SRI International and Spyglass Technologies, Inc. have entered into an exclusive licensing agreement to commercialize SRI’s in situ membrane introduction mass spectrometry (MIMS) technology.
Gas Technology Institute (GTI), a leading research and development organization serving energy and environmental markets, and Spyglass Biosecurity, Inc. (Spyglass), a clean technology company specializing in delivering high-fidelity information on water quality via real-time sensor networks, have announced plans to jointly develop a new portable, automated water laboratory platform for monitoring biocorrosion and gas souring.
"It is with great disappointment that we have to cancel the swim for Sunday's Sprint and Olympic Distance races." This message came to me the day before I was scheduled to compete in the San Jose Metro Triathlon last month. The race director stated that they were canceling the swim because the water conditions did not meet the requirements needed to allow swimming by the State of California's Department of Health standards. The organizers of the race believed that this was the best course of action because they could not subject the athletes to water conditions that are potentially detrimental to public health.
With much of its 1 million miles of pipes reaching end of life, the mounting costs associated with the repair of the U.S. drinking water infrastructure needs to be countered with innovative solutions in funding and technology. This need was highlighted when the American Water Works Association delivered sobering news in the form of its report, Buried No Longer: Confronting America's Water Infrastructure Challenge. This report states that over the next 25 years the cost of repairing the existing infrastructure will reach upwards of $1 trillion dollars and this figure is only to maintain current levels of service. Other highlights from the report include:
As a company and as employees, we at Spyglass are often asked why create a company dedicated to water and the information about its quality. Aside from a significant business opportunity, we believe the quality of water affects the quality of lives—domestically and globally—in both the short and long term.
Recently, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) released a video from the July 2011 deployment of the Deep Environmental Sample Processor (Deep-ESP). The video was taken while the Deep-ESP was deployed at the ASHES hydrothermal field. The ESP version used in this deployment was designed to withstand the environmental challenges of a deep-ocean deployment (e.g., extreme temperatures and increased pressure). Prior to the development of the Deep-ESP, researchers relied on simple machines to retrieve samples from great depths. These samples were then transported back to a laboratory for analysis with results unknown for many weeks. With the Deep-ESP, the real-time, onsite analytic capabilites of the ESP are available in extreme ocean environments.
Spyglass participated in the February Beach Water Quality Workgroup (BWQW) meeting held in Alameda, CA. Initially formed by the State Water Resource Control Board (SWRCB) in 1998, the BWQW facilitates coordination of beach water quality related monitoring, pollution abatement, public education, and public notification efforts. The BWQW holds quarterly meetings in both Northern and Southern California locations.
This week’s blog concerns an article regarding how communities are struggling with the contamination of water by sewer overflows.
In addition to the visible blight of garbage strewn along shorelines, a hazard exists in the water that is also brought in with the untreated sewage: pathogenic bacteria such E. coli.
Many of these communities are host to beachgoers who contribute significantly to the local economies. Protecting public health is as important to the economy as maintaining the appearance of the shoreline. Until communities develop the physical infrastructure necessary to manage sewer overflows into recreational waters, water quality testing is a necessary measure each community must undertake to protect the health of the public and their economy. Adoption of rapid, molecular methods such as qPCR (quantitative polymerase chain reaction testing) can help public health entities minimize the effects of necessary beach closures by reducing exposure and by better defining the start and end times of the closure itself.
For more information on recreational water monitoring, see:
Natural Resources Defense Council – Testing the Waters 2011
Time-Revelant Beach and Recreational Water Quality Monitoring and Reporting
Last week several of the Spyglass team visited a pier-based deployment of an Environmental Sample Processor (ESP) system configured to monitor Enterococcus, an indicator of fecal contamination, and toxic algae in beach water. This joint research project conducted by MBARI and Stanford University is analyzing recreational ocean waters along the shoreline of Northern California. The ESP is installed on a deck below the municipal pier. This unit has a module installed that can conduct quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) tests on water samples. A protective housing protects the ESP electronics from salt air, high surf conditions, and visiting wildlife. The housing used by MBARI is the same one used for ocean deployment. (A lighter housing for strictly pier-based deployments is in development.) Although connected to onshore power, a battery backup ensures uninterrupted operation. Sample water is collected approximately 200 meters from shore and 2 meters from the sea floor. Collection and analysis occurs daily. Based on environmental conditions, the scientists at Stanford or MBARI can increase or decrease the sampling frequency. Test results are transmitted wirelessly to an onshore station. Preliminary data indicate that assays developed for recreational water analysis are effective. Spyglass is looking forward to the published results. For more information on this study, see: