper will push for upgrades.

“Now is the time for the city to rectify its mistakes handling this sewage crisis and take the proper steps to ensure it won’t happen again,” said Gabriel Solmer, advocacy director for the nonprofit group. “Our human and environmental health and economy depend on the city taking discrete and proactive action.”

Jeremy Haas, a senior scientist with the regional board’s compliance unit, said Tuesday that he had not seen the city’s latest numbers but that initial spill figures commonly change.

“Spill volume estimates often get revised from initial emergency reports after collections agency staff have time to review logs from flow meters at pump stations or treatment plants,” he said. “Sometimes estimates go up, other times down.”

Sasaki said the city is investigating the use of backup power generators at the failed pump stations but it could be another month before she can provide general cost estimates and longer before detailed figures are available.

To mitigate the environmental damage of the pollution, San Diego reported pumping more than 14 million gallons of from Los Penasquitos Creek. The city also is working with the regional board to conduct what’s likely to be months of biological monitoring at the site.

When the City Council committee takes up the topic Wednesday, it will also look at power failures at city water pump stations that lead to precautionary boil water orders for thousands of residents in 13 neighborhoods. The staff report said the power outage affected about 10 percent of the city’s water customers, the result of not having emergency generators at each of the pump stations.

Mike Lee: mike.lee@uniontrib.com

Beaches near Los Penasquitos Lagoon outlet were closed for days following a 2.6 million gallon sewage spill on Sept. 8 at a pump station upstream. — John Gastaldo