Weekly News - Oct. 8, 2018
10/08/2018 - Weekly KRWA E-News
Bureau of Reclamation Selects Kansas Projects to Receive WaterSMART Grants to Improve Water Efficiency
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation last week announced the selection of 54 projects nationally to receive a total of $26.5 million through WaterSMART water and energy efficiency grants. This funding will be leveraged to accomplish approximately $167 million in improvements throughout the West. Of the 54 national projects, 2 are located in Kansas. The first project is the conversion of 4.1 miles of open-lateral canal distribution to buried pipeline on the Kansas Bostwick Irrigation District. The project is expected to conserve 724 acre-feet of water annually, which is currently lost to evaporation, seepage and operational spills. The water conserved will allow for reduced diversions from the Republican River. The USBR grant supplements a larger ongoing project to convert many miles of open-lateral canal to underground pipeline. The second project, located in southwest Kansas, will equip the Farmer's Ditch with a new head gate with a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system and 3 miles of it's earthen canal will be lined with water impervious clay. The project is expected to save 498 acre-feet of water per year, currently lost to seepage and over deliveries. The water conserved as a result of this project will offset the need to pump water from the Ogallala Aquifer.
KDWPT to Repair Clark State Fishing Lake Spillway
The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) is planning a spillway repair project at Clark State Fishing Lake – a popular and scenic fishing spot in southwest Kansas. The lake is nestled in a rugged canyon along Bluff Creek in northwestern Clark County about 9 miles south of Kingsdown. The $1.6 million project is set to begin in December 2018 and is expected to take about six months to complete. The project is necessary to repair parts of the spillway that have deteriorated or been damaged. There is some surface spalling and loose concrete, seepage through the side spillway walls and rebar and wire mesh is exposed. The concrete crib wall is failing – a lower section is missing, and there is bulging and settling. The project also includes maintenance work on the lower tower outlet gates, erosion repair at the outlet structure, cleaning sediment and brush out of the outlet channel, stabilizing banks on the west lake road and at the east abutment and replacing the low water crossing downstream of the spillway. The project will require lowering the lake level by 20-25 feet to relieve the hydraulic pressure of water in the soil pushing against the underside of the spillway floor and the side walls. Biologists don’t anticipate a significant impact to the fishery.
Leavenworth Native Strives to Keep Drinking Water Safe
Former Leavenworth High School State wrestling champion Rick Dickerson is committed to research and planning for a way to safely dispose of medications comes to fruition. His company is addressing the pollution that comes from improperly disposed pharmaceuticals and over-the-counter medications that end up in our drinking water and soils. Stat-Medicament Disposal Corporation won the 2017 FED EX New Green Business of the Year award last year. The company's research and planning have helped bring about the invention of a small bottle that fits inside your medicine cabinet and holds 60 old, or no longer needed pharmaceuticals, over-the-counter medication and vitamins and safely destroys them in the bottle. The bottle can then be sent off for burning to safely generate electricity. The bottles contain a ready-to-use chemical digestion solution and charcoal and when the bottle is shaken the drugs dissolve on contact permitting the active medication to be absorbed and neutralized by the active charcoal ingredients. When the bottles are sent back to the company for disposal they are incinerated at no risk to the environment to generate electricity and qualify for carbon credits on destruction, something not offered by any other program.
EWG Report: America’s Nitrate Habit Is Costly and Dangerous
According to a new report by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), America has a serious problem with nitrate contamination of drinking water – and it is most severe in the small communities that can least afford to fix it. To demonstrate the problem their report highlights Hiawatha, which began building a new water treatment plant that included an ion exchange system. Nitrate levels in Hiawatha had hit 11 ppm a few months before – it was one of several times the town has warned residents not to drink tap water. The plant will cost the town of about 3,300 an estimated $3.5 million. Recent studies from the National Cancer Institute have found that drinking water containing 5 ppm of nitrate – half the legal limit – increases the risk of colon, kidney, ovarian and bladder cancers. “This is a lose-lose situation for small-town Americans,” said Anne Weir Schechinger, EWG’s senior economic analyst. “If rural communities can’t afford to clean up this problem, which they didn’t cause, residents end up paying with their health. But we can both protect people and spare their pocketbooks by keeping nitrate out of drinking water in the first place.”
Water Safety Goes Viral: These Little Viruses Can Detect Contamination
Detecting and eliminating E. coli in drinking water could become quite easy and affordable, thanks to a virus and a very colorful gene from a deep-sea shrimp. Researchers have genetically engineered a T7 coliphage to carry a gene for an enzyme called NLuc luciferase, which is a specially designed enzyme based on the luciferase enzyme from a type of deep sea shrimp (Oplophorus gracilirostris) that secretes a bioluminescent blue liquid as a defense mechanism. The luciferase is what enables that liquid to emit light. Fireflies, by the way, also depend on luciferase to glow. Nugen and colleagues designed their 'T7NLC' bacteriophage so that when it finds an E. coli bacterium and commences infection, this triggers production of the NLuc luciferase, which ultimately produces light. Thus, if the engineered bacteriophage encounters E. coli in a water sample, it will glow. The study provides an intriguing proof of principle, and the team is keen to optimize their approach.
New Research Shows Man-Made Earthquakes Declining in Oklahoma and Kansas
In order to predict the future quakes, researchers looked at past earthquakes in Oklahoma and Kansas, states where there had been an increase in seismic activity due to a rise in injection wells related to hydraulic fracturing, aka fracking. According to the study, "if current injection practices continue, earthquake hazards are expected to decrease slowly," based on more recent regulatory limits being imposed in Oklahoma. “The result of the new study is definitely good news – it shows injection rate reductions are still effective," study lead author Cornelius Langenbruch said in a statement. "In 2015 and 2016 the probabilities were as high as 70 percent.” The new model shows there will be a 32 percent, 24 percent and 19 percent probability of potentially damaging earthquakes of magnitude 5.0 or above in 2018, 2019 and 2020, respectively, showing that Oklahoma’s policies are working.
KRWA Training Calendar
Oct. 9-12: Newton
Cross Connection - Backflow Prevention
Oct. 16: Emporia
Emergency Response Planning & Training
Oct. 16: Independence
Oct. 17: Park City
Emergency Response Planning & Training
Oct. 18: Pratt
Emergency Response Planning & Training
Oct. 18: Tonganoxie
According to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor, light precipitation and below-normal temperatures kept conditions from deteriorating significantly in Kansas, but conditions were not wet enough for any improvement in the lingering drought affected areas during the drought week. Six month precipitation deficits remain greater than 12 inches near Kansas City. Conditions have also deteriorated slightly in northwest Kansas over the last two months, but the cool weather delayed the depiction of abnormally dry conditions for now. Rain will be needed soon in northwestern counties. The most notable change was drawn in Chautauqua, Cowley Labette and Montgomery counties, where abnormally dry conditions were depicted with drought conditions expanding northward from northeast Oklahoma, where a one- to two-category degradation was depicted over the past week and 30-day deficits of 1.5 to 3.0 inches had been noted. Fortunately, widespread additional precipitation was received in drought affected areas over the weekend and is expected to continue through at least early this week. The NOAA/WPC 7-day Quantitative Precipitation Forecast appears to favor very high chances for significant precipitation over a wide swath of the state.
Current U.S. Drought Monitor maps for:
Arkansas River Basin, High Plains Region, North-Central Region, and Southern Plains Region