The City of Santa Barbara is turning its sights on an old seawater desalination plant to tackle California’s worsening drought and limited water supply. According to Mayor Helene Schneider, the city is willing to spend more than $40 million to reactivate a mothballed seawater desalination plant that opened in 1992 and shut down after just three months of operation. Desalination is the “very last resort,” says Schneider. "We know it's a very big decision to take—and yet at the same time we've done everything we could with our other water supply options."
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.