Water Resources Center

The Water Resources Center is affiliated with the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences and University of Minnesota Extension.

Welcome to the WRC

OSTP program makes recommendations to improve septic system management at adult foster care homes

The wet wipes clogging the equipment that University of Minnesota’s Onsite Sewage Treatment Program researchers use to study septic system effectiveness were the first clue as to why systems serving adult foster homes experience system failure at a greater rate than other residential treatment systems. Results of a study conducted by staff from the University of Minnesota’s Onsite Sewage Treatment Program at six foster homes in Chisago county show that adult foster care homes produce wastewater that is different than typical residential wastewater, with higher levels of contaminates that may contribute to decreased septic system performance. Bleach and other strong cleaning products for example, interfere with organisms required to break down solids in the wastewater.

Wet wipes were present in three of the studied sites; all the homes have residents who wear adult diapers. The wipes clogged OSTP sampling equipment and were deemed to be a risk to septic system pipes. “Best practices would be to dispose of the wipes with other solid wastes rather than flushing them,” says the study’s lead PI, Sara Heger. Read full article>>

Minnegram Spring 2014 OSTP image smaller

Photo credit: Sara Heger

Items not intended for processing in septic systems or too much use of one product can cause premature system failure. Here, paper products block the inlet baffle on a septic tank, interfering with the system’s ability to break down human waste.

Tim LaPara points to wastewater—and our treatment of it—as the culprit in antibiotic resistance

Animated in conversation and passionate about his research, Tim LaPara is the kind of professor who’s not afraid to speak his mind or tackle conventional wisdom. Groundbreaking and challenging also applies to his research in the University of Minnesota’s department of civil engineering, where he examines the relationship between wastewater treatment and microbial ecology.

An environmental engineer who investigates how infrastructure can protect public health and the environment, LaPara’s recent work has zeroed in on the most pressing threat to modern medicine—the rise of antibiotic resistance in the environment.
Read full article>>





Minnesota Water Sustainability Framework

Learn more >>

News and Upcoming Events 

Minnesota Water Conference

October 14-15, 2014
St. Paul RiverCentre

Call for Abstracts

Deadline, May 9, 2014

Details here>>

Register to attend the Water Resources Conference here>>

The Cost of Climate Change in Minnesota

Premieres Sunday, April 6 at 7:00 PM on Twin Cities Public Television. The half hour production features Bob Johnson of the Insurance Federation of Minnesota, Mark Seeley of the University of Minnesota and Paul Douglas of WeatherNationTV. This was recorded at the Minnesota Climate Adaptation Conference on November 7, 2013. Learn where to find these channels in the Twin Cities metro area and outstate Minnesota here>>