Water, not temperature, limits global forest growth as climate warms

Graphic: 'heat map' showing stressorss

Chart: The growth of forest trees in temperate and boreal regions became more limited by water rather than temperature as the 20th century warmed. The more orange-red the area on the map, the more tree growth in that region became limited by water availability. The bluer the area, the less water-limited the trees became. Credit: Flurin Babst, Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Zurich

The growth of forest trees all over … [more…]

Elevated Nitrate Levels Found in Millions of Americans’ Drinking Water

photo: residential drinking water sauce

Photo: Steve Johnson / Flickr

Public water systems serving more than 5.6 million Americans contain concentrations of nitrate at levels found to cause health problems, including cancer and birth defects, according to a new study published in the journal Environmental Health. Systems serving Hispanic populations tended to have the highest levels of nitrate in drinking water.

Nitrate in water originates from various sources, including fertilizers, sewage treatment systems, and … [more…]

The Death of the Delaware River

historical photo

A photo circa 1965 showing an outfall pier being built on the Schuylkill River, where it flows into the Delaware River. Prior to the Clean Water Act, little regulation existed to halt industrial pollution and raw sewage from flowing into the nation’s waterways. (PWD archival photo)

Joe Newton would fish on the Delaware River every day if he could. “It depends on the weather and the conditions and the like,” … [more…]

$3 billion problem: Miami-Dade’s septic tanks are already failing due to sea rise

photo: 2016 king tides in Miami-Dade County

Photo: A Miami-Dade neighborhood that relies on septic tanks experiences flooding during the 2016 King Tide. A new report commissioned by the county shows that half of the county’s septic tanks break down yearly, a problem that sea level rise will worsen. MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

Miami-Dade has tens of thousands of septic tanks, and a new report reveals most are already malfunctioning — the smelly and unhealthy evidence of which often … [more…]

Desalination Produces 50 Percent More Toxic Brine Than Previously Thought

photo: desalination plant

The world’s desalination plants, which use energy intensive processes to remove salt from water, produce enough toxic brine each year to cover all of Florida under a foot of water.

Factories around the world are pumping out toxic brine at a rate much higher than previously estimated and dumping it back into the ocean, according to a report published on Monday.

This super-salty brine is toxic to marine life, and … [more…]