Septic systems are a major source of emerging contaminants in drinking water

infographic: Septic systems are a major source of emerging contaminants (CECs) in drinking water

Credit: Silent Spring Institute

A new analysis shows that septic systems in the United States routinely discharge pharmaceuticals, consumer product chemicals, and other potentially hazardous chemicals into the environment. The study, published June 15 in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, is the most comprehensive assessment to date of septic systems as important sources of emerging contaminants, raising health concerns since many of these chemicals, once discharged, end up in

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2017 Summer Gulf ‘Dead Zone’ Could Be Bigger Than Connecticut

heat map: gulf dead zone 2017 projection

Summer is almost here, and you know what that means. Sun, sand and … a watery wasteland devoid of all life? Yep, this is the time each year when a team of federal and university scientists predicts the size of the so-called dead zone that will develop in the Gulf of Mexico later in the summer.

We’re waiting for that official prediction, but based on federal nitrate flux data and … [more…]

What does the ocean have to do with human health?

What does the ocean have to do with human health?

Our ocean and coasts affect us all! Our ocean and coasts affect us all—even those of us who don’t live near the shoreline. Consider the economy. Through the fishing and boating industry, tourism and recreation, and ocean transport, one in six U.S. jobs is marine-related. Coastal and marine waters support over 28 million jobs. U.S. consumers spend over $55 billion annually for fishery products. Then there’s travel and tourism. Our

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Farm conservation leaders describe trials and solutions

Farm conservation leaders describe trials and solutions

Photo courtesy Soil Health Partnership

KALONA, Iowa — Returns from conservation practices may be hard to quantify, and management challenges difficult to overcome, but Southeast Iowa farmers Steve Berger and Francis Thicke see viable solutions to preserve Iowa’s topsoil and reduce nutrient loss.

Berger and Thicke spoke at an event hosted by the Sierra Club of Southeast Iowa and the Iowa Valley Resource Conservation and Development at the Kalona Library … [more…]

Will Diversions Introduce Nutrients That Harm Wetland Vegetation?

Will Diversions Introduce Nutrients That Harm Wetland Vegetation?

Aerial picture of the Caernarvon Freshwater Diversion outfall canal (on the right) and the delta built by the diversion in Big Mar Pond. The photo was taken on July 17, 2014. Note the lush, green vegetation on the newly built delta includes wetland grasses and black willow trees. All of these plants colonized on their own, once the diversion built the land.

Within the scientific community, and among the general … [more…]