Erik Porse, PhD

Cities | Systems | Environments

Understanding Arsenic in Drinking Water

Arsenic is a naturally-occurring element that can leach into groundwater and surface water from rocks and minerals.  In most areas, natural levels of arsenic in water are less than 1 ppb, though some communities, particularly in the Western U.S., have recorded natural arsenic levels in water sources over 10 ppb1.  Arsenic can have both acute […]

Read More

Enlightening Facts for UV & Water Treatment

Ultraviolet (UV) disinfection uses electromagnetic radiation to kill microorganisms such as protozoans, bacteria, and viruses damaging their genetic material (DNA and RNA).  While UV radiation applications for treatment are a century old, date to, improved cost-effectiveness and concerns over conventional disinfection methods have increased the popularity of UV disinfection in recent decades.  In the U.S., […]

Read More

Point-of-Use Water Treatments

The cover image for this post comes from FreshHome.com and is just fantastic and quite fitting for a blog post on Point-of-Use treatment, so I had to use it and give all the attribution in the world possible. A variety of physical and chemical point-of-use (POU) treatments exist1.  The most prevalent treatment approach in homes […]

Read More

Phosphorus and Water Treatment

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 […]

Read More

The Scoop on Anaerobic Digestion

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 […]

Read More

Resilient Futures

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 […]

Read More

Direct Potable Water Reuse in Cities

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. […]

Read More

Sewers in Cinema

I was prepping for an upcoming lecture on urban water systems that was sure to benefit from some lively video interventions. Cinema scenes related to sewers soon bubbled to the surface. Sewers have been a fantastic backdrop for dramatic cinema for decades. Many very memorable movie scenes take place in sewers. Sewers today rarely capture […]

Read More

Infrastructure + Resident + City

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 […]

Read More

The Long Life of Infrastructure

A bit of a dichotomy exists between the pace of innovation and urban infrastructure design as we know it. Municipal, state, and federal governments fund projects through taxes or bond measures based on long-term cost projections. Planning for decades in advance is necessarily inherent in the system. The infrastructure we possess lasts a long time, […]

Read More

>> <<