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EBI News for March 23, 2022- Global Cities Fail to Meet Latest WHO Air Quality Guideline

EBI News for March 23, 2022 – The following news section contains the latest stories for the environmental industry. Including, global cities fail to meet latest WHO air quality guideline, acquisitions, and more!

Tetra Tech acquires Axiom and Piteau Associates

Tetra Tech Inc. (Pasadena, Calif.) has acquired the software development company Axiom Data Science (Anchorage, Alaska), boosting its capabilities in advanced analytics for projects related to oceans and ecosystems. Axiom will be integrated into Tetra Tech’s Government Services Group, which offers environmental monitoring, water and waste management, sustainable infrastructure design, and civil infrastructure master-planning services. Net sales of the Government Services Group were $327.1 million in first-quarter fiscal 2022 (ended December 2021). Tetra Tech also completed the acquisition of Piteau Associates (Vancouver, B.C.), expanding its sustainable water management practice. Established in 1976, Piteau offers sustainable natural resource analytics, including hydrologic numerical modeling and dewatering system design.


New Jersey American Water invests more than $432M in upgrades

New Jersey American Water (Camden, N.J.), the state’s largest water utility, announced spending more than $432 million on system upgrades and improvements in 2021. Investment highlights included $161.5 million to install more than 71 miles of mains to replace and rehabilitate aging pipe and install new mains to serve additional areas; more than $87.4 million for improvements at water treatment facilities; and approximately $3.5 million on leak detection equipment. The utility also replaced 548 fire hydrants and 2,430 valves for approximately $16.3 million, in addition to replacing 9,006 service lines, an investment totaling approximately $31.7 million. Four water tanks were rehabilitated and 109 tanks inspected for $9.5 million.


Woodside to collaborate with U.S. tech companies on CCU pilot

Australian energy producer Woodside (Perth, Australia) and U.S.-based technology developers ReCarbon and LanzaTech are investigating the viability of a proposed carbon capture and utilization (CCU) pilot facility in Perth, Western Australia. The facility would recycle greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane into value-added ethanol. The ReCarbon technology would convert carbon dioxide and methane into synthesis gas, with the LanzaTech technology fermenting the synthesis gas into ethanol. Traditionally, ethanol manufacture relies on land and water use for source crops, such as corn, but CCU reduces reliance on natural resources. The project is in the front-end engineering design phase. Woodside CEO Meg O’Neill described CCU as an exciting addition to the company’s portfolio as it looked at carbon as an opportunity and resource, not just a challenge.


Illinois completes sampling of PFAS in drinking water

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has completed a statewide investigation of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in finished drinking water at the state’s community water systems. Illinois EPA sampled for 18 PFAS compounds at 1,017 water systems, of which 12.4% had confirmed PFAS detections. Of those 126 systems, more than half (54%) fell below health advisory guidance levels issued by Illinois EPA. Two locations exceeded the U.S. EPA’s Lifetime Health Advisory levels and were taken out of service. The PFAS detections were found to be similar to other Midwest states. “Completion of this sampling exercise marks a significant step in our goal to establish state-specific drinking water standards for PFAS in Illinois,” said Director John J. Kim.


Paper finds green jobs growth underestimated in the United States

Jobs generated by the U.S. green economy have increased from 1% of total jobs in 1970 to 6% in 2020 and are forecast to comprise 14% of jobs in 2030, according to an article published in Environment and Pollution by the Canadian Center of Science and Education. Author Roger H. Bezdek, president of Management Information Services, Inc. (Oakton, Va.), reports that from 1970-2030, jobs generated by the green economy in the United States are forecast to increase nearly 16 times as rapidly as total jobs—and job estimates are much larger than most sources indicate. The article notes that green jobs are defined much too narrowly and are at least three or four times larger than realized: “The significance of green jobs is not appreciated and this has serious economic, environmental, and policy implications that must be remedied.”


Westinghouse and Perma-Fix advance cost-effective nuclear materials management in Europe

Westinghouse Electric Company (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and Perma-Fix Environmental Services Inc. (Atlanta, Ga.) have signaled plans to develop an advanced materials treatment facility in the United Kingdom. Built at Westinghouse’s Springfields site, the facility would expand waste treatment capabilities for the European nuclear market. It is expected that Westinghouse would own 55% of the initiative and Perma-Fix the balance. The new facility would incorporate the Perma-Fix Bulk Processing Unit, a vessel designed to treat a wide range of radioactive materials. In the UK alone, there are over 5.1 million tons of total waste for treatment, including radioactive waste in storage and anticipated waste from decommissioning operations, according to Perma-Fix CEO Mark Duff.


Summit Water Resources joins Geo-Logic

Geo-Logic Associates (GLA, Ontario, Calif.) announced its newest wholly owned subsidiary, Summit Water Resources, LLC (SWR, Portland, Ore.), a groundwater supply and water resource management consultancy. Summit Water has expertise in aquifer storage and recovery investigations, testing, planning and operations, and water rights consulting in the Pacific Northwest. The company primarily supports Oregon municipalities, agricultural and industrial clients, and engineering and law firms requiring specialized water resource expertise. The newly formed company expands GLA’s geographic footprint in the Northwest. Founded in 1991, GLA is an employee owned environmental, civil and geotechnical engineering consulting firm.


Flashfood raises investment to preempt food waste

Flashfood (Toronto, Canada), a mobile marketplace providing customers access to heavily discounted food nearing its best-by date, announced $12.3 million in Series A funding led by S2G Ventures. Funding will support Flashfood’s U.S. expansion. The Flashfood app connects shoppers with grocery items nearing their “best-by” date, offering a discount of up to 50%. Food wasted by the retail sector in the United States represents $37 billion a year in lost value due to the volume of food reaching its best-by date before grocery stores have a chance to sell it. So far, Flashfood has diverted more than 33 million pounds of food from landfills through partnerships with grocery stores throughout the United States and Canada.


Wind turbine installations reach record capacity in 2021

The global market for wind turbines reached a record capacity of 97.5 gigawatts (GW) installed in 2021, up from 92.7 GW in 2020, according to preliminary statistics published by World Wind Energy Assn. (WWEA). Total capacity of all wind turbines worldwide has now exceeded 840 GW—enough to meet more than 7% of global power demand. China installed 55.8 GW in 2021, up 19%, and now has 344 GW of wind turbines countrywide, WWEA reported. The United States saw growth of 12.5 GW, although this was substantially less than in 2020 when almost 17 GW were added. Installed wind power capacity in the United States is now close to 135 GW. Brazil turned out to be the world’s third largest market for new wind turbines, adding 3.4 GW in one year and growth of 18.6%.


Global cities fail to meet latest WHO air quality guideline

According to the 2021 World Air Quality Report by IQAir (Goldach, Switzerland), only 3% of cities and no single country met the latest World Health Organization’s (WHO) PM2.5 annual air quality guideline. The report analyzes PM2.5 air pollution measurements from monitoring stations in 6,475 cities in 117 countries and regions. Fine particle pollution (PM2.5) contributes to millions of premature deaths every year. Out of 1,588 European cities, only 55 met the WHO PM2.5 guideline. In the United States, average PM2.5 concentrations in cities rose from 9.6 µg/m3 in 2020 to 10.3 µg/m3 in 2021. Los Angeles was the most polluted U.S. city despite seeing an overall decrease in PM2.5 pollution of 6%. Air quality in China continued to improve in 2021 with more than half of its cities seeing lower levels of air pollution compared to the previous year, while Beijing continued a nine-year trend of improved air quality. The top five most polluted countries in 2021 were Bangladesh, Chad, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and India.


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