ISTC @ iSEE Water Congress Sept. 14-16, 2015

iSEE Water Planet, Water Crisis? graphicISTC will participate next week in the U of I’s Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE) second annual international conference titled  “Water Planet, Water Crises? Meeting the World’s Water-Food-Energy Needs Sustainably”.  The iSEE Water Congress is set for Sept. 14-16, 2015, in the Alice Campbell Alumni Center on the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus. Registration is free for the event.


ISTC will have three posters in the Water Congress poster sessions showcasing various projects they are involved with on water quality and conservation:


“Fluorescence Spectroscopy for Characterizing  Hydraulic Fracturing Fluids”

Authors: John W. Scott, ISTC; Thomas Holm, Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS); Peter Berger, Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS); Lois Yoksoulian, ISGS


Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) are techniques that have been developed to recover oil and gas from shales in locations such as Pennsylvania, North Dakota, and Texas. These so-called unconventional sources of fossil fuels are becoming increasingly important in meeting U.S. energy demands. Although development of these new technologies has increased the domestic production of gas and oil, there have been many concerns relating to contamination of surface water, groundwater and drinking water supplies. Fluorescence excitation-emission spectroscopy is a rapid, sensitive, and inexpensive technique that could be utilized as a screening tool for water contamination by hydraulic fracturing operations. Fluorescence can be used to answer questions such as “Has there been contamination caused by fracking?” Chemical additives used in fracturing fluids and chemical contaminates in produced waters, such as benzene and polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) can be measured at very low levels by fluorescence. Therefore, fluorescence could be used as a surrogate to determine if contamination of surface water, groundwater, and drinking water has occurred as a consequence of hydraulic fracturing operations in nearby locations. Methods developed in this project could aid in water quality monitoring and help guide decisions regarding further testing of water samples suspected of contamination.


Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products: Extending Knowledge and Mitigation Strategies

Authors: Wei Zeng, Nancy Holm, and Laurel Dodgen, ISTC; Laura Kammin, Illinois Indiana Sea Grant College Program (IISGCP); Michael Plewa, Professor, Department of Crop Sciences


two women researchers collect water sample from the wastewater treatment plant effluent

The frequent and widespread occurrence of pharmaceutical and personal care products (PPCPs) in the aquatic environment is a critical environmental issue. Two important sources of PPCP contaminants are municipal/industrial sewage treatment plants (STPs) and concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). The research goals of this two-year project are to (1) more accurately quantify the occurrence of PPCP contaminants in STP effluent and CAFO wastewater; (2) monitor the occurrence of PPCPs in receiving watersheds and surrounding fields; (3) assay antibiotic-resistant bacteria in effluents and surrounding aquatic environments; (4) determine the degradation and transport processes of effluent-associated PPCP contaminants in water-soil systems; (5) develop effective approaches for on-site capture of hormone contaminants from CAFO wastewater; and (6) propose control strategies to minimize loading into the environment to help mitigate antibiotic resistance. The project also has additional outreach and education components to increase public knowledge about PPCPs, specifically their sources and potential impacts on human, animal, and environmental health.


“One Billion Gallon Water Challenge — Promoting Water Conservation”

Authors: Nancy Holm and Beth Meschewski, ISTC


The One Billion Gallon Water Challenge was launched by the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center in April 2014 to encourage businesses, industries, and other organizations to adopt new processes and new technologies as well as to encourage behavior changes to preserve and protect the state’s water resources. The goal is to save 1 billion gallons of water in Illinois. In addition to conducting its own research and work on water conservation by ISTC’s technical assistance group, ISTC utilized its research grant program to fund six projects aimed at minimizing the use and waste of water and promoting sustainable practices. These projects will be described and results of those completed will be detailed.