Monday, September 28, 2009

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Fish Kill due to Diatom bloom

A rare case of a fish kill due to bloom of Diatoms.

"Scientists have pegged the brown water affecting the Naples coast on a diatom, a silica-based algae, called Guinardia flaccida."

The cause of the Diatom bloom seems to be a spill of fluorosilicic acid -

"Workers at Stolthaven New Orleans LLC dumped almost half a million gallons of a chemical called fluorosilicic acid into the Mississippi River."

Nualgi results in a controlled bloom of Diatoms and hence is very useful and has no side effects.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Bioremediation of soil

Bioremediation of soil
Courtesy of Environmental Remediation Equipment Inc. (ERE)


"In addition to nitrogen and phosphorus, a variety of minerals is universally required, such as potassium, calcium, magnesium and iron. Many other elements are required only in trace amounts. These include zinc, copper, cobalt, manganese, and molybdenum. These metals function in enzymes or coenzymes."


Nualgi contains all the trace elements required for Bioremediation.

Sunday, September 20, 2009




Half of the oxygen we breathe comes from microscopic plants living in the ocean.


Human and marine ecosystem health are threatened by a range of challenges, including increased levels of exposure to toxins from harmful algal blooms and other sources, and greater contact with infectious agents. Areas in numerous bays, estuaries, gulfs, and the Great Lakes are now consistently low in or lacking oxygen, creating dead zones along our bays and coasts.


Obstacles and Opportunities
Nonpoint source pollution (pollution that comes from diffuse sources instead of one specific point), caused by poor land management practices, is the leading cause of water quality problems in the United States and a major cause of rapidly declining ocean and coastal ecosystem health. Runoff from suburban streets and lawns, agricultural and industrial uses, transportation activities, and urban development – even hundreds of miles away – negatively impacts water quality, resulting in deleterious effects on ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes systems as evidenced by harmful algal blooms, expansive dead zones, and increased incidents of human illness. Areas with particularly poor water quality are known to experience frequent beach closures, massive fish kills, and areas of toxic sediments. Since this pollution comes from many diffuse sources throughout the country, addressing it requires a strong commitment to coordination and cooperation between multiple sectors and among Federal, State, tribal, local authorities, and regional governance structures. Fortunately, a number of point and non-point source prevention programs are available to State, tribal, local, regional, and private entities to reduce the amount of pollutants that are transported from our Nation’s watersheds and into our coastal waters There are opportunities to achieve significant reductions in these inputs to our coasts and ocean through concrete mechanisms that integrate and coordinate land-based pollution reduction programs.

So you think you know all about water!

So you think you know all about water!

Menlo Park, Calif.—Water is familiar to everyone—it shapes our bodies and our planet. But despite this abundance, the molecular structure of water has remained a mystery, with the substance exhibiting many strange properties that are still poorly understood. Recent work at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and several universities in Sweden and Japan, however, is shedding new light on water’s molecular idiosyncrasies, offering insight into its strange bulk properties.

In all, water exhibits 66 known anomalies, including a strangely varying density, large heat capacity and high surface tension. Contrary to other “normal” liquids, which become denser as they get colder, water reaches its maximum density at about 4 degrees Celsius.

Above and below this temperature, water is less dense; this is why, for example, lakes freeze from the surface down. Water also has an unusually large capacity to store heat, which stabilizes the temperature of the oceans, and a high surface tension, which allows insects to walk on water, droplets to form and trees to transport water to great heights.

“Understanding these anomalies is very important because water is the ultimate basis for our existence: no water, no life,” said SLAC scientist Anders Nilsson, who is leading the experimental efforts. “Our work helps explain these anomalies on the molecular level at temperatures which are relevant to life.”

How the molecules arrange themselves in water’s solid form, ice, was long ago established: the molecules form a tight “tetrahedral” lattice, with each molecule binding to four others. Discovering the molecular arrangement in liquid water, however, is proving to be much more complex. For over 100 years, this structure has been the subject of intense debate. The current textbook model holds that, since ice is made up of tetrahedral structures, liquid water should be similar, but less structured since heat creates disorder and breaks bonds. As ice melts, the story goes, the tetrahedral structures loosen their grip, breaking apart as the temperature rises, but all still striving to remain as tetrahedral as possible, resulting in a smooth distribution around distorted, partially broken tetrahedral structures.

Recently, Nilsson and colleagues directed powerful X-rays generated by the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource at SLAC and the SPring-8 synchrotron facility in Japan at samples of liquid water. These experiments suggested that the textbook model of water at ambient conditions was incorrect and that, unexpectedly, two distinct structures, either very disordered or very tetrahedral, exist no matter the temperature.

In a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers revealed the additional discovery that the two types of structure are spatially separated, with the tetrahedral structures existing in “clumps” made of up to about 100 molecules surrounded by disordered regions; the liquid is a fluctuating mix of the two structures at temperatures ranging from ambient to all the way up near the boiling point. As the temperature of water increases, fewer and fewer of these clumps exist; but they are always there to some degree, in clumps of a similar size. The researchers also discovered that the disordered regions themselves become more disordered as the temperature rises.

“One can visualize this as a crowded dance restaurant, with some people sitting at large tables, taking up quite a bit of room—like the tetrahedral component in water—and other people on the dance floor, standing close together and moving slower or faster depending on the mood or ‘temperature’ of the restaurant—like the molecules in the disordered regions can be excited by heat, the dancers can be excited and move faster with the music,” Nilsson said. “There’s an exchange when people sitting decide to get up to dance and other dancers sit down to rest. When the dance floor really gets busy, tables can also be moved out of the way to allow for more dancers, and when things cool back off, more tables can be brought in.”

This more detailed understanding of the molecular structure and dynamics of liquid water at ambient temperatures mirrors theoretical work on “supercooled” water: an unusual state in which water has not turned into ice even though it is far below the freezing point. In this state, theorists postulate, the liquid is made up of a continuously fluctuating mix of tetrahedral and more disordered structures, with the ratio of the two depending on temperature—just as Nilsson and his colleagues have found to be the case with water at the ambient temperatures important for life.

“Previously, hardly anyone thought that such fluctuations leading to distinct local structures existed at ambient temperatures,” Nilsson said. “But that’s precisely what we found.”

This new work explains, in part, the liquid’s strange properties. Water’s density maximum at 4 degrees Celsius can be explained by the fact that the tetrahedral structures are of lower density, which does not vary significantly with temperature, while the more disordered regions—which are of higher density—become more disordered and so less dense with increasing temperature. Likewise, as water heats, the percentage of molecules in the more disordered state increases, allowing this excitable structure to absorb significant amounts of heat, which leads to water’s high heat capacity. Water’s tendency to form strong hydrogen bonds explains the high surface tension that insects take advantage of when walking across water.

Connecting the molecular structure of water with its bulk properties in this way is tremendously important for fields ranging from medicine and biology to climate and energy research.

“If we don’t understand this basic life material, how can we study the more complex life materials—like proteins—that are immersed in water?” asked Postdoctoral Researcher Congcong Huang, who conducted the X-ray scattering experiments. “We must understand the simple before we can understand the complex.”

This research was conducted by scientists from SLAC, Stockholm University, Spring-8, University of Tokyo, Hiroshima University, and Linkoping University. The work was supported by the National Science Foundation, the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research, the Swedish Research Council, the Swedish National Supercomputer Center and the Japanese Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture through a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research.

SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory is a multi-program laboratory exploring frontier questions in photon science, astrophysics, particle physics and accelerator research. Located in Menlo Park, California, SLAC is operated by Stanford University for the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science. SLAC’s Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource is a national user facility which provides synchrotron radiation for research in chemistry, biology, physics and materials science to over two thousand users each year.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Neuse River fish kill totals more than 50 million

Neuse River fish kill totals more than 50 million

Noon Edition Producer
Published: September 17, 2009

Millions of fish are turning up dead or dying in parts of the Neuse River.
Neuse Riverkeeper Larry Baldwin estimates more than 50 million fish are now floating in the river.
Baldwin says some fish kills do occur naturally on the river, but he claims this is not a natural occurrence.
The Division of Water Quality says there is no evidence that the kill is caused by anything other than low oxygen levels in the water.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Clean Water Laws Are Neglected, at a Cost in Suffering

Clean Water Laws Are Neglected, at a Cost in Suffering

Damon Winter/The New York Times

Ryan Massey, 7, shows his caps. Dentists near Charleston, W.Va., say pollutants in drinking water have damaged residents’ teeth. Nationwide, polluters have violated the Clean Water Act more than 500,000 times.


Published: September 12, 2009

Jennifer Hall-Massey knows not to drink the tap water in her home near Charleston, W.Va.

Clean Water Act Violations: The Enforcement Record

The New York Times surveyed violations of the Clean Water Act in every state, and the response by state regulators.

How Safe Is Your Water? (September 13, 2009)

Damon Winter/The New York Times

Jennifer Hall-Massey relies on drinking water that is brought in by truck and stored in barrels on her porch near Charleston, W.Va.

In fact, her entire family tries to avoid any contact with the water. Her youngest son has scabs on his arms, legs and chest where the bathwater — polluted with lead, nickel and other heavy metals — caused painful rashes. Many of his brother’s teeth were capped to replace enamel that was eaten away.

Neighbors apply special lotions after showering because their skin burns. Tests show that their tap water contains arsenic, barium, lead, manganese and other chemicals at concentrations federal regulators say could contribute to cancer and damage the kidneys and nervous system.

“How can we get digital cable and Internet in our homes, but not clean water?” said Mrs. Hall-Massey, a senior accountant at one of the state’s largest banks.

She and her husband, Charles, do not live in some remote corner of Appalachia. Charleston, the state capital, is less than 17 miles from her home.

“How is this still happening today?” she asked.

When Mrs. Hall-Massey and 264 neighbors sued nine nearby coal companies, accusing them of putting dangerous waste into local water supplies, their lawyer did not have to look far for evidence. As required by state law, some of the companies had disclosed in reports to regulators that they were pumping into the ground illegal concentrations of chemicals — the same pollutants that flowed from residents’ taps.

But state regulators never fined or punished those companies for breaking those pollution laws.

This pattern is not limited to West Virginia. Almost four decades ago, Congress passed the Clean Water Act to force polluters to disclose the toxins they dump into waterways and to give regulators the power to fine or jail offenders. States have passed pollution statutes of their own. But in recent years, violations of the Clean Water Act have risen steadily across the nation, an extensive review of water pollution records by The New York Times found.

In the last five years alone, chemical factories, manufacturing plants and other workplaces have violated water pollution laws more than half a million times. The violations range from failing to report emissions to dumping toxins at concentrations regulators say might contribute to cancer, birth defects and other illnesses.

However, the vast majority of those polluters have escaped punishment. State officials have repeatedly ignored obvious illegal dumping, and the Environmental Protection Agency, which can prosecute polluters when states fail to act, has often declined to intervene.

Because it is difficult to determine what causes diseases like cancer, it is impossible to know how many illnesses are the result of water pollution, or contaminants’ role in the health problems of specific individuals.

But concerns over these toxins are great enough that Congress and the E.P.A. regulate more than 100 pollutants through the Clean Water Act and strictly limit 91 chemicals or contaminants in tap water through the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Regulators themselves acknowledge lapses. The new E.P.A. administrator, Lisa P. Jackson, said in an interview that despite many successes since the Clean Water Act was passed in 1972, today the nation’s water does not meet public health goals, and enforcement of water pollution laws is unacceptably low. She added that strengthening water protections is among her top priorities. State regulators say they are doing their best with insufficient resources.

The Times obtained hundreds of thousands of water pollution records through Freedom of Information Act requests to every state and the E.P.A., and compiled a national database of water pollution violations that is more comprehensive than those maintained by states or the E.P.A. (For an interactive version, which can show violations in any community, visit

In addition, The Times interviewed more than 250 state and federal regulators, water-system managers, environmental advocates and scientists.

That research shows that an estimated one in 10 Americans have been exposed to drinking water that contains dangerous chemicals or fails to meet a federal health benchmark in other ways.

Those exposures include carcinogens in the tap water of major American cities and unsafe chemicals in drinking-water wells. Wells, which are not typically regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act, are more likely to contain contaminants than municipal water systems.

Because most of today’s water pollution has no scent or taste, many people who consume dangerous chemicals do not realize it, even after they become sick, researchers say.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Neuse River Fish Kill in Sept 09 - 4 million fish dead

Fish kill total may be up to 4 million, setting record
September 07, 2009 9:48 PM
Sun Journal Staff

Reports of more dead fish on the Neuse River continue to come to waterway observers, increasing estimates from of a fish kill that began as 8,000 fish on Thursday to as many as 4 million.
Larry Baldwin, lower Neuse Riverkeeper for the Neuse Riverkeeper Foundation, said reports of additional dead fish have continued to come from people located several miles upriver from New Bern to areas as far as southeast as Clubfoot Creek.

This “gives a very conservative estimate of at least 4 million dead fish over the last four days,” Baldwin said.

The main species involved is Atlantic Menhaden, an anatropous species or one that moves into rivers from the ocean to breed and one that is very important for the river and the U.S. coast, he said.

“As these fish move back to the open ocean, they are transporting biomass – nutrients they have fed upon that are now part of their bodies - out of the river and into the ocean,” Baldwin said.

In this way their presence cleans the river. When they die before making it back to the ocean, however, the nutrients stay in the river and threaten to overload it.
Although Menhaden are no longer processed in North Carolina, the species remains an important commercial fishing resource. It is still fished from areas of the N.C. coast for domestic plants in Virginia and Louisiana.

Baldwin and a spokesman for the N.C. Division of Water Quality attributed the kill to natural causes that precipitated a lack of dissolved oxygen in the water column.
This has been a fairly common late-summer event for the last 20 years, but Baldwin said a major upwelling of this magnitude did not exist prior to the late 1980s.
“Numerous scientific studies have made a direct connection to the impacts of pollution from large animal operations, stormwater, industrial and municipal influences to the decline in water quality in the Neuse River,” he said.

This is the ninth Neuse River fish kill reported in 2009 and now appears to be the largest. In an Aug. 21 kill, an estimated 3.9 million fish died. No sores or lesions were reported on fish in either event.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

USA -NOAA to Pursue National Policy for Sustainable Marine Aquaculture§ionid=1

USA -NOAA to Pursue National Policy for Sustainable Marine Aquaculture

NOAA has announced its intent to develop a comprehensive national policy for sustainable marine aquaculture in the coming months, providing a framework for addressing aquaculture activity in federal waters.

The national policy also will provide context for the Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for Regulating Offshore Aquaculture in the Gulf of Mexico, which took effect today.

Neuse River Fish Kill

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Mississippi State gets D+ for Protecting Water Quality

State gets D+ for Protecting Water Quality

The multi-million dollar shrimp and fishing industries have been severely affected by state's lack of protection for waters emptying into the Gulf.

by Adam Lynch

September 3, 2009

Mississippi rates a lowly D+ for protecting the quality of natural water sources, according to the Gulf Restoration Network. The organization, an alliance of local individuals and national and regional groups, issued a report card grading how committed (or non-committed) state officials are at incorporating the standards of the Clean Water Act of 1977. The Clean Water Act established goals of reducing national water pollution and eliminating the release of water fouled with high amounts of toxic waste.