Flaming Gorge pipeline update

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Here’s an in-depth look at Aaron Million’s proposed pipeline from southwestern Wyoming to the Front Range and points south in Colorado, from Joel Warner writing for Westword. Here’s an excerpt:

Disclaimer: I’m quoted in the article.

Along the Green River in Wyoming, cities and towns are massing to fight a proposal that would pump up to 250,000 acre-feet of water per year from their river to thirsty cities and towns in Colorado. One meeting on the topic was so contentious that attendees have referred to it as a “Guantánamo Bay waterboarding.”

The focus of the uproar is a relatively unknown Fort Collins entrepreneur named Aaron Million, who came up with the plan to bring the much-needed water to Colorado. And these days, he has as many enemies on this side of the border as he does in Wyoming. Some of Colorado’s most powerful water suppliers oppose the project, while one is trying to build a similar pipeline himself. One ensuing squabble nearly came to blows.

Here’s a follow up the the Million story detailing the disappearing glaciers that are part of the Green River’s source waters, from Joel Warner writing for Westword. From the article:

When [Charlie Love, a colorful geology and anthropology professor at Western Wyoming Community College in Rock Springs, Wyoming] isn’t busy living with New Guinea cannibals or erecting dinosaur displays on WWCC’s campus, he’s spent a lot of time over the past 25 years climbing around and flying over the glaciers that cling to the sides of the Wind River Mountain Range in western Wyoming, glaciers that feed the Green and several other major river systems. And what Love says he and his WWCC colleagues have discovered about these glaciers is disturbing: “They are going extinct before our very eyes.”

More Flaming Gorge pipeline coverage here and here.

Snowpack news

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From the Stemboat Pilot & Today (Tom Ross):

[Art Judson, Steamboat weather observer and retired avalanche forecaster] explained how the density of the snowpack increases in the hours after a fresh snowfall. Density is an expression of how much water is contained in standing snow of a certain depth. “To get the density, you divide the snow depth into the water equivalent,” he said. Snow measuring sites maintained by the National Resources Conservation Service remotely sense the weight of the snowpack (revealing the water content) and its depth.

Snow depth had settled on Buffalo Pass on Wednesday to a depth of 37 inches and contained 9.5 inches of water. Simple division indicates a density of 0.256. “In Steamboat, the average density of new snow is 0.07. (actually 0.072),” Judson said. “One inch of snow with 0.07 water-equivalent equals a density of 0.07. To get the density, you divide the snow depth into the water equivalent. The main thing to remember is that snow is always densifying until it reaches the density of ice, which is 0.917.”

Inaccuracies in published data underestimate the amount of organic pollutants in raw sewage

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From Highlights in Chemical Science (Amaya Camara-Campos):

High quality analysis of raw sewage is crucial to measure pollutants in the environment and the efficiency of wastewater treatments plants. Suspended solids in sewage can block analytical apparatuses and complicate analysis so samples are commonly filtered before analysis. But, appropriate corrections for the filtration step are not always made say Rolf Halden and Randhir Deo at Arizona State University, Tempe.

Some hydrophobic organic compounds adsorb onto these solid filters and disappear from the sample, so the analysis of the resulting aqueous phase does not show the total amount that was present before filtering, explains Halden. Halden and Deo studied reported data for 33 organic compounds in the aqueous phase and found that between 15-60% of some compounds’ mass was adsorbed onto the suspended solids, which led to estimates of organic pollutants being 50% lower than actually present. And at higher pH levels, the underestimation became more frequent.

More wastewater coverage here.