The Flush Tax Pays Off

I’ve written a couple of posts about protecting the Chesapeake Bay. Actually, I have written a lot of them. But one I have not covered is the Bay Restoration Fund, and it is an integral part of the Bay’s protection regime. Let’s look at why. The Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund is designed to reduce nutrient loading in the Chesapeake Bay caused by wastewater. Like most places, we process wastewater from homes and, after some cleaning, the water gets dumped into a nearby water source. Usually, a stream or river because it will carry away the water. The wastewater cleaning process

Ensuring Water Security

Water security is a complex issue with a lot of independently moving parts. While the earth’s surface is three-quarters water, almost all of that is ocean, unusable due to its salinity. There are limited freshwater resources available for everyday use, consumption by humans and human food products. Global climate change is slowing replenishment of fresh water supplies while there has been no let up in demand. In 2012, the United States created the U.S. Water Partnership (USWP) to help provide access to information about water and provide outlets for collaboration on water improvement projects. Of course, this is only a

Risks from Fracking

Fracking, properly, hydraulic fracturing, has a number of tradeoffs. From a purely economic standpoint, fracking is a very expensive way of extracting natural gas out of the ground. So natural gas prices must be fairly high in order to support the fracking process. That said, efficiencies are pushing down the cost, leading to more potential fracking in even less efficient gas fields. This is all kind of a big deal because the fracking business has discovered gas fields in the United States sufficient to support the nation for more than 100 years. It’s worth remembering, at this point, that natural

Eutrophication Reduction Through Local Limits

Both the Baltic Sea and the Chesapeake Bay are great examples of complex and diverse watersheds. The Baltic Sea is quite large and has a catchment area of 1,641,650 square kilometers over nine or ten countries. The Chesapeake Bay is smaller about a tenth the size, but 166,534 square kilometers over seven states. We can see them both here. Both the Baltic Sea and the Chesapeake Bay are afflicted by eutrophication, a strange kind of dead zone in the water. Eutrophication is caused by an overabundance of phosphates and nitrogen in the water. Small amounts are healthy in the water,

Notes on Wastewater Treatment

Chase, I think in an attempt to avoid bedtime, asked me on Friday what happens to the water after it leaves the bathtub. Well, lucky for him, I spent a lot of time growing up in the LeSourdsville Regional Water Reclamation Facility. My father had worked in the LeSourdsville Facility for just about 15 years when died. He worked second shift, so, especially if I had a late class, I’d often run over at night. We’d even grill in the parking lot. Of course, it wasn’t all fun and games. At the time, I also worked for Butler County Information

Population Dynamics for a Better Future

Understanding human population growth is important to policymakers for a variety of reasons. As a society, we need to be clear about both our long-term plans and our long-term needs. For instance, if a society is going to double in size every 50 years or so, then we need to make sure we have the capacity to produce the resources necessary to support that every 50. Hans Rosling was a Swedish demographer who just recently died, but he’d done quite a bit of work in the area. For instance, he gave a TED talk showing not just how the population