Pandemic Relief Has Benefited America’s Water Infrastructure

The American Rescue Plan Act — the relief bill that President Joe Biden signed into law on March 11, 2021 — set aside $350 billion to assist states, tribes, territories, and local governments in responding to financial challenges wrought by the pandemic. Water infrastructure improvements  are one of four broad spending categories authorized by the act.

Already at least $10.1 billion in ARPA funds have been dedicated  to water systems.

Here is how some states have applied the funds:

  • California used $301 million to pay off the water bills of low-income residents who fell behind during the pandemic. The state set aside as much as $985 million to forgive customer debt and it is now accepting applications from wastewater utilities.
  • Montana allocated $462.7 million to water and sewer infrastructure.
  • Louisiana allocated $300 million.
  • Kentucky and Ohio allocated $250 million.

Source Reference:  Circle of Blue.

A Familiar Story: Military Pollutes Water and Denies Responsibility

The following is from a Water Online report by Peter Chawaga:

After a military branch’s fuel storage facility was found to be contaminating some of the world’s most pristine waters, a local utility chief refused to mince words.

“The Honolulu Board of Water Supply’s manager and chief engineer said … that if the Navy refuses to drain its Red Hill fuel facility, the water utility is prepared to fight to protect the aquifer underneath it,” Honolulu Civil Beat reported. “Ernie Lau, whose longtime warnings about the fuel facility’s threat to drinking water were realized this year, said at a press conference that the Navy should follow an order from the Hawaii Department of Health to empty its fuel tanks.”


The tension stems from a recent revelation that a petroleum leak at the Navy’s Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility had contaminated Honolulu’s drinking water supply.

“Red Hill Shaft contained petroleum levels that were 350 times the level considered safe, and … some 3,000 military members and their families have been relocated to temporary housing,” NPR reported. “The Navy says it’s found the source of the gas leak, but state officials and environmental activists are still calling for the facility to be permanently shut down.”

Some of the 93,000 consumers impacted by the Navy’s water system have reported feeling ill and sought medical treatment. While everyone seems to agree that these safety concerns need to be addressed, a Department of Health order appeared to leave open the potential for the Navy to resume utilizing the fuel storage in the future. This is a point that Lau has disagreed with, calling for a double wall along the fuel tanks as well as the pipelines that transport the fuel.

For Lau, and many of those charged with keeping Honolulu’s drinking water safe, the battle with the Navy has been ongoing since at least 2014, when an administrative order on consent was administered to the military branch after 27,000 gallons of fuel leaked from one of its Red Hill tanks.

“We are in it for the long haul,” Lau said at the press conference, according to Honolulu Civil Beat. “We’ve been in this for eight years. We will not stop. I’m not trying to threaten the Navy, but understand that you are going to need to deal with us, whether you like it or not.”

Source Reference.

TAC Cartridge Units Available from Pure Water Products


In addition to the standard eight, twelve, and sixteen gallon per day tank-style whole house TAC units for scale prevention, Pure Water Products also offers small, cartridge-based units in standard housing sizes for use for smaller applications, like treating for a single appliance or a small home or recreational vehicle. These units are compact, inexpensive, easy to install, and easy to maintain.


Cartridge-Style TAC Units.  Pictured above is the mid-sized two-gpm TAC unit which includes a half liter of Watts OneFlow (ScaleNet) media in a 4.5″ X 9.75″ cartridge. All units consist of housing, mounting bracket, filter wrench, and one cartridge.

Note: Prices are not guaranteed and are subject to change. Phone orders only.

Part Number Description Suggested Application Tentative Price
NA 1/4” or 3/8” ports. ¼ liter of Watts media in 2.5” X 9.75” refillable cartridge. Flow rates to 1 gpm. Add-on unit as pre-treatment for undersink RO units or small appliances like coffee machines or humidifiers. $82.00
NA 3/4” or 1” ports. ½ liter of Watts media in 4.5” X 9.75” refillable cartridge. Flow rates to 2 gpm. Pre-treatment for tankless water heaters, small boilers, coffee machines, humidifiers. (Can be furnished with garden hose fittings.) $190.00
NA 3/4” or 1” ports. One liter of Watts media in 4.5” X 20” refillable cartridge. Flow rates to 4 gpm. Pre-treatment for boilers, tankless heaters, any appliances that need protection from scaling. Whole house units for recreational vehicles, small homes, mobile homes. (Can be furnished with garden hose fittings.) $305.00


Replacement Cartridges for Units Shown Above. Cartridge life varies with usage and circumstances. In most cases, replace annually.

Part Number
FC030 2.5” X 9.75” – 1 gpm $52.00
FC313 4.5” X 9.75” – 2 gpm $110.00
FC413 4.5” X 20” – 4 gpm $185.00


For more information, contact Pure Water Products at 888 382 3814,  or email



How Air Gap Faucets Work


Air gap faucets are used with undersink reverse osmosis units. They are never used with filters because the air gap is not needed.

The purpose of the air gap faucet is not only to deliver drinking water from the RO unit, as all faucets do, but also to provide an “air gap” for the RO unit’s drain system.

An “air gap” is a siphon break to assure that drain water cannot flow backward from the household drain system into the reverse osmosis unit.

Note in the picture above that the tubes are of different diameters. The smaller tubes are 1/4″ and the larger tube is 3/8″.

The tube on the left in the picture delivers the “permeate” or purified water to the user via the tall spout when the faucet’s handle is pressed. The other two tubes are parts of the air gap drain systems.

Reverse osmosis units produce drain water called brine when they are in operation. This waste water comes up the center tube in the picture and is released into a small open trough inside the base of the faucet. The drain water flows along the open trough until it falls through a hole into the top of the larger tube on the right in the picture. The large tube connects to the undersink drain pipe. Water falls by force of gravity down the large tube and into the undersink drain pipe.



Classic Air Gap Design. The RO drain water goes up to the faucet in the red tube, then down to the sink’s drain pipe in the black. The permeate tube connects to the threaded metal stem. The hole in the faucet body serves as an overflow drain if the black tube is obstructed.


More about air gap faucets

If the air gap faucet leaks water through the hole in the faucet body onto the sink, it is usually because the drain line, the larger of the tubes, is stopped up. The drain hole, indicated with the arrow in the top picture, is an escape hole so that drain water can have a way out if the drain line stops up. The problem can usually be fixed by removing the drain line at the bottom end and clearing out the obstructions. Or, the obstruction may be in the drain saddle or the drain pipe itself.

Since the 3/8″ tube delivers water by force of gravity alone, any small obstruction (a small piece of food from the drain pipe, for example) can block it.

Since air gap faucets are often unpopular with homeowners because of noise and messes on the sink when the drain line blocks, some manufacturers provide reverse osmosis with standard faucets. A standard faucet has only the permeate line, the one that is attached to the threaded shaft. The RO drain line connects directly to the undersink drain.

Some RO builders use standard faucets but provide one or more one-way valves (called “check valves”) to guard against backflow from the drain.

Plumbing codes differ from place to place, but most still require the air gap faucet. It should be noted, however, that this is a provision of the plumbing code that is frequently overlooked.

An adapter that provides an easy way to get rid of the air gap feature.


How Countertop Water Filters Work


Countertop water filters are simple but effective devices. They require little in the way of installation, and they are easily moved from place to place.  They last for many years and require little upkeep.



The diverter valve (A) replaces the faucet’s aerator. That’s all there is to installation. Screw off the aerator, screw on the filter’s diverter valve and the filter is ready for service.


To operate the filter, turn on the cold water faucet and allow water to run into the sink. Then pull out the small knob on the diverter valve. This diverts water from the sink faucet through the small tube to the water filter housing(B). Inside the housing is a replaceable filter cartridge. Water passes through the filter cartridge, then leaves the filter through the spout (C), from which you fill your container. To turn off the filter, just turn off the cold water faucet. The diverter valve will pop back into place restoring your sink faucet to its normal operation.

More about countertop water filters

The classic countertop style shown above is quite versatile. It can be made into a double or even triple filter simply by attaching single units together.

Now almost all countertop units use replaceable filter cartridges, although a few of the old-style disposable units are still sold.

By far the most common application of the countertop filter is to provide high-quality drinking water by removing chlorine and other chemicals from city tap water.This is accomplished with a simple replaceable carbon cartridge. Carbon is a general purpose medium that removes disinfectants like chlorine and chloramines as well as a very wide range of chemical contaminants.  By providing the proper specialty cartridge,  a countertop unit can be made to reduce such diverse contaminants as cysts, lead and heavy metals, fluoride, nitrates, and even bacteria.

The countertop unit shown in the illustration above is the classic style which sits beside the sink and has its own spout.

There are other less popular styles. One, which uses the “return” diverter, has two hoses rather than one. The diverter valve sends the water to the filter then a second hose brings the filtered water back to the diverter valve to be dispensed into the user’s container. This style has no spout. Below is a countertop unit with a “return” diverter setup.



Technically, the tiny “end of faucet” filters sold in retail outlets and the pour-through pitcher-style filters are also countertops, but being purists, we’re going to confine our discussion to the two main styles described above.


The classy double countertop unit pictured above is a versatile tool that can be designed to cover a wide range of treatment issues.  It uses standard-sized cartridges, so many treatment options are possible.

More about countertop water filters.


What Is pH?

Posted August 18th, 2021

What Is pH?

by Brian Campbell


What is pH?

A simple definition of pH is that it measures how acidic or alkaline a solution is.

A more scientific definition is that pH indicates the concentration of hydrogen ions in a liquid. While a low pH indicates a higher concentration of hydrogen, a high pH indicates a lower hydrogen concentration.

For those with a background in chemistry, one can calculate the pH of any substance by using the pH calculation: pH = – log [H3O+].

This pH formula is not the only way to calculate water’s pH, however. This article will explain what affects water’s pH, the problems with acidic and alkaline water, and how to test pH in water at home.

What Changes the pH of Water?

Water has a neutral pH of 7, which indicates that it is neither acidic or alkaline. The pH scale ranges from 0 (very acidic) to 14 (very alkaline). It is normal for water to have a pH range of between 6.5 and 8.5 on the pH scale.

pH in water may fluctuate with differing environmental factors. Rainwater is naturally more acidic, and usually has a pH of around 5.65. But when this water falls through the air, it interacts with atmospheric carbon dioxide, which increases pH.

Once rainwater lands on the ground, the geology of the land will affect its pH once more. When this water seeps through layers of mineral-rich rock, it will become more alkaline. But if it is only exposed to igneous rock, like granite, it’s unlikely that its pH will change much at all.

Mining discharges and wastewater can also affect pH. pH in wastewater is typically neutral, but chemicals, pollutants and other contaminants in this water can cause it to become highly acidic or alkaline.

What Effect Does pH Have On Drinking Water?

The acidity or alkalinity of drinking water can have an effect on its makeup. While acidic water is more likely to contain metal contaminants, alkaline water typically has a high concentration of healthy minerals.

Alkaline water is said to be healthier than water with a neutral pH, as it prevents acidity in the body from causing chronic illnesses. However, there’s not much scientific evidence to back up these claims so far. What we do know is that water with a slightly higher pH of 8 to 8.5 is more likely to have a higher concentration of healthy minerals and electrolytes, like calcium, potassium and magnesium, which the human body needs to survive.

Acidic water, on the other hand, may corrode your teeth, so it is not recommended for consumption. Acid water is also more susceptible to metal leaching, so by drinking water with a low pH, one is more at risk of consuming dangerous levels of copper, lead, and similar contaminants.

Safe pH Range For Drinking Water

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), water’s safe pH range spans between 6.5 and 8.5 Anything higher or lower than this, and water is not recommended for drinking. The optimum pH for drinking water is 7.

Risks Associated With Unsafe pH Levels

Acidic water and alkaline water each pose their own specific risks.

Some of the risks associated with acidic water include:

Increased Metals Intake

Water with a lower pH is more likely to grab onto heavy metals like copper, lead, arsenic, zinc, and chromium. Drinking acidic water puts you more at risk of consuming a higher concentration of these metals. In the long term, this may lead to dangerous conditions like toxicity and heavy metal poisoning.

Damage to Teeth

Your overall dental health may be affected by drinking acidic water. Because water with a low pH is more corrosive, it is likely to increase the risk of decay of the tooth enamel. The tooth enamel is important to protect the inner layers of the tooth from damage and keep teeth looking white. Decayed tooth enamel is more susceptible to cavities and infections.

Plumbing Damage

The corrosive properties of acidic water may also damage your home’s plumbing system. Over time, water with a low pH can dissolve metal pipes, causing heavy metals to leach into your water. Acidic water can also cause pipes to wear away, resulting in leaks that may be expensive to repair.

Some of the risks of drinking alkaline water include:

Lowers Stomach Acidity

Alkaline water may lower pH in the stomach. This could lower the stomach’s natural acid, which is needed to kill bacteria and other pathogens, preventing them from passing into the bloodstream.

Metabolic Alkalosis

Too much alkaline water can result in a condition called metabolic alkalosis, which imbalances the body’s normal pH. With metabolic alkalosis, you may experience symptoms like vomiting, nausea, muscle twitching, hand tremors, and confusion.

Poor bone health

Alkalosis has also been known to decrease the body’s free calcium, which can affect bone health. Additionally, low levels of free calcium can slow down heart rate and cause muscle spasms.

How to Test Water’s pH

In a laboratory setting, pH meters are typically used to give an accurate reading of pH in water. You can buy a pH meter online, but they can be on the more expensive side.

A more affordable alternative is to purchase a single-use at home pH test kit. pH test kits come with strips that one can dip into a water sample. The strip will turn a certain color to indicate how acid or alkaline the water is.

One can buy different pH kits that are designed to work with specific pH ranges. When dealing with particularly acidic or alkaline water, make sure the pH kit is designed to work with this pH range. This is the better option than buying a testing kit that ranges from 1 to 14, as it may be more difficult to get an accurate result based on the test strip’s color hue.

pH test strips can be handy for initially assessing water, and testing it again after treating water to increase or decrease its pH.

In short, if using water for drinking, one should make sure it has a pH of between 6.5 and 8.5; preferably as close to 7 as possible. Any higher or lower than this, and the water is not safe to drink.

Brian Campbell is the founder of, where he blogs about all things water quality.

Pure Water Gazette Fair Use Statement

Can AerMax Units Be Used to Treat Constant Pressure Well Systems?

Yes,  definitely, AerMax units work well with constant pressure wells, but there are a couple of things  you need to know.


First, the pump has to be controlled with a timer. There are no options. People often wire the pump and solenoid vent into the pump circuit of conventional wells, but this won’t work with a constant pressure well.

Second, since constant pressure systems usually maintain a higher pressure than conventional bladder tank systems, it’s best to use the upgrade CAP AerMax pump rather than the standard model. The CAP also needs an upgrade installation kit.  At current pricing, the pump/installation kit upgrade adds about $220 to the price of the standard 110 V. AerMax unit.  The other parts are all the same.

The standard air pump can be used, but with constant pressure wells, the upgrade pump works better and has shorter service runs.

Programming the unit, with either the standard pump or the CAP, for most residential applications means running the pump enough to do a complete turnover of the unit’s air pocket at least 3 times per week. This means running the standard pump 3 times per week at about 18 to 20 minutes per session or running the CAP unit about 2 minutes per session. (The CAP has about 10 times the air output capacity as compared with the standard pump.)



More information about the high capacity air pump with high flow AerMax systems.

Turning Off Aeration: Converting and AIO Control to Standard Filter Setting


The instructions below are for turning off the aeration feature in Fleck 5600 and 2510 AIO filtration units so that the unit will operate as a standard filter.


To enter master programming–


Set the time of day to 12:01 PM  (must be pm).


Press the extra cycle button to save the time.


Press the up and down buttons simultaneously and hold until the screen changes to a setting that says DG  GAL  (You are now in master programming mode.)



To scroll through the settings, push and release the extra cycle button.


Scroll through and do not change settings until you get to


DO 1  (DO, for Day Override, is the number of days until the unit regenerates.)



Change the 1 to any number you want for the regeneration interval. For example, if you want to regenerate every 4th day, change the number to 4.  Push the Extra Cycle button to save and move on.



Scroll through until you get to BD  40   Change the 40 to 0 and continue. (Set BD to 0, not to OFF.)



When you get to RR, change the 1 to 2.  (This gives you a 2 minute Rapid Rinse.  Set to a higher number if you wish.)



Continue to scroll through until the screen returns to the time of day.  Reset the time to the correct time of day.



Now the screen should alternate between the time of day and the DO number that you entered.  The number displayed is the days before the next regeneration.


Call 888 382 3814 if you have a question.

What is Turbidity?

by Brian Campbell

Editor’s Note: Brian Campbell is the founder of  The article below is a good introductory overview of what water treatment professionals mean when they talk about “turbidity.”


If you’re researching the common drinking water contaminants, you may have heard of turbidity. Turbidity isn’t actually a contaminant itself, which can make it difficult to understand exactly what you’re dealing with.

This short guide will equip you with the information you need to know about turbidity in drinking water: what it is, how it’s measured, and its effects.

What is Turbidity of Water?

The turbidity of water is a measurement of how clear or cloudy it is. The cloudier the water, the higher its turbidity.

To get a little more scientific, turbidity measures a liquid’s “relative clarity” – or the amount of light that refracts off materials in a liquid sample. The more light is refracted within a sample of water, the higher the level of turbidity.

There are a number of materials that can cause turbidity, including silt, inorganic and organic matter, clay, algae, and some microscopic organisms.dirtywater

How is Turbidity Measured?

Turbidity is measured in Nephelometric Turbidity Units, known as NTU for short. Turbidity may also be measured in Formazin Nephelometric Units, or FNU.

You can measure turbidity using a turbidity meter or sensor, which will use scatter-detection methods to quickly detect the levels of total suspended solids (TSS) in water. TSS – referring to waterborne particles that are larger than 2 microns – are the common culprits behind turbidity.

Editor’s Note:  To clarify, here’s an explanation  by the same author to help distinguish between Total Suspended Solids and Turbidity:

Turbidity and suspended solids are often used interchangeably, which can make it difficult to understand the difference between the two. However, they are not quite the same thing. Turbidity refers to water’s transparency and the more suspended solids water contains, the less transparent it will be. In short, turbidity is a measurement of how well light can pass through water, while TSS is a quantitative measurement of suspended particles in water. 

What Are the Most Common Causes of High Turbidity?

The most common causes of high turbidity are phytoplankton, erosion, urban runoff, wastewater discharge, algae and sediment disruption. More detail on each of these causes is listed below.


Phytoplankton are a type of marine algae, which are microscopic in size but are capable of turning water brownish-red when present in high concentrations. These organisms often float or “drift” in water, and can survive in both fresh and saltwater environments.


Water affected by erosion can also have high levels of turbidity. Imagine a river flowing through an area of loose dirt. When this dirt is worn away, it can seep into water. The consistent force of a flowing river can also erode tougher materials, like rock. This can increase the sediment level in water, often resulting in cloudiness.

Urban Runoff

Urban runoff is rainwater (or melted snow) runoff in urban areas, which can be responsible for pollution or contamination of water sources like private wells, lakes, and rivers.

When water runs through agricultural or industrial sites, building surface materials, and even some impermeable paved surfaces, it may collect sediment that increases the turbidity of whichever water source it ends up in.

Wastewater Discharge

When wastewater discharge isn’t treated properly, it may carry pathogens, suspended solids, and other contaminants into a body of water, increasing its turbidity. This water usually comes from pipes from factories and plants that treat wastewater.

While the EPA has produced guidelines on how to treat wastewater before discharging it, many water sources are not correctly treated before being discharged.


Algae are a group of organisms that live in saltwater and freshwater bodies. You can find algae in a variety of sizes and appearances, and sometimes these organisms are too small to be seen by the human eye.

Algae take nutrients from the water, improving oxygen levels. But when algae die, organic matter is released into the water, increasing turbidity. Some algae are rooted to the surface of the ground, while others float on the surface of water.

Sediment Disruption

Similar to erosion, sediment disruption occurs when water picks up a body of sediment and carries it to a new location, increasing the turbidity of specific areas, such as the pool of water beneath a waterfall. In rivers, this sediment disruption can affect water flow and alter the depth of the water.

What Are the Effects of High Turbidity?

The biggest problem with high turbidity is that it affects the aesthetic quality of a water source. Not only can this negatively impact tourism and recreation, but it can also affect marine or aquatic life by reducing oxygen and food supplies.

From a water treatment perspective, it is more expensive to treat water with high turbidity as it must be more thoroughly filtered to remove sediment of all different sizes.

Drinking water that has high turbidity levels may be dangerous, depending on the cause of the water’s turbidity. For instance, water that contains certain suspended solids like algae and bacteria may make you sick to drink. Other common causes of turbidity, like sand and dirt, might not make you sick, but this sediment could have an effect on the infrastructure of your home’s pipes, plumbing and water-based appliances.

Turbidity vs Total Suspended Solids (TSS)

Turbidity and total suspended solids are linked – but they’re not the same thing. As we know, turbidity is a measurement of how transparent water is. Suspended solids, on the other hand, are the contaminants that are largely responsible for turbidity in water.

In short, the higher the levels of total suspended solids in water, the greater the level of refractions of light from these materials, and the higher the turbidity.

Pure Water Gazette Fair Use Statement

More about turbidity from the Gazette’s website.



Pura O Rings



Getting the right o ring for a Pura UV unit isn’t always simple. The chart below is designed to help.

All o rings listed can be found here.

Pura Unit Description Built Prior to Fall 2009 Built after Fall 2009
UV1 OR018 OR015
UVB OR019 OR016
UV20 OR019 OR016
UVBB (See Note Below.) OR020 (See note below.) OR026 (See note below.)

There is one exception. There is an intermediate BB unit built between Fall 2009 and Jan. 2012. It uses a unique o ring: OR017.