An increasing amount of drugs taken by humans and animals make it into streams and waterways, and pharmaceutical pollution has had catastrophic ecosystem consequences despite low levels of concentration in the environment. The effect of pharmaceuticals and other contaminants of emerging concern on the environment has been the focus of recent research.
A growing number of farms and greenhouses in Pennsylvania rely on irrigation for crop production. Sources of irrigation water include wells, springs, streams, ponds, runoff and municipal water. Penn State surveys of irrigation water sources have found that the majority have water quality characteristics that may be problematic for crops or irrigation equipment, most commonly high pH, alkalinity and hardness.
The invasive northern snakehead fish found in the mid-Atlantic area is now cause for more concern, potentially bringing diseases into the region that may spread to native fish and wildlife, according to a team of U.S. Geological Survey scientists.
Most programs designed to promote soil health focus on encouraging farmers to adopt a prescribed set of practices, like cover cropping or nutrient management. Penn State Rural Sociology Doctoral Candidate Jennifer Hayden argues that a new approach is needed — one that instead works with farmers as they balance all the many influences particular to their own individual, unique farms. Hayden spent two years researching farms in the Chesapeake Bay watershed to understand agricultural soil health. Here, Hayden describes what she learned, and suggests a new model for helping farmers improve soil health.
Thanks to online availability, home gardeners can get their hands on practically any pesticide these days – including those intended for landscapers and farmers.
Penn State Extension Educator, Jim Clark, presented a Penn State Extension “Safe Drinking Water Display” at PA Representative Martin Causer’s Senior Expos in North Central Pennsylvania.
The one upshot to the appearance of an invasive species - that it might provide native predators with additional food - comes with some caveats, report scientists.
The ability to model subsurface movement of pollutants is a critical need within environmental sciences. On October 28, 2015, Dr. Li Li, an associate professor in Energy and Mineral Engineering at Penn State University, presented an online webinar on Predicting Flow, Transport, and Biogeochemical Reactions in Subsurface Environmental Systems Using Reactive Transport Models.
The Penn State On-line Pond Home Study Course is a 12-week class that covers six lessons, including getting to know your pond, pond maintenance, weed and algae control, fisheries management, ponds and wildlife, and pond case studies.
The numbers are in for the Lake Erie International Coastal Cleanup. Beginning on Saturday, September 19, and ending on October 2, volunteers picked up 6,853 pounds of trash along the 67.5 miles of Lake Erie shoreline and waterways within the County.
Many people live in subdivisions with storm water ponds, which collect water from the neighborhood and help keep pollutants such as fertilizers, pesticides and pet waste from getting into the broader environment. Now, researchers have devised strategies to help homeowners limit their pollution contribution.
Most drug residues discharged to wastewater come from private households. As contributors of pollution by Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs), health establishments, such as hospitals, psychiatric and nursing facilities are hardly worth mentioning, say researchers. They merely discharge a small amount, and only at local level, of these significant contaminating substances to wastewater.
In celebration of National Drinking Water Week, Penn State Extension along with numerous partners are sponsoring the 2016 Pennsylvania Groundwater Symposium at the Ramada Inn Conference Center in State College, PA on May 4, 2016.
The Penn State Agricultural Analytical Services Laboratory recently released their updated summaries from water samples submitted to their drinking water program over the past year. Statewide and county summaries are available on their website.
The Penn State Master Well Owner Network (MWON) had another successful year of education for private water system owners across Pennsylvania.
A new interactive mapping tool provides predicted concentrations for 108 pesticides in streams and rivers across the Nation and identifies which streams are most likely to exceed water-quality guidelines for human health or aquatic life.
New water-tracing technology has been used in the Sydney Basin for the first time to determine how groundwater moves in the different layers of rock below the surface. The study provides a baseline against which any future impacts on groundwater from mining operations, groundwater abstraction or climate change can be assessed. The research has global relevance because this new technology provides a quick and cheap alternative to having to install numerous boreholes for groundwater monitoring.
Don Siegel of Syracuse University and his colleagues recently published, “Pre-drilling water-quality data of groundwater prior to shale gas drilling in the Appalachian Basin: Analysis of the Chesapeake Energy Corporation dataset” in the journal, Applied Geochemistry.
With the help of well-crafted advertising, disposable wet wipes—a product once used mainly for wiping baby bottoms—are now increasingly being used on adult bottoms. Although they are frequently labeled as “flushable,” the problems adult wet wipes have created for municipal sewer systems are well documented. Their increasing presence in sewers has created a major surge in clogged lines and sewage pumps for municipal wastewater utilities. The effect of flushed wipes on septic systems has received less attention but problems are also being widely reported.
Residential heating oil tanks are tanks that store fuel oil to provide space heating on premises where they are located. With proper tank management, spills and leaks can be avoided. Leaking tanks can contaminate public and private drinking water supplies, pollute soils, create the potential for fires and explosions, and subject tank owners to very expensive cleanup costs. A typical cleanup cost for spills and overfills from heating oil tanks ranges from $10,000 to $50,000 and is often not covered by typical homeowner’s insurance policies