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John O'Connor

Stream Biomonitoring

Posted by John O'Connor May 28, 2011

Missouri Stream.jpegMacroinvertebrates.jpeg

Pigs are interesting and seemingly rather cute. However, for their unfortunate role in transmitting diseases to those ignorant of the means for protecting themselves from pathogens, they earned a bad reputation early on. From Leviticus 11:7, the dietary laws of Judaism forbade the eating of pork in any form, condemning the pig as an unclean animal. The eating of pork is also prohibited in Islam, among Seventh-day Adventists, and in some other Christian denominations. Statistics aren’t available, but McDonald’s probably doesn’t sell many bacon cheeseburgers in the regions where these views are firmly held. (Fries with that?)


Still, it would seem pigs must be worth something. Each year, our porcine imports from Europe and the Orient are cultivated by the millions on nutritious U.S. feed (about 4 pounds of grain per pound of pig) until they weigh about 250 pounds. Pigs are culled after only six months and sold for about $150 per belly. (Actually, they are sold by the pound, e.g., $60 per hundredweight. This metric more accurately reflects what is really in store for today’s new, low-fat, genetically-manipulated porker.)


When one thinks about it, for all the care administered to the development of the young piglets in their computer-controlled incubators and communal macro-environments, one might conclude that a live six-month-old pig really doesn’t have any value. After all, it is not going to be lovingly cared for in a home (or yard) and taken for visits to the vet until it dies of old age. Instead, it is on its way to becoming someone’s lunch. Big chunks of it will be stored in someone’s freezer.


About a decade ago, we started learning something about pigs or, more precisely, their waste discharges when the intensity of their production resulted in problems and concerns for north central Missouri streams.


Thomas L. O’Connor and John T. O’Connor

Stream Biomonitoring Assesses the Impact of Large-Scale Livestock Production

      Water Engineering and Management, Vol. 146, No. 10, October, 1999.

John O'Connor

Methane in Ground Water

Posted by John O'Connor May 18, 2011

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C & EN has reported (Methane Fouls Well Water, May 16, 2011) the results of a study linking the hydraulic fracturing of organic-rich shale deposits to the contamination of residential well water supplies.


Although unrelated to the current controversy over fracking, some of the issues raised brought to mind the decades-long series of studies that have been conducted with respect to the treatment of methane-bearing ground water supplies in Illinois. A review of this work was presented in Water Engineering and Management in 1999.


Control of Water Quality Deterioration in Water Distribution Systems:

Part 1. Presence of Methane in Illinois Well Water Supplies

Part 2. Removal of Methane at Normal, Illinois

Part 3. Studies of Methane Removal by Aeration

Part 4. Alternatives for Removal of Microbial Nutrients

Water Engineering and Management, Vol. 146, Nos. 3-6, March-June, 1999.