NSF International Publishes First American National Standard for Water Reuse Systems


Here’s the release from NSF International:

NSF International, a global public health and environmental organization, has published the first American national standard for commercial and residential onsite water reuse treatment systems, NSF/ANSI 350: Onsite Residential and Commercial Reuse Treatment Systems. The new standard complements NSF’s expanding scope of environmental standards and sustainable product standards, which help establish criteria for and clear methods of evaluating environmental and sustainable product claims.

NSF/ANSI 350: Onsite Residential and Commercial Reuse Treatment Systems establishes criteria to improve awareness and acceptance of water reuse technologies that reduce impacts on the environment, municipal water and wastewater treatment facilities, and energy costs. According to the American Water Works Association, 84 percent of residential water is used in non-drinking (non-potable) water applications such as lawn irrigation, laundry and toilet flushing. Residential and commercial builders, architects and regulators are turning to onsite wastewater reuse systems as a solution to increasing water scarcity and energy costs associated with the treatment and distribution of municipal water and wastewater.

Certifying a water reuse system to NSF/ANSI 350 also satisfies requirements for leading green building programs. The U.S. Green Building Council has included reference to NSF/ANSI 350 in their LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Building Design & Construction 2012 Draft Standard. Products certified to NSF/ANSI 350 also could satisfy graywater use strategies under the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) National Green Building Certification program as an innovative practice.

NSF developed this American national standard for evaluating onsite water reuse technologies to ensure the systems properly treat graywater (i.e. wastewater generated from activities such as laundry and bathing) and combined wastewater (i.e. all sources of wastewater generated within a residence or building) for reuse in non-potable applications. NSF/ANSI 350 establishes materials, design and construction, and performance requirements for onsite residential and commercial water reuse treatment systems and sets water quality requirements for the reduction of chemical and microbiological contaminants for non-potable water use. Treated wastewater (i.e. treated effluent) can be used for restricted indoor water use, such as toilet and urinal flushing, and outdoor unrestricted water use, such as lawn irrigation.

Shawnee, Kansas-based Bio-Microbics, Inc., a manufacturer of clean technologies, is the first company to earn NSF/ANSI 350 certification for their Bio-Barrier® membrane bioreactor (MBR). NSF scientists conducted an evaluation spanning more than six months of continuous operation of the Bio-Microbics Bio-Barrier® MBR treatment system at one of NSF’s approved wastewater testing facilities.

“Certification to NSF/ANSI 350 positions onsite water reuse technologies as a viable solution to increasingly overburdened water and wastewater treatment facilities, water scarcity, and increasing costs associated with energy and water use,” said Tom Bruursema, General Manager of NSF Sustainability. “Innovative clean technology manufacturers, such as Bio-Microbics, can now demonstrate the acceptability and effectiveness of their products, helping these technologies to be adopted more quickly into the marketplace.”

“Bio-Microbics is proud to be the first to earn certification against the new NSF water reuse treatment standard, which provides a sustainability benchmark to certify water reuse products,” said Bob Rebori, President of Bio-Microbics. “With green building and sustainable products becoming the focus of regulators, commercial and residential builders, and consumers, this new standard provides the water reuse industry with a way to meet the needs of their customers and set their products apart from those with unsubstantiated environmental claims.”

To learn more about NSF/ANSI Standard 350, contact Tom Bruursema at nsf350@nsf.org, +1.734.769.5575 or visit nsf.org/info/nsf350. Click here to purchase a copy of the standard…

About NSF International (NSF): NSF International (nsf.org) has been testing and certifying products for safety, health and the environment since 1944. As an independent public health and safety organization, NSF’s mission is to protect human health and the environment through standards development, auditing, testing and certification for the food, water, build/construction, retail, consumer products, chemical and health science industries. Operating in more than 150 countries, NSF is committed to protecting human health worldwide and is a World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Food and Water Safety and Indoor Environment. NSF Sustainability draws upon this expertise in standards development, product assurance and certification to help companies green their products, operations, systems and supply chains. NSF also founded the National Center for Sustainability Standards, a national initiative to support the development of sustainability standard activities.

More graywater reclamation coverage here.

Statewide snowpack is 100% of average, the Southwest basins are lagging behind at 81%



Click on the thumbnail graphics to the right for the snowpack and U.S. Drought Monitor.

Monarch and Ski Cooper are delaying their opening due to a lack of snow. Here’s a report from R. Scott Rappold writing for The Colorado Springs Gazette. From the article:

Ski Cooper, a family-oriented ski hill near Leadville, won’t open, and there is doubt Monarch Mountain will meet its planned Wednesday opening. “It’s not very likely for Wednesday,” said Monarch marketing manager Greg Ralph. “Maybe later in the week, maybe Saturday and Sunday, but who knows?” While the area has a “solid 12-inch base,” too many early-season snowstorms have been accompanied by high winds. “It took more snow away than it left behind,” Ralph said of a recent storm.

The weekend storm that brought a few inches of snow to some Colorado ski areas delivered just a trace to Monarch. Though it was snowing lightly at the ski area Monday, only 1 to 4 inches were expected, and Ralph said at least a foot is needed to open Wednesday.

Ski Cooper has received 22 inches of snow, and warm days between storms have melted some of what has fallen, said employee Becca Brandau. So the ski area won’t open on Thanksgiving as planned. Managers hope to open Ski Cooper on weekends by Dec. 2, “snow permitting.”[…]

Meteorologists have predicted that a La Niña weather pattern, a cooling of the Pacific Ocean that last winter brought record snowfall to Colorado, will mean a snowy winter for Colorado’s central and northern mountains. Boulder meteorologist Joel Gratz, who runs ski-oriented weather website opensnow.com, said the slow start to the season doesn’t change that prediction, though the La Niña is two-thirds as strong as last year.

The Denver Post takes an in-depth look at the water requirements from hydraulic fracturing


From The Denver Post (Bruce Finley):

Each well drilled requires 1 million to 5 million gallons of water, and more when they are refracked. Drillers “may need more water than we have,” said John McGee, water manager for the city of Loveland, which has leased municipal water. In Fort Lupton, tanker trucks tap hydrants to fill up. It’s the same in Greeley, Frederick, Firestone and other communities amid the expanding oil fields north of Denver. The trucks haul the water to rigs, where fracking crews mix it with sand and chemicals and pump it thousands of feet underground to release oil and gas. But as companies propose new deals with utilities, including Aurora Water, they’re finding that a resource often scarce for people and agriculture may be limited for fracking too.

State natural resources planners say they’re working with the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to calculate, within the next week or so, how much water may be available for oil and gas drilling…

“It’s up to each municipality to see how much available water they have to sell,” said Sean Conway, a Weld County commissioner who helped launch a “Niobrara Working Group” to deal with water and other issues. “We must ensure that we don’t jeopardize our agricultural heritage.” Drillers tapping town and city water for fracking “is going to further put pressure on Colorado,” Conway said. “We really need to be capturing that unallocated compact water that now is flowing out of the state…

The Colorado Oil and Gas Association, an industry trade group, estimates that tapping the Niobrara would require 6.5 billion gallons a year — about 20,000 acre-feet. Colorado uses more than 100 times that amount. “Even with a vastly increased drilling program, the quantity of water used is still small in the overall scheme of Colorado’s water use,” COGA president Tisha Schuller said…

Greeley this year sold more than 1,150 acre-feet of excess water from fire hydrants, mostly to oil and gas companies, earning more than $1 million, said city water and sewer director Jon Monson. The city also leased 26,000 acre-feet of surplus surface water to farmers. This was a wet year…

Here are a few of the towns and cities that leased water for fracking of wells to extract oil and gas along Colorado’s Front Range.

Greeley — 1,150 acre-feet

Longmont — About 400 acre-feet

Longmont has a 20-year supply agreement that will increase to 540 acre-feet in 2012 with a cap of 600 acre-feet a year

Fort Lupton — 441 acre-feet

Loveland — amount not disclosed

Frederick — 100 acre-feet

Firestone — amount undetermined

South Adams County Water and Sanitation District — amount undetermined

Walsenburg — arranged deal for at least 5 acre-feet this year for Shell Oil, but the company has not moved ahead

More coverage from Bobby Magill writing for the Fort Collins Coloradoan. From the article:

Though Anadarko plans to drill in the Wattenberg Field primarily northeast of Denver, some of that oil development might move into Larimer County, making it an active player rather than just an economic beneficiary relegated to the sidelines of a new oil boom. “We are encouraged by the potential that Larimer County could hold, but right now, it’s too soon to say what our activity there could look like,” Anadarko spokesman Brian Cain said Friday. “It goes slowly as you look meticulously to determine how much potential there is in terms of resources in different areas.”[…]

The company has access to hundreds of thousands of acres of land in Weld County and along Larimer County’s eastern border. So far, Anadarko’s exploration has been limited to 11 horizontal wells drilled in southwest Weld County, which have been producing between 300 and 1,100 barrels of oil per day, according to Anadarko’s announcement Monday…

“This is the sort of thing that transforms the life of landowners (with property in the drilling area),” he said. “It creates wealth in the region. It’s not so much the drilling that matters; it’s the long stream of production that creates wealth for the region.”[…]

“Ozone is already a serious problem in Northern Colorado,” said Gary Wockner, director of Save the Poudre and Clean Water Action in Fort Collins. “Drilling releases hydrogen sulfide, methane, cancer-causing benzene and volatile organic compounds into the air which will cause even more ozone pollution. This drilling will make our air quality worse, cause more asthma attacks and negatively impact the public’s health.”

Mike Chiropolos, lands program director for Western Resource Advocates in Boulder, said Anadarko and other companies drilling the Niobrara should be required to use chemical “tracers” in hydraulic fracturing fluids so that state regulators will be able to tell without a doubt whether “fracking” is contaminating ground and domestic well water.

Meanwhile, Commerce City area residents are worried about a hydraulic fracturing operation near their homes. Here’s a report from Monte Whaley writing for The Denver Post. From the article:

They mostly blamed Adams County for not telling them that oil and gas companies would begin using a controversial exploration method known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, near their backyards in an unincorporated portion of the county. “Adams County let us down,” said Commerce City Councilwoman Jadie Carson. “It’s almost like we were violated.”

The well site is located near the intersection of Tower Road and East 104th Avenue near the Reunion subdivision in Commerce City. It was originally permitted in 1972. The state owns the mineral rights to the well, while a private owner maintains the surface ownership. Adams County is overseeing the project but did not notify Commerce City that the fracking would occur over the weekend, city officials said. In fact, no one in the city knew about the drilling until City Councilman Steven Douglas drove by the site early one morning and saw equipment.

More oil and gas coverage here and here.

The Pueblo Board of Water Works green lights a 3.5% water rate hike


From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

“This was a challenging year,” said Executive Director Alan Hamel, who reviewed the budget for the board. “We’ve been able to hold costs down and keep our rates reasonable. . . . We have the lowest rates of any major utility along the Front Range.” The $31.78 budget reflects a smaller rate increase than the 9 percent projected a few months ago or the 5 percent the board was looking at just two weeks ago…

The budget increased largely because of $3.56 million more in utility costs, mostly driven by a 24 percent jump in rates by Black Hills Energy. Other major expenses include $910,000 for an ongoing program to convert meters to automated reading, $628,000 for main expansion projects and $550,000 to rehabilitate the Hellbeck water tank.

The 3.5 percent rate hike means a homeowner with a 1-inch tap would pay an additional $1.15 per month in the winter, based on using 11,000 gallons, and $2.83 per month in summer months with water use of 32,000 gallons.

Meanwhile, the board heard from customers about the shut off policy for non-payment. Here’s a report from Chris Woodka writing for The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

The water board was sympathetic to their plight, but also took the time to explain the safeguards already put into place to avoid shutoffs if possible. So far this year, 2,246 accounts have been shut off for nonpayment. That’s less than 10 percent of those who receive shut-off notices that advise customers water will be turned off if payment is not received within 42 days of the bill, explained Seth Clayton, manager of the finance division. The water board next year will increase funding of the Customer Assistance Referral and Evaluation Service, a program administered by Catholic Charities, to $100,000. In September, the board increased funding of the program because of the need in the communities…

The water board also is considering a budget billing program that would even out payments throughout the years. Shutoffs increase during summer months when water usage is higher, and payments could be averaged out by looking at historic use and making annual adjustments.

Finally, congratulations to Mike Cafasso who was elected President of the board at the Tuesday meeting, according to Chris Woodka writing for The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

Cafasso, vice president of operations for St. Mary-Corwin Medical Center and a long-time bank executive, was named to the water board in 2007 to replace Vera Ortegon, who resigned to join Pueblo City Council. He was elected to his first full term, six years, on the board later that year. He is also a past president of the Greater Pueblo Chamber of Commerce and has been active in numerous church and civic activities. Cafasso will take over for Tom Autobee, a dentist who served for three years as president.

More Pueblo Board of Water Works coverage here.