Category: Water Technology Innovation

After years of contamination at Pittsburgh airport, nearby drinking water still hasn’t been tested 7/15/2022

After years of contamination at Pittsburgh airport, nearby drinking water still hasn’t been tested

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Chris Higgins contributed to this article about how the airport has known about the potential contamination on its property for years but hasn’t tested for it or taken steps to protect nearby residents. There are no laws requiring it to take action. Scientists say the airport’s $1.4 billion construction project could make the contamination problem worse.  July 15, 2022.

More than 8 million Illinoisans get drinking water from a utility where forever chemicals have been detected, Tribune investigation finds 7/12/2022

More than 8 million Illinoisans get drinking water from a utility where forever chemicals have been detected, Tribune investigation finds

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Chris Higgins contributed to this article about how something as simple as drinking tap water is exposing millions of Illinoisans to toxic chemicals that build up in human blood, cause cancer and other diseases and take years to leave the body.  Scientists call the chemicals per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances or PFAS. They are commonly known as forever chemicals because they don’t break down in the environment.  July 12, 2022.

Mines launches new research center with Peruvian partner university 5/24/2022

Mines launches new research center with Peruvian partner university

The Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Paul Santi, Director of the Mines Institute for Initiatives in Latin America, is pleased to announce a new partnership with the Universidad Nacional de Trujillo (UNT), located in Trujillo on the Pacific coast of northwest Peru.  This new collaboration agreement on May 9 to establish the Center for Research in Sustainable Resources (Centro para Investigación en Recursos Sostenibles) and to begin the first phase of collaborative research projects involving research teams and students based in the U.S. and in Peru.  May 24, 2022.

The West, reliant on hydro, may miss it during heat waves 5/20/2022

The West, reliant on hydro, may miss it during heat waves

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Adrienne Marshall contributes to this article about how when California suffers a heat wave, it leans heavily on hydropower from the Pacific Northwest to keep the lights on.  The report highlights a paradox of running the region’s electric grid in a warming world: As energy demand rises with temperatures, there may be less hydro available to supply power, increasing the need for fossil fuels. May 20, 2022.

Hydropower is 53% of the renewable energy supply in the West. Drought is slowing down production 5/17/2022

Hydropower is 53% of the renewable energy supply in the West. Drought is slowing down production

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Adrienne Marshall contributes to this article about how Tri-State Generation, the largest hydropower customer on the Colorado River system, says it has enough other sources of energy to make up for less hydro production.  Sagging hydropower production on the Colorado River system, which has raised concern over the long-term reliability of the power source in the West, has not had a significant impact here. May 17, 2022.

Mines researchers aim to bring more science into decision-making through AGU Local Science Partners 5/16/2022

Mines researchers aim to bring more science into decision-making through AGU Local Science Partners

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Kamini Singha and Joel Singley were selected as members of the inaugural cohort of a new American Geophysics Union program to empower scientists to build sustainable partnerships with policymakers.  Through the program, the science ambassadors receive resources and training on the legislative process, science policy and communication skills, as well as regular legislative and policy updates and opportunities to participate in Congressional visit days in Washington D.C.  May 16, 2022.  

Mike McGuirk wins NSF CAREER Award to explore chalcogen bonding for next-gen materials 2/25/2022

Mike McGuirk wins NSF CAREER Award to explore chalcogen bonding for next-gen materials

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Mike McGuirk has received a National Science Foundation CAREER Award for research that could contribute to the discovery of new materials for solar energy production, low density conductors and more.  McGuirk will receive $756,000 over five years for the project, which will focus on chalcogen bonding, a recently discovered interaction between molecules that scientists believe could lead to the realization of a new class of crystalline framework materials: Chalcogen-Bonded Organic Frameworks.  February 25, 2022.  

Water for energy: Characterizing co-evolving energy and water systems under twin climate and energy system nonstationarities 1/3/2022

Water for energy: Characterizing co-evolving energy and water systems under twin climate and energy system nonstationarities

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Adrienne Marshall and Emily Grubert write about how as water-for-energy quantification efforts progress, research should emphasize decision support for energy system design, incorporating crucial hydrologic dynamics.  Beyond the location of water use, relative scarcity, and potential competing uses, these include sub-daily to interannual temporal dynamics, the impacts of climate change on these dimensions, potential feedbacks between energy and water systems, and the impacts of hydrologic variability or change on policy-based incentive structures. This article reviews prior US-focused efforts to quantify water use for energy, highlights why these nonstationarities are analytically relevant with a brief policy case study, and highlights research needs for decision support under twin nonstationarities. January 3, 2022.  

EPA’s forever chemical plan could have limited impact on Colorado Springs-area contaminated aquifer 10/20/2021

EPA’s forever chemical plan could have limited impact on Colorado Springs-area contaminated aquifer

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Chris Higgins contributed to this article about a sweeping federal plan announced Monday to monitor and limit toxic forever chemicals in drinking water and the environment, and to remediate pollution would likely have limited impact on El Paso County water providers with known contamination that have already taken mitigation measures. But, it could reveal other contamination problems locally and nationally. October 20, 2021.