Phosphorus and Water Treatment

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Engineering, Environment, Science and Technology, Water, Water Resources Engineering

Phosphorus is an important nutrient for organisms.  Many agricultural and industrial processes also use phosphorus, which has led to increased concentrations in runoff and effluents1.  Higher phosphorus concentrations in water bodies can lead to eutrophication and algal blooms that harm aquatic species2.  The ionic form of phosphorus, phosphate (POs4-), bonds with positively-charged ions (hydrogen) and […]

The Scoop on Anaerobic Digestion

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in California, Energy Policy, Engineering, Environment, Systems Engineering, Water Resources Engineering

Anaerobic digestion has been used in wastewater treatment processes for decades.  Recent innovations, however, are making the technology more viable for commercial applications. Anaerobic digestion occurs when microbes degrade organic matter in the absence of oxygen gas. It can be used to treat sewage effluent, agricultural byproducts, and solid municipal wastes.  The microbes utilize oxygen […]

Resilient Futures

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Cities, Engineering, Environment, Science and Technology, Systems Engineering, Uncategorized

The sheer power of Hurricane Sandy and the damage it inflicted upon New York City is both improbable and ominous.  Improbable because extreme climatic events are dictated by statistical probabilities of occurrence that seem impossible until they occur.  Ominous because it is likely that the familiar statistical record is changing.  In the last few days […]

Direct Potable Water Reuse in Cities

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Engineering, Infectious Disease, Infrastructure, Public Policy, Science and Technology, Uncategorized, Water Resources Engineering

Direct potable reuse (DPR) involves processes where “purified municipal wastewater is introduced into a water treatment plant intake or directly into the water distribution system.”1 As populations increase and treatment technologies improve, direct potable reuse may become an economically viable or even preferred option to meet growing global water demand. Water reuse takes many forms. […]

Infrastructure + Resident + City

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Cities, Culture, Engineering, Infrastructure, Systems Engineering, Urban Ecology

I have been shamelessly behind in reading Dan Hill’s fantastic City of Sound blog over the past year for no good reasons. For anyone interested in larger questions of urbanism, design, culture, it is a must read. An older post I ran across captured a critique of an Australian National Urban Policy discussion paper from […]

Life in the Tails: Behavioral Economics

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in California, Cities, Culture, Energy Policy, Engineering, Environment, Public Policy, Science and Technology, Systems Engineering

The question of merging individual (or organizational) decision-making with infrastructure design and management is supremely interesting, though not often engaged by the engineering community. For urban infrastructure, social systems are a key component of function. Individual decisions are influenced by personal views, interactions with peers, and larger social trends. This may not have a lot […]

Big Dreams and Bountiful Capital: Western U.S. Expansion

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in California, Engineering, Environment, History, Systems Engineering, Water Resources Engineering

The settlement of the American West in the mid-nineteenth century saw streams of Americans, Europeans, Asians, and Central and South Americans converge on the region and its resources. The new peoples brought their views of agriculture, exploitation, and wealth to the strange ecosystems of the West. For East Coast Americans and Europeans, who were accustomed […]

Roots of Engineering in America: Military and Civilian Engineers

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in California, Cities, Engineering, Science and Technology, Water Resources Engineering

The tradition of engineering in the U.S. has deep roots in French, British, Dutch, and Italian innovation. The rise of a professional class of engineers begins, as with many technological innovations, in the military. Louis XIV in France was quick to recognize the value of having technical experts that could survey and assess land accurately, […]