Thursday, June 23, 2016

EBMUD's aging water pipes

Drinking-water safety isn't only about what's in it (see my last story on chloramines), but also what it has to travel through to reach your home. And old and failing pipes mean not only leaks and wasted water but also potential health hazards. In my latest story for Estuary News, I address the East Bay Municipal Utility District's efforts to better maintain and manage its aging infrastructure and compare with those of a much younger water system in the Santa Clara Valley. Read the full story here.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Q&A: Lead, chloramines and drinking water safety

Drinking water safety is a hot topic these days, and I've written a few stories on the subject for different outlets over the past couple months. The first to be published, a Q&A with UC Berkeley water expert David Sedlak on Flint, Stockton, and the role of chloramines in both protecting and potentially endangering public health, was published in Berkeley Engineer last week. Find it here.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Emerging Waste-to-Energy Technologies: Solid Waste Solution or Dead End?

I've written about waste-to-energy technologies a number of times, for a few different outlets, but never with as much detail as in my latest feature for Environmental Health Perspectives. It always proves to be a popular subject, and this story helps explain why: not only do recycling, landfilling, and incineration/conversion have implications for energy and resources, climate change, environment and human health, product and packaging design, and land use, but they also represent deeply ingrained, and sometimes sharply conflicting views of what, exactly, waste is. Japan has a different idea than Sweden, and the United States has its own, too. Zoom in even closer and you find various camps with their own ideas, their own priorities, their own opinions of the good and bad symbolized by various approaches. After all, technology isn't neutral, and as Marshall McLuhan declared in 1967, the medium is the message. My story investigates the new technologies at the heart of the waste-to-energy debate and lays out the broader issues and arguments they invite as waste management in the United States evolves in the 21st century. Read more here.