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Water institute offers BP water discharge solutions

George Nnanna speaks on PUC Water Institute

By Shubham Harnal
On January 20, 2008

George Nnanna, of the PUC Water Institute, said he shared the concern of attendees to "Project Update" on Wednesday about British Petroleum's increased water discharge into Lake Michigan.

Nnanna, the interim director of the Water Institute, made a presentation in the Conference Center on "Emerging Technologies and Approaches to Minimize Discharges into Lake Michigan" to a crowd of representatives o f local environmental groups, concerned faculty and students.

He shared information on the team's progress, current challenges and future plans to help BP of Whiting face the technological challenge of balancing growth with environmental responsibility and compliance with regulatory legislation aimed at protecting the Great Lakes.

The event was termed as a community briefing, a part of various efforts underway by experts from PUC and Argonne National Laboratory, in response to an uproar from the region's people against BP's Whiting refinery expansion.

Last summer, BP announced a $3.8 billion expansion of its Whiting refinery to process more Canadian crude oil in order to meet the growing oil demand. Since this would also imply more discharges into Lake Michigan, concerned groups came forward and demanded some action to ensure compliance with environmental standards.

In response, a collaborative project of the PUC Water Institute and Argonne National Laboratory was set up to identify emerging technologies that may be used to control discharges from refinery processes. The team consists of the experts who can help resolve the challenges being faced.

"This (effort) is one of the ways in which everyday science can help us and shows how scientists and engineers can make a difference,"said Norman Peterson, assistant to the director at Argonne Labs.

Another agenda of the event was to inform people about a website to keep people abreast with information regarding the project.

An open forum after the presentation invited attendees to question why the process was taking so long. Attendees were informed that unlike most research projects taking up to five years, this project is only for two years.

The team refused to comment on any political aspects of the issue, stating that theirs is merely a scientific group, responsible for technical pursuits only.

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