Archive for the ‘water’ Category

On the Air: The Snowman Cometh

Posted by Kate Sackman on

In the past couple of weeks many of us have seen more snow than we’ve seen in a lifetime. Since I grew up in Minnesota however, the five-foot snowbanks and freezing temps feel just like home to me. When the first snow falls, I immediately yearn to make snow angels and go skating. But for many, the snow can be a real nuisance. So is there a bright side for those for whom the first snow signals it’s time to book a trip to Florida? (more…)

Let’s Get Reel: Warmer Lakes and Streams Are Devastating Freshwater Fish

Posted by Kate Sackman on

Remember those wonderful, lazy days fishing at the lake with your grandfather? My Grandpa and I would bait our hooks, reel in a couple of good sized perch, and bring them back for Grandma Evelyn to cook. Those days are under threat now, and not just because of our obsession with Twitter and Angry Birds Star Wars.

We’ve all heard about many changes occurring due to global warming, like melting glaciers and crazy weather. But did you know it is also affecting freshwater fish? Jerome and I talked with National Wildlife Federation spokesperson Frank Szollosi, M.S., to find out why some of our favorite fish species are declining or under threat. (more…)

A Day for Crap

Posted by EcoMyths Alliance on

—by Debra Shore, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District commissioner

Today more people than usual will be talking about crap. It’s November 19: World Toilet Day. (You didn’t think I’d forget, did you?)

In fact, in her engaging and excellent TED talk, British author Rose George urges all of us to speak about the unspeakable, talk about toilets, and consider sewage. George wrote a wonderful history of sanitation called The Big Necessity, and she has made it her mission to talk [crap] (her words, not mine).

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Suburban Water Crisis

Posted by Alex Schwartz on
"Out of Service" was scrawled across this notice to boil tap water in Deerfield, Illinois. Not a good sign... (A. Schwartz)

This “out of service” notice was posted above a restroom sink in Deerfield, Illinois – highlights included. Not a good sign…

It was a fairly normal day in Deerfield, Illinois. The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, and I was on my way out of the Deerfield Public Library. With my water bottle in hand, I decided to make a pit stop in the ladies room. As I was washing my hands, I noticed a sign above the sink that read: “Drinking Water Alert – Boil Order.” It was a notice from the Village of Deerfield. On August 12, 2013, fecal coliform bacteria was found in the water supply. (more…)

Big Wins for Chicagoland Waterways

Posted by EcoMyths Alliance on

—by Debra Shore, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District commissioner

The MWRD is on schedule to disinfect effluent at Calumet and O'Brien Water Reclamation Plants.

The MWRD is on schedule to disinfect effluent at Calumet and O’Brien Water Reclamation Plants. (MWRD)

Great news. Yesterday, the board of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District voted unanimously to award two contracts to construct disinfection facilities at the O’Brien (formerly North Side) Wastewater Treatment Plant and at the Calumet Plant. This means that the water discharged from these two treatment plants will undergo an additional treatment step—disinfection, which will kill bacteria and other pathogens—before being released into the North Shore Channel or the Cal-Sag Channel. The goal is to make these waterways safer for recreational use, such as the increasing numbers of people canoeing, kayaking, and rowing crew on them. Plans for the O’Brien plant in Skokie call for use of ultraviolet (UV) light for the disinfection of more than 200 million gallons per day during the recreational season (March through November). At the Calumet plant, 194 million gallons of wastewater a day will be treated with chlorine and then de-chlorinated before being discharged into the waterway. (more…)

Shedding Light on Great Lakes Sustainability Issues

Posted by Daisy Simmons on

Stingray, touched, beluga whales, admired; and new exhibit, explored. Not bad for a two-hour visit to the one and only Shedd Aquarium.

Yes, on a recent not-so-balmy evening, Kate and I braved the unseasonably nontropical temps for the aquarium’s new exhibit opening: At Home on the Great Lakes, aka, a major update of its historic Local Waters Gallery. And gladly so!

Part of the Waters of the World exhibit, the new Great Lakes section is all about the local love.

Part of the Waters of the World exhibit, the new Great Lakes section is all about the local love.

After a brief adventure in the Stingray Touch tent, we headed to the scenic Oceanarium to gawk at the belugas, er, hear the keynote speaker, former Canadian astronaut Julie Payette, share her views on the Great Lakes—from space. Admittedly, I was a little skeptical that the opening speaker was not a Great Lakes sustainability scientist—particularly when she herself asked, “What does an astronaut have to do with the Great Lakes, other than being born on the banks of the St. Lawrence River?” Exactly, I thought. (more…)

Learning to Save Water – and Love Nature – at the Chicago Botanic Garden

Posted by Mary Beth Sammons on
Rylee is a big fan of the Krasberg Rose Garden fountain at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Rylee and I are big fans of the Krasberg Rose Garden fountain at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Growing up in Northbrook during the 1960s, I often took for granted the simple pleasures that many of us enjoyed during our childhood, such as running through the sprinklers and splashing around in our neighbor’s built-in pool, which was always filled to the brim. My parents were very mindful of the environment, but water conservation just wasn’t on my radar. I didn’t even know it was an environmental issue.

Riding our bikes east on Dundee Road, my friends and I would pass the mountains of mud that were just a vision of the magnificent living museum the Chicago Botanic Garden has become today. We’d glance at it quickly, then pedal our bikes onward to Glencoe Beach where we spent most summer days, swimming and crushing on the lifeguards. Summers were all about water play.

It wasn’t until years later that I realized my children and grandchildren might experience a water crisis. (more…)

On the Air: The Big Reasons Not to Flush Old Medicines

Posted by Kate Sackman on

Over the years, you may have heard that the recommended way to dispose of unused pharmaceuticals is to flush them down the toilet or pour them down the drain—not anymore. The EPA and FDA backed off this recommendation for almost all drugs (exceptions are listed on the FDA website). Medicines are among the thousands of “chemicals of emerging concern” the EPA and much of the scientific community now monitor and study.

Today for our EcoMyths/Worldview segment, Jerome and I discussed the pros and cons of flushing medicines with two experts: Olga Lyandres, PhD, of the Alliance for the Great Lakes, and Commissioner Debra Shore of the MWRD.

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On the Air: Catching and Using Rain Where It Falls

Posted by Kate Sackman on

About a decade ago, I started to notice that rain storms felt more violent, as if mandated by some mythical storm troll who controlled the skies. Weather had changed, yes, but not because of imaginary attackers, in spite of my paranoid delusions.

In fact, extreme precipitation is a predicted consequence of the cumulative effects of climate change; these events are often accompanied by flooding. (more…)