Western Drought Ranks among the Worst of the Last Millennium

How do we know what past megadroughts were like?
Trees grow annual tree rings every year.
How do tree rings help compare past megadroughts to drought today?
So we took advantage of this really high density of drought-sensitive tree ring records to reconstruct how soil moisture has varied over the last 1,200 years.
In 2012 I did a study using tree records across the Southwest.
And that’s what we’ve seen in western North America, where the last century … has not seen really big trends in precipitation.
And climate models say that all of that warming is due to human-caused climate change.
We can retroactively calculate how soil moisture would have been impacted if the long-term warming trends that were caused by humans had never occurred.
It would still have been bad; it would compete with the worst droughts of the last century.
But it wouldn’t be able to compete with the droughts of the last millennium [without climate change].

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Announces Over $51 Million to Rebuild and Improve Rural Water Infrastructure in Wisconsin

Senator Tammy Baldwin is announcing more than $51 million in United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development funding to help rebuild and improve water infrastructure in Wisconsin communities.
As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Baldwin has supported strong funding for infrastructure projects through USDA’s Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program and is working to reauthorize the program in the 2018 Farm Bill.
“I worked to secure these strong investments to make sure that our rural communities across Wisconsin have access to clean drinking water, and safe and improved water infrastructure.” USDA is providing the funds through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program.
The USDA funding was awarded to the following Wisconsin communities: City of Waupun: $27,611,000 in loans and $9,479,000 in grants for water distribution and storm water drainage system improvements, including the addition of a phosphorus removal system making use of new technology.
Village of Reedsville: $1,049,000 in loans and $802,000 in grants for water distribution system improvements; and $1,275,000 in loans and $813,000 in grants for sanitary sewer system improvements.
Village of Tennyson: $1,628,000 in loans and $2,591,000 in grants for water and sanitary sewer system improvements.
Village of Albany: $983,000 in loans and $676,000 in grants for water system improvements.
Village of Blanchardville: $1,876,000 in loans and $1,453,000 in grants for water distribution and sanitary sewer system improvements.
Village of Radisson: $400,000 in loans and $733,000 in grants for a new well and elevated water tower to meet residential and industrial needs after an existing well was shut down due to lead.

Congress takes step forward to protect drinking water from PFAS chemicals

Washington, DC – Today, Congress took bipartisan action to protect drinking water from contamination by passing legislation that directs the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to allow airports to use firefighting foam free of highly fluorinated chemicals or PFAS.
The use of PFAS-containing firefighting foam is responsible for drinking water contamination for millions of Americans.
The chemicals are extremely persistent and can stay in the human body for as long as eight years.
“Families across the country are being exposed to these highly toxic chemicals in their drinking water.
Congress has taken an important step toward ending the use of PFAS foams at commercial airports,” said Safer Chemicals Healthy Families Director Liz Hitchcock.
“We look forward to working with Congress and the Administration to take many more steps forward to tackle this public health crisis.” Included in legislation to fund the Federal Aviation Administration and to strengthen disaster programs that passed the Senate today is a provision that allows commercial airports to choose to use firefighting foams that do not contain PFAS chemicals.
This provision is an important step forward because much of the drinking water contamination is found near airports – military and commercial – that use PFAS-based aqueous film-forming foam.
Safer Chemicals Healthy Families applauded the bipartisan group of lawmakers from both chambers who led negotiations of the final package: House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.); Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.
); House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.); and Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee Ranking Member Bill Nelson (D-Fla.).
The group also thanked Michigan Senator Gary Peters and Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan for their advocacy on the PFAS provision.

New Hampshire Congressional Delegation Announces $16M Grant to Improve Water Infrastructure

(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S.
Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Congresswomen Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) and Annie Kuster (NH-02) announced a $16 million Clean Water State Revolving Fund Capitalization Grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) to improve water infrastructure and protect clean drinking water supplies.
NHDES was also awarded an additional $162,000 to fund New Hampshire’s Water Quality Management Planning program to improve contaminated water and water supplies across the state.
“Granite State families deserve safe and clean drinking water, and this grant will provide significant resources to help communities across our state protect water quality,” said Shaheen.
“I am pleased to announce this increased funding to improve our state’s water infrastructure, and I will continue to work across the aisle to advocate for federal resources to bolster New Hampshire’s clean water initiatives that safeguard public health.” “Clean water is critical for our citizens to lead healthy lives, and it is at the heart of our state’s economic development, healthy families, and vibrant communities,” said Hassan.
“I am pleased to announce these federal grants, which will go toward our efforts to ensure that all Granite Staters have access to safe drinking water by investing in our clean water infrastructure and improving water quality.
Though there is still more work to be done to protect our water from harmful contaminants, such as PFAS, these federal grants are a step in the right direction.” “Every American has a right to clean air and water,” said Shea-Porter.
“No one should have to worry that their water is contaminated or their children are being harmed by contaminated water.
Clean drinking water is essential for public health, and this federal grant demonstrates how federal, state, and local governments can work together to improve wastewater treatment, protect our environment, and improve drinking water quality.” “This grant will help support efforts to ensure that municipal wastewater systems are functioning efficiently and protecting the health of our communities,” said Kuster.
“I strongly oppose efforts to cut resources that are helping local communities safeguard access to quality water resources.

Washington, D.C., Boil Water Advisory: Thousands of People Affected by Possibly Contaminated Water

On Friday morning, the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water) issued a precautionary boil water advisory for large areas of Washington, D.C., after a problem at the Bryant Street pump caused a drop in water pressure.
DC Water announced the pump issue on Twitter Thursday night, and the boil water advisory came about five hours later.
Among the areas affected by the advisory are: Residents who are affected by the alert are instructed to run the tap until the water turns clear if it initially comes out of the tap discolored.
Once water is clear, residents should bring water to a rolling boil for three minutes and let it cool before storing cool water in a clean container with a lid.
The cooled, boiled water should be used for drinking, brushing teeth, preparing and cooking food, making ice, preparing infant formula and giving water to pets.
Hours after the alert was posted, DC Water’s website faced loading difficulty, so the organization posted pictures of the alert and map of affected areas on Twitter.
An open valve was the root of the problem and caused a loss of pressure in portions of the distribution system, which makes it possible for contaminants to get into the water that’s delivered through the system.
The valve problem was corrected, but the boil water alert will remain in place until DC Water completes its testing of water samples to ensure it’s safe, according to the advisory.

DC Water addresses communication concerns during water advisory

WASHINGTON — The boil water advisory that was issued on Thursday evening has been lifted, but some in the DC community criticized DC Water’s effectiveness in communicating the alert with residents.
The drop in pressure at the Bryant Street station happened on Thursday evening.
According to Gadis, by the time that officials had done an investigation into the incident and decided that a boil water advisory should be issued, it was already past midnight.
The initial pressure drop was caused by a valve that was left open at the Bryant Street Pumping Station.
Anytime that water pressure drops, it is possible for harmful bacteria to get into the system.
“Now that the alert is over, I want to assure everyone that drinking water is safe in our city and it is safe to drink as well.” Gadis said.
“In fact, all this talking is making me thirsty.” Gadis did not drink any water after issuing this statement.
Like WTOP on Facebook and follow @WTOP on Twitter to engage in conversation about this article and others.
© 2018 WTOP.
All Rights Reserved.

DC Boil Water Advisory lifted for all customers, officials say

The D.C.
Boil Water Advisory has been lifted for all customers, officials announced Sunday morning.
The advisory ended after being issued Friday morning because D.C. Water detected coliform bacteria that was in the water.
Officials says open valve Thursday at the Bryant Street Pumping Station led to loss of pressure that caused the contamination resulting in the Boil Water Advisory.
“Protecting the health and safety of our customers is paramount in providing reliable water service to the District of Columbia,” David Gadis, General Manager and CEO of D.C. Water said in a press release.
“We’re sorry for any inconvenience this caused, but we will always put our customers’ safety first during these types of events.” Residents in the area affected by the advisory should run their cold water taps for 10 minutes if they did not use the water during the last few days.
Below is initial map D.C. Water released of the initial affected areas on Friday.
Close to 7,000 residents were still being impacted by the advisory Saturday night.
D.C. Water will hold a press conference Sunday to provide more information on the incident.

Alaska must tackle water quality issues

Community Perspective FAIRBANKS — On May 22 and 23, the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) held a “Leadership Summit” in Washington, D.C., about PFAS contamination in drinking water.
Many Fairbanks residents are affected by contamination of their drinking water caused by dispersion of aqueous firefighting foams in groundwater plumes from Eielson Air Force Base, the Regional Fire Training Center, the Fairbanks International Airport and Fort Wainwright.
PFAS contamination in drinking water now affects over 16 million people in 33 states.
Patrick Breysse, director of the Centers for Disease Control’s National Center for Environmental Health, described the contamination of drinking water by PFAS chemicals as “one of the most seminal public health challenges for the next decades.” Community members affected by PFAS contamination were excluded from the EPA Summit that included primarily government officials and the chemical industry.
Just the week before, news broke that the White House and EPA deliberately suppressed a government study by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry that found that EPA’s recommended health advisory limit of 70 parts per trillion for PFAS chemicals to be as much as six times too high.
A White House official stated that the release of this assessment would be “a public relations nightmare.” The report indicates that levels of these chemicals that EPA previously thought to be “safe” may cause harm.
Neither the EPA nor Alaska have established enforceable standards for drinking water.
Although some people who have levels of PFAS in their water at levels greater than 70 ppt are provided with an alternative water source, those with levels even slightly below that threshold are afforded no safety for their families even though exposures at much lower levels are known to cause harm to human health.
In the absence of federal action, other states are taking strong measures to protect the health of their residents by cleaning up current contamination, establishing health protective drinking water standards, taking legal action against manufacturers and preventing future pollution by requiring the use of PFAS-free firefighting foams.
In the meantime, our state’s inaction is costly and causing harm while people continue to be exposed to dangerous levels of pollution in their drinking water.

What’s to be done about plastic particles found in water bottles?

Dive Brief: According to a report from Orb Media, a nonprofit digital journalism organization based in Washington, D.C., 93% of 259 bottles of branded water it tested contained microscopic pieces of plastic.
The average across all brands was 325 microplastic particles per liter.
The study found a wide range of microscopic plastic particle levels across brands — and even varying levels within brands — which makes it hard to gauge the severity of these findings.
The report noted that most ingested microparticles, depending on size, could pass through the intestines and not cause problems, but that some could possibly migrate to the lymphatic system.
It added that little research has been done in this area and that some scientists view that factor as cause for concern.
These findings may not be a surprise to the waste industry, however.
Marine waste — and plastics especially — have been a hot topic for years, and the industry is well-aware of how much plastic winds up in waterways on a regular basis.
Plastics in water do break down overtime, creating the microplastic particles that Nestle and Coca-Cola said are common in the environment.
Canada’s environment minister, for example, recently declared she wants to build on a "zero-plastics-waste" charter, and British Prime Minister Theresa May wants her country to cut out all "avoidable" plastic waste in the next 25 years.
And it’s not just governments.

Study reveals plastic particles in bottle water could be killing you

Major brands of bottled water have been found to contain tiny particles of plastic, according to a new study.
Orb Media, a non-profit journalism organisation based in Washington, D.C., conducted tests on 259 bottles from 11 leading brands, including Evian, San Pellegrino, Dasani, Nestle Pure Life and Aquafina, purchased from 19 location in nine countries.
The tests were conducted at the State University of New York in Fredonia, where researchers used a red dye called Nile Red, which absorbs to the surface of plastics, making them easier to see under infrared light.
The testing revealed 93 per cent of the bottle show microplastic contamination from a combination of polypropylene, nylon, and polyethylene terephthalate (PET).
Of the 259 bottles tested, 17 had no particles.
Brands included in the study made aware that the results showed a far greater amount of microplastics in their bottles when compared to their own tests.
This is also what happens every time you microwave your food in a plastic container.
There’s also dangers to drinking prosecco out of a plastic cup.
Know someone who would find this interesting?
Share this article with them!