‘Environmental’ Category

Sewer Drain Screen

Photo Credit: Alex Mead

Seen here are six screen units at an interceptor drain in Detroit, Michigan. These screens are used to clear debris from the water flowing through the drain in order to protect the pumps later on in the drain. The screens work by continuous rotating in a conveyer like motion to ensure that clean screen is always exposed to the flow. This continuous rotation ensures that the screens will never be blocked off plugging the flow of water which would cause damage to the screens.

Containment Booms

Photo Credit: Alex Mead

The orange and black floating objects are containment booms used to contain potential oil spills into the Rogue River in Michigan. Containment booms are used stop an oil slick from contacting the shore as well as concentrating the oil slick to one place. By concentrating the oil it becomes possible to use skimmers and vacuums to collect the oil and dispose of it properly.

Gas Burn Off

Photo Credit: Alex Mead

Pictured above is a flare, common to many industrial complexes around the world. The purpose of a flare is to burn off unwanted gases, such as methane, which could pose a threat of explosion if they were allowed to collect. The flare may seem like a waste of energy, but unfortunately it is not economical to actually capture this gas and use it. However, as fuel prices rise, this uneconomical gas is becoming viable and in turn being captured and used by many flare operators.

Silt Fence for Sediment Runoff Control

Photo Credit: Karl Jansen

This photo shows a silt fence in the process of being installed around the perimeter of a construction site. The purpose of a silt fence is to contain the fine silty material that is often agitated during construction activities and keep it from washing away. By keeping the silty material on site it effectively protects adjacent storm sewers and surface waters from contamination. A silt fence is composed of a synthetic fabric and secured in place by wooden stakes. This is a common method of erosion control used on a variety of projects.

Coal Power Plant

Photo Credit: Alex Mead

Seen here is a black and white picture of the B.C Cobb Generating Plant on Muskegon Lake in Muskegon, Michigan. B.C. Cobb is a 320 megawatt facility with a smoke stack over 600 feet tall. Western United States coal is the primary fuel burned at this facility, totaling a consumption of about one million tons of coal per year. The plant can also burn natural gas if it becomes economically viable. Power plants like this one are crucial to keeping the electric power grid energized 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Smoke Stack Plumes

Photo Credit: Alex Mead

Seen here is the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI) power plant. It is a natural gas fueled power plant that also provides process heating to the buildings of the Central campus for heating in the winter and absorption cooling in the summer. Many people are alarmed upon first seeing the large plumes of smoke coming from the smokestacks. However, these plumes of “smoke” are actually mostly water vapor and disappear quickly as the hot water vapor is absorbed into the cold winter air. In summer months the plumes are not visible as the water vapor is instantly absorbed into the air.

Coal Ash Impoundment Pond

Photo Credit: Nathan Shoemaker

Pictured above is a coal ash impoundment pond. Coal ash, a result from the combustion of coal in power-plants, is typically impounded in such ponds because the ash can be mixed with water into a slurry and pumped from the power-plant to the pond for extremely convenient handling. When deposited in the pond the ash will settle to the bottom and the water will be removed from the top and treated. Coal ash, classified as fly ash, bottom ash or boiler slag, depending on what part of the process the ash comes from is frequently disposed of in impoundment ponds. Exact disposal methods, however, are ultimately dependent on the state environmental code.

Fish Ladder

Photo Credit: Alex Mead

This is a fish ladder. It is used in conjunction with dams and weirs to allow migratory fish to pass around the main falls of the dam. It consists of small steps of waterfalls, one right after each other, so fish can make the jump from level to level getting up around the dam to continue their swim upstream. Without fish ladders many migratory fish couldn’t go up stream for spawning and the fish population would undoubtedly suffer.