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"Don’t Mess with These Sisters." That story and more in the latest edition of "This Week in Water"
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Nuns Set Up an Open-Air Chapel to Stop Pipeline

An Oklahoma-based company that is planning to build a natural gas pipeline in Pennsylvania has run into some unexpected opposition: Nuns. A group of Catholic sisters has set up an open-air chapel complete with pews and an altar directly in the path of the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline which is planned to cross the land they own. The order, known as Adorers of the Blood of Christ, has a land ethic that says the Earth is a sanctuary and they are going to work to protect it, according to a spokesperson from the group Lancaster Against Pipelines.

Rewire reports that last Sunday more than 300 people attended a meeting called “Stand with the Sisters” at the outdoor chapel. The nuns have refused to sign a lease so the company is taking them to court in an effort to seize the land through eminent domain. A hearing is scheduled July 17th. The proposed pipeline is 183 miles long and costs $3 billion. Environmentalists fear that any leak could damage the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Duke Energy Seeks Rate Increase for Costs of Pollution It May Have Caused

Duke Energy in North Carolina is seeking a rate increase to clean up pollution that it allegedly caused. The company is the largest generator of electricity in the country, and wants its customers to pay on average 15% more part of which will help cover costs to clean up coal ash waste. State regulators and environmentalists say that Duke has allowed coal ash to pollute rivers and drinking water wells.

The ash comes from burning coal and is laced with many toxic chemicals. The Associated Press reports that in 2014 the company was forced to address how it disposes of the byproduct after an accident at a waste pit coated miles of the Dan River with gray sludge. One homeowner, who has been forced to drink bottled water since chemicals appeared in his neighborhood, likened the situation to a septic company spilling sewage all over his property and sending him a bill to clean it up.

Duke Power denies that it has polluted waters, and it was successful last year in passing the cost of clean-up to rate payers in South Carolina. The company says that clean-up is part of the cost of generating electricity. But, Dona Lisenby of Waterkeeper Alliance told EcoWatch that working families struggling to make ends meet should not be forced to pay for Duke’s negligent management of leaking coal ash ponds.

Underwater Noise Reduction Project Undertaken Hopes to Help Whales

It may be the first project in the world of its scale–that’s what they’re calling a program to assess how noise reduction from ships may help killer whales in waters near Vancouver, British Columbia. More than 30 maritime companies–like Carnival and Celebrity cruise lines, and Maersk shipping—will voluntarily slow their ships when moving toward the Haro Straight, to see if it will help killer whales. The sounds from ship propellers are thought to interfere with the whales’ ability to hunt, navigate and socialize. The slowing will lessen noise underwater.

The shipping industry has worked with the Port of Vancouver for about a year to gain industry support for the speed reduction to 12 miles per hour, now set to occur for two months beginning in early August. Orla Robinson, who is manager of the program, told the Vancouver Sun that they are trying to understand the relationship between slower vessel speeds, underwater noise levels and the effects on the whales. They will also see how the speed reduction affects the companies’ finances and operations. A representative of the Vancouver Aquarium said the underwater noise is one of the principal threats to killer whales who take up summer residence near Vancouver.

Massive Iceberg Calves off Antarctica–May Not Be Due to Global Warming

It contains twice as much water as used in the United States every year. That’s the size of the iceberg that broke off the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica last week. The berg, may itself break apart, but could also drift into the south Atlantic Ocean. It is not expected to pose any risk to any shipping. It is not clear that the break off was due to global warming. Scientific American reports that the calving of the berg does not signal a change in Antarctica and it is not in the same warming conditions that are occurring at the other pole in the Arctic.

Dan McGrath, a glaciologist at Colorado State University said that the Antarctic Peninsula is the most rapidly warming region on the continent, but that calving is natural; however, he added it was also concerning. Still, climate change cannot be ruled out as a cause of the calving of the Delaware-sized iceberg.

You’d Be Better Off Drinking Straight from Your Dog’s Water Bowl

TreadmillReviews3 And finally, if you were really, really thirsty would you slurp out of your dog’s water dish? Well, if you don’t wash your water bottle every day, it’s probably worse than if you drank straight from Fido’s bowl. That’s according to research conducted by the team at Treadmill Reviews. They swabbed a dozen water bottles used by athletes that hadn’t been washed in a week and sent samples to an independent lab for testing.

They found that water bottles carried, on average, more than 300,000 colony-forming units of bacteria per square centimeter. That’s roughly six times the amount found on pet bowls—and just slightly fewer than on a toothbrush sitting unwashed near a toilet. They tested different kinds of bottles, too. Bottles with squeeze tops, slide tops, screw tops, and straws. Slide tops were the worst—and a bit surprisingly—bottles with straws fared the best. That may be because water drips to the bottom of the straw rather than sticking around to attract moisture-loving germs. However, those bottles had only slightly less bacteria than the average home toilet seat. Not all the germs were bad, but some were the kind that can cause skin infections, pneumonia, or blood poisoning.

So what to do? They’re not recommending that you toss your container or switch to bottled water, which would just add to the landfills and deplete groundwater resources. Instead, just be sure to wash your bottle every day. And in choosing one, stainless steel bottles are naturally anti-bacterial and don't develop germ-harboring cracks.

Until next time, stay hydrated my friends.

How to Clean Your Reusable Water Bottle from Shape magazine

A Look Under the Cap: Water Bottle Germs Revealed by TreadmillReviews.net

Music Credits: The Fixer, Funkygroove  | Qin, Dr.Guonake  | Jah Moon, Sun Ska Riddim Originale  |  Scott Holmes, Cat and Mouse  |  Grégoire Lourme, Rain  |  Creative Commons

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