Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Breaking News

Sister Newspapers' Blogs

January 16, 2013

Ridding the world of waste

(Continued)

Digesters can break down things other than sewage. The same basic biological processes can help break down agricultural waste. But the sewage-to-fuel process surprises people the most, an example of making something valuable out of hazardous materials.

On more than one occasion I’ve taken students to tour my local sewage treatment plant. (I think they should know what happens to their waste as part of being generally informed citizens and residents of the planet.) The anaerobic digesters at the plant produce methane. At least sometimes, that methane has been burned to provide heat to breakdown more waste. And sometimes it’s burned off in a flame atop the digester.

Most Americans don’t know much about where their waste goes or how it’s treated and released into the general environment. Here’s hoping we can get over our embarrassment about our bodily waste and educate ourselves at least about the basics of wastewater treatment.

---

Dr. E. Kirsten Peters was trained as a geologist at Princeton and Harvard. This column is a service of the College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences at Washington State University.

Text Only
Sister Newspapers' Blogs
Bill Archer
AP Video
Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Dempsey: Putin May Light Fire and Lose Control Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' Anti-violence Advocate Killed, but Not Silenced. Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine Today in History for July 25th 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee
Greg Jordan