Water

When it comes to watering your lawn during drought and wildfire season, what’s the sweet spot between water conservation and fire hazard?

Company Wants To Turn Sewer Water Into Beer

Jan 23, 2015
Raymond Mcfee / Flickr

An Oregon water treatment company wants to turn sewer water into beer. But current state rules wouldn't allow anyone to drink it. 

Clean Water Services runs four wastewater treatment plants in the Portland metro area. Some of its treated water is used for irrigation.

But spokesman Mark Jockers said the market for recycled wastewater doesn't have to end there.

His company has an advanced treatment process that can turn sewage into drinking water. To show off that system, it wants to give some of its highly purified wastewater to home brewers.

Portland Now Generating Hydropower In Its Water Pipes

Jan 21, 2015
Daniel Kulinski / Flickr

A Portland start-up is tapping a new source of renewable power inside the city's water pipes. The new system uses the power of gravity in the city's water pipes.

Lucid Energy has installed four small hydroelectric generators in a pipe that carries drinking water to the city. They will produce enough electricity to power 150 homes.

Company CEO Gregg Semler says this kind of hydropower doesn't disrupt fish or natural stream flows the way dams do. And it supplies a continuous source of renewable energy unlike wind and solar.

pfly / Flickr

Richard and Marnie Fox wanted to build a new house on their land but they couldn't get a building permit. The Foxes took legal action and their case will go before a judge on Tuesday.

The state said there was not enough water in the area to support anymore new residences without endangering salmon, especially during the drier parts of the year.

Richard Fox walked out to his back field with his leather hat and raincoat on. A bunch of sopping wet cows looked at him, vaguely curious. His backyard was flooded. 

Benjamin Cody

Construction begins this week on a state project in the Methow Valley that will give fish a boost of cold, clean water in rivers near Twisp, Wash.

The state and a trout conservation group are pouring about $10 million into a whole new irrigation system there.

Back in 2011, the Methow Valley Irrigation District was fined more than $30,000 for its old, leaky irrigation system. The state determined it was wasting water through too much seepage in its open canals.

Study: Aquifers Draining Quickly, Less In Northwest

May 21, 2013
Amelia Templeton / EarthFix

A new study says the nation’s aquifers are shrinking at an alarming rate The problem is not as bad in the Northwest, thanks to an abundance of rivers and streams. But even here, aquifers are shrinking. For EarthFix, Courtney Flatt has more.

Portland Prepares For Fluoride Vote 

May 6, 2013
Michael Clapp / Oregon Public Broadcasting

This month, voters will decide whether to approve a plan to fluoridate Portland's water. Supporters say Portland children - especially in low-income families - suffer aggravated dental problems because the city has chosen not to add fluoride. Opponents say water fluoridation is the wrong way to address a public health problem. And so a battle that has played out before at the state level is now going on in Portland. From Oregon Public Broadcasting, April Baer reports.

Wednesday night, the Bend City Council adopted a new plan laying out the future of the city's water systems. As Oregon Public Broadcasting's David Nogueras reports, the plan reiterates the council's intention to move ahead with a controversial overhaul of city's surface water system.

Yakima Dairies Agree to Reduce Nitrate Contamination

Mar 7, 2013

Four Eastern Washington dairies have agreed to reduce pollution that’s been contaminating drinking water. For EarthFix, Courtney Flatt has more.

There’s not enough water in eastern Oregon for farmers and fish. Gov. John Kitzhaber designated one basin as a place to try a possible solution to this problem. At the Oregon Leadership Summit Monday, farmers and environmentalists talked about what’s being done.

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