How does one actually celebrate World Water Day? It’s not like other holidays with parades, family reunions, games, or special dinners. I’ve seen lots of articles for the day that has been broadcast all over the internet, and a couple suggestions on what to do. I decided on a shorter-than-usual shower and an informative blog post. (By the way, short shower means under 8 minutes in the realm of environmental engineering as this is the average time people spend under the shower head. If 8 is more than your normal, keep doing you!)
If you’re ever stuck on a desert island and have the chance to bring three things, don’t fret about potable water. Save your three wishes for a designer bikini, Netflix, or something more worth your while. According to Water Conditioning & Purification Magazine, activated carbon from coconut hull is a more efficient filter than activated carbon from bituminous coal. Below is a picture featuring this week’s topic of coconuts, and holding the coconut is a wonderful French traveler, writer, and inspirer I follow on Instagram, Jade Phoenix.
Did you know that bubbles can clean water? Specifically, dissolved air flotation (DAF) and ultrasound are two methods of making water safer with bubbles. DAF can be used to replace sedimentation in municipal drinking water treatment. Large particles are typically settled out using gravity, but with DAF, bubbles are produced by an oxygen tank pumping air into the bottom of a basin and small particles attach to the sides of the bubbles. The bubbles rise to the top of the basin and the particles are swept off the surface of the water by a skimmer.
“UV radiation affects microorganisms by altering the DNA in the cells and impeding reproduction. UV treatment does not remove organisms from the water, it merely inactivates them.” – Water Research Center
For the longest time this summer I worked on a machine that performed persulfate-ultraviolet oxidation, but I really had no idea what it was. Looking at the machine, I could see that an oxygen tank and a beaker of persulfate solution were combining with my water samples and traveling through various tiny twisted tubes into a swirl of madness that then shot out in all directions and ended up in a scramble of numbers on the computer screen. So I asked around. Ten weeks of “asking around” later, and still all I knew was that somehow the glowing blue light was breaking down the carbon in my water samples and measuring its concentration.
On the left, persulfate-ultraviolet oxidation. On the right, SteriPEN technology. SteriPEN image found here.
Echoing Green is a non-profit organization that provides support to entrepreneurs with solutions to social issues worldwide. Once an entrepreneur presents their idea, they are granted 90 thousand dollars to start their business. Financial advisers and other professionals support each business as they take off with their innovations. I chose to cover three such innovations and their creators on the blog today because I find non-profits essential to humanity. Sometimes it gets discouraging to think about how much financial support is needed to start a business. With Echoing Green, those issues are taken care of and inventors are allowed to do what they do best. They are free to create.
Check out this adorable sign from the maple farm! There are four within our region, some offering pancake breakfasts and horse-drawn sleigh rides through the maple trail. Mom asked if I wanted to go out when I arrived home from spring break, and I thought all I want to do is lay around and do nothing. But the maple farm is only open to the public twice a year, or so she said, and I have a total of 8 other days to sit around and watch t.v. When I called my job at the VA, they reported back about a hiring freeze. Freeze? Hiring? VA? They seemed to know little about it other than the fact I couldn’t come back. So here I sit- slouch rather- twiddling my thumbs over spring break. I’ve been outside a few times already. I even cracked a book. Best of all, I’ve blogged. Continue reading
The following was my submission to Kelly Engineering Services for an annual scholarship. Although I was not the winner, my essay had a strong message. I titled it: “On Water: The Social Complexities of a Simple Molecule”
Water surrounds us; it is in our showers and baths, it washes our hands, cooks our appetizers and entrée. With it, we continue living like nothing ever happened. Without it, the most basic forms of life could not exist. Although water encapsulates seventy percent of our planet, there are people struggling to find it. I believe that engineers have a responsibility to protect humanity; to share knowledge of technological advances with the world, and correct their mistakes in social and political aspects. As of late, issues such as the Flint water crisis and Porter Ranch methane leak reflect engineering at its worst in the US. However, I still hold true that engineers are capable of so much more.