A Nonpartisan Issue

Sept. 19, 2012

About the author: Elizabeth Lisican is managing editor of Water & Wastes Digest. Lisican can be reached at [email protected] or 847.391.1012.

Election season is upon us, and I’m surrounded by rabble rousers ... That is in reference to my friends, not the candidates. My Facebook news feed is packed to the brim with bold statements and I quickly start to feel so inundated with opinions and facts skewed in favor of particular party affiliations that I usually tire of the whole thing pretty quickly.

As decision-makers in the water/wastewater industry, I imagine you, readers, often feel the same way—hopefully not because of your friends, but because of service providers claiming their way is always the best way. That is why, as we offer you a plethora of content in this issue of iWWD, we ask that you not feel overwhelmed by the variety of technologies that we present. While this issue of iWWD will throw all sorts of options and scenarios at you, we ask you to consider the greatness of our present time and the remarkable new technologies being cultivated all around us.

For instance, researchers at Oregon State University recently announced a “breakthrough” in the performance of microbial fuel cells that can produce electricity directly from wastewater. They claimed that they can now produce 10 to 50 times more electricity per volume than most other approaches using microbial fuel cells. This is a significant step toward producing cheap renewable electricity and bringing down the cost of processing wastewater. 

The researchers also noted that a food processing plant would be ideal for pilot testing this new technology because it is a contained system that produces a steady supply of certain wastewater types to provide significant amounts of electricity, giving this industry segment something to think about when it comes to advanced treatment. It certainly will be exciting to watch this technology’s development.

With all this talk of breakthroughs, this issue is decidedly dedicated to the treatment technologies of tomorrow. We explore advanced technologies for oil and gas, coal power generation, and mining industries in “Industrial Revolution” (page 6). Anaerobic technology is highlighted in “Going Anaerobic” (page 8). We also examine how membrane technology is proving useful in the solar energy industry in “Improving the Solar System” (page 18). 

Going back to the 2012 presidential election, we are eager to learn the results, as they will undoubtedly affect the future of hot-button issues like hydraulic fracturing and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s water quality regulations, although it’s not yet clear how. The good news is that both candidates have stressed their support of sustainable development.

While we will never tell you what to buy or whom to vote for, we at iWWD invite you to consider your options and explore some of the new technologies highlighted in this issue.

And we do encourage you to go vote on Nov. 6!

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About the Author

Elizabeth Lisican

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