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Archive for water quality

Former OSU student helps Portland brewery win pollution prevention award

Posted by: | October 25, 2018 Comments Off on Former OSU student helps Portland brewery win pollution prevention award |

10-25-18

By Rick Cooper

Portland’s Widmer Brothers Brewing has won a national award for pollution prevention, thanks in part to an intern who was an engineering student at Oregon State University at the time.

Alan Haynes, a summer 2017 intern with Oregon Sea Grant’s Oregon Applied Sustainability Experience program, helped the craft brewery win the 2018 Most Valuable Pollution Prevention Project award from the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable.

Haynes graduated from OSU’s School of Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering in 2018.

“The work kicked off by the pollution prevention internship led to significant, measurable impacts on the brewery and as a result, cleaner wastewater is being discharged,” said Julia Person, Widmer Brothers Brewing’s sustainability manager.

She said that Haynes and the brewery team explored ways to reduce biological oxygen demand (BOD) and total suspended solids (TSS), regulated wastewater pollutants. BOD and TSS in breweries result from excess yeast, grain or hops that find their way to the drain. The goal was to find methods that saved on extra-strength sewer charges resulting from the BOD and TSS in the brewery’s wastewater discharge.

“Everyone across the brewery was engaged to help identify areas of waste and improvement opportunities,” Person said. “Alan identified the appropriate technology to implement the solutions and ran the numbers on the return on investment for each.”

Alan Haynes

Former OSU student Alan Haynes helped Widmer Brothers Brewing reduce suspended solid waste by 60 percent and save more than $150,000 per year. (Photo by Miranda Grace Crowell, Factor Kites Photography)

“My main focus,” Haynes said, “was to ensure that there was a strong financial argument for implementation, which included researching available technologies and building tools to help model the impact on wastewater charges if they were installed.”

The project resulted in changes in equipment and processes that helped reduce Widmer’s annual biological oxygen demand by 11 percent (10,000 pounds) and total suspended solid waste by 60 percent (6,000 pounds), Person said. The improvements will save the brewery more than $150,000 a year, she said.

The addition of a pump to divert high-TSS liquids from spent grain was the main contributor to the savings. Other innovations resulting from the project include testing at key process points such as tank cleaning, yeast harvesting and kegging, and preventing overflow of a waste yeast capture system. This waste yeast is now hauled to regional dairy farms and used in feed.

Haynes, who is seeking employment in the Portland metro area, said that because he had little background in wastewater processes, it was a challenge to get up to speed on brewery terminology and chemistry while working to identify promising areas to focus on. But the challenge was tempered by Widmer’s “extremely welcoming and friendly” work environment and helpful brewers and engineers, he said. “They made a point of ensuring I was treated as a valuable member of the team and not just another intern.”

The internship program that Haynes took part in is a partnership with Oregon Sea Grant and Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). Funded by the Environmental Protection Agency and launched in 2017, it provides paid 10-week summer internships. Undergraduate and graduate students in Oregon are matched with businesses in the state to help them reduce toxic chemicals, energy, water use and waste.

The first cohort interned at five companies. If those businesses were to implement the interns’ recommendations, they could annually save nearly $900,000, reduce water use by 60 million gallons, and decrease solid or hazardous materials by 8.5 tons, according to DEQ’s website.

Information on how to apply to be an intern next summer will be announced in early 2019.

under: awards, ecology, economics, engineering, environment, internships, news, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, people, Sea Grant Scholars, summer activities, sustainability, technology, water quality, water quality & conservation
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Oregon Sea Grant funds two OSU students, PSU alumna

Posted by: | September 12, 2018 Comments Off on Oregon Sea Grant funds two OSU students, PSU alumna |
OSU grad student Emily Mazur will be working with NOAA.

OSU grad student Emily Mazur will be working with NOAA on conveying important info to scientists. (Photo by George Mazur)

September 13, 2018

By Rick Cooper

Oregon Sea Grant has awarded $54,000 to two graduate students at Oregon State University and a Portland State University alumna to assist them with their research and environmental management work.

OSU graduate students Emily Mazur and Erin Peck are recipients of the 2018-19 Robert E. Malouf Marine Studies Scholarships, and PSU graduate Bryn Hudson has been awarded a 2018-19 Natural Resource Policy Fellowship.

Mazur completed a bachelor’s degree in marine science and biology at the University of Miami, where she also minored in marine policy. She is working toward a master’s degree in marine resource management at OSU. She will be working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to better understand how agencies can convey important weather, ocean and climate information to Oregon scientists.

OSU doctoral candidate is studying environmental and human factors affecting Oregon's salt marshes.

OSU doctoral candidate Erin Peck is studying environmental and human factors affecting Oregon’s salt marshes. (Photo by Kristina Montville)

Peck earned her bachelor’s degree in environmental science from Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and her master’s from OSU’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, where she is working toward a doctorate in ocean ecology and biochemistry. Her research aims to identify the main factors affecting sediment accumulation and carbon burial in Oregon’s salt marshes and to determine the marshes’ resilience to sea-level rise and human-caused land-use changes.

Hudson holds a bachelor’s degree in aquatic biology with a minor in educational studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a master’s degree in environmental science and management from Portland State University. She will work with the Governor’s Natural Resource Office, helping to implement and advance the governor’s natural resource and environmental agenda. In addition, she will assist state departments in managing issues and advancing their budget requests and legislative proposals. The position also involves providing critical support on coastal issues such as water quality, ocean acidification and hypoxia, sea-level rise, marine renewable energy, planning for rocky shores, invasive species and marine fisheries.

PSU grad Bryn Hudson will work with the Governor's Natural Resource Office on a variety of tasks and issues.

PSU grad Bryn Hudson will work with the Governor’s Natural Resource Office on a variety of tasks and issues.

The Malouf Scholarship is awarded to graduate students who combine societally relevant research with education or public engagement. The students may be enrolled at any college or university in Oregon while working toward a degree in any field compatible with Oregon Sea Grant’s strategic plan. The yearlong scholarship is named for Robert E. Malouf, who was the director of Oregon Sea Grant from 1991 until his retirement in 2008. The 2018-19 award is $10,800. The scholarship begins October 1, 2018, and ends September 30, 2019.

The Natural Resource Policy Fellowship, also a year in length, is intended to give a graduate student first-hand, full-time experience in natural resource policy at the state level. In so doing, the student contributes to policies that benefit natural-resource managers, coastal community members, and user groups such as fishermen. The fellowship pays $32,400 for the year, which also begins October 1, 2018, and ends September 30, 2019.

The fellowship and scholarships are all funded and administered by Oregon Sea Grant.

under: awards, climate, climate adaptation, ecology, environment, fellowships, fisheries, fishermen, higher education, marine animals, marine education, marine policy, marine reserves, marine science, marine spatial planning, news, NOAA, ocean acidification, ocean law and policy, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, scholarships, science education, Sea Grant Scholars, sea level rise, seafood, social science, sustainability, water quality
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New videos encourage boaters to help keep waterways clean

Posted by: | July 5, 2017 Comments Off on New videos encourage boaters to help keep waterways clean |

Two new videos from Oregon Sea Grant encourage boaters to help keep our waterways clean by emptying their portable toilets and holding tanks at designated facilities at marinas and short-term tie-up docks.

The videos, “Where to Empty Onboard Portable Toilets in Oregon” and “Where to Empty Onboard Holding Tanks in Oregon,” feature Jenny East, boater outreach coordinator with Oregon Sea Grant and the Oregon State University Extension Service. They are part of her ongoing efforts to educate recreational boaters about the availability of facilities at marinas for disposing of onboard sewage.

Jenny East empties an onboard portable toilet.

The new videos join a dozen others on the subject, available on a YouTube playlist here.

Photos of East and some of the facilities she demonstrates in the videos are available for download from our “Boater Outreach” album on Flickr.

The videos were filmed and edited by Oregon Sea Grant videographer Vanessa Cholewczynski in collaboration with the Oregon State Marine Board.

under: Columbia River, ecology, environment, fisheries, fishermen, marine debris, news, Oregon Sea Grant, public communication, recreational boating, videos, water quality
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New publication is designed to help teachers conduct meaningful, field-based lessons

Posted by: | May 4, 2017 Comments Off on New publication is designed to help teachers conduct meaningful, field-based lessons |
A new publication from Oregon Sea Grant, “StreamWebs Field and Classroom Watershed Investigation Curriculum,” is designed to help formal and nonformal educators use StreamWebs as a platform to conduct meaningful, field-based, student-driven investigations that continue in the classroom. The desired outcomes are to provide science inquiry-based opportunities for students to work collaboratively in the

field in ways similar to scientists; to understand that science doesn’t only happen in a lab or classroom; to design their own investigative question and research plan; to collect data; to learn how to look for patterns and changes in their data; to make logical conclusions based upon their data; to answer or refine their investigative question and/or research plan; and to understand what the data indicate for their stream over time.

The curriculum is designed for 6th through 9th grade but may be adapted for older or younger grade levels.
 You may download a free PDF of the 42-page publication here.
 Photo: Renee O’Neill teaches students how to collect aquatic insects along the South Santiam River near Sweet Home. (Photo by Vanessa Cholewczynski)
under: ecology, environment, k-12 teachers, kids, marine education, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, publications, water quality, water quality & conservation, watersheds
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New Sea Grant videos demonstrate how to use StreamWebs kits

Posted by: | September 30, 2016 Comments Off on New Sea Grant videos demonstrate how to use StreamWebs kits |

Two new videos from Oregon Sea Grant demonstrate how to collect and identify aquatic insects and test water quality using kits available from StreamWebs.girl-with-dipnet

One of the videos, How to use StreamWebs’ macroinvertebrate kit, shows educators how to teach students to collect and identify aquatic insects using the macroinvertebrate kit and data sheets. The other, How to use StreamWebs’ LaMotte water quality kit, shows how to teach students to test water quality using a kit with equipment made by LaMotte.

The kits are among several that educators can borrow from StreamWebs, a program administered by Oregon Sea Grant. StreamWebs provides educators with field equipment, data sheets, lesson plans and training so they can teach students how to collect data about the health of waterways. It also provides an online database where students can enter and analyze the information they gathered.

Both videos were produced by Oregon Sea Grant’s Renee O’Neill and Vanessa Cholewczynski and shot and edited by Cholewczynski. Special thanks to Angela Clegg with the South Santiam Watershed Council; students from Foster Elementary School in Sweet Home, Oregon; Grayson Johnston; and Zethan Brandenburger.

under: citizen science, ecology, environment, kids, Oregon Sea Grant, science education, videos, water quality, water quality & conservation
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Pet care product survey deadline nears

Posted by: | February 24, 2015 Comments Off on Pet care product survey deadline nears |

Pet owners, veterinarians and other pet-care professionals have until March 16 to take part in a national survey of how people dispose of unused pet care products such as medications, flea collars, shampoos and other grooming products.

Oregon Sea Grant is conducting the study as part of a broader look at how all kinds of personal care products used by people find their way into landfills and wastewater systems, where they can affect the health of local watersheds. With an estimated 68 percent of American households owning at least one pet, it’s important to know how animal-care products figure into the larger picture.

While the survey has had a good response from Oregon and other West Coast states, the survey team, led by Oregon Sea Grant watershed health specialist Sam Chan, would like to see more responses from other states.

“You can count on one hand the number of studies that have been done on what people actively do with the disposal of these products,” Chan said. “PPCPs are used by almost everyone and most wastewater treatment plants are not able to completely deactivate many of the compounds they include.”

under: environment, research, surveys, water quality

Oyster die-offs – a new culprit?

Posted by: | November 18, 2014 Comments Off on Oyster die-offs – a new culprit? |
Oysters at Whiskey Creek hatchery

Oysters at Whiskey Creek hatchery

For years, research into West Coast oyster hatchery die-offs has pointed the finger at Vibrio tubiashii. Now Oregon State University researchers believe a different, but related, bacterium – V. coralliilyticus – may be the real culprit.

The findings were published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, by researchers from OSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Rutgers University. The research was supported by the USDA.

“These bacteria are very similar, they’re close cousins,” said Claudia Häse, an OSU associate professor and expert in microbial pathogenesis. “V. coralliilyticus was believed to primarily infect warm water corals and contributes to coral bleaching around the world. It shares some gene sequences with V. tubiashii, but when we finally were able to compare the entire genomes, it became apparent that most of what we’re dealing with in the Pacific Northwest is V. coralliilyticus.”

Scientists now say that V. coralliilyticus is not only far more widespread than previously believed, but that it can infect a variety of fish, shellfish and oysters, including rainbow trout and larval brine shrimp. And it appears to be the primary offender in bacterial attacks on Pacific Northwest oyster larvae.

Häse’s previous work with Chris Langdon of OSU’s Molluscan Broodstock Lab has been supported in part by Oregon Sea Grant, which has also worked with Northwest shellfish growers to help them rebound from oyster die-offs. By learning to counter the effects of increasingly acidic seawater, which prevents larval oysters from forming the shells they need to survive, many hatcheries have seen production return.

But while hatchery stocks are recovering, the scientists say bacterial infections remain a real problem for oysters – and other organisms – in the wild.

“Although we’ve largely addressed the problems the hatcheries face, these bacteria continue to pose threats to wild oysters,” Häse said. “And corals are still declining in many places, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia is dying at an alarming rate. Better diagnostics might help in all of these situations.”

Learn more

 

under: aquaculture, research, shellfish, water quality

Pet owners, veterinary care professionals sought for national study

Posted by: | September 17, 2014 Comments Off on Pet owners, veterinary care professionals sought for national study |

Pet supplies in shop windowScientists have long been aware of the potential environment impacts from using and disposing of the array of products we use to keep ourselves healthy, clean and smelling nice.

Now a new concern is emerging – improper disposal of pet care products and pills.

Dog shampoos, heartworm medicine, flea and tick sprays, and a plethora of prescription and over-the-counter medicines increasingly are finding their way into landfills and waterways, where they can threaten the health of local watersheds. An estimated 68 percent of American households have at least one pet, illustrating the potential scope of the problem.

How bad is that problem? No one really knows, according to Sam Chan, Oregon Sea Grant’s watershed health expert.

But Chan and his colleagues aim to find out. They are launching a national online survey of both pet owners and veterinary care professionals to determine how aware that educated pet owners are of the issue, what is being communicated, and how they dispose of “pharmaceutical and personal care products” (PPCPs) for both themselves and their pets. Pet owners are encouraged to participate in the survey, which will run through Dec. 15. 2014.

“You can count on one hand the number of studies that have been done on what people actively do with the disposal of these products,” Chan said. “PPCPs are used by almost everyone and most wastewater treatment plants are not able to completely deactivate many of the compounds they include.” …

Learn more

 

under: ecology, environment, Oregon Sea Grant, outreach and engagement, research, social science, water quality

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