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Usually water and electricity are inextricably linked. You can’t produce and distribute clean water without power–and you can’t produce electricity without water. But my friend, Bill Edgar recently visited a water plant that provided clean water for an entire village–with not a single kilowatt. Here’s a copy of the e-mail I received from Bill, owner of CEU Plan.

Have you ever seen a water plant operate without any electrical power?  I had to see, to believe with my own eyes! 
Recently during the Memorial Day weekend, I traveled to Honduras to catch-up with some graduate students from Cornell University – Civil & Environmental Engineering School.  These students from the Agua Clara Program have developed a unique water treatment plant without any electric metering pump, electrical connections – without a power meter for the plant operation.  The water supply comes from the mountaintop, where the streams are captured, sent through a unique sedimentation basin and disinfected; prior to storage and distribution to the villagers.  These Young Professionals (YP’s) have developed a truly workable and unique concept for meeting the needs of small and rural villages in Central America.  My hat is off to them, as this is a true example of how working together can solve many environmental problems.  So many times, YP’s are directed through their parents, “Do as I say!” which has caused problems in the creative and experimental drives of our leaders for tomorrow.  Should you be interested in further information on Agua Clara, a non-profit organization, and a great group of YP’s from Cornell putting their education to work in a great way:
The mentoring program utilized by Monroe Weber-Shrink, director is Agua Clara, is shared by many.  As many of us look at our role in the coming years to strengthen and maintain the operation and maintenance of water/wastewater treatment plant facilities; we need to reach out to our young professionals.  In many ways, the same, as we were introduced or brought into the field many years ago.  How many remember, the ole’ plant manager or shift head sitting down with the new and young-at-heart trainee, to show them the ropes, to show them how to operate this or that, and most importantly, how to pass the certification exam!  It is time, we revise the ole’ concept to the many new and forthcoming replacements of today.  In order to maintain the structural and operational integrity of facilities, today, it would be a great practice to reach out to our young professionals and provide the ole’ war stories and fundamental experiences to increase and broaden their knowledge basis. 
CEU Plan would like to assist in this venture, should you know or have a colleague interested in the water/wastewater field; send us their contact information.  Please forward their name, address, phone number, and/or e-mail address to us.  We would like to forward to them, a couple of complimentary courses to spark that interest into becoming a licensed operator.  Many of us have miles to travel and sharing our experiences and knowledge with the up and coming deserves a place in our lives.  We appreciate your interest and support of our program for many years, our mission continues to grow, as we reach out to the new generation of water and wastewater operators.  
Have a Great Weekend,
William W. Edgar
CEU Plan  – general manager
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Earth Day – April 22, 2009, marks the 39th anniversary of this environmental movement. Founded by Wisconsin U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson and spearheaded by Denis Hayes in 1970, Earth Day has been credited with the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of earth-protecting legislation such as the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts.

I have to admit, I usually don’t do anything special for Earth Day. I’m usually working. But I believe that my work, keeping drinking water systems and wastewater treatment plants running, is just as important to the environment as staging a rally. After all, every life form needs water–clean water.

And despite all the doom and gloom talk of bad carbon footprints, pharmaceuticals in the water, and water wars, I think we’re doing a pretty good job overall of keeping the planet safe for future generations.

Could we do more? Sure. But the point is, we have to use our brains and common sense–not emotion–to figure out what works best for sustainability.

Really, every day is Earth Day, isn’t it?

Here in the United States we take clean drinking water for granted. With a turn of the faucet, we have as much water as we need and want–to soak in the tub, wash our clothes after wearing them only a few hours, or sprinkle our lawns so they’re lush and green.

But in the West African Republic of Ghana, some are not so lucky.

At the Tamale Children’s Home in Ghana, contaminated water is threatening the health of the children. The Children’s Home is a non-profit organization on the outskirts of Tamale, the third largest city in Ghana. It houses over thirty children–from infants to teenagers–who have no family to care for them.

Civil and mechanical engineering students from the University of North Florida are part of The Ghana Project 2009.

These students have the opportunity to improve the lives of the children by designing and constructing improvements at the Tamale Children’s Home. They will connect to municipal water where possible, improve the existing rainwater harvesting system, repair water tank foundations and set up clay pot filters to purify the water.

In addition to helping the kids, the project gives the students a chance to put their engineering skills to work in a real-world situation.

The students need additional funding for travel and supplies. If you’re interested, please contact Sean Corcoran at 617-671-8382 or e-mail him at

EPA's Energy Star at Work Launchpad


I have to admit, I may be the Logical Ecologist but I do get tired of hearing about everything “green” multiple times a day, every day.

I shouldn’t complain, though. It’s really a good thing that people are more concerned about all aspects of our environment. And now the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a new online tool to help us green-up the workplace.

Our commercial and industrial workplaces account for almost half the energy use nationwide–and nearly half the greenhouse gas emissions. EPA’s Energy Star at Work tool takes you on an interactive tour of a typical office, with small steps employees can take to make a big difference in the overall energy use at work–everything from using a power strip to turn off all your equipment at the end of the day to creating a Green Team with coworkers.

You can also sign up for the Energy Star Challenge, a national call-to-action to reduce workplace energy consumption by 10% or more.

Energy Star is a joint EPA and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) program to help the environment through energy efficiency. In 2007, Americans prevented 40 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions by using Energy Star practices and products.

And the other big benefit of going green at work?  We all save money.

On May 30, 2008, some of the world’s top economists ( including five Nobel laureates) will finalize a prioritized list of some of the best and worst solutions for the world’s most pressing problems. 

The Copenhagen Consensus panel will look at the costs vs. benefits of almost 50 solutions to worldwide issues.  Bjorn Lomborg, organizer of the Copenhagen Consensus and author of Cool It:  The Skeptical Environmentalist’s Guide to Global Warming compares a dollar spent on heart disease in a developing nation that does $25 worth of good with the 90 cents worth of good for each dollar spent on carbon mitigation as an example.

Stay tuned as this group determines the best cost/benefit answers to problems ranging from air pollution to public health to trade barriers.  Economists might seem cold when they put a dollar figure on an emotional topic–but finding the best investments to help the planet is their goal.  And if those dollars aren’t spent well, we all lose.

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