Bacteria vs Fatberg


Posted February 3rd, 2019

Fatbergs and Bacteria

 

fatberginlondonmueum

In September 2017, sewer workers in London discovered a “fatberg” made of oil and grease poured down London drains mixed with flushed wet wipes, diapers, and condoms that failed to disintegrate. This fatberg weighed in at 130 tons, the weight of about 19 African elephants, and stretched 820 feet, almost the total length of the London Bridge. Though it was cleaned out by the heroic efforts of sewer workers, a bit of the monster fatberg remains and can be seen at the Museum of London.

Fatbergs,  at the same time disgusting and somewhat comical,  give us an insight into the alien world of the sewer networks that keep towns and cities running smoothly. Fatbergs are pretty spectacular. They can shut down an entire municipal drainage system and they can cost millions of dollars to clear.

The famous fatberg pictured above is from London, but fatbergs exist everywhere, and not just in big cities.  The English seaside town of Sidmouth recently discovered a fatberg of gigantic proportions.

Fatburgs come at a big cost. Every year the UK spends an estimated £100,000,000 clearing away some 300,000 fatbergs created by congealed fats and waste that people pour down the sink and flush down the toilet. In addition to fats, diapers, so-called “disposable” wipes, and condoms are big contributors to fatberg formation.

Historically, water companies have resorted to the hard task of physical removal to keep drains clean. Cleaning away a fatberg often requires truly heroic efforts on the part of water treatment workers,

Bacteria to the rescue

A German company, however, has taken a new approach to the removal and prevention of fatbergs. A product called Lipasan, made in south-west Germany, treats fatbergs with a micro-organism solution made with bacteria grown specifically to eat fat.  Lipasan digests fat, grease, and oil.

Lipasan is being used with great success in the German city of Ramstein which has a particular problem with fatberg formation, because, according to a company spokesperson, “the city has a US Military base, which has brought with it a cuisine that is traditionally higher in fat.” Military bases are infamous in the US for contaminating their surrounding areas with water polluting chemicals. Currently PFAS has drawn most attention for military water pollution, but everything from trichloroethylene to benzene to mercury have been found in abundance in waters in the neighborhoods of military bases such as Camp Lejeune, NC. Perhaps fatbergs can be added to the list of the side effects of the military.

According to Dr. Andrea Junker-Buchheit, a lead scientist in the creation of Lipasan, “We treat fatbergs with a special micro-organism solution. We grow bacteria which have been developed specifically to eat fat. They digest all the fat, all the grease, all the oil.” The bacteria eats fat, and needs more and more of it to survive and grow.

The application of Lipasan consists of the use of dosing pumps to inject specific amounts of the bacterial solution into the pipes of the water treatment plant. The injected bacteria keep the pipes clean and fatbergs under control. Although preventive treatment with fat-gobbling bacteria is not cheap,  the cost is only a fraction of that of clearing fatbergs from pipes using conventional means.

Reference: BBC.

More about fatbergs from the Pure Water Gazette.

Pure Water Gazette Fair Use Statement

 

Research casts doubt on EPA drinking water standard

by Justine Calma

More than 5 million Americans get their drinking water from public water systems that could contain hazardous levels of a chemical called nitrate, which is linked to public health risks — including cancer and birth defects. And the concentrations found in the vast majority of that drinking water would be deemed safe by the Environmental Protection Agency, according to a study published this month in the journal Environmental Health.

Nitrate occurs naturally in soil, water, and food. But when it is ingested, it can react with organic compounds in the body to form carcinogens.

A team of researchers at environmental health advocacy groups looked into nearly 40,000 public water systems that between 2010 and 2014 served 70 percent of Americans. They found that more than 1,600 of the systems they reviewed had average nitrate concentrations of at least 5 parts per million.

While that amount is just one-half of the level that the Environmental Protection Agency deems safe to drink, the lead study author told Grist that there is evidence that the federal standards may be outdated.

“The EPA is very slow in updating drinking water standards,” said lead author Laurel Schaider, a research scientist at the Silent Spring Institute, a non-profit research group in Massachusetts that studies the effects of chemicals on women’s health. In fact, just this week, Politico reported that the EPA won’t place federal limits on two chemicals associated with cancer and other health issues in drinking water — despite lawmakers on both sides of the aisle pressuring Andrew Wheeler, the agency’s acting administrator, to take action.

The EPA established 10 parts per million as its regulatory standard for nitrate in 1991 primarily to protect infants from “blue baby syndrome.” The syndrome, which can impact infants who are fed formula mixed with nitrate-contaminated water, causes a drop in in the amount of hemoglobin in the blood, which cuts the babies’ oxygen intake.

It’s unclear whether the EPA is considering revising its safety standard. In a December 2016 review of drinking water standards, it designated nitrate as “not appropriate for review at this time.” But in September 2017, the agency released a draft plan to reassess the health effects of nitrate, noting that health studies published since 1991 had called into question whether the EPA’s current maximum nitrate contaminant levels “provide adequate health protection for the general population.” The EPA declined to provide a comment to Grist.

Several studies have documented increased health risks — ranging from colorectal cancer, thyroid disease, and birth defects affecting the brain, spine, or spinal cord — stemming from elevated nitrate levels, even at concentrations below current federal regulatory limits. For example, a 2013 study of more than 4,000 mothers found that women who consumed water with levels well below the EPA limit were roughly twice as likely to deliver babies with birth defects. And a 2010 study of more than 21,000 women in Iowa documented an increased risk of thyroid cancer for people exposed to nitrate levels in public water supplies that were greater than 5 ppm for five or more years.

Although 99 percent of water systems surveyed in the Silent Spring Institute’s analysis showed nitrate levels below the EPA’s 10-ppm standard, 129 community water systems serving 144,000 Americans had an average nitrate concentration surpassing that upper limit. Private drinking wells weren’t included in this study, but are often located in rural and agricultural areas, where that study shows there tends to be more nitrates that can seep into the groundwater.

The biggest culprit for nitrate contamination is runoff from fertilizers or manure. That could point to why states in the West and Midwest, home to eight of the top 10 agriculture-producing states, had higher levels. The increased use of fertilizers, more prominent fossil-fuel combustion, and the growing popularity of nitrogen-fixing crops like soybeans have led to a doubling of the natural rate at which nitrogen is deposited into land since the 1920s.

Schaider’s team also found that water systems that served populations with a larger proportion of Hispanic people tended to have higher levels of nitrates. The researchers hypothesized that the correlation was due to the group’s association with agricultural work. But Hispanic residents didn’t appear to have high exposure to nitrates in the Midwest, suggesting a different explanation for the community’s outsized link to nitrates in their water.

Mary Ward, a senior investigator at the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch at the National Cancer Institute and a leading expert on nitrates, lauded the new research, which relied on publicly available data collected by EPA under the Safe Drinking Water Act, as the first assessment of the U.S. population’s potential exposure to nitrates through their public tap water.

Since most health studies on nitrate to date have focused on populations using public water supplies, a majority of the findings are for exposures below the EPA’s maximum contaminant level, said Ward. After all, public water utilities are mandated to provide drinking water that meets EPA safe-drinking standards.

Ward adds a note of caution when it comes to raising the alarm on nitrate levels below that current standard: “We need additional studies,” she wrote to Grist in an email. “The number of well-designed studies of these health outcomes are still too few to draw firm conclusions about risk.”

The study authors write that the issue merits further study, since nitrate has also been found to occur alongside other pollutants present in drinking water, including arsenic, pesticides, and other chemicals used to filter water. Robust monitoring of nitrate, the say, could be one way to improve water quality overall.

Article Source: Grist.

Pure Water Gazette Fair Use Statement

Instructional Videos from Pentair Water University: Fleck 5600 & 2510 Valves

 

Fleck 5600

 

Fleck 5600 Control Valve Tear Down: https://youtu.be/BeD7IdE0FB8

Uses:

  • Troubleshooting parts on the 5600 mechanical and SXT valves.
  • Determining what color and size replacement parts you need for your specific valve type.
  • Determining where replacement parts go.
  • This video covers replacement of seals and spacers and piston, plus the examination and/or replacement of the brine valve (softeners only), the injector assembly (softeners only), and drain line flow control. The instructional video is done with a mechanical meter softener valve (Econominder) but can be generalized to any 5600 control.

 

Special Notes: Seals and spacer replacement using the stuffer tool begins at 7:00 minutes. The job is often done without the use of the stuffer tool.

 

Fleck 5600 Air in Brine System: https://youtu.be/c923S1j-Zbc

Use to check for air entering a brine system and check for damaged fittings or hose:

  • When there is low to no salt usage by softener,
  • The service water is “hard”,
  • There are visible leaks, or
  • Experiencing water hammering, or hydraulic shock, during regeneration
  •  This video covers the connections and tubing in the brine draw system from the valve body to the air check in the brine tank. A Fleck 5810 is used in the demo, but all other Fleck controls work exactly the same.

 

Fleck 5600 Brine Valve Repair and Replacement: https://youtu.be/MiJktBgvi38

Use when:

  • There is salty service water,
  • The brine tank is overfilling, or
  • There is excessive salt use
  • This video covers inspection and/or replacement of the brine valve. The 5600 mechanical meter softener valve (Econominder) is used in the demo, but it can be generalized to other Fleck controls.

 

Fleck 5600 Injector Repairs: https://youtu.be/Rq3JR0FNkwE

Clean or replace a clogged injector or screen when:

  • The brine tank is overfilling,
  • No soft water to home, or
  • There is salty service water

 

Fleck 5600 Drain Hose: https://youtu.be/M2vt85Bb6Yk

Diagnose and clear an obstructed drain hose when:

  • The pressure drops in the home,
  • There is salty service water, or
  • There is slow to no drain flow during service regeneration

 

Fleck 5600 Meter Repairs: https://youtu.be/NWjjC__66xc

Meter not registering flow when there is:

  • No regeneration
  • No salt use
  • No capacity decline on the control, or
  • No flow indicator on the display

 

Depressurize Fleck 5600 Valve: https://youtu.be/iYHXHVD5ik8

Depressurize a system before completing any service work.

 

Set Time on Fleck 5600 Controller: https://youtu.be/NTp-Qm4j9y0

Use when the:

  • Regeneration cycle occurs at the wrong time
  • Display shows the wrong time

 

____________________________________________________________________________

 

Fleck 2510

Fleck 2510 Control Valve Tear Down: https://youtu.be/9kGhqrbt_R0

Uses:

  • Troubleshooting parts on the 5600 mechanical and SXT valves
  • Determining what color and size replacement parts you need for your specific valve type
  • Determining where replacement parts go

 

Seals and spacers replacement begins at 9:20 on the video.

 

Fleck 2510 Air in Brine System: https://youtu.be/wY9oSSCD9E4

Use when air might be the brine system due to:

  • Low to no salt usage
  • Hard service water
  • Visible leaks, or
  • Water hammering during a regeneration

 

Fleck 2510 Brine Valve Repair and Replacement: https://youtu.be/x3Zp_OR5f6M

Use when:

  • There is salty service water,
  • The brine tank is overfilling, or
  • There is excessive salt use

 

Fleck 2510 Injector Repair: https://youtu.be/Cbfp2cEKx_c

Clean or replace a clogged injector or screen when:

  • Water overfills the brine tank
  • There is no soft water, or
  • There is salty service water

 

Fleck 2510 Drain Hose: https://youtu.be/1B6Gj2xHrkw

Diagnose and clear an obstructed drain hose when:

  • Pressure drops in the home
  • Service water is salty, or
  • There is slow to no drain flow during regeneration

 

Fleck 2510 Meter Repairs: https://youtu.be/rD-2acNxW4Y

Use when there is:

  • No regeneration
  • No salt use
  • No capacity decline on the control, or
  • No flow indicator on the display

 

Depressurize Fleck 2510 System: https://youtu.be/9I8UYps_tSA

Depressurize a system before completing any service work.

 

How the Government Shutdown of 2019 Is Affecting the EPA

It’s a nightmare’: Americans’ health at risk as shutdown slashes EPA

The Environmental Protection Agency has been cut to a skeleton staff, meaning work to ensure clean air and water is left undone

The US government shutdown has stymied environmental testing and inspections, prompting warnings that Americans’ health is being put at increasing risk as the shutdown drags on.

More than 13,000 employees at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are not at work, with just 794 people deemed essential staff currently undertaking the agency’s duties.

The remaining skeleton staff are able to “respond to emergencies involving the safety of human life or the protection of property”, according to an EPA planning document. But many routine activities such as checks on regulated businesses, clean-ups of toxic superfund sites and the pursuit of criminal polluters have been paused since 28 December.

“State programs aren’t being funded, enforcement actions have stopped – it’s a nightmare,” said Gary Morton, president of AFGE Council 238, which represents about 9,000 EPA workers.

“EPA employees want to get back to work, they have bills and mortgages to pay. These are dedicated public servants who took an oath to serve and protect the American people. The states and community groups can’t do this work on their own.”

In some instances, state officials will be able to continue EPA-aligned tasks, such as deal with hundreds of former industrial facilities and other polluted areas known as superfund sites. An EPA spokeswoman said the agency will “continue to respond at sites where there is an imminent threat to the safety of human life” but that superfund cleanups have halted.

A senior EPA employee, who has been sidelined from work, said it will take weeks for the agency to catch up with its core functions once the shutdown is over.

“You’re just keeping the patient alive right now,” the staffer, who asked not to be named, said. Some staff, already disgruntled at the Trump administration’s rollbacks of environmental protections, are preparing to march in protest to the White House on Thursday, with working colleagues urged to call in sick.

The situation at the EPA means “communities across the country are forced to stand by while water and soil go untested, air is fouled, science is suspended, and looming threats from climate change grow more perilous,” said Elgie Holstein, a senior director at the Environmental Defense Fund.

“The shutdown serves as another reminder of the vital, underappreciated role that EPA and public health and environmental agencies play in keeping Americans out of harm’s way. An extended shutdown only increases the risks to the American people.”

The shutdown, sparked after Trump was unable to secure funds for a border wall with Mexico, has had a sweeping impact across government agencies that deal with the environment.

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami have suspended work on predicting the next storm season, in the wake of a punishing series of hurricanes in 2018. National parks have been left unstaffed but open, leading to mountains of rubbish and several deaths.

Work to push ahead the Trump administration’s goal of opening up more land and water to fossil fuel extraction largely continues, however. The interior department is still handing out permits for oil drilling on federal land and the Gulf of Mexico, as well as pushing ahead with plans to drill in the Alaskan Arctic.

“While he’s closed the government to the American people, Trump has hung up an ‘open for business’ sign for corporate polluters,” said Melinda Pierce, legislative director of the Sierra Club.

Reprinted from the Guardian.

Pure Water Occasional Archive
Back Issues of the Occasional from June 2006 to present.
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birdfish

 This is a pretty comprehensive listing of old Pure Water Occasional issues.  Email issues going back to mid-2006 are listed in the table in reverse chronological order, beginning with the most recent. We haven’t counted them, but there are a bunch.  New issues are added periodically to the top of the list.

The Occasional is the offspring of the original Pure Water Gazette which began as a mail-out paper newsletter in 1986. The paper Gazette, discontinued in 1997, morphed into an online publication which started emailing some of its content as the Occasional sometime in the early 2000s.  The Gazette has existed since then as an online publication with “occasional” email issues.

Below the table, you will find duplicate listing of issues that are archived on the old Pure Water Occasional website.  This list, which mainly covers 2009 to 2013, contains broad subject headings.

You can sign up to receive new Pure Water Occasional issues by using the box on the right upper corner of this page or from the home page of the Pure Water Products website.

Mid-2006 to present in reverse chronological order. 
Subject Date
Pure Water Occasional, December 12, 2018 Dec 12, 2018
Pure Water Occasional, November 13, 2018 Nov 13, 2018
Pure Water Occasional, October 17, 2018 Oct 17, 2018
Pure Water Occasional, September 25, 2018 Sep 25, 2018
Pure Water Occasional, August 28, 2018 Aug 28, 2018
Pure Water Occasional, August 7, 2018 Aug 7, 2018
Pure Water Occasional, July 13, 2018 Jul 13, 2018
Pure Water Occasional, June 25, 2018 Jun 25, 2018
Pure Water Occasional, June 15, 2018 Jun 15, 2018
Pure Water Occasional, May 18, 2018 May 18, 2018
Pure Water Occasional, April 21, 2018 Apr 21, 2018
Pure Water Occasional, March 25, 2018 Mar 25, 2018
Pure Water Occasional, February 25, 2018 Feb 25, 2018
Pure Water Occasional, February 3, 2018 Feb 3, 2018
Pure Water Occasional, January 6, 2018 Jan 6, 2018
Pure Water Occasional, December 19, 2017 Dec 19, 2017
Pure Water Occasional, November 27, 2017 Nov 27, 2017
Pure Water Occasional, November 11, 2017 Nov 11, 2017
Pure Water Occasional, October 28, 2017 Oct 28, 2017
Pure Water Occasional, October 2, 2017 Oct 2, 2017
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Pure Water Occasional, August 16, 2017 Aug 16, 2017
Pure Water Occasional, July 31, 2017 Jul 31, 2017
Pure Water Occasional, July 7, 2017 Jul 7, 2017
Pure Water Occasional, June 10, 2017 Jun 10, 2017
Pure Water Occasional, May 20, 2017 May 20, 2017
Pure Water Occasional, April 28, 2017 Apr 28, 2017
Pure Water Occasional, April 14, 2017 Apr 14, 2017
Pure Water Occasional, March 14, 2017. Mar 14, 2017
Pure Water Occasional. February 14, 2017 Feb 14, 2017
Pure Water Occasional, January 29, 2017 Jan 29, 2017
Pure Water Occasional, January 2, 2017 Jan 2, 2017
Pure Water Occasional, December 12, 2016 Dec 12, 2016
Pure Water Occasional November 27, 2016 Nov 27, 2016
Pure Water Occasinal, October 31, 2016 Oct 31, 2016
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Pure Water Occasional, May 31, 2016 May 31, 2016
Pure Water Occasional, April 30, 2016 Apr 30, 2016
Pure Water Occasional, March 28, 2016 Mar 30, 2016
The Pure Water Occasional. February 23, 2016. Feb 23, 2016
Pure Water Occasional. January 25, 2015 Jan 25, 2016
Pure Water Occasional. December 21, 2015 Dec 22, 2015
Pure Water Occasional. November 30, 2015 Nov 30, 2015
Pure Water Occasional, Oct. 31, 2015 Nov 1, 2015
Pure Water Occasional. October 6, 2015 Oct 6, 2015
Pure Water Occasional, September 9, 2015 Sep 9, 2015
Pure Water Occasional, August 24, 2015 Aug 24, 2015
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Pure Water Occasional. July 15, 2015 Jul 15, 2015
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Pure Water Occasional. May 31, 2015 May 31, 2015
Pure Water Occasional. April 30. 2015 Apr 30, 2015
Pure Water Occasional. March 19, 2015 Mar 19, 2015
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Pure Water Occasional. February 23, 2015 Feb 23, 2015
Pure Water Occasional. February 16,2015 Feb 16, 2015
Pure Water Occasional. February 9, 2015 Feb 9, 2015
Pure Water Occasional. February 2, 2015 Feb 2, 2015
Pure Water Occasional. January 26, 2015 Jan 26, 2015
Pure Water Occasional. January 19, 2015. Jan 19, 2015
Pure Water Occasional. January 12, 2015 Jan 12, 2015
Pure Water Occasional — January 5, 2014 Jan 5, 2015
Pure Water Occasional. December 29, 2014 Dec 29, 2014
Pure Water Gazette. December 22, 2014 Dec 22, 2014
Pure Water Occasional. December 15, 2014 Dec 15, 2014
Pure Water Occasional. December 8, 2014 Dec 8, 2014
Pure Water Occasional. December 1, 2014 Dec 1, 2014
Pure Water Occasional. November 24, 2014 Nov 24, 2014
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Pure Water Occasional. October 27, 2014 Oct 27, 2014
Pure Water Occasional. October 20, 2014 Oct 20, 2014
Pure Water Occasional. October 13, 2014 Oct 13, 2014
The Pure Water Occasional. October 6, 2014 Oct 6, 2014
Pure Water Occasional, September 29, 2014 Sep 29, 2014
Pure Water Occasional. September 22, 2014 Sep 22, 2014
Pure Water Occasional. September 15, 2014 Sep 15, 2014
Pure Water Occasional. September 8, 2014 Sep 8, 2014
Pure Water Occasional. September 1, 2014 Sep 1, 2014
Pure Water Occasional, August 25, 2014 Aug 25, 2014
The Pure Water Occasional. August 18, 2014. Aug 18, 2014
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The Pure Water Occasional. June 2, 2014 Jun 2, 2014
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The Pure Water Occasional, March 24, 2014 Mar 24, 2014
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Pure Water Occasional, January 2010 Issue Jan 31, 2010
Pure Water Occasional, December 2009 Issue Dec 31, 2009
The Pure Water Occasional, Nov. 2009 Nov 30, 2009
The Pure Water Occasional for October 2009 Nov 2, 2009
The Pure Water Occasional Sep 16, 2009
Making Water Green Jul 20, 2009
Pure Water Occasional – Water & Water Articles Sep 11, 2008
Water Softeners and “Water Softeners” Apr 24, 2008
The Pure Water Occasional — Issue 03 Sep 13, 2006
The Pure Water Occasional — Issue 02 Jun 23, 2006

 

 

Below is a list of partially indexed back Occasionals that may also be of interest.  These are archived on the Pure Water Occasional website:

Special Product-Specific Issues, 2010 to 2013

November 15, 2010. Undersink Water Filters.

December 15, 2010. Cartridge-Style Whole House Filters.

January 15, 2011. Multi-Pure Solid Carbon Block Filters.

February 15, 2011. Water Treatment with Aeration.

March 15, 2011. Pure Water Annie’s Concise Guide to Pumps.

April 15, 2011. Garden Hose Filters.

May 15, 2011. Water Filters for Emergencies.

June 15, 2011. Backwashing Water Filters.

July 15, 2011. Countertop Reverse Osmosis.

August 15, 2011. Whole House Reverse Osmosis.

September 15, 2011. Sediment Filters.

October 15, 2011. Tank-Style City Water Filters.

November 15, 2011. The Amazing Permeate Pump.

December 15, 2011. Template Assisted Crystallization (TAC).

January 15, 2012. Electro-Adhesion Filtration Technology: NanoCeram Filters.

February 15, 2012. Information About Information: How To Find Things on Our Websites.

March 15, 2012. Water Filter Cartridges. Featuring Our Recent Cartridge Page Revision.

April 15, 2012. Undersink Installation in Tight Places. Low Water Backwashing Filter.

May 15, 2012. Chloramines: Myth and Reality.

June 15, 2012. Whole House RO. San Angelo Water Treatment Dilemma.

July 15, 2012. Water Testing. Sand Trap.

August 15, 2012. Our New Water Test Page. Taking Care of A Water Well.

September 15, 2012. Ultrafiltration. Birthday of the EPA and Model 77.

October 15, 2012. Installing Undersink Filters and Reverse Osmosis Units.

November 15, 2012. Water Softeners and TAC units.

December 15, 2012. Twin Tank Water Softeners.

January 15, 2013. Standard-Sized Filter Cartridges.

February 15, 2013. Chemical Feed Pumps.

March 15, 2013. Countertop Reverse Osmosis.

General Issues, 2009 to 2013

September 2009. “Meshes and Microns: The Measurements of Water Treatment,” by Gene Franks. “Numerical water facts from B. Bee Sharper.”

October 2009. “Providing Water for Emergencies.” by Gene Franks. “Humming is Good for You,” by Hardly Waite.

November 2009. “How Much Water Should You Drink?” by Dr. Mauro Di Pascuale. “Numerical Facts about Animal Manure,” by B. Bee Sharper.

December 2009. “The New York Times Great Water Article,” by Hardly Waite. “Numerical Facts,” by B Bea Sharper.

January 2010. “What Carbon Does and What It Doesn’t,” by Gene Franks. “Numerical Facts,” by Bee B. Sharper. “Acidic Water.”

February 2010. “Fluoridation: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, Part I,” by C. F. “Chubb” Michaud.

March 2010. “Fluoridation: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, Part II,” by C. F. “Chubb” Michaud.

April 2010. NSF/ANSI. What Is It All About? by Gene Franks. Dr. Douglas on bath pharmaceuticals. B. B. Sharper. Radium.

May 2010. “The Ceiling is Up and the Floor is Down: The Alamo Engineering Handbook,” by Gene Franks. Steve Maxwell on “Why Water Should Cost More.” Iron.

June 2010. “All About Water Softeners,” Occasional Staff Article. “Gulf Oil Spill: A Hole in the World,” by Naomi Klein (Guardian). B. Bee Sharper, “On Prescription Drugs.” Hardness.

July 2010. “Raising the pH of Acidic Waters,” by Pure Water Annie. “Arsenic,” with a long cut from National Geographic News, New Products from Pure Water Products.

August 2010. “Winterize Your Lawn,” Model 77’s 21’s Birthday, Pure Water Annie on Servicing Model 77, MTBE.

September 2010. “Getting a Perspective on Water Use,” by Gene Franks. The Permeate Pump and How to Add a Permeate Pump to Your RO Unit. “Nickel.” B. B. Sharper on Groundwater Usage.

October 2010. “Air and Carbon,” by Gene Franks. Pure Water Annie on Airgap Faucet Installation. New EPA rule on dental mercury. “Chloride.” The Dead Sea. B. Bea Sharper on Billions.

November 2010. “How to Fix Leaks in Quick Connect Fittings,” by Pure Water Annie. “A Simmering Water War,” by Jim Hightower, “Is Your Faucet Making you Sick?” by Doug Linney, B. Bea Sharper on Water, “Radium and Uranium,” and Lead (contaminant of the month).

December 2010. “Probable carcinogen hexavalent chromium found in drinking water in 31 U. S. Cities,” by Lyndsey Layton. “Most of the time no one is watching most of the water for most of the contaminants, “by Hardly Waite. “How to remove Hexvalent Chromium,” and “How Static Mixers Work,” by Pure Water Annie.

January 2011. How Much Sodium Does a Softener Add to Water?, Water Treatment for Rainwater, Fluoride Allowable in City Water Lowered, UnTruth in Advertising, Pure Water Annie’s Whole House Filter Sizing Chart.

February 2011. More about Hexavalent Chromium, Ten Things You Should Know About Water, “What Carbon Does, What Carbon Doesn’t,” by Gene Franks, The Ups and Downs of Filter Cartridges (Which End Goes Up), by Pure Water Annie. B. Bea Sharper on Dams and other issues.

March 2011. Hardly Waite on National Water Security Rankings, Pure Water Annie on Finding Parts for Your Water Filter, and Introducing the Emily Reverse Osmosis Unit.

April 2011. Rain Barrels, Plastics, Introducing The Eliminator, A New Website Address. “In Praise of Tap Water.”

May 2011. UV 101 by Gene Franks, Rain Gardens, Water Content of Trees, Fiberglass Mineral Tanks.

June 2011. Sizing Water Softeners by Pure Water Annie, Meshes and Microns by Gene Franks, Swimming Pool Leaks, Saving A Cell Phone from Water.

July 2011. Sizing Water Softeners Part 2, by Pure Water Annie. Dr. Mercola on Nitrosamines, Choramine, and Shampoo Ingredients. B. B. Sharper.

August 2011. The Best Water for Coffee and Tea. Multiple Filter Designs. Tiger Tom Explains How UV Works.

September 2011. The Power and Water Nexus. Pure Water Annie explains “The Peroxide Number.”

October 2011, Pure Water Annie’s Glossary of Water Treatment Abbreviations, Chloramines and Fish, The EPA, Water and Coal.

November 2011. Pure Water Annie on Pipe Threads. Gene Franks and Hardly Waite on Christmas Gifts. The Origins of Fluoride.

December 2011. Pure Water Annie on Well Pumps. Top Water News Stories of the Year.

January 2012, Pure Water Annie on Chlorine. Arsenic. Texas Drought. Texas Water.

February 2012. Pure Water Annie on Benzene. Lake Vostok. Banning Bottled Water.

March 2012. Pure Water Annie on Copepods. B. Bea Sharper on plastic bags. Fluoride in Food.

April 2012. Pure Water Annie on Booster Pumps. B. Bea Sharper on dog manure. USA Today on Dog Excrement. New Easiest Ever Filter. Arsenic.

May 2012. Pure Water Annie on Treating Water with Sodis and Salt, Hardly Waite on “fracking” and water treatment profits, B. B. Sharper on Animal Manure.

June 2012. Pure Water Annie on In/Out Filters. New “Sand Trap.”

July 2012. Pure Water Annie Explains How Undersink Reverse Osmosis Works. The Economy RO Unit.

August 2012. Chlorine, Cholesterol, and Chickens.

September 2012. Reverse Osmosis and Refrigerators. The New Contaminant Index. Meat and Water Consumption. B. Bea Sharper.

October 2012. Bypass Valves, Watts UV, New Green Filters, Decaffeination.

November 2012. Septic Tanks, Whole House Filters, Calcium Scaling, How Softeners Work.

December 2012. Mercury in Tuna, Rainwater Runoff (Ocean Pollution), How To Sanitize An RO Tank, Winter Swimming, B. Sharper.

January 2013. Green Water Management. Pure Water Annie on Microbe Control. Camp Lejeune’s Shameful Water Scandal.

February 2013. Hardness, Pharmaceuticals and Fish, Pure Water Annie on “Pressure, Flow Rate, and Delta P.”

March 2013. Alum, Sinkholes, pH, Multi-Pure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Taking a sledgehammer to the Clean Water Act”

cuyahogriverussteel1965

Cleveland’s Cuyahoga River before the Clean Water Act. The Cuyahoga was so chemical-laden that it caught on fire several times.

The Trump administration will formally start the process of lifting federal Clean Water Act protections for millions of acres of wetlands and thousands of miles of streams across the U.S., undoing decades of protections against pesticide runoff, industrial waste, and other pollutants. The proposed rules, to be unveiled by the Environmental Protection Agency in December, 2018, are a victory for agricultural and real estate interests but are likely to degrade the drinking water used by tens of millions of Americans and endanger fisheries and the habitats of migratory birds and other species.

President Trump promised during his campaign to roll back the Obama-era Waters of the United States rules, an expansion of federal protections under the the Clean Water Act of 1972, but the new Trump proposals target protections dating back to the George H.W. Bush administration or earlier. The Trump rules, which will be subject to 60 days of public comment, will keep protections for larger bodies of water but remove federal safeguards for wetlands not adjacent to navigable waterways plus most seasonal streams and ponds. The newly vulnerable streams provided drinking water for as many as 1 in 3 Americans, especially in the arid West, according to scientific studies used by the Obama-era EPA. And when small streams are polluted, they feed into larger streams and lakes, affecting the quality of drinking water for the entire nation.

The Trump EPA calls that data incomplete and will argue that it is tackling an Obama-era federal power grab against rural farmers. Trump’s promise to end the Waters of the United States policy was cheered by farmers, real estate developers, golf course owners, and mining and oil firm. Environmental groups call the new proposal a disaster. “It is hard to overstate the impact of this,” Blan Holman, managing attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center, told the Los Angeles Times. “This would be taking a sledgehammer to the Clean Water Act and rolling things back to a place we haven’t been since it was passed. It is a huge threat to water quality across the country, and especially in the West.”

Adapted from: The Week.

Reference: Trump proposes to roll back decades of water protections” from Politico.

cementriverinwinter

We call this picture “Cement River in Winter Viewed from the Bolivar Street Bridge”.  It features one of the “season streams” that are no longer protected by the Waters of the United States rules. All water is connected. When you pour motor oil into the Cement River, it eventually makes its way into somone’s drinking water reservoir.

The Fourth National Climate Assessment: What It Says About Water and Climate Change

The US Government’s Fourth National Climate Assessment, issued in the fall of 2018, devotes a long chapter to the effects of climate change on the nation’s water. Below are excerpts from the chapter which highlight its  important features.

National Climate Assessment: Highlights from the Water Chapter

by Emily McBroom

Rising air and water temperatures and changes in precipitation are intensifying droughts, increasing heavy downpours, reducing snowpack, and causing declines in surface water quality, with varying impacts across regions. Future warming will add to the stress on water supplies and adversely impact the availability of water in parts of the United States.

Changes in the relative amounts and timing of snow and rainfall are leading to mismatches between water availability and needs in some regions, posing threats to, for example, the future reliability of hydropower production in the Southwest and the Northwest. Most U.S. power plants rely on a steady supply of water for cooling, and operations are expected to be affected by changes in water availability and temperature increases.

Groundwater depletion is exacerbating drought risk in many parts of the United States, particularly in the Southwest and Southern Great Plains.

Dependable and safe water supplies for U.S. Caribbean, Hawaii, and U.S.-Affiliated Pacific Island communities are threatened by drought, flooding, and saltwater contamination due to sea level rise.

Aging and deteriorating water infrastructure, typically designed for past environmental conditions, compounds the climate risk faced by society. Water management strategies that account for changing climate conditions can help reduce present and future risks to water security, but implementation of such practices remains limited.

 

Changes in Water Quantity and Quality

Changes in climate and hydrology have direct and cascading effects on water quality. Anticipated effects include warming water temperatures in all U.S. regions, which affect ecosystem health, and locally variable changes in precipitation and runoff, which affect pollutant transport into and within water bodies.

These changes pose challenges related to the cost and implications of water treatment, and they present a risk to water supplies, public health, and aquatic ecosystems.

Increases in high flow events can increase the delivery of sediment, nutrients, and microbial pathogens to streams, lakes, and estuaries; decreases in low flow volume (such as in the summer) and during periods of drought can impact aquatic life through exposure to high water temperatures and reduced dissolved oxygen.

The risk of harmful algal blooms could increase due to an expanded seasonal window of warm water temperatures and the potential for episodic increases in nutrient loading.

In coastal areas, saltwater intrusion into coastal rivers and aquifers can be exacerbated by sea level rise (or relative sea level rise related to vertical land movement), storm surges, and altered freshwater runoff. Saltwater intrusion could threaten drinking water supplies, infrastructure, and coastal and estuarine ecosystems).

Indirect impacts on water quality are also possible in response to an increased frequency of forest pest/disease outbreaks, wildfire, and other terrestrial ecosystem changes; land-use changes (for example, agricultural and urban) and water management infrastructure also interact with climate change to impact water quality.

 

Deteriorating Water Infrastructure at Risk

Capital improvement needs for public water systems (which provide safe drinking water) have been estimated at $384 billion for projects necessary from 2011 through 2030. Similarly, capital investment needs for publicly owned wastewater conveyance and treatment facilities, combined sewer overflow correction, and storm water management to address water quality or water quality-related public health problems have been estimated at $271 billion over a 20-year period. To date, however, there is no comprehensive assessment of the climate-related vulnerability of U.S. water infrastructure, and climate risks to existing infrastructure systems remain unquantified.

Compound extremes, such as terrestrial flooding and ocean flooding occuring at the same time, can also increase the risk of cascading infrastructure failure since some infrastructure systems rely on others, and the failure of one system can lead to the failure of interconnected systems, such as water–energy infrastructure.

Water Management in a Changing Future

Paleoclimate analyses and climate projections suggest persistent droughts and wet periods over the continental United States that are longer, cover more area, and are more intense than what was experienced in the 20th century.

The challenge is both scientific, in terms of developing and evaluating these approaches, and institutional–political, in terms of updating the regulatory, legal and institutional structures that constrain innovation in water management, planning, and infrastructure design.

Source: The Fourth National Climate Assessment: Chapter Three.

 

 

What Carbon Treats and What It Doesn’t

filtercarbon

Filter carbon is the most widely used treatment for water problems, the most commonly used filter medium.  It works for a broad range of applications, but as the chart below shows, it doesn’t do everything. The comments are generalizations. Some carbons work better for specific applications.

Filter carbon can be made from a variety of raw materials, processed in a variety of ways, and delivered in a variety of formats.

Is Carbon a good treatment for …? Answer Comment
VOCs Yes This is what coconut shell carbon is best at.
Organics Yes Best and often the only treatment.
Pesticides Yes Best and often the only treatment.
Herbicides Yes Best and often the only treatment.
Bacteria No, with qualifications. Carbon is not a recognized treatment for bacteria, although carbon blocks can be made so tight that they screen out bacteria. Silver impregnated carbon is marketed as “bacteriostatic.” This does not mean that it purifies non-potable water but that the added silver can inhibit the growth of bacteria in the carbon bed. (The same is true for KDF, which is said to have “bacteriostatic” properties.)
Cysts (Giardia and Cryptosporidium) No, with qualifications. However, many carbon block filters have cyst certification because they are tight enough to screen out cysts effectively.
Inorganics No, except mercury. Carbon block filters, however, are often engineered to remove lead by the adding a lead removal resin to the carbon. Arsenic reduction media can also be added to carbon filters.
Radionuclides No, with qualification. This is a difficult classification. According to the EPA, “Approximately 2,300 nuclides have been identified; most of them are radioactive.” The two most frequently at issue in water treatment, Radon and Uranium, are included separately in this listing.
Radon Yes Aeration is usually preferred to carbon filtration because the spent carbon itself becomes hazardous waste.
Hydrogen Sulfide (Rotten Egg Odor) Yes, with qualifications. Lifespan of carbon can be limited if the H2S is not pretreated with an oxidizer. Catalytic carbon is superior to standard for H2S treatment.
Iron Yes, with qualification. Backwashing standard carbon filters remove pre-oxidized iron. Catalytic carbon can remove small amounts of iron without pretreatment if conditions like pH are right.
pH correction No, with qualification. Almost anything done to water affects pH, but carbon is not used to raise or lower pH.Sometimes new carbon makes a radical change in the water’s pH, but this effect usually goes away with time.
Calcium and Magnesium (hardness) No Only water softeners (ion exchange), reverse osmosis, and distillers actually remove hardness.
Sodium No Only ion exchange, reverse osmosis, and distillers actually remove sodium.
Nitrates No Only reverse osmosis, distillers, and anion exchangers affect nitrates.
Fluoride No, with qualifications. Carbon sometimes removes fluoride, but it is not a reliable fluoride treatment. A specialty carbon made with animal bones (Bone Char) is used in some parts of the world to remove fluoride.
Taste and Odor Yes Carbon is the unchallenged best treatment for most taste/odor problems. Carbon filtration improves the taste of most waters.
Color Yes, with qualifications. Macropore carbon (the best is made of Eucalyptus and currently hard to find) is an effective treatment for tannins. Lignite based carbon is also used for tannins. Standard carbon may help.
TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) No Carbon does not reduce dissolved minerals. In fact, carbon filtration may add slightly to the TDS reading.
Arsenic No Only when accompanied by arsenic reduction resins.
Chromium No
MTBE (gasoline additive) Yes Coconut shell carbon is preferred.
Chloramines Yes Much longer contact time is needed for chloramine than for chlorine. Catalytic carbon is superior to standard carbon for chloramine reduction.
Uranium No
Chlorine Yes Carbon converts chlorine to harmless chloride. This is what carbon is bes
PFAS Yes, with qualification. Carbon has been found to be effective at reducing chemicals in the PFAS classification, but many chemicals are involved so generalization is tricky. This is definitely a “more studies are needed” situation.
Ammonia No In fact, when chloramine is treated with carbon, ammonia in the water is increased.

 

carbon pores illustration

carbon pores illustration

How Caffeine Is Stripped from Coffee by Use of the Chemical-Free Water Method

cupofcoffee

Caffeine is in the coffee bean for a reason.  It’s a natural alkaloid that serves the coffee plant as a pesticide.  It paralyzes bugs that invade the plant and also gives off a bitter flavor as a warning of its toxic nature.

Caffeine is water soluble, as are most of the other ingredients of the bean that give coffee its flavor.

The art of decaffeination,  therefore, consists of stripping the caffeine from the coffee bean while leaving behind the desirable ingredients that provide the coffee taste and aroma.

Several methods are used to remove caffeine from coffee.  Many involve chemicals, but others rely almost entirely on water.  The water methods are definitely the more desirable.  The so-called Swiss Method is considered the standard of excellence.  Here’s how the process is described:

The green, or unroasted coffee is fully submerged in filtered water that has been heated, in order to extract all the soluble material from the beans. The water solution is then filtered through carbon to separate the caffeine compounds from any of the aromatics that also came out during the extraction, and the coffee beans are then placed in an immersion tank with the caffeine-free solution, allowing them to reabsorb everything but the jitters.

World standards differ on the definition of “decaffeinated coffee,”  some allowing 97% caffeine reduction, but the highest  standards require elimination of  as much as 99.9% of the alkaloid content of coffee in order to display the decaffeinated label.

Reference:

Serious Eats Website

Pure Water Gazette:  What Kind of Water Makes the Best-Tasting Coffee

 

America’s Dirty Little Secret

agingwaterpipe

Water Online writer Sara Jerome, in her article “Small Town, Big Water Problems,” says that in the small Louisiana community of Enterprise, the tap water is so bad that “one woman drives 20 miles each way to do her laundry in another town.” The water situation in Enterprise illustrates a festering problem in the United States: Funding for infrastructure repairs and upgrades in small communities is hard to come by.

Jerome continues:

“Years of water system neglect means that the 250-or-so residents there are left with pipes that leak more than 70 percent of their water into the ground — all because they can’t afford to fix them,” CNN reported, citing John Tiser, resident and water board president.

But Enterprise is hardly alone.

“The EPA estimates $132.3B is needed to repair small water systems in America over the next 20 years. But, in 2017, only $805.7M was allocated to these systems — about 12 percent of the amount needed,” CNN reported.

Virginia Tech Engineering Professor and water expert Marc Edwards refers to it as America’s “dirty little secret.” He explains that oftentimes towns like Enterprise are stuck with aging infrastructure that they can’t fix, leaving few options for them to deal with complaints about dirty or contaminated water. Edwards received a nearly $2M grant to uncover water issues in towns like this.

When Edwards and a scientific team tested Enterprise’s water in 2017, they found bacteria, lead and other contaminants that exceeded EPA limits.

“The whole idea is, at the end of this, to come up with a model to predict which cities are likely to have problems,” Edwards said. “Which cities are most likely to have lead pipes, and not be following the rules, and then work with communities there to figure out if they do have a problem, then build algorithms for individual homeowners to protect themselves, from sampling to filters.”

It is important to point out that while “over 92 percent of U.S. residents who receive water from community water systems are supplied by water that meets health-based standards at all times,” the U.S. EPA estimates that over $743B is needed for water infrastructure improvements.

To illustrate the extent of the water problems that plague small U. S. systems, here are more Water Online articles:

Texas Town Confronts Brown Water Coming From Taps. Residents of River Oaks, TX, are tired of drinking brown tap water.

Study Finds That Millions Of Americans Get Water From PFAS-Laced Sources. The level of perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in drinking water sources exceeds federal safety limits in supplies serving millions of U.S. residents.

Authorities Target Water Operator Over Lead Crisis In Ohio. Ohio authorities filed charges against a water operator last week, alleging that he failed to alert residents about lead levels in the village of Sebring, where tainted tap water has triggered elevated lead levels in children.

18 Million People Served By Systems With Lead Violations. Public officials have often failed to step in when water systems violate the federal Lead and Copper Rule, according to a report released this week by the advocacy group Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) on the “extraordinary geographic scope” of lead contamination.

Are The Dangers Of Iron In Water Being Ignored? Iron in drinking water may pose more health risks than federal water regulators currently acknowledge.

Reference Source: Water Online

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