Frederick co-teaches a course each autumn quarter on Environmental Science and Policy in the Harris School of Public Policy Studies. He’s also a board member of the non-profit Center for the Transformation of Waste Technology, where Sheaffer is the managing director.
Sheaffer established the center in part to carry out an ambitious recycling project in Hammond, Indiana, that involves harnessing treated effluent to irrigate and fertilize cropland and for a host of other income-generating activities. “This project is about taking Hammond’s wastewater and turning it into wealth-producing resources,” Frederick said.
Frederick and Sheaffer met at a roundtable discussion organized by Robert Fefferman, Dean of the Physical Sciences Division. Sheaffer, the president and chairman of Sheaffer International, founded the environmental development company in 1996 to focus on wastewater reclamation and reuse.
Sheaffer told Frederick about his plans for Hammond, and Frederick immediately became involved. “When I see something that looks relevant, I like it,” Frederick said.
Frederick’s role in the project is to examine how it might affect the sequestration of atmospheric carbon. If the project sequesters more carbon than it emits, then the sale of carbon credits is one of several potential sources of income.Wastewater-recycling economics
Farmers need to put down 200 pounds of nitrogen on every acre of corn they grow, at a cost of $80 to $100 an acre or more. It costs approximately 75 cents a pound, meanwhile, for the Hammond Sanitary District’s treatment system to remove it. Tighter federal regulations may be in the offing, said District Manager Michael Unger, which would dramatically increase treatment costs.
“A plant like ours could spend tens of millions of dollars to get rid of all the nitrogen, so it’s very costly,” Unger said. But why pay to remove the nitrogen when it’s a potential resource? “Nitrogen fertilizer prices have gone as high as $1,200 a ton, maybe even higher,” he said.
The BP oil refinery in Whiting, Ind., sparked the water reuse project several years ago after announcing that it intended to increase the discharge of its effluents into Lake Michigan. Sheaffer initially approached BP with his idea. When that failed to work out, he opened discussions with Michael Unger, manager of Hammond’s Sanitary District.
The project will cost an estimated $129 million, but the revenues it creates can eventually retire the debt and pay for all operations and maintenance, according to Sheaffer. “The thing that’s exciting is the project can pay for itself,” he said.Sheaffer’s team completed a proof-of-concept study last summer. Next, with $2.86 million of planning and design funding, will come development of the plans and specifications for building the project. Sheaffer’s goal is to get the project operational within three years.
Building a self-sustaining system
“You can actually build a self-sustaining system,” Frederick said.
The Hammond Water Reuse Project’s components include:• Diverting the city’s nutrient-laden wastewater from flowing into the Grand Calumet River, thence Lake Michigan, into 11,350 acres of irrigated farm land to grow crops
As science adviser to the Secretary of the Army in 1972, Sheaffer helped write the Clean Water Act. The Department of the Army, which has longstanding responsibilities for the nation’s water-resource management and flood control, honored him for Exceptional Civilian Service that same year.
“If you read the Clean Water Act, it says we are to generate revenue that will pay not only for the wastewater treatment, but also pay for other environmental improvements. This is probably the first project that will do that,” Sheaffer said.
“I was dreaming back then about how it ought to be done. I was not aware that anybody ever did it, and it didn’t look like anybody really wanted to do it. But Hammond can be the project.”
Steve Koppes | Newswise Science News
Preservation of floodplains is flood protection
27.09.2017 | Technische Universität München
Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed
15.09.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
It's possible to produce hydrogen to power fuel cells by extracting the gas from seawater, but the electricity required to do it makes the process costly. UCF...
Mercury, our smallest planetary neighbor, has very little to call an atmosphere, but it does have a strange weather pattern: morning micro-meteor showers.
Recent modeling along with previously published results from NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft -- short for Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry and...
10.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
28.09.2017 | Event News
16.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
16.10.2017 | Earth Sciences
16.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy