Posted July 12th, 2018

ChemSorb, the Name, Bites the Dust


One of our favorite products, ChemSorb, a natural zeolite filtration medium capable of filtering out particulate down to about five microns, is undergoing a name change.  Due to a trademark conflict, the popular sediment filter medium is changing its brand name. The new brand name is not yet available.

The product is still for sale, but it will no longer be called ChemSorb.

Since at present it is a product without a name, we’ve changed our main website so that it is now sold simply by the generic name Zeolite,  So until a new name appears, if you want what used to be called ChemSorb,  please order Zeolite. It’s the same product (and the bag may even say ChemSorb), but our website now calls it Zeolite.

The Gazette’s Famous Water Picture Series: Step Wells



The famous step well called Chand Baori. 

(Click picture for larger view.)

Built in Rajasthan (India) around 850 AD, it was dedicated to Hashat Mata, Goddess of Joy and Happiness. Chand Baori, built in an arid region, was designed to conserve as much water as possible. Temperature at the bottom of the well is five or six degrees cooler than at the surface, so the well was used as a community gathering place during times of extreme heat.



stepwell01This recently built “step well” responds to the need to access water regardless of the water level. Step wells have been used in India since as early as 200 AD. The well in the picture is in the village of Modi.  Such wells serve not only as a very practical source of water. They often demonstrate artistic and architectural innovation,  have religious, cultural and social significance, serve as village meeting places, have significant artistic value and promote local business by attracting tourists. 


Posted July 1st, 2018

Dams–the Benefits and the Risks.


New York State has at least 5,352 functioning dams, 861 of which are owned or co-owned by local governments. Dams, which are barriers that hold back flowing water, serve many purposes. Some exist primarily for flood control. Many create ponds or lakes used for recreation, or reservoirs used to manage water supplies. Some generate hydroelectric power. Management of the large number of dams in the state of New York is no small matter, since a dam not only can be a valuable asset but it also represents a considerable public risk.

New York currently considers that 19% of its 5,352 dams represent a high or intermediate hazard to public safety.  That is, failure of such dams could cost many lives and much property damage.

The deadliest dam failure in U.S. history occurred in 1889 in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, when a breach led to flooding that killed more than 2,200 people. Just last year, in Northern California, authorities issued a mandatory evacuation order for approximately 188,000 residents living downstream from the Oroville Dam after heavy rains increased water levels, and concerns about its spillways led to fears of uncontrolled releases of water.  A breach in a large dam in New York could cause severe downstream flooding spanning multiple counties. For example, a complete failure of the Gilboa Dam, which can store up to 19.6 billion gallons of water, could devastate downstream communities in Schoharie, Montgomery and Schenectady counties, including the villages of Middleburgh, Schoharie and Esperance. A breach could also cause flooding along the Mohawk River and into the Hudson River.

Dam safety requires regular attention. Floods can cause serious damage very quickly. More generally, risks can increase over time, not only because structural concerns such as cracking, settling, or “piping” (internal erosion caused by water infiltration through an earthen dam) can develop and worsen, but also because any increase in development downstream means that more people and businesses may be in harm’s way should something go wrong.

A dam that once posed little risk to human life, because its failure would result only in flooding of farm fields or vacant land, becomes a greater threat once the land has been developed and people live and/or work there.16 New York’s high-hazard dams have an average age of 89 years; those classified as intermediate hazard are 83 years old on average.

Climate change is also likely to increase the risks dams pose. Global warming increases the frequency and severity of storms and accelerates the melting of the winter snow pack in the mountains, potentially subjecting dams to conditions that exceed their design specifications.

A relatively new – and growing – threat is sabotage carried out through cyber attacks. Dams operated by online controls have proven vulnerable to hackers. In 2013, a cyber attacker infiltrated the control systems of a dam in Westchester County.  The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) helps water utilities improve their cyber security and manage risks associated with other types of terrorist threats.

This article is indebted to a study done by the Comptroller of New York state.  See the full report, with graphs and charts.

Much more about dams from the Pure Water Gazette.

High Flow Aeration Units

Aeration is a powerful pre-treatment for filters removing iron, manganese and hydrogen sulfide. AerMax closed tank systems offer an efficient, economical, chemical-free method for oxidizing contaminants for easy removal by filtration.

Standard AerMax units come in one size — a 10″ X 54″ mineral tank powered by the standard 115V. or 230V. compressor. This unit is effective at flow rates up to nine or ten gallons per minute. The same compressor and installation parts can be used with larger 2.5 top hole tanks, 12″ X 52″ and 13″ X 54″, to make aeration units for treatment at flow rates up to 12 gpm and 14 gpm respectively.

For higher flow rates, we now offer larger units built on tanks with 4″ top holes and powered by the CAP high capacity air pump. The chart below shows aeration units up to 35 gpm using 65″ tanks.

It should be noted that the 65″ tank units include the pump, installation kit, and the tank. The inner riser and inlet tube can be easily made with standard hardware store PVC parts. Complete instructions are included.

Tank Size


GPM Rating

Unit Price

12″ X 52″ (2.5″ top hole). Head is for standard 1″ pipe. Standard AP1 (115v.) or AP2 (230 v.) 12

$799 (115v)

$859 (230v)

13″ X 54″ (2.5″ top hole).  Head is for standard 1″ pipe. Standard AP1 (115v.) or AP2 (230 v.) 14

$849 (115v)

$909 (230v)

14″ X 65″ (4.0″ top hole). Head is for 1.5″ pipe. CAP 19 $1,254.00 (same price for 115 or 230 volt units)
16″ X 65″ (4.0″ top hole). Head is for 1.5″ pipe. CAP 26 $1,375.00  (same price for 115 or 230 volt units)
18″ X 65″ (4.0 top hole). Head is for 1.5″ pipe. CAP 35 $1,424.00  (same price for 115 or 230 volt units)

Prices above include shipping.  They are subject to change.



The high quality CAP high volume air pump used to power larger systems built on tanks with 14″ top holes.  This quiet (65 decibel) 1/4 horsepower pump is available in 230v. or 115v. (This pump is also recommended for  all sizes of Aeration systems installed on “constant pressure” wells.)

Higher flow rates can also be achieved by using two units in parallel.  For example, two standard 10″ x 54″ AerMax units can be installed in parallel for a combined flow rate of 18 gpm, and you could treat up to 70 gpm with two of the 18″ X 65″ units installed side by side.

TCP: 1, 2, 3-Trichloropropane

Posted June 16th, 2018

1, 2, 3-Trichloropropane (TCP) in California Water

TCP, or 1, 2, 3-Trichloropropane, has been found recently in the water of Tulare, CA in excess of the state’s newly established limit of 5 parts per trillion. Water from six wells in Tulare flunked the test for the cancer-causing chemical.

TCP is a waste product from making plastic. For years, it was added to fumigants that farmers put in the soil to kill tiny worms called nematodes.

To solve the TCP problem, the city will install water treatment tanks containing granular activated carbon that strip away the TCP.

Until recently, there was no state standard for the amount of TCP in drinking water, but last year the state said public water systems could have no more than 5 parts per trillion of TCP. The Tulare wells tested at 8 parts per trillion. The cancer risk is low. It is estimated that you would have to drink a couple of liters of TCP-contaminated water daily for several decades to run even a slight risk of getting cancer from it.

There is no federal drinking water regulation of TCP.  This means that if you live anywhere but California, you’ll probably never know whether it’s in your water or not.
TCP has been called a “garbage chemical.” It was most likely added to fumigants not because it was needed but simply to get rid of it and avoid the cost of disposal. (It is widely believed that this is a strong motivation for putting the industrial waste product fluorosilicic acid commonly called “fluoride” into drinking water–just to get rid of it without the expense of toxic waste disposal.)

Tulare is getting four new water treatment tanks containing activated carbon and two new wells to be financed by litigation, still in progress, against Dow Chemical and the Shell Oil Company, the companies who provided TCE in the 1940s to be added to fumigants.

Several cities in California in addition to Tulare have sued the two companies, with Clovis reaching a $22 million settlement in 2016.

TCP is readily removed from water by granular activated carbon, so if you have a good quality home drinking water system–either a carbon filter or a reverse osmosis unit–you don’t have to worry about TCP.

Source Credit: The Fresno Bee.

Michigan, After the Flint Water Disaster, Is Adopting the Toughest Lead Rule in the Nation

In response to the Flint public water supply lead crisis that started in 2014 as a result ancient infrastructure and incredibly poor management, the state of Michigan is adopting a new lead standard for public water that is more stringent than the nation’s 15 ppb allowable.  In addition, it mandates a long-term project to replace the state’s ancient lead water piping system.

Under new standards set by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, the maximum level of allowable lead in drinking water will drop to 12 parts per billion in 2025. The federal level as mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is 15 parts per billion.

All public water systems are required to replace the state’s 500,000 lead service lines at a rate averaging 5 percent per year beginning in 2021 over a 20-year period.

The new rules prohibit partial lead service line replacement due to the potential for elevated lead levels that could harm public health. Most public water systems are required to perform a full system inventory detailing all parts and materials used.

“The new Michigan Lead and Copper Rule is the most stringent in the world when applied to cities with lead pipe – yet it strikes a reasonable balance between cost and benefit,” Virginia Tech professor Marc Edwards, a water engineer who first raised the issue of Flint’s lead contamination, said in an email to a Reuter’s researcher.

Source Credit: CompuServe News

Pure Water Gazette Fair Use Statement


Dosatron Water-Driven Chemical Injection Pump


Dosatron has the only water powered chemical injector that is NSF/ANSI 61 & 372 Certified. The NSF-certified 14 gallon per minute Dosatron D14 unit is ideal for injection of water treatment chemicals like chlorine and hydrogen peroxide in residential applications.

Water-powered pumps offer several advantages. They are very easy to install, require no electricity, and feed the injected chemical proportionally, depending on the rate of flow through the pipe. This means they can be installed at any place in the water line without flow switches or the expensive metering equipment required with electric pumps installed after the well’s pressure tank.

The fully adjustable D14 Dosatron injects at a flow rate of 1:500 to 1:50. It is a compact pump that installs directly into the water line. As water runs to the point of use, the pump injects the water treatment chemical into the line.  It can be used to disinfect non-potable water or to pre-treat for iron, manganese, and hydrogen sulfide filters. The pump is so light that it can be supported by the pipe itself,  or it can be wall mounted (bracket is included)  and installed with hose connections.


Dosatron offers an easy way to add chlorine or hydrogen peroxide treatment. These units are durable and easy to service, and parts are readily available.

The D14WL2NAF is the NSF-certified, drinking water grade of Dosatron units. It should not be confused with Dosatron models intended for agricultural use that are sold on many websites.

More information from the manufacturer’s website.

New Proposition 65 Rule

Posted June 6th, 2018

California’s New Proposition 65

The Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (Proposition 65) requires businesses to provide warnings to consumers in California of products that cause cancer, birth defects, or harm to health.  These warnings have been visibly present in restaurants, for example, in CA but are so common they have become unnoticeable. Two years ago a task force got together to figure out a way to make consumers more aware of these warnings.

What is new to the law?

It’s simpler to understand:  On each warning sign there will be a yellow triangle with an exclamation point.  The wordage will change from “this products contains…” to “this product will expose you to…”, then, 1 or 2 chemicals will be listed.

A website will be provided for more information–

There are about 1,000 chemicals listed on Prop 65.

How will this affect vendors?

Sellers will be required to put Prop 65 warnings with new language on products that are subject to this law. Manufacturers have the primary responsibility for placing these warnings. Manufacturers can either label the product or provide notice to the retailer that the product may provide exposure to a listed chemical. They should also provide the warning materials.

Many water treatment products will not be affected by the law and don’t require the warning.

Information above is from a Webinar provided to members by the Water Quality Association.


Billions Of Gallons Of Water Saved By Thinning Forests

Too many trees in Sierra Nevada forests stress water supplies, scientists say



There are too many trees in Sierra Nevada forests, say scientists affiliated with the National Science Foundation (NSF) Southern Sierra Critical Zone Observatory (CZO).

That may come as a surprise to those who see dense, verdant forests as signs of a healthy environment. After all, green is good, right? Not necessarily. When it comes to the number of trees in California forests, bigger isn’t always better.

That’s in part because trees use lots of water to carry out basic biological tasks. In addition, they act as forest steam stacks, raking up water stored in the ground and expelling it as vapor into the atmosphere, where it’s accessible to humans and forest ecosystems only when it falls back to Earth as rain and snow.

That process — by which plants emit water through tiny pores in their leaves — is known as evapotranspiration. And according to researchers, excessive evapotranspiration may harm a fragile California water system, especially during prolonged, warm droughts.

New research published this week in the journal Ecohydrology shows that water loss from evapotranspiration has decreased significantly over the past three decades. That’s due in large part to wildfire-driven forest thinning — a finding with important implications for forest and water management.

A century of forest management had kept wildfires to a minimum. But without fire, Sierra forests grew very dense. In recent decades, new policies have allowed nature to take its course, with wildfires helping to thin out overgrown forests.

“Forest wildfires are often considered disasters,” said Richard Yuretich, director of NSF’s CZO program, which funded the research. “But fire is part of healthy forest ecosystems. By thinning out trees, fires can reduce water stress in forests and ease water shortages during droughts. And by reducing the water used by plants, more rainfall flows into rivers and accumulates in groundwater.”

Using data from CZO measurement towers and U.S. Geological Survey satellites, researchers found that over the period 1990 to 2008, fire-thinned forests saved 3.7 billion gallons of water annually in California’s Kings River Basin and a whopping 17 billion gallons of water annually in the American River Basin — water that would otherwise have been lost through evapotranspiration.

Forest thinning has increased in recent decades in an effort to stave off disastrous wildfires fueled by dense forests. This study shows that restoring forests through mechanical thinning or wildfire can also save California billions of gallons of water each year.

“The need for forest restoration is being driven largely by the need to lower the risk of high-intensity wildfires and restore forest health,” said University of California Merced scientist Roger Bales, director of the Southern Sierra CZO and study co-author. “Downstream users who benefit from the increased water yield are an important potential revenue stream that can help offset some of the costs of restoration.”

Forested areas needing restoration are large, Bales said, but potential changes in water availability are significant. The total effect of wildfires over a 20-year period suggests that forest thinning could increase water flow from Sierra Nevada watersheds by as much as 10 percent.

The U.S. Forest Service says that 6 to 8 of the 21-million acres it manages in California need immediate restoration. Another 58 million acres nationally also require restoration. For California alone, restoration costs are estimated at $5 to $10B. But, according to the study authors, the restoration might help pay for itself.

“We’ve known for some time that managed forest fires are the only way to restore the majority of overstocked western forests and reduce the risk of catastrophic fires,” said James Roche, a National Park Service hydrologist and lead author of the new study. “We can now add the potential benefit of increased water yield from these watersheds.”

About The National Science Foundation (NSF)

SOURCE: The National Science Foundation (NSF)

Reprinted from Water Online.

The CDC Recommends: Don’t Drink Pool Water


From 2000 to 2014, public health officials from 46 states and Puerto Rico reported 493 outbreaks associated with treated recreational water, resulting in more than 27,000 illnesses and eight deaths, according to a report in the May 18 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Hotel pools and hot tubs were the setting for about a third (32 percent) of the outbreaks, followed by public parks (23 percent), club/recreational facilities (14 percent) and water parks (11 percent).

Most of the infections were from three organisms that can survive chlorine and other commonly used disinfectants: Cryptosporidium, a parasite that can cause gastrointestinal problems, Pseudomonas, a bacteria that causes swimmer’s ear, and Legionella, a bacteria that causes a pneumonia-like illness.

So, what to do? The CDC recommends a few steps before diving in: Don’t swallow pool water. Don’t let children with diarrhea in the water. And use test strips to measure levels of pH, bromine and chlorine in the water. The cleaner the water, the safer to swim.


Source: Science News.