The Global Rundown
A new study by Johns Hopkins University warns that toxic byproducts can be produced when chlorine is added to drinking water. Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan say they will reach an agreement over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam by the end of the month. The Trump administration’s rollbacks of U.S. environmental regulations could jeopardize companies that protect clean water. The U.S. Coast Guard says an oil spill in a bay near Houston, Texas, is being contained. Minnesota considers raising water quality permit fees for the first time in nearly 25 years.
“During that time, costs have gone up, expectations of our permit holders have gone up, but the fees have remained the same. So we don’t have any additional money to do the work that we are being asked to do.” –Katrina Kessler, assistant commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, in reference to water quality permit fees for cities, industries, and some livestock farmers in the state. Minnesota is considering a boost in permit fees for the first time in more than two decades. MPR News
Latest WaterNews from Circle of Blue
As Iowa Caucuses Approach, Where Do Democratic Candidates Stand on Water? — First votes in the 2020 Democratic presidential race come on February 3.
Rain Alleviates Bushfires in Australia, but Threatens Waterways — Pollution concerns rise following recent rains.
By The Numbers
630 gallons (2,385 liters) Size of an oil spill in a bay on the eastern side of Houston, Texas, that occurred over the weekend. The U.S. Coast Guard says the spill has been contained and is being cleaned. The spill originated from a wellhead that was shuttered in the 1980s, and whose current owner is unknown. Associated Press
Science, Studies, and Reports
A new study by Johns Hopkins University, published in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Sciences & Technology. found that several toxic and carcinogenic byproducts may be present in drinking water treated with chlorine. Researchers discovered that when chlorine combines with phenols, which can occur naturally in water, a variety of byproducts result, including two forms of the toxic carcinogen BDA. Some of the byproducts are already treated by most water utilities, but others are unregulated, and may pose risks to long-term health. USA Today
On the Radar
Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan state they will sign an agreement over the future of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam by the end of this month. Ministers from the three nations met last week in Washington D.C. for several days of discussion over the controversial project. Reuters
In recent weeks, the U.S. Trump administration has finalized the rollback of key Obama-era water protections. Although the changes are generally favorable toward businesses, they could be detrimental to companies involved in wetland mitigation and protection. Experts in the wetlands mitigation industry say that individual state regulations will play a crucial role in determining the future of wetlands protection. NPR
Kayla Ritter is a recent graduate of Michigan State University, where she studied International Relations and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. She is currently based in Manton, Michigan. Kayla enjoys running, writing, and traveling. Contact Kayla Ritter