You might think that Costa Rica is only to be visited for its ecotourism opportunities. But after researching resource recovery technologies on the University of South Florida (USF) campus and with practitioners from Hillsborough County as part of his Ph.D. Dissertation, Kevin Orner is traveling to Costa Rica on a Fulbright Research Grant to investigate the recovery of nutrients and energy from pig and cow manure.
Costa Rica is a world leader in sustainability—more than 99% of the country’s energy is produced from renewable sources and approximately 28% of the country’s land is protected. However, the country only treats about 5% of its wastewater and of 93,000 farms in Costa Rica, 79,000 don’t have any treatment for their agricultural waste. There is thus a great opportunity to develop the circular economy where “wastes” can be inputted back into the production cycle (in this case for food production).
Kevin is based at the University of Georgia-Costa Rica (UGA-CR) campus in Monteverde. There two biodigesters currently treat cow and pig manure, producing biogas that is used to heat food served in the university’s cafeteria and the digesters also produce sludge that is used for compost. Kevin has designed and now constructed with help of UGA-CR staff, a reactor that utilizes the liquid digester effluent to produce struvite (MgNH4PO4). Struvite can be used as a slow-release fertilizer. Kevin’s assessment of his reactor is considering a detail mass balance on the flow of nutrients through the reactor. It is hoped his process, if successful, will not only produces a beneficial fertilizer product from the agricultural waste but also provides better nutrient management that if not managed properly, that can cause eutrophication and loss of water quality throughout the watershed.
Fabricio Camacho, the Assistant Director at UGA-CR, has previously worked with local farmers in building several biodigesters in the community. Using his existing network, results from this study will be communicated to local farmers, students and other tourists visiting UGA-CR., and to other members of the Bellbird Biological Corridor.
The NSF funded MERA Investigation, named for its acronym in Spanish, stands for Environment, Ethnography, Risk Assessment, and Water Quality. This investigation looks to improve beach management and human health through interdisciplinary research that includes pathogen measurements and human behaviors related to the risk of illness from swimming in coastal waters. This investigation is led by Drs. Harwood (USF Integrative Biology), Breitbart (USF College of Marine Science), and USF Reclaim alumna, Dr. Maryann Cairns, who is currently an Assistant Professor in the Anthropology department from Southern Methodist University.
USF Reclaim alumna, Dr. Erin M. Symonds, is currently a USF postdoc working with the Instituto de Acueductos y Alcantarillados (AyA)’s National Water Lab in Costa Rica. Symonds, two USF Integrative Biology Ph.D. students (Adriana Gonzalez and Javier Gallard), and Marine Science Ph.D. candidate Abdiel Laureano-Rosario are investigating beach water quality and how it relates to pathogens and human health in Costa Rica.
As part of this research, Laureano-Rosario is assessing recreational water quality in Costa Rica by examining historical patterns of microbial water quality in the context of environmental changes. This work uses remote sensing techniques to assess how changes in water clarity and water temperature are related to environmental factors such as rainfall and air temperature, and whether these variables influence increased or decreased the microbial indicators used to identify fecal pollution and identify possible public health risks. Laureano-Rosario recently visited Costa Rica to discuss the preliminary results with collaborators at the National Water Lab and the University of Costa Rica. This work is the first of its kind in a tropical setting, with the goal to recommend changes to promote safe coastal management, and potentially the development of early warning systems.
Click here if you would like to learn more about the MERA Investigation
Join us for a seminar by Dr. Laura Schifman on “Green Infrastructure and Socio-Hydrology: A Concept for Sustainable Cities” Friday, April 6th, 12:30 – 1:20 pm ENG 4.
Part of a series of seminars from the Environmental and Water Resource Engineering Graduate Seminar Spring 2018. For the full schedule visit: http://www.usf.edu/engineering/cee/documents/ewre-seminar-speaker-schedule-spring2018.pdfLaura Schifman Seminar April 6(v2)
Join USF Reclaim for a seminar by Professor Marc Edwards “Citizen Science and the Flint Water Crisis – Triumph Tragedy and Misconduct” this Friday 01/19/2018 from 12:30-1:20 pm CMC 147 at USF
For a full list of speakers for the Spring 2018 semester check: http://www.usf.edu/engineering/cee/documents/ewre-seminar-speaker-schedule-spring2018v2.pdf
Over many weeks, the USF Reclaim team of graduate students met, discussed, planned, filmed, and edited their next campaign video for submission to the Environmental Engineering Science Foundation (EESF)/Association of Environmental Engineers and Science Professor’s (AEESP) video contest. They decided to make a video to mimic other successful social media awareness and fundraising campaigns such as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and the 22-pushup challenge. Using informational clips and a challenge, the video seeks to inspire and challenge watchers to change their habits to #ChangeClimateChange and post their own videos to reach an even larger audience.
Now that you have watched the video, we challenge you to #ChangeClimateChange. Just make a simple 10 second video on your smart phone, post on Facebook/Twitter with the hash tag, and challenge your friends and family. Periodically we hope to create a compilation of the best videos submitted. We hope we can create even more of a global movement to address this grand challenge.
EPA SSWR Water Research Webinar
Wednesday, December 14 (2-3 p.m. East Coast Time)
Systems View of Nutrient Management – Nutrient Recovery from Human Urine
Free registration link: (https://www.epa.gov/water-research/water-research-webinar-series).
Webinar Description. Urine is the primary source of phosphorus and nitrogen in municipal wastewater. Accordingly, it is important to consider for nutrient management. This webinar will cover new science on recovering nutrients from human urine. This includes issues of source separation in buildings, use at the farm, review of health issues, and factors influencing the environmental sustainability of nutrient management strategies. The webinar is an output of preliminary scientific research and demonstrations achieved from the EPA Science to Achieve Results (STAR) Centers for Water Research on National Priorities Related to a Systems View of Nutrient Management.
Colleen Naughton, University of South Florida, National Center for Reinventing Aging Infrastructure for Nutrient Management. Dr. Naughton is a postdoctoral research associate in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of South Florida where she also serves as the administrative assistant for the National Center for Reinventing Aging Infrastructure for Nutrient Management. Her research is focused around the food-water-energy nexus and coupling natural and human systems, integrating environmental sustainability and ethnographic analyses with local and global issues of sustainable development.
Treavor Boyer, Arizona State University, National Center for Reinventing Aging Infrastructure for Nutrient Management. Dr. Boyer is an associate professor on the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment at Arizona State University. Before joining ASU, he was an Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental Engineering Sciences at the University of Florida. His research is broadly focused on water sustainability, and spans drinking water and wastewater treatment, and natural aquatic systems.
Qiong Zhang, University of South Florida, National Center for Reinventing Aging Infrastructure for Nutrient Management. Dr. Zhang is an associate professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of South Florida. Prior to joining USF, she worked as the operations manager for the Sustainable Futures Institute at Michigan Tech. She has sponsored research projects in the areas of green engineering and sustainability, life cycle assessment, waste-based resource recovery, system modeling of environmental technology adoption and critical infrastructures resiliency, and carbon footprint accounting of water and wastewater technologies and strategies.
Krista Wigginton, University of Michigan, WE&RF’s National Research Center for Resource Recovery and Nutrient Management. Dr. Wigginton is an assistant professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Michigan. Prior to joining the faculty at UM, she was an assistant professor at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her research focuses on applications of environmental biotechnology in drinking water and wastewater treatment. In particular, her research group develops new methods to detect and analyze the fate of emerging pollutants in the environment.
Abraham Noe-Hays, Rich Earth Institute, WE&RF’s National Research Center for Resource Recovery and Nutrient Management. Mr. Noe-Hays is a founder of the Rich Earth Institute and has been working with dry sanitation systems since 1990. He holds a BA in Human Ecology with concentrations in agroecology and compost science from the College of the Atlantic, where his interest in recycling human manure led to an internship at Woods End Research Laboratory and his thesis project, “An Experiment in Thermophilic Composting.”
On November 4, the University of South Florida hosted the 2016 Kappe Lecturer. The Kappe Lecture Series was inaugurated by the Academy of Environmental Engineers & Scientists in 1989 to share the knowledge of today’s practitioners with tomorrow’s environmental engineers and scientists. This year’s Kappe Lecturer was Dr. Sudhir Murthy who is the Innovations Chief at DC Water.
Dr. Murthy’s talk was on “Maximizing Process Intensification and Resource Recovery- from Theory to Practice.” The stand-room audience consisted of students, faculty, and practitioners. Dr. Murthy provided many examples in this talk about new approaches for process intensification that use or augment existing infrastructure in new ways. His presentation described the continuing research journey for developing an intensification and resource recovery program within existing infrastructure at DC Water, with little room to expand while meeting new stringent nutrient permits and managing combined sewer flows. One point of his talk was that understanding and addressing process limitations is key to bring about intensification.
A pdf copy of Dr. Murthy’s November 4 presentation is located here: http://www.aaees.org/downloadcenter/presentations/2016Kappe-SudhirMurthy.pdf
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