Wastewater Reclamation Recycles Brain Diseases

Deadly Disease Recycled By Wastewater Treatment Process

Neurodegenerative diseases are the fastest-growing causes of death around the world. The mismanagement of infectious waste is contributing to the prion disease epidemic in mammals, including humans.

Dr. Stanley Prusiner earned a Nobel Prize in 1997 for his pioneering research on deadly prions—an infectious form of protein that connects a deadly spectrum disease called transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE). The operative word is “transmissible.” Prions migrate, mutate, multiply and kill with unparalleled efficiency.

TSEs include Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, mad cow disease and chronic wasting disease in deer, elk, moose and reindeer. TSE is also killing dolphins, whales and many other species of mammals. It’s the environmental equivalent of Pandora’s Box.

President Obama awarded Prusiner the National Medal of Science in 2010 to recognize the importance of his work. Unfortunately, this groundbreaking research is being ignored. This negligence is fueling a public health disaster around the world, as critical prion pathways are being ignored and mismanaged. Even the autism epidemic is related to these reckless policies.

transmissible spongiform encephalopathy

In June 2012, Prusiner confirmed that Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and even ALS are prion diseases similar, if not identical, to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. The primary difference being which part of the brain the disease attacks first. The other variable is that there are now an unknown number of prion mutations.

“There is now real evidence of the potential transmissibility of Alzheimer’s,” says Thomas Wiesniewski M.D. a prion and Alzheimer’s researcher at New York University School of Medicine. “In fact, this ability to transmit an abnormal conformation is probably a universal property of amyloid-forming proteins (prions).”

A new study published in the journal Nature renews concern about the transmissibility of Alzheimer’s disease between people. A second study by the same scientist in early 2016 adds to the stack of evidence.

Alzheimer's disease and wastewater reclamation

People with prion disease, including Alzheimer’s disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease have prions in their bodily fluids, including their urine, feces, blood, saliva and mucus. Claudio Soto, PhD, professor of neurology and director of the George and Cynthia W. Mitchell Center for Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Brain Related Illnesses at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston, and his colleagues confirmed that prions are in the urine of those who have contracted prion disease–even before they exhibit clinical symptoms.

Claudio Soto prion research

The study has been published in the August 7 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. The unstoppable pathogen is flushed down thousands of toilets and drains every day. If prions are unstoppable in the sterile confines of an operating room, how are they stopping prions in the high-volume, low-tech world of wastewater treatment?

Prion researcher Dr. Joel Pedersen, from the University of Wisconsin, found that prions become 680 times more infectious in certain soils. Pedersen also found that sewage treatment does not inactivate prions. Therefore, prions are lethal, mutating, migrating and multiplying everywhere sewage is dumped.

“Our results suggest that if prions enter municipal wastewater treatment systems, most of the agent would bond to sewage sludge, survive anaerobic digestion, and be present in treated biosolids,” Pedersen said.

prion research sewage sludge

“Land application of biosolids containing prions represents a route for their unintentional introduction into the environment. Our results emphasize the importance of keeping prions out of municipal wastewater treatment systems. Prions could end up in sewage treatment plants via slaughterhouses, hospitals, dental offices and mortuaries just to name a few of the pathways. The disposal of sludge represents the greatest risk of spreading prion contamination in the environment. Plus, we know that sewage sludge pathogens, pharmaceutical residue and chemical pollutants are taken up by plants and vegetables.”

Mutations of these deadly prions also are the common denominator between human forms of the disease, mad cow disease in livestock and chronic wasting disease in wildlife. Several other species of mammals, including sea mammals, also are victims of the unstoppable epidemic. Much of the carnage is being swept under the rug as the problem escalates.

mad cow disease

Although there are many causes contributing to prion disease, many people and animals are contracting it from environmental exposure (food, water and soil) and then contaminating the environment even more with their own bodily fluids. Victims of prion disease are walking time bombs. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is the most deadly form of prion disease in humans. Without dispute, it is a very contagious disease that kills rapidly. There is no cure for CJD and other forms of prion disease.

Alzheimer’s and CJD are often indistinguishable to neurologists and general practitioners. Misdiagnoses are common. It appears that CJD is caused by a more aggressive mutation of prion than Alzheimer’s, but a deadly prion is a deadly prion. There is no reason to believe that some prions behave differently than others in disease transmission and progression. There should be no difference in disease management.

Unfortunately, as more people contract these brain diseases, the more deadly wastewater streams become. Meanwhile, wastewater reuse is surging around the world in response to growing populations and dwindling water resources. Other by-products from the wastewater stream known as biosolids (sewage sludge) also are being used to fertilize crops, pastures for livestock, golf courses, playgrounds and gardens. Millions of people, including your family, are in harm’s way because wastewater treatment plants can’t stop prions.

Thanks to more and more people dying from TSEs, sewage systems are more contaminated with prions than ever. Wastewater treatment systems are now prion incubators and distributors.

wastewater treatment and disease

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has confirmed that prions are in sewage and that there has been no way to detect them or stop them. As such, the EPA has never issued guidance on prion management within wastewater treatment plants. Unfortunately, the EPA’s risk assessment on sewage sludge and biosolids were prepared before the world of science knew about prions. The agency continues to cling to it’s antiquated sludge rule crafted back in the dark ages. It does, however, consider prions a “contaminant of emerging concern.” Meanwhile, it’s promoting a public health disaster.

“Since it’s unlikely that the sewage treatment process can effectively deactivate prions, adopting measures to prevent the entry of prions into the sewer system is advisable,” said the Toronto Department of Health, November 2004.

Regulators and industry are playing dumb as the body count keeps rising. It’s a deadly circle enabled by an outdated risk assessment. Modern science is being ignored.

biosolids and application fertilizer

The largest prion pathway in the world is wastewater (infectious waste) from homes, hospitals, nursing homes, slaughterhouses, dental offices and other high-risk sources. The problem is that prions are in all bodily fluids and cell tissue of millions of victims who often go undiagnosed. Their mucus, saliva, feces, and urine are flushed down millions of toilets and rinsed down sinks every day. Once inside the wastewater system, prions proceed to migrate, mutate and multiply. Reckless risk assessments enable wastewater treatment plants to spread these deadly agents far and wide. Deadly prions are building up and incubating in sewage treatment plants and then dumped openly on land as biosolids. They are swept into the air by the wind. Now, water contaminated by prions is migrating into our rivers, lakes and oceans. It’s being injected into groundwater and it’s being recycled as tap water.

I used to support wastewater reclamation and reuse projects until I realized that the risk assessments were prepared decades ago—before Dr. Prusiner characterized prions and prion disease. These microscopic protein particles have converted sewage and its by-products a public health disaster.

municipal wastewater treatment and disease

Read The Full Story About The Risks Associated With Wastewater Reclamation and Biosolids

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Crossbow Communications specializes in issue management and public affairs. Sewage mismanagement is one of our top issues. Please contact Gary Chandler to join our coalition for reform gary@crossbow1.com.

Water Conflict Rising Between Farmers, Cities In California

Agriculture Consumes 80 Percent Of Water In California 

Editor’s Note: California is America’s most populous state with about 39 million people. It just overtook Brazil as the seventh-largest economy in the world. It’s the fifth-largest supplier of food in the entire world. The drought in California is a global problem for many reasons.

As the worst drought in recorded history ravages California, and its cities face mandatory cuts in water use, thirsty crops like oranges, tomatoes and almonds continue to stream out of the state and onto the nation’s grocery shelves.

But the way that California farmers have pulled off that feat is a case study in the unwise use of natural resources, many experts say. Farmers are drilling water wells at a feverish pace and pumping billions of gallons of water from the ground, depleting a resource that was critically endangered even before the drought began.

California drought and climate change

California has pushed harder than any other state to adapt to climate change, but scientists warn that improving its management of precious groundwater supplies will shape whether it can continue to supply more than half the nation’s fruits and vegetables on a hotter planet.In some places, water tables have dropped 50 feet or more in just a few years. With less underground water to buoy it, the land surface is sinking as much as a foot a year in spots, causing roads to buckle and bridges to crack. Shallow wells have run dry, depriving several poor communities of water.

Scientists say some of the underground water-storing formations so critical to California’s future — typically, saturated layers of sand or clay — are being permanently damaged by the excess pumping, and will never again store as much water as farmers are pulling out.

wastewater treatment and disease

“Climate conditions have exposed our house of cards,” said Jay Famiglietti, a NASA scientist in Pasadena who studies water supplies in California and elsewhere. “The withdrawals far outstrip the replenishment. We can’t keep doing this.”

Cannon Michael, a farmer who grows tomatoes, melons and corn on 10,500 acres in the town of Los Banos, in the Central Valley, has high priority rights to surface water, which he inherited with his family’s land. But rampant groundwater pumping by farmers near him is causing some of the nearby land to sink, disturbing canals that would normally bring water his way.

“Now, water is going to have to flow uphill,” said Mr. Michael, who plans to fallow 2,300 acres this year.

In the midst of this water crisis, Gov. Jerry Brown and his legislative allies pulled off something of a political miracle last year, overcoming decades of resistance from the farm lobby to adopt the state’s first groundwater law with teeth. California, so far ahead of the country on other environmental issues, became the last state in the arid West to move toward serious limits on the use of its groundwater.

wastewater treatment and disease

Last week, Mr. Brown imposed mandatory cuts in urban water use, the first ever. He exempted farmers, who already had to deal with huge reductions in surface water from the state’s irrigation works. Mr. Brown defended the decision on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday, saying, “They’re providing most of the fruits and vegetables of America to a significant part of the world.”

In normal times, agriculture consumes roughly 80 percent of the surface water available for human use in California, and experts say the state’s water crisis will not be solved without a major contribution from farmers.

California drought map
California’s drought conditions have worsened even more since this chart was prepared last year.

California’s greatest resource in dry times is not its surface reservoirs, though, but its groundwater, and scientists say the drought has made the need for better controls obvious. While courts have taken charge in a few areas and imposed pumping limits, groundwater in most of the state has been a resource anyone could grab.

Yet putting strict limits in place is expected to take years. The new law, which took effect Jan. 1, does not call for reaching sustainability until the 2040s. Sustainability is vaguely defined in the statute, but in most basins will presumably mean a long-term balance between water going into the ground and water coming out. Scientists have no real idea if the groundwater supplies can last until the 2040s.

“I wish we could do it faster,” Mark Cowin, director of California’s Department of Water Resources, said in an interview. “I wish we would have started decades ago.”

But Mr. Cowin noted that the state, after neglecting groundwater management for so long, had a lot of catching up to do. Years of bureaucratic reorganization and rule-drafting lie ahead. “This is the biggest game-changer of California water management of my generation,” Mr. Cowin said.

California water reservoirs losing water

In the near term, as the drought wears on and the scramble for water intensifies, farmers are among the victims of the drilling frenzy, as well as among its beneficiaries.

Growers with older, shallower wells are watching them go dry as neighbors drill deeper and suck the water table down. Pumping takes huge amounts of electricity to pull up deep water, and costs are rising. Some farmers are going into substantial debt to drill deeper wells, engaging in an arms race with their neighbors that they cannot afford to lose.

“You see the lack of regulation hurting the agricultural community as much as it hurts anybody else,” said Doug Obegi, a lawyer with the Natural Resources Defense Council in San Francisco.

Against this backdrop, water-thirsty crops like almonds are still being planted in some parts of the Central Valley to supply an insatiable global demand that is yielding high prices.

The land devoted to almond orchards in California has doubled in 20 years, to 860,000 acres. The industry has been working hard to improve its efficiency, but growing a single almond can still require as much as a gallon of California’s precious water.

The expansion of almonds, walnuts and other water-guzzling tree and vine crops has come under sharp criticism from some urban Californians. The groves make agriculture less flexible because the land cannot be idled in a drought without killing the trees.

Not even the strongest advocates of water management foresee a system in which California farmers are told what they can plant. As the new system evolves, though, the growers might well be given strict limits on how much groundwater they can pump, which could effectively rule out permanent crops like nuts and berries in some areas.“We want to be careful in dealing with this drought not to go down the command-and-control route if we can avoid it,” said Daniel Sumner, professor of agricultural and resource economics at the University of California, Davis. “It interrupts the flexibility, the creativity and the resilience that people in agriculture have already been using to deal with severe water cutbacks.”So far, the over-pumping of groundwater has helped farmers manage through three parched growing seasons.

They were forced to idle only about 5 percent of the state’s irrigated land last year, though the figure is likely to be higher in 2015. The farmers have directed water to the highest-value crops, cutting lesser crops like alfalfa.

They have bought and sold surface water among themselves, making the best use of the available supply, experts like Dr. Sumner say. And the farmers’ success at coping with the drought has meant relatively few layoffs of low-income farmworkers.

Still, costs are up and profits are down for many farmers and the thousands of small businesses that depend on them, spreading pain throughout the Central Valley and beyond. “It’s been a tough couple of years, and it’s just getting tougher in rural parts of California,” said Dave Kranz, a spokesman for the California Farm Bureau Federation, a growers’ organization.

Because groundwater has helped keep production up, replacing a large proportion of the surface water farmers have lost, the drought has not led to big price increases at the national level, even for crops that California dominates.

Once the drought ends, a growing population and a climate altered by human-caused global warming will continue to put California’s water system under stress, experts say. A major question is how to manage the groundwater to get Californians through dry years.

Meeting that goal may have as much to do with how surface water is managed as with how much is pumped from the ground.

Several California experts used the metaphor of a bank account to describe the state’s groundwater supply. Deposits need to be made in good times, they said, so that the water can be withdrawn in hard times.

Yet for decades, California farmers have been overdrawing many of the state’s water-holding formations — its aquifers — even in years when surface water for irrigation was plentiful, the equivalent of overdrawing a checking account.

That will need to change, the experts said, with pumping being limited or even prohibited in wet years so that the underground water supply can recharge. Some land may need to be flooded on purpose so the water can seep downward.

The need for groundwater recharge may ultimately limit how much water farmers can have from the surface irrigation system, even in flush years — the same way that deposits in a bank account limit how many fancy dinners one can eat. Yet in a state where irrigation rights have been zealously guarded for generations, such limitations may not go down easily.

“It would be silly to think you are not going to have any fights,” said Denise England, the water expert for Tulare County, toward the southern end of the Central Valley. She cited an aphorism of the West: “Whiskey’s for drinking, and water’s for fighting over.”

Sustainable City News via http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/06/science/beneath-california-crops-groundwater-crisis-grows.html?emc=edit_th_20150406&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=59791470&_r=0

Cities In Brazil Cancel Carnival Due To Severe Drought

Drought Linked To Climate Change, Deforestation

Cities in the southeast of Brazil have called off Carnival this year due to a serious drought that has plagued the region for months and shows no signs of abating.

Brazil is famous for its Carnival, a week-long street festival where people party day and night, bringing Samba music and elaborate colorful costumes to the street, to mark the beginning to Lent. This year’s Good Friday, which marks the beginning of Carnival, lands on Friday, February 13.

Sao Palo drought and water crisis
Is Brazil’s drought and water crisis caused by Amazon deforestation?

At least 15 cities and towns in the southeastern states of Minas Gerais and San Paolo have already called off all or parts of their Carnival festivities because of the region’s water crisis. Both states have been suffering from drought for more than a year, with the water situation worsening. This has been the regions’ worst drought in at least eight years.

In December, authorities warned that the city of San Paolo in San Paolo State – Brazil’s largest and most populous city – had already tapped into its emergency water reserves and had merely two to three months left of guaranteed water supply. Though Carnival is still set to go ahead in San Paolo, many city counselors have called for its cancellation. However, other cities in the state have chosen to air on the side of caution.

“We have canceled the street Carnival to stop tourists coming to the city, so the city is quieter during Carnival. We don’t have good conditions to have a big celebration and one of the reasons is the water crisis,” said Marcelo Daniel, the Secretary of Culture in the town of Araras, San Paolo.

Larger areas such as Oliveira, Minas Gerais also canceled their Carnival celebrations, which usually attracts about 20,000 tourists.

“Never in the history of our city has something like this happened,” said Antônio Penido, chief of staff and president of Oliveira’s Carnival Commission. “With broken hearts, we made the decision.”

Brazil’s worsening drought has been linked to both climate change and deforestation in the Amazon. According to Antonio Nobre, a leading climate scientist at Brazil’s National Space Research Institute (INPE), these two issues combined are drastically reducing the release of billion of liters of water into the atmosphere by rainforest trees, reducing rainfall in the south.

reforestation and climate change solution
Reforestation can help turn the tides of climate change.

Sustainable Cities News via: http://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/312-16/28497-brazils-cities-cancel-carnival-because-of-drought

Cities Recycling Disease With Wastewater Reclamation

Wastewater Reclamation Based On Flawed Risk Assessments

San Diego City Council approved plans to reclaim and reuse wastewater as drinking water. Thanks to flawed risk assessments, it will be another public health disaster. Millions more people will now be exposed to a highly contagious pathogen called a prion. The deadly form of protein causes neurodegenerative disease in mammals, including Alzheimer’s disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. The unstoppable pathogen is flushed down thousands of toilets and drains every day.

A coalition of community leaders, business groups and environmental organizations rammed the fatal plan down citizens’ throats as a way of preserving property values in the face of a deepening drought. Citizens never had a chance to vote on the proposal. Only the city council voted on the project.

Environmental groups were duped to say that the Pure Water project will mean less sewage dumped into the ocean and less reliance on desalination of that same ocean water. Thanks to the slick PR campaign, taxpayers will cough up $3.2 billion for the right to choke down their own sewage and an unstoppable pathogen called prion.

transmissible spongiform encephalopathy

Dr. Stanley Prusiner, an American neuroscientist from the University of California at San Francisco, earned a Nobel Prize in 1997 for discovering and characterizing deadly prions and prion disease, also known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE). He claims that all TSEs are caused by prions. President Obama awarded Prusiner the National Medal of Science in 2010 to recognize the importance of his research. According to Prusiner, TSEs all are on the same disease spectrum, which is more accurately described as prion (PREE-on) disease. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is at the extreme end of the spectrum. Prusiner’s science is being ignored and we are facing a public health disaster because of the negligence.

People with prion disease, including Alzheimer’s disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease have prions in their bodily fluids, including their urine, feces, blood, saliva and mucus. The unstoppable pathogen is flushed down thousands of toilets and drains every day. If prions are unstoppable in the sterile confines of an operating room, how are they stopping prions in the high-volume, low-tech world of wastewater treatment?

Pure Water San Diego, for example, is expected to provide more than a third of the city’s potable water by 2035. The wastewater treatment system starts with micro-filtration to take out the floaters–the big stuff in sewage (feces, tampons, etc.). The water then goes through reverse-osmosis to screen out organic material, salts and other solids. The last step is a combination of ultraviolet light and hydrogen peroxide to kill some of the pathogens found in sewage. Supposedly, a splash of UV light and hydrogen peroxide will kill everything that could kill you. Anything that can’t be killed with UV light or hydrogen peroxide is destined for your home.

Water contamination and disease

As any surgeon in the world can tell you, UV light and hydrogen peroxide can kill several things if properly exposed, but they can’t kill millions of prions from thousands of people who have prion disease. There is not any known treatment in the world that is 100 percent effective against prions in any environment, especially the high-volume, low-tech world of wastewater treatment. Prions are more likely to migrate, mutate and multiply than be neutralized (they aren’t a virus or bacteria, so they can’t be killed). Once exposed to deadly prions, the waterways will be contaminated forever.

In Los Angeles, the Orange County water reclamation program was featured on CBS’ 60 Minutes. Reporter Lesley Stahl bravely drank a sample of treated sewage water during the story. As she explained, San Diego won’t be the first to drink its own sewage. A number of other cities around the world have already sold their souls down the river based on half-truths and misinformation. Orange County, for example, recycles 70 million gallons a day to potable. It’s expanding capacity to 100 million gallons per day. Singapore is one of the most high-profile examples in the world. It reuses 380 million gallons per day.

The Problem With Prions

A recent study confirms that people and animals dying of prion disease are contaminating the environment around them with prions found in their bodily fluids. Claudio Soto, PhD, professor of neurology and director of the George and Cynthia W. Mitchell Center for Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Brain Related Illnesses at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston, and his colleagues recently found prions in urine. The study has been published in the August 7 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Claudio Soto prion research

Soto also confirmed that plants absorb prions and are infectious and deadly to those who consume the infected plants. Therefore, humans, wildlife and livestock are vulnerable to prion disease via plants grown on land treated with sewage sludge and reclaimed sewage water. Studies performed by Ruth Gabizon in 2001 and Reichl in 2002 also found prions in the urine of victims. These studies also detected prions in bodily fluids. Despite that detail, Soto’s findings can help focus global attention on the exploding prion problem.

Prion researcher Dr. Joel Pedersen, from the University of Wisconsin, found that prions become 680 times more infectious in certain soils. Pedersen also found that sewage treatment does not inactivate prions. Therefore, prions are lethal, mutating, migrating and multiplying everywhere sewage is dumped.

“Our results suggest that if prions enter municipal wastewater treatment systems, most of the agent would bond to sewage sludge, survive anaerobic digestion, and be present in treated biosolids,” Pedersen said.

prion research sewage sludge

“Land application of biosolids containing prions represents a route for their unintentional introduction into the environment. Our results emphasize the importance of keeping prions out of municipal wastewater treatment systems. Prions could end up in sewage treatment plants via slaughterhouses, hospitals, dental offices and mortuaries just to name a few of the pathways. The disposal of sludge represents the greatest risk of spreading prion contamination in the environment. Plus, we know that sewage sludge pathogens, pharmaceutical residue and chemical pollutants are taken up by plants and vegetables.”

A new study published in the journal Nature renews concern about the transmissibility of Alzheimer’s disease between people via bodily fluids. A second study by the same scientist in early 2016 adds to the stack of evidence.

“There has been a resurgence of this sort of thinking, because there is now real evidence of the potential transmissibility of Alzheimer’s,” says Thomas Wiesniewski M.D. a prion and Alzheimer’s researcher at New York University School of Medicine. “In fact, this ability to transmit an abnormal conformation is probably a universal property of amyloid-forming proteins (prions).”

Alzheimer's disease and wastewater reclamation

Prions in urine and other bodily fluids underscores the environmental nightmare associated with Alzheimer’s, Creutzfeldt-Jakob (CJD), Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and prion diseases among livestock and wildlife. Although there are many causes for prion disease, many people and animals are contracting it from environmental exposure (food, water and soil) and then contaminating the environment even more with their own bodily fluids.

If a single person with prion disease discharges bodily fluids or feces into a public sewer system, that sewage system is permanently infected and the amount of contamination will multiply and intensify daily. Everything discharged from that sewage system—reclaimed wastewater and biosolids—can spread the contamination even further. Once a prion reaches the soil, that soil is permanently contaminated and the entire watershed below that point is at risk forever. If your food and water is generated in that watershed, you have a higher risk of contracting prion disease.

biosolids and application fertilizer

With the help of weather, prions can migrate through wind and water. Rain and snow can rinse them into surface water, groundwater, streams, ponds, lakes, and oceans. Wildlife, livestock and humans can ingest prions from soil, water and food. Containment is a priority to protect public health.

Because of these factors and others, we have an epidemic of prion disease around the world right now. The epidemic is worse in some regions of the world than others. For example, the death rate for Alzheimer’s disease is higher in Finland than any other country in the world. Iceland and the United States are runners up. In fact, the death rate for Alzheimer’s is higher in North Dakota, South Dakota Washington state than any other known region in the world. These vast discrepancies can only be explained by environmental factors, including food, water and air pathways. Sewage disposal that contaminates local food and water supplies is likely part of the problem.

Alzheimer’s and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease are indistinguishable. They are both on the prion disease spectrum. Medical professionals cannot tell the difference and it’s commonly known in the medical industry that the diagnoses are only a guess and that misdiagnoses are common. It appears that CJD is caused by a more aggressive mutation of prion than Alzheimer’s. When it comes to public health, a deadly prion is a deadly prion.

The urine and sewage connection helps explain why the global epidemic is exploding. More than 50 million people around the world are known to have these neurodegenerative diseases today. Millions more have the disease, but don’t know it, yet. In addition to these people, millions of infected people around the world have used our sewage systems over the past century. Millions more are using them today. It’s impossible to neutralize or stop prions in even the most sterile environments, including hospitals. It’s ludicrous to think that treated sewage water or biosolids are prion-free. Especially since prions from people are much more infectious than those found in other species (prions become more aggressive as they work their way up the food chain).

wastewater treatment and disease

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has confirmed that prions are in sewage and that there has been no way to detect them or stop them. As such, the EPA has never issued guidance on prion management within wastewater treatment plants. Unfortunately, its risk assessments for wastewater reclamation and sewage management were prepared before the world of science knew about deadly prions. It does, however, consider prions a contaminant of “emerging concern.”

The EPA can’t plead ignorance to the dangers of prions in biosolids and reclaimed wastewater. Sewage dumped at sea must be reconsidered. Prions should be classified as a select agent again by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Center for Disease Control. Similar measures should be enacted around the world immediately. Failure to act responsibly is suicide.

Unfortunately, every sewage system in the world has served people with Alzheimer’s disease and CJD. As such, prions have been incubating, multiplying and migrating out of these systems for many years. The problem is intensifying within and beyond these sewage systems every day.

According to the U.S. EPA, “Prions are extremely resistant to inactivation by ultraviolet light, irradiation, boiling, dry heat, formaline, freezing, drying and changes in pH. Methods for inactivating prions in infected tissues or wastes include incineration at very high temperatures and alkaline hydrolysis.” They didn’t mention hydrogen peroxide.

“Since it’s unlikely that the sewage treatment process can effectively deactivate prions, adopting measures to prevent the entry of prions into the sewer system is advisable,” said the Toronto Department of Health, November 2004.

The EPA National Water Research Compendium 2009-2014 lists prions eight times as an emerging contaminant of concern in sewage sludge (biosolids), water and manure.

Read The Rest Of The Story At: http://crossbowcommunications.com/san-diego-should-reconsider-plan-to-drink-recycled-wastewater/

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Crossbow Communications specializes in issue management and public affairs. It’s also promoting sustainable, resilient and livable cities. Please contact Gary Chandler at gary@crossbow1.com to join our network.

Sao Paulo Water Crisis A Symptom Of Deforestation In Amazon

Another Symptom Of Amazon Destruction, Privatization

In Brazil’s biggest city, a record dry season and rising demand for water has led to a punishing drought. It has actually been raining quite heavily over the last few days around Sao Paulo but it has barely made a drop of difference because of climate change.

The main reservoir system that feeds this immense city is dangerously low, and it would take months of heavy rainfall for water levels to return to normal.

Sao Palo drought and water crisis
Is the Sao Palo drought and water crisis caused by Amazon deforestation? This is Sao Paulo’s supply of drinking water.

So how does a country that produces an estimated 12 percent of the world’s fresh water end up with a chronic shortage of this most essential resource – in its biggest and most economically important city?

It’s interesting to note that both the local state government and the federal government have been slow to acknowledge there is a crisis, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. That might have been a politically expedient position to take during the recent election campaign, when the shortage of water in Sao Paulo was a thorny political issue, but the apparent lack of urgency in the city and wider state now is worrying many.

At the main Cantareira reservoir system, which feeds much of this city’s insatiable demand for water, things have almost reached rock bottom. Huge pipes suck out what water remains as the reservoir dips below 10 percent of its usual capacity. The odd local villager wanders around the dry bed of the lake hoping for a temporary windfall as fish flounder in the few pools that remain.

Deforestation and drought in Brazil
Deforestation kills more than trees.

In the town of Itu, not far from the slowly diminishing reservoir, Gilberto Rodriguez and several of his neighbours wait patiently in line. All of them are carrying as many jerry cans, empty plastic drinks bottles or buckets as they can muster. For weeks now they’ve been filling up with water from this emergency well. Twice a day Gilberto heaves the full containers into his car and heads home.

Every other house on the short drive seems to have a homemade poster pinned to the gate or doorframe. The same message, or plea, is written on each one; “Itu pede Socorro” – “Itu needs help.” Gilberto and his wife almost break into a laugh when I suggest to them that, according to Sao Paulo’s state government, the situation is manageable and there’s no need for water rationing.

“There’s been no water in our pipes now for a month,” says Soraya. “It’s not as bad as this in every community but we’ve had water rationing here since February.”

The car-crash scenario of a record dry season coupled with the ever-increasing demand for resources from South America’s biggest city seems almost to have caught the state water authority, Sabesp, by surprise. The authority, in turn, is being widely criticized for failing to plan and is now trying to manage a crisis.

Deforestation kills entire  ecosystems
Deforestation kills entire ecosystems.

Home to some 20 million people, the sprawling city of Sao Paulo continues to grow. But the failure of city services and basic infrastructure to keep pace merely exacerbates the problems, in particular the dwindling supplies of clean water.

Open sewers mean that Sao Paulo’s rivers are completely polluted. They’re now part of the problem rather than, as should be in times of drought, part of the solution.

Maria Cecilia Brito is part of the umbrella organization Alliance for Waters, which is belatedly trying to raise public awareness about the chronic shortages.

“People here were brought up to believe that water was a resource that would never end,” Maria Cedilla explains. “We were taking more water from the sources than those sources were able to replenish through natural means.”

But now one of Brazil’s leading scientists is suggesting that the causes of the drought may be even more worrying for Brazil in the long run. Antonio Nobre is one of country’s most respected Earth scientists and climatologists. He argues there is enough evidence to say that continued deforestation in the Amazon and the almost complete disappearance of the Atlantic forest has drastically altered the climate.

“There is a hot dry air mass sitting down here [in Sao Paulo] like an elephant and nothing can move it,” says the eminent scientist, who divides his time between the southern city of Sao Jose dos Campos and the Amazon city of Manaus.

reforestation and climate change solution
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“That’s what we have learned – that the forests have an innate ability to import moisture and to cool down and to favor rain. If deforestation in the Amazon continues, Sao Paulo will probably dry up. If we don’t act now, we’re lost,” adds Mr Nobre, whose recent report on the plight of the Amazon caused a huge stir in scientific and political circles.

Water shortages have the potential to harm the economy too, and that’s where the politicians in Sao Paulo and Brasilia just might start to act. Sao Paulo is by far Brazil’s richest state – the engine of the country’s economic growth – but if water and electricity, generated by hydroelectric dams, start running out the consequences for the economy could be dire. At a car parts factory in the north of the city I meet businessman Mauricio Colin. His aluminium plant needs about 15,000 litres of water a day to operate at normal capacity. Mauricio is already having to buy in extra water. He is worried about future supplies.

“The authorities know exactly what’s needed,” says Mauricio, above the din of his round-the-clock operation. “They have to invest in basic infrastructure because, without water, there are companies here who won’t be able to produce anything.”

Thus far public protests against the water shortages have been small – but the potential for frustration and disruption is there. Sao Paulo’s Water Authority has now acknowledged that unless water levels recover there may be power cuts and more water rationing. Everyone is praying for more rain, hoping that it’s not too late to reverse the effects of climate change and drought.

Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-29947965

China & UK Swap Sustainability Capabilities

Solving the energy and natural resource demands of a growing global population will take international cooperation at the highest levels. China and the United Kingdom are advancing that agenda now.

BeFunky_green cityA delegation of 10 UK companies was welcomed this week on the opening leg of the 2013 Sustainable Cities Mission to Chongqing and Changsha.

The mission program put together by the UK Trade and Investment team gave the 10 companies a platform to showcase their products and expertise in low carbon, sustainable construction and water sectors to a VIP audience of local government and industry.

The mission was opened by Consul General Simon Lever and the Leader of the Chongqing Urban-Rural Development Commission Zhang Qin, with a reflection on the recent development of Chongqing and its prospects for the future. Presentations on the Yuelai Eco Town and Jiangbeizui Central Business District of the Liangjiang State Level Development Zone warmed the UK participants to the extent of opportunities available in fast-growing Chongqing; after which the UK missioners, from recently established small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to Fortune-500 global giants, introduced their companies, their products and their expertise to the Urban-Rural Development Commission, Chongqing Real Estate Association, local design institutes and over 30 local companies in the audience. An afternoon Round Table event provided an opportunity for more detailed discussions and mutual expressions of interest in future business cooperation.

The mission received warm welcome from Ba’nan District government leaders on 19 March, who led the mission to the site of the Yangchun Wet-land Park project site along the Yangtze River. Ba’nan occupies 1825 km2, the largest and one of Chongqing’s most active districts in urban development, and leaders expressed their hope that an experienced company can take on the job of planning and design for the Wetland Park, a place they are sure will be Chongqing’s next top destination. Consul-General Simon Lever and Party Secretary of Ba’nan Li Jianchun agreed that there are many opportunities for UK and Chongqing do business together in the foreseeable future.

On their Beibei District visit the same day, the delegation met with the Deputy Governor and local key players in low-carbon development. They exchanged views on helping Beibei develop into a modern, liveable and green city.

Following the mission, Head of Trade and Investment Simon Mellon said:

Chongqing is a city with an impressive history and a bright future, still experiencing double digit GDP growth and projected to grow by over 400% by 2025. This growth, and the demographic changes taking place across China, provides a wealth of opportunity for British companies to be a part of the next stage of Chongqing’s ongoing development.

In the coming month, the British Consulate-General Chongqing will lead well-known British companies in architecture to participate in the 6th City Expo in Chongqing. A zero-carbon pavilion will be built for the Expo by British architects ALL Design. In June, members of the Royal Institute of British Architecture (RIBA) will visit Chongqing. All those events will bring more creativity and impetus to Chongqing’s sustainable future.