Water Transmission and COVID-19

Drinking Water, Recreational Water and Wastewater: What You Need to Know

Information about  COVID-19 and Water from the website of the Centers for Disease Control.

Can the COVID-19 virus spread through drinking water?

The COVID-19 virus has not been detected in drinking water. Conventional water treatment methods that use filtration and disinfection, such as those in most municipal drinking water systems, should remove or inactivate the virus that causes COVID-19.

Is the COVID-19 virus found in feces?

The virus that causes COVID-19 has been detected in the feces of some patients diagnosed with COVID-19. The amount of virus released from the body (shed) in stool, how long the virus is shed, and whether the virus in stool is infectious are not known.

The risk of transmission of COVID-19 from the feces of an infected person is also unknown. However, the risk is expected to be low based on data from previous outbreaks of related coronaviruses, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). There have been no reports of fecal-oral transmission of COVID-19 to date.

Can the COVID-19 virus spread through pools and hot tubs?

There is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread to humans through the use of pools and hot tubs. Proper operation, maintenance, and disinfection (e.g., with chlorine and bromine) of pools and hot tubs should remove or inactivate the virus that causes COVID-19.

Can the COVID-19 virus spread through sewerage systems?

CDC is reviewing all data on COVID-19 transmission as information becomes available. At this time, the risk of transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19 through sewerage systems is thought to be low. Although transmission of COVID-19 through sewage may be possible, there is no evidence to date that this has occurred. This guidance will be updated as necessary as new evidence is assessed.

SARS, a similar coronavirus, has been detected in untreated sewage for up to 2 to 14 days. In the 2003 SARS outbreak, there was documented transmission associated with sewage aerosols. Data suggest that standard municipal wastewater system chlorination practices may be sufficient to inactivate coronaviruses, as long as utilities monitor free available chlorine during treatment to ensure it has not been depleted.

Wastewater and sewage workers should use standard practices, practice basic hygiene precautions, and wear personal protective equipment (PPE) as prescribed for current work tasks.

Should wastewater workers take extra precautions to protect themselves from the COVID-19 virus?

Wastewater treatment plant operations should ensure workers follow routine practices to prevent exposure to wastewater. These include using engineering and administrative controls, safe work practices, and PPE normally required for work tasks when handling untreated wastewater. No additional COVID-19–specific protections are recommended for employees involved in wastewater management operations, including those at wastewater treatment facilities.

For additional information:

CDC: Guidance for reducing health risks to workers handling human waste or sewage

CDC: Healthcare professionals: Frequently asked questions and answers

CDC: Healthy Water

Occupational Safety and Health Administration: COVID-19 Control and Prevention: Solid waste and wastewater management workers and employers

World Health Organization: Water, sanitation, hygiene and waste management for COVID-19

 

 

 

 

Fluoridation

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Part I

by C. F. Michaud, CWS-VI

Editor’s Note: this article appeared first in Water Conditioning and Purification magazine then in reprinted form in the Pure Water Occasional’s Feb. 2010 issue.  Here is the Occasional’s introductory note by Pure Water Gazette editor Hardly Waite.

In lots of important ways,  the United States leads the civilized world at being backward.

Although we somehow worked our way past witch burning, we’ve had trouble keeping up with the rest of the civilized world on issues like capital punishment, dealing with drugs, providing medical care for our citizens, and figuring out the metric system.  And when you look at the fact that we’re still, in 2010,  intentionally putting a powerful systemic poison into our drinking water, it makes you wonder how we ever got past the fear of witches.

As the article that we’re featuring in this issue points out, fully 97% of modern western Europeans have reached the conclusion that putting fluoride into the water supply is a bad idea.  Nevertheless, fluoridation is still practiced in most parts of the USA.  What’s surprising is that a large portion of Americans  haven’t even heard that there might be something a little strange about adding the toxic waste products of aluminum and fertilizer plants to the public water supply.  

Since the idea of selling municipalities toxic industrial waste as a way to prevent dental cavities first popped into the entrepreneurial brain in the middle of the past century, there’s been a battle going on, though most Americans seem blissfully unaware of it. 

Fluoridation became an official policy of the United States Public Health Service by 1951, and by 1960 water fluoridation had become widely used in the U.S., reaching about 50 million people. By 2006, almost 70% of the U.S. population on public water systems were receiving fluoridated water.  

During this period there has been strong opposition to fluoridation but also strong and well-financed support for it.  The aluminum and phosphate fertilizer industries, the chief financial beneficiaries of fluoridation, have been enthusiastic supporters, as has the American Dental Association. The fluoride industry contributes $50 million per year to efforts to influence the public to adopt fluoridation in California alone. (It also contributes to the American Dental Association.) Well financed proponents of water fluoridation have been successful at dominating local fluoride elections, often by painting opponents of fluoridation as Luddite crazies, enemies of progress, the American flag, and cavity-free teeth. (See Paul Carpenter’s excellent piece, “Once Again the Kooks Are Vanquished,” on the Pure Water Gazette’s website.)

The conventional water treatment industry has remained predictably neutral on public fluoridation over the years. I was pleased to find the article we’re reprinting below, which appeared in February 2010 issue of both the print and the online issues of Water Conditioning and Purification magazine. The author is a highly respected member of the water treatment industry. Mr. C.F. ‘Chubb’ Michaud is the CEO and Technical Director of Systematix Company, Buena Park, CA, which he founded in 1982. An active member of the Water Quality Association, Michaud has been a member of its Board and of the Board of Governors and past Chair of the Commercial/Industrial Section. He is a Certified Water Specialist Level VI. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Pacific WQA (since 2001) and Chairs its Technical Committee. A founding member of Water Conditioning and Purification’s Technical Review Committee, Michaud has authored or presented over 100 technical publications and papers.

I’ve shortened Mr. Michaud’s article a bit to fit the email format, mainly by leaving out some graphs and charts printed with the original. If you’d prefer to read the original, it’s online it its original format. The missing graphs and charts can also be found by following the footnotes at the end of the article. I’ll confess that I added the picture of the scary fluorosis-damaged teeth just because I thought it would be interesting. Don’t blame Mr. Michaud for it.

This is the first of a two-part article. The second part, covering treatments that reduce fluoride, will appear in the next Occasional.

Fluorine (F) is the most powerful oxidizing element known. It is the lowest molecular-weight member of the halogen family (which includes chlorine, iodine, bromine and astatine), and is the most abundant halogen in the Earth’s crust. Since no other substance can oxidize fluoride ion, it is never found in its elemental free-gas form, but only as a fluoride salt. Its most common form is the compound Fluorspar, a form of calcium fluoride (CaF2).

In the latter 1800s, scientists from the medical community produced studies showing that the enamel of sound, healthy teeth contained more fluorides than was contained in the teeth of those prone to tooth decay. Further studies showed that fluoride ion was absorbed by bone as well as teeth, and was considered ‘beneficial’ for bone and tooth development and health.1

We now have learned that fluorides are known to reduce the incidence of rickets in children by stimulating the thyroid to maintain normal metabolic rates. Minute quantities in the diet limit the acid production of bacteria in the mouth, thus reducing decay. Significant advancement in oral hygiene was made when it was shown that fluoride could be applied topically. This led to a whole new era of tooth-care products and procedures. Today, the benefits of fluoride are pretty much accepted worldwide.

Fluoride is a common additive to toothpaste and mouthwash. Many dentists administer fluoride treatments to patients on a regular basis, and fluoride is frequently added to drinking water supplies or used as an additive to table salt in order to increase the element in the diet.1

Fluoride, although not essential, is touted as building stronger tooth enamel and bones, reducing cavities, reducing bone fractures, lowering the incidence of osteoporosis in older women, leading to higher birth weights and higher rates of growth in children, and reducing hearing losses (caused by otospongiosis of the inner ear). In addition, fluoride also benefits blood, skin, hair and nails.2 But fluoride consumed in excess has a dark side.

When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) nominated water fluoridation as one of the top 10 public health achievements of the 20th century, it published a graph which showed the reduction of cavities in US children coupled with the increase in the number of public water systems that had adopted fluoridation since the 1960s. The CDC referred to the graph with the following statement: “…as a result (of water fluoridation), dental caries declined precipitously during the second half of the 20th century.”3

What the CDC failed to mention, however, was that similar declines in tooth decay had occurred in virtually every western country, most of which did not fluoridate. Should this be considered evidence of the effectiveness of ingested fluorides on preventing tooth decay, or was it a misinterpretation of coincidental data?

Fluoride is toxic. It is an ingredient in many insecticides and rat poison. It is classified as a Class 4 (very toxic) poisonous substance.

The average person becomes a piece of history if they consume about a quarter of a gram. In addition, many people show the effects of fluoride poisoning by consuming only about 1.5 times the recommended daily allowance (RDA).

Fluoride has never received Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. It is listed as an ‘unapproved new drug’ by the FDA and as a ‘contaminant’ by US EPA. The type of fluoride salt used in municipal water treatment is a hazardous waste product generated by the aluminum and phosphate fertilizer industries.

When the fluoridation program began in the 1940s, the ‘optimal’ level of fluoride exposure for dental benefits was set at one mg/day for an adult male (presumed to drink only one liter of water a day)—other dietary sources of fluoride were very scarce.

Municipalities fluoridate at between 0.7 and 1.2 ppm. That’s 1.4 to 2.4 milligrams of fluoride packed into a two-liter-a-day water diet. This runs well below the current suggested ingestion levels of 3-4 mg/day for average adults;4 that is, if water was your only source of dietary fluoride. In addition, the correct amount of fluoride for any individual is dependent on body weight and diet. Children and infants require far less fluoride.

Natural sources of fluoride include carrots, dandelions, green leafy vegetables, nuts, garlic and spinach. Instant tea may contain as much as 6.5 mg of fluoride per liter of consumable beverage while regular brewed tea may contain up to 4.2 mg/L.

Bottled beverages (be it wine, beer, juice or soda) will reflect the average fluoride content of the water from which they were made. Wine is even higher because most crops use Cryolite, a pesticide synthesized from fluoride.

Processed cereals show up to 6.3 ppm of fluoride. Fish averages over two pm, but shellfish can be over three ppm, and canned fish can be over 4.5 ppm. Fluoridated salt contains about 250 ppm. Toothpaste may be over 10,000 ppm.

If it’s a vegetable or if it contains water, you are most certainly being exposed to additional fluoride. Even organic farmers are allowed to use fluoridated pesticides, and the use of these products has increased since the death of DDT. It’s not just about tap water any more. When a small child swallows a pea-sized gob of fluoridated toothpaste because it tastes like candy, he/she gets more than his full dose of fluoride for the day.

US EPA has established a maximum level of fluoride in drinking water at four ppm. Above that level, individuals are at risk of developing crippling skeletal fluorisis, an embrittling of the bone structure that can lead to weakening and increased incidents of fracture.

A secondary level (desirable) is set at two ppm. Above this level, children are likely to develop dental fluorosis, a brownstain mottling of permanent teeth. US EPA says that this is only cosmetic. Dental fluorosis, however, is only the first visible sign of fluoride poisoning, and other neurological damage has probably already been done.

 

fluorosis

Fluorosis

Here is what some experts in the field of medicine have to say about fluoride:5

•“Fluoride is a persistent bioaccumulator and is entering into human food and beverage chains in increasing amounts.” Marier, J. Rose. (1977) Environmental Fluoride National Research Council of Canada. NRCC No. 16081.

My take: fluoride is absorbed by teeth and bones and stays with us a long, long time. Many of the issues with excess fluoride consumption are due to its accumulation over time.

•“The prevalence of dental fluorosis in the United States has increased during the last 30 years, both in communities with fluoridated water and in communities with non-fluoridated
water.” Fromon, S.J. “Fluoride intake and prevalence of dental fluorosis.” Journal of Public Health Dentistry 60 (3): 131-9.

My take: fluorosis, caused by excess fluoride, is increasing even in areas that do not fluoridate water. This simply confirms the increase of fluoride in everything we eat or drink.
•“The majority of children in this research study drank water with the optimal fluoride level (0.7-1.2 ppm) and overall 34.5 percent had definitive fluorosis” Levy, S.M. Iowa study, Journal of Public Health Dentistry 66 (2): 92-6.

My take: the public water supply is putting kids over the top on fluoride intake and it is the only source that most can not avoid. We do not need the additional fluoride given to us by the public water supply.

•”Current standards for water fluoridation in the United States have stood since 1962. Many things have changed since then, however, and these data suggest that perhaps it is time to reconsider these standards.” Heller, K.E., et al. (1977). Dental Carries and Dental Fluorisis at Varying Water Fluoride Concentrations. Journal of Public Health Dentistry 57: 136-143.

My take: Fluoridated water has served its purpose and it is time to move on without it.

Here are 10 interesting and well-documented facts about fluoride:6

1) Ninety-seven percent of western Europe has chosen fluoride-free water.

2) Fluoride is the only chemical added to drinking water for the purpose of medication. All other additives improve quality or safety. Fluoride does neither.

3) Fluoride has minimal benefits (for tooth decay prevention) when swallowed.

4) Fluoridated water is no longer recommended for babies (formula preparation).

5) There are better ways of delivering fluoride than by adding it to water (such as direct topical application via
toothpaste).

6) Ingested fluoride has many risks to the brain, thyroid, and kidneys, and is implicated in bone cancer).

7) Industrial chemicals used to fluoridate water may present unique health risks not found with naturally
occurring fluoride complexes.

8) Fluoride’s benefits to teeth have been exaggerated.

9) Lower-income communities are at higher risk than the general public because they can least afford to avoid over exposure. Poorer communities show higher oral health problems and dental disfiguring from fluorosis.

10) Due to other sources, many people are being overexposed to fluoride.

When water fluoridation first started, it was about the only real source of fluoride in the diet. Most studies were done with sodium fluoride addition. Now, fluoridation is done with fluorosilicic acid and sodium silicofluoride as well. These are actually industrial waste products from the fertilizer and aluminum industries.

A recent study from the University of North Carolina showed that use of fluorosilicic acid (FSA) in water that is chlorinated can leach higher levels of lead from brass joints and piping. A University of Maryland study suggests that fluoridation can increase the blood lead levels in residents of older homes (containing lead pipes).

In hypersensitive individuals, fluoride can cause skin eruptions, gastric distress, headaches and overall weakness. The symptoms disappear when the sources of fluoride are removed.7 Hypersensitive individuals may react adversely to drinking water with as little as one ppm of fluoride.7

In addition to the concerns raised by the effects of excess fluoride on the skeletal, dental and dermal members of the human body, there are serious inferences now being leveled at general health, particularly mental health. Fluoride’s ability to damage the brain represents one of the most active areas of research on fluoride toxicity today.8

In a study by the US Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS) published in 1991, the agency was already aware that the general public was overexposed to fluoride .9

Medical science is finding damning evidence that elevated exposure to fluoride can be associated with IQ deficits in children. Researchers have found that fluoride accumulates in the brain of the fetus, causing damage before birth.

Elevated fluoride ingestion has also been linked to increased aluminum accumulation in the brain, which is now linked to Alzheimer’s in adults. These conclusions are not just from the isolated study here and there. The data is absolutely overwhelming.

I have carefully referenced my information sources for this article. Please verify this information for yourself and consider yourself warned. There is little if no evidence supporting the continuation of public water fluoridation, and there are volumes supporting its ban.

It is not surprising that the American Medical Association is recommending that baby formula be prepared with nonfluoridated water, and American dentists are moving away from their support of fluoridated toothpaste and other dental hygiene products containing fluorides. My own dentist no longer does routine fluoride treatments as part of the cleaning process.

So we have another contaminant in our drinking (and cooking and bathing) water. Part 2 of this series will discuss, in depth, the methods for removing fluoride from the water supply.

References

1. Michaud, C.F., Fluoride–Friend or Foe?, WC&P, September, 1996.
2. Fluoride-Benefits, Deficiency Symptoms and Food Sources.
3. Tooth Decay Trends in Fluoridated vs Unfluoridated Countries.
4. Recommended Daily Allowance for Fluoride.
5. The Fluoride Glut: Sources of Fluoride Exposure.
6. 10 Facts about Fluoride.
7. Allergy and Hypersensitivity to Fluoride,
8. Fluoride and the Brain.
9. America, Overdosed on Fluoride by Lynn Landes and Marcia Bechis, June 2000.

 

 

Garden Hose Filters Are Inexpensive, Easy to Install, and Very Versatile

ghfiltergardening

 

 

The garden hose filter above provides chemical-free water for a raised-bed garden. Garden hose filters offer an easy, convenient way to provide excellent water for plants, animals and people–for irrigation, for drinking, for washing cars, for pH amendment, for iron removal, for removing chlorine or chloramine,  for any purpose that requires high quality water. Garden hose filters come in four sizes and use standard-sized filter cartridges, so the possible applications are many.

Here are some pages to look at:

Standard Garden Hose Filters that use 9.75″ X 2.5″ cartridges.

Larger Garden Hose Filters. 

Garden Hose Iron Filters.

Garden Hose Softener.  (A 10,000 grain water softener set up  for garden hose operation. A favorite of RV owners and car washers.)

PFAS Treatment with Plasma


Posted February 25th, 2020

RESEARCH: ‘PLASMATRON’ COULD BLAST PFAS OUT OF THE WATER

Breaking down the PFAS bonds

 

plasmatreatment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With billions of dollars being spent to clean up contaminated land from PFAS, efforts are underway to find the best method to remove what are being called ‘forever chemicals’ seeping into water supplies.

A new study in the US has shown that rather than filtering out the chemicals using activated carbon or reverse osmosis, in fact, the best way is to destroy them.

Researchers from Drexel University in Pennsylvania have developed what is being called a ‘plasmatron’ technology that they claim breaks down PFAS contaminants, rather than filtering them out.

They said that with current filtration methods, such as carbon filters, PFAS are merely collected, not destroyed, so “unless the filters are incinerated at high temperatures”, the used filters “become a new source of PFAS”.

Why plasma?

Known as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), these chemicals are part of a larger group referred to as per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

With PFAS leaching into ground and surface water from products sitting in landfills for decades, the chemicals do not readily biodegrade. A total of 700 PFAS-contaminated sites were recently identified in the US.

The US Department of Defense is said to be spending “billions of dollars” to clean up contaminated soil water supplies surrounding military bases where PFAS fire-fighting foam has been used.

A study from Duke University and North Carolina State University recently tested point of use/entry systems for their effectiveness in removing PFAS from household water supplies.

Meanwhile, Orange County in the US has started a $1.4 million project with Carollo to explore PFAS removal solutions, including reviewing 10 different carbons and four different resins.

The Drexel team believe that to eliminate these chemicals, you need to split the carbon-fluoride bond. By breaking these chains into smaller pieces, it renders the PFAS inert.

To then remove the fluoride – the temperature of the water needs to be raised to 1,000 Celsius – ten times the temperature of boiling water.

With this “clearly not feasible for water treatment operations” due to the high energy costs, the researchers proposed the use of highly energized gas, or plasma, to activate the PFAS atoms without heating the water.

How does the plasmatron work?

Published in the journal Environmental Science: Water Research & Technology, the study saw the development of a device called a “gliding arc plasmatron”.

Creating a rotating electromagnetic field that splits the chemicals apart in the water, the process was described as the chemical equivalent of “using a blender to make a smoothie”.

Researchers claim the process takes one hour and uses less energy than it takes to boil a kettle while removing more than 90 per cent of PFAS from the water.

The team said previous plasma treatment methods on PFAS did not lend themselves to being easily scaled up for use at large treatment facilities.

Alexander Fridman, PhD and director of the Nyheim Plasma Institute, said the technology could be adjusted to treat contaminated soil, achieving “near-complete defluorination of PFAS compounds”.

What the researchers said

Christopher Sales, PdD, associate professor of environmental engineering at Drexel, said: “The current standard for dealing with PFAS-contaminated water is activated carbon filters. But the problem is that it only collects the PFAS, it doesn’t destroy it.

“So unless the filters are incinerated at high temperatures, the spent filters become a new source of PFAS that can make its way back into the environment through landfill runoff and seepage.”

Fridman added: “Cold plasma has the potential to help us eliminate a variety of chemical toxins that threaten our food and drinking water  supplies.”

Source: Aquatech

Pure Water Gazette Fair Use Statement

Lawsuit Launched Over Trump’s Massive Rollback Of Pollution Protections For Rivers, Wetlands

 Below is a press release issued by The Center for Biological Diversity, a party in a lawsuit brought forth in reaction to intended rollbacks to the Clean Water Act. An interesting map is provided demonstrating areas that would be affected. 

For Immediate Release, February 18, 2020

Contact:

Brett Hartl, Center for Biological Diversity, (202) 817-8121, bhartl@biologicaldiversity.org
Maia Raposo, Waterkeeper Alliance, (212) 747-0622 x 116, mraposo@waterkeeper.org
Annalisa Batanides Tuel, Turtle Island Restoration Network, (408) 621-8113, atuel@seaturtles.org

Lawsuit Launched Over Trump’s Massive Rollback of Pollution Protections for Rivers, Wetlands

Rule Threatens Millions of Acres of Wetlands, Hundreds of Endangered Species

WASHINGTON— Conservation groups filed a formal notice of intent to sue the Trump administration today for eliminating longstanding protections for the nation’s waters, including approximately half of all wetlands and potentially millions of miles of streams. The Trump rule allows polluters to pave over wetlands and dump pesticides, mining waste and other pollutants directly into these now-unprotected waterways.

The impacts of this Clean Water Act rollback were revealed by a leaked Environmental Protection Agency analysis that indicates arid states like Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada could lose protections for the vast majority of their waters. The loss of protections puts hundreds of endangered species at greater risk of extinction, including the Chiricahua leopard frog, Chinook salmon and southwestern willow flycatcher.

“Trump’s despicable giveaway to polluters will wipe out countless wetlands and streams and speed the extinction of endangered wildlife across the country,” said Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Even as we’re fighting this in court, the polluters will rush to fill in wetlands and turn our waterways into industrial toilets. So go outside, take a swim, or go fishing at your favorite spot now, because the deluge of pollution unleashed by Donald Trump will soon touch waterways from coast to coast.”

The final rule limits protections only to wetlands and streams that are “physically and meaningfully connected” to larger navigable bodies of water. The radical change repeals longstanding protections for wetlands, streams and rivers that have been in place since the Nixon administration and that are responsible for major improvements in water quality nationwide.

President Trump’s Executive Order 13778 required the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to review the rule defining which waters deserve Clean Water Act protections. The agencies decided to protect only those waters that have “a relatively permanent surface connection” to a territorial sea or commercially navigable body of water such as a shipping channel — a myopic legal interpretation that ignores decades of settled law and the basics of hydrology. The rule partially follows the minority legal view of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, which was never adopted by the Supreme Court, but goes even further to eliminate protections for many other waters across the country.

“This reverses more than 40 years of progress and settled law,” said Kelly Hunter Foster, a senior attorney at Waterkeeper Alliance. “Because the rule establishes arbitrary categories of protected waters, EPA and the Army Corps do not have the data necessary to fully identify the waters that will lose protection and they haven’t even assessed the impacts of leaving these waters unprotected where adequate data is available. Their actions are not only reckless — they are illegal.”

In rushing to comply with Trump’s executive order, the agencies violated both the Endangered Species Act and National Environmental Policy Act. Both laws require the federal government to “look before you leap” and ensure that the environmental consequences of a particular action will not cause unintended environmental damage.

“Clean water is the single most important resource for countless species, including humans,” said Annalisa Batanides Tuel, advocacy and policy manager at the Turtle Island Restoration Network. “Right now we’re facing the reality of climate change and widespread habitat loss. It is critical to expand Clean Water Act protections — not shrink them — if we want to avoid mass extinction.”

Today’s notice of intent was submitted by the Center for Biological Diversity, Waterkeeper Alliance, Center for Food Safety, Turtle Island Restoration Network, Humboldt Baykeeper, Lake Worth Waterkeeper, Missouri Confluence Waterkeeper, Monterey Coastkeeper – A Program of the Otter Project, Rio Grande Waterkeeper, Sound Rivers (Upper Neuse, Lower Neuse and Pamlico-Tar Riverkeepers), Russian Riverkeeper, Upper Missouri Waterkeeper and Snake River Waterkeeper.

The organizations are represented by the Indian and Environmental Law Group of Oklahoma.

WOTUS map
WOTUS map by Center for Biological Diversity Image is available for media use.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

 

 

 

 

 

Our Coconut Shell Catalytic Carbon Backwashing Filter for Whole House Treatment

For City Water Treated with Either Chlorine or Chloramine

 

We’ve been selling whole house filters to city water for several years in a variety of styles, with different carbon choices and different control valve configurations. This page features the best filter we can build for city water users. We present it in four basic sizes, with recommendations based on family size.

American cities use either chlorine or chloramine as a basic disinfectant. Both have advantages and disadvantages, but it’s no secret that when they reach your home they’ve done their job and you will like the water much better if you remove them from water that you bath in and drink.

An issue in filter choice is that although chloramine and chlorine are removed by filter carbon, chloramine is much harder to remove, so a specialty carbon known as “catalytic carbon” is the carbon of choice if your city uses chloramine. The high quality catalytic carbon used in the filters below is Aquasorb coconut shell catalytic. It is excellent for chloramine and much better than it has to be for chlorine removal.  Aquasorb is a hard carbon carbon for long life and it is exceptionally clean carbon that does not put carbon particles into home service lines.

The mineral tank is the water saving Vortech and the control valve is the SXT electronic version of the tough and reliable Fleck 5600.

5600sxt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5600 SXT

 

 

Unit Description

Tank Black Vortech. No support bed needed. Excellent service flow. Saves thousands of gallons of backwash water over its lifespan as compared with conventional media tanks.  10 year manufacturer’s warranty.
Control Valve Fleck 5600 SXT. Digital version of the old faithful 5600. Programmed before shipping. Five-year manufacturer’s warranty.
Extras Stainless steel bypass. Drain tubing. Instructions for installation and startup. Support by phone or email.
Media The best carbon available. Jacobi coconut shell catalytic. Extra clean, effective for both chlorine and chloramine plus all the other chemicals that carbon removes. Extremely hard and durable carbon for a long life and minimum release of particles (fines).
Shipping Shipped UPS. We pay shipping. Ships within one or two days of receipt of order.
Recommended media replacement 5 years.

 

 

Note: These filters are for homes with ¾” or 1″ service pipe.Please call for information about equivalent filters for larger applications.

Part Number Tank Size. Media Load. Family Size Recommendation Full Price. (We pay shipping.)
AS0948 9″ X 48 – 1 cubic foot.

Chlorine: Up to 2 people.

Chloramine: 1 person.

$614.00
AS1054 10″ X 54″ – 1.5 cubic feet.

Chlorine: Up to 4 people.

Chloramine: 2 to 3 people.

$728.00
AS1252 12″ X 52″ – 2 cubic feet.

Chlorine: Up to 4 to 6 people.

Chloramine: up to 4 people.

$964.00
AS1354 13″ B 54″ – 2.5 cubic feet.

Chlorine: Up to 7 people.

Chloramine: Up to 5 people.

$1,154.00

Jacobi Aquasorb Coconut Shell Catalytic Carbon Spec Sheet

 

Not All In-Home Drinking Water Filters Completely Remove Toxic PFAS

Research by Duke and NC State scientists finds most filters are only partially effective at removing PFAS. A few, if not properly maintained, can even make the situation worse.

Pure Water Gazette introductory note. We’re reprinting WaterOnline’s reporting on Duke University research that appeared recently. We take issue with the “glass is half empty” title, which more appropriately should be “All Home Reverse Osmosis Units Tested In Duke Research Removed PFAS Handily.” Are we supposed to be surprised and disappointed that a $35 end-of-faucet filter from Walmart failed to remove tiny amounts of perfluoroalkyl sulfonic acids, perfluoroalkyl carboxylic acids, and per- and poly-fluoroalkyl ether acids from tap water? We take issue as well with the implication that home reverse osmosis units are luxury items beyond the reach of homeowners because of cost. A home appliance that costs less than a smart phone and provides years of superb drinking water? We added the image below from the original Duke research because it summarizes the findings: small carbon filters were partially effective, double undersink filters were very effective (though researchers could not explain why), and undersink reverse osmosis units of various brands, states of upkeep and age were uniformly effective.

pfasremovalchart

The water filter on your refrigerator door, the pitcher-style filter you keep inside the fridge and the whole-house filtration system you installed last year may function differently and have vastly different price tags, but they have one thing in common.

They may not remove all of the drinking water contaminants you’re most concerned about.

A new study by scientists at Duke University and North Carolina State University finds that – while using any filter is better than using none – many household filters are only partially effective at removing toxic perfluoroalkyl substances, commonly known as PFAS, from drinking water. A few, if not properly maintained, can even make the situation worse.

“We tested 76 point-of-use filters and 13 point-of-entry or whole-house systems and found their effectiveness varied widely,” said Heather Stapleton, the Dan and Bunny Gabel Associate Professor of Environmental Health at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment.

“All of the under-sink reverse osmosis and two-stage filters achieved near-complete removal of the PFAS chemicals we were testing for,” Stapleton said. “In contrast, the effectiveness of activated-carbon filters used in many pitcher, countertop, refrigerator and faucet-mounted styles was inconsistent and unpredictable. The whole-house systems were also widely variable and in some cases actually increased PFAS levels in the water.”

“Home filters are really only a stopgap,” said Detlef Knappe, the S. James Ellen Distinguished Professor of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering at NC State, whose lab teamed with Stapleton’s to conduct the study. “The real goal should be control of PFAS contaminants at their source.”

PFAS have come under scrutiny in recent years due to their potential health impacts and widespread presence in the environment, especially drinking water. Exposure to the chemicals, used widely in fire-fighting foams and stain- and water-repellants, is associated with various cancers, low birth weight in babies, thyroid disease, impaired immune function and other health disorders. Mothers and young children may be most vulnerable to the chemicals, which can affect reproductive and developmental health.

Some scientists call PFAS “forever chemicals” because they persist in the environment indefinitely and accumulate in the human body. They are now nearly ubiquitous in human blood serum samples, Stapleton noted.

The researchers published their peer-reviewed findings Feb. 5 [2020] in Environmental Science & Technology Letters. It’s the first study to examine the PFAS-removal efficiencies of point-of-use filters in a residential setting.

They analyzed filtered water samples from homes in Chatham, Orange, Durham and Wake counties in central North Carolina and New Hanover and Brunswick counties in southeastern N.C. Samples were tested for a suite of PFAS contaminants, including three perfluoroalkal sulfonic acids (PFSAs), seven perfluoroalkyl carboxylic acids (PFCAs) and six per- and poly-fluoroalkyl ether acids (PFEAs). GenX, which has been found in high levels in water in the Wilmington area of southeastern N.C., was among the PFEAs for which they tested.

Key takeaways include:

  • Reverse osmosis filters and two-stage filters reduced PFAS levels, including GenX, by 94% or more in water, though the small number of two-stage filters tested necessitates further testing to determine why they performed so well.
  • Activated-carbon filters removed 73% of PFAS contaminants, on average, but results varied greatly. In some cases, the chemicals were completely removed; in other cases they were not reduced at all. Researchers saw no clear trends between removal efficiency and filter brand, age or source water chemical levels. Changing out filters regularly is probably a very good idea, nonetheless, researchers said.
  • The PFAS-removal efficiency of whole-house systems using activated carbon filters varied widely. In four of the six systems tested, PFSA and PFCA levels actually increased after filtration. Because the systems remove disinfectants used in city water treatment, they can also leave home pipes susceptible to bacterial growth.

“The under-sink reverse osmosis filter is the most efficient system for removing both the PFAS contaminants prevalent in central N.C. and the PFEAs, including GenX, found in Wilmington,” Knappe said. “Unfortunately, they also cost much more than other point-of-use filters. This raises concerns about environmental justice, since PFAS pollution affects more households that struggle financially than those that do not struggle.”

Nick Herkert, a postdoctoral associate in Stapleton’s lab, was lead author on the study. John Merrill of NC State and Cara Peters, David Bollinger, Sharon Zhang, Kate Hoffman and Lee Ferguson of Duke were co-authors. Funding came from the N.C. Policy Collaboratory through the N.C. PFAS Testing Network and from the Wallace Genetic Foundation. Duke and NC State scientists finds most filters are only partially effective at removing PFAS. A few, if not properly maintained, can even make the situation worse.

Source: WaterOnline.

More PFAS information from the Pure Water Gazette website.

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More Byproducts of Chlorination


Posted February 6th, 2020

Common Water Disinfecting Method May Result In Toxic Byproducts, Study Finds

Toxic and carcinogenic compounds are produced when phenols in drinking water mix with chlorine, the most common chemical used to disinfect drinking water in the U.S.

Chlorine, the most common chemical used to disinfect drinking water in the United States, creates previously unidentified toxic byproducts in the very water chlorinebyproductsits meant to disinfect, according to a new study from researchers at Johns Hopkins and the University of California, Berkeley, as well as in Switzerland.

The researchers’ findings were recently published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology

“There’s no doubt that chlorine is beneficial; chlorination has saved millions of lives worldwide from diseases such as typhoid and cholera since its arrival in the early 20th century,” says Carsten Prasse, an assistant professor of Environmental Health and Engineering at Johns Hopkins and the paper’s lead author. “But that process of killing potentially fatal bacteria and viruses comes with unintended consequences. The discovery of these previously unknown, highly toxic byproducts raises the question of how much chlorination is really necessary.”

Phenols, chemical compounds that occur naturally in the environment and are abundant in personal care products and pharmaceuticals, are also commonly found in drinking water. When these phenols mix with chlorine, the process creates a large number of byproducts. Current analytical chemistry methods, however, are unable to detect and identify all of these byproducts, some which may be harmful and can cause long-term health consequences, says Prasse.

For the study, Prasse and his collaborators added N-α-acetyl-lysine, which is almost identical to the amino acid lysine that makes up many proteins in our bodies, to detect reactive electrophiles, harmful compounds which have been linked to a variety of diseases. The technique of identifying compounds based on their reaction with biomolecules like DNA and proteins is commonly used in the field of toxicology.

The researchers first chlorinated water using commercial methods: they added excess chlorine, which ensures sufficient disinfection but also eliminates harmless smell and taste compounds that consumers often complain about. Then the team added the aforementioned amino acid, let the water incubate for one day, and used mass spectrometry, a method of analyzing chemicals, to detect the electrophiles that reacted with the amino acid.

Their experiment found the compounds 2-butene-1,4-dial, or BDA, and chloro-2-butene-1,4-dial, or BDA with chlorine attached. BDA is a very toxic compound and a known carcinogen that, until this study, scientists had not detected in chlorinated water before, says Prasse.

While Prasse stresses that this is a lab-based study and the presence of these novel byproducts in real drinking water has not been evaluated, the findings also raise the question about the use of alternative methods to disinfect drinking water, including the use of ozone, UV treatment, or simple filtration.

“In other countries, especially in Europe, chlorination is not used as frequently, and the water is still safe from waterborne illnesses. In my opinion, we need to evaluate when chlorination is really necessary for the protection of human health and when alternative approaches might be better,” Prasse says.

He adds: “Our study also clearly emphasizes the need for the development of new analytical techniques that allow us to evaluate the formation of toxic disinfection by-products when chlorine or other disinfectants are being used. One reason regulators and utilities are not monitoring these compounds is that they don’t have the tools to find them.”

Source: Johns Hopkins University. Reprinted from Watertech Online.

Which sediment filter cartridge is best? Wound string, melt-blown, or pleated?

 

Water filter cartridges whose function is to trap suspended particles come in three distinct styles.  Mr. Robert LeConche, President of Shelco, one of the largest makers of sediment filtration products, describes them like this:

woundstringsediment

Wound Filters. Wound filters are versatile all-purpose filters that exhibit rather high dirt-holding capacities. They are relatively low cost, depending on the materials of construction, and work well in most applications. This style of filtration offers great compatibilities because of a wide range of raw materials available for production. Its distinct diamond patterns create fluid channeling from the outer diameter to its center core making it a true depth filter. One caution is that low-quality wound filters used under high differential pressures have a tendency to “unload” or release sediment that was previously filtered out of the solutions.

meltblownsediment

Melt blown or Spun. Melt-blown or poly spun filters are almost always made of FDA-grade materials for use in potable water and food and beverage applications. There are two levels of product efficiencies, Nominal and Absolute rated. Nominally rated cartridges should offer efficiencies ranging from 70% to 80%. Absolute or High Efficiency Melt Blown Cartridges will offer efficiencies in the range of 90% to 99%. Melt-blown filters are usually a lower cost option to wounds or pleated cartridges (although they may require more frequent cartridge changes).

pleatedsediment

Pleated. Pleated filters offer higher flow rates with lower clean differential pressures and extended filter life than most cartridge filters. They are almost always made of FDA grade materials for use in potable water and food and beverage applications. Pleated filters can be used alone or as final stage filtration in multi-stage filter systems. Although pleated filters typically are more expensive than other filters, they have a longer filter life and some can be clean and reused (when appropriate). Pleated cartridges also offer nominally rated and  bsolute rated alternatives.

As to which is “best,” our answer is usually that it depends on the individual case. Some customers prefer one, others swear by another.  Whichever works best in your situation is the best.

Wound string and melt-blown cartridges are called “depth” cartridges because they can trap and hold particles beneath the surface, while pleated filters trap and hold sediment on the surface only. However, pleated filters have much more surface area than the other styles because of the unique accordion shape.  Although pleated cartridges usually cost more, they can be washed and reused in most cases. The rule of thumb is that pleated cartridges of 5-microns or more can be reused; tighter than 5 microns, reuse usually is impossible. Because of their great surface area, pleated cartridges can often support a higher service flow rate as well.

 

fc108dirtyA well-used wound string filter. Note the diamond patterns mentioned by Mr. LeConche.

Residential Chlorine Cartridge Filters

CRFC20-BB

RFC20-BB

Cartridge-style whole house filters for city water have many advantages.  They install easily without need for a drain connection and electricity, they are compact and can be wall mounted, they require little upkeep,  and they are very effective.

Below are specially priced cartridge-style whole house  filters designed for city homes whose water supplier uses chlorine (rather than chloramine).  The chloramine version of the same filters are also available. The chlorine filters on this page  use the exceptional Pentek Radial Flow Carbon Filter.  This unique cartridge offers long life, excellent taste/odor performance, and almost no pressure loss.  The radial flow granular style of the RFC20BB restricts flow less than 1 psi at 4 gallons per minute, a fraction of the pressure drop from comparable carbon block filters.  The filter uses powdered carbon that is held in place by a uniquely designed cartridge that eliminates the need for the plastic binders used in carbon block filters.

These units cost a bit more than our standard carbon block whole house units, but their free-flowing performance makes them worth the added expense.

The package systems we’ve put together include a filter wrench, housings, extra O Rings,  brackets, and cartridges.  All housings have 1″ ports (3/4″ or 1.5″ available upon request).  All housings, both 20″ and 10″,  are tough, reliable Pentek “Big Blue.”  All housing packages include mounting screws, heavy duty metal brackets, and one extra housing O Ring.

These systems are designed for parallel installation for larger homes to assure minimal pressure drop and optimal chenical/chlorine performance. See the reference pages listed below for installation pictures. Note that all carbon filters are 20″ and all sediment filters are 10″. The housing caps and brackets are identical for easy installation.

Whole house cartridge filters offer many advantages as compared with tank-style filters.  They install easily (no drain connection and no electricity needed). They are reliable, simple, easily serviced units with a very long lifespan. As compared with backwashing filters, these compact whole house carbon units save hundreds of gallons of water per year because no backwash is needed.

The RFC20 is a NSF-42 certified cartridge with a manufacturer’s rating for 70,000 gallons of chlorine removal @ 4 gpm. PSI drop at 4 gpm is only 0.9 psi. (The cartridge will support a higher service flow. See sizing notes below.)

Description

Application

Price (shipping to lower-48 addresses included)

System 1. One 4.5″ X 10″ 5 micron sediment filter plus one 4.5″ X 20″ high performance carbon filter. Homes with 1 to 3 people. Flow rates to 5 gpm. $303.00
System 2. One 4.5″ X 10″ 5 micron sediment filter plus two 4.5″ X 20″ carbon filters installed in parallel. Homes with up to 5 people. Flow rates to 10 gpm. $507.00
System 3. One 4.5″ X 10″ 5 micron sediment filter plus three 4.5″ X 20″ carbon filters installed in parallel. Homes with up to 8 people. Flow rates to 15 gpm. $714.00

 wh101_306Basic 20″ Big Blue Housing

compactwhsingleparalleldouble

Multi-filter installation. Water passes through sediment filter on the left, then splits to pass through two carbon filters.  (The sediment filter is a 10″ cartridge and the two carbon filters are 20″.)

See also:

High Performance Cartridge-Style Chloramine Filters.  (This is the chloramine version of the products on this page. Chloramine reduction requires specialty carbon and in general needs a slower flow rate or greater filter capacity than chlorine reduction.)

Compact Whole House Filters.

More Multi-Filter Installation Pictures.

General Installation Instructions for Compact Whole House Filters.