By Darryl Fears,
After moving tons of earth for an expansion, Stafford Regional Airport in Virginia faced an embarrassing problem: severe and seemingly irreversible baldness. Virtually nothing grew on its dusty, damaged land.
The airport’s worried manager, Ed Wallis, tried different treatments before he was advised to consult with officials at theBlue Plains Advanced Water Treatment Plant, a sprawling facility at the southern tip of the District that processes 375 million gallons of the area’s wastewater per day.
Airport officials liked what they saw and began accepting a dark substance called a biosolid from Blue Plains. Five months later, grass started to sprout. A year later, it was thigh-high.
“It was unbelievable,” Wallis said.
That transformation a decade ago is a legend at Blue Plains, the first thing officials from the plant mentioned recently while promoting theirbiosolid fertilizer. That’s a fancy scientific marketing name that masks what the biosolids truly are — sludge made primarily from human waste.
Probably the world’s original fertilizer, this cleaned and treated version of what was long known as “night soil” may well loom large in the future, too. Continue reading
WAILUKU – Maui County Mayor-elect Alan Arakawa named six new members to his Cabinet on Monday, including two key people to help him achieve his campaign goals, Danny Agsalog as director of the Department of Finance and Dave Taylor as director of the Department of Water Supply.
With the stumbling economy still heavy on most people’s minds, and job creation and finding more water on the lips of political candidates this election season, Arakawa chose people he was familiar with – and who are educated and experienced – to run the county’s finance and water departments, he said.
Arakawa also picked former longtime and award-winning television and print journalist Rod Antone as the county and mayor’s spokesman, replacing Mahina Martin. In addition, Arakawa chose deputy directors for the water and finance departments as well as for county communications. Continue reading
This the a bit different from the Off Deadline column in today’s print edition. The editors took out the joke about vitamin C, and I’ve put it back in.
Psst! Wanna know a secret? The environmentalists don’t want you to hear this, but corals eat sewage. Really. They love the stuff. The Maui Wastewater Working Group held 13 meetings to convict treated sewage put down injection wells of killing reefs. It’s too bad they didn’t take a field trip to the Central Laboratory at the Kihei Wastewater Treatment Plant to see some effluent in action. Such visits are discouraged by the health monitors, but my wife does the testing and I’ve watched her. There are several tests, but the relevant one for injection wells puts a sample of treated wastewater – the PC name for sewage – through a centrifuge, which deposits whatever sewage is left on circles of glistening white filter paper. Filter is the key word here. Corals (and marine worms and lots of other reef critters) are filter feeders. The Kihei and Lahaina plants make R1 effluent, the good stuff, while Kahului makes R2, not as clean. Usually, when the plant is functioning well (which is most of the time), on most of the discs I cannot tell any difference between the clean and the sampled filter paper. On a few, there may be the faintest brown tinge. It takes a magnifying glass to tell sometimes. Continue reading
Recovery Act Funds Will Help Improve Infrastructure Across Rural America
Na Kupaa O Kuhio (Kakaina) – $541,000 direct loan and $377,800 grant
Na Kupaa O Kuhio (Piilani) – $471,000 direct loan and $339,000 grant
WASHINGTON, August, 25, 2009 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the selection of $175.8 million in water and environmental projects that are being funded immediately through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The projects will help provide safe drinking water and improved wastewater treatment for rural communities in 27 states. To date, USDA has announced $1.47 billion for water and environmental project loans and grants through ARRA, benefiting communities throughout the country.
“The Recovery Act water and wastewater projects we are announcing today support the Obama administration’s goal of rebuilding and revitalizing the nation’s rural infrastructure,” Vilsack said. “This funding will provide reliable drinking water and sanitary waste disposal while creating and saving jobs in rural America.”