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A Course in Good Water: New Technologies for Protecting a Precious Resource

A Course in Good Water
Reported by
Sheri Fink

Posted May 15, 2007


A February 28, 2007, meeting of the Green Science & Environmental Policy Discussion Group offered three perspectives on ways to reduce pollution and waste of water, an increasingly endangered and sparse resource. George Korfiatis addressed the problem of arsenic contamination of water supplies, explaining the global geographic distribution of arsenic; health effects; social, economic, and cultural factors; and arsenic removal technologies for the developed and developing world. Kartik Chandran described novel and cost-effective strategies for removing nitrogen and phosphorus from water in wastewater treatment plants. He also presented evidence that state-of-the-art molecular tools can enable rapid and robust process monitoring and control, thereby ensuring sustained compliance with effluent water quality permits. Edward Clerico described recent successes and potential future applications of water reuse technologies, focusing on a case study of the Solaire, a residential high-rise building in New York City.


This conference and eBriefing were made possible with support from the The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, Inc., and:

Web Sites

Naturally Occurring Arsenic in Groundwater: A Global Perspective

Arsenic Articles and Reports
A collection of articles maintained by Engconsult, Ltd., a Canadian consulting firm.

SOS Arsenic Poisoning in Bangladesh and India
Information on the history and culture of the areas and calls for action.

United States Environmental Protection Agency: Arsenic in Drinking Water
The EPA sets U.S. standards for arsenic in drinking water. This site contains background information and links to other resources.

The West Bengal and Bangladesh Arsenic Crisis Information Center
Focal point for the environmental health disaster in Bangladesh and West Bengal, India.

The World Health Organization: Arsenic in Drinking Water
The WHO also makes recommendations on safe drinking water standards. This site contains links to major reports and reviews on the arsenic problem.

State of the Art Approaches for Achieving Cost Effective Biological Nitrogen Removal

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection
The DEP delivers more than 1.1 billion gallons of drinking water a day and handles 1.3 billion gallons of wastewater.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Under the Clean Water Act, EPA regulates discharges of pollutants into the nation's surface waters. Its Web site offers extensive information on wastewater management, including municipal wastewater treatment plants and EPA's permitting program. See, too, EPA's National Estuary Program, which includes New York–New Jersey Harbor, and its Web page on Long Island Sound.

Water Environment Federation
This nonprofit technical and educational organization serves water quality professionals from 76 member associations in 30 countries. Its Web site offers a wealth of information for professionals, as well as information for the public, students, and educators. See, too, its October 20, 2006, climate change resolution and its 2005 guide, Biological Nutrient Removal (BNR) Operation in Wastewater Treatment Plants. Its 2007 conference is listed above.

Flushing Out Water Reuse in New York City

Battery Park City Authority
This Web site ncludes information on various "green" initiatives in southern Manhattan.

The Solaire: New York City's "first environmentally advanced residential tower"
This Web site outlines the many green features of the residential tower, including an advanced central air-filtration system, a central water-filtration system, photovoltaic panels, a roof garden, and a rainwater storage and reserve system.

WateReuse Association
Nonprofit membership organization advancing water reclamation, recycling, reuse and desalination. The site includes many technical, legislative, and regulatory resources.


Naturally Occurring Arsenic in Groundwater: A Global Perspective

Ahmed F, Minnatullah K, Talbi A. 2005. Arsenic mitigation technologies in South and East Asia. In Volume II Technical Report: Arsenic Contamination of Groundwater in South and East Asian Countries. World Bank. (PDF, 344 KB) FULL TEXT

Kamal AS, Parkpian P. 2002. Arsenic contamination in Hizla, Bangladesh: sources, effects, and remedies. ScienceAsia 28: 181-189. (PDF, 153 KB) FULL TEXT

Meng X, Korfiatis GP, Bang S, Bang KW. 2002. Combined effects of anions on arsenic removal by iron hydroxides. Toxicol. Letters 133: 103-111.

Pena M, Meng X, Korfiatis GP, Jing C. 2006. Adsorption mechanism of arsenic on nanocrystalline titanium dioxide. Environ. Sci. Technol. 40: 1257-1262.

State of the Art Approaches for Achieving Cost Effective Biological Nitrogen Removal

Chandran K, Hu Z, Smets BF. 2005. Applicability of an extant batch respirometric assay in describing dynamics of ammonia and nitrite oxidation in a nitrifying bioreactor. Water Sci. Technol. 52: 503–508.

Chandran K, Smets BF. 2005. Optimizing experimental design to estimate ammonia and nitrite oxidation biokinetic parameters from batch respirograms. Water Research 39: 4969-4078.

Flushing Out Water Reuse in New York City

Arpke A, Clerico E. 2006. Water reuse within green buildings: a case study of the Solaire. 2006 Water Sources Conference and Exposition. American Water Works Association. (PDF, 162 KB) FULL TEXT

City of San Diego Water Reuse Study. Final Draft Report. 2006. The City of San Diego Water Department. (March).

Clerico E. 2004. The flush factor. In Lippe P, ed. The Costs and Benefits of High Performance Buildings: Lessons Learned. Earth Day New York, New York. (PDF, 24 KB) FULL TEXT

Clerico E. 2007. The future of water reuse in NYC. White Paper. (PDF, 53.5 KB) FULL TEXT


George P. Korfiatis, PhD

Stevens Institute of Technology
e-mail | web site

George Korfiatis became provost and university vice president of Stevens Insititute of Technology in December 2006. Prior to this, he served as dean of Stevens' Charles V. Schaefer, Jr. School of Engineering. He was also the founding director of the Stevens Center for Environmental Systems, as well as holding the title of McLean Chair Professor of Environmental Engineering in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Ocean Engineering.

Korfiatis has been responsible for the execution and management of more than 200 major research projects, valued at more than $30 million, and has served as a consultant and advisor to numerous private and government organizations. Korfiatis has authored more than 110 articles in professional journals, conference proceedings, handbooks, as well as several research reports.

A native of Greece, Korfiatis holds a doctorate in water resources/environmental engineering from Rutgers University (1984). At Rutgers he also earned a master's degree in water resources engineering (1980), as well as a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering (1978).

Kartik Chandran, PhD

Columbia University
e-mail | web site

Kartik Chandran is assistant professor of earth and environmental engineering at Columbia University. His broad research interests are in environmental microbiology and biotechnology with specific projects that focus on microbial transformations of the global nitrogen cycle, antibiotic resistance in the environment, and microbial stress responses. Chandran received his BS in chemical engineering from IIT Roorkee and his PhD in environmental engineering from the University of Connecticut, followed by postdoctoral experiences at the University of Connecticut and Virginia Tech.

Edward A. Clerico, PE, LEED AP

Alliance Environmental LLC

Edward Clerico is a licensed professional engineer and licensed wastewater operator in NY, NJ, and PA, and is a LEED Accredited Professional. He holds BS and MS degrees from Rutgers University in bio-agricultural engineering.

Clerico was the founder and president of Applied Water Management, Inc. before holding executive roles with American Water as technical development director and vice president of strategy. Presently he operates his own consulting business, Alliance Environmental, that focuses on green building concepts.

Clerico pioneered the concept of community onsite wastewater systems—commonly known as COWS—and developed the first water reuse systems in the Northeast. He advocates for creating balance within our environment through innovation.

Sheri Fink

Sheri Fink is the author of War Hospital: A True Story of Surgery and Survival (PublicAffairs, 2003). Fink obtained her MD and PhD in neurosciences at Stanford University and now, based in New York, writes about medicine, public health, and science for a range of publications.


This conference and eBriefing were made possible with support from the The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, Inc., and: