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Industrial Pollutants and the Ohio River

0 Comments · Wednesday, January 22, 2014
The recent spill of the chemical MCHM in West Virginia recalled an era when our drinking water wasn’t so well protected from industrial pollutants.    

Fracking Flourishing in Water-Stressed Areas

0 Comments · Wednesday, May 8, 2013
A new interactive map shows hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” is flourishing in U.S. areas where water is already scarce.   
by German Lopez 10.25.2012
Posted In: News, Environment, Economy at 03:35 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
tony parrott

City Agencies Working Toward Green Infrastructure

New water infrastructure seeks to be cheaper, more sustainable

As cities rush to solve major problems with water infrastructure, newer technologies are being touted by city agencies as cheaper, cleaner solutions. In two different local projects, the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati (MSD) and a City Council task force are looking into green ways to solve the city’s water needs. On Wednesday, CityBeat covered some of the benefits and downsides of green water infrastructure. According to the report reviewed Wednesday, green water infrastructure is cheaper and does create a boon of jobs, but it faces some funding and education problems. However, it was unclear how the green ideas would translate into Cincinnati.Tony Parrott, executive director of MSD, says despite the challenges, green infrastructure is clearly the cheaper option. The organization is partnering with local organizations to adopt a series of new projects — among them, green roofs, rain gardens, wetlands — to meet a new federal mandate that requires MSD to reduce the amount of sewer overflow that makes it into local rivers and streams. “That is a very costly mandate,” he says. “Our belief is that green infrastructure and sustainable infrastructure will allow us to achieve a lot of those objectives a lot cheaper than your conventional deep tunnel systems or other gray type of infrastructure.” Of course, conventional — or “gray” — infrastructure still has its place, but adopting a hybrid of green and gray infrastructure or just green infrastructure in some areas was found to be cheaper in MSD analyses, according to Parrott. Plans are already being executed. On top of the smaller projects that slow the flow of storm water into sewer systems, MSD is also taking what Parrott calls a “large-scale approach to resurrect or daylight former streams and creeks that were buried over 150 years ago.” This approach will rely on the new waterways to redirect storm water so it doesn’t threaten to flood sewers and cause sewer overflow, Parrott says. The programs are being approached in a “holistic way,” according to Parrott. MSD intends to refine and reiterate on what works as the programs develop. However, that comes with challenges when setting goals and asking for funding. “We think that if you’re going to use a more integrated approach, it may require us to ask for more time to get some of these projects done and in the ground and then see how effective they are,” Parrott says. If it all plays out, the ongoing maintenance required by the green approach could be good for the local economy, according to Parrott: “With the green and sustainable infrastructure, you’re creating a new class of what we call green jobs for maintenance. The majority of those jobs are something local folks can do as opposed to the conventional process.” Additionally, the green jobs also tend to benefit “disadvantaged communities” more than conventional jobs, according to Parrott. The argument is essentially what Jeremy Hays, chief strategist for state and local initiatives at Green For All, told CityBeat on Wednesday. Since the green jobs require less education and training, they’re more accessible to “disadvantaged workers,” according to Hays: “They require some training and some skills, but not four years’ worth because it’s skills that you can get at a community college or even on the job.” While MSD fully encourages the use of rain barrels, recycling will not be a top priority for MSD’s programs. Instead, that priority goes to the Rainwater Harvesting Task Force, a City Council task force intended to find ways to reform the city’s plumbing code to make harvesting and recycling rainwater a possibility. Bob Knight, a member of the task force, says there is already a model in place the city can use. The task force is looking into adopting the International Green Construction Code (IGCC) in Cincinnati. The code will “prescriptively tell” architects and engineers how to design a rainwater harvesting system. In other words, IGCC would set a standard for the city.Deciding on this code was not without challenges. At first, the task force wasn’t even sure if it could dictate how rainwater is harvested and recycled. The first question Knight had to ask was, “Who has that authority?” What it found is a mix of local agencies — Greater Cincinnati Water Works, MSD and Cincinnati Department of Planning — will all have to work together to implement the city’s new code. The task force hopes to give its findings to Quality of Life Committee, which is led by Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls, by the end of November.
 
 
by Hannah McCartney 06.08.2012
Posted In: News, Environment at 11:18 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
mwcd_logo_2009

Watershed Conservancy District Stops Water Sales to Frackers

Lack of information, understanding of industry spurs halt

Ohio environmentalists and conservationists won a small victory in the fracking industry today when Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District decided to halt all water sales from Ohio's largest contained watershed to drillers in the oil and gas industry. Environmental groups have expressed concern that the watershed's water supply could be sold for use in fracking, a fairly new drilling technique in which thousands of gallons of chemical-laden water are shot into the earth in order to fracture shale and free natural oil and gas. Critics of the process say more research is needed on the technique to fully understand fracking's long- and short-term environmental and economic effects. (Read CityBeat's June 6 cover story, "Boom, Bust or Both?" about Ohio's fracking industry, here.)The decision to postpone the sales will be held until data is received in a water-availability study that's currently underway. Pending analysis of the study's results, MWCD plans to update its water supply policy to help deal with interested clients in the future. “We believe strongly that it is in the best interest of the public we serve and the conservancy district to not entertain any water supply requests until this study has been completed and the MWCD has had an opportunity to update its water supply policy for review, public discussion and consideration of the MWCD Board of Directors,”said John M. Hoopingarner, MWCD executive director/secretary in a press release. The MWCD will honor its preexisting agreement to provide Gulfport Energy Co. with 11 million gallons of water from Clendening Lake in Harrison County.
 
 

Summer Hot, Coffee Cold

Advice for enjoying the best iced coffee this summer

0 Comments · Wednesday, May 27, 2009
With summer coming we’ll all be spending time at more third places — places where we hang out and socialize other than home or work. But between our trips to the ice cream parlor, the neighborhood pool and the park, the classic third place — the neighborhood coffee shop — won’t be forgotten.   

Miscommunication

0 Comments · Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Lockland police officer Brandon Gehring shouldn’t be in the hospital right now. He was simply trying to do his job. Unfortunately, thanks to elected officials so damn proud of their ability not to spend money, Gehring wasn’t equipped with a two-way radio that would allow communication with officers in another department a few miles away.  

Arrested Economy

0 Comments · Wednesday, March 18, 2009
I really enjoyed Larry Gross’ last Living Out Loud column about the suits (“Greed, Suits and Bailouts,” issue of March 11). I think he nailed it when he said not to expect the suits to have any kind of common sense or not know that it’s not business as usual.   

Flow (Review)

Documentary looks at the privatization of water

1 Comment · Wednesday, December 3, 2008
The story centers on an evil international agency trying to privatize and control the water supply in Bolivia. Not gold, not oil, not diamonds, not plutonium - just plain old water. How'd they ever come up with that bizarre, seemingly fantastical plot line? After all, we all know water belongs to the people, just like air.  

'No One Owns Water'

Ohio Senate makes an issue out of property rights and water

0 Comments · Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Most people believe that government shouldn't control how you use your property, including water that runs under or through land you own. And most would agree the only role government ought to have is making sure one property owner doesn't use, pollute or damage those resources in a way that limits the rights of other property owners to them too.  

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