Summer Rains Increase Risk of Human Viruses in Groundwater


By Kelly A. Reynolds, MSPH, PhD

Gazette note: Below is a truncated version of an excellent article  from the June 2017 issue of  Water Conditioning & Purification.  Dr. Kelly A. Reynolds is a widely recognized authority on water quality issues and especially microbial contamination. The increasing frequency of waterborne disease described in the article explains the growing popularity of point of use and point of entry home treatments like ultraviolet disinfection. 


Just as the weather constantly varies, the quality of source water is also ever-changing. Increased rainfall in spring and summer months creates additional challenges to municipal water suppliers and private well owners as water moving over the land and through the soil accumulates added contaminants capable of causing human disease.


Heavy rainfall associated with waterborne disease


Surveys of extreme precipitation events indicate (rainfall more than two inches a day) and waterborne disease outbreaks (WBDO) in the US are strongly correlated. Retrospective comparison of 548 outbreaks documented by US EPA and precipitation data from the National Climatic Data Center from 1948 to 1994 showed that 68 percent of WBDOs were preceded by extreme precipitation events. Surface water was the most likely to be contaminated and result in an outbreak during the same month as the rainfall event but groundwater outbreaks lagged by about two months.


Twenty-four years ago in late March, the largest documented waterborne outbreak in US history occurred in Milwaukee, WI. Before identifying the problem, residents consumed contaminated water for over two weeks. Ultimately, more than 400,000 people were sickened with diarrhea and over 100 died. Cryptosporidium, a protozoan pathogen, caused the outbreak and may have been introduced due to increased precipitation and the presence of nearby cattle farms. Crypto has been found in 64 percent of manure samples from a sampling of 50 livestock farms. Following rain and land runoff, Crypto from nearby farms is readily transported to surface supplies, where associated increases in turbidity further tax treatment works.


Groundwater risks


Surface water risks are somewhat expected and municipalities have treatment tools, including the use of flocculants, filtration and disinfectants to settle out, filter and inactivate harmful microbes. While federal regulations mandate treatment of surface water, utilities accessing groundwater are not necessarily required to treat. Thus, less obvious and less controlled are groundwater contamination events. The greatest concern with seasonal groundwater contamination are human viruses. Viruses, unlike larger bacteria and protozoa, easily navigate the tortuous path from land surface to underground aquifers. Storms, however, can lead to sewer overflows and contamination of groundwater wells with a variety of microbial hazards.


Recently Minnesota and Wisconsin state health departments announced evidence of disease-causing microbes in a high percentage of drinking-water wells. In Minnesota, eight percent of a collection of 478 samples and 37 percent of the 82 public water systems with a groundwater well supply tested positive for human viruses. Eleven percent were positive for Salmonella bacteria. Less is known about household well water supplies. An estimated 34 million households in the US are served by private wells. One Wisconsin study found that out of 50 wells from seven hydrogeologic districts, eight percent were positive for human viruses, including hepatitis A virus, rotavirus, and noroviruses. With summer being Wisconsin’s rainy season, concern this time of year is especially heightened.


Most private and public groundwater supplies are not filtered or disinfected. The presence of low levels of human virus genomes in groundwater is common and has been associated with a 30 percent increase in gastrointestinal illness. Up to 63 percent of gastrointestinal illnesses in children were attributed to these tap-waterborne viruses.

Source: Water Conditioning and Purification.

Pure Water Gazette Fair Use Statement

A Case Where Two Is More than Twice As Much as One

doublewholehouseFor a water filter to work well, the water needs an adequate “residence time” within the filter medium. The rate that water flows through the filter affects the filter’s effectiveness (the percentage of the contaminant it removes), the pressure drop (how much the filter reduces water pressure), the longevity of the filter medium, and, consequently, the cost of operation.

We’ve taken the manufacturer’s performance data on a single filter cartridge to illustrate the interesting fact that by doubling the capacity of a whole house filter, installing two identical filters side by side, you more than double the value. The illustration above shows a whole house filtration setup using standard-sized 4.5″ X 20″ filter cartridges.  The water passes through an initial sediment cartridge (sediment filters will handle much higher flow rates than equally- sized carbon filters) then the line splits to go through two carbon filters.  Each of the carbon filters, therefore, handles only half as much water, at half the flow rate, giving each cartridge double the residence time to do its work.

The cartridge in question is a top quality chloramine cartridge from Pentair. It is a unique radial flow carbon with a very low pressure drop and a high chloramine capacity. (It is also expensive, as cartridge prices go.) Note from the chart that as the flow rate is cut in half, the gallons-treated capacity more than doubles, and the pressure drop falls to less than half. And note, significantly, that the operating cost per gallon for the two filters installed in parallel is about 1/3 the cost of a single filter processing water at the same flow rate. (Costs are based on our current retail price for the cartridge, without considering volume discount, which makes using the double system even more economical.)


Format Pressure Drop Cartridge Life Removing Chloramine Operating Cost Per Gallon of Water Treated
Single Filter @ 5.0 GPM Service Flow 2.5 psi 10,000 gallons $0.0168  -1 2/3 cents per gallon.


Single Filter @ 2.5  GPM Service Flow


1 psi 25,000 gallons $0.0067 –2/3 cent per gallon.
Parallel Installation of 2 Filters @ 5 gpm Service Flow 1 psi 50,000 $0.0067 –2/3 cent per gallon.

The example given would serve a small family–2 or 3 people–living in a home with one or two bathrooms. The same proportions can be applied, however, to other types of treatment and other filter applications.The double filter setup also gives extra capacity should you needed it. Although the unit is sized for 5 gpm service use, it would easily accommodate a 10 gpm demand should the need arise.  A word of caution, however, concerning tank-style backwashing filters. When you increase the size of backwashing filter, you also increase its backwash water requirement, plus oversizing can actually hurt performance. Tank-style filters actually have a minimum flow rate that should be observed.


Pentek’s CRFC20-BB cartridge is a nominal 25 micron radial flow granular carbon cartridge that has minimal flow restriction. 10,000 gallons of chloramine reduction at 5 gpm; 25,000 gallons of chloramine reduction at 2.5 gpm; 200,000 gallons of chlorine reduction at 4 gpm. Pressure drop is only 2.5 psi at 5 gpm.

Flaw Found In Water Treatment Methods

 Gazette Introductory Note: It took us several decades after public water suppliers started using chlorine as a disinfectant to figure out that the disinfection process was creating a seemingly countless group of pretty nasty chemicals that we refer to collectively as “disinfection byproducts” and regulate as THMs. It should not surprise us, then, than when we apply hydrogen peroxide and UV light to eradicate water contaminants we create “presumably less harmful chemicals” that the article below refers to as “transformation products.” Nature is about change. We know that when we “remove” something from water we are often just changing it to something “presumably less harmful.”  Chlorine doesn’t go away: it becomes chloride. So who knows what phenols from personal care products might morph into when exposed to oxidation?

Public water quality has received a lot of attention in recently years as some disturbing discoveries have been made regarding lead levels in cities across the country. Now, a new study from the Johns Hopkins University pinpoints other chemicals in water that are worth paying attention to — and in fact, some of them may be created, ironically, during the water treatment process itself.

To rid water of compounds that are known to be toxic, water treatment plants now often use methods to oxidize them, turning them into other, presumably less harmful chemicals called “transformation products.” Though earlier studies have looked at the byproducts of water treatment processes like chlorination, not so much is known about the products formed during some of the newer processes, like oxidation with hydrogen peroxide and UV light, which are especially relevant in water reuse.

“Typically, we consider these transformation products to be less toxic, but our study shows that this might not always be the case,” says lead author Carsten Prasse assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering at the Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering and the university’s Bloomberg School of Public Health. “Our results highlight that this is only half of the story and that transformation products might play a very important part when we think about the quality of the treated water.”

Prasse, along with colleagues from the University of California, Berkeley, chose to look at phenols, a class of organic chemicals that are among the most common in the water supply, as they’re present in everything from dyes to personal care products to pharmaceuticals to pesticides as well as in chemicals that are naturally occurring in water.

To determine what compounds the phenols transform into during treatment, the team, whose results are published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, first oxidized phenols using peroxide radicals, a process often used by water treatment plants. Next, they borrowed a clever method from biomedicine: They added amino acids and proteins to the mix. Depending on what chemical reactions took place, Prasse and his team could do some backwards calculation to determine what compounds the phenols must have turned into in the earlier step.

They discovered that the phenols converted into products including 2-butene-1,4-dial, a compound that is known to have negative effects, including DNA damage, on human cells. Interestingly, furan, a toxic compound in cigarette smoke and car exhaust, is also converted into 2-butene-1,4-dial in the body, and it may be this conversion that’s responsible for its toxicity.

To test the specific effects of 2-butene-1,4-dial on biological processes more fully, the team exposed the compound to mouse liver proteins. They found that it affected 37 different protein targets, which are involved in a range of biological processes, from energy metabolism to protein and steroid synthesis.

One enzyme that 2-butene-1,4-dial was shown to bind is critical in apoptosis, or “cell suicide.” Inhibiting this compound in a living organism might lead to unchecked cell proliferation, or cancer growth. And other compounds that 2-butene-1,4-dial interferes with play key roles in metabolism. “There are a lot of potential health outcomes, like obesity and diabetes,” says Prasse. “There’s a known connection between pesticide exposure and obesity, and studies like ours may help to explain why this is.”

The results are exciting since this is the first time these methods have been applied to water treatment, Prasse says. In time, they may be expanded to screen for other types of compounds beyond phenols.

Water purification is extraordinarily challenging, since contaminants come from so many different sources — bacteria, plants, agriculture, wastewater — and it’s not always clear what’s being generated in the process. “We’re very good at developing methods to remove chemicals” says Prasse. “Once the chemical is gone, the job — it would seem — is done, but in fact we don’t always know what removal of the chemical means: does it turn into something else? Is that transformation product harmful?”

Prasse and his team point out that by the year 2050, it’s been estimated two-thirds of the global population will live in areas that rely on drinking water that contains the runoff from farms and wastewater from cities and factories. So safe and effective purification methods will be even more critical in the coming years.

“The next steps are to investigate how this method can be applied to more complex samples and study other contaminants that are likely to result in the formation of similar reactive transformation products,” says Prasse. “Here we looked at phenols. But we use household products that contain some 80,000 different chemicals, and many of these end up in wastewater. We need to be able to screen for multiple chemicals at once. That’s the larger goal.”

Coauthors on the study were Breanna Ford and Daniel K. Nomura of the Department of Nutritional Sciences and Toxicology at the University of California, Berkeley. The senior author was David L. Sedlak of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley.

This research was supported by the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences Superfund Research Program (Grant P42 ES004705) at the University of California, Berkeley.

SOURCE: Johns Hopkins University

Source: Water Online.

Pure Water Gazette Fair Use Statement

Which State Has The Most Drinking Water Quality Issues?

by Sarah Jerome

Texas is struggling with regulatory compliance at drinking water plants, and by some standards, it is having more trouble than any other state in the nation.

“More than 310 public drinking water systems in Texas — nearly 4.5 percent of the state’s regulated public water systems — have quality issues that haven’t been adequately addressed, federal officials told the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) this year. That is the highest percentage in the nation, according to the Environmental Protection Agency,” the Texas Tribune reported.

A letter from the federal EPA listed plants that may need enforcement attention. But Texas officials are not so sure the federal numbers truly represent the state’s track record on tap water quality.

“TCEQ officials say the federal estimate is outdated and high; by their account, about 4 percent of systems have issues that need more attention. The agency said it has dramatically stepped up its enforcement in the past year, training more staff and pursuing more than 100 public water systems in recent months for clean water violations,” the Tribune reported.

There may not be enough resources for the state to keep up with the issue.

“The EPA’s concerns and additional data suggest that keeping up with the 7,000 public water systems subject to state regulation in Texas has been a huge challenge. The TCEQ’s enforcement division now has 107 full-time employees, compared with 117 in 2007, though its annual expenses have stayed relatively constant at about $5.5 million,” the Tribune reported.

Robert Doggett, general counsel for Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid, which serves areas that have violated enforcement rules, said resources could stand to be increased.

“There could be more resources brought to bear,” he said to the Tribune.

Midland, in western Texas, is among the areas that has drawn the attention of regulators, according to the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

“The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality struck the city of Midland with four water contaminant violations in 2013, as revealed in its annual water quality report released [in July]. The city was found in violation of high levels of arsenic, fluoride and selenium, according to the water report. The three inorganic contaminants were discovered within one of its two water entry points,” the report said.

From Water Online.

Pure Water Gazette Fair Use Statement


Carbon Filtration Seems to Be an Effective Treatment for GenX

Carbon filters appear to be effective at screening GenX from drinking water in private wells and municipal water systems near a Chemours plant in West Virginia, federal regulators have reported. That should be encouraging news for thousands of homeowners in southeastern North Carolina whose drinking water has been contaminated with GenX and perhaps more than a dozen other chemicals released by Chemours and DuPont since at least 1980.  It should also be good news for other other GenX-contaminated areas.

Late in 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency directed Chemours to test 10 private wells and four public water supplies for GenX near its Washington Works plant in West Virginia. Nine of the 14 wells were found to contain the chemical, but none had detectable levels after the water passed through granual activated carbon filters.

DuPont began producing GenX around 2009 at its Fayetteville Works plant because the compound was considered a safer alternative to perfluorooctanoic acid — also known as PFOA or C8. GenX was then shipped to a DuPont plant near Parkersburg, West Virginia, for final production of Teflon and other slippery coatings. Chemours spun off from DuPont in 2015.

Later high levels of GenX were found in Wilmington, NC drinking water, which comes from the Cape Fear River. Since then, researchers have discovered 190 private wells surrounding the Fayetteville Works plant that contain GenX at levels exceeding what the state considers safe for drinking water. (The effect of GenX on humans isn’t known, but animal studies link it to several forms of cancer.)

The EPA ordered Chemours to test for GenX in Ohio and West Virginia after the discovery in North Carolina. The 14 wells and municipal water systems have used granular activated carbon filtration systems for years, after DuPont was ordered to install them because of earlier high levels of C8 contamination.

The EPA found that the filters initially installed to combat C8 contamination is effectively removing GenX as well. 

“At this time, no GenX was found in treated drinking water that came from contaminated wells,” the EPA said in an April 2018 statement.

The Cape Fear Utility Authority, which is also conducting tests with carbon filtration, found that its filters reduce greatly but do not completely eliminate 1, 4 dioxane.

Researchers believe that the GAC filters being tested can reduce greatly but not eliminate all perfluorinated compounds from treated water.

Adapted from The Fayetteville Observer.

Pure Water Gazette Fair Use Statement

Katalox Light: Pros and Cons

kataloxlightKatalox Light is a popular, relatively new filter medium that is used in backwashing filters for treatment of iron, manganese, hydrogen sulfide odor and even more exotic contaminants like arsenic.

We’ve found Katalox to be a mixed blessing. As a natural Zeolite-based iron/manganese/ hydrogen sulfide treatment, Katalox has the great advantage of being light enough to backwash easily (as compared with Filox). It also supports a generous service flow rate (as compared with Birm), and it works well with most standard oxidizers.  Because of its low density and high service flow capability it fills a gap between the high and low performance iron reduction media.

But . . .

Our experience has been that in most cases Katalox raises pH, sometimes to extremes, and increases alkalinity. These are temporary issues that eventually go away without treatment. Katalox can also put out a fine sediment that leaves a thin film on dishes and fixtures. About 5% of our residential customers complain of an alkaline taste and musty odor. These issues also go away with time, but they can try your patience.

Upon installation, Katalox should always get an overnight soak before the filter is put into service, plus prolonged backwashing to clear out fine sediment. The long backwash can help eliminate adverse side effects like bad taste, odor, and sediment, but it does not guarantee that they won’t occur.

Why Use Katalox?

Although Katalox clearly has some problems, we keep selling it because it’s worth the risk of experiencing some of the inconveniences described above. It allows sizing filters much smaller than would be needed with media like Birm, and it requires less frequent backwash than heavy media like Filox.

Las Vegas Looks at Desalination

Posted April 19th, 2018

Desalination in Las Vegas? Faraway Ocean Could Aid Future Water Needs

The Southern Nevada Water Authority expects growth to outpace current water supplies by 2037. Investing in seawater desalination is one option the agency is considering to meet demand in the desert metropolis.

by Matt Weiser


Sin City has never been a place that thinks small. So it should come as no surprise that Las Vegas – about 300 miles from the Pacific Ocean – is pondering seawater desalination to meet its long-term water demand.

That doesn’t mean Vegas plans to build a pipeline to the ocean. More likely, it would help pay for a desalination facility in a place like Mexico, then trade that investment for a piece of Mexico’s water rights in the Colorado River.

This prospect is described in the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s 2017 Water Resource Plan, a strategy to satisfy water demand in the Las Vegas Valley over the next 50 years. It was largely overlooked, however, amid clamor over more controversial and imminent water development schemes like its groundwater development project – a plan to tap ancient aquifers from a half dozen rural valleys hundreds of miles away in northern Nevada.

Yet desalination is very much part of the plan to keep up with growth in Vegas.

Bronson Mack, a spokesman for the water authority, said there are advantages for Las Vegas in such a deal because the metro area is only about six miles (as the crow flies) from the Colorado River. The water authority already relies on water intakes at Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the U.S., and recently completed a new lower-elevation intake to access water as the level of the lake declines.

“Certainly desalination might be part of Southern Nevada’s water portfolio at some point in the future,” Mack said. “Timing will depend on what our demands look like and what water supplies look like going forward. But, certainly, it could be something that happens within the next 20 or 30 years.”

A similar approach to desalination is being considered in Arizona. It’s possible the two states could form a partnership to invest in desalination, but Mack said no formal talks are under way now.

Although Las Vegas is known as a city of excess, that is no longer the case when it comes to water consumption. The city has become a leader in water conservation. Since 2002, when the current long-term drought began in the Southwest, Vegas has added more than 600,000 residents while actually reducing its withdrawals from the Colorado River.

This has been done through aggressive conservation programs, like phasing out turfgrass in urban landscapes. The region also recycles 40 percent of its municipal wastewater, returning it to Lake Mead where it can be withdrawn as needed without impacting its allotment of Colorado River water.

But population growth continues, and the time will come when Las Vegas needs new water supplies. Researchers at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas estimate the region’s population, now about 2.2 million, will expand by 500,000 people over the next 20 years. That’s like adding two more Renos – Nevada’s second-largest city – to the sprawling Las Vegas Valley.

Rick Spilsbury, a longtime critic of the water authority, supports desalination to accommodate growth in Vegas.

Spilsbury is a member of the Ely Shoshone Tribe and a board member of the Great Basin Water Network, a group working to kill the water authority’s plan to tap Northern Nevada groundwater. One of those taps would extract groundwater from Spring Valley, a site in White Pine County near Great Basin National Park, which the Shoshone consider sacred.

On his blog, Spilsbury began urging the water authority to consider desalination in 2013.

“I think it makes so much more sense to make more water than to use up the water you have,” he said. “If you desalinate water, you’re making more water and there will be more water available. Whereas if you take water out of the ground, you’re going to have less water in the long run.”

He wants the water authority to make desalination its first option to meet future demand, not exploiting finite groundwater in distant valleys.

“The thing I’m really concerned about is what comes first,” he said. “Ideally, I’d like to see the state save some water for the future. I want them to make water before they take water.”

Las Vegas may not need new water supplies for a while. Southern Nevada is entitled to 300,000 acre-feet per year of Colorado River water, the smallest allotment among the states that depend on the lower river. Yet it currently uses only 240,000 acre-feet. When possible, it banks the unused portion in local groundwater aquifers. It currently has enough banked water to meet its annual need for eight years, Mack said.

But if population growth projections are accurate, the region will need new water resources as soon as 2037.

“With additional conservation, we could see the need for new water resources being pushed out even further into the future,” Mack said.

Spilsbury suspects the district underestimates its water demand. Growth has hovered around 2 percent annually since the end of the recession. But the university’s projections show growth tapering off to less than a half percent annually by 2037 – which it admits may be too low.

One big project on the horizon in the Ivanpah Valley, is a new international airport. The existing McCarran International Airport is nearing capacity. To prepare for that day, in 2002 Clark County purchased 6,000 acres along Interstate 15 in the Ivanpah Valley from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to construct a new airport.

Chris Clarke, California desert program manager at the National Parks Conservation Association, worries about the environmental effects of a new airport in that area. “An airport is obviously going to promote opportunistic development on every available piece of land between the state line and Vegas,” Clarke said. “To a certain extent, water will be a limiting factor. But Vegas is also really good at finding ways to get water when they decide they need it.”

In addition, the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s board of directors last year approved guidelines to deliver water outside the Las Vegas Valley. This could include growth in the Ivanpah Valley along Interstate 15 between Las Vegas and the California state line.

This article originally appeared on Water Deeply. You can find the original here. For important news about water issues and the American West, you can sign up to the Water email list.

Do you want ” hard water bypass” for your home water filter?

The answer is yes, in almost every case, you do want your home whole house water filter or softener to operate with a “hard water bypass” feature. This is something you don’t have to specify when you buy a filter or softener because it is assumed that you want it. In fact, you have to go to some trouble to buy a product with “no hard water bypass” equipment installed.

“Untreated water bypass,” by the way, would be a more accurate name for the feature, but industry tradition says “hard water” although the concept applies to both filters (which don’t soften water) and water softeners.

What the “hard water bypass” feature does is send water to the home if there is a demand for water while the softener or filter is in its regeneration cycle. So, if the softener is regenerating at 2:00 AM and someone flushes a toilet, the softener bypasses its treatment tank and sends hard water to fill the need. The assumption is that it’s better to have a few gallons of hard water in the home’s water lines than to have un-flushed toilets. And if the softener starts its regeneration while you’re in the shower, you would probably prefer to be able to get the shampoo out of your hair even if it means a few gallons of raw water get into the home’s water lines.

The most obvious reason you don’t want a “no hard water bypass” product on your home system, though, is for fire protection. You don’t want your home to burn down because your water softener refuses to send hard water to sprinklers during its regeneration cycle.

So,why would anyone want a “no hard water bypass” unit?  If you were supplying a machine that would be damaged by receiving untreated water, the no hard water bypass system is invaluable. Or, if  you were topping off a fish pond, you certainly would prefer delaying the operation a bit to sending chlorinated water to your fish.  Here’s another example:

A well owner fills a large storage tank direct from his well, then pumps water from the storage tank to his home. He filters the water for iron before it reaches the storage tank. The storage tank calls for water when the water level drops below a certain point. If the storage tank calls for water while the iron filter is regenerating, the home owner would probably prefer for the filter to wait until the regeneration is finished rather than top off the tank with untreated water.

Except in special cases like these, you want “hard water bypass.”  That’s why you don’t have to ask for it. On residential filters and softeners,  you get it without asking.




Michigan Approves Nestle Bottle Water Expansion

The Swiss bottled water company is approved to pump 400 gpm for the Ice Mountain brand, amid fierce opposition from residents and environmentalists alike

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) has approved a permit for Nestle Waters North America to increase the amount of water it withdraws from the White Pine Springs well near Evart, Mich., from 250 gpm to 400, as reported by The Detroit Free Press. MDEQ’s approval comes despite heavy opposition from residents of Osceola County, Mich., where the pumping station is located. Residents have argued that the pumping station has harmed local groundwater reserves and streams, including the Twin Creek River since Nestle began pumping in the early 2000s for their bottled water brand Ice Mountain. Osceola Township rejected the permit request, but their rejection was overturned by county and state Appeals Courts.



Gazette Comment: While cities are cutting water service to customers too poor to pay water bills, companies like Nestle are pumping 400 gallons per minute of free water from the White Pine Springs well to sell at a premium price.  Nestle is harvesting over half a million gallons per day of free water from a single source, and US golf courses require over 2 billion gallons of irrigation water per day (that’s almost 2,000,000 gallons per minute). Try to keep this in mind if someone tells you you shouldn’t own a reverse osmosis unit because it “wastes” five or six gallons of water a day.


Michigan residents also argue the groundwater extraction laws are in need of an update and are displeased by the fact that Nestle only pays $200 per year for the MDEQ extraction permit, but not for the water itself. Public opposition to the bottled water brand’s expansion was overwhelming according to Michigan Sen. Rebekah Warren who serves on the Senate’s Natural Resources Committee.

“Michiganders know that no private company should be able to generate profits by undermining our state’s precious natural resources, which is why an unprecedented number of people spoke up to oppose this permit,” Warren said. “Out of 81,862 comments filed by the people of our state, only 75 of them were in favor of the permit.”

Moving forward, MDEQ plans to monitor surface water and do periodic biological surveys to ensure local aquatic life and habitat is not damaged, according to The Detroit News. Additionally, they have acknowledged that the majority of the public comments opposed the permit, but stated that most of them related to public policy which was not a part of the administrative permit decision.

Source: Water Quality Products.

Closed Forever: The End of an Era

by Gene Franks


Cupboard Natural Foods, a North Texas institution and for many year Denton’s leading natural food store, closed its doors for the last time in March of 2018 after over half a century in business.

The Cupboard was one of the old independent natural food stores that for decades were the main source of food for the select–that is to say, vegetarians, “health food nuts,” and others who had caught on that real food is a lot better than artificial.

The times, they are a-changin’

When the Cupboard came on the scene in the mid-1960s, its popularity led to the closing of a small natural food co-op that preceded it.  The local appetite for natural foods wasn’t big enough to support two small stores. The Cupboard, virtually without competition, grew over the years and moved three times to larger quarters.

Things got bad, though, when two natural food chains opened locations in the neighborhood, and perhaps more importantly, when conventional supermarkets started putting in natural food sections replete with healthy sounding brands made by such health food stalwarts as Coca Cola and Nestle.

The demise of the Cupboard was bad news for us at Pure Water Products. We have had close ties with the store over the years. We had a popular (and profitable) water vending system in the store, plus filtration systems on ice machines, coffee machines, the cafe’s drinking water cooler, a produce preparation sink, and the misting system for the produce case. The store sent lots of customers our way. A good percentage of the store’s regular customers have our reverse osmosis units under their kitchen sink.  Fully half of our current employees worked at the Cupboard at one time.


The very last purchase at the Cupboard before it closed forever was made by me. It’s a classy Portland Bee Balm display box. I can’t believe I was lucky enough to get it. The store sold out its merchandise at discounts that grew day by day, then sold its furnishings and equipment–even the light fixtures, and old adding machines that had been in a store room since 1991. On the very last day I laid down two quarters for the Portland Bee Balm box, which now holds pens and pencils on my desk. During the closeout I picked up a lifetime supply of 60% off tamari and olive oil, plus lots of things I never thought I would buy, like Umeboshi Plum Vinegar. I wish now I had tried Portland Bee Balm while I had the chance. Not likely I’ll find it at Kroger’s.