August 28, 2016--The key to water security could be lurking in a New Mexico sewage farm (Guardian)

The sulphurous springs of Yellowstone national park are scalding, tainted with heavy metals and acidic enough to eat through clothing. But their murky depths are also home to an algae that scientists claim could one day help provide cleaner, healthier water around the world. “Galdieria sulphuraria is one of the most interesting microorganisms on the planet,” says Peter Lammers, a professor in algal bioenergy at Arizona State University. “It grows in a witches brew, can degrade over 50 organic molecules and even photosynthesise like a plant.” That makes it ideal, Lammers says, to use somewhere even more unpleasant than Yellowstone’s volcanic springs: urban sewage farms. At a pilot site in Las Cruces, New Mexico, Lammers and researchers at New Mexico State University are diverting effluent from the city’s wastewater treatment plant into row upon row of long plastic bags primed with Galdieria sulphuraria. Air enriched with carbon dioxide is pumped gently through the tubes, while plastic wing-like foils move slowly up and down to mix the concoction. The aim? To build an energy-positive wastewater treatment that helps preserve rivers, lakes and estuaries, reclaims the chemical energy in sewage, utilises sunlight to expand that energy footprint and ultimately pays for itself. To view the full article visit the Guardian.