Water Supplies & Services


Robotic eel seeks out water pollution

USATODAY

Envirobot - a robotic eel that can swim through contaminated water to find the source of pollution - is being developed at EPFL in Switzerland. A link has been posted to your Facebook feed. Envirobot - a robotic eel that can swim through contaminated water to find the source of pollution - is being developed at EPFL in Switzerland.


The Robot That Checks for Leaky Pipes - DZone AI

#artificialintelligence

MIT researchers are working on a similar approach, albeit their aim is to reduce leaks that result in roughly 20% of global water supplies being lost during transportation. The device is inserted into the water system, and then is carried along with the flow of water, measuring and logging as it goes. The team hopes to make the next step and commercialize their product, with strong initial interest from Saudi Arabia, where 33% of their water supply is currently lost through leakage. It managed to find a relatively small leak, albeit one of around one gallon per minute, that conventional detection techniques often miss.


Lake Erie's Bottom-Dwelling Robot Fights Toxic Algae Blooms

WIRED

Ecologists and hydrologists can test water's drinkability by boating through the blooms--though collecting samples off the side of a power boat is tricky and inconvenient. Those electronics and the machine's batteries--400 D cell batteries power the unit--understandably need some protection to sit at the bottom of the lake. It pulls lake water in, concentrating algae cells onto a filter. And once the cells are cracked open to reveal all the toxins, the ESPniagara dots samples into a four-by-five grid for quantification.


New Jersey-Size 'Dead Zone' Is Largest Ever in Gulf of Mexico

National Geographic News

This year's large size is mainly due to heavy stream flows in May, Rabalais continued, which were about 34 percent above the long-term average and carried higher-than-average amounts of nutrients through Midwest waterways and into the Gulf. In its action plan for the Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone, the Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Task Force recently extended the deadline until 2035 for achieving the goal of a 1,950-square-mile dead zone, which would be roughly the size of Delaware. Shrinking the annual Gulf of Mexico dead zone down to that size, however, will require a much higher 59 percent reduction in the amount of nitrogen runoff that flows down the Mississippi River, according to a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "The bottom line is that we will never reach the action plan's goal of 1,950 square miles until more serious actions are taken to reduce the loss of Midwest fertilizers into the Mississippi River system," says University of Michigan aquatic ecologist Don Scavia, lead author of the paper.


Robot set to scour Lake Erie for signs of toxic algae

Daily Mail

Satellites in space and a robot under Lake Erie's surface are part of a network of scientific tools trying to keep algae toxins out of drinking water supplies in the Great Lakes. That too can be expensive so researchers have developed an underwater lab that sits at the bottom of Lake Erie and both collects water and tests the levels of toxins before sending the results back remotely. That too can be expensive so researchers have developed an underwater lab that sits at the bottom of Lake Erie and both collects water and tests the levels of toxins before sending the results back remotely. Researchers are creating an early warning system using real-time data from satellites that in recent years have tracked algae bloom hotpots.


U.S. researchers use satellites, underwater robotic lab to create lake algae bloom warning system

The Japan Times

Researchers are creating an early warning system using real-time data from satellites that in recent years have tracked algae bloom hotpots such as Florida's Lake Okeechobee and the East Coast's Chesapeake Bay. The EPA in recent years has been testing using the satellite data to watch for algae in lakes in California, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. The goal is to use the satellite data to watch for algae on 1,800 lakes across the nation and provide four different types of water quality measurements on close to 170,000 lakes. "We call it the'lab in a can,'" said Tim Davis, a Great Lakes researcher with the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration.


Modular robotic eel hunts for sources of water pollution

Engadget

The researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and other institutions have created a modular robotic eel that can swim through contaminated water to pinpoint sources of pollution. Each module is equipped with a different type of sensor, including biological ones, like fish cells, live crustaceans and modified bacteria. Some of the modules the researchers made have physical and chemical sensors that can test for water conductivity and temperature. The researchers have only tested the physical and chemical sensors in the field thus far, since the biological ones are harder to deploy.


Finding leaks while they're easy to fix

MIT News

Monterrey itself has a strong incentive to take part in this study, since it loses an estimated 40 percent of its water supply to leaks every year, costing the city about $80 million in lost revenue. That's why that desert nation's King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals has sponsored and collaborated on much of the MIT team's work, including successful field tests there earlier this year that resulted in some further design improvements to the system, Youcef-Toumi says. Currently there is not an effective tool to locate leaks in those plastic pipes, and MIT PipeGuard's robot is the disruptive change we have been looking for." The MIT system was actually first developed to detect gas leaks, and later adapted for water pipes.


Hazardous waste identified and sorted using simple barcodes

New Scientist

Because many processing facilities can't quickly identify the chemicals in this household waste, the items are often simply lumped together and incinerated – which is expensive. Their start-up, Smarter Sorting, has installed a barcode scanning system at four waste disposal sites in the US used by the public – in Austin, Texas; Salt Lake City, Utah; Portland, Oregon; and Mesa County, Colorado. "The machine goes'beep' and at that point the screen simply tells the worker, 'this is where you should place this item'," says Chris Ripley, who co-founded Smarter Sorting together with Charlie Vallely. Also testing the technology is Hope Petrie, hazardous materials manager at Mesa County Hazardous Waste Collection Facility, although she isn't yet using it to alter the way large numbers of items are processed.


[Report] Giant viruses with an expanded complement of translation system components

Science

Some giant viruses encode a genome larger than that of some bacteria, but their evolutionary history is a mystery. Examining the genomes within a sample from a wastewater treatment plant in Austria, Schulz et al. assembled a previously undiscovered giant virus genome, which they used to mine genetic databases for related viruses. The authors thus identified a group of giant viruses with more genes encoding components of the protein translation machinery, including aminoacyl transfer RNA synthetases, than in other giant viruses. Phylogenetic analyses suggest that the genes were acquired in an evolutionarily recent time frame, likely from, and as an adaptation to, their hosts.