A Closer Look
#105 March 2011 Newsletter

LMC Events - Activities - Presentations - Publications - Awards & Recognition - Grants & Contracts - AWRI In The News

AWRI Graduate Student travels to Haiti to study the effectiveness of biosand water treatment systems

AWRI graduate student, Andrew Sisson (advisor Dr. Richard Rediske), traveled to Haiti in March 2011 to study the performance of biosand water filters installed in rural villages and to evaluate the status of local water supplies. He is studying the field and laboratory performance of the biosand filter as part of his Master’s Thesis. Biosand filters are one of the most common treatment methods used in developing nations to reduce the impact of waterborne diseases. Their effectiveness is based on sand filtration and the activity of a biological layer at the surface of the filter. Andrew traveled to the Artibonite Valley, which is north of Port Au Prince and one of the sites of the recent Cholera outbreak. He set up a microbiology laboratory at the Hôpital Albert Schweitzer in Deschapelles and traveled with Dr. Peter Wampler (Geology) to 38 locations using biosand filters, with an average service time of 7 years. Water samples were collected and returned to the laboratory to measure the E. coli removal efficiency and to assess the quality of local water supplies. The rural villages get their water from springs, boreholes, and hand dug wells, which often are contaminated.

Andrew found that 23 of the 38 sites had biosand filters that were currently in use, and the average E. coli removal efficiency was 34%. Most of the filter failures were due to improper use or high levels of E. coli in the source water. Ten of the filters had 100% removal efficiency with source concentrations up to 584 cfu/100 ml. The water quality standards in Michigan for recreational contact and drinking water are 130 cfu/100 ml and <1 cfu 100 ml, respectively. The oldest filter evaluated was in service for 12 years and still had 100% removal efficiency. This filter was constructed from a 55 gallon drum and maintained by a hospital employee. Andrew’s results show a clear relationship between proper maintenance of the filter by the user and performance. Andrew presented some his preliminary data at the Thirsting to Serve-International Clean Water Conference at Calvin College on March 26, 2011. Funding for the project was provided by the Annis Water Resources Institute, Padnos International Center, and Center for Scholarly and Creative Excellence.

LMC Events

March 4
U.S. Congressman Bill Huizenga held a Dredging Workshop in the MPR

March 8 and 9
Science Advisory Board Review of AWRI

March 11
Dr. Drew Gronewold, Seminar Speaker in the MPR

March 14
GVSU Muskegon Group Quarterly Meeting

March 16
Muskegon County Leadership Meeting

March 23
All Things: Great Lakes-Patty Birkholz, Dir. of MDEQ’s Office of Great Lakes, in the MPR

March 25
Michigan Museum Association 2012 Annual Kick-off Meeting in the Bultema

March 28
West Michigan Symphony Board Strategic Planning in the MPR

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Activities

Bopi Biddanda assisted at the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics West Michigan Regional Competition for high school students at GVSU's Allendale Campus on March 16.

Bopi Biddanda was invited to present awards at the Award Ceremony for the Regional Science Olympiad at GVSU in Allendale on March 26.

John Koches and Rod Denning attended the Michigan Water Environment Association’s Michigan Watershed Summit on March 30.

Rick Rediske and Andrew Sisson, graduate student working with Rick, were part of a panel discussion on University Partnerships for the Thirsting to Serve Conference at Calvin College on March 26.

Carl Ruetz attended the Author Recognition event hosted by the GVSU University Libraries on March 21.

Al Steinman was a faculty panelist for Professionalism, Advancement, Communication, Engagement, Success, (PACES) at the DeVos campus on March 24. This event was hosted by the Graduate Studies office.

Al Steinman participated in a meeting of the Water Fellows in Lansing on March 25.

Al Steinman, John Koches, Jim McNair, Mark Luttenton, and Janet Vail attended Grants on the Grand on March 30.

Janet Vail, Amanda Syers, and Amanda Maycroft represented AWRI at the Torresen Marine Spring Thaw Open House on March 12. Over 300 people attended the event.

Janet Vail attended a retreat for the Groundswell project in Grand Rapids on March 15 and she was involved in the professional development planning meeting on March 24.

Janet Vail participated in a conference call meeting with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Outdoor Education Advisory group on March 29.

Matt Zuellig, graduate student working with Ryan Thum, accepted a PhD position at the University of Georgia in the Genetics Department. He will start August 16, 2011.

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Presentations

Mark Luttenton gave a presentation at the CLAS colloquium held on March 17.

Carl Ruetz was a guest lecturer for NRM 150, Introduction of Natural Resources, on March 21.

Al Steinman hosted Patty Birkholz, Director of the Office of the Great Lakes at AWRI on March 23rd. Director Birkholz spoke on “All Things Great Lakes” as part of Sustainability Week in Muskegon.

Ryan Thum presented to MDNRE’s Aquatic Nuisance Control group on March 14.

Jon VanderMolen presented “Evaluating the ecological effects of wind energy using an integrated assessment” at the Great Lakes Wind Collaborative’s State of the Science Workshop on the Ecological Effects of Wind in Indianapolis, Indiana on March 9. Co-authors were Dr. Erik Nordman, Dr. Paul Isely, and Claire Schoolmaster.

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Publications

Nadia Gillett and Al Steinman had a manuscript recently published:

Gillett, N. and A.D. Steinman. 2011. An analysis of long-term phytoplankton dynamics in Muskegon Lake, a Great Lakes Area of Concern. Journal of Great Lakes Research.

Garry Sanders, former graduate student working with Bopi Biddanda, had an article published:

Sanders, Jr. T. G., B. A. Biddanda, C. A. Stricker, S. C. Nold. 2011. Stable isotope analysis reveals benthic macroinvertebrate and fish communities linked to submerged groundwater vents in Lake Huron. AquaticBiology 12:1-11.

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Grants & Contracts

Bopi Biddanda had an NSF proposal funded for $21,000 titled EAGER: Genomic Insights into Microbial Mat Diversity and Proterozoic Geobiology.

Nicole Horne, graduate student working with Bopi Biddanda, received a Michigan Space Grant Consortium fellowship in the amount of $5,000.

Liz LaRue, graduate student working with Ryan Thum, won a $2000 competitive grant from the Midwest Aquatic Plant Management Society.

Liz LaRue also received a Michigan Space Grant Consortium fellowship in the amount of $5,000.

Amanda Syers received a Michigan Space Grant Consortium fellowship in the amount of $5,000. Janet Vail will be her project mentor.

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AWRI In The News

“Education Briefings”
Business Update Publication, March 2011, page 12
The article is about the research vessel D. J. Angus celebrating 25 years of service.

“Director of the Office of the Great Lakes Patty Birkholz speaks at Varnum’s Water Law Seminar”
www.varnumlaw.com, March 2, 2011
The Annis Water Resources Institute was co-host of this Water Law Seminar, with Varnum law firm.

“West Michigan harbor dredging set for this year, but future federal funding uncertain”
Muskegon Chronicle, March 4, 2011
Also published in Dredging Today.com on March 8, 2011

An event to discuss dredging occurred at the Lake Michigan Center and was hosted by U.S. Representative Bill Huizenga’s office.
“Proposal: reinforce the drains: water quality, runoff would be improved by $1 million project in Muskegon County”
Muskegon Chronicle, March 8, 2011
Al Steinman is quoted regarding Mona Lake and the proposed drainage project.

“Officials: Harbor dredging boosts GH area’s economy”
Grand Haven Tribune, March 16, 2011
An event to discuss dredging occurred at the Lake Michigan Center and was hosted by U. S. Representative Bill Huizenga’s office.

“West Michigan Symphony highlights collaborative ‘Sustainability’ effort with multimedia production”
Muskegon Chronicle, March 20, 2011
Grand Valley State University and Annis Water Resources Institute had a part in the production of this event.

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