The Pure Water Occasional for April 14, 2014

In this mid-April Occasional, you’ll hear about water shortage in Myanmar, the effect of fracking on home values, America’s ten most endangered rivers, and an expensive water tank in Wichita, KS.  Then there’s rock snot, oil-chewing bacteria, infertile oysters, the shortcomings of the EPA, and the outrageous pollution from factory farms. You’ll hear about a mystery pipe in Oregon, the sky-high benzene content of the water of Lanzhou, China, the amazing curative power of early morning water guzzling, the water percentage of a Catalpa tree, and the nanometer output of a low pressure UV lamp. 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.

Waiting for water: Myanmar villages left behind

By Esther Htusan

DALA, Myanmar (AP) — Every afternoon, the long lines start to form, hundreds of men, women and children waiting to dip their plastic buckets into the lotus-filled reservoir just outside Myanmar’s biggest city, Yangon. It’s their only source of clean drinking water, they say, and during the dry season, April and May, there is only so much to go around.

“It wasn’t always this way,” says 72-year-old Tin Shwe, one of the village elders, as he looks at the queue, some boys as young as 8 waiting their turn, yokes at their side. “It used to be only paddy fields. Only a few houses. There was enough water for all of us.”

Myanmar only recently emerged from a half-century of military rule. Nascent democratic reforms implemented by the new civilian government since 2011 have resulted in a development boom, with the World Bank and others pouring billions of dollars into the country of 60 million as it starts to open up to the world. But so far, it is the big cities that are seeing the benefits.

Even places like Dala township — just a 20-minute boat ride from Yangon — have so far been left out. Authorities tell residents that maybe next year the government will start installing pipes so that water can be delivered straight to their homes.

The water shortages began with a population boom in the 1980s, with the number of inhabitants jumping from a few dozen to more than a thousand in part because they wanted to be close to the big city.

With no restrictions on how much water each family could take, the natural, fresh-water pond started running low. Eventually, just a decade ago, it dried up entirely. With no offers of help from the government, men like Tin Shwe decided to step in, devising a rationing system as water started seeping back so that residents could rely on it year-round.

Villagers have only one hour — between 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. — to get their water during dry season to limit its use. They are charged a tiny sum — 10 kyat for each bucket, or 10 U.S. cents. With so many takers it’s enough money for small upkeeps, like fixing the fence that surrounds the reservoir or stringing up electricity for lights.

People walk for up to five kilometers (three miles) with their empty buckets. They are allowed to fill up two each. If they need more, they can get back in line. When they are ready they begin the long, hard trek home.

“I usually get three buckets,” said 19-year-old Aye Thu Zar as she neared the front of the line. “There are seven in my family, so that’s enough for drinking and cooking. But the walk home hurts my shoulders. My legs, too. I can barely sleep at night the pain is so bad.”

She and others hope the new Myanmar will eventually reach Dala.

But for now, says Ko Ko, one of the villagers waiting his turn, ”we are like water shortage refugees.”

Source: Seattle Pi.

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Drink Water Early in the Morning

Editor’s Note: There are bushels of articles telling you how much water to drink and what kind of water to drink, but not a lot like the one below that tells you when to drink.  In fact, according to the uncredited source of the article, early morning water drinking can cure most human ailments.  

It is accustomed in Japan to drink water after waking up early in the morning. Furthermore, scientific tests have proven its value. For many illnesses the water treatment had been found successful by a Japanese medical society as a 100% cure for the following diseases:

Headache, body ache, heart system, arthritis, fast heart beat, epilepsy, excess fatness, bronchitis asthma, TB , meningitis, kidney and urine diseases, vomiting, gastritis, diarrhea, piles, diabetes, constipation, all eye diseases, womb, cancer and menstrual disorders, ear nose and throat diseases.

METHOD OF TREATMENT

1. As you wake up in the morning before brushing teeth, drink 4 x 160 ml glasses of water

2. Brush and clean the mouth but do not eat or drink anything for 45 minute

3. After 45 minutes you may eat and drink as normal.

4. After 15 minutes of breakfast, lunch and dinner do not eat or drink anything for 2 hours

5. Those who are old or sick and are unable to drink 4 glasses of water at the beginning may commence by taking little water and gradually increase it to 4 glasses per day.

6. The above method of treatment will cure diseases of the sick and others can enjoy a healthy life.

The following list gives the number of days of treatment required to cure/control/reduce main diseases:

1. High Blood Pressure (30 days)

2. Gastric (10 days)

3. Diabetes (30 days)

4. Constipation (10 days)

5. Cancer (180 days)

6. TB (90 days)

7. Arthritis patients should follow the above treatment only for 3 days in the 1st week, and from 2nd week onwards – daily.

This treatment method has no side effects, however at the commencement of treatment you may have to urinate a few times. It is better if we continue this and make this procedure as a routine work in our life.

The Chinese and Japanese drink hot tea with their meals not cold water. Maybe it is time we adopt their drinking habit while eating!!!

For those who like to drink cold water, this article is applicable to you. It is nice to have a cup of cold drink after a meal. However, the cold water will solidify the oily stuff that you have just consumed. It will slow down the digestion.

Once this ‘sludge’ reacts with the acid, it will break down and be absorbed by the intestine faster than the solid food. It will line the intestine. Very soon, this will turn into fats and lead to cancer. It is best to drink hot soup or warm water after a meal.

Source:  News.Am

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Water News of the Week

 Benzene in China city water cuts supply.Tests conducted by environmental officials in the Chinese city of Lanzhou this week showed that tap water there contained 200 micrograms of benzene per liter — 20 times the national limit. Residents stocked up on bottled water.

Gansu tap water contamination blamed on oil pipeline leak. The contamination of drinking water in Lanzhou, Gansu province, was caused by a pipeline leak involving a subsidiary of China’s largest oil company.

The failure of the EPA to protect the public from pollution. Can we trust the EPA to do what is in the public’s best interest? Not if history is any guide. “I worked at the EPA from 1979 to 2004, through five administrations both Republican and Democratic, and watched firsthand how industry expertly subverts the agency.”

Chinese economic growth at a cost: Pollution poisons lakes, rivers and skies. Beijing has 20 million residents, five million cars, and a huge pollution problem. And the thick soup that obscures the sun is man-made.

‘Mystery pipe’ in Oregon dumps human waste in Mill Creek. Since at least August 2012, a “mystery pipe” has been dumping extremely high levels of human waste into Mill Creek, and officials so far cannot find its source, despite extensive efforts.

Toxic estuaries in NSW making rock oysters infertile. High concentrations of metals in Port Jackson, Port Kembla and Botany Bay are having a major impact on marine life, researchers have found. Toxic levels of copper, zinc and lead from stormwater or due to past industrial dumping are making Sydney rock oysters infertile.

Discharge from North Carolina power plant affects water quality. The Belews Creek Steam Station has been causing trouble causing trouble for the downstream town of Madison and the city of Eden, as well as buyers of Madison’s and Eden’s drinking water.

New research reveals that a nasty, mucus-like algae bloom that emerged in Eastern Canada in 2006 may not be an invasive species after all. Instead, it appears to be a native species that was once subdued by cooler temperatures, but is now proliferating because of global warming. Didymo is a thick, slippery algae nicknamed “rock snot” for reasons obvious to anyone who has seen or touched it. The algae is a concern for fish populations such as Atlantic salmon, as it lines river bottoms, hiding food and making it more difficult for some species to forage. More information.

Pollution fears crush home prices near fracking wells. Whether or not fracking causes groundwater pollution, people fear the risk enough that property values have dropped for homes with drinking-water wells near shale-gas pads, according to new research.

Water rationing takes toll on health, environment. Residents of Malaysia’s Klang Valley may whine and moan about the lack of water at home due to the rationing exercises, following an unusually long dry season said to be caused by climate change. But its impact goes beyond their daily discomfort.

America’s most endangered rivers. The nonprofit American Rivers announced April 9 that it has named the San Joaquin River the most endangered river in America, and is calling on California to manage the San Joaquin’s much-needed water more efficiently. Click on the map for a larger view.

EPA says the Norwalk River is a ‘waterbody improved.’ For much of the past 55 years, portions of the Norwalk River were greatly affected by the same sources of pollution as many Fairfield County watersheds. Until recently, fish populations were low, beavers had left, and birds of prey like ospreys were rarely found. “Even if it is just people who scoop dog poop on a more consistent basis, or think about what exactly they are dumping down a storm drain. It’s the outcome of all kinds of individual decisions. We have made a difference. Do the small things really matter? Yes, they do.”

Scientists frustrated by factory farms. In Wisconsin’s Kewaunee County, where cows outnumber humans by more than three to one, and where the porous karst topography cannot possibly support the massive amounts of animal waste that the industrial farms produce, citizens have been fighting an uphill battle to have their concerns heard.

Ohio finds ‘probable connection’ between earthquakes in Mahoning County and hydraulic fracturing. Ohio ordered an indefinite moratorium on fracking natural gas wells within three miles of the epicenter of earthquakes on March 10 and 11 in Poland Township southeast of Youngstown. There were five quakes of 2.0 or greater.

Oil-chewing bacteria may be the future for quickly cleaning toxic oil spills. There may yet be one small silver lining in the dark cloud of oil. As was reported at the time of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, there is a class of “hydrocarbon-chewing” microbes that feast on oil in the water after it spills.

City manager: Wichita would not have survived drought without aquifer project. Wichita, Kansas, wouldn’t  have survived last summer’s drought without a controversial $244 million groundwater recharge project, city staff says. But, some City Council members are balking at the $300 million price tag to finish the project.

 

Pure Water Gazette Numerical Wizard Bee Sharper Indexes the Numbers that Harper’s Misses

Percentage of SeaWorld revenue that is spent for animal rescue and rehabilitation – 0.0006 %.

Number of the Earth’s people who must walk at least three hours to obtain drinking water – 1,000,000,000.

Percentage of Delaware’s streams and rivers that are now too contaminated for fish to thrive—94%.

Tons of salt used by the New Jersey Transportation Department to cope with winter storms during the winter of 2013-14 –460,000.

Number of years this amount of salt would provide seasoning for a daily large order of french fries for every citizen of New Jersey citizen – 368.

Percentage of South Vietnam households that are connected to the public sewer system– 60%.

Percentage of that water that is treated before release into the environment – 10%.

If the internet were a country, its rank as an energy consumer among the countries of the world – 6.

By weight, the percentage of a Catalpa tree that is water – 48%.

Ultraviolet 101

by Gene Franks

Although ultraviolet light has several water treatment capabilities, such as reducing chlorine and chloramine, its main use by far is for microbe control.

Getting rid of microbial water contaminants can be done with chemicals, like chlorine or chloramines, by very tight filtration, as with ceramic filters, or by disabling the microbes with ultraviolet light.

Ultraviolet, UV, is not new. As early as 1877, the germicidal properties of sunlight were known.

Landmark events in the development of modern UV treatment include the use of mercury lamps as an artificial germicidal light source (1901), the development of quartz as a UV transmitting medium (1906), and finally the development of the first genuine drinking water application of ultraviolet as a disinfectant in France in 1910.

The technology is, therefore, a century old, and it is used world wide. Nevertheless, it is still unknown to many US state and local regulating agencies, who continue to view chlorination as the only acceptable way to purify water.

UV treatment works not by “killing” bacteria, protozoa, and viruses, but by altering their DNA so that they cannot reproduce or infect. If chlorination is like chemical warfare directed at microbes, UV is more like a spaying and neutering program.

UV Light

UV light in the 200 to 300 nanometer (nm) range is the most effective at treating bacteria and viruses. (Visible light falls in the 400-700 nm area.) For most practical UV applications in water treatment today, the light is generated by a mercury vapor lamp, or in a gas mixture that contains mercury. Mercury is the gas of choice because the light it puts out is in the germicidal wavelength range.

Lamp output depends on the concentration of mercury within the lamp, and the concentration depends on pressure. Low pressure lamps (called LP), the most common, produce UV light primarily at 253.7 nm, an ideal treatment wavelength. Some newer lamps are called “low pressure/high output” (LPHO) and some applications now use mixed vapor lamps called “amalgam” lamps. These require more electrical input and generate more UV output. LPHO lamps are roughly twice as powerful as LP, and amalgams may be about four times as powerful as LP.

 

UV Lamp

The Delivery System

The standard way to treat unsafe water with UV is to send it though an elongated chamber where it is exposed to the intense light from the mercury lamp. UV bulbs are long and narrow to allow prolonged exposure as the water passes the length of the lamp.

The lamp itself is inside a transparent tube called the“quartz sleeve,” which protects it from contact with the water, and on the other side of the sleeve there is normally a metal reflective chamber. The water enters one end of the chamber, flows past the lamp to exit at the other end, and is in the process exposed for some time and at close proximity to the UV dosage put out by the lamp.

 

UV Dosage

UV dosage is typically measured in units called “Joules,” and it is most frequently expressed in terms of “mega Joules per square centimeter,” or mJ/cm². (Microwatts per second per square centimeter, expressed as µWs/cm2, and mJ/cm2 represent the same dosage and the two systems are used interchangeably.) The higher the number, the higher the dosage.

The UV dosage received by the water increases as the flow rate of the water decreases, so a UV unit that puts out a dosage of 16 mJ/cm² while treating water at a flow rate of eleven gallons per minute (gpm) will be rated as 40 mJ/cm² if the flow rate is decreased to 4.5 gpm.

Put another way, a UV system rated by its manufacturer to treat water at 40 mJ/cm² at 4.5 gpm will be delivering a dosage of 16 mJ/cm² even if the user exceeds the recommended limit and runs the water at eleven gpm.

The tendency now in UV dosage is to follow the “more is better” view we’ve all been indoctrinated in. If ten nuclear bombs will destroy the world, to be safe we need ten thousand. The most common concerns, e Coli, Giardia, and Cryptosporidium, are effectively eliminated at less than seven mJ/cm². The minimum dosage now recommended by NSF, however, is 40 mJ/cm².

Factors That Affect UV Effectiveness

First, there is the age of the lamp. UV lamps lose strength with time, and almost all manufacturers assume a once-a-year replacement when they design their units. It is a mistake to believe that if the lamp is still burning all is well. UV lamps should be replaced once a year, and when replaced they should still be burning strong.

Then there is flow rate. The unit should be sized to provide adequate protection at the highest possible flow rates, but practicality should tell you that in most residential situations, most water is used at a couple of gallons per minute and a great deal of the time—most of the time, in fact—no water at all is being used.

Also a factor is general absorption of the UV light for unintended purposes. UV makers usually require that the water have less than seven grains per gallon of hardness, less that 0.3 ppm iron, less than 0.05 ppm manganese, and that it be generally clear and free of particulate and tannins. All of these can create situations where the light is absorbed and, therefore, its anti-microbial activity is diminished. Hardness, for example, can form scale on the outside of the quartz sleeve which blocks the passage of light.

A related factor is called shadowing. It is primarily caused by particles in the water which can allow microbes to “hide” from the light and not receive adequate UV dosage. The commonly accepted practice in UV treatment is to put a sediment filter of 5 microns or less in front of the treatment chamber to screen out any particles that could allow shadowing. Even if the water looks perfectly clear to the eye, putting a five-micron filter in front of the UV unit is a good idea.

UV as a Germicidal Treatment. Pros and Cons

The good thing about UV is that in addition to being a very effective treatment for microbes, it is relatively simple and inexpensive to buy and to maintain. It adds no chemicals to the water and leaves no “by-products.” It is very safe, if you follow a couple of simple rules (like don’t stare at a burning UV lamp because it can damage your eyes, and remember that treatment chambers can be hot to the touch). Compared to ozone, chlorine, or even hydrogen peroxide, UV is a very safe home treatment. Also compared with other treatments, UV requires little maintenance.

The main disadvantage of UV as germicidal treatment is that it has no residual effect. Bacteria are treated when they pass the lamp, but contamination that occurs downstream of the lamp is not treated. Chlorine and chloramine, by contrast, stay in the water from the point of treatment to the final point of use, preventing reinfection. The need for a constant supply of electricity can be seen as an additional disadvantage. If the power goes out, you shouldn’t use the water. Modern UV units often included devices to warn of power failure or even to shut off the flow of water if the power goes off.

 

UV from Pure Water Products

Classic Plastic Pura Units. We’ve been in business almost 30 years, and Pura was one of our first products. We started selling plastic-housing Pura UV systems just a couple of years after Pura went into business in the late 1980s, so it’s a product dear to our hearts. The Pura #20 lamp, used on all whole house plastic units, is, in fact, our most successful product in terms of sales. We stock all units and all parts, “every nut and bolt,” of plastic housing Pura units. We have an entire website, http://www.purauv.com, devoted to plastic-housing Pura units. We’re the best source, anywhere, for plastic Pura units and parts. We have some expertise with the units and can help with service issues.

Stainless Steel Units. We have stainless units both by Sterilight and Trojan. We stock parts for both Watts and the now-discontinued Pura stainless steel units. Sterilight stainless units are now on our main website. We are factory-direct distributors for Sterilight and Trojan and can supply any replacement parts you need.

This article first appeared in the Pure Water Occasional for May 2011. The current version is updated and revised.

 

 

 

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Thank you for reading.  Please come back next week.

Places to Visit on Our Websites in the meantime.

Garden Hose Filters.  Don’t be the last on your block to own one.

Model 77: “The World’s Greatest $77 Water Filter”

Sprite Shower Filters: You’ll Sing Better!”

An Alphabetical Index to Water Treatment Products

Our famous whole house Chloramine Catcher

Pure Water Occasional Archive: Sept. 2009-April 2013.

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Ultraviolet 101 

by Gene Franks

Although ultraviolet light has several water treatment capabilities, such as reducing chlorine and chloramine, its main use by far is for microbe control.

Getting rid of microbial water contaminants can be done with chemicals, like chlorine or chloramines, by very tight filtration, as with ceramic filters, or by disabling the microbes with ultraviolet light. 

Ultraviolet, UV, is not new. As early as 1877, the germicidal properties of sunlight were known.

Landmark events in the development of modern UV treatment include the use of mercury lamps as an artificial germicidal light source (1901), the development of quartz as a UV transmitting medium (1906), and finally the development of the first genuine drinking water application of ultraviolet as a disinfectant in France in 1910.

The technology is, therefore, a century old, and it is used world wide. Nevertheless, it is still unknown to many US state and local regulating agencies, who continue to view chlorination as the only acceptable way to purify water.

UV treatment works not by “killing” bacteria, protozoa, and viruses, but by altering their DNA so that they cannot reproduce or infect. If chlorination is like chemical warfare directed at microbes, UV is more like a spaying and neutering program. (more…)

Waiting for water: Myanmar villages left behind

By Esther Htusan

DALA, Myanmar (AP) — Every afternoon, the long lines start to form, hundreds of men, women and children waiting to dip their plastic buckets into the lotus-filled reservoir just outside Myanmar’s biggest city, Yangon. It’s their only source of clean drinking water, they say, and during the dry season, April and May, there is only so much to go around.

“It wasn’t always this way,” says 72-year-old Tin Shwe, one of the village elders, as he looks at the queue, some boys as young as 8 waiting their turn, yokes at their side. “It used to be only paddy fields. Only a few houses. There was enough water for all of us.” (more…)

Drink Water Early in the Morning 

Editor’s Note: There are bushels of articles telling you how much water to drink and what kind of water to drink, but not a lot like the one below that tells you when to drink.  In fact, according to the unnamed source of the article, early morning water drinking can cure most human ailments.  

It is accustomed in Japan to drink water after waking up early in the morning. Furthermore, scientific tests have proven its value. For many illnesses the water treatment had been found successful by a Japanese medical society as a 100% cure for the following diseases:

Headache, body ache, heart system, arthritis, fast heart beat, epilepsy, excess fatness, bronchitis asthma, TB , meningitis, kidney and urine diseases, vomiting, gastritis, diarrhea, piles, diabetes, constipation, all eye diseases, womb, cancer and menstrual disorders, ear nose and throat diseases. (more…)

The Pure Water Occasional for April 7, 2014

In this early April Occasional, you’ll hear about the demise of beautiful Lake Atitlan, Yosmite Slough, and the Kulluk oil rig accident.  There is trash in the ocean, Thallium in North Carolina, and coal ash in the Saluda River.  Stories about dead dolphins, toxic sludge, sinking buildings, and the intrusion of the sea upon cities.  Find out if tea really makes you pee more, how a new bracelet can monitor water quality, how reverse osmosis works (as explained by Pure Water Annie), and how to get rid of cryptosporidium. 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.

 

How climate change will affect where you live

by Michael Slezak

The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change spells out how climate change will affect each part of the world, and what can be done about it. For many regions the IPCC only makes vague predictions, and in some cases the impacts are deeply uncertain.

Here is our rough guide to the main impacts this century, and some tips for coping with them. It is partly based on draft versions of the report’s many chapters, the final text of which will be released within the next two days.

Europe: The south will fry

The Mediterranean looks to be the most threatened part of Europe, because the IPCC expects “multiple stresses and systemic failures due to climate change”.

Energy demand will drop in the rest of Europe, but the increased need for cooling around the Mediterranean will drive up energy costs. Tourism, a key industry, will take a hit from 2050, when holidaymakers are expected to choose northern destinations. Forest fires and heatwaves will increase, crops and vineyards will become less productive, fishery production will decrease and rising seas pose a growing threat.

To adapt, people will need to use energy-efficient cooling technologies to reduce energy demands; insure their assets; plant more diverse crops; and build early warning systems and hard walls to defend against floods.

North America: Shifting water

Rain and storms will move northwards, flooding areas north of New York and leaving southern areas short of water. Mexicans will have to do everything they can to preserve water and escape the heat.

Adapting to water deficits is not too hard: the key is increased efficiency. But extra flooding is more problematic, with total costs expected to increase tenfold this century.

The US has the capacity to adapt, but is struggling with misinformation and a lack of political will. Nevertheless, New York is on the right path, raising infrastructure like boilers out of the way of expected floods and trying to capture flood water before it reaches sewers.

Asia: Too much water, too little water

Sea-level rise is the biggest problem facing Asia. Globally, the majority of the people directly affected will be in southern and eastern Asia.

But that is not the only problem. Water scarcity will affect most of Asia, and higher temperatures will lower rice yields in some areas by shortening the growing season. Food production in Russia is under particular threat, and the IPCC estimates that up to 139 million people could face food shortages at least once a decade by 2070.

Countries will need to manage water better: water-saving technologies in irrigation may help. Growing crops that cope with high temperatures can boost yields up to 15 per cent, offsetting much of the almost 20 per cent decline expected by 2100.

Australasia: Extreme unknowns

There is a lot of uncertainty about impacts in Australasia, but some things are clear.

More extreme rainfall and rising sea levels will increase the frequency of devastating floods like those that hit Queensland in 2011. People in some areas will have to move away.

Extreme heat will increase and threaten lives, particularly those of the sick and elderly, and also cause more wildfires.

The Great Barrier Reef will continue to degrade, with warmer and more acidic water bleaching more coral, and greater stress coming from factors like agricultural run-off.

Coping with all this requires early warning systems and response plans. But there is huge uncertainty about how rainfall patterns will change. It may be best to plan for the worst.

Africa: Struggling to cope

The big issue for Africa is food security. Crops and livestock will be affected by flooding, drought and shifts in the timing of rainfall and temperature, but where and how these impacts will be felt is uncertain. There will also be more soil erosion from storms, plus pest and disease outbreaks due to warmer temperatures.

Africa has little capacity to adapt. One of the most pressing problems is simply spreading the word about climate change so people can make informed decisions.

Central and South America: Changing norms

Northern Brazil may lose 22 per cent of its annual rainfall by 2100, while the region around Chile could get a 25 per cent increase.

The drying regions will face food shortages. In northern Brazil, that will affect some of the poorest people. Shrinking glaciers in the Andes also threaten water supplies for some people, and will increase tensions.

Climate change will also bring new diseases to many areas, including water-borne diseases like cholera.

The whole region is relatively poor so will struggle to adapt. The first step is to adapt to the current climate. That includes easing poverty and creating early warning systems for disease outbreaks and bad weather.

Small islands: Sinking and eroding

Unsurprisingly, sea-level rise is one of the biggest threats for small islands, including those in the tropics, the Mediterranean, off Africa, and in the Indian and Pacific oceans. Rising waters will swamp some areas, erode coasts and contaminate sources of fresh water.

Building sea walls can have mixed results. In Barbados, building them protected human assets but led to more erosion elsewhere on the coast. It is sometimes better to use “soft” measures like increasing coastal vegetation to reduce erosion.

If islands are near coral reefs, the inhabitants often rely on the reef ecosystems for their livelihood. Reefs are now threatened by warm seas andacidification. But reducing other pressures, like water pollution and destructive fishing, could help.

Article Source:  New Scientist.

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Guatemala’s treasured Lake Atitlán is dying

by Anna-Claire Bevan

GUATEMALA CITY – Once described by Aldous Huxley as the Lake Como of Guatemala, Lake Atitlán is a justified staple on the Central American tourist trail. However, over the past few years, agrochemicals, raw sewage, litter and shore development have taken their toll, turning the fresh blue water a murky shade of brown, turning tourists away.

This week a joint initiative by the Italian and Guatemalan governments called “Yo soy Atitlán” aims to raise the profile of Lake Atitlán’s problems and work with environmental organizations, experts and the surrounding communities to combat the contamination that threatens to destroy one of the world’s most picturesque places.

What was considered to be a local problem has drawn international concern as a team of Italian experts arrived in Guatemala earlier this week, keen to share their knowledge of how their own country rescued its lakes in the 1980s.

The Italian Embassy in Guatemala said that in “Italy, too, we have lived through contamination.”

According to a study by Del Valle University in Guatemala, over the past 45 years the pollution of Lake Atitlán, located 120 kilometers west of the capital, has contributed to a reduction in the transparency of the water, from 11 meters to 5.5 meters, and a decrease in the concentration of oxygen in the water from 7mg/liter to 0.3.

According to Margaret Dix, a biology professor at Del Valle University, pollution of the lake has led to a reduction in tourism, jobs, fish and food, and an increase in poverty and illnesses for the surrounding communities, for whom the lake represents a primary source of water.

“Every year one million cubic meters of untreated raw sewage enters the lake; 109,500 metric tons of litter – 3 pounds of solid waste per person, per day – and 110,000 metric tons of soil is lost due to erosion,” Dix said.

“To improve the ecological conditions of the lake, territorial planning is needed with an integrated management of solid and liquid waste to prevent the entry of raw sewage and to reduce the accumulation of phosphorous and nitrogen.

“Experiences in other parts of the world show that generally for lakes similar to Atitlán, traditional treatment plants are inadequate and have a prohibitively high operational cost. The solution is to export raw sewage to another basin where it can be treated to eliminate pathogens and the water can be used in agriculture. Many experts consider this to be the best option,” Dix said.

Various activities have been organized as part of the two-week campaign launch, such as an Italian rock concert in Guatemala City, which was opened by a Mayan cultural group and attended by approximately 1,000 people. Proceeds were donated to the Yo soy Atitlán program.

A forum for experts – from environmental ministers to conservationists – also was held to discuss possible solutions to eliminate the contamination, and a project called “Lancha Azul” will kick off next week to encourage dialogue among the surrounding lake communities and to teach them about solid-waste management.

Yo soy Atitlán hopes to encourage as many people as possible from the government and nongovernmental organizations, as well as environmental experts, communities around the lake and academic institutions to get involved and debate the challenges and goals for Lake Atitlán over the coming years.

The Guatemalan government already has agreed to allocate more funds to increase garbage collections in the area, purify water and improve waste management systems.

Said Dix: “The future is in our hands. There’s still time to stop the degradation process of Lake Atitlán.”

Source: Tico Times.

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Current Water News

 

Hazardous Yosemite Slough in San Francisco finally getting cleaned up. After years of cleaning up surrounding areas, federal regulators say they will tackle the extensive lead and PCB contamination in Yosemite Slough, the intertidal channel between Candlestick Point and the Hunters Point Shipyard.

Potential coal ash threat to Saluda River surfaces. Duke Energy has found three drainage pipes running beneath a closed Upstate coal ash pond, a discovery that is drawing comparisons with a site in North Carolina where a massive spill blackened a river two months ago.

Thallium found near Duke Energy’s coal ash pond. North Carolina state regulators found thallium in surface water near one of Duke Energy’s coal ash ponds last month – specifically at the Cliffside Steam Station on the Cleveland-Rutherford County line.

Plane search shows world’s oceans are full of trash. Before Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 went missing, sea trash was not a global headliner. But as hundreds of objects sighted as possible aircraft debris turn out to be trash, a new narrative is emerging in the hunt for the missing plane: There’s more garbage out there than you think.

Coast Guard blames Shell risk-taking in Kulluk rig accident. The Coast Guard concluded that Shell made an ill-advised decision to tow its drill rig away from Alaska, a 1,700-nautical-mile journey across the northern Gulf of Alaska in the final days of December 2012, in part to avoid millions of dollars in tax liability.

29 dead dolphins found since oil spill. Scientists are trying to determine whether an oil spill two weeks ago in Galveston Bay contributed to a higher-than-normal number of dolphin deaths..

US chemical safety bill passes Senate committee. Although it’s only the first step in a long road on Capitol Hill, Senator Joe Manchin’s Chemical Safety and Drinking Water Protection Act was passed unanimously by the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Thursday.

Toxic sludge cleanup costly to taxpayers. Cancer-causing chemicals have been illegally dumped in Charlotte for the third time, officials said. There are new concerns that someone started pumping PCBs into the city’s water system months before it was first discovered.

Reused water becomes hot topic in shale fields. Water – and how it’s sourced – has been an increasingly hot topic in the oil patch. Drilling a well in the Eagle Ford Shale and other so-called “tight” formations requires several million gallons of water.

Milwaukee sinks as ebbing groundwater undermines its foundations. Milwaukee is sinking. The walls and foundations of dozens of downtown buildings that stayed structurally afloat for more than 100 years on wooden pilings are deteriorating as once-sturdy Wisconsin pines, oaks and cedars rot. The culprit is declining groundwater that preserved the supports.

The city and the sea. Given the huge number of people who live on the world’s coasts, how will human populations adapt to an increasingly aquatic world? Do we stand strong, and demonstrate our clever technical ingenuity with floodgates and waterproof buildings? Or do we humbly bid a hasty retreat, scrambling for higher ground? It seems increasingly clear that there may be a third way.

Government to introduce public alert system following alarm over sea sewage levels. A public alert system will be implemented when pollution from Hamilton’s Seabright sewage outfall is detected in bathing waters around nearby south shore beaches, Environment Minister Trevor Moniz announced today.

Growth tests San Antonio’s conservation culture. Even with accolades from federal officials and a featured role in a public television documentary, San Antonio is grappling with explosive growth and dwindling water resources, like the rest of Texas.

How climate change will affect where you live. The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change spells out how climate change will affect each part of the world, and what can be done about it. For many regions the IPCC only makes vague predictions, and in some cases the impacts are deeply uncertain

New silicone bracelets have a porous surface that mimics a cell, absorbing chemicals that people are exposed to through their environment. They can detect water pollution. Will we someday wear bracelets to warn us of chemical danger?

An Indianapolis family had a $4,000 water bill because of an undetected leak.

“Shallow Water Blackout” May Be the Cause of the Death of a Young Water Polo Player.

Ever wonder why nuclear power plants are built on the shores of lakes and rivers? Well, it isn’t so workers can enjoy the scenery. It’s because nuclear plants are great water gluttons.

Nuclear plants use water to create steam that powers the turbines that create electricity and they require great quantities of water to remove and dump the excess heat created by the reactor core.

The excess heat that is returned to the water source in the form of water that is much hotter than the ambient water is a significant polluter of the local environment.

More details: Got Water? by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

New on the Pure Water Gazette’s website:

Are Use-More-Pay-Less Water Rates a Thing of the Past?  One town’s approach to controlling water use by rate adjustment.

Can Our Bodies Use the Water from Coffee and Tea?   Do caffeinated drinks really dehydrate us?

 

Sebago water receives ultraviolet treatment

by Ezra Silk

In response to Environmental Protection Agency regulations, the Portland  [OR] Water District is treating the water that it supplies to the Greater Portland area for cryptosporidium, a microscopic parasite that typically derives from animal waste and can cause severe gastrointestinal illness.

Beating a federally imposed deadline of April 1, the district has been operating two 14-foot, 84-lamp ultraviolet units for the past several months. The devices sterilize any cryptosporidium pathogens that may pass through, according to Joel Anderson, the chief operator of the Sebago Lake Water Treatment Facility.

“When UV attacks (pathogen) DNA, it actually breaks those cells and short-circuits them, and then renders them incapable of replicating,” said Anderson. “One cell in your system is not going to make you sick. When it gets into your system and begins to multiply is when you run into problems.”

According to Anderson, the district completed two years of monthly testing and never detected any cryptosporidium organisms in the water.

Joel Anderson, chief operator of the Sebago Lake Water Treatment Facility, said that one of the benefits of a new UV treatment system is that it does not add any new chemicals to the water supply. The average 21.5 million gallons of water that travel through the water treatment facility every day are treated with zinc orthophosphate, sodium hydroxide, sodium hypochlorite, aqua ammonia and hydroflourosilicic acid. 

“The good news is Portland Water District is of very low susceptibility to it,” Anderson said. “We don’t have a lot of farmland in our watershed. We have a natural filtration system that takes place at Sebago Lake.”

In 1993, a cryptosporidium outbreak in Milwaukee’s drinking water supply system made 400,000 people ill, and killed more than 100 people. In response, the Environmental Protection Agency began to draft the Long Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule, which was adopted in 2006. The rule requires public water systems that use surface water to treat for cryptosporidium.

The average 21.5 million gallons of water that travel through the water treatment facility every day are treated with zinc orthophosphate, sodium hydroxide, sodium hypochlorite, aqua ammonia and hydroflourosilicic acid. Anderson said that one of the benefits of the UV treatment is that it does not add any other chemicals to the water supply.

“One of the reasons the Portland Water District chose to go with UV as opposed to a chemical process is because there are no known disinfection byproducts,” Anderson said. “It’s a physical process. People should not notice any taste. They should not notice any odor. It subjects it to a light. It’s a quick process.”

The facility’s ozone disinfection system, which kills viruses and giardia parasites, was also updated during the 17-month, $12 million project. The district received a $300,000 grant from Efficiency Maine to complete the project, and expects to save $150,000 on annual electric costs as a result of the upgrades. The program was primarily funded through the state Department of Health and Human Services’ Drinking Water State Revolving Fund.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, cryptosporidium can lead to stomach pain, dehydration, nausea, vomiting, fever and weight loss. It generally affects the small intestine, and can cause people with weak immune systems to succumb to chronic or fatal illnesses. Symptoms tend to set in two to 10 days after infection.

Michelle Clements, the water district’s spokeswoman, said that the improvements provide an additional safeguard to protect the quality of Greater Portland’s water supply.

“The project has added an additional barrier to potential contamination for our customers,” she said. “It’s just another way we provide safe, clean drinking water to our customers.”

Source: Lakes Region Weekly.

How Undersink Reverse Osmosis Works

 

by Pure Water Annie

It’s a Lot Simpler Than You Think

 

The drawing above is a standard 3-stage Pure Water Products Black and White undersink reverse osmosis unit. “Three stage” means that it has three main treatment devices–in this case, two carbon block filters and a reverse osmosis membrane. Four stage units usually add a sediment prefilter.

Here’s a step-by-step rundown of how it operates.

1. Pretreatment. Tap water taken from the cold water undersink faucet pipe enters the Prefilter (Inlet) port through the quick connect fitting just below the Prefilter (Inlet) label. The vertical prefilter canister contains a high quality carbon block filter which removes chlorine/chloramine and other miscellaneous chemicals. The filter protects the reverse osmosis membrane from disinfectants.

2. Shut-off system. Treated water exits the back of the prefilter canister via a 1/4″ tube which loops its way to the top of the unit where it enters the Auto Shutoff valve. The Shutoff Valve is the round device clipped to the top of the horizontal membrane housing. In the Shutoff valve the water makes a horseshoe turn and exits through the 1/4″ tube that takes it to the right end of the Membrane housing. [More of the shutoff system and what it does later.]

3. The Membrane. The reverse osmosis membrane is contained in the horizontal housing labeled Membrane. Its function is to screen out hard-to- remove contaminants like fluoride, lead, arsenic, chromium, nitrates and others as well as make a 90% plus reduction in the “dissolved solids” like sodium in the water. The membrane separates the water it treats into two streams–the product water (permeate) and the drain water (brine).

4. The Drain Water. The stream of drain water, called the brine or concentrate, contains the concentrated minerals and metals that are rejected. The reject water goes out the “drain line” at the extreme left of the unit. The drain line connects to a special clamp called a drain saddle that is installed on the undersink drain. The two cigar-shaped items in the drain line are a flow restrictor (above) and a check valve. The flow restrictor controls how much water flows to drain. It limits the drain flow to a tiny stream that is sized to suit the drain flow needs of the membrane. The other device, the check-valve, is a one-way valve. It allows water to flow toward the drain pipe but prevents it from flowing backward toward the RO membrane. Its function is to prevent backflow into the RO unit in the event of a blocked drain pipe. [Note: Most RO units do not have a drain line check valve and the flow restrictor is a much smaller part that is built into the fitting that connects the drain line to the membrane housing. Also, an air gap faucet can be used instead of the drain line check valve.]

5. The Product Water. The product water, the water you’re going to drink, is often called “permeate.” It leaves the left end of the membrane housing via the tube next to the drain line, passes through a check valve, and enters the left side of the Auto Shutoff valve. The function of the check valve is to keep back pressure from the unit’s storage tank from pushing water backward into the membrane canister. This small check valve is essential for proper operation of the unit. [Instead of the external check valve in the picture, most RO makers use a tiny check valve that installs into the fitting at the point where the product water leaves the membrane canister.]

6. The Shut-off system revisited. As described above, the filtered tap water passes through the right side of the shutoff valve on its way to the membrane. On the other side of the shutoff valve, the permeate (product) water makes a horseshoe pass through the left side of the shutoff valve on its way to the Tank Line tee.

7. The Tank Tee. The tank tee serves as a fork in the road. Water takes the path of least resistance, and when it comes to the tank tee it goes to the pressure tank or to the inlet in back of the post filter, whichever offers less back pressure. The tube that joins the tee and the storage tank serves as both entry to the tank and exit from it. Depending on where pressure is greatest, water flows into the storage tank or back toward the tank tee.

8. The Storage Tank. A storage tank is needed because the reverse osmosis membrane processes water slowly, at the rate of a fast drip or a tiny stream. The tank is pressurized with a light air charge. Water is collected in a flexible bladder inside the storage tank and is pushed out by air pressure when there is a demand for water.

9. The Post Filter. The final filter is connected to the dispensing spigot on the sink top with a single 1/4″ tube that plugs into the the Post Filter (Outlet) fitting. The Post Filter is a high quality carbon block filter that removes any remaining chemical traces and polishes the taste when water passes through it on its way to the spigot.

10. The Delivery and Shut-Off System. When the spigot on the sink is closed and the unit is making water, the product water has no place to go but into the storage tank. As the tank fills, it exerts increasing back pressure on the left side of the shutoff valve. When pressure in the tank reaches about 2/3 the incoming water pressure on the right side of the shutoff valve, the mounting pressure closes a piston inside the shutoff valve that stops water from entering the membrane. The unit remains off until a demand for water (opening the spigot) releases pressure on the left side of the shutoff valve. When the spigot is open, water leaves the tank, goes through the tank tee, through the post filter, and out the spigot. When the spigot is closed, the unit slowly refills the tank until back pressure from the tank again shuts off water to the membrane.

This article first appeared in the Pure Water Occasional for July 2012.

 

 Please visit our RO Parts Page for tanks and accessories.

Thank you for reading.  Please come back next week.

Places to Visit on Our Websites in the meantime.

Garden Hose Filters.  Don’t be the last on your block to own one.

Model 77: “The World’s Greatest $77 Water Filter”

Sprite Shower Filters: You’ll Sing Better!”

An Alphabetical Index to Water Treatment Products

Our famous whole house Chloramine Catcher

Pure Water Occasional Archive: Sept. 2009-April 2013.

Pure Water Occasional Archive: April 2013 to present.

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Do coffee and tea really dehydrate us?

by Claudia Hammond

 Gazette’s Introductory Note:  Without a research grant or even giving the matter more than a couple of minutes thought I dismissed a long time ago the idea that the water that’s in coffee and tea somehow doesn’t “count” toward the body’s requirement for water.  If the human body can extract micro nutrients from foods why in heaven’s name would it not be able to find and use water that is mixed with a bit of tannins and caffeine?  Obviously, the water that’s in fresh fruit or a bowl of oatmeal is water that’s available for use by the body.  And as for coffee’s apparent diuretic properties, my view is that it’s mainly the water in the beverage that makes you pee a lot, not something special about the tea or coffee.  The research presented in the article below would seem to bear me out.–Hardly Waite.

Every day people around the globe drink 1.6 billion cups of coffee and around twice as many cups of tea.

They enjoy the taste and the fact that the caffeine wakes them up. But when we’re exhorted to drink six or eight glasses of water a day (a disputed figure that I’ve discussed previously), it’s usually emphasised that drinks like coffee and tea don’t count towards your daily liquid total because they’re dehydrating. Or so we’re told. What’s the evidence? (more…)

Sebago water receives ultraviolet treatment 

by Ezra Silk

In response to Environmental Protection Agency regulations, the Portland  [OR] Water District is treating the water that it supplies to the Greater Portland area for cryptosporidium, a microscopic parasite that typically derives from animal waste and can cause severe gastrointestinal illness.

Beating a federally imposed deadline of April 1, the district has been operating two 14-foot, 84-lamp ultraviolet units for the past several months. The devices sterilize any cryptosporidium pathogens that may pass through, according to Joel Anderson, the chief operator of the Sebago Lake Water Treatment Facility.  (more…)

Water rates aimed at keeping precious commodity

by Gordon D. Fielder, Jr.

 

Editor’s Note: This piece explains a sensible approach to water pricing  that should be the practice of all water utilities: to charge more for increased water use rather than giving a discount to those who over-consume.  The article explains the rationale and the practice well. — Hardly Waite.

 

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — Salina’s water rates designed to help decrease consumption of a precious commodity

City water customers who are unsure if Salina is serious about conservation need only to become profligate with the garden hose this summer to clear up any doubts.

Salina abandoned its declining rate structure, which rewarded high use with lower cost, in favor of charging more for excess consumption.

“It used to be, the more you used the less it cost you,” said Martha Tasker, director of utilities. “In 2008 we changed that. Now we have a water conservation rate. Many would give it a much fouler name.”

The level of usage above which the conservation rate kicks in depends on a household’s base consumption. (more…)

 

How climate change will affect where you live

by Michael Slezak

The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change spells out how climate change will affect each part of the world, and what can be done about it. For many regions the IPCC only makes vague predictions, and in some cases the impacts are deeply uncertain.

Here is our rough guide to the main impacts this century, and some tips for coping with them. It is partly based on draft versions of the report’s many chapters, the final text of which will be released within the next two days. (more…)

Guatemala’s treasured Lake Atitlán is dying

by Anna-Claire Bevan

GUATEMALA CITY – Once described by Aldous Huxley as the Lake Como of Guatemala, Lake Atitlán is a justified staple on the Central American tourist trail. However, over the past few years, agrochemicals, raw sewage, litter and shore development have taken their toll, turning the fresh blue water a murky shade of brown, turning tourists away.

This week a joint initiative by the Italian and Guatemalan governments called “Yo soy Atitlán” aims to raise the profile of Lake Atitlán’s problems and work with environmental organizations, experts and the surrounding communities to combat the contamination that threatens to destroy one of the world’s most picturesque places. (more…)