Please romaine calm- there might be cancer-causing compounds in your lettuce

Washing fruits and vegetables before eating is standard practice- a good scrub removes dirt as well as bacteria that can make us sick. However, there’s more to this story- researchers at Georgia Tech found cancer-causing compounds inside the produce, as a result of industrial washing. In a recently published paper, they took the first step, looking at the leftover water used to wash the produce. Chlorinated wash water plays an important role in making sure produce is safe to eat, by eliminating harmful bacteria, but at what cost?

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Work smarter and harder: a fieldwork fable involving the investigation of lake greenhouse gas emissions

“Are you sure this is the ramp?” my colleague, Dr. Jake Beaulieu asked the head field researcher, Adam Balz, as we drove up to the site.

The three of us took in the view of the crumbling asphalt inclined plane that disappeared into the lake. According to the map, this was the boat launch. But the usage of the lake had changed from allowing motorized craft to “paddle craft only” several years ago, and now the disused ramp was covered in layers of sandy sediment.  

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Spawn of the Dead

Migratory animals such as the Pacific salmon are critical to the transport of nutrients and energy across large distances and between different ecosystems. However, along with important nutrients also come contaminants and pollutants. To understand the impacts of salmon, Brandon Gerig and colleagues investigate contaminant levels of riparian fish populations in streams where salmon runs do and do not occur in the Great Lakes region.

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Edge-of-field scale reduction of fertilizers contamination

In the U.S. agricultural regions such as the Mississippi Delta, on-farm water storage (OFWS) systems can mitigate downstream nutrient-enrichment pollution, especially during spring, as demonstrated by USDA-NIFA-funded researchers from Mississippi State University.

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Betcha won’t drink it! The natural chemicals hiding in water, and how a new technique hopes to remove them using an unlikely ally- bacteria

The amount of natural organic matter, or NOM, in water has been increasing for the past 20 years and is expected to increase. Higher amounts of NOM mean more expensive clean water- a high priority especially when considering communities at risk for clean water shortages due to storms. Environmental engineers work on ways to reduce NOM effectively in drinking water treatment plants, and sometimes, this means making unusual allies: bacteria.

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Under a wave of global change, lakes remain placid

Swimmers, boaters, and fishing enthusiasts care about keeping our lakes healthy. As climate and patterns of land development change, scientists are diving into the challenge of understanding how these interacting forces impact water quality. In a recently published paper, researchers assembled a database of thousands of lakes across the northeastern United States to address this question. They found that water quality has remained surprisingly stable over the past twenty years.

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The fate of our waste: nitrogen removal in residential wastewater

Residential wastewater serves as a major source of nitrogen to coastal watersheds. Increased nitrogen loads can harm coastal ecosystems, so advanced onsite wastewater treatment systems have been designed in order to reduce these loads and protect coastal waters.

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