Sludge Eaters.

first_img Photo:UGA CAES Earthworms eat and convert sludge into a more environmentally safe product. Earthworms have a healthy appetite. If you get enough of themtogether and don’t disturb them, scientists say they can safely,quietly dispose of many forms of waste.Vermiculture is a composting system that uses worms to processorganic waste, said Sid Thompson, a professor of engineering withthe University of Georgia College of Agricultural and EnvironmentalSciences.The process could be a viable alternative, he said, for currentwaste-management practices that continue to grow more expensiveand impractical as the world’s population expands.Goes in Bad, Comes Out Good The earthworms don’t have to be trained for vermiculture or doanything unusual. They just do what comes naturally: eat. As theworms eat organic materials, such as sludge from wastewater treatmentplants, they excrete it as castings. Worm castings, which look much like freeze-dried coffee crystals,make good fertilizer for plants. They also improve the waterand nutrient-holding capacity of the soil. “Castings are more microbially active,” Thompson said.”The nutrients are more available to plants.”The worms get rid of the harmful waste and in return provide amuch nicer product that’s not as smelly. Not only are the castingseasy on the environment, they can catch a good price as well.Castings are advertised on the Internet for as much as $4.25 perpound.Cities around the world are looking to vermiculture to combatwaste problems, Thompson said. Vermiculture in India, one of themost heavily populated places in the world, gets rid of as muchas 30 tons of waste a day.Thompson said vermiculture could work for Georgia, too. To beviable on a large scale, though, it must be proven economicallyfeasible.Worms take to sludge like mice to cheese. In fact, one worm caneat its weight in sludge every day. One pound of worms can eatand process one pound of sludge.However, a large land area would be needed for the worms to processlarge amounts of sludge, said Jason Governo, a graduate studentworking closely with Thompson’s research.A Pound of Worms Can Tell You More Most vermiculture research uses only one or two worms in smalllaboratory settings. Thompson and Governo are using pounds ofworms in their research.Their studies show that only 3 to 4 inches of sludge can be placedonto the worms at any one time, Governo said. With such a thinlayer, it would take too much land and wouldn’t be economicallyfeasible for Georgia.But Thompson said the land problem could be solved simply. Heproposes placing the sludge and the worms in trays and then stackingthose trays in a tall structure. “There are ways this canbe done for waste in the state,” he said.Thompson said worms can convert a range of organic material, aslong as the material is presented in an acceptable form.Georgia is one of the leading poultry producers in the world.It’s also one of the leading producers of manure from layer hens,the birds that lay eggs. Large quantities of this manure can strainthe environment.Worms, Thompson said, could convert layer manure into a more environmentallyacceptable product. However, the natural high salt and ammoniacontent found in layer manure dries up and kills the worms.Vermiculture could be the answer to the large volume of chickenlitter produced in Georgia, he said. Scientists just have to findthe right way to present it to the worms.last_img read more

North Sumatra University on lockdown after lecturers test positive for COVID-19

first_imgUSU’s board of trustees and academic senate suggested closing the university from July 27 to Aug. 2.Read also: Fears of new COVID-19 cluster at North Sumatra University as rector tests positive“During the lockdown, all lecturers and staff must work from home and participate in free swab testing at USU Hospital. This must be done to curb the spread of the virus at the university,” Runtung told The Jakarta Post on Friday.USU spokesperson Elvi Sumanti said the university had imposed strict health protocols, including routine disinfection and assigning different shifts for those working on campus. It also required all staff aged 45 and older to work from home.“We’ve done our best to anticipate the contagion, yet there are still lecturers who have been exposed to the virus. These developments were out of our hands,” Elvi said.According to the government’s official data, there were 3,320 confirmed COVID-19 cases in North Sumatra as of Friday, with 172 deaths and 879 recoveries. (aly)Topics : North Sumatra University (USU) in Medan will suspend all activities for a week starting July 27 after five lecturers tested positive for COVID-19, while one of them has died from the coronavirus disease.USU rector Runtung Sitepu said the late lecturer, identified as MHKS, taught at the School of Engineering’s industrial engineering department.The four other lecturers who tested positive for the virus were Runtung himself, vice rector Rosmayati and board of trustees member Darma Bakti. They are undergoing self-isolation.last_img read more

Leicester may have Premier League title advantage, admits Manuel Pellegrini

first_img Press Association The Chilean recognises City’s quest for the quadruple will see the games pile up. City eased into the FA Cup fifth round with Saturday’s 4-0 win at Aston Villa, having already reached the League Cup final and Champions League knock-out stages. Leicester have only 15 league games left and City will play 27 matches if they go all the way in every competition – more with FA Cup replays – a nd Pellegrini conceded Claudio Ranieri’s leaders, who they welcome to the Etihad on Saturday, may have the edge. “If you ask me if I want to be still in all four competitions, then the answer is yes, but if you are saying if it is easier when you play less games then maybe,” he said, ahead of Tuesday’s game at Sunderland, with City three points behind Leicester. “It’s a view about Leicester but I’m focusing more on my team. “(In the last six weeks) we’ve got to the final of one cup and we have progressed in the other. We could be top of the table after the next two games depending on how we play. So if we win the next two games it’s probably impossible to have been better.” Kelechi Iheanacho scored a hat-trick in Saturday’s victory and he is set to be included in Pellegrini’s Champions League squad ahead of Tuesday’s registration deadline. But the 19-year-old is likely to be dropped in favour of Sergio Aguero for City’s trip to the Stadium of Light, with David Silva also set to return. “Well, both of them are fit so probably (they will start). We have to decide,” added Pellegrini. Iheanacho, though, insisted he will be ready when called on. Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini has hinted Leicester have an advantage in the title race. He added: “I need to build confidence now in order to play and that’s what I’m working on. There’s no need for me to fear anything because I’m a professional footballer, but I need to build my confidence to play.” Saturday’s defeat, rounded off by Raheem Sterling’s goal, left bottom club Villa to focus on their survival bid. Boss Remi Garde is yet to make a signing ahead of Monday’s transfer deadline and a move for Hajduk Split goalkeeper Lovre Kalinic collapsed after an appeal over his work permit was rejected. But Garde remains hopeful they can revive the deal in the summer. “Hopefully, yes,” he said. “It’s a disappointment because we thought that we could sign him. I have not too many details on that. I’ve got some details but it’s not for me to reveal it to tell you.” last_img read more

Fire blackens 150 hilly acres; teens arrested

first_imgLos Angeles Fire Department spokesman Ron Myers said firefighters relied heavily on water-dropping units because of the rough terrain. “It’s a steep (area) with heavy brush,” Myers said. Officials reiterated concerns about the severe fire danger, with Los Angeles on track to have the driest rainy season on record. [email protected] (818) 713-3329160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! UNIVERSAL CITY – Two Illinois teens surrendered Friday after allegedly touching off a wildfire that scorched the tinder-dry hills west of Griffith Park and spewed a column of smoke that could be seen for miles. About 300 firefighters and seven water-dropping air units battled the blaze, which spread quickly from five to 150 acres near Barham Boulevard and Forest Lawn Drive, officials said. At an evening news conference, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said the blaze had been deliberately set. “They’ve admitted that they started this fire,” Villaraigosa said of the 16- and 17-year-old boys, who turned themselves in to Burbank police and were later taken to the LAPD’s Hollywood station. No other details about the boys were available. Firefighters responded about 1 p.m. to a call at the Oakwood Toluca Hills Apartment Complex in the 3600 block of North Barham Boulevard. The fire was dangerously close to the facility, known for housing out-of-town actors looking for their big break in Hollywood. “It’s something you don’t want to see in your backyard, that’s for sure,” said actor and apartment resident Travis Caldwell, 18. “It was nuts. It started so small and it just raced right up the hill.” There were some anxious moments as flames threatened Warner Bros. Studios and the landmark Hollywood sign, but no structural damage was reported. One firefighter suffered a minor injury, officials said. last_img read more