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Conservationists tout Indiana's old mines and brownfields to develop renewable energy; Louisiana becomes 1st state to require the display of the Ten Commandments in public schools; Black Hills Visitor Center under new joint tribal, federal oversight; Judge set to rule on massive MT logging project.

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Former President Donald Trump says he loves Milwaukee, civil rights groups reject designated protest zones for the RNC convention and a New York Equal Rights Amendment is restored to the November ballot.

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Rural educators say they need support to teach kids social issues, rural businesses can suffer when dollar stores come to town, prairie states like South Dakota are getting help to protect grasslands and a Minnesota town claims the oldest rural Pride Festival.

Grant Helps Fund Green Wastewater Treatment

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016   

COLD SPRING HARBOR, N.Y. – Grant money and matching funds totaling almost $260,000 will fund a demonstration project using plant life to treat waste water on Long Island. The project is designed to show that a natural alternative to traditional waste treatment in cesspools can effectively remove chemicals, pathogens and nitrogen from wastewater.

Christopher Clapp, a marine scientist on Long Island with The Nature Conservancy, said the project, to be constructed in Cold Spring Harbor, will start by measuring the pollutants flowing into the watershed right now.

"After the system gets installed we will be continuing to track and monitor a whole fleet of pollutants including pharmaceuticals and personal care products, organic compounds that might be used in cleaning," he explained.

The project is one of 25 being funded this year by the Long Island Futures Fund, a program of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

The project also is expected to reduce nitrogen pollution by at least 90 percent. Fertilizer runoff from farms and lawns once was thought to be the major source of nitrogen. But, according to Clapp, research now shows that most comes from residential waste.

"We had been understating the importance of septic systems to the nitrogen load," he said. "In many water bodies contributing to Long Island Sound that's where 75 percent of the nitrogen is coming from."

Nitrogen pollution can cause algal blooms in Long Island Sound that destroy fish habitat and cause shellfish like scallops, mussels and clams to become toxic to humans.

Clapp pointed out that, compared to other wastewater treatment systems, the project represents an alternative that is natural, efficient and economical.

"Created wetland systems are a tool that people have been using for a long time to treat wastewater, so we felt it best to try and bring one of those here to one of our facilities," he added.

Construction of the project is slated to begin in late spring next year.


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