OSU Water in the News

Below is a collection of news stories featuring OSU water faculty and students. To add to this list, please email iww@oregonstate.edu


All Water is Not Created Equally (Massage Magazine 04/26/2013)

In America we’re spending $20,000 every minute of every day on bottled water…and tap water that originally cost maybe 5 cents a gallon can be sold now for $4 a gallon,” said Todd Jarvis, associate professor at Oregon State University. “Twenty-five to 40 percent of what is on store shelves is just tap water that has undergone additional treatment or had minerals added at the bottling plant.

This Nanotech "Lily Pad" Could Obliterate Stormwater Pollution (Oregon Public Broadcasting - Ecotrope 04/25/2013)

A Beaverton start-up has created a floating "lily pad" that uses solar-activated nanotechnology to break down water contaminants. Puralytics will be working with Oregon State University's Institute for Water and Watersheds to test the treatment system in artificial ponds for the next six months. The company received at $53,000 grant from Oregon BEST to help turn the lily pad into a marketable product.

Study explores long-term water quality trends in near-pristine streams (Phys.org 03/20/2013)

“Much of what we know about changes in stream water quality comes from studies where basins have been impacted by human activity,” said Alba Argerich, a postdoctoral research associate with Oregon State University and the study’s lead author. “Our work intentionally focused on relatively undisturbed streams, the very reference sites that serve as benchmarks for evaluating water quality trends.”

Study: High stream temperatures, low flow create potential “double trouble” ((Corvallis Gazette Times) 11/09/2012)

CORVALLIS – A newly published study by researchers at Oregon State University and two federal agencies concludes that high temperatures coupled with lower flows in many Northwest streams is creating increasingly extreme conditions that could negatively affect fish and other organisms.

The study, published in the professional journal Hydrobiologia, was funded and coordinated by the U.S. Geological Survey and the research branch of the U.S. Forest Service. It points to climate change as the primary reason for the extreme conditions.

The study looked at 22 “minimally human-influenced” streams from the period of 1950 to 2010, located in Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Montana and Idaho. The researchers found the hydrology of the streams was complex and differed among streams; while weather extremes affected all of the streams, the impact seems to be mediated by the influence of groundwater.

Well users can have water tested for nitrates (Corvallis Gazette Times 11/02/2012)

The Oregon State University Extension Service is offering free well water nitrate screenings for well owners.

A portion of the southern Willamette Valley has been designated as a Groundwater Management Area by the Department of Environmental Quality due to elevated nitrate levels in well water. It is especially important for households with pregnant women or newborns to test for nitrate because of a rare type of blue-baby syndrome, but all homes with private wells should be aware of their nitrate level.

For a free nitrate screening, bring half a cup of untreated well water in a clean, water-tight container. You may either wait for your results (the test takes five to 10 minutes if the well water clinic is not busy), or leave your contact information for the results to be delivered after the clinic date.

In Corvallis, bring a sample anytime from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, to the OSU Extension Service of Benton County office at 4077 S.W. Research Way in Corvallis for screening. Located at 4077 S.W. Research Way in Corvallis.

For more information, call 541-766-3556 or see the OSU Extension Service website at http://extension.oregonstate.edu/benton.

Oregon farm pollution act goes under the spotlight (OregonLive.com 10/18/2012)

In 1993, Oregon passed its landmark agricultural water quality management act, a law that requires farmers and ranchers protect streams from harmful runoff.

But Zollner Creek illustrates the limits of the law, which has relied largely on sporadic complaints for enforcement and cooperative landowners for improvements, leaving holes that threaten water quality.

Oregon's Department of Agriculture recently assessed Zollner and seven other creeks in agricultural areas to gauge streamside buffers statewide. About a third clearly did not meet state standards, with another fifth at the margin. Nearly 20 years after the act, ODA concluded, there remains a "widespread lack of awareness of the water quality program and what is required."

Care for exempt wells provides opportunities for the water well industry. (Water Well Journal 10/13/2012)

By W. Todd Jarvis, Ph.D., and Adam Stebbins

Old and abandoned wells are everywhere.

It should come as no surprise that more than 12 million oil and gas wells have been drilled in the United States over the past 150 years. What might surprise some is that close to 16 million water wells serve the water users in the country.

While these numbers look good for the well drilling industry as a whole, the problem rests with the legacy of old wells.

Willamette River wins 2012 Thiess International Riverprize (International RiverFoundation 10/12/2012)

International RiverFoundation awarded the Willamette River Initiative of Oregon, USA, the 2012 Thiess International Riverprize for excellence in river management. 

The award was presented at the Riverprize Gala Dinner, in Melbourne Australia, on Tuesday 9 October. The Thiess International Riverprize is worth $300,000 and is the most prestigious environmental prize in the world. 

The Willamette River Initiative is implemented by the Meyer Memorial Trust, an organisation made up of dozens of stakeholders who are jointly involved in the planning, management and regulation of activities that affect the river.

Keeping an eye on the water (Corvallis Gazette-Times 10/07/2012)

Jim Harry hardly needs to visit one area of the Albany-Millersburg Water Treatment Plant. That’s where ZAPS Technologies LiquID Station water monitoring system is set up.

“We don’t have to have anyone there to monitor it. It it’s a stand-alone unit,” said Harry. “It does everything on its own.”

Developed by Gary Klinkhammer, a professor of oceanography at Oregon State University, the equipment has been under development for 10 years. The company formed a little over three years ago and has a joint patent on the equipment with the Environmental Protection Agency.