Around the Water Cooler

Independent Oceans Commission Calls for Reform of U.S. Ocean Laws
The independent Pew Oceans Commission has released a comprehensive, 144-page report, entitled America's Living Oceans: Charting a Course for Sea Change, that calls for immediate reform of U.S. ocean laws and policies to restore ocean wildlife, protect ocean ecosystems and preserve the ecological, economic and social benefits the oceans provide.

Overfishing at sea, over-development along the coasts and increasing pollution from cities and fields are leading to a decline of ocean wildlife and the collapse of ocean ecosystems, according to the report by scientists, fishermen, conservationists, business leaders and elected officials. The report, which was made available June 4, 2003, is the result of a three-year, nationwide study of oceans, the first of its kind in more than 30 years.

"For centuries we have viewed the oceans as beyond our ability to harm and their bounty beyond our ability to deplete. The evidence is clear that this is no longer true," said Leon Panetta, chair of the independent, bipartisan commission. "The good news is that it is not too late to act. This report offers practical solutions for bringing ocean management into the 21st century to ensure that future generations will be able to enjoy clean beaches, healthful seafood, abundant ocean wildlife and thriving coastal communities."

Over half the nation lives along the coast. Many millions more come to its shores each year to swim, sail and surf. Fishing is America?s oldest profession, and one of its favorite pastimes. In its study of the coastal and ocean waters, the commission traveled from Maine to Hawaii, the Gulf of Alaska to the Gulf of Mexico and into the heartland to speak to Americans about new approaches for the responsible management of the oceans. The 18-member commission arrived at its recommendations after careful deliberation and without dissent.

The commission calls for a bold, new conservation ethic that embraces the oceans as a public trust, recognizes our dependence on healthy marine ecosystems and practices precaution as we manage ocean resources.

For more information, or to download the report, please visit

ZENON Wins 2003 Stockholm Industry Water Award
ZENON Environmental Inc. of Ontario, Canada, will receive the esteemed Stockholm Industry Water Award for its commitment to creating technologies that help to solve global water problems.

The award, given by the Stockholm Water Foundation in co-operation with the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences and World Business Council for Sustainable Development, recognizes ZENON's unique membrane concept, which allows for a low-energy vacuum pressure, similar to human body membranes.

The award will be presented on August 13, 2003, during the annual World Water Week in Stockholm, which recognizes corporate development of water and wastewater process technologies as well as contributions to environmental improvement through improved performance in production processes

ZENON's ZeeWeed® membrane removes pathogenic microorganisms not eliminated by conventional water treatment and is regarded as a valuable contribution toward safeguarding potable water supplies. The ZeeWeed membranes resemble strands of spaghetti sweeping in the treatment tank. When bundled together, these floating fibers use a low-vacuum pressure, which effectively pulls purified water through the membrane and within the hollow fibers out of the tank. This technology has successfully been applied to both municipal and industrial applications.

"I anticipate that the ZeeWeed membrane technology will not only have a major impact on future technologies globally, but it will also open new avenues in handling water scarcity problems and implementing sustainable water strategies focusing on re-use, re-cycle and closing material cycles," affirmed Mr. Björn Rosén, chairman of the Nominating Committee.

The Stockholm Industry Water Award was established in 2000 by the Stockholm Water Foundation in co-operation with the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. A seven-member international Award Committee with representatives of the Founders of the Award as well as Global Water Partnership, International Water Association and research and development appoint the laureate company.

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Neptune and VSI Help Cincinnati Automate Water Meter Data
Neptune Technology Group Inc. of Tallassee, Ala.,has announced that a contract is in place to provide the Greater Cincinnati Water Works (GCWW) with technology to automate data collection from the 235,000 water meters in Cincinnati's service area with Neptune's ARB Water Revenue System. VSI Group Inc. was selected as the General Contractor to install the Neptune meters and R900 automatic meter reading (AMR) units for GCWW.

GCWW will call the Automatic Meter Reading project "H2O Radio" as a way of building awareness within the community and the waterworks industry. The main benefits for the community are accuracy of the reading, convenience to the residents and the fact that the program is self-financing and will not impact water rates. Installations are scheduled to begin in June 2003 and will continue over a four-year deployment.

This project includes Neptune meters equipped with ProReadTM absolute encoder registers and R900 radio frequency (RF) meter interface units (MIUs). Both the ProRead register and the R900 RF MIU provide a solid foundation for improved efficiency and guaranteed meter reading system accuracy.

"GCWW has been reading water meters for more than 144 years. For many, many of those years we have been using Neptune meters. So, we are very excited that H2O Radio and Neptune's technology is moving us toward a new wave of customer service and efficiency. We believe we have a strong team with GCWW, VSI and Neptune and we are looking forward to the implementation of H2O Radio," stated Connie Roesch, GCWW superintendent of commercial services division.

Neptune Technology Group Inc.,, offers a full line of metering products and meter reading systems to water utilities throughout North America. VSI Group Inc. is one of the largest meter outsourcing companies in the United States, annually reading over ten million meters and having installed three million meters.

Georgia High School Student Wins U.S. Stockholm Junior Water Prize
Heather Mispagel of Athens, Ga., has been named the U.S. winner of the Stockholm Junior Water Prize (SJWP). Mispagel, a senior at Oconee County High School, Watkinsville, Ga., was selected for her project, "Antibiotic Resistance from Sewage Oxidation Ponds." She was awarded $2,500 and an all-expense paid trip to Stockholm, Sweden where she will represent the United States in the international competition.

Mispagel traced antibiotics and genes coding for their resistance through treatment stages in sewage oxidation ponds. Her project was selected from a pool of 37 state SJWP winners who were selected by Water Environment Federation (WEF) Member Associations. The competition took place in Dallas and was hosted by the Water Environment Association of Texas. Mispagel was named the U.S. winner at a ceremony held June 7, 2003.

Mispagel documented five mobile home park sewage oxidation ponds in Clarke and Oconee counties discharging high numbers of antibiotic-resistant bacteria into the waterways of north Georgia. A survey revealed that many residents did not complete antibiotic treatments and disposed of leftover medications into the sewage system. In the pond discharges, resistance was found to more than eighteen antibiotics. To further the study, Mispagel developed a bioreactor model to study oxidation pond function. Tetracycline-resistant genes were detected. These genes are usually found in human intestinal bacteria and spread rapidly into the environment.

"Mispagel's study was well conceived and very well executed," explains WEF nomination chair Dr. Charles Sorber. "Her focus on removal of antibiotic-resistant organisms from oxidation ponds has worldwide application." Mispagel's work has resulted in the implementation of a public education program to educate residents of the mobile home community to properly dispose of antibiotics to prevent future contamination.

Mispagel will compete in August against winners of 29 national competitions for the international honors. This year six new countries will enter the competition, which has grown each year since being founded. New entrants for 2003 include China, Vietnam, Kenya, Cameroon, Russia and India. Many of these countries, most notably China and Kenya, are currently facing significant clean water shortage and access issues.

The winner of the international competition will be chosen based on the quality and relevance of the student's project. HRH Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden will bestow the prize on August 12, 2003, during a ceremony held in conjunction with the Stockholm Water Symposium. The laureate will receive a $5,000 scholarship and a crystal sculpture.

'Climate Leaders' Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
In a ceremony held June 11, 2003, in Washington, D.C., that highlighted the progress of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Climate Leaders program, former EPA Administrator Christie Whitman recognized fourteen companies for commitment to developing long-term comprehensive climate change strategies and recognized valuable progress in voluntary industry-government partnerships.

The Climate Leaders program was initiated as a key component of the Bush Administration's climate change policy, which was launched in spring 2002. Participants in the Climate Leaders program challenge businesses to develop a comprehensive greenhouse gas emissions inventory for their activities and to set aggressive, long-term emissions reduction goals.

According to EPA, compared to the expected rate of improvement in their industry sector, partners in Climate Leaders will prevent a total of 125 billion pounds of carbon dioxide emissions -- equivalent to the emissions from about three million automobiles in a year -- through commitments announced to date.

"The corporate pledges by our climate leaders partners will provide big dividends for our environment and the economy," said Whitman. "This voluntary industry-government partnership requires serious thought and discipline to stay on schedule to make these reductions. In under two years, this partnership program has expanded to include 41 businesses that have pledged to lower their greenhouse gas emissions."

The following three current Climate Leaders were recognized for setting new reduction goals:

  • Pfizer Inc., New York, pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 35 percent per dollar of revenue from 2000 to 2007.
  • St. Lawrence Cement, Montreal, Ontario, pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent per ton of cementitious (having characteristics of cement) product from 2000 to 2010.
  • Johnson & Johnson, New Brunswick, N.J., pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by a total of 14 percent from 2001 to 2010.

The following eleven companies were recognized as new Climate Leaders partners: Baltimore Air Coil, Chicago; Bank of America, Charlotte, N.C.; Exelon Corp., Chicago; Fetzer Vineyards, Hopland, Calif.; La Farge North America, Herndon, Va.; Raytheon, Lexington, Mass.; Staples Inc., Framingham, Mass.; Sun Microsystems, Santa Clara, Calif.; Unilever HPC, Greenwich, Conn.; United States Steel Corp., Pittsburgh; and United Technologies Corp., Hartford, Conn.

To find out more about EPA's Climate Leaders program, you can go to

Founder of RHI Wins Civil Engineering Award
Roald Haestad, founder, president and chairman of Roald Haestad Inc. (RHI), Waterbury, Conn., has been awarded the Benjamin Wright Award. The award was granted by the Connecticut Chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) in recognition for Haestad's outstanding leadership and accomplishments spanning more than 50 years in water resource systems and community development.

Over the past 20 years, RHI has expanded its services to help clients achieve optimum water distribution management through its strategic relationship with Haestad Methods, a leading water resources modeling software company. RHI's use of the modeling software has enhanced the firm's provision of hydrologic and hydraulic engineering analyses and design, water distribution, storm and sanitary sewer analyses, flood plain design and mapping and risk assessment studies to its clients.

An active member of the civil engineering community, Roald Haestad, P.E., is a Fellow and Life Member of ASCE, and former president of the Connecticut Society of Professional Engineers. He has served on the Board of Directors for the Connecticut Society of Civil Engineers and is a diplomat of the American Academy of Environmental Engineers.

The Benjamin Wright award is the highest honor that ASCE can bestow upon a member of the civil engineering community. It is given by the Connecticut Society of Civil Engineers Section to a Connecticut civil engineer who has demonstrated outstanding practice throughout his or her career and made significant contributions to the civil engineering community.

For more information about Haestad Methods, please visit

Nominations for the Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water
The Prince Sultan Research Center for Environment, Water & Desert, of King Saud University in Riyadh, Saudia Arabia, is accepting nominations for the Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water.

The award, which is "intended to reward the efforts of innovative scholars and scientists, as well as applied organizations, in the realm of water resources worldwide," will be given in five branches: surface water, groundwater, alternative (non-traditional) water resources, water resources management and protection of water resources. Each of the five branches will be presented with a monetary award of 500,000 Saudi Riyals (about $133,000), a gold medallion and a certificate signed by the Chairman of the Prize Council.

The Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water is intended to advance research dedicated to solving the problems associated with the provision and preservation of adequate and sustainable water resources, particularly in arid regions.

Nominations cannot be put forward by individuals, but must be submitted by an academic or scientific organization. The deadline for nominations is October 30, 2003. Award recipients will be named between May and June 2004. To find out more about the award or the nomination procedure, please visit

This article originally appeared in the 07/01/2003 issue of Environmental Protection.

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