New PFAS guidelines – a water quality scientist explains technology and investment needed to get forever chemicals out of US drinking water


 Chemicals used to create water-repellent fabrics and nonstick pans often contain PFAS and leak those chemicals into the environment.

Harmful chemicals known as PFAS can be found in everything from children’s clothes to soil to drinking water, and regulating these chemicals has been a goal of public and environmental health researchers for years. On March 14, 2023, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed what would be the first set of federal guidelines regulating levels of PFAS in drinking water. The guidelines will be open to public comment for 60 days before being finalized.

Joe Charbonnet is an environmental engineer at Iowa State University who develops techniques to remove contaminants like PFAS from water. He explains what the proposed guidelines would require, how water utilities could meet these requirements and how much it might cost to get these so-called forever chemicals out of U.S. drinking water.

1. What do the new guidelines say?

PFAS are associated with a variety of health issues and have been a focus of environmental and public health researchers. There are thousands of members of this class of chemicals, and this proposed regulation would set the allowable limits in drinking water for six of them.

Two of the six chemicals – PFOA and PFOS – are no longer produced in large quantities, but they remain common in the environment because they were so widely used and break down extremely slowly. The new guidelines would allow for no more than four parts per trillion of PFOA or PFOS in drinking water.

Four other PFAS – GenX, PFBS, PFNA and PFHxS – would be regulated as well, although with higher limits. These chemicals are common replacements for PFOA and PFOS and are their close chemical cousins. Because of their similarity, they cause harm to human and environmental health in much the same way as legacy PFAS.

A few states have already established their own limits on levels of PFAS in drinking water, but these new guidelines, if enacted, would be the first legally enforceable federal limits and would affect the entire U.S.

2. How many utilities will need to make changes?

PFAS are harmful even at extremely low levels, and the proposed limits reflect that fact. The allowable concentrations would be comparable to a few grains of salt in an Olympic-size swimming pool. Hundreds of utilities all across the U.S. have levels of PFAS above the proposed limits in their water supplies and would need to make changes to meet these standards.

While many areas have been tested for PFAS in the past, many systems have not, so health officials don’t know precisely how many water systems would be affected. A recent study used existing data to estimate that about 40% of municipal drinking water supplies may exceed the proposed concentration limits.

3. What can utilities do to meet the guidelines?

There are two major technologies that most utilities consider for removing PFAS from drinking water: activated carbon or ion exchange systems.

Activated carbon is a charcoal-like substance that PFAS stick to quite well and can be used to remove PFAS from water. In 2006, the town of Oakdale, Minnesota, added an activated carbon treatment step to its water system. Not only did this additional water treatment bring PFAS levels down substantially, there were significant improvements in birth weight and the number of full-term pregnancies in that community after the change.

Ion exchange systems work by flowing water over charged particles that can remove PFAS. Ion exchange systems are typically even better at lowering PFAS concentrations than activated carbon systems, but they are also more expensive.

Another option available to some cities is simply finding alternative water sources that are less contaminated. While this is a wonderful, low-cost means of lowering contamination, it points to a major disparity in environmental justice; more rural and less well-resourced utilities are unlikely to have this option.

4. Is such a major transition feasible?

By law, the EPA must consider not just human health but also the feasibility of treatment and the potential financial cost when setting maximum contaminant levels in drinking water. While the proposed limits are certainly attainable for many water utilities, the costs will be high.

The federal government has made available billions of dollars in funding for treating water. But some estimates put the total cost of meeting the proposed regulations for the entire country at around US$400 billion – much more than the available funding. Some municipalities may seek financial help for treatment from nearby polluters, while others may raise water rates to cover the costs.

5. What happens next?

The EPA has set a 60-day period for public comment on the proposed regulations, after which it can finalize the guidelines. But many experts expect the EPA to face a number of legal challenges. Time will tell what the final version of the regulations may look like.

This regulation is intended to keep the U.S. in the enviable position of having some of the highest-quality drinking water in the world. As researchers and health officials learn more about new chemical threats, it is important to ensure that every resident has access to clean and affordable tap water.

While these six PFAS certainly pose threats to health that merit regulation, there are thousands of PFAS that likely have very similar impacts on human health. Rather than playing chemical whack-a-mole by regulating one PFAS at a time, there is a growing consensus among researchers and public health officials that PFAS should be regulated as a class of chemicals.

Article source: The Conversation.

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PFAS: EPA releases proposed drinking water standards for six “forever chemicals”

The Biden administration announcement comes after years of pleas from exposed communities, scientists and health and environmental activists.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today new proposed drinking water standards for six individual PFAS chemicals —a move that could re-shape how drinking water is tested, sourced and treated throughout the U.S.

If adopted, the proposed changes would represent the first modification to drinking water standards for new chemicals under the Safe Drinking Water Act since 1996.

PFAS, short for per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a group of potentially harmful chemicals used in multiple products including nonstick pans, cosmeticssome clothingfood packaging and firefighting foams. They are linked to multiple negative health outcomes including some cancers, reproductive problems and birth defects, among others. The chemicals don’t break down readily in the environment, so are often called “forever chemicals.” The nonprofit Environmental Working Group has found PFAS contamination at more than 2,800 locations in all 50 states, including in many public and private drinking water systems.

Related: What are PFAS?

The proposed changes would regulate two chemicals that are no longer in use, PFOA and PFOS,  at 4 parts per trillion. Four other chemicals — PFNA, PFHxS, PFBS and GenX — would be regulated based on the hazard of the mixture of them. While the six chemicals in the proposal are common, there are an estimated more than 9,000 types of PFAS compounds.

If the regulations are adopted, water system operators would have to test for the chemicals. If they are found above the thresholds, they’d have to take action — by installing additional treatment, finding a new water source or other methods. Public water treatment systems would have about three years to comply.

EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said in a statement the proposal is “informed by the best available science, and would help provide states with the guidance they need to make decisions that best protect their communities.”

“This action has the potential to prevent tens of thousands of PFAS-related illnesses and marks a major step toward safeguarding all our communities from these dangerous contaminants,” he added.

Last year the EPA released lifetime health advisories for GenX, PFBS, PFOA and PFOS, and opened up $10 billion in grant funding — via the 2022 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act— to assist communities dealing with PFAS and other emerging contaminants.

Environmental groups seek PFAS phase-outs

Environmental groups lauded the new proposed changes — and urged a complete phase-out of PFAS in products.

“We applaud the Biden administration for following the lead of the states and stepping up to protect communities from these toxic ‘forever chemicals,’” said Sarah Doll, national director of Safer States, in a statement. “We urge the federal government to continue to follow the lead of states and phase out the production and use of these chemicals in favor of safer solutions so that we stop adding PFAS to our already polluted water, land, and air.”

Ten states — Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Wisconsin — have already established standards for individual PFAS in drinking water. Many retailers — most recently REI — are phasing out the chemicals as well.

Liz Hitchcock, federal policy program director for Toxic-Free Future, said in a statement that the regulations are an important step but “to prevent further PFAS contamination, we must put an end to uses of PFAS chemicals in firefighting foams used by military and civilian firefighters and in consumer products like food packaging and textiles.”

The new proposed regulation will open for public comment, and then the agency will make a final decision — likely later this year.

Source: Environmental Health News.

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If the mountain won’t come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain

by Gene Franks

As the western United States slowly but surely runs out of water, the same old ideas for saving the nation’s dryest areas keep coming up. See USA Today  Unfortunately,  not one of the proposed strategies seems to have even the slightest chance of being implemented.  The one that actually shows promise, significant water conservation, is too radical to even be considered.

Here are the most commonly suggested nutty ideas, as well as the one that could actually work:

1. Water conservation. This is the one that has been proven to work, but for conservation really to make a dent in the massive water shortage, people would have to be willing to give up things like green lawns and green golf courses and to severely cut back on some of their favorite foods, like hamburgers. In the United States, meat consumption alone accounts for a full 30 percent of our water consumption. Pity the politician who suggests cutting back .

2. Talk Northeasterners into giving up the Great Lakes and moving them, or at least moving their water, to feed into the Colorado River. The problems like building the massive pipelines required and getting the water to flow uphill across the Great Divide still have to be worked out.

3. Building nuclear-powered desalination plants on the coast. These would be, I presume, gigantic water distillers or banks of square mile-sized reverse osmosis units powered by electricity made by nuclear reactors.

4. Harvesting icebergs. This idea has been talked about for decades, but is anyone really serious about it? Towing icebergs to California? And when  you run out of icebergs?

5.Chopping down forests. Certainly the worst idea of all. The theory is that since trees use water, cutting down trees would free up water for more golf courses, green lawns, and hamburgers. The 751,000 disadvantages to having fewer trees haven’t been considered.

My own addition to the list is Move people to where the water is. There is plenty of water–it just isn’t where people want it. Most of the solutions listed above are about moving water to where people need it. Would it not be a lot easier to move the people to where the water is? Moving Las Vegas and Phoenix to Michigan or Illinois sounds almost impossible, but would it be any harder than moving Lake Erie and Lake Michigan to the Southwestern desert?

The nutty ideas for saving the Southwest are from USA Today.  The sensible plan to move Las Vegas and Phoenix north is my very own.

Pure Water Gazette

Chloramines in Drinking Water

The EPA’s webpage on chloramines begins with this paragraph:

Chloramines are disinfectants used to treat drinking water. Chloramines are most commonly formed when ammonia is added to chlorine to treat drinking water. The typical purpose of chloramines is to provide longer-lasting water treatment as the water moves through pipes to consumers. This type of disinfection is known as secondary disinfection. Chloramines have been used by water utilities for almost 90 years, and their use is closely regulated. More than one in five Americans uses drinking water treated with chloramines. Water that contains chloramines and meets EPA regulatory standards is safe to use for drinking, cooking, bathing and other household uses.

In spite of the EPA’s assurances of safety, the use of chloramine in city water supplies has provoked continual controversy. And for many reasons, including simple aesthetic preference, a high percentage of city water users want chloramines removed from the water they drink and bathe in.

Treatment for Chloramines: How to Remove Chloramines from Water

Reduction of chloramines from city water is a commonly misunderstood issue. For those unfamiliar with the details of water treatment, there is often an expectation that there is a “filter” for every contaminant and the water goes through the filter that specifically identifies that contaminant and, as if by magic, “takes it out.” A frequent question is “How much does your filter take out?” It isn’t quite as simple as that, especially with “problem contaminants” like chloramines.


Below is an explanation of chloramine treatment excerpted  from a Water Technology article on chloramines by technical writer David Bauman. The “catalytic carbon” Mr. Bauman refers to is commonly known by its most popular brand name, Centaur carbon. Another very popular catalytic is Aquasorb coconut shell catalytic.

Removal possibilities  Chloramines should not be confused with chlorine. Chloramines  cannot be removed by passing water through the same activated carbon filters used for chlorine removal because these filters are too small at their designed flow rates.

The following are four types of water treatment technologies that can be used to remove chloramines at the point of use:

Catalytic Carbon. This carbon has a surface structure that has been altered from standard activated carbon, enabling it to remove chloramines, providing close attention is given to contact time, mesh size of the carbon and influent temperature. Theoretically, the carbon decomposes chloramine into traces of nitrogen gas, ammonia gas and chloride. If these reactions are not allowed to be completed, surface oxygen groups form that can foul or exhaust the carbon.

With a 2-mg/L chloramine influent level, enhanced catalytic carbon can produce product water that maintains a <0.1-mg/L residual (required for dialysis). Manufacturer’s data on this type of carbon refer to flow rates ranging from 30 seconds to two minutes of empty bed contact time (EBCT). This converts to between about 3.5 gallons per minute per cubic feet (gpm/ft3) and 15 gpm/ft3.

This does not mean that 15 gpm/ft3 is acceptable. For example, although the product water may be acceptable at this rate, the pressure loss may be prohibitive and the length of run before chloramine breakthrough may be reduced from 88,000 gallons to 11,000 gallons. Designers of dialysis water treatment systems use 10 minutes of EBCT. This contact time was established prior to the development of catalytic carbon, but because of the specifications required by the US Food and Drug Administration, which regulates dialysis water treatment equipment as medical devices, in most cases this has not changed. According to catalytic carbon data, this time could be reduced to about three minutes.

Decreasing the mesh size of the carbon can more than double the gallon throughput, although it may also create more pressure loss. An increase in temperature from about 58 degrees F to 72 F also can more than double the gallon throughput.

The word catalytic normally means enabling a reaction without entering into the reaction. This would imply that the catalyst would never change or become depleted. In reality this is probably not true; other adsorbable and ionic species in the water adsorb onto the carbon and eventually mask the catalytic sites. The more catalytic sites there are on the carbon, the longer its useful life.

In addition, friction physically depletes the material; other foulants, such as iron, can foul it; and high pressure differential can crush it.

Standard activated carbon. Used for chloramine removal long before catalytic carbon became available, standard activated carbon requires a very long contact time, which means a large volume of carbon is needed.

Everything attributed to catalytic carbon applies to standard carbon, although to a lesser degree. All activated carbon has some catalytic capability, but standard carbons of all common basic materials have a relatively low activity for chloramine removal. For thorough removal, up to four times the contact time of catalytic carbon may be required. Substantial increases in percent removal and length of run before chloramine breakthrough can be achieved with smaller mesh carbon. Some systems have been designed that precondition the carbon by exposure to general use or to chlorine.

Carbon cartridge filters
 have been tested for chloramine removal, but since no national testing standard has been established, no claims are being made. Some cartridges have a real advantage: Fine or powdered carbons, such as those used in cartridges, are excellent chloramine removal media in spite of not being made from catalytic material.

They can render the discussions regarding catalytic vs. standard carbon moot.

Ascorbic acid. Used for dialysis before the development of catalytic carbon, this acid acted – as would other reducing agents – by reducing monochloramine to chloride and ammonia. However, this acid is not advised for drinking water applications and is no longer used for dialysis treatment. [Gazette note: This is the treatment method used in the “Vitamin C” shower filters sold online. They aren’t actually “filters” but injectors. They inject a small amount of ascorbic acid into the shower water stream. Our rudimentary testing indicated that they reduce chloramine effectively but have other issues.]

The practical realities one is left with from Mr. Bauman’s excellent summation of removal strategies are that

1. Except in a controlled industrial setting, it is next to impossible to predict the lifespan or the exact reduction percentage of a water filter used for chloramines.

2. Such variables as water temperature, flow rate, mesh size of the medium (in the case of carbon), and other contaminants in the water greatly affect the effectiveness and the longevity of the filter.

3. The often-used blanket statement that “reverse osmosis does not remove chloramines” is technically true but realistically false. While the reverse osmosis membrane itself does not remove chloramines, every respectable RO unit is equipped with two or more high quality carbon filters. Pre-filters, the filters that process the water before the membrane, receive water at a very slow rate of flow and therefore work under excellent conditions for chloramine reduction. The use of the high quality cartridges described by Mr. Bauman actually should provide superb chloramine reduction in an undersink RO unit, yet the “reverse osmosis does not remove chloramines” myth continues to be promoted by sellers of non-RO products.

4. If you are thinking of purchasing a “whole house” chloramine filter, your choice in sizing should include consideration of the life expextancy of the carbon. Mr. Bauman’s figures show that the carbon’s lifespan could be reduced to as little as 1/8 by undersizing.

Article Source: The Pure Water Occasional.  David Bauman’s comments were excerpted from his column in Water Technology magazine.


Lake Powell Hits Its Lowest Water Level Since Being Filled, Raising Questions About Drought Response


by Peter Chawaga




In the latest alarming milestone for dwindling water supplies in the West, one of the most important reservoirs in the world has been brought to the lowest point in its

“Lake Powell, the nation’s second-largest reservoir and one that provides water and power to millions of people in southern California, has reached its lowest levels since its first filling in the 1960s,” USA Today reported. “If the lake’s level falls much lower, it won’t be possible to get water out of it … If the lake falls another 32 feet — about the amount it fell in the past year — power generation concerns become more urgent.”

Water managers have been on high alert concerning Lake Powell and its companion reservoir, Lake Mead, for months as increasing drought and consumption demands bring them to the brink of complete dryness. Last year, researchers concluded that the reservoirs’ levels were unlikely to remain stable. Federal officials have asked the states that utilize the Colorado River, which feeds these reservoirs, to agree on consumption cutbacks, but those negotiations have not been fruitful.

But even with Lake Powell hitting a new low, it’s hard to imagine immediate reversal of the fundamental problems that are driving the western drought and imperiling the Colorado River.

“More than four scientific studies have pinned a large part of the decline on human climate change,” according to USA Today. “It’s partly that there’s less rain and snow, partly that as temperatures rise, plants use more water and more water evaporates out of the soil which would otherwise have ended up in the river. In addition, the river itself experiences more evaporation.”

While there seems to be little that any immediate action can achieve, aside from motivating the states using Colorado River water to cut back, the consequences of an empty Lake Powell could ultimately change our relationship with water sources around the world forever.

“Experts agree that urgent water policy reform is needed to protect the Colorado River reservoirs,” per Newsweek. “Experts have put the ongoing megadrought down to climate change. This means in the long term, there also needs to be initiatives in place that will prevent climate change from worsening.”


Source: Water Online.

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The Book President Biden Needs to Read




The article below is adapted from a February 9, 2023 article by Carey Gillam in The New Lede.  


 Since the dawn of the chemical era in the early twentieth century, more than 300,000 new chemicals have been invented.




In President Biden’s 2023 state of the union address , he pledged his devotion to a fierce “fight against cancer,” invoking a heart-tugging story of baby “Ava,” who began battling kidney cancer at the age of 1.

Biden spoke of a reignited “Cancer Moonshot” search for a cure for cancers that are impacting far too many lives, and of measures to cut healthcare costs to make treating cancer more affordable. He outlined an ambitious goal to cut cancer death rates by at least 50% in the next 25 years, and to “turn more cancers from death sentences to treatable diseases, provide more support for patients and their families.”

But nowhere in his lengthy prime-time address did Biden speak of working to rein in the vast, virtually unchecked, flood of environmental chemical contaminants that scientists say cause cancer.

A new book scheduled for release in May written by journalist Kristina Marusic lays out in stark terms how already-staggeringly highly rates of cancer are sure to continue to climb if we don’t slash our exposure to the chemicals known to cause cancer.

The harsh statistics are detailed by Phil Landrigan, director of the Program for Global Public Health and the Common Good at Boston College, in the introduction to Marusic’s A New War on Cancer: The Unlikely Heroes Revolutionizing Prevention.

Landrigan writes: “From 1975 to to 2019, the number of new cancer cases per 100,000 Americans—the incidence rate—increased for multiple cancers. Incidence of multiple myeloma rose by 46%, incidence of non-Hodgkin lymphoma by 76%, and incidence of testicular cancer by 70%. In the same years, incidence of childhood leukemia increased by 35% and incidence of childhood brain cancer by 33%. These increases are far too rapid to be of genetic origin. They cannot be explained by better diagnosis.”

“The explanation for the increasing incidence of cancer lies in our world of chemicals. Since the dawn of the chemical era in the early twentieth century, more than 300,000 new chemicals have been invented. These are novel materials that never before existed on Earth. Many are made from oil and natural gas. They are manufactured in enormous quantities, and global production is on track to double by 2030.

Chemical pollution has become so widespread and complex that in 2022, an expert body at the Stockholm Environmental Institute concluded that chemical pollution now exceeds our ability to monitor and contain it and thus threatens the sustainability of human societies.

The World Health Organization has determined that more than 100 manufactured chemicals can cause cancer in humans.”

The fact that many widely used chemicals cause cancer – not to mention a range of other human health problems – is widely known in scientific circles.

But for Biden and most of our elected leaders, these facts are clearly too politically uncomfortable to address, or even acknowledge.

US Sen. Cory Booker recently reintroduced a bill aimed at banning some of the most clearly dangerous pesticides used in our country – chemicals already banned in the European Union. But even Booker and his staff admit they have no hope the measure will become law anytime soon. As Booker’s counsel Adam Zipkin told me, Booker has laid out a “wish list” for the future but is not wasting time pushing big reforms he knows have “no realistic chance” in overcoming opposition from the powerful chemical industry and the lack of political will in Washington to challenge the industry.

Meanwhile, the suffering goes on. It’s so common now, to have cancer.

Marusic details the human toll in her upcoming book:

  • Half of all American men and one in three women can expect to get some type of cancer diagnosis in their lifetimes.
  • One in every 285 American children receives a cancer diagnosis before the age of 20, with cancer rates for children increasing steadily over the last 50 years.
  • Rates of childhood leukemia have increased by 35%, and rates of childhood brain cancer have gone up by 33% since the early 1970s.
  • A presidential panel determined years ago that up to two-thirds of all cancer cases are linked to preventable environmental exposures.

Biden’s upbeat public address glossed over those ugly truths, focusing instead on feel-good rhetoric: “For the lives we can save… and the lives we have lost, let this be a truly American moment that rallies the country and the world together and prove that we can still do big things. Let’s end cancer as we know it and cure some cancers once and for all.”

Efforts to find a cure are necessary, of course. The same is true for moves to cut drug costs. But without a serious effort at prevention that includes putting public health over the corporate profits of chemical companies, reducing exposures to cancer-causing chemicals, we ensure the suffering and pain and loss of precious lives continues.

As Landrigan points out in the book’s introduction, most of the manufactured chemicals that are known to be human carcinogens are still sold today in the United States, with a mere five hazardous chemicals removed from US markets in the past 50 years. “Chemical policy in this country is broken,” he writes.

This is a book Biden really needs to read.

Article Source:  The New Lede.

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Stainless vs. Plastic

A  really good product that we’re happy to almost nevcr sell.


We get price and information requests for a product we hardly ever sell, the 4-cartridge Stainless Steel Filter with 2″ service ports from our website.  There are currently several problems with this unit which include intermittent availablity, long waits for repair parts, and high initial price. We’ve taken the price off of the website  because it goes up so frequently. We now ask potential customers to call for availability and pricing

Our experience is that people interested in this unit are most frequently those who are intent on avoiding plastic. We always point out that although the housing is stainless steel, it requires radial flow cartridges which normally contain plastics, both on the end caps and the binding materials that hold the carbon in place.  We just want to be sure people don’t buy a very expensive case just to avoid plastic when the case will only work with plastic cartridges.

We have plastic options that cost less. For high flow sediment applications with for a 2″ water line, our Big Bubba unit is a much better value. Big Bubba handles high flow rates for sediment filtration with several (proprietary) cartridges available.  It also has one carbon cartridge, which we recommend only for light duty service. Big Bubba, of course, consists of a hard plastic filter vessel and the cartridges all contain plastics.

For almost every case, we feel that the lower cost 20″ Big Blue housings for 4.5″ cartridges are a better value.  The more compact large housing units can be furnished for 3/4″, 1″, or 1.5″ pipe. They will easily handle 30 gpm or more as a sediment filter or up to the 7 gpm range as a carbon block filter. And what is even better, they can be installed in parallel to achieve any flow rate needed. We encourage parallel installations as the most practical solution for most residential and light commercial high flow applications. The case is hard plastic, not likely to leach plastic into the treated water.

In the age we live in, looking for a water filter without plastic is like looking for a window without glass. If no plastic is  the objective, we aren’t sure what the answer is, but it isn’t our stainless steel whole house unit.








EPA’s Regan: Government ‘Waited Too Long’ To Fix National Water Infrastructure

By Peter Chawaga


As a growing number of communities around the U.S. face drinking water and wastewater infrastructure problems, it has become clear that public trust in official institutions to deliver these services is eroding. But recent acknowledgement from the country’s foremost environmental protection official signaled recognition of these problems and a dedication to improve things for traditionally underserved populations.

“The federal government has ‘waited too long’ to invest in water infrastructure, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan told NBC News in an interview,” the outlet reported. “‘Unfortunately, there are certain populations in this country, Black and brown communities, tribal communities, low-income communities, that are seeing the worst aspects of this disinvestment,’” he continued.

High-profile drinking water infrastructure issues, like those faced in Flint, Michigan and Jackson, Mississippi, have been attributed to a lack of public investment in water systems serving communities of color. As these issues mount, consumer trust in the government’s ability to provide clean water is failing.

But this iteration of the EPA, led by Regan, has repeatedly acknowledged these issues and signaled a desire to change things.

“No community should ever experience what Flint (Michigan) experienced,” Regan said, according to NBC News. “No community should ever experience what Jackson, Mississippi, is experiencing right now. We do have to have a proactive strategy to prevent cities from getting to that point.”

The EPA recently allocated millions of dollars as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to improve water infrastructure in cities like these, including $144 million that could go to helping the beleaguered system in Baltimore, Maryland, for instance.

But it will be no easy task to make up for decades of infrastructure neglect and failing public confidence. In Jackson, for example, the federal government faces accusations from the NAACP that its infrastructure problems were the result of years of mistreatment.

“Over 25 years, Jackson received funds from an important federal program only three times, the NAACP said,” per NPR. “When Jackson tried to fund improvements itself, those efforts were repeatedly blocked by state political leaders, according to the complaint.”

It seems that the only way for the EPA to build back confidence in drinking water and wastewater services is to make genuine investment, especially in the traditionally-forgotten parts of the country.

Source:  Water Online

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How to Recycle and Dispose of Used UV Bulbs

UV light bulbs (professionally called UV lamps) are commonly used within the home for water treatment and disinfection, home tanning beds, reptile care, and more. In fact, it’s likely you have a UV light bulb in your home right now.

However, many people don’t realize that UV bulbs contain mercury. When electric current passes through the gas, the mercury generates ultraviolet (UV) light. While mercury is necessary for UV bulbs to function properly, this makes their waste potentially dangerous. As a result, it’s important to dispose of UV bulbs properly.

Many states in the U.S. now require citizens to recycle UV light bulbs. The Environmental Protection Agency reports that the following U.S. states require UV bulbs to be recycled upon use: California, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Washington. Even if you don’t currently live in one of these states, the most eco-friendly choice is to recycle these bulbs.

Depending on where you live, several hardware stores may offer programs that allow you to drop off used UV bulbs at their store locations. Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Ace Hardware all have programs implemented to assist customers. Be sure to call ahead, though, as many locations do not offer these services and a drive there to find out wastes precious resources.

Another option is to purchase a mail-back kit. Though this involves an added expenditure, mailing the bulbs directly to the manufacturer once they’re used is the most direct way to deliver the bulbs to where they’ll ultimately be reused. The postage is covered in the cost of the kit, so the total cost to you isn’t as high as it may seem.

The best option for recycling UV bulbs is to locate the nearest recycling facility in your area. As more and more families in America become educated on the proper disposal of UV and fluorescent bulbs, more and more options and facilities exist for them to choose from. Earth911 offers a complimentary search engine where you can find the nearest recycling solution to your home.

If you can’t find a location near you to recycle your UV bulbs and have no recourse, you may seal the bulb in a plastic bag and dispose of it in your regular trash if doing so isn’t illegal where you live. However, if it is, your last option is to find a hazardous household waste facility in your area. Mercury is dangerous – recycle UV light bulbs to protect our environment and to be eco-friendly.

Article Source: Pentair.

Viqua, probably the leading maker of residential UV equipment, states: “Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). This symbol indicates that you should not discard wasted electrical or electronic equipment (WEEE) in the trash. For proper disposal, contact your local recycling/reuse or hazardous waste center.” Viqua does not offer disposal if you send the lamp back to them, as the Pentair article suggests.  And one has to question the environmental advantage that would be gained by mailing a UV lamp to a Canadian manufacturer for disposal.  More from Viqua.

Viqua’s advice is pretty standard for products in this category: Check with your local authorities for disposal advice. Our experience with attempts at disposal of UV lamps through our local solid waste authorities is that there are provisions for large users, but if you have a single UV lamp to dispose of, that’s a problem no one every thought of before.

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Wells in Wisconsin Town Found to Have PFAS 160 Times Over Standards


After testing approximately 30 wells in Stella, Wisconsin, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) found that several wells tested positive for PFAS at levels 160 times higher thant the state’s standards.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the standards are set for 70 parts per trillion for drinking water. Currently, the state has no regulations for groundwater, though officials are working to set standards.

The PFAS were found during randomized testing by the DNR that was done statewide. While the full scope of the contamination remains unknown, “many wells contained the chemicals,” according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The testing was part of a larger sampling program targeting private wells drawing from shallow groundwater, according to DNR documents. The samples were collected in the summer and fall and found three shallow wells across the state that had high levels of PFAS, one of which was in Stella, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

James Yach, a DNR employee, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the department has asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for assistance in investigating the source of the contamination. Stella is a town of only about 600 people.

“”There aren’t any of the typical things you’d look for like an industrial source or an airport where they’d use PFAS materials,” Yach told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Currently, the water is not safe for residents to consume. David Brunette, a Town of Stella Chairperson, said the water at the town hall is being tested. If that comes back clear, residents will have access to that water.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said the DNR is looking for funding source for bottled water, and the department is recommending “alternative sources of water, because treatment systems aren’t rated to handle levels of contamination this high.”

Source: Water Quality Products.