List of articles from – 6/2023

Possibilities of wastewater treatment using an experimental device for physical action by an electrostatic field with a focus on pharmaceuticals

As a result of climate change and the world´s population growth, ensuring sufficient amount of water is expected to be an increasing problem. There is a growing need for eco-technologies with reduced water consumption, for the use of harvested rainwater, as well as reuse of wastewater.
Currently there are millions of known chemicals, and more and more are being synthesized every day. The chemization of various branches of industry leads to the increasing massive contamination of our environment with foreign substances.
This paper presents the possibilities of rebuilding experimental laboratory equipment for the physical processing of waste into an equipment able to apply electrostatic field action on wastewater. It also considers the possibilities and perspectives of its further use, either alone or in combination with other technological processes, e.g. biotechnologies. The first series of experimental trials was aimed at eliminating selected pharmaceuticals.

Wastewater analysis as a tool for investigating drug abuse in education institutes

The wastewater based epidemiology (WBE) approach to wastewater has long been used for monitoring drug consumption, especially in urban agglomerations. In this pilot project, it was applied to detect drug use in selected educational establishments. The tests took place in both primary (age 6–15) and secondary schools (age 12–19). The focus was on illicit drugs (marijuana, methamphetamine, amphetamine, cocaine, and ecstasy), as well as the licit drug nicotine and its metabolites. Ephedrine was also monitored. Grab samples were taken before the start of classes between 7:30 and 8:05 a.m., and during the so-called big break, i.e., between 9:30 and 10:00 a.m., or 10:30–11:00 a.m.
Sampling was carried out on two dates, at the beginning of June and at the end of September/beginning of October 2022. There were positive find-ings for THC, ephedrine, methamphetamine and nicotine metabolites, primarily trans-3-hydroxy-cotinine. In accordance with the possibilities of the pilot project, the number of monitored schools was very small. In order to objectively determine the situation in educational facilities, it would be appropriate to monitor a more representative group, which would include, for example, vocational schools. It is also worth considering another method of sampling wastewater, e.g., several hours’ composite samples. However, in many educational institutions, this method may not be feasi-ble.

Methods of collection and management of biodegradable municipal waste in selected countries of the European Union and current results from moisture loss measurements

The ever-increasing amount of waste, including biological waste, is causing serious problems in modern society, such as the filling of municipal waste landfills, which subsequently produce greenhouse gases. For society to deal with this problem, the legislation of some member states of the European Union (EU), including the Czech Republic (CR), has introduced new obligations to support the prevention of waste generation and its increased recycling and reuse. In 2020, the European Commission released the Circular Economy Action Plan, which provides guidelines for many countries on renewables and waste. However, in some cases the current measures are not enough. A new law on waste was adopted in the Czech Republic, which specifies the obligation to sort biological waste for legal entities and natural persons who allow physical persons to dispose of municipal waste in their establishments.
This article brings the current interim results of research project SS02030008 “Centre of Environmental Research: Waste Management, Circu-lar Economy and Environmental Security (CEVOOH)”. It deals with a brief description of biodegradable municipal waste (BMW) collection in some EU countries and draws general conclusions from the facts found. It also deals with the current results of measuring the moisture loss of biological waste in order to fulfil the obligation of the Czech Republic to report the quantity of this waste in its “fresh” state.

Development of land use and impact on water resources of hydrogeological unit 4232 Ústecká syncline in the Svitava river basin

The research area of hydrogeological unit 4232 Ústecká Syncline in the Svitava river basin (Ústecká synklinála v povodí Svitavy) is an important area of underground drinking water sources. These resources are of the highest quality and among the most abundant resources in the entire Czech Republic. The development of land use is closely connected with the development of settlements and industry (textile) in the research area, which in their importance far exceeded the borders of the region. Gradual development created pressure on natural resources, especially water; the demands on the quantity of service and drinking water increased, while the quality of water was affected by industrial and agricultural pollution. Despite the observed decrease in population in the last twenty to thirty years, we can see the expansion of settlements, mainly due to new construction on agri-cultural land, which is slightly compensated by the expansion of permanent grasslands and forests. With regard to current and future climate change, this increase, together with a slight increase in water bodies, can be considered as a positive phenomenon.

Use of effect-based methods to assess surface water status

This article deals with the use of effect-based methods for the qualitative assessment of the state of surface waters in the context of Directive 2000/60/EC establishing the framework for Community activity in the field of water policy and the upcoming amendment to Directive 2008/105/EC on environmental quality standards. The implemented monitoring of priority substances and specific pollutants is not able to capture all sources of pollution that negatively affect surface water quality. Likewise, current practice does not allow a comprehensive assessment of mixtures, including emergent pollutants, metabolites, and transformation products of substances on water quality. Effect-based methods are a suitable tool for ecotoxi-cological evaluation of pollution, which considers all substances contained in the sample and possible effects of mixtures (synergistic effects). They thus provide important additional information for the results of the assessment of the state of surface water bodies.

Interview with prof. Ing. Pavel Pech, CSc., professor at the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague

the future be over water rather than oil and land? Why is he more afraid of genes than climate change? And is it better to build dams and large water reservoirs, or establish ponds, wetlands, and pools? What is his opinion on artificial intelligence? These are just some of the topics that I discussed with prof. Ing. Pavel Pech, CSc., long-time head of the Department of Water Resources and Environmental Modeling at the Czech University of Life Sciences (CULS). “I’m from Hnojárna,”* he says about himself with a smile, and it does not sound pejorative at all – after all, he is the founder of the Faculty of Environmental Sciences at CULS in Prague.

Looking back at the National Dialogue on Water 2023

After a four-year break caused by the covid pandemic, the National Dialogue on Water took place on 25–26th October 2023, this time in the Skalský Dvůr hotel in Vysočina. The event was organized by the T. G. Masaryk Water Research Institute, p. r. i. (hereinafter TGM WRI) in coop-eration with the Czech Scientific and Technological Water Management Company (Česká vědeckotechnická vodohospodářská společnost, z. s.) The main theme of the event was a comprehensive approach to the protection of drinking water sources. This topic was addressed by a large number of experts from the field of water management (118 participants), whether it was representatives of the Ministry of the Environment (MoE), Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), Ministry of Health, state-owned River Basin State Enterprises, the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute (CHMI), water authorities, operators of water supply and sewerage systems (VaK), mayors, private companies, hydrogeologists, and others.

Kozmice bird meadows and their importance for nature and landscape

Alluvial wetlands and alluvial meadows (often referred to as “wet” in the literature) are one of the types of habitats that, with the gradual develop-ment of the cultural landscape, suffered the greatest transformation and often complete disappearance; in the Czech Republic, the most significant transformation by the transfer to field crops together with land improvement peaked roughly in the 1970s. Discussions about the importance of wetlands have, however, been revived in different periods; the factors that trigger these discussions are mainly floods and drought, which is clearly indicated by the drought that started in 2015. In their name, alluvial wetlands and meadows indicate that they are situated in a river landscape and are in periodic or constant contact with the surface water of larger rivers and groundwater, including the hyporeal. It is therefore obvious that these landscape elements are at least locally important for the cycle of water and chemical substances in the river landscape.