Extracting Perfluorinated Compounds from Drinking Water – Why is it so Challenging?

For the past few years, news reporters have used words like “developing” and “emerging” and “crisis” to describe perfluorinated compounds. When you see adjectives like this, you can’t help but think “how did we not know about these PFC things before now?”

The truth is, these compounds have been produced for decades – some, for over half a century – and their chemical and physical properties are well-known. The strength of the carbon-fluorine bond in these compounds makes them heat-, water- and stain-resistant. Continue reading Extracting Perfluorinated Compounds from Drinking Water – Why is it so Challenging?

Paraquat and Diquat Use in Pesticides

If you read one of my earlier posts on pesticide contamination in drinking water,  you may have started to make a mental list of all the compounds you’ve heard or talked about in reference to their use in pesticides. If so, two of those compounds were likely paraquat and diquat.

These compounds are complex dipyridyls but with chemical names like 1,1′-dimethyl-4,4′- bipyridilium dichloride salt and 1,1′-ethylene-2,2′-bipyridilium dibromide salt, I assume you’re like me and refer to them as paraquat and diquat, respectively. Dipyridyls are effective herbicides which is why they are so commonly used to eradicate unruly weeds. Unfortunately, many herbicide products are non-selective and will kill a variety of plants, flowers and grasses along with those pesky weeds.

Continue reading Paraquat and Diquat Use in Pesticides

Changes to EPA Method 625 – How do They Affect You?

With the prevalence of contaminants in wastewater today, it is important to have a method for properly extracting and quantifying those compounds, to allow our wastewater treatment plants to remove them during the treatment process, when and where they need to.

The U.S. EPA has written a number of methods for determining contaminants in wastewater – compounds from organophosphorus pesticides (Method 614.1) to organochlorine pesticides (Method 608.3) to chlorinated hydrocarbons (Method 612) have EPA-published methods for guidance. The method I want to focus on here is that for determining bases, neutrals and acids (Method 625.1) and I’m highlighting it because there’s been a change in how this method can be executed, which could have a significant impact on your laboratory. Curious about what I’m alluding to? Read on!

Continue reading Changes to EPA Method 625 – How do They Affect You?

Tuesday Trivia Answer – August 28, 2018

Just to recap last week’s Tuesday Trivia post: Due to rising levels of ______ (fill in the blank) ________, some species of fish are slowly losing their ability to smell.

Answer: Carbon dioxide (CO2)

As the levels of carbon dioxide rise in a body of water, carbon dioxide converts to carbonic acid which increases the acidity of the water. It turns out, acidic conditions reduce the sensitivity of the olfactory sensors in a fish (i.e. the nerves responsible for being able to smell).

As we’ve demonstrated with posts and trivia questions in the past, protecting, testing and treating our fresh water sources is important to the health of everyone. Read through this helpful infographic for a quick review of the potential contaminants that could find their way into our water sources.

Join us next week to Expand Your Horizon!

Tuesday Trivia – July 31, 2018 Answer

For those who saw last week’s Tuesday Trivia post, read on for the answer you’ve been waiting for.

For those who are unfamiliar with these posts, every other Tuesday, a trivia question will get posted to allow us to test our wits and expand our horizons.

As a reminder, the question that was posed last week:

Imagine shrinking the Earth’s water supply down to 100 liters. The volume of fresh, usable water would be roughly ____(fill in the blank)____ liters.

Answer:  0.003 liters!

This may seem like a surprising answer, given that water is everywhere on the Earth – glaciers, lakes, rivers, streams, oceans and aquifers.  There’s even moisture in the atmosphere!  However, you must first take into account that most of the water on Earth (roughly 97%) is contained within our oceans which makes it salt water, not fresh water.  A significant portion of the remaining fresh water is tied up in glaciers, too polluted for safe consumption, or is buried too deep under the Earth’s crust.  Obviously, we could make attempts to clean up our polluted waters or pull fresh water out of the Earth, but those quickly become cost-prohibitive options for the planet’s growing population.

Clearly, fresh water is a precious resource for us. Click here to learn more about methods for monitoring and protecting our water sources.

Stay tuned for a new trivia question next week. In the meantime, wrack your brain for your best trivia questions and send them to me in the comments section. We’re eager to expand our horizons!

 

Tuesday Trivia – July 31, 2018

It’s Tuesday again – ready to Expand Your Horizon?  For those who are joining us for the first time, every Tuesday is Trivia Tuesday where we test our wits on various topics.  We welcome all reasonable – as well as creative – guesses!

The Tuesday Trivia question for this week:

Imagine shrinking the Earth’s water supply down to 100 liters.  The volume of fresh, usable water would be roughly  _____(fill in the blank)_____ liters.

Keep an eye out for the answer next Tuesday …

 

Tuesday Trivia – July 17, 2018 Answer

For those who saw last week’s Tuesday Trivia post, read on for the answer  you’ve been waiting for.

For those who are unfamiliar with these posts, every other Tuesday, a trivia question will be posted to allow us to test our wits and expand our horizons.

As a reminder, the question that was posed last week:  Cucumbers and _____(fill in the blank)_____ both consist of 95% water.

Answer:  JELLYFISH!

Believe it or not, jellyfish are basically a nervous system and a digestive system with tentacles. As they lack bones, blood, a heart, a brain and many other muscles and organs, they require water to survive and water currents to transport them.

For a jellyfish, water is a crucial component for their survival. While humans don’t require water for our daily movements and transport, it is crucial for our survival as well.  Click here to learn more.

Stay tuned for a new trivia question next week.  In the meantime, wrack your brain for your best trivia questions and send them to me in the comments section.  We’re eager to expand our horizons!