Louisiana Wastewater Contains ‘Shocking’ Amount Of Meth


by Peter Chawaga

The wastewater in a large Louisiana city has been found to be harboring a concerningly high concentration of a dangerous drug.

“A shocking discovery in Shreveport’s wastewater reveals high levels of methamphetamine,” the Shreveport Times reported. “Following a recent wastewater toxicology test, Dr. Nicholas Goeders (of) LSU Health Shreveport discovered that Shreveport’s wastewater had twice the amount of methamphetamine levels compared to other areas of the United States.”

Wastewater monitoring is an increasingly-prevalent method for assessing the health of communities around the country, particularly in efforts to prevent the spread of viruses like COVID-19monkeypox, and polio. Studies like Dr. Goeders’ can further expand the use of wastewater analysis to aid community health.

“‘I’ve been able to talk to people who, at one point in their lives had been selling methamphetamine. And they’ve told me, Doc, you would be surprised at how many people are using meth and it’s people like doctors, lawyers and nurses,’” Goeders told the Times. “These conversations prompted him to learn more about the community through testing and research.”

Dr. Goedert struck an agreement with the City of Shreveport to test wastewater samples over one year, using a method leveraged by researchers in Australia. The results have prompted him to raise alarms about how such prevalent methamphetamine levels might be impacting the environment.

“We’re only measuring what is used in Shreveport that goes down into the sewer system,” he told said. “But think about the rural communities, they use septic tanks and the purified water they have is sprayed onto their lawns… I don’t know how much meth is out there. It could be that it’s getting into the soil, it could be getting into our lakes.”

Now that wastewater analysis has uncovered this startling level of contamination, additional studies may soon follow.

To read more about how treatment professionals leverage wastewater analysis to protect community health, visit Water Online’s Wastewater Measurement Solutions Center.


Source: Water Online.

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Recyled Water Cleaner than Traditional Sources, Finds New Study

New research by Stanford University suggests that recycled wastewater can be less polluted and more dependable for potable use than traditional sources of drinking water.

Published in Nature Sustainability, the paper titled ‘Toxicological assessment of potable reuse and conventional drinking waters’ compares water samples from potable reuse systems with conventional drinking waters.

The team concluded that potable reuse waters treated by reverse osmosis (RO) are not more cytotoxic than groundwaters. Even in the absence of RO, the paper adds, reuse waters are less cytotoxic than surface drinking waters.

Potable reuse vs conventional water sources

New research from Stanford University has found that that recycled wastewater can be cleaner and more dependable for potable use than traditional sources of drinking water, such as rivers and groundwater.

Published in Nature Sustainability, the paper titled ‘Toxicological assessment of potable reuse and conventional drinking waters’ compares water samples from potable reuse systems with conventional drinking waters.

The team concluded that potable reuse waters treated by reverse osmosis (RO) are not more cytotoxic than groundwaters. Even in the absence of RO, the paper adds, reuse waters are less cytotoxic than surface drinking


Myth busting

To identify the toxicity of different sources of tap water, researchers applied water from various sources to hamster ovary cells, as they act similarly to human cells.  We were surprised that in some cases the quality of the reuse water was comparable to groundwater.The engineers discovered the compounds regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency accounted for less than one per cent of the harm to the ovary cells.
Report author William Mitch, professor of civil and environment engineering, said his team plans to further investigate whether other side effects from disinfecting water could be causing toxicity.

“We expected that potable reuse waters would be cleaner, in some cases, than conventional drinking water due to the fact that much more extensive treatment is conducted for them,” he said.

Mitch said that the team was surprised that the quality of the reused water, particularly from RO, was comparable to groundwater – traditionally considered the highest quality water.

According to the university, when it comes to contamination the “culprits may be associated with disinfection”.

“No matter where your tap water comes from, it will carry residual disinfectant to prevent pathogens growing in the pipes. Disinfectants like chlorine react with chemicals in the water and convert them to something else, and that may be what’s killing the hamster cells,” Stanford said.

Changing perceptions

The latest research from Stanford University could help to overcome one of the biggest challenges remaining on direct potable reuse: public perception.

The perception around using recycled potable water is indeed changing. In the US, The Orange County Water District operates one of the world’s largest water recycling plants since the 1970s.

Small breweries have caught on to the idea of using recycled water, deciding instead to brew beer with it. Meanwhile, Los Angeles has set down plans to recycle all of its water by 2035.

Read more information about the Stanford University study.

Article Source: Aquatech

Excellent article about wastewater from the Gazette’s website: Wastewater Treatment Changed Our World.

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Whole house filter installation in a San Carlos, CA  home.  


The attractive compact whole house filter installation seen above is made with standard housings using 4.5″ X  20″ cartridges. It consists of a sediment filter (left) then two carbon filters installed in parallel so that each of the carbon filters gets half of the service flow to the home.

Parallel installations are extremely advantageous.  With carbon filters like the one above targeting chloramine, doubling the capacity not only increases the effectiveness of the filter but also cuts pressure drop significantly, while more than doubling the life expectancy of the cartridges. With chloramine removal, cartridge life and flow rate are especially important.

With a theoretical maximum effective service flow rate of five gallons per minute per filter, a double filter gives you ten gallons per minute.  But,  when the total service flow is five gallons per minute, each filter is handling only 2.5 gallons per minute and the life expectancy per filter jumps from 10,000 gallons to 25,000 gallons. Similarly, service pressure drop decreases from 2.5 psi to 1 psi with the addition of the second filter.

With carbon filters, the slower the service flow rate, the more effective the filter,  the less it resists flow (and decreases pressure to the home), and the longer the carbon lasts.


Here are articles with additional information about filters of this type:

High Performance Cartridge-Style Chloramine Filters.

Chloramine Removal (our testing of our own products).

Compact Whole House Filters.

More Multi-Filter Installation Pictures.

General Installation Instructions for Compact Whole House Filters.


Dealing with the Future by Looking at the Past

by Gene Franks

A few  years ago a researcher at a local university showed that  university enrollment figures can be determined with a fair degree of accuracy by monitoring wastewater for the presence of an easily detected ingredient of birth control pills. The higher the enrollment, the more college women peeing estrogen into the sewage system.

With Covid, wastewater monitoring for the virus has been found to be not just an effective method, but the most effective method for tracking the number of cases.

In addition to  the presence of coronavirus and birth control use, wastewater testing can effectively measure the presence of  any number of environmental toxins,  diseases like ebola, tuberculosis, flu and polio,  anthrax, illegal drugs, prescription drugs, guns (by measuring gun residue), alcohol, mental illness (by testing for stress hormones), and even food and lifestyle choices.

In today’s highly charged political atmosphere it’s easy to see how wastewater monitoring might become a “rights” issue.    Sewage typically travels through publicly owned infrastructure to a treatment plant operated by a utility. Researchers and officials currently sample wastewater for public health related issues such as flu and polio without public objection. Samples are usually collected with permission of the utility, but no one asks the households being sampled if they are willing to participate.  The “founding fathers” did not mention freedom from wastewater monitoring as one of our inalienable rights, but it doesn’t take much imagination to see that looking for evidence of polio in waste water could be bitterly condemned as a plot to turn children into robots via a sinister vaccination program.


Reference Source:  The Conversation.

The EPA  says (finally) that Chromium 6 probably causes cancer

Those who saw the 2000 film Erin Brockovich will remember hexavalent chromium, also known as Chromium 6, as the chemical spreading in a plume beneath the town of Hinkley, Calif., from a disposal site run by Pacific Gas & Electric.

Those who saw the 2000 film Erin Brockovich will remember hexavalent chromium, also known as Chromium 6, as the chemical spreading in a plume beneath the town of Hinkley, Calif., from a disposal site run by Pacific Gas & Electric.


Thirty years after Erin Brockovitch. with considerable help from a Julia Roberts movie about her, brought attention to the dangers of hexavalent chromium, the EPA has said that it probably causes cancer.

“Chromium-6 is ‘likely to be carcinogenic’ if consumed in drinking water, according to an EPA draft review of the metal’s toxicity. The draft review, once finalized, will be the scientific underpinnings of EPA’s assessment of risks associated with exposure to chromium-6 and could lead to stricter EPA regulation.

Our advice:  Hexavalent chromium is a drinking water issue. There is little if any dermal uptake during bathing or otherwise using the water. See Systemic uptake of chromium in human volunteers following dermal contact with hexavalent chromium, published by the National Library of Medicine. Sensible home treatment is to treat drinking water with an undersink reverse osmosis unit, which removes hexavalent chromium handily, and to not worry about whole house treatment.

Manufacturer Changes Katalox Light’s Name to Katalyst Light

by Gene Franks

The popular iron/manganese medium that has been sold for a number of years as Katalox Light will in the future be called Katalyst Light. The German manufacturer, WatchWater, has given no explanation for the name change. One would assume a patent violation.

If you buy Katalox and it comes in a bag or box labelled Katalyst, or if you buy Katalyst and you get Katalox, not to worry. Regardless of what the bag says, it’s the same material.

While we’re revising the product name on our website,  we will also be changing the minimum backwash and maximun service flow recommendations for the filters we furnish that use Katalox/Katalyst.  The manufacturer’s original recommendations were, to be blunt, way too good to be true, but we based our recommendations on them.  The newer Katalox/Katalyst brochures have more realistic numbers and we are revising ours accordingly.

A Fool’s Errand

Sizing and setting up a backwashing filter for iron and/or manganese treatment is largely a guessing game. The more that’s known about the water being treated, the more accurate the guess can be, but in the end, it’s still a guess.  There are simply too many factors that influence backwash and service flow requirements for a “one size fits all” sizing chart to work for everyone.

Manufacturers of iron/manganese products like Katalox (Katalyst) and Filox-R pass the sizing decisions on to the user of the product by providing only vague, generalized sizing information.  The new Katalyst literature states the service flow capacity of the medium as 4 to 12 gallons per minute per square foot.  (That is, square feet of surface area of the media bed.  A 10″ diameter tank, for example, has a surface area of 0.54 square feet, while a 13″ tank has an area of about 0.92 square feet,) With Katalyst, therefore, the manufacturer is saying that if you use a 10″ tank you can treat a maximum service flow to your home of up to somewhere between 2 and 6.5 gallons per minute.  The exact service flow capacity for the individual home depends on such factors as whether you are treating iron, manganese, or a combination of the two, if there are other competing contaminants in the water (like hydrogen sulfide), the pH of the water, the oxygen content of the water, and pre-treatment provided.


With backwash rate requirement, the big unknown (to most users) is the water temperature. Cold water backwashes a filter much more efficiently than warm water, so less backwash water is needed if the water is cold. Filox’s manufacturer states the backwash requirement between 16 and 23.5 gpm per square foot, depending on the water temperature–in other words, between 8.5 (cold water) and 12.5 gpm (warm water) for a 10″ filter tank. Other important variables, like the total contaminant content, enter the equation as an educated guess. Obviously, a more vigorous  backwash is required to clean a media bed if the iron content of the treated water is 10 parts per million as opposed to one ppm. The type of tank used also matters. We use Vortech tanks for most filters and assume, based on manufacturer’s data, that Vortech tanks increase backwash efficiency by at least 20%.


With that in mind, here’s how we are revising our Katalyst (Katalox) recommendations.  The numbers are simply a guess based on the average of the high and low figures given by the manufacturer.  For example, Katalyst recommends a minimum backwash rate of  10 to 12 gpm/ft2, so we used 11 gpm/ft2.


Tank Diameter in Inches Maximum Service Flow–GPM Minimum Backwash Rate — GPM – With Vortech Mineral Tank Minimum Backwash Rate — GPM – With Standard Mineral Tank
9 4 4 5
10 5 5 6
12 6 7 9
13 7 8 10

Charts like this are not a guarantee of performance. They should be used as a starting place. If your contaminant content is high, decrease the maximum service flow accordingly. If you are planning a filtration project, we can’t guarantee a perfect outcome, but we can help you make an educated guess at sizing. The more information you can provide about the water, the better the chance of a good outcome.

Rainwater everywhere in world ‘unsafe to drink’ due to cancer chemicals

by Rob Waugh


Rainwater everywhere on Earth contains so much cancer-causing ‘forever chemicals’ that it should be classified as unsafe to drink, a new study has warned.


The chemicals – per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) – are man-made chemicals that spread in the atmosphere, and can now be found in rain and snow in the world’s remotest places.

The chemicals are produced by industry, and are extremely persistent in the atmosphere, the researchers warn.


As scientists have understood more about the toxicity of these chemicals, the guidelines for ‘safe’ levels have become more and more strict – meaning that rainwater would now be classified as ‘unsafe’.


Lead author Professor Ian Cousins, of Stockholm University, said, “There has been an astounding decline in guideline values for PFAS in drinking water in the last 20 years.

“For example, the drinking water guideline value for one well known substance in the PFAS class, namely the cancer-causing perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), has declined by 37.5 million times in the U.S.”

“Based on the latest US guidelines for PFOA in drinking water, rainwater everywhere would be judged unsafe to drink.

“Although in the industrial world we don’t often drink rainwater, many people around the world expect it to be safe to drink and it supplies many of our drinking water sources.”

The Stockholm University team measured the atmospheric presence of PFAS for the past decade.


Levels of some harmful PFAS in the atmosphere are not declining, despite their phase out by the major manufacturer, 3M, already two decades ago.

PFAS are known to be highly persistent, but their continued presence in the atmosphere is also due to natural processes that continually cycle PFAS back to the atmosphere from the surface environment.

Professor Martin Scheringer, a co-author of the study based at ETH Zurich in Switzerland,

“The extreme persistence and continual global cycling of certain PFAS will lead to the continued exceedance of the above-mentioned guidelines.

“So now, due to the global spread of PFAS, environmental media everywhere will exceed environmental quality guidelines designed to protect human health and we can do very little to reduce the PFAS contamination.

“In other words, it makes sense to define a planetary boundary specifically for PFAS and, as we conclude in the paper, this boundary has now been exceeded.”


PFAS is a collective name for per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances or highly fluorinated substances that have a similar chemical structure.

All PFAS are either extremely persistent in the environment or break down into extremely persistent PFAS, which has earned them the nickname “forever chemicals.”

PFAS have been associated with a wide range of serious health harms, including cancer, learning and behavioural problems in children, infertility and pregnancy complications, increased cholesterol, and immune system problems.

Dr Jane Muncke, managing director of the Food Packaging Forum Foundation in Zürich, Switzerland, who was not involved in the research, said: “It cannot be that some few benefit economically while polluting the drinking water for millions of others, and causing serious health problems.

“The vast amounts that it will cost to reduce PFAS in drinking water to levels that are safe based on current scientific understanding need to be paid by the industry producing and using these toxic chemicals. The time to act is now.”

Source: Yahoo News.

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Countertop Water Filters Are Better Than Ever


Model 77.  After 30 years, still “the world’s greatest $77 water filter,” and now better than ever.


Change in kitchen sinks and countertops have both helped and hurt countertop water filters.

Countertop filters get their water by attaching to the sink faucet. The rise in popularity of sink faucets with pull-out sprayers has reduced the use of countertop units because the deeply recessed aerator in the pull-out sprayers makes it impossible to attach the filter’s diverter valve.

The rise in popularity of granite countertops, on the other hand, has added to the popularity of countertop filters because drilling a hole in the granite countertop for the faucet of an undersink filter or reverse osmosis unit can be difficult and expensive.

Though countertop filters have only a small share of the drinking water filter market,  countertop units are alive and well and probably here to stay. Their low cost, portability, ease of installation, and long-term reliability make them valuable and popular water treatment devices.

Standard-sized countertop filters, like the one pictured above, are better than ever because the standard 9.75″ X 2.5″ filter cartridges that fit them are so much better than they used to be. Modern cartridges not only have unbelievably long chlorine capacity but many can treat such difficult contaminants as PFAS,  VOCs,  lead, chloramine, and the full range of organic chemicals.


A double countertop has twice the capacity of a single unit. Using a double filter also allows treatment of difficult items like fluoride, arsenic, nitrates, and even bacteria while still  providing top-notch all around chemical performance and excellent taste and odor improvement.

More about countertop water filters.

MatriKX Cartridges Are Now Certified for Reduction of PFAS



The MatriKX Chloraguard drinking water cartridge pictured above is now rated to treat an incredible 45,000 gallons of chlorine, 4,000 gallons of chloramine, 3,500 gallons of PFAS, and 750 gallons of VOC.


When we started building our Model 77 Countertop Filter around 1990, the standard cartridge for the unit was the MatriK KX-1.  The KX-1 was a really good cartridge. It was a bituminous coal based carbon block that boasted 20,000 gallons of chlorine capacity. The manufacturer’s advertising line called it “The Chlorine Guzzler.” We used the KX-1 in the Model 77 countertop as well as our Black and White series undersink filters and RO units. Over the 30 plus yeas that we’ve been using the cartridge it has been reformulated and renamed a few times. It is now called CTO Plus.

The CTO Plus is now made with coconut shell carbon. The chlorine capacity has gone up to 30,000 gallons (not that you would every use it that long) and it now has a 750 gallon capacity rating for VOC reduction. VOCs, “volatile organics,” are a challenge, and 750 gallons is something to brag about. Chloramines are also a challenge. The new spec sheet for the cartridge now shows its certification at 2.000 gallons capacity for chloramines, as well as 3,500 for the difficult “forever chemicals” known as PFAS.

All four of the basic MatriKX cartridges now have certification for chloramine reduction and all but the standard CTO make claims for VOC reduction. All four are now made with coconut shell carbon and all are manufactured with the latest and most advanced technology. (This is important. Not all carbon block filters are created equal. Much of their effectiveness depends on the processing of the carbon and the binders used.)

The manufacturer’s fact sheets for the four basic cartridges can be found on our website.  Links are below. Performance data is given for the four basic standard filter sizes–from drinking water to whole house.

PB1 – Lead/Cyst Removal Carbon Block.

CTO Carbon Block

CTO Plus Carbon Block

Chloraguard Carbon Block

Below is a comparative breakdown of the four basic styles in the drinking water size only.  The summary tells you that you do not need a six stage filtration unit to get superb performance.  To illustrate, our standard double undersink filter, which uses the MatriKX PB-1 and the MatriKX CTO Plus,  provides 60,000 gallons of treatment of chlorine,  4,000 gallons of chloramine, 6,500 gallons of PFAS, 1,250 gallons of VOC, 3,750 of lead, plus protection against cysts.  It is generally recognized that a carbon filter that removes VOCs (which are very difficult to treat) also offers protection against the literally thousands of chemicals and pharmaceutical products for which no testing is done.

MatriKX Summary Sheet – 9.75” X 2.75” Cartridges

MatriKX Cartridge

Performance Summary

MatriKX PB1

Coconut Shell Carbon Block. Nominal 0.5 Micron

PWP Part FC004

Chlorine Removal : 30.000 gals. @ 1 gpm

Chloramine Removal: 2,000 gals. @ 0.5 gpm

PFAS Removal: 3,000 gals. @ 0.5 gpm

VOC Removal: 500 gals. @ 0.5 gpm

Lead Removal: 3,750 gals. @ 0,75 gpm

Cyst Removal:Yes, for life of cartridge


Coconut Shell Carbon Block. Nominal 5 Micron

PWP Part FC003

Chlorine Removal : 12,000 gals. @ 1 gpm

Chloramine Removal: 1,000 gals. @ 0.5 gpm

PFAS Removal: 3,250 gals. @ 0.5 gpm

VOC Removal: Not Rated

Lead Removal: No.

Cyst Removal: No.


Coconut Shell Carbon Block. Nominal 1 Micron

PWP Part FC001

Chlorine Removal :30,000 gals. @ 1 gpm

Chloramine Removal: 2,000 gals. @ 0.5 gpm

PFAS Removal: 3,500 gals. @ 0.5 gpm

VOC Removal: 750 gals. @ 0.5 gpm

Lead Removal: No

Cyst Removal: No

MatrikX Chloraguard

Coconut Shell Carbon Block. Nominal 1 micron

PWP Part FC040

Chlorine Removal : 45,000 gals. @ 1 gpm

Chloramine Removal: 4,000 gals. @ 0.5 gpm

PFAS Removal: 3,500 gals. @ 0.5 gpm

VOC Removal: 750 gals. @ 0.5 gpm

Lead Removal: No

Cyst Removal: No



EPA Standards for PFAS Are Just Around Some Far-Distant Corner

The Environmental Protection Agency announced interim health advisories for four perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) that are substantially lower than the advisory levels issued by the agency in 2016.  The EPA’s  heath advisory from 2016 called for no more than 70 parts per trillion for the combined concentrations of PFOA and PFOS.  A Health Advisory, or HA,  is miles of political maneuvering away from an enforcable standard that would actually require municipal water providers to reduce PFAS to a specified level. 

PFAS are a group of manufactured chemicals that have been used in industry and consumer products since the 1940s. There are thousands of different PFAS, some of which have been more widely used and studied than others. One common concern is that PFAS generally break down very slowly, meaning that concentrations can accumulate in people, animals, and the environment over time. They are often referred to as “forever chemicals.”  PFAS ingestion has been implicated in human health issues from birth defects to cancer.

The updated EPA  Health Advisory for PFOA is 0.004 ppt.  That’s parts per trillion. For PFOS it’s 0.02 ppt.

Although it may take years of political wrangling before EPA enforceable standards are finally set for these “forever chemicals,” the PFAS issue is not as complicated for individuals. Here’s what you should know.

First, PFAS, like arsenic, fluoride, lead, nitrates, and some other significant water issues,  are almost entirely an ingestion issue. There is general agreement that routine household use of PFAS-contaminated water, including bathing, does not pose a health risk.  It is a drinking water problem.

Removing PFAS from drinking water is not hard at all. Point of use reverse osmosis units remove PFAS handily. Likewise, good quality carbon drinking water filters.

Whole home treatment of PFAS is more difficult, but high quality carbon block filters with regular cartridge change can provide PFAS-free water for the whole home.