ISTC News Highlights

Highlights from the 2019 Emerging Contaminants in the Environment Conference

The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center and Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant co-hosted the 2019 Emerging Contaminants Conference (ECEC19) on May 21-22 in Champaign, IL. The fourth annual conference featured presentations on the latest in emerging contaminant research, policies, and outreach strategies.

This year’s conference focused on a variety of pollutants in water, soil, and air ranging from pharmaceuticals, viruses, algal toxins and endocrine disruptors to pesticides, flame retardant chemicals, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), and microplastics.


Microplastic contamination found in common source of groundwater, researchers report

by Lois Yoksoulian - Physical Sciences Editor of U of I News Bureau

Photo by Fred Zwicky

Microplastics contaminate the world's surface waters, yet scientists have only just begun to explore their presence in groundwater systems. A new study is the first to report microplastics in fractured limestone aquifers – a groundwater source that accounts for 25 percent of the global drinking water supply.


Team converts wet biological waste to diesel-compatible fuel

by Diana Yates - Life Science Editor of U of I News Bureau

Photo by L. Brian Stauffer

In a step toward producing renewable engine fuels that are compatible with existing diesel fuel infrastructure, researchers report they can convert wet biowaste, such as swine manure and food scraps, into a fuel that can be blended with diesel and that shares diesel’s combustion efficiency and emissions profile.


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Elizabeth Meschewski is a Senior Scientific Specialist with ISTC’s Sponsored Research, Public Engagement, and Communications team. She joined ISTC in 2011 as a research assistant in the ARIES group. Beth communicates ISTC’s research and technical assistance activities by creating displays, posters, and website content. She  coordinates ISTC’s Sponsored Research Program, which is funded by the …
Plastic pollution has become recognized as a major environmental challenge, particularly in oceans. Recent evidence also shows that plastics are also present in freshwater ecosystems, including the Great Lakes. This not only affects human health and aquatic ecosystems, but also provides another pathway for plastics to enter marine environments. A global initiative called the 100 …

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