Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Geeky Environmental Stuff

It has been so long since I posted anything other than a music post, I have a laundry list of environmental crap. The first thing that struck me yesterday was that Obama is starting to upgrade the infrastructure for the power grid in this country. It needs it! This may allow easier access for home power generators to make power and sell it back to the grid. Smart meters (Sacramento just got a huge grant to replace all electric meters) will help consumers actually check current usage and maybe run the dryer after the AC is running, cutting down on peaks. The electric grid was put in place in the 40s to now and is using technology from that era. Hell, even old cable lines are not up to the challenge in wet weather. We need new infrastructure. and this will help. O yes, it creates jobs, too.

Another good one. The Aral Sea is returning. It had been lowered by irrigation diversions and become very salty. By lowered, maybe hundreds of feet. Only one or two species of fish in what was a commercial fishing center were alive. Flatfish had to be imported because the water was so salty, the predominant local breeds (pike and carp--does anyone know how to cook carp so they are tasty? I sure don't)) did not live there anymore. Now, with the addition of a new dam, the water is freash enough and the level has risen 40 feet, that commercial fishing is back! Also, the winters and summers are more moderate. The desert will shrink again as the lake (okay, Sea) grows. It may never be back to its original size, but will grow more. The South Aral Sea may be too salty to save.

And this one is important. Antibiotic resistant bacteria are being found in wells. Well water is the source of water for maybe 80% of American households. These bacteria are not disease-causing, but the way bacteria cross breed, mutate, evolve and share characteristics, this could really be a big issue. And what does this say about our use of antibiotics. I was worried about antibiotic resistant bacteria growing in shellfish outside wastewater plant efflunets infecting a population. Now aquifers are affected. Heck, I was reading in a trade journal some real technical article about how ozone is gaining favor as a final disinfectant because it oxidizes, or uses oxygen, in O3 form, to break the chemical bonds, reducing compounds to simpler compounds and elements things like caffeine, ibuprofen, birth control hormones, acetominephen that are showing up in wastewater plant effluent. It is quite a stew we are making.

Oh, one last thing. San Diego was screaming they could not pay for a real wastewater treatment plant. It would cost too much. Their waiver for secondary treatment had been thrown out of court. Well.....they got it reinstated. So that means that whenver you flush your toilet in SD, think about what happens. It goes into a big pit, settles, gets chlorinated and discharged to sea with further treatment. Because the City Fathers are too cheap to do a good job being stewards. Remember that s your bacteria count raises on beaches and beaches close. It is your shit helping close the beaches. Man up and buy a 20th century treatment system. Maybe by the ned of the century you can buy a 21st century one.


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