News Briefs: How Much Marijuana is in Wastewater?

In this week's news, a Washington wastewater study looks at drug use, states go to battle against the EPA and a water reuse project gets the thumbs-up
News Briefs: How Much Marijuana is in Wastewater?

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In Washington state, researchers hope to glean a little information about pot use by studying wastewater in two separate cities. The pilot study, which is receiving some federal funding, could illustrate how use has changed since voters passed a bill legalizing the drug in 2012.

“We’re trying to get a sense of the type of user,” says Dan Burgard, an associate chemistry professor who will be conducting the study. “If there’s more use on the weekends, maybe that’s more recreational. But if Sunday to Thursday use goes up as much, that might be a public health concern, with habitual users using a lot more.”

Scientists often study public health via wastewater samples in a process called “sewage epidemiology,” which provides an accurate assessment of usage rates. Burgard previously looked at Ritalin and Adderal use on a college campus by analyzing wastewater samples.

The two testing sites in Washington will not be released until the study is complete. Burgard is working with Caleb Banta-Green from the University of Washington’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute.

Source: AP

States Sue EPA Over Clean Water Rule

A growing number of states are suing the Environment Protection Agency, claiming the agency’s revisions to the Clean Water Rule are an overreach of federal power. The agency released its final ruling on the Clean Water Act, also called the Water of the U.S. Rule, on May 27. The states and other organizations argue the new ruling gives the agency unprecedented authority over drainage ditches and nearly anything that contains water.

“This rule is a staggering overreach by the federal government and violates the very law it claims to enforce,” says West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisy in the Washington Examiner.

The EPA says the rule was intended to simplify permitting processes and claims the revisions do not protect any new waters.

Thirteen states — Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming — filed in the U.S. District Court in Bismarck. West Virginia led a separate lawsuit including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, South Carolina, Utah and Wisconsin. And Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi filed a joint lawsuit in a Houston federal court.

Source: Washington Examiner, Alaska Dispatch News

Texas City Approves Water Reuse Pilot Program

Although Texas has received some much-needed relief from a crippling drought, water supply remains a source of concern for many municipalities. In San Angelo, the city council recently approved a $1.2 million water reuse pilot project that could provide a long-term water solution for the area.

After a year-long reclaimed water study, the council approved plans for a direct potable reuse system. After the pilot phase is completed, Phase 1 would cost $136.7 million and add 9 mgd. Phase 2 would cost $16.6 million and provide 3 mgd.

“We are thinking about our kids and grandkids and their future, this is the future,” says Councilman Rodney Fleming in San Angelo Live. “Reuse of water is made for cities, and the United States will be doing this in the coming years. It’s water that’s already here, it’s water we use and will reuse again.”

Source: San Angelo Live!



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