Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Saving Energy Does Not Mean Giving Up YOUR CAR

High Fuel Efficiency Car Show

High fuel efficiency CARS will be on display in the courtyard at The Cooperage before our annual membership meeting.  Look at and talk to the owners of a Chevy Volt Hybrid Plug-in, a Ford CMAX Energy hybrid plug-in, a Prius plug-in, a Volkswagen Jetta Diesel, a “grease’ car and more! 
At 7:00 pm, we will hold our brief annual membership meeting. 

At 7:20 pm , we will present:  “What’s New in the Renewable World” a top 10 list of sustainable innovations presented by SEEDS Advisor Larry Reeger.  

The Cooperage Café will be open at 6:00 pm for those wishing to purchase food. You may also come early to view cars before we begin our meeting/sustainable forum.

Please register by emailing or calling 570-245-1256.

Event Host: Sustainable Energy Education and Development Support 

This event is free and open to the general public

 at The Cooperage – 1030 Main Street in downtown Honesdale, PA

PPL Wallenpaupack Environmental Learning Center
126 PPL Drive, P.O. Box 122
Hawley, PA 18428-0122
GPS Coordinates: N41 27.475 W75 11.022

Monday, August 18, 2014

Microcystins – Blue Green Algae- Cyanobacteria Your Drinking Water

Microcystins – Blue Green Algae- Cyanobacteria
Your Drinking Water

The first step in understanding this situation is it is important that you understand the source of your drinking water.  Is the source a surface water reservoir, stream, river, or groundwater source and if you are part of a municipal or regulated water supply or if you are a private water supply system.   The second step is to review available water testing information on the quality of the water.  If you have not gotten any data in the mail and you do not get a water bill, it is likely that you are on a private system and need to get your WATER Tested Yourself.   If you get an annual report, you would want to look at issues related to general quality and the source of your water.  If the report says that the source is a lake or reservoir and there is a Water Treatment Plant that filters the water, it is likely your source could be influence by Microcystins and Blue-green Algae.

So what happened in Ohio and what is microcystin?
In Toledo, Ohio -Toledo's Collins Park Water Treatment Plant found two sample readings for microcystin in excess of the one-microgram-per-liter (1 ug/L or 1 ppb or 0.001 mg/L).  First – they did not mention if this was in the raw or finished (treated) water.  It would make sense is was the level in the finished or treated drinking water.

There is no federal drinking water standard for microcystin, but there is a WHO (World Health Organization) has a provisional standard for Microcystin-LR of 1 ug/L.  Microcystins are not regulated by USEPA in drinking water, but are unregulated microbial drinking water contaminants listed on the USEPA's Contaminant Candidate Lists (CCLs) 1 and 2 as cyanobacteria and their toxins.  Specific varants, Anatoxin-A, Microcystin-LR and Cylindrospermopsin, are on the USEPA's Contaminant Candidate Lists 3- CCL3.   Minnesota analysis of acute response suggests a guidance limit of 0.04 ug/L, but the method detection limit for the available method is 0.15 mg/L.

What are blue green algae (cyanobacteria)?   (Yes we are talking about POND SCUM!)

Blue green algae lives in a wide range of environments including freshwater, saltwater, brine, soil and even in very brackish water.  They are among some of the oldest “organisms” on the planet and probably responsible for the fact we actually have oxygen. They can live in freshwater, salt water, or in mixed “brackish” water.  They are called blue-green algae, but they come in a wide range of colors including red, brown, orange, and green (Strange – They do not come in BLUE).  These blue green algae can actually be many colors including green, red, orange, or brown.   Because these organisms have characteristics similar to bacteria they are called or known as “cyanobacteria.” Cyanobacteria are one of the oldest microorganisms on Earth, predating predators, 3.5 billion years ago.

What causes these organisms to form “blooms”?
Well for some the answer is Climate Change, but for them the answer to most things is climate change.   The real reason why we have blue green algae blooms is because these organisms have an advantage.   When they do not have enough nitrogen to grow – they can fix the nitrogen directly from the atmosphere.  Just think – you would have an advantage over others if you could PRINT MONEY.  For these organism, this happens when there is so much phosphate in the water the growth rate of the organism is no longer limited by the phosphate, but limited by nitrogen.  When this occurs, these organisms have the advantage and then out-grow and shade out all the other algae.  The second advantage they are big and small fish and zooplankton do not like to eat or can not eat. 

What causes some blooms to be toxic?
Only some blue-green algae produce microcystin toxins.  Why?  You will not like this answer, but we do not know.  My guess is it is a defense mechanism to prevent predation by zooplankton or it could be just part of the metabolite process they developed. There are thousands of blue green algae species and many more are still being discovered. Most do not produce toxins that are harmful to people or animals. However, some types of blue green algae produce toxins within their cells which are released when the cells die off or are ruptured. It is not clear why blue green algae make these toxins.

A microcystin is?
A toxin produced by bacteria of the genus microcystis (
planktothrix cyanobacteria (i.e., some filamentous blue green algae), a type of blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria. Only certain species of blue-green algae form toxins, for reasons that aren't fully understood. Microcystins are toxic peptides, i.e., peptides are short chains of amino acids linked together via peptide bonds. These peptides are produced in large quantities during blooms.  Microcystins typically persist even after the collapse of the algal blooms.  Microcystin can produce hives or blisters from direct contact with the skin. Swallowing it can cause headaches, fever, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Large-scale ingestion can damage the liver.

What environment factors lead to formation?
Microystin is associated with blooms of Cyanobacterial, i.e., blue-green algae.  The primary environmental factors that lead to this condition high levels of phosphorous (source direct discharges, non-point sources, and internal cycling from the sediments), growth limiting nutrient is nitrogen not phosphorous, temperatures in the 5 to 30 C and related to the condition within the surface water source, such as a lake that recent was “turned over” and is not a complete mix system.   Is this caused by climate change – the science is not in yet – My Scientific Opinion Based on Available Data is NO, but I am open to Facts!
Microcystin toxins are nonvolatile, hydrophilic (i.e., have an affinity for water- “Makes Sense”, and stable in sunlight, and stable over a wide temperature and pH range. Factors affecting toxin production are light and temperature, with optimum temperatures from cyanobacteria ranging 20 to 25 C- as the algae becomes more productive the levels of microcystin increase.  Elevated levels may persist for up to 2 months following the decline of the algal populations.

YOU may have a problem with your lake or reservoir, if:

Based on these studies - Current recommendation are as follows:
1. Monitor you lake quality, parameters such as pH, conductivity, phosphate, secchi depth, and alkalinity.
2. Monitor the vertical profile of the lake or reservoir and understand how it changes overtime. 
3. Avoid contact with blue-green algal blooms.
4. The greatest risk may be when the water transparency or secchi depth is low (< 0.5 m), pH > 9.0, or when distinct surface scums are visible.
5. If you have the budget, hire a professional to assist with conducting a lake and watershed assessment to understand the sources and sinks for nutrients and the food-web for the system.
6. Test for chlorophyll a, conduct phytoplankton and zooplankton counts, and test the water for mirocystin.


Resources on Lake Monitoring
Published Books, Guides, and Monitoring Devices
Online Web-Portal - Information on Watersheds
Role of Phosphate

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

One Solution to Bottled Water - Without Electricity NSF Standard 58

Purchasing bottled water is not the solution.

The Simple Solution: 

The simplest and least costly way to provide Safe Pure Water to as many people as possible is household purchase of a Life Saver Non-Electric Steam Water Distiller. 

The Life Saver Distiller is over 99.9% effective in killing bacteria and other microbial organisms and in removing all types of pollutants from any type of contaminated water -- including Raw Sea Water, Flood Water, or Sewage Water if necessary. 
By use of a pressure cooker as the boiling chamber, the Life Saver Non-Electric Steam Water Distiller can produce 11 US gallons per day of Pure Sterile Water for drinking and cooking. In addition, the pressure cooker can be used in its normal role in bulk food preparation with minimal cost for fuel in preparing a meal in as little as 15-20 minutes. 

Of major significance, is the fact that under NSF Standard 58, Steam Distillation is the only stand-alone process for removal of arsenic from water.
Conquest International is the manufacturer of the Life Saver Non-Electric
Steam Water Distiller Kit.   The Life Saver Water Distiller is designed for both Normal Day-to-Day Living, for use inside and outside the house, for camping, other outdoor uses, and in Emergency/Survival Situations where potable water or bottled water is not available for cooking and drinking.  With the Life Saver Water Distiller Kit you can produce your own Pure Distilled Water where there is no electrical power available.

Note: You will need to provide you own heat source. 

More information

Other Water Issues
1. Make Sure to Get Your Water Tested.
2. Got a Water Question - Get this Book.
3. Need other Types of Water Treatment - Arsenic, Nitrate, Bacteria, or just a filter.
4. Private Well Owner Outreach - PA / USA

Monday, August 4, 2014

Math Solutions: Flow Rate Conversions BOD Calculator Online Learning and Continuing Education

Water Online’s “Math Solutions” series, presented by wastewater consultant and trainer Dan Theobald (“Wastewater Dan”), provides an understanding of the sometimes difficult calculations involved in achieving wastewater operator certification.
By Dan Theobald, Environmental Services
"Flow data is provided in many units of expression, such as liters or milliliters in the metric system, or gallons in an American system. It may also be provided in many different time increments, including seconds, minutes, hours, or days.  Basic post on examples of flow conversions
Depending on your calculation using flow, converting the unit or time of expression may be required for an accurate calculation.  The main portal has 58 video available that ranges from basic unit conversions to BOD calculations and much more.
This is full list of “Math Solutions” can be accessed at playlist here). If you have specific wastewater math queries, please visit Dan Theobald at his Main Page.
About Dan Theobald:
Known in the industry as “Wastewater Dan,” Daniel L. Theobald, proprietor of Environmental Services (, is a professional wastewater and safety consultant/trainer. He has more than 24 years of hands-on industry experience operating many variants of wastewater treatment processing units and is eager to share with others his knowledge about water conservation.
Theobald serves as an active consultant for industries looking to achieve and maintain improved wastewater treatment at reduced cost. He is a Lifetime Member of the Who’s Who Registry of Professionals and holds numerous certifications from wastewater management regulatory boards and professional organizations. Theobald contributed one chapter to the Water Environment Federation’s ( Manual of Practice # 37 (MOP-37), a technical manual resource guide for biological nutrient removal, published in 2013."
Additional Online Training Courses for Water and Wastewater Operators, Engineers, and Others.
B.F. Environmental Consultants Inc.
Water-Research Center

Online Courses for Continuing Education and Certification  (at least 30 more courses just in Wastewater)
Featured Courses
Basic Design Wastewater System

Bloodborne Pathogen
Laboratory Safety
Basic Construction Math

Please consider supporting the Keystone Clean Water Team - 501 c3 in PA - promoting education, private well owner assistance, and groundwater management/testing/protection.