Here’s a summary of recent WRI activities:
1. Brian Rahm interviewed by WSKG/Innovation Trail on Marcellus Shale:
Brian Rahm of Cornell’s Water Research Institute says these sorts of systems are likely to be used in New York if hydrofracking moves here. And the water that can’t be recycled will probably be shipped to disposal plants in Pennsylvania.
“To truck the waste from Broome County down to Williamsport is probably not that big of a deal. I think they’ll probably use that capacity,” says Rahm.
He says that the most important thing isn’t whether or not wastewater can be treated. It’s whether the Department of Environmental Conservation can enforce the rules they’ve spent the last five years creating.
“That to me seems the biggest problem right now is not being quite sure how New York DEC is going to undertake all the things they say they’re going to undertake,” says Rahm.
According to Rahm, there needs to be a lot of drilling before water treatment plant operators, which need permits from the state and the federal government, start building new plants in New York.
2. Homeowner education workshops in Chautauqua County: Workshop on wastewater management for lakeshore communities was conducted in Ashville, NY on March 6. This was the second of the four workshops planned for communities around Chautauqua and Canadarago lakes. See coverage of the event from The Post-Journal pre– and post-event.
3. Our comment on an article that was published last year comparing a small decentralized wastewater treatment system with a large centralized system was accepted and published in the Environmental Research Letters. From the abstract:
In the article ‘Energy and air emission implications of a decentralized wastewater system’ published in Environmental Research Letters (2012 Environ. Res. Lett. 7 024007), Shehabi et al compared a decentralized and a centralized system on the basis of energy use, greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants, and claimed that economies of scale lower the environmental impacts from a centralized system on a per-volume basis. In this comment, we present literature and data from New York State, USA to argue that the authors’ comparison between a small decentralized system (0.015 MGD) and a large centralized system (66.5 MGD) is unconventional and inappropriate.
4. Estuary Resilience Project website: A partnership effort between NYSWRI, Cornell Cooperative Extension and the Hudson River Estuary program of the NYSDEC, this project is a combination of research, outreach and education efforts to address the challenges of flooding and extreme weather. More details will be added to the page over time.