What’s in your water? Researchers identify new toxic byproducts of disinfecting drinking water

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When phenols, compounds that are commonly found in drinking water, mix with chlorine, hundreds of unknown, potentially toxic byproducts are formed.

Mixing drinking water with chlorine, the United States’ most common method of disinfecting drinking water, creates previously unidentified toxic byproducts, says Carsten Prasse from Johns Hopkins University and his collaborators from the University of California, Berkeley and Switzerland.

The researchers’ findings were published this past week in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

“There’s no doubt that chlorine is beneficial; chlorination has saved millions of lives worldwide from diseases such as typhoid and cholera since its arrival in the early 20th century,” says Prasse, an assistant professor of Environmental Health and Engineering at The Johns Hopkins University and the paper’s lead author.

“But that process of killing potentially fatal bacteria and viruses comes with unintended consequences. The discovery of these previously unknown, highly toxic byproducts, raises the question how much chlorination is really necessary.”

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Antibiotics found in world’s rivers at levels up to 300 times above safe levels

 

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A new study has found that in over 100 of 700 river samples taken, antibiotic concentrations were at levels exceeding safe concentrations, with the Danube found to be the most contaminated river in Europe

In a massive global study, led by researchers at the University of York, hundreds of rivers around the world have been tested for levels of common antibiotics. The study found 65 percent of all samples contained some concentration of antibiotics, with the worst cases showing levels more than 300 times higher than the generally accepted safe threshold.

The study is the first to coordinate such a broad global survey of the world’s rivers, examining levels of 14 common antibiotics from 711 sites across 72 countries. John Wilkinson, one of the researchers coordinating this large project, suggests that alongside many regions never before monitored, this is the largest antibiotic survey ever conducted.

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The world’s largest floating solar plant is finally online

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This massive power plant is taking energy to a whole new level.

The world’s largest floating solar power plant is now online in China. Built by Sungrow, a supplier of PV inverter systems, the 40MW plant is now afloat in water four to 10 meters deep, and successfully linked to Huainan, China’s grid. The placement was chosen in large part because the area was previously the location of coal mining operations; and, as a result, the water there is now mineralized and mostly useless. The lake itself was only formed after years of mining operations, the surrounding land collapsed and created a cavity that was filled with rainwater.

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