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  • New Water and Wastewater Analysis Page

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    We are unveiling a new Water and Wastewater Analysis page on our website. This new page neatly gathers products especially useful in water analysis such as MCE membranes, microbiological filter funnels, and petri dishes into one spot.  The products we currently feature are:

    • Microbiological filter funnels
    • Sterile MCE membrane filters
    • Glass fiber filters
    • Petri Dishes

    With the ever increasing value of clean water, this section is certain to grow.  Keep an eye on our site as we add the latest water and wastewater analysis lab equipment.

    This post was posted in Filtration, News, environmental lab, EPA, water and wastewater treatment, Company News, Oceanography

  • Standard Method Guide Updates

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    We recently updated our Standard method and Application guide to include more filter recommendations for environmental analysis applications. These additions include topics such as the EPA method for extracting oil and grease from water and the Field Leach Test method from the United States Geological Survey. New methods are in addition to our existing collection of procedures which includes topics like air sampling, bacteria counting, and silt density index.

    The product recommendations that we provide with the methods are based on the requirements set forth by the procedure, as well as input from customers and suppliers.

    Check out the updated Standard Method & Application Guide

    This post was posted in environmental lab, EPA, Website Features

  • Robots Taking Over Toxicity Assays

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    In order to catch up with the massive backlog of chemical compounds that need toxicity assessments, the NIH, EPA, and FDA are expanding their Tox21 robot screening program to start testing a compound library of 10,000 samples. The Tox21 screening program was first conceived in 2005 and is a joint development between these three agencies. The Tox21 robot, located in Rockville, MD, was introduced earlier this year as the heart of the program and has already studied about 500 chemicals. To give you an idea of what an improvement this is, the EPA has only tested 200 chemicals since 1976. By speeding up chemical toxicity analysis the government will also accelerate the drug development process, as drug toxicity is one of the primary reasons new drugs fail.

    The six-ton Tox21 robot system can test thousands of chemicals simultaneously using its vast network of tiny wells to perform high-throughput, cell-based assays at 15 different concentrations. The robot system is able to identify which chemicals have a potentially harmful reaction and then isolate them for further analysis by researchers. The economies of scale provided by Tox21 allow the program to keep the cost of testing each chemical to only a few hundred dollars.

    The types of chemical compounds being tested by Tox21 are the same ones that go into food additives, medication, and industrial solvents, so the stakes for this project are high. To this end, the Tox21 team has opted for full disclosure of its results. From the Tox21 website you can see the full results of the chemicals that have already been tested, as well as the list of the 10,000 chemicals scheduled for analysis.

    An added benefit of this project is that one of its mandates is to look for new chemical testing strategies that will minimize the number of laboratory animals used.

    Learn more about Tox21 here.
    Read the press release from NIH here.

    This post was posted in EPA, government, Drug Discovery

  • TCLP and the Zero-Headspace Extraction Vessel

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    The Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure as described in EPA Method 1311 is designed to determine the mobility of organic and inorganic analytes present in different forms of waste. This procedure involves extracting and filtering waste samples using specific types of glass fiber filters and extraction vessels. When following this procedure, there are two kinds of vessel that can be used to extract samples for analysis, the bottle extraction vessel and the zero-headspace extraction vessel. Which type of vessel you use depends on the volatility of the analyte being sampled. Nonvolatile analytes can be tested using a bottle extraction vessel, while the zero-headspace extraction vessel must be used when testing for the mobility of volatile analytes. Examples of volatile analytes include: acetone, benzene, methanol, toluene, and vinyl chloride.

    The EPA Method specifies that the filter for both liquid and solid waste (the latter is filtered after solid phase extraction) be a 0.6 to 0.8 micron glass fiber filter. The TCLP grade filters, which are designed precisely to meet the requirements of EPA Method 1311, feature a 0.7 micron pore size and have been acid treated and rinsed with deionized water at multiple stages to handle volatile analytes. When using these filters in conjunction with a zero-headspace extraction vessel, the EPA Method dictates that the TCLP filter should have a diameter between 90 mm and 110 mm (TCLP-2 and TCLP-3 meet this specification).

    For more information on the Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure, consult the complete text of EPA Method 1311 here.

    This post was posted in Filtration, applications, EPA, Glass Fiber Filter, TCLP

  • EPA to Create Standards for Natural Gas Wastewater

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    The Environmental Protection Agency announced last week that they are planning to develop standards for wastewater discharges produced by natural gas extraction from underground coalbed and shale formations (a process commonly referred to as “Fracking”). This method of extraction involves fracturing rock formations by injecting them with a pressurized fluid consisting mostly of water, a little bit of sand, and some chemical additives as well. The debate over the possible environmental consequences of fracking is a hot button issue right now, and since its popularity has grown to the point where it now accounts for about 15% of all natural gas production in the US, it is understandable that the EPA wants to look into setting some uniform regulations.

    Any potential EPA standards in this area can be broken down into two areas: shale gas standards and coalbed methane standards. In shale gas extraction, wastewater is prohibited from being discharged into waterways. Instead, it is either recycled back into use or sent to a treatment plant. Unfortunately, many of these treatment plants are not properly equipped to handle shale gas wastewater so the EPA will look into standards that could be implemented on wastewater before it reaches the treatment plant.

    Creating a coalbed methane standard for wastewater treatment is a little bit trickier, since there aren’t any national standards for it yet. Currently it is up to individual states to regulate where the wastewater is discharged and what pre-treatment standards to follow. The EPA is hoping to address the matter by creating a uniform standard for the whole nation.

    Based on the current EPA schedule, a proposed rule should come in 2013 for coalbed methane and 2014 for shale gas. This is to allow the EPA time to consult with stakeholders and allow for public comment.

    You can read the full announcement from the EPA here.

    This post was posted in waste and wastewater treatment, environmental lab, EPA, water and wastewater treatment, water treatment

  • Rising Salinity Cause for Concern at North Carolina Desalination Plant

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    An increase in salinity levels at the North Reverse Osmosis Water Plant in Kill Devil Hills (yes, that’s the town name) that had been creating stress for some local officials has been explained in a recent study. Researchers from nearby Duke University found that the rising salinity levels at this coastal aquifer are the result of fossil seawater and not seawater intrusion, as had been feared. Since the well’s installation in the late 1980’s salinity has more than doubled from about 1,000 mg/L to about 2,500 mg/L. There was much cause for relief however, when researchers were able to attribute the rise to fossilized seawater and not to seawater leaking in from the coast.

    According to the director of the study, Duke Professor Avner Vengosh, knowing the source of the salinity increase is important because fossil seawater raises salinity, “At a relatively slow and steady rate that is more manageable and sustainable than the rapid increase we’d see if there was modern-day seawater intrusion.” As a result of this study the community will be able to rely on this aquifer for decades to come without having to resort to more expensive seawater desalination techniques which require more energy and advanced filtration methods.

    Current treatment for groundwater desalination includes the use of reverse osmosis (RO) membranes to separate dissolved salts from potable water. Even with the rising salinity level these membranes remove around 96 to 99 percent of the dissolved salts. RO membranes also remove between 16 and 42 percent of the boron and 54 to 75 percent of the arsenic from the groundwater. Additional treatment following reverse osmosis desalination continues to remove arsenic until it is within safe drinking levels (10 parts per billion, according to the EPA).

    Because seawater consistently has more salt than groundwater it requires more energy to treat, and therefore the cost is higher. Per this report on desalination from the Pacific Institute, “Energy is the single largest variable cost for a desalination plant, varying from one-third to more than one-half the cost of produced water.” The report also states, “At these percentages, a 25% increase in energy cost would increase the cost of produced water by 11% (for RO plants).” In looking at these percentages, it’s easy to see why the plant was concerned about seawater intrusion. Thanks to this research, the local citizens can drink easier knowing they have a supply of healthy, affordable water for a long time to come.

    Click here to learn more about this case.

    This post was posted in waste and wastewater treatment, environmental lab, EPA, brakish water, water treatment, reverse osmosis

  • EPA Creates 4 New Clean Air Research Centers

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    Today the Environmental Protection Agency awarded $32 million to 4 universities around the country to study the health impacts of air pollution. These centers will answering questions like, "does air pollution effect a child's learning ability?" "Are obese people more susceptible to health effects of air pollution?" "How does your commute effect your health?"

    We work with a number of environmental labs to provide filtration materials, and one of the most common requests we get from them is for our 0.45 micron, 25mm silver membranes to comply with NIOSH methods for testing airborne contaminants such as silica and bromine.

    Here is a breakdown of what the four new centers are focusing on:

    • University of Washington - Effects of roadway pollution on on cardiovascular health.
    • Michigan State University - The relationships between obesity and air pollution.
    • Emory University / Georgia Institute of Technology - Characterize health risks of air pollution mixtures, research how social factors (living location, commute, etc.) impact health.
    • Harvard University - Investigate health effects of short-term and long-term exposure to pollutants on specific health functions, including cognitive function, birth weight, and mortality.

    See also:
    "EPA Awards $32 Million to Understand Health Impacts of Air Pollution"

    EPA Clean Air Research Centers Home

    This post was posted in Silver Membrane, Air quality, environmental lab, EPA, government, pollution

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