Study: #PFAS exposure and health outcomes

Anschutz Medical Campus. Photo credit. CU Center for Bioethics and Humanities

From the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry:

CDC/ATSDR announced on September 23 that they established cooperative agreements with seven partners to study the human health effects of exposures to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) through drinking water at locations across the nation.

  • DRAFT Protocol – Human health effects of drinking water exposures to per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS): A multi-site cross-sectional study
  • This draft protocol representing the core research is undergoing review. All recipients must follow the final protocol to conduct the research at their sites. The final protocol will be posted on this site at a later date.

    The seven partners awarded the cooperative agreement to conduct the Multi-site Study and the location where they each will conduct their work are as follows:

  • Colorado School of Public Health, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, to look at exposures in El Paso County, CO
  • Michigan State Department of Health and Human Services to look at exposures in Parchment/Cooper Township, MI, and North Kent County, MI
  • RTI International and the Pennsylvania Department of Health to look at exposures in Montgomery and Bucks Counties, PA
  • Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences – School of Public Health to look at exposures in Gloucester County, NJ
  • Silent Spring Institute to look at exposures in Hyannis, MA, and Ayer, MA
  • University at Albany, SUNY and New York State Department of Health to look at exposures in Hoosick Falls, NY, and Newburgh, NY
  • University of California – Irvine to look at exposures in communities near the UC Irvine Medical Center
  • The multi-site health study was authorized by the National Defense Authorization Acts of 2018 and 2019 to provide information to communities about the health effects of PFAS exposure. The information learned from the multi-site study will help all communities in the U.S. with PFAS exposures, including those that were not part of the study.

    Direct potable water reuse in five arid inland communities: an analysis of factors influencing public acceptance

    Indirect potable reuse, or IPR: releasing highly treated reclaimed water into an environmental buffer such as a surface water reservoir or an aquifer—that is later withdrawn and treated for potable use. This also arguably includes de facto IPR, where source waters are impacted by upstream wastewater discharges from other utilities. Since many cities are downstream of other cities along rivers, de facto IPR is very common.
    Direct potable reuse, or DPR: drawing highly treated effluent from a water reclamation facility and sending it directly to a drinking water plant for treatment. This differs from IPR by not having the environmental buffer, like an aquifer or reservoir, between the wastewater discharge and the drinking water intake.

    Click here to read the paper (Caroline E. Scruggs, Claudia B. Pratesi & John R. Fleck). Here’s the abstract:

    Direct potable reuse (DPR) can improve reliability of water supplies by generating drinking water from wastewater, but communities have consistently opposed DPR more than other forms of reuse. Using interview data regarding DPR projects in five inland communities, this study fills gaps in the literature with an analysis of factors influencing acceptance of DPR. While scholars have recommended public processes used to implement non-potable and indirect potable reuse projects, there is little-to-no documentation about whether and how they have been used to implement DPR projects. Further, previous research has focused on large coastal cities. Counter to previous recommendations, we found minimal public deliberation of reuse options and public education/outreach occurring post-project conception. Findings suggest that direct experience with water scarcity, community smallness, and governance strongly influence DPR acceptance. With few DPR facilities worldwide, this new knowledge is useful to water planners who are interested in the feasibility of DPR in inland areas.

    @USBR takes up review of Lake Powell Pipeline — The Deseret News

    This $2+ billion project would pump 28 billion gallons of water 2,000 feet uphill across 140 miles of desert to provide just 160,000 residents in Southwest Utah with more water. Graphic credit: Utah Rivers Council

    From The Deseret News (Amy Joi O’Donoghue):

    The elimination of the major hydropower components of the proposed Lake Powell Pipeline means a new federal agency will review the project and determine if it is environmentally sound to move forward.

    “The division looks forward to working with reclamation on updating the timeline and cost estimate for the project and completing the environmental impact statement,” Eric Millis, director of the Utah Division of Water Resources, announced Tuesday

    The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission had been the reviewing agency. After a September decision by the Utah Board of Water Resources to eliminate two reservoirs for the generation of electricity during peak demand, that entity was no longer the appropriate reviewing agency…

    Project proponents say the pipeline is necessary to meet the needs of a growing population and to diversify water supply resources. Most of southern Utah residents rely on a single and volatile source of water — the Virgin River — which has been challenged by drought conditions.

    Construction of the pipeline won’t begin until 70% of the water is under contract.

    Karry Rathje, with the Washington County Water Conservancy District, said the shift to another federal agency to review the project should not result in any delays.

    Denver: Colorado Delegation to the US Water Summit meeting, November 5, 2019

    Auraria Campus. (Photo by Casey A. Cass/University of Colorado)

    From email from Paul Lander:

    In one week, on November 5th, at 1pm on the Metro State Campus in downtown Denver (Student Success Building, Room 440A) there will be a meeting of the budding Colorado Delegation to the US Water Summit. PLEASE join us.

    Delegations have an opportunity to create a framework for facilitating deeper engagement among water professionals, and also with the communities they serve, working toward an equitable water future.

    For more information, check out : http://uswateralliance.org/summit/2018-highlights/delegations [uswateralliance.org]

    This is a completely all-volunteer effort. To focus the first year’s work, in our 1 previous meeting, we have looked at following the process of the city and county of Denver as they craft a ‘One Water’ future, where all water providers more regularly, and effectively, interact, to deliver more service, and more resiliency.

    Lamar: Council Approves Water Infrastructure Improvements

    The May Ranch near Lamar, Colo., has never been plowed. Photo/Ducks Unlimited via The Mountain Town News

    From The Provers Journal (Russ Baldwin):

    The Lamar City Council took steps to help improve a problem with groundwater infiltration in the area of Rancher’s Lift Station behind Rancher’s Supply on East Olive Street in Lamar. Groundwater (inflow and infiltration) is entering the sewer system negatively impacting the city’s Wastewater Treatment Plant. The excess groundwater affects electricity costs, unnecessary equipment wear and tear on lift station pumps and the Wastewater Treatment Plant and influences the amount of wastewater permitted by the State of Colorado. The current permit allows for 1.16 million gallons per day, but in the summer when ground infiltration increases, the Plant consistently exceeds that number by at least 50to 60%. The lift station at Rancher’s Supply is a major contributor to the problem and if not corrected, state compliance and future growth will become major issues.

    The council approved the hiring of Granite Inliner to line the sewer with an inner pipe in the impacted area at a cost of $65,160. The firm has been employed by the city to line parts of the stormwater drainage system in the Northwest Stormwater Drainage Project with more than satisfactory results. It was noted that there was only $47,000 remaining in the fund, but the balance should be made up from the 2020 budget, perhaps using a grant from the Colorado Department of Health and Environment expected later this year.

    A public hearing was held to begin the process of updating the city’s Water Conservation Plan through a Colorado Water Conservation Board grant. The council voted to adopt the plan which dictates that communities in the state develop and implement a water conservation plan and revise it as conditions alter for a community. The CWCB has the authority to without grants for any community which have not adopted the required plan. A new, draft plan was completed by the city using a grant for the engineering study in 2015. However, the city’s Water Enterprise management team was not satisfied with the quality of the plan and the engineer is no longer available. City staff eventually hired the water engineering firm, Helton & Williamsen to produce a supplement to the Plan which corrected the areas of concern to city staff. The Plan was approved by the council during its regular meeting on Monday, October 28th.

    The proclamation No. 19-07, “November 8, 2019 as Zonta International Centennial Day in the City of Lamar, Colorado” was approved by the council. The Prowers County chapter joined other chapters around the world to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of Zonta. Local activities included displays by members in numerous parades, gathering books about strong females to donate to local school libraries and a pubic proclamation with week of November 8th will culminate in the lighting of the Prowers County Courthouse in anniversary teal colors. Zonta was founded on November 9, 1919 in Buffalo, NY and has since expanded into an international service and advocacy organization with 29,000 members in 63 countries on six continents. Since 1923 Zonta has contributed more than $41 million U.S. dollars to empower women through improved education, health care, economic opportunities and safe living conditions…

    …[increases in] water usage rates which are recommended to go up by $1.00 each for in-city water connections and $2.00 per service for those residents who are outside the city boundaries.

    @COParksWildlife hopes enhanced wetlands will help boreal toad survival

    In an ongoing conservation project, CPW recently released 1,700 boreal toad toadlets in a wetland in the San Juan mountains. Photo credit: Colorado Parks & Wildlife

    Here’s the release from Colorado Parks and Wildlife:

    In mid-September Biologist Dan Cammack walked slowly along the edge of a boggy pond in the San Juan Mountains high above the San Luis Valley and peered into the mud and black water looking for a camouflaged critter the size of a dime.

    After just a couple minutes, he saw the jumping movements of tiny boreal toads. The amphibians, colored a brownish-black, sat in the mud, on rocks, in the grass or moved on the top of the water attempting to stay clear of danger. Cammack had placed the toads in the ponds for the first time a few weeks earlier.

    “Watch where you step,” Cammack said, “We don’t want to step on them.”

    The toads are precious. Twenty years ago, they were abundant throughout Colorado’s high country. Today, however, they are scarce as they battle the mysterious chytrid fungus that is threatening amphibians throughout the world. CPW biologists are working statewide to revive populations of these high-altitude amphibians that live from 8,000 to 13,000 feet. But as is the nature of wildlife research, biologists will not know for at least three years if the work will help toads survive.

    To start the process, Cammack and his crew collected eggs from two wetlands in the Triangle Pass area near Crested Butte. The fertilized eggs, collected in early summer, were then taken to CPW’s Native Aquatic Species Hatchery in Alamosa where they were hatched in captivity. By late summer, they grew into tadpoles and were ready for stocking in the San Juans.

    In the high country above the San Luis Valley, the West Fork fire in 2013 burned through 100,000 acres of forest. Paul Jones, a now retired CPW biologist, had seen research that suggested burned areas might prevent development of the chytrid fungus. He also knew, based on historic records, that toads had once inhabited the area. So he worked with the Rio Grande National Forest, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Rio Grande Headwaters Restoration Project and the San Luis Valley Water Conservation District to build small levies in a wetland area to enhance and enlarge optimal reproductive boreal toad habit. The area mimics wetlands created by beaver ponds ‒ favorite breeding areas for toads.

    In late August, Cammack and his crew released about 2,700 tadpoles for the first time into the ponds. He traveled back to the area in mid-September to check if the tadpoles had transitioned to toadlets. All along the edge of the five-acre pond, he saw toadlets moving, swimming and hiding.

    “It looks like we have a lot of survival,” Cammack said. “The next critical test comes when we come back next spring to see if they survived the winter and hibernation.”

    What is particularly challenging for the biologists is that young toads are less likely than adults to contract the fungus. So biologists have to wait to know if toads are affected.

    “Making a determination about whether the site is positive for chytrid will not be established for about three years,” Cammack explained. “And reproductive maturity is not reached for five or six years, so it will take patience to see if the toads will breed in these ponds.”

    Until then, Cammack and his crew will continue to collect eggs and release tadpoles into the ponds. The ongoing work is needed to maintain multiple “age classes” of the amphibians.

    Cammack noted that he has found a few boreal toads at various locations in the mountains. However, outside of the Triangle Pass area, breeding in the wild has been unsuccessful.

    “While each sighting is encouraging, the numbers are a mere shadow of the past when toads were once thriving in the region,” Cammack said. “We hope that careful management and novel approaches to encourage reproduction will keep boreal toads from disappearing.”

    CPW biologists throughout the state are working on a variety of boreal toad conservation projects.

    “We’re working on creative ideas to help bring these toads back. Building these ponds in this burn area is one idea. Hopefully, one of them will work; but it will take time,” Cammack said.

    And he’s hopeful: “With wildlife we have to manage with optimism.”

    Link to this video to see how CPW biologists are working on boreal toad restoration.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dS-d8JL11_o

    Mature Boreal toad. Photo credit: Colorado Parks & Wildlife.

    @USBR reduces salinity and improves water quality in western slope canals

    Here’s the release from the Bureau of Reclamation (Justyn Liff, Lesley McWhirter):

    The Bureau of Reclamation is reducing salinity and improving water quality in the Colorado River Basin by reducing salt loading into the river from the Crawford Clipper Center Lateral in Delta County and the Gould Canal in Delta and Montrose Counties. Naturally-occurring salts in the sediment along the canals are picked up by water leaching from the earthen ditches and entering the Colorado River system. The resulting reduction in water quality creates a negative economic impact to downstream infrastructure and crops. The purpose of the projects is to prevent seepage and reduce salinity loading in the Colorado River Basin.

    The Crawford Clipper Center Lateral Pipeline Project will replace approximately 4.3 miles of open irrigation ditch with buried pipe. The Gould Canal Improvement Project will convert 12.4 miles of the canal to pipeline and geomembrane lining. These improvements will reduce seepage along the canals, enhancing water supply and improving water quality by preventing approximately 8,303 tons of salt per year from entering the Colorado River.

    “Reducing salt along the Clipper Center Lateral and the Gould Canal will help improve the water quality, crop production and wildlife habitat in the Colorado River Basin,” said Ed Warner, area manager for Reclamation’s Western Colorado Area Office.

    Copies of the final Findings of No Significant Impacts and Environmental Assessments on the projects are available online at http://www.usbr.gov/uc/envdocs/index.html or by contacting Reclamation. Historical and photographic documentation on the canals is available at http://www.usbr.gov/uc/wcao/rm/cr/index.html.

    Piping and lining of the projects tentatively scheduled to begin in November 2019.

    Piping an irrigation ditch. Photo credit NRCS via the Julesburg Advocate.