Heavy rains in 2013 lead to devastating floods of rock, soil, and water through many cities and towns that line the Colorado Rockies. Scientists are now considering the importance of large, rare, independent storm events in determining an area’s landscape. Scott Anderson, a geomorphologist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Tacoma, Washington and lead author of a new study stated that "while it strikes us as very random, our research suggests this is one of the formative processes in this landscape."
In a new study, scientists at Rice University have found that high value strains of oil-rich algae, which can be used as a feedstock for algae-based biofuels, can remove more than 50% of phosphorus and 90% of nitrates from wastewater. Working in collaboration with the Houston Department of Public Works and Engineering, the scientists operated a pilot-scale treatment system at a Houston’s wastewater treatment plant.
Scientists from the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee are using raw sewage samples to learn a great deal of information about a city’s population. UWM researchers, in conjunction with colleagues at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA, determined that the bacteria found in raw sewage is similar to those found in the gastro-intestinal tracks of people from the community - that the sewage provides an accurate picture of community health. Sampling the guts of thousands of individuals is prohibitively expensive, but this new approach of monitoring sewage would allow public health officials and other interested parties to look at an entire city at once.
According to a new study, published in Geophysical Research Letters, thousands of tons of global-warming and ozone-depleting chemicals were released into the atmosphere, following the Tohoku 2011 earthquake. The new study is the first to show the importance of including the release of gases from natural disasters in emissions estimates.
American researchers at the 2015 national meeting of American Chemical Society outlined the details of an unexpected source of precious metals - sewage. That’s right. According to new research, organic materials (biosolids) generated by wastewater treatment plants may be an untapped source of precious metals and rare elements, including gold, silver, platinum, copper, palladium and vanadium that are used to make cell phones, computers, and other electronic devices.
The ability of steel buildings to bend without fracturing, or ductility, allows for extreme lateral loading from earthquakes and wind. This loading, however, subjects the solid web and flanges of steel members to buckling and fracture, thus crumbling the flat, solid surface, and leading to the potential for great damage. Virginia Tech assistant professor Matthew Eatherton will be using a five-year, $500,000 National Science Foundation CAREER Award to research how steel plates with strategically removed geometric patterns may better withstand everyday loads and extreme events than the currently used standard steel plates.