Jul 11

Summer Promo From Mutipure

GET A FREE Water Emergency Treatment System With Purchase of a Multipure Drinking Water System!

summer2-791x1024

From July 1st through September 30th, Multipure is offering an all-new Water Emergency Treatment (WET) System for just the cost of shipping to Customers who purchase any Multipure Drinking Water System at regular price! Or if you purchase any Drinking Water System Starter Kit at regular price and sign up as a new Distributor, you can receive a WET System absolutely FREE! The WET System includes two Multipure EF8 solid carbon block filters as well as emergency water purification tablets and other essential equipment.

Promo Code: SA912PROMO (will be mailed with order)
Free WET System plus $10.00 S/H fee when purchasing any drinking water system.

OR

Promo Code: SA912PROMO2 (will be mailed with order)
Free WET System if you purchase any Drinking Water System Starter Kit
when you sign up as a new Distributor

(enter promo code at the checkout screen) visit Multipureusa.com to order

Promotion Details

1. Offer valid July 1, 2014 through September 30, 2014.
2. A Multipure Drinking Water System (DWS) is defined as an Aquamini, Aquadome, Aquaversa, Aquaperform, or AquaRO.
3. Multipure’s Aquasource whole-house system is included as a qualifying promotional purchase.
4. Customers may receive one (1) Water Emergency Treatment (WET) System (SKU# SA912) when they purchase any DWS at regular price.
5. The free SA912 must be requested at the time of purchase. No exceptions.
6. Customers who cancel their DWS or DWS Starter Kit order (at regular price) must also pay the full price for the SA912 or return the SA912.
7. Shipping and handling on the free SA912 is not included. The Customer must pay for the $10 shipping and handling at the time of purchase.
8. The SA912 is shipped with the DWS purchase and may not be shipped to a different address.
9. The SA912 promotion is available with Filtermania and Aquamania purchases.
10. This promotion is subject to change or may be discontinued at any time.

May 06

One Drop At A Time

waterdropIn beginning a new season, we are inclined to become introspective. We look at our daily lives and routines and evaluate in order to improve. You may wonder if you are doing enough to care for yourself, your fellow humans and the environment.

When looking for ways to live a more fulfilling and responsible life, it is easy to become overwhelmed. There are many facets of life on which one could focus; however, the thought of conquering everything at once can be daunting. A great solution to this is to begin with some small, simple things that involve daily activities. In reality, the small things that you do each day make the biggest impact overall. For example, here are three easy ways to save water, the world’s most precious resource. In doing so, you will be helping yourself, fellow humans and the environment, one drop at a time.

Time it: Every day, you do things that involve running a faucet for a period of time, whether it’s washing dishes or brushing your teeth. The mind can wander while the tap is running and valuable water is going down the drain. One way to get the job done effectively is to set a timer. If you know that the timer is going to go off, and you will have to shut off the sink at the sound of the alarm, you will be more cognizant of the amount of resources you use. Once you use a timer a few times, you will subconsciously become accustomed to using water in a timelier manner. This way, in addition to saving resources, you will also save time.

Install it: In doing a little research about water conservation devices, you might be surprised at how easy they are to install and implement into your daily routine. Water-saving showerheads use a fraction of the H2O that regular showerheads use, while still functioning efficiently. Once you have your high-efficiency shower head installed, you can save the wet stuff by simply showering normally. You will use less, therefore simultaneously saving money on your bills and helping our planet.

Drink it: Ironically, drinking water is a great way to conserve it. Use a filter to purify your tap water and opt to drink it instead of bottled water, soda or other beverages. Considering that water composes 75 percent of your body, it must be the healthiest thing you can drink. By drinking purified water from you tap, you are also reducing the amount that goes into manufacturing non-water beverages. Everyday, millions of gallons of precious H2O are used to manufacture soda. Make a resolution to limit or discontinue drinking packaged drinks and create a healthier Earth and a healthier you.

Water conservation is one of Ashley’s favorite topics to write about. If you’re looking for more information regarding water saving showerheads, please visit http://www.niagaraconservation.com/

Apr 03

5 Ways To Make Your Workplace Eco-Friendly

Ways To Make Your Workplace Eco-Friendly

Image by Chris Potter

From melting polar ice caps to smog-filled cities, the threat of global warming isn’t going away. Despite the red flags and the bombardment of warnings, the majority of people continue to turn a blind eye to their carbon footprint. Ignorance really is bliss.

It’s all too easy to turn away and leave it to someone else, but if we all do that then nothing’s going to change.

Instead, you could make a few small changes to your day-to-day life that can have positive effects on the environment. You may not have the money or time to become totally green, but these short easy to do steps will leave you slightly more satisfied in the knowledge that you are doing your part.

Here are five quick and easy ways to make your workplace more eco-friendly:

1. Less Waste, More Recycling

Minimize the amount of waste that goes to landfill by installing recycling bins in your workplace. The majority of packaging can be recycled now, and you’ll find that most of your colleagues will happily ‘go green’ if you provide them with the opportunity to recycle items.

2. Use Less Energy

Your workplace may be a-buzz with energy, but make sure it’s not wasted electronic energy. Turn off equipment such as computers, chargers and lights when they’re not in use, and remind your colleagues to do the same.

3. Minimise Your Mileage

Don’t travel unnecessarily for company business if a conference call could achieve the same result. If you can’t avoid travelling, try to car share where possible.

4. Be Proud To Be Green

Lead the way in your workplace’s green revolution by displaying your green credentials for all to see. Update your email signature to say:

Think before you ink – please consider the environment and do not print unless absolutely necessary.

5. Print Double-Sided

It seems so simple, but by printing and photocopying on both sides of a sheet of paper, you’re cutting your energy and paper use in half. If you have an IT team, speak to them about making double-sided printing the automatic default on all of the company’s computers and photocopiers.

That’s five simple ways to a more eco-friendly office, but it doesn’t end there. You could even speak to your procurement team about buying environmentally friendly products like Xerox business paper, which is manufactured using less water, chemicals and energy.

Have you got a great idea on making workplaces more eco-friendly? If so, leave a comment below!

Featured images:

Matt Reilly is a professional copywriter. He blogs about the environment, the business world and the links between the two. He writes for Continua.

Apr 03

Eco-home: 5 Tips To Make Your Home More Sustainable

ecohomeIt seems to be the new trend at the moment and with good reason too! In the last decade particularly, many governments and communities have zoned in on the idea of sustainability. Sustainability is the concept where current needs are met without depleting the resources of future generations.

Likewise, individuals and families can also operate in more environmentally friendly ways. Indeed, sustainability in the home can also cut down on costs and make your home more comfortable. There are countless ways to go about sustainability in your home. Here we survey five top suggestions.

Choose your plants wisely

Aren’t having plants an eco-friendly choice in the first place? In some respects, yes. However, plants that require lots of water are generally considered a less sustainable choice. The choice of plants will often depend on the climate in which you live in. For example, if you live in a dry climate such as in Australia, look out for Australian native plants. Fruit trees are also a good idea in providing shade for your backyard and fresh fruit for you!

Choose eco-friendly paints

Many people would be surprised to know that the UN International Agency on Research into Cancer (IARC) categorises painting as a “hazardous profession” due to various toxic components in many paints. This is because paints contain harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Instead, choose plant based oils. Plant based oils are low-VOC and more sustainable than paints derived from petrochemicals.

Choose eco-friendly floors

With flooring, it is not so much the material that matters but the maintenance routine required to maintain its durability. This is because most floor finishes are also plastic based, meaning that VOCs and allergens will be emitted from your floor after installation and recoating. Once again, you can avoid this by choosing low VOC floor finishes. Alternatively, choose ceramic, hard tiles, linoleum, and cork as your flooring.

Use less electricity

While the choice of paint and flooring are sustainable design choices, there are also sustainable living choices you can make every day in your home. Saving energy is an easy way to be sustainable. This includes simple things like turning off lights when not in use. Some less common ways: turning off your cable set-top box when not in use, having a correctly sized air conditioner, and organising your fridge!

Use recycled or reclaimed materials

If you’re hunting for that perfect piece of real estate to buy or build up, consider choosing or building a home with recycled or reclaimed materials. If you’re after wood, look for wood from older torn-down buildings or else types such as bamboo that grow quickly and sustainably. If you’re already settled into a property, consider buying more recycled products at the supermarket, whether it be pens or even toilet paper!

Amy Hopkins is a university student and freelance writer who is interested in flicking through the newspaper looking at NSW real estate. You’ll often find her dreaming about properties she can’t quite afford to buy!

Dec 14

The Problem With Bottled Water & Its Effects On Our Environment

Individual use of plastic water bottles has become a multi-billion dollar industry. Not only is bottled water much more expensive than tap water, but there is also a serious cost to our planet:

  • 1.5 million barrels of oil are used annually to manufacture plastic water bottles. (Earth Policy Institute)
  • 2 million tons of plastic bottles are land filled every year. (Worldwatch Institute)
  • Only 1 out of every 10 plastic bottles is recycled.
  • Bottled water has to either be pumped out of the ground or treated. Up to 1500 gallons of water are wasted during this process.
  • Bottled water uses fossil fuels in the making, filling, transporting, and recycling of plastic water bottles…up to 187 gallons of oil are spent! To learn more about this process, check out “The Story of Bottled Water” at www.storyofstuff.org/bottledwater.php
  • 1 billion pounds of CO2 is emitted in the transportation of bottled water in the United States alone.
  • 40% of PET bottles recycled in the United States in 2004 were exported – adding to the resources used.

Bottled water is drinking water packaged in plastic or glass containers. The dominant form is water packaged in new Polyethylene terephthalate bottles and sold retail. Another method of packaging is in larger high-density polyethylene plastic bottles, or polycarbonate plastic bottles, often used with water coolers.

Wasted material

The major criticism of bottled water concerns the bottles themselves. Individual use bottled water is generally packaged in Polyethylene terephthalate (PET). According to a NAPCOR study, PET water bottles account for 50% of all the PET bottles and containers collected by curbside recycling, and the recycling rate for water bottles is 23.4%, an increase over the 2006 rate of 20.1%. PET bottled water containers make up one-third of 1 percent of the waste stream in the United States.An estimated 50 billion bottles of water are consumed per annum in the US and around 200 billion bottles globally.

Health effects

Bottled water does not imply a specific treatment process or better process than tap water or another water source. Some bottled water is simply tap water bottled and sold. In the United States, the FDA regulates bottled water whilst the EPA regulates the quality of tap water and has created 90 maximum contaminant levels for drinking water and 15 secondary maximum contaminant levels.

According to a 1999 NRDC study, in which roughly 22 percent of brands were tested, at least one sample contained chemical contaminants at levels above strict state health limits. Some of the contaminants found in the study could pose health risks if consumed over a long period of time. However, the NRDC report conceded that “most waters contained no detectable bacteria, and the levels of synthetic organic chemicals and inorganic chemicals of concern for which were tested were either below detection limits or well below all applicable standards.” Meanwhile, a report by the Drinking Water Research Foundation found that of all samples tested by NRDC, “federal FDA or EPA limits were allegedly exceeded only four times, twice for total coliforms and twice for fluorides.”

The rate of total dissolved solids is sometimes 4 times higher in bottled mineral waters than in bottled tap ones.

Another study, conducted by the Goethe University at Frankfurt found that a high percentage of the bottled water, contained in plastic containers were polluted with estrogenic chemicals. Although some of the bottled water contained in glass were found polluted with chemicals as well, the researchers believe some of the contamination in the plastic containers may have come from the plastic containers themselves.

Bottled water vs tap water

In the United States, bottled water costs between $0.25 and $2 per bottle while tap water costs less than US$0.01.In 1999, according to a NRDC study, U.S. consumers paid between 240 and 10,000 times more per unit volume for bottled water than for tap water.Typically 90 percent or more of the cost paid by bottled water consumers goes to things other than the water itself—bottling, packaging, shipping, marketing, retailing, other expenses, and profit.

In some areas, tap water may contain added fluoride, which helps prevent tooth decay and cavities, but may also produce negative toxicological side-effects.

Bottled water has reduced amounts of copper, lead, and other metal contaminants since it does not run through the plumbing pipes where tap water is exposed to metal corrosion. However, this varies by the household and plumbing system.

In a study with 57 bottled water samples and tap water samples, all of the tap water samples had a bacterial content under 3 CFUs/mL and the bottled water samples’ bacterial content ranged from 0.01-4900 CFUs/mL(colony-forming unit). Most of the water bottle samples were under 1 CFU/mL, though there were 15 water bottle samples containing 6-4900 CFUs/mL.

In another study comparing 25 different bottled waters, most of the samples resulted exceeding the contaminant level set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency‎ (EPA) for mercury, thallium, and thorium. Being exposed to these contaminants in high concentration for long periods of time can cause liver and kidney damage, and increase risk for lung and pancreas disease.

In much of the developed world chlorine is often added as a disinfectant. If the water contains organic matter, this can produce other products in the water such as trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids. The level of residual chlorine found is small at around 00.2g per litre which is too small to directly cause any health problems.

The Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club and World Wildlife Fund have all urged their supporters to consume less bottled water. Anti-bottled water campaigns and organizations, such as Corporate Accountability International, typically argue that bottled water is no better than tap water, and emphasize the environmental side-effects of disposable plastic bottles.

The Showtime series Penn & Teller: Bullshit! demonstrated, in a 2007 episode, that in a controlled setting, diners could not discern between bottled water and water from a garden hose behind the restaurant.

Privatization of water

The United Church of Christ, United Church of Canada, National Council of Churches, National Coalition of American Nuns and Presbyterians for Restoring Creation are among some of the religious organizations that have raised questions about whether or not the “privatization” of water is ethical. They regard the industrial purchase and repackaging at a much higher resale price of a basic resource as an unethical trend.

The recent documentary Tapped argues against the bottled water industry, asserting that tap water is healthier, more environmentally sustainable and more ecologically just than bottled water. The film focuses on the bottled water industry in the United States. The film has largely seen positive reviews, and has spawned college campus groups such as Beyond the Bottle.

Tapped is a film that examines the role of the bottled water industry and its effects on our health, climate change, pollution, and our reliance on oil. visit: http://www.tappedthefilm.com/

The Answer?

Home Water Filter Systems. Fortunately, there is an inexpensive and reliable alternative to tap water and bottled water. Home water filter systems are a far better option than bottled water in every way. A quality home water filter system filters out the dangerous contaminants found in tap water, including lead, chlorine, herbicides and pesticides. The home water filter industry has developed a wide variety of filter options, from drinking water filters to attach to your kitchen faucet, to under sink filters to shower filters to whole house water filters.

For pennies per gallon, a quality home water filter system turns your tap water into clean, healthy and safe water. No more bottles to deal with, no more bad taste or smell to your water, and no more concern about the water you and your family are drinking every day. For your health, for your budget and for our environment, a MultiPure home water filter is the best choice by far.

Aug 22

Make Back-To-School A “Green” Event

Photograph courtesy of tncountryfan/Flickr, Creative Commons license

Photograph courtesy of tncountryfan/Flickr, Creative Commons license

What motivates people to save energy? This year, the Great Energy Challenge launched a project, the 360º Energy Diet, designed in part to tackle this very question. (Another round of the diet begins this fall.) For some people who joined, it was the idea of living a simpler, less wasteful lifestyle. Others liked the idea of losing weight, whether it was literally shedding pounds by switching to less energy-intensive eating habits, or lightening their monthly bills by saving on electricity and other expenses.

survey released earlier this year by the consulting firms Deloitte and the Harrison Group confirms that financial incentives can motivate changes in energy use. Sixty-eight percent of respondents agreed with the statement “I/Our family took several extra steps to reduce our electric bill as a result of the recession.” Even more striking, 95 percent of those consumers have no plans to go back to their pre-recession spending habits, even if the economy improves.

Operating on this same “green” (i.e. monetary) concept, the company Recyclebank offers consumers in the United States and the United Kingdom discounts and deals in exchange for everyday planet-friendly actions such as recycling electronics or cutting energy use at home. Looking ahead to the school year, when many families are making lots of new purchases and preparing students to participate in many new activities, Recyclebank offers these tips for a less resource-intensive back-to-school season:

Pack waste-free lunches: It’s estimated that Americans go through 100 billion plastic bags a year- this averages to 360 bags per person. Purchase a reusable lunch bag or box for your child, and fill reusable bottles with water or juice. If you do use plastic bags, reuse and recycle them. Clean and dry Ziploc® bags can be recycled at most grocery stores where you drop off plastic shopping bags.

Encourage school cafeterias to buy local:
 At the next PTA meeting, discuss the topic with other parents and consider connecting with school administrators about bringing local food to the cafeteria for sustainable and healthy lunches. Contact the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service for resources and information on farm-to-school programs.

Conserve paper:
 Remind your family to only print when truly necessary. If you must print, do it on 100-percent recycled paper, which is often cheaper than paper made from trees. Consider investing in eReaders and tablet computers; your children can use them for school assignments and you forgo buying paper books, newspapers and magazines.

Choose sustainable school supplies:
 In the United States alone, approximately 11,600 incense-cedar trees are cut down to create the 2 billion pencils made each year. To minimize your environmental footprint, opt for school supplies wrapped in limited packaging and recycle what you can. Seek out greener supplies like recycled or mechanical pencils, refillable pens and paper clips made from recycled steel.

“Upcycle” last year’s supplies: Three-ring binders that are still in great working order can be refurbished at home. Cover the entire exterior of the binder with a sheet of cork contact paper, then trim to size for a clean, modern looking folder.

Recycle old electronics: If you’re upgrading your family’s electronics this year, be mindful of recycling old models (Recyclebank offers rewards for this). Don’t forget to recycle the batteries too.

Green your wardrobe: Shop in vintage or thrift stores to suspend the life of clothing, or even arrange a clothing swap with friends or relatives. When buying new clothes, look for those made with sustainable fabrics like organic cotton and bamboo.

Streamline transportation:
 Use school or public buses when at all possible to reduce emissions. If you must drive, arrange a carpool. Getting bikes (and helmets) for the whole family is the most efficient way to go – and fun and healthy too.

In order to up the ante on many of these actions, Recyclebank is holding a Green Your School Year Challenge that begins Wednesday and goes through Sept. 30. The highest scorers can win prizes including $2,500 gift cards to Macy’s, electric bicycles and e-readers. No matter what your motivation, the fall season offers a good opportunity to reevaluate some of the choices we make every year, and possibly get some “green” in the process.

Aug 20

Coal Mining Polluting Kentucky’s Water

Flaming drinking-water well in Kentucky illuminates
Big Coal’s abuses

calvin_howard_burning_well.pngThe flaming drinking water well at a home in eastern Kentucky’s Pike County first came to public attention back in May, thanks to a report by a local TV station.

WKYT visited the home of Calvin and Denise Howard on Big Branch Road, where the Howards reported that the water, which runs orange and black, burned their skin when they bathed. They also said that Excel Mining, the operator of a nearby coal mine, had offered to install a water filtration system — but only if the residents signed a liability waiver.

The Howards refused the company’s offer — and when WKYT checked back in July, the flames that had been just about to the top of the well were shooting out at least a foot and a half.

Since then, the Howards have filed a lawsuit [pdf] over the contamination. In addition, environmental advocates have gotten involved, arranging for the delivery this week of clean water to 13 area families amid inaction by the company and state environmental regulators.

“In all my 20 years of working on water quality problems, I have never seen a drinking water well catch on fire and burn continuously for days on end,” says Donna Lisenby of Appalachian Voices, who with Kentuckians for the Commonwealth has arranged for the delivery of bottled water from Nestle and Keeper Springs Natural Spring Water, a company founded by environmental advocate Bobby Kennedy Jr. that gives 100 percent of its profits to clean-water causes.

According to the lawsuit, the trouble for the Howards began back in late January when they started hearing explosions beneath their home. About the same time, their well water turned gray and took on an offensive odor. Around May 1, the well exploded into flames, destroying the well house. It’s burned continuously ever since.

Earlier this month, Ted Withrow, a former regulator with the Kentucky Division of Water who now works with the grassroots citizens group Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, and KFTC activist Sue Tallichet visited the community, where residents confirmed the water contamination. Residents also reported mysterious health problems they feared could be connected to the poisoned water, including a teenage girl’s hair falling out and a boy vomiting blood.

The Kentucky Department of Mining Reclamation has investigated the burning well and confirmed that it “is creating an environmental and public safety hazard.” At that point, the company began providing bottled water to the Howards, but other impacted families did not get any assistance. The Howards have been advised to evacuate their trailer home but can’t afford to do so. The lawsuit seeks compensation for their replacement housing and their water.

“Based on my direct, firsthand experience with contamination of water by coal operations, I am deeply worried about the safety of the drinking water of these families,” says KFTC’s Withrow.

An ‘ineffective, choregraphed sham’

The water contamination along Big Branch Road illustrates a larger problem facing Kentucky: the coal mining industry’s abuse of communities and regulators’ failure to protect them from harm.

The Pike County situation is unfolding against a backdrop of coal company lawlessness and regulatory inaction in Kentucky. Back in June, an alliance of environmental groups including Appalachian Voices and KFTC sent notice-to-sue letters to two mining companies after discovering they had exceeded their pollution permit limits more than 4,000 times in the first quarter of this year alone.

The companies targeted by that action are International Coal Group, which is owned by Arch Coal of St. Louis, one of the world’s largest coal companies, and Frasure Creek Mining, a subsidiary of West Virginia’s Trinity Coal, which is owned by India’s Essar Group. They are the largest producers of mountaintop-removal-mined coal in Kentucky.

The watchdogs notified the same companies last October of their intent to sue over more than 20,000 violations of the Clean Water Act, including falsification of pollution monitoring reports. But Kentucky’s Energy and Environment Cabinet stepped in at the last minute and fined the companies a total of just $660,000 — less than 1 percent of the maximum fine that could be imposed under the law. Environmental advocates denounced the state’s action as an “ineffective, choreographed sham.”

Excel Mining, the mine operator implicated in the burning-well situation, is owned by Oklahoma-based Alliance Resource Partners, among the largest coal producers in the eastern United States. Alliance reported record profits in 2010, with a 67.1 percent jump in net income over the previous year to $321 million.

The company landed in the spotlight last year when a roof collapsed at its Dotiki Mine in Hopkins County, Ky., killing two miners. News reports after the incident revealed that inspectors from the Kentucky Office of Mine Safety and Licensing issued 31 orders to close sections of the mine or shut down equipment because of safety violations between January 2009 and the time of the collapse, according to Sourcewatch. Reporters found that the company received a total of 649 citations in 2009 alone.

In addition, Alliance was involved in a 2009 controversy over the firing of the director of Kentucky’s Division of Mine Permits. Ron Mills’ termination came after he refused to issue about a half-dozen mine permits — most requested by Alliance — because they failed to comply with federal and state laws. Mills’ denials were ultimately overruled by higher state officials.

Joe Craft, the president of Alliance Resource Partners, is a major political powerhouse. He has contributed over $150,000 at the federal level over the past decade, including $10,000 to the Republican Party of Kentucky; $17,500 to the Kentucky State Democratic Central Committee; $4,600 to U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R); and $2,300 each to Barack Obama (D) and Mitt Romney (R), according to the Center for Responsive Politics’ OpenSecrets.org database. The company’s political action committee has also invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in politicians’ campaigns — $193,665 in the 2010 election cycle alone.

Craft and others affiliated with the company as well as Alliance’s PAC are also major donors at the state level, according to the National Institute on Money in State Politics’ FollowtheMoney.org database. Alliance Coal employees were among the biggest campaign donors in Kentucky’s primary election this year, together with their spouses contributing a total of $60,000 to three candidates, WBKO reported last month.

And in 2009, Craft organized a group of donors to pay for a new $7 million “Wildcat Coal Lodge” to house the University of Kentucky’s basketball players on campus — a move that sparked considerable controversy and led noted writer and environmental activist Wendell Berry to pull his personal papers from the school’s archive. While the university’s sports teams are known as the Wildcats, “wildcat coal” also refers to coal that’s mined illegally.

Meanwhile, residents along Big Branch Road are hoping to connect to a clean municipal water source — but price is a concern. Pike County officials have said it could cost as much as $150,000 to connect them to their existing water lines. The families have said they would pay to connect to closer lines in nearby Martin County, but that could take at least three months.

(Photo of Calvin Howard standing next to his burning well and destroyed wellhouse by Appalachian Voices.)

user-pic

By Sue Sturgis on August 19, 2011 10:26 AM 

Jul 25

The Next Generation Of Turbines Go Underwater

The Next Generation Of Turbines Go Underwater, And They’re Coming Soon

BY MICHAEL J. CORENWed Jul 20, 2011

As the U.S. slowly abandons its dams, more and more pilot programs pop up for deriving power from tides and river currents. Welcome to a new age of water power.

Every day, enough water flows down America’s rivers and streams to power tens of millions of homes. With the era of big dams effectively over in the U.S., halted by the lack of suitable sites as much as environmental concerns, the time for hydrokinetic energy may just be dawning.

The ideas of using turbines, or other mechanical devices, to capture the energy of moving water is not a new one. Yet the technology for such hydrokinetic energy has met serious resistance from conditions below the surface. As water is 832 times denser than air, it poses tough engineering challenges for power generators who must contend with corrosion, stray electromagnetic fields, and rules to safeguard sealife.

“There’s a lot of electricity to be had from these device and probably fewer environmental impacts, says Glenn Cada, senior researcher at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, in the Department of Energy’s program to improve hydrokenetic technology and minimize the environmental impacts. “It’s not as easy as taking a taking a wind turbine and putting it under water. The forces are much greater. We are trying to understand how to make them sturdy enough to generate electricity from river currents.”

Demonstration projects in the Mississippi and New York’s East Rivers have been steadily perfecting the technology needed to capture this energy for almost a decade. Verdant Power’s Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy project in New York’s East River (soon to be expanded) has successfully operated six underwater turbines between 2006-2008, and delivering 70 megawatt hours to a nearby supermarket and parking garage in what the company called the “world’s first grid-connected array of tidal turbines.” Free Flow Power Power has installed its own turbines, resembling jet engines, in the Mississippi and is eying more than 50 expansion sites.

Now, everyone from state agencies to universities are racing to get into the game. Applications to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for new hydrokinetic sites have soared in the last three years: 79   have been approved since 2009 (almost double those as of 2008), and 145 more are awaiting final approval in  Missouri, Maine, Louisiana, New Jersey and other states.

Eventually, based on the ambitions of several energy developers, underwater fields of hundreds of turbines could generating enough megawatts to power cities around the country.

“We’re trying to prove these things right now,” says Cada.

[Image: Atlantis Resources Corporation]

Reach Michael J. Coren via Twitter or email.

Read More: World’s First Floating Wind Turbine Installed, Ready for Testing

Jun 22

Water Bottle Facts

Too Many Bottles-It is a Waste

  • Single-serve bottled water is the fastest growing beverage of choice in the United States.
  • Americans purchased nearly 31 billion bottles of water in 2006 and spend $11 billion on bottled water every year.
  • Nearly 2.5 billion bottles of water a year are sold in New York alone-stacked up end to end, they’d reach the moon.

It’s a Waste of Money

  • Tap water creates less pollution and uses far less energy and natural resources than transporting and manufacturing of plastic water bottles.
  • Bottled water costs as much as $10 per gallon-tap water costs less than one cent per gallon.
  • Nationally, local governments spend $43 billion per year to deliver some of the highest quality water in the world.
  • In New York, we spend $2 billion per year to provide safe, clean drinking water to the public.

It’s a Waste of Plastic

  • Unlike soda and other carbonated beverages, there is no deposit on water bottles so fewer are recycled.
  • Nationally, only 10% of plastic water bottles are recycled-90% end up as either garbage or litter.
  • 30 million single-serve non-returnable containers end up in landfills or as litter every day.
  • We spend millions annually to clean up plastic bottles that litter our highways, parks and open spaces.

It’s a Waste of Energy

  • 18 million barrels of crude oil equivalent were consumed in 2005 to replace the 2 million tons of plastic bottles that were wasted instead of recycled.
  • Manufacturing that much plastic releases more than 800,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, contributing to global climate change.
  • If we recycled the water bottles used in New York, we would save more than 67,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases.
  • In New York, the oil used to make our bottles is equal to 66 million gallons of gasoline; enough to power 120,000 automobiles for a year.

Taking Action

  • Since New York adopted the bottle bill in 1982, 90.6 billion beverage containers have been recycled. Roadside container litter has been reduced over 70%.
  • San Francisco and Los Angeles have banned city departments from buying bottled water. Ann Arbor, Michigan is calling for city events to be bottled water free. Salt Lake City urges city workers not to buy bottled water. Maine, Hawaii, California and Oregon have deposit laws that include bottled water.

What You Can Do

  • Recycle or return all of your beverage containers.
  • Pick up bottles along the road or sidewalk and recycle them.
  • Drink tap water-it’s better for the environment, even using a filter is cheaper than buying bottles.
  • Get involved-help start a recycling program at school, work and sporting events.
  • Buy and refill reusable bottles.
  • Learn more about your local recycling program.