Water Pasteurization



Today sustainable technology is constantly being developed that use less energy while still allowing us to maintain our current practices and habits.  Pasteurization Technology Group has developed a system that creates sustainable electricity, and in the process purifies water on a large scale. The system uses water pasteurization techniques which essentially heats the water to the point of purification for non potable water standards.  The system could potentially make water treatment plants self sufficient in terms of electricity, and also treat water in a non-toxic, low energy manner.


Most Americans are privileged to be able to flush the toilet or take a shower, and not think about where that dirty water is going. The water is treated at a wastewater treatment pcontent-area-4.jpglant  and after is released into a body of water. This process requires copious amounts of energy; the water sector in California uses around 29% of total electricity consumed in the state (Scheer
&Moss) Water treatment also can be quite dangerous given the chemicals that are often added to cleaChlorine-Danger-Sign.jpgn the water. Often the water that is released back into large bodies of water is treated with chlorine that can be hazardous to the environment and contains harmful chlorinated byproducts.

Other industries such as craft breweries, beverage operations, and food processing/manufacturing plants all produce large amounts of wastewater that must be treated. Some breweries have an onsite, pre waste water treatment system that cleans some of the water before it is then transferred to a wastewater treatment plant. Others have onsite treatment where they can then Sustainability_Aerobic_Waste_Water_Basin-002.jpgdirectly release the water into a waterway (Geoffrey Simate) These operations often have high energy demands, waste quite a large amount of water and are financially costly- the wastewater treatment system at Russian River Brewery Co. costing around 100,000 dollars (Gribbins). The owner of this brewery mentions, “If your wastewater is not operable, your brewery is not operable” (Gribbins).  Similar waste water treatment conditions apply in other beverage, agricultural and food processing industries as well. Picture Above shows Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River Brewery testing his onsite wastewater treatment plant.


In efforts to reduce some of the issues surrounding waste water treatment, Pasteurization Technology Group has developed technology that allows users  to reuse some of the non-potable water, and reduce risks to the  the environment or the onsite employees.The process works via cogeneration, which is the simultaneous production of electricity and heat from a single fuel source in a unified system. To start at biotechnology-in-industrial-waste-water-treatment-12-638.jpgthe beginning, treatment plants require water to enter a vat filled with microorganisms that breakdown organic material in the absence of oxygen (Sinicropi). As a result they produce biogas that can be used for energy production. Often the gas at treatment plants is left alone and rarely put to use, but with wastewater pasteurization, it is the first ingredient needed for a self reliant, sustainable system. The gas is added to a
generator which produces electricity. Rather than be directly emitted into the atmosphere, the hot exhaust created as a result of electricity production directly transfers its heat to a current of water in the process of disinfection. The current nature of the water is essential for the heat to increase the water enough to kill off unwanted microbes within.  Wastewater enters the unit at around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The water then enters the Preheater unit and is warmed due to the energy transfer from the hot disinfected waScreen Shot 2016-04-08 at 12.28.59 AM.pngter to the dirty water. The preheated water is then hot enough to only need a 3 degree temperature improvement to reach 200 degrees Fahrenheit, which it receives from the direct heat energy of the exhaust from the electricity generator. The now treated water then travels parallel to the current it once was in, and transfers its heat energy to preheat the new untreated water. The heat energy transfer causes the treated water to cool down to levels appropriate for reuse or release into oceans, lakes or streams. (Past paragraph originated from Pasteurization Technology Group.) Here is an informative video that explains the process better than I did. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6sKLG76nI0U


As previously mentioned, this system offers environmental, safety and financial benefits to waste water treatment plants and other food or drink processing industries. The renewable energy genPasteurization-Technology-Group-system.jpg.650x0_q70_crop-smart.jpgeration has a low carbon footprint, the system has an 80% energy efficiency and the company claims there is more than a 50% reduction in power generation costs (Pasteurization Technology Group).  The system is an alternative to adding chlorine, or treating the water with UV rays- a process that is both expensive and requires high amounts of energy. Food and beverage processing industries would not have to pay the costly sewage fees, as they could release the water onsite. The system allows the water to easily be reused foCheese-processing-small.jpgr non-potable purposes, including onsite cleaning cooling and landscaping (Pasteurization Technology Group). The reuse of water could save significant water with no expense to the companies.



The technology is currently installed in the Ventura, CA and Graton, CA water treatment plants, and aKaterva-Winner-Badge-227-x-72.pngs they receive more funding they are looking to expand. The group won 5 award across environmental and science organizations for theiArtemis-Logo-135-x-136.jpgr innovative system, and have been the topic of interest on news channels across the Bay Area. The technology has potential for widespread use across the nation, and now they need time, publicity and funding in order to accomplish their vision.


Pasteurization Technology Group offers an effective and more sustainable alternative to processes in the wastewater treatment system, and allows the system to stay the same while having financial benefits over time. Residential homes and companies can still carelessly waste water down the drain, and production manufactures can still maintain their large scale production yields. This system does not disrupt America’s water habits or sewage system, nor the capitalist endeavors of manufacturing industries. This seems like a near perfect Beer-Bottles-small.jpgsolution to part of a dire issue of climate change , but requires more thought than what’s on the surface. Though Co2 emission would be greatly reduced, some would still be emitted into the air. If there is not enough biogas produced onsite, then operations would need to purchase natural gas and therefore suport the fracking companies.We are still supporting industrial factories that are not conducive.  to creating a green plant.

Ideally our water filtration system ought to mimic wetland filtration in nature. Wetlands are natures water treatment plants, as when water run off enters wetlands before entering large bodies of watewetland_whiteborder.jpgr, the wetlands act by “trapping sediments and retaining excess nutrients and other pollutants such as heavy metals”(Department of Ecology). Obviously the wetlands require no human created energy to be used, which is different from even the Pasturization Technology Group’s current system. There are however, smaller scale wastewater purification systems that filter water at the same location in which it was made dirty, and incorporates a constructed wetland within the filtration process.  These systems are being installed in residential buildings, and small ecology sites as well. The eco center at Herons Head Park in the San Francisco Bay Area has developed quite an impressive water filtration system. The system has developIMG_2217.JPGed a scaled down wetland, an small scale purification system that allows them to turn wastewater into drinking water. (Filtration system shown on the right) In order to have a chance in beating our past climate mistakes, we as a nation must learn to decentralize and move away from our past industrial ways. Of course this is asking quite a lot and maybe systems like water pasteurization are currently the only reasonable and practical solutions.These  small scale filtration systems  are also costly and require maintenance which deters the spread and popularity of these systems. However,   If smaller scale operations similar to the one at Herons Head were built throughout the US where we could live almost completely off the grid,  and filter our own wastewater to drinking water the amount of water and electricity we would save would be frankly inconceivable. Learn about the amazing Eco Center and Herons Head here. http://sfport.com/ecocenter-herons-head-park 


Roddy Scheer, Doug Moss Water Treatment Systems Consume Much Energy


(Accessed 7/4/16)
Pasteurization Technology Group Alternative to Chlorine and UV

Alternative to Chlorine and UV

(Accessed 7/4/16)
Geoffrey Simate. 2011.The treatment of brewery wastewater for reuse: State of the art, Desalinzation  273(3) doi:10.1016/j.desal.2011.02.035 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0011916411001615
Keith Gribbins The growing challenges of brewery wastewater systems.


(Accessed 7/4/16)
Patricia Sinicropi, Biogas Production at Wastewater Treatment Facilities

Department of Ecology Functions of Wetlands http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/sea/wetlands/functions.html




Alternative to Chlorine and UV








Pandemics: Then v. Now



There is a reason pandemics are considered a factor of mass extinctions as they can kill off species at alarming rates.  One of the most notable pandemics in human history is the Black Death in 14th century Europe. Although the plague did not result in a global human extinction, it did threaten human populations of Europe. The disease can be cured with modern antibiotics, but with the rise of deadly bacteria becoming resistant to treatment, our society could be as helpless as we once were 500 years ago. With the ease of global transmission due to modern day practices of the Anthropocene and rapid global climate changes, we face the possibility of a pandemic causing a mass extinction.

The Black Death

In October of 1347, The Black Death first arrived in Europe via trade ships returning from Asia. To the horror of those greeting the returned, almost everyone on the ship was de
796_orig.jpgad or quite close to it (History.com Staff). The cause? Infected rats that acted as stowaways on the ship. The rats served as vectors which were immune to the Yesinia Pestis (the bacteria), but still had the ability to transfer the bacteria to different organisms. Flees on the ship bit the rats, and ingested the bacteria which in turn caused them to lose their ability to plague-doctor.jpgswallow. Once an inflicted flee bit a human, they threw up the contaminated rats blood, which therefore infected the human with the plague (History.com Staff). Once a human became infected, their future was not bright; their lymph nodes swelled and suffered through intense flu like symptoms, and in a matter of days, the illness usually resulted in death. The disease is highly contagious, and the animal vectors furthered the spread throughout Europe via trade ships. Poor sanitary conditions and overpopulation in cities contributed to the spread of the disease. In just 5 years, over 20 million people died which amounted to a drop in almost 2/3rds of the European population (History.com Staff).

The Great (antibiotic) Acceleration

antibioticchart.gifLuckily today, modern antibiotics can cure a person of the plague. Antibiotics have not only beat the Black Plague, but have also cured hundreds of other bacterial infections. Although antibiotics are extremely beneficial, there has been a widespread miss-use of this treatment. Whether it be from doctors prescribing antibiotics before test results are revealed for the cause of illness, or people using antibiotics from a previous prescription incorrectly, antibiotics are being highly misused Screen Shot 2016-04-01 at 4.46.18 AM.png(CDC).  Humans are not the only ones incorrectly consuming antibiotics. Livestock for food production are commonly given antibiotics to prevent infection from crowded living environments and incorrect diets.

Today just about 80 percent of antibiotic use is for livestock. (Helena Bottemiller). With the utter misuse of antibiotics, bacteria are mutating to become highly resistant to antibiotic treatment. Antibiotics destroy bacteria, but there can often be some bacteria that are naturally resistant to treatment due to mutations. When antibiotics kill majority of the bacteria, they are inherently reducing competition for the resistant bacteria, allowing them to multiply and grow. Resistant bAMR-map-660x445.jpgacteria can then copy and transfer its DNA that codes for resistance to other bacteria via coagulation.  Today, antibiotic resistant bacteria are a growing threat, as diseases are mutating to resist treatment. This is entirely a result of the human misuse of antibiotics. Diseases like Tuberculosis, MRSA, Gonorrhea, Salmonella and many more have developed strains that are resistant to antibiotics. Some of these superbugs are highly deadly as of last year over 700,000 people died from antibiotic resistant bacteria (Maryn Mckenna). The number of diseases gaining resistance to bacteria is growing each year, as are the number of cases.

The plague still exists today in over 10 countries throughout the world. Most deaths have occurred in Africa, as in certain regions there is not proper access to health care. Recently a segment of DNA that helps bacteria become resistant in meat has also been located in Yersinia Pestis. (Public Library of Science) Although researchers only recorded one case in Madagascar as being resistant to antibiotics, this finding indicates the definite possibility of the bacteria in meats to easily copy and transfer its DNA to the Yersinia Pestis. We could potentially have another global outbreak of the plague-and this time we would have no means of stopping it.

Anthropogenic Effects on Pandemics

In the 14th century the plague was confined to mostly Europe, with some deaths also occurring in Asia. Today, if there was a substantial outbreak of the plague or something similar, the current practices of the Anthropocene would couldWorld-airline-routemap-2009-2.png in a global pandemic. For the purpose of this topic, I am marking the start of the Anthropocene with the rise of the Great Acceleration in the 1950’s, when human activity surged exponentially and earth’s systems went through drastic transformations.  Practices such as global transportation, tourism, urbanization and habits that lead to an increase of Co2 levels, create suitable conditions for a global spread of disease.

The first two prevalent anthropological human practices to discuss related to pathogen spread are global air transport and tourism.  Both freight transport and human transport via air travel have increased dramatically in the last 50 years. In 2012 the number of people riding airplanes has increased 10 fold since 1950, from 31 million to 3,000 million (Supriya Kumar). The average flight length doubled since 1950, representing the increase in international flights. Freight transport has increased as well, with a 71% increase from 2001 to 2007(Supriya Kumar). All of this is to say the increase in flight travel makes it much simpler for  a pathogen or vector to travel from one continent to the next, as they can do so in a matter of hours. Thousands of international flights take off daily, making the international spread of an outbreak highly likely given the amount of air traffic each day.

Similar trends are found in international tourism. Through the graph on the side, it is revealed that international tourism didn’t truly start until The Great Acceleration.  Since then there has been an explosive increase in tourism, from less than a million arrivals in 1950 to just under 1,000 in2010. Tourists tend toScreen Shot 2016-04-01 at 3.18.51 AM.png meddle in natural habitats as such with the bat example in Kolbert. International tourists bring microbes that humans and animals alike may not have immunity to in that given region. Tourists can easily bring new bacteria or viruses to a country where the organisms are not immune to them, which could play a role in a mass extinction.

Urbanization is one of the most significant changes since the start of the Anthropocene. Urban populations have soared since the start of the Anthropocene, with less than a billion people in 1950, to around 3.5 billion in 2010.  “In About 2008 humanity passed a historic milestone: over 50% of the global population now live in urban areas” (Will StefScreen Shot 2016-04-01 at 3.33.42 AM.pngfen et al). Although people have have better access to health care by living in urban areas, antibiotic resistant diseases would have the ability to jump from person to person extremely easily, due to dense populations in urban areas. Public transportation, crowded streets, night clubs, schools etc. are all examples of people that interact in close proximity enough to rapidly spread an outbreak.

Human activities, as we have extensively discussed in class, have drastically raised green house gas emissions in the atmosphere. The increase of these gasses have caused a global temperature increase. The warmer climate brings along a host of consequences, one of them being mScreen Shot 2016-04-01 at 4.34.09 AM.pngosquitos are moving north as a result of the temperature increase. (James Holland) With them many mosquitos are brining a multitude of blood born diseases including Dengue fever, Malaria, and Zika. These diseases are spreading to northern climates and inflicting people throughout the southern US. For Malaria, the developmental time for Plasmodium, or the Malaria paraimgres.jpgsite shortens with warmer weather. (James Holland) This makes it easier for mosquitos to transfer the disease to other organisms or people in higher latitudes.


Given the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria and the increase in globalization, a global pandemic causing a mass extinction in multiple species is not a far fetched idea. If a mass extinction were to happen, temperatures could very likely drop due to the increase in vegetation after we have left. One bacteria could potentially cause another iLxePz2v.jpgce age. Although our healthcare has greatly improved in the last century, there are some diseases scientists would not be able to stop in time if there were to be a large outbreak.  However, we can take preventative measures by being responsible antibiotic users, reducing green house gas emissions, and even washing our hands multiple times a day.




Black Death. http://www.history.com/topics/black-death (accessed March 31st, 2016)

Helena Bottemiller, Most U.S. Antibiotics Go to Animal Agriculture http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/02/fda-confirms-80-percent-of-antibiotics-used-in-animal-ag/#.Vv4VZRMrK9s (accessed March 31st, 2016)

Maryn Mckenna, The Coming Cost of Superbugs: 10 Million Deaths Per Year http://www.wired.com/2014/12/oneill-rpt-amr/ (accessed March 31st, 2016)

Alliance For the Prudent Use of Antibiotics General Background: About Antibiotic Resistance http://emerald.tufts.edu/med/apua/about_issue/about_antibioticres.shtml (accessed March 31st, 2016)

Public Library of Science. Will The Plague Pathogen Become Resistant To Antibiotics? https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070321092751.htm

(accessed March 31st, 2016)

James Holland Jones Emerging Infectious Disease in the Anthropocene http://web.stanford.edu/group/anthropocene/cgi-bin/wordpress/emerging-infectious-disease-in-the-anthropocene/ (accessed March 31st, 2016)

Supriya Kumar Air Transport Keeps Expanding http://www.worldwatch.org/global-air-transport-continues-expand (accessed March 31st, 2016)

Will Steffen, Wendy Broadgate, Lisa Deutsch, Owen Gaffney and Cornelia Ludwig, 2015 The trajectory of the Anthropocene: The Great Acceleration The Anthropocene Review. 1-18, DOI: 10.1177/205301961456478 anr.sagepub.com




The Triumph Of Death

Drought to affect feedlots