October 2008, Vol. 20, No.10


WEF, International Water Association Sign Memorandum of Understanding

On Sept. 11, the Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) and the International Water Association (IWA; London) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to better enable information and technology transfer on a domestic and global scale. Signed by WEF President Adam Zabinski and IWA President David Garman during the 2008 World Water Congress in Vienna, Austria, the agreement will provide WEF with better opportunities for global engagement and offer IWA new and significant access to North American meeting and membership markets.

“Although we have members from more than 30 different countries, WEF’s North American members are thirsting for access to the large body of research, science, engineering development, and management innovation going on around the world,” Zabinski said. “This MOU is WEF’s way of ensuring that this material gets into the hands of our members on a timely basis, represents a new level of specificity in WEF’s relationships with other organizations, and emphasizes measurable benefits for WEF members.”

WEF will maintain its traditional and long-standing relationships with other international organizations such as the Stockholm International Water Institute, the European Water Association, and the Japan Sewerage and Water Association, but will increasingly work with IWA to provide mutual opportunities for members to participate in global and domestic water forums and activities, including new workshops and symposia. To enhance its reach in North American markets, IWA plans to open a U.S.-based office in Washington, D.C., or New York in October 2009.

In addition to this new MOU, the two organizations are also co-organizers of World Water Monitoring Day™, an international outreach program that builds public awareness and involvement in protecting water resources around the world.

Electric Manure?

Horse manure transported from equine facilities across Marion County, Fla., will be used to create “green” energy, according to a press release from the Environmental PR Group (Lutz, Fla.). Marion County, the self-proclaimed “Horse Capital of the World,” is home to 431 thoroughbred breeding and training farms covering more than 28,300 ha (70,000 ac), the release says.

MaxWest Environmental Systems (Houston) has created an integrated gasification solution system that takes manure, mixes it with wood waste, and converts it to energy and residual ash, according to the press release. The system consists of five main components, including a waste handling system, drying system, gasifier, thermal oxidizer, and energy recovery and power generation system.

Horse manure will be transported from farms, training centers, and other equine facilities to a location owned and managed by MaxWest and the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association (Ocala). The system produces renewable thermal energy that is then used to produce green electric power for sale to the power grid.

Individual farms currently are responsible for disposing of stall waste. MaxWest’s gasification technology was designed to provide the association’s members with a more convenient and environmentally friendly method for manure disposal, the press release says.

The new system is expected to convert more than 90,720 Mg (100,000 ton) of stall and wood waste per year and produce approximately 7.2 MW of energy daily. The technology works with wood and crop waste, as well as other forms of carbon-based waste, including plastic. The systems currently are working to convert wood, cow, chicken, and mixed wastes into energy.

The gasification solution system also is designed to be installed at wastewater treatment plant sites on less than 0.4 ha (1 ac) to eliminate the financial and environmental costs of offsite transportation, the press release notes.

In addition, the system is designed to eliminate the release of methane from landfills, land applications, and composting and eliminate the need for land spreading, according to the press release.


Mapping Tool Aids in Everglades Restoration

Water and land managers in the Florida Everglades now have a new tool to help with the restoration efforts for this unique habitat. Map specialists, scientists, and vegetation experts at the South Florida Water Management District (WMD; West Palm Beach) have created the most detailed vegetation map available of the southern Everglades, according to a WMD press release.

The map identifies the locations of exotic and native species in Everglades Water Conservation Areas 1 and 2 (Palm Beach and Broward counties) and provides a baseline to measure improvements from hydrologic and water quality restoration programs. Scientists now are generating similar maps for Everglades National Park, Water Conservation Area 3 (Broward County), portions of Big Cypress National Preserve, and areas within the southeastern coastal wetlands of Florida. Together, these mapping efforts will provide vegetation information for 10,880 km2 (4200 mi2) of the southern Everglades.

The map for Conservation Area 1 was created from detailed analyses of more than 220,000 grid cells identified in 2004 aerial imagery. Mapping specialists, or photogrammetrists, used current computer technology to plot the vegetation density of native and exotic species. The aerial data were verified by onsite visits to 775 locations. Overall map accuracy was measured at more than 93%, according to the press release.

“Breaking new ground is part of what is required for Everglades’ restoration success,” said Carol Ann Wehle, WMD executive director. “We are continually broadening our scientific understanding of the unique Everglades ecosystem and applying what we learn to maximize restoration results.”

The details that the maps provide can be combined with other known data on such parameters as wildlife population, soil chemistry, and water quality to obtain an even broader picture of the ecosystem’s health. Specialists plan to update the maps every 6 years. Maps will be made publicly available online.

The Everglades is known for its abundant wildlife and contains sawgrass prairies, cypress swamps, coastal lagoons, mangroves, and pinelands. The mix of saltwater and fresh water makes it the only place on Earth where alligators and crocodiles share the same habitat, according to the press release. For more information about the Everglades, see