Friday, May 30, 2008

The Quicker Cleaner-Upper

Nanowire mat could be an important new tool for cleaning up oil and other organic pollutants
Elizabeth A. Thomson, MIT News Office, May 30, 2008

MIT researchers and colleagues have created a membrane that can absorb up to 20 times its weight in oil, and can be recycled many times for future use. The oil itself can also be recovered. In addition to its environmental applications, the nanowire paper may also have applications for filtering and purifying water.

Two key properties make the system work. First, the nanowires form a spaghetti-like mat with many tiny pores that make for good capillarity, or the ability to absorb liquids. Second, a water-repelling coating keeps water from penetrating into the membrane. Oil, however, isn't affected, and seeps into the membrane. The membrane is created by the same general technique as its low-tech cousin, paper.

Read more about it at:

Friday, May 23, 2008

EPA Joins Sustainable Remediation Bandwagon

Green Remediation: Incorporating Sustainable Environmental Practices into Remediation of Contaminated Sites Green Remediation: Incorporating Sustainable Environmental Practices into Remediation of Contaminated Sites (EPA 542-R-08-002)
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, April 2008

The EPA has issued a primer on "green remediation". The primer, which provides topical introductory information as opposed to "guidance", outlines the principles of green remediation as the EPA views the subject. The document describes opportunities to reduce the footprint of cleanup activities throughout the life of a project, and best management practices (BMPs) to help decision-makers, communities, and other stakeholders identify sustainable strategies. The EPA views these strategies as complements rather than replacements in the process used to select remedial options. BMPs can be incorporated into all phases of remediation, including site investigation, remedy construction, O&M, monitoring of treatment processes and progress, and site closure.

Follow this link to the document:

Northgate also has a copy of the primer available on our internal server.

Study on Premature Deaths Associated with Particulate Matter

Pollution danger higher than earlier estimated
Jane Kay, SF Chronicle, May 23, 2008

The State of California just released a draft report titled "Methodology for Estimating Premature Deaths Associated with Long-term Exposures to Fine Airborne Particulate Matter in California". The study presented in the report found a direct correlation between increased pollution from specks of dust, soot, metals and soil and a greater number of hospitalizations, emergency visits and missed school days. Assuming that a safe level is 7 micrograms of PM2.5 per cubic meter of air, there would still be about 14,000 to 24,000 premature deaths every year in California associated with these small particles. That is two to three times the number of deaths previously predicted.

The California Air Resources Board will accept comments on the report until July 11.

Read the complete article here:

Read the complete report here: