The Pure Water Occasional for September 29, 2014

In this late September Occasional, you’ll be enlightened by news about fibronil, fluoxetine, triclosan, bromine, glyphosate, polybrominated diphenyl, hexabromocyclododecane, cyanazine, diazinon, and a debilitating snail-borne disease called schistosomiasis.  Also read about the demise of the Aral Sea and the Lar Dam reservoir, pesticides in US streams, the perils of warm water bottles, pollution by the Delaware National Guard,  and Tehran’s water crises. The status of the Toxic Substances Control Act, Americans’ opinions about their tap water, China’s monumental water diversion project, the extension of the great marine sanctuary,  and the problems faced by US desalination plants. Hear about calcite, corosex, soda ash, carbon dioxide, and bicarbonate alkalinity from Pure Water Annie, and get a wrap-up of this week’s water numbers from Bee Sharper.   And, as always, there is much, much more.

The Pure Water Occasional is a project of Pure Water Products and the Pure Water Gazette.

To read this issue on the Pure Water Gazette’s website,  please go here.  (Recommended! When you read online you get the added advantage of the Gazette’s sidebar feed of the very latest world water news.)

You’ll sing better.

 

Goodbye, Aral Sea

By Eric Holthaus

 The Aral Sea, once the world’s 4th largest lake, is now officially dry. The story is not one of global warming but one of human irresponsibility. The photo shows shipwrecks where the Aral Sea once was.

The Aral Sea—a huge part of it at least—is no more. (more…)

Goodbye, Aral Sea

By Eric Holthaus

 The Aral Sea, once the world’s 4th largest lake, is now officially dry. The story is not one of global warming.  It is one of human irresponsibility. The photo shows shipwrecks where the Aral Sea once was.

The Aral Sea—a huge part of it at least—is no more.

According to NASA, “for the first time in modern history, the eastern basin of the South Aral Sea has completely dried.”

Humans have been farming the Aral Sea area in Central Asia for centuries, and the lake has gone through spectacular boom-and-bust cycles in the past. But the lake hasn’t been this dry in a long, long time. Speaking with NASA, Philip Micklin, a geographer emeritus from Western Michigan University, said, “it is likely the first time it has completely dried in 600 years, since Medieval desiccation associated with diversion of Amu Darya to the Caspian Sea.” (more…)

US announces world’s largest marine sanctuary in the Pacific 

 

 

Washington: The United States on Thursday announced the creation of the world’s largest marine sanctuary in the Pacific, where commercial fishing and energy exploration are off limits.

The move expands the already existing Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, west of Hawaii and northeast of Australia to six times its previous size.

“We’re talking about an area of ocean that’s nearly twice the size of Texas, and that will be protected in perpetuity from commercial fishing and other resource-extraction activities, like deep-water mining,” said Secretary of State John Kerry.

Former president George W Bush declared the area a national monument in 2009, and an executive order from President Barack Obama makes the protected space even larger. The total protected area now includes 490,000 square miles (1.27 million square kilometers) around the Wake and Jarvis Islands and Johnston Atoll.

“This is the grand-daddy of all marine protected areas around the world. Some of these areas had like a 50-mile radius around them, now they are going to have a 200-mile radius,” said Jackie Savitz, vice president for US oceans at the advocacy group Oceana. (more…)

USGS report: Pesticides contaminate nation’s streams

 

by Laura Lundquist

A new U.S. Geological Survey study shows that pesticides continue to infiltrate the nation’s streams, however, the types of pesticides mixing with the water are changing.

As part of a continuing survey of water quality, USGS scientists found that, over the past decade, one or more pesticides still contaminate close to 100 streams sampled nationwide, indicating that the problem is pervasive.

“The information gained through this important research is critical to the evaluation of the risks associated with existing levels of pesticides,” said William Werkheiser, USGS associate director for water.

Scientists analyzed stream samples collected regularly between 2002 and 2011 for pesticides, which include both herbicides and insecticides. They also divided streams into agricultural, urban and mixed-use categories.

The high occurrence of pesticides between 2002 and 2011 was consistent with findings from the previous decade, 1992 to 2001, but now fewer streams exceed the human health limits for pesticides. Only one stream exceeded the health standard this decade, compared to 17 percent of agricultural streams in the previous decade. (more…)

 

The Pure Water Occasional for September 22, 2014

In this end of summer  Occasional, you’ll hear about plastics in beer, plastics in irrigation water, and plastics in the bellies of dead seagulls.  Learn what is the best water for coffee brewing and how to avoid crepey eyes even if you don’t drink water. Hear about severe weather from Texas to California to Great Britain plus the return of the stench from the Salton Sea. Learn how vegetables take up pollutants from irrigation water, read of the misfortunes of the Tokay Tigers.  and marvel at the number of private wells in Georgia.  Learn how marijuana growers conserve water,  how the tarantula predicts the weather, and how Iran plans to import water.  More pollution from the US military, DuPont, and Monsanto. Learn how aeration is used to treat well water contaminants, read B. Sharper’s roundup of the week’s water numbers,  and, as always, there is much, much more.

The Pure Water Occasional is a project of Pure Water Products and the Pure Water Gazette.

To read this issue on the Pure Water Gazette’s website,  please go here.  (Recommended! When you read online you get the added advantage of the Gazette’s sidebar feed of the very latest world water news.)

You’ll sing better.

 

Beer: a magical mixture of hops, barley, and tiny pieces of plastic

 

by Liz Core

Plastics are everywhere: on the street, in our refrigerators, all over the oceans — you name it. But now they’re hitting us where it really hurts. Authors of a new study published in the latest edition of Food Additives and Contaminants found traces of plastic particles (and other debris … we’ll get to this later) in beer.

This is how the study worked: Researchers lab-tested samples of 24 varieties of German beers, including 10 of the nation’s most popular brands. Through their superpowers of microscopic analysis, the team discovered plastic microfibers in 100 percent of the tested beer samples.

Reads the study:

“The small numbers of microplastic items in beer in themselves may not be alarming, but their occurrence in a beverage as common as beer indicates that the human environment is contaminated by micro-sized synthetic polymers to a far-reaching extent.”

It’s not breaking news that plastics don’t just vanish into the ether when we’re finished with them. Unless you haven’t heard, in which case … BREAKING NEWS: The plastics we use today will stick around longer than your great-great-great-great (and then some) grandchildren. (more…)

What is the ideal water for brewing coffee?

by Gene Franks

British scientist Christopher Hendon recently published research seeking to define the perfect water for brewing coffee.  Essentially what he recommends, from the point of view of water quality, is

1. Clear,fresh, odor-free water.

2. Zero or near zero chlorine or chloramine.

3. TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) around 150 ppm.

4. Total alkalinity of around 40 ppm.

5. Calcium hardness of around 4 grains per gallon (68 ppm).

6. pH of 7.0.

7. Sodium of around 10 ppm. (more…)

 

 Water Testing Kits

by Dr. Joseph Cotruvo

 

Editor’s Note:  The selection below is excerpted from Water Technology’s popular Professor POU/POE feature. — Hardly Waite.

Providers of water services always need water quality data to evaluate the type of contamination problem they are facing, be it hardness, corrosion or microbes, to select the types of technical interventions that might be needed. There are many test kits on the market that provide good estimates of concentrations of many kinds of water parameters and contaminants. They are inexpensive and easy to use with some practice, and do not require the expertise of an analytical chemist or microbiologist, or an expensive fixed laboratory. Many can be run in the field. They always require care and cleanliness and good practices and carefully following the directions, so as to produce reliable results.

Parameters and circumstances that require an expert analytical laboratory

Of course, many analyses require complex equipment and a qualified analytical laboratory. Some examples include trace organic chemicals like THMs or pesticides, many inorganic chemicals and more complex microbial analyses like for giardia or Cryptosporidium protozoa. These could cost hundreds of dollars per sample and may require days or weeks before the results are provided. Virtually all analyses that will be used for official standards and regulatory compliance determinations will require data from a state certified laboratory. So, for example, data from public water systems to determine official compliance with chemical and microbial drinking water regulations all fall into that category. Except for standard inexpensive microbial analyses like coliform bacteria they are usually required infrequently. The good news is that there are many simpler analyses for some of the substances that even public water systems can use for tracking treatment processes and day-to-day performance. (more…)

Beer: a magical mixture of hops, barley, and tiny pieces of plastic

 

by Liz Core

Plastics are everywhere: on the street, in our refrigerators, all over the oceans — you name it. But now they’re hitting us where it really hurts. Authors of a new study published in the latest edition of Food Additives and Contaminants found traces of plastic particles (and other debris … we’ll get to this later) in beer.

This is how the study worked: Researchers lab-tested samples of 24 varieties of German beers, including 10 of the nation’s most popular brands. Through their superpowers of microscopic analysis, the team discovered plastic microfibers in 100 percent of the tested beer samples.

Reads the study:

“The small numbers of microplastic items in beer in themselves may not be alarming, but their occurrence in a beverage as common as beer indicates that the human environment is contaminated by micro-sized synthetic polymers to a far-reaching extent.”

It’s not breaking news that plastics don’t just vanish into the ether when we’re finished with them. Unless you haven’t heard, in which case … BREAKING NEWS: The plastics we use today will stick around longer than your great-great-great-great (and then some) grandchildren. (more…)

 Pictures Say it Better Than Words

 

Sometimes words aren’t enough to describe the impact of the devastating drought in California.  The Atlantic has published a set of pictures that say it better than words.  Here is a sample:

 

 

Bidwell Marina at Lake Oroville on July 20, 2011.

 

 Bidwell Marina at Lake Oroville on August 19, 2014.

 

Please see the full Atlantic photo essay.

Pure Water Gazette Fair Use Statement

 

 

The Pure Water Occasional for September 15, 2014

In this truncated mid-September Occasional, you’ll hear about the water usage habits of the rich and famous, dead grass on Sunset Boulevard, the danger of “heavy oil” to the Great Lakes, severe dairy pollution in Wisconsin, and a threatened holiday almond shortage in the UK. Read about dead birds on a Mongolian sewage lake, geothermal power on the Salton Sea, Nike’s new waterless dye garments,  the woes of Lake Cachuma, and the drying of the Promised Land. Hear about the annual US pesticide consumption, how businesses plan to save water, and how home owners can save water by putting in a swimming pool.  Meet rising water polo star Ashleigh Johnson, read Pure Water Annie’s explanation of chlorine and chloramines,  and, as always, there is much, much more.

The Pure Water Occasional is a project of Pure Water Products and the Pure Water Gazette.

To read this issue on the Pure Water Gazette’s website,  please go here.  (Recommended! When you read online you get the added advantage of the Gazette’s sidebar feed of the very latest world water news.)


You’ll sing better.

Super-rich make last stand against California drought

 

In one of America’s richest towns residents are paying more than ten times the going rate for water in a desperate attempt to stave off California’s “epochal” drought

by Nick Allen

Sept. 13, 2014

The home of Tom Cruise in Montecito, California

 “It doesn’t matter how much money you have, if you run out of water you’re screwed.” (more…)