Sunday, 24 July 2016

The Water Table And Environmental Concerns

The water table (also referred to as groundwater table) is a water-filled area between the surface of the ground and where the earth (soil, sand, rocks, etc) are saturated with water.

The water table makes up around 30% of the drinkable and arable water supply that is consumable and used for irrigation through wells. Even in droughts where other natural water sources such as dams and rivers dry up, this underground supply is accessible. Natural vegetation such as trees and other plants use this table as their main source of water.

Groundwater is normally replenished naturally through annual rainfall or precipitation. However, man-made structures may divert rainfall from topping up consumed or used water. This results in the depletion of the water table which in turn has a variety of negative consequences for the environment.

The depletion affects the growth of natural vegetation in an area which in turn influences the fauna or naturally occurring insects and wildlife. Long term impact studies show that continuous depletion of the water table will result in desertification.

Diverting the underground water from it's natural route also changes the natural flow which can result in changes in the topography of an environment. Surface ground can become unstable or corrode as a result.

Agricultural pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals used in farming may also pollute the groundwater. This contributes to the extinction of both fauna and flora in a specific area or larger area depending on the flow of the groundwater.

Groundwater often flows into rivers, lakes or even the seas and oceans. This is where pollutants and ground contaminants have their greatest impact, destroying the aquatic life and their food sources.

Maintaining the water table is one of the most important environmental factors that needs to be taken into account in protecting one of the earth's most valuable resources - water.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

The Types of Chemicals Commonly Used in Farming

It has become more common to see advertising, social media campaigns and books promoting organic eating. One of the reasons why this has become such a popular topic is because consumers have become aware of not only what is in their food, but also what chemicals have been applied to their food during the growing process. As a result, people are looking for alternatives to commercially grown crops sprayed with pesticides.

Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to avoid all chemicals that are used in farming. These chemicals are used so frequently, they are now found in the water and the air. However, reducing your exposure can also help to reduce health issues.

California is one of the few states that have started the process of collecting data about the use of pesticides and other chemicals in farming within the state. Some of the data has shown that over 1 billion pounds of chemicals have been used in farming just in the state of California between the early 1990s until 2000.
Even without a national database, most people are aware of some of the most widely used chemicals in farming.


Over 70 million pounds of this chemical is used in the United States every year. This is a weed killer, and is frequently used on corn crops in the Midwestern states. A recent study by the EPA revealed that Atrazine was found in all of the river sites that were examined in the Midwest.

Atrazine is an endocrine disruptor, and it has been linked to cancer, birth defects and infertility.


This is a chemical that is better known by its brand name, Roundup. It is used on corn, soy, cotton and canola crops. It is also used by home gardeners and even by local jurisdictions in their parks and greenways.

Studies have found that Glyphosate is in the ground water of the Mississippi Basin, and this level has exceeded the level that is deemed permissible in drinking water and the air. This chemical has also been linked to birth defects, cancer and neurological disorders.

Metam Sodium

This is a pesticide that is typically applied to potato crops in concentrations that are as high as 300 pounds per acre. The chemical can cause several side effects including:

Birth defects
Hormone disruption
Thyroid damage

These are some of the chemicals that are commonly used in farming. They can cause a range of health issues, and this is the reason why organic fruits and vegetables are in demand.

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

The Management of Waste Water

Waste water is water that has been contaminated to the point that it is no longer able to be used by humans because of its content, which can contain sewage, pollutants, chemicals, industrial components, fertilizers and other harmful ingredients.

We use water for drinking, bathing, washing dishes, watering plants for home and agricultural use and other daily activities. In order for water to become acceptable for human use, the water must be purified to the point where the concentration of the contaminants in the water is reduced to a level that is not harmful at all to humans and animals.

Water is channeled into various catch areas such as sewage treatment plants for sewage, and storm catch basins for storm water. The treatment of the two types of water can be altogether different as they carry different pollutants.

Sewage waters mainly have to be treated to rid the waters of microorganisms such as e-Coli, bacteria that is normally found in feces. Solid materials are created from sludge which is thickened and ultimately used to place into landfills.

The liquid part of the sewage treatment is divided up into primary, secondary and tertiary treatment.
The primary treatment involves the sedimentation of the water where roughly 30 to 50 per cent of the suspended materials in the water is removed, then extracted by a biological treatment called secondary treatment.

The semi-liquid is then fed on a regular basis into an aerated tank where the organics of the material is broken down further to the point where there is a clear effluent. This is then trickled through trickling filters and over a biological media, which washes out further bacteria.

Tertiary treatment is a step further when more is needed, such as getting phosphorous out of the water, and other elements such as nitrogen.

The primary method for the treatment of waste water is to simply store the water in large tanks or ponds, and let the natural process of sedimentation and settling take its course. It is not at all practical to run this water through municipal water treatment plants due to the huge volumes of water that is generated by storms.

Evaporation takes in this particular environment and process, and some of the water can be recaptured here, the the natural filtration and natural biological process are the best methods to reclaim the water that is runoff from storms in general.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

The Uses of a Centrifuge

A centrifuge is a machine that spins around and creates a useful but potent force. Small centrifuges are used in laboratories while large ones can be used in industrial processes. Whether in the laboratory or the processing plant, centrifuges are used to separate things.

The centrifuge works using the sedimentation principle which causes denser substances to separate from less dense ones. Large industrial centrifuges are often used in waste water treatments in the process of creating sludge. Sludge is a part solid type of slurry and can be found in industry and in agriculture. The term is used to describe solids separated from suspension in a liquid.

Industrial centrifuges can be classified into two main types: sedimentation and filtration centrifuges. Sedimentation centrifuges utilize high forces to separate solids from liquids. Sedimentation centrifuges include decanter, solid bowl basket and tubular bowl centrifuges. Filtration centrifuges use centrifugal force to pass a liquid through a filtration medium, such as a screen or cloth while solids are captured by the respective filters.  Filtration centrifuges mainly deal with perforate basket, peeler and pusher centrifuges.

Centrifuges are very useful inventions for a multitude of reasons. Scientists, medical researchers and industrial processes all benefit from the technology which uses centrifuges.