In this post-Garden Hose Day Occasional, you’ll hear about trawlers in Thailand, frack-waste dumpers in Ohio, dangerous dams in the Himalayas, and the mysterious disappearance of a sewage pond in Shamrock, TX. Then there are the drought-driven woes of Lake Bridgeport, the break-neck speed of the Tiger Kettle, the equally amazing performance of the Sand Trap, and the unsavory contents of lake water. Learn about nappies, wet wipes, and cooking oil and what they have to do with Fatberg, “a heaving, sick-smelling, rotting mass of filth and faeces.” And, as always, there is much, much more.
The Pure Water Occasional is a weekly email magazine produced by Pure Water Products of Denton, Texas. We also serve up the Pure Water Gazette, which offers new articles about water and water treatment daily, furnishing readers “vast piles of information in the Gazette’s tangy, irreverent style” (Baltimore Sentinel). We sincerely invite you to visit PureWaterProducts.com, a commercial website that is packed to the brim with valuable water treatment information.
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While you were wistfully lamenting the imminent demise of summer, a lot of interesting things happened in the ever-changing world of water. Read on to hear about some of them.
New From the Pure Water Gazette:
The Drought Goes on In North Texas
Picture Story of a Lake in Distress
Lake Bridgeport was closed for a time just three years ago… because it was too full.
The scenic North Texas lake is now [August of 2013] down 19 feet in places. The resort area of the lake, known as Runaway Bay, is the area where the low water level is most apparent. As the water falls in the lake, so do the profits of local businesses that depend on tourism.
This floating gas dock which is supposed to be level is held in place now only by its hinged attachment to the shore.
Lake Bridgeport is 19 feet below its normal level. It has received nearly 7 inches less rain than the official totals at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, 50 miles to the southeast.
Boat docks that are normally accessible only by footbridge are now well above the lake’s surface.
The lake depends on rain for its water, and when it doesn’t rain, the level drops quickly. During the current drought, the level of the lake is dropping 1/2 inch per day. That translates to 60 million gallons of water per day lost to evaporation.
Reference Source: WFAA News.
Fatberg ahead! How London was saved from a 15-tonne ball of grease
Team of sewerage workers took three weeks to clear bus-sized toxic ball of fat that threatened to flood streets with sewage.
Educational Note from the Gazette: You’ll observe in the sentence above, the words “sewerage” and “sewage.” Neither is misspelled and the usage is correct. In loose American English usage, the terms ‘sewage’ and ‘sewerage’ are sometimes interchanged. The British make a distinction. Sewerage refers the the infrastructure–the pipes, the manholes, etc.–while sewage is used for the stuff that the sewerage system deals with. –Hardly Waite.
A sewerage worker has become an unlikely hero after taking three weeks to defeat a toxic 15-tonne ball of congealed fat the size of a bus that came close to turning parts of the London borough of Kingston upon Thames into a cesspit.
The first sign of trouble came when residents in a block of flats near the royal borough’s main sewer reported difficulty flushing their toilets. Gordon Hailwood and his team found a “fatberg” of solidified grease and oil blocking 95% of the 2.4 metre diameter brick sewer pipe. It took three weeks working in foul conditions to clear with high powered water jets.
“Kingston came very close to being flooded with sewage. We have recorded greater volumes of fat in the past but we don’t believe there’s ever been a single congealed lump of lard matching this one”, said Simon Evans, a Thames Water spokesman.
Not a good likeness. 15 ton blobs of grease are not photogenic.
Fatbergs build up on sewer roofs like mushy stalactites. “I have witnessed one. It’s a heaving, sick-smelling, rotting mass of filth and faeces. It hits the back of your throat, it’s gross,” said Evans.
“It’s steaming and it unleashes an unimaginable stink. Hailwood and his team certainly saved Kingston from a terrible fate.”
Water and sewage companies say fatbergs are becoming more common. London, with the highest concentration of food businesses in the country, produces an estimated 32m-44m litres of used cooking oil every year, much of which is poured down drains.
Also, the use of wet wipes as toilet paper is increasing, with potentially disastrous results below ground.
Thames Water says it has to clear nearly 40,000 blockages a year caused by fat and sanitary wipes being wrongly put down drains by restaurants and households. “We have 59,000 miles of sewer and fat and wet wipes are the main partners in ‘sewer abuse’ crime,” said Evans.
“The wipes break down and collect on joints and then the fat congeals. Then more fat builds up. It’s getting worse. More wet wipes are being used and flushed. It took Hailwood and the guys three weeks to flush this one out with high-powered water jets.
“Given we’ve got the biggest sewers and this is the biggest fatberg we’ve encountered, we reckon it has to be the biggest such berg in British history,” said Hailwood.
“The sewer was almost completely clogged. If we hadn’t discovered it in time, raw sewage could have started spurting out of manholes across the whole of Kingston. It was so big it damaged the sewer and repairs will take up to six weeks.”
However – in what environmental groups call a “win-win” development – wastefat is now being used to generate renewable energy. McDonald’s collects more than 600,000 litres of used cooking oil from its London restaurants each year, converting it to biodiesel to run half its fleet of lorries. London mayor Boris Johnson is pressing for waste fat to be used to run London’s buses.
“By capturing it right here in London and turning it into biodiesel we could provide 20% of the fuel needed to power London’s entire bus fleet while saving thousands of tonnes of CO2 and creating hundreds of new jobs. There is huge potential to unlock the value in used cooking oil and turn it to our economic advantage,” Johnson said last week.
One consortium plans to generate 130 gigawatt hours (GWh) of renewable electricity each year – enough to run 39,000 average homes – by burning 30 tonnes a day of fat, oil and grease. The oils will be collected from food outlets and manufacturers, and solidified grease will be harvested from “fat traps” installed in restaurant, hospital, stadium and factory kitchens. Thames Water has agreed to buy half the electricity to run London’s largest sewerage works at Beckton.
Keeping drains clear
• Animal fats and vegetable oil, lard, grease, butter and margarine, food scraps and dairy products all contribute to blocked drains, “fatbergs” and sewer blockages. Waste disposal units do not remove fats.
• Wipes, nappies, sanitary towels, rags and condoms do not break down easily and can snag on pipes, drains and the walls of sewers, leading to blockages.
• Pesticides, battery acids, nail polish, motor oil, chlorine-based and other cleaning products, paints and photographic chemicals are all toxic waste and should be disposed of carefully because they do not break down in sewage systems and can pollute rivers and sea water.
• If you have a septic tank, then be extra careful. Don’t flush medicines, coffee grounds, paper towels or egg shells, or anything that breaks down slowly, down the toilet or sink.
Source: The Guardian.
The patented “Sand Trap” is a valuable tool for dealing with heavy sand or large sediment in wells. It works by separating out bothersome sand, shale and oxidized organics found in some water supplies. The Sand Trap system does this not by conventional filtration but by directing the water through an internal swirl chamber then into a diverting plate.
The “Micro” Sand Trap. Not a filter, but an effective treatment for heavy particulate in well water. Read the article to see bigger Sand Trap models.
We often assume that water is just water, but the truth is we share our water with other mammals and organisms that don’t share our propensity to flush away their waste in a convenient rest room — including other humans who tend to shun toilets or diaper duties. And who don’t mind dumping civilization’s trash into the water.
Hotter isn’t always better when it comes to UV effectiveness. Water temperature affects lamp temperature, and lamp temperature affects performance.
Water News from Around the World
The Japanese manufacturer of a new electric kettle called the Tiger Kettle claims the record for fastest boiling time for a cup of tea–just 45 seconds. Full Story.
More than half the sewage in a water treatment pond — almost 6 million gallons — mysteriously drained into the ground on the north side of Shamrock, TX prompting city officials to issue a warning to citizens who have wells in the area. Full Story.
Worst Water Story of the Week. (Perhaps the worst ever.) Oregon State football players participated in a staged-for-publicity water balloon fight during practice. Full Story.
As fracking—pumping a briny solution of water, lubricants, anti-bacterial agents, and a cocktail of other chemicals into underground shale formations at high pressure to fracture the rock and extract trapped natural gas—has expanded in the Midwest, so has the need for disposing of used fracking fluid. That fracking waste can be recycled or processed at wastewater treatment facilities, much like sewage. But most of the waste—630 billion gallons, each year—goes back into the ground, pumped into disposal wells, which are then capped and sealed. A bunch of it ends up underneath Portage County, Ohio. This Mother Jones article describes life in the frack-dumping capital of Ohio and includes an excellent graphic to illustrate the fracking process. Full Story.
MUMBAI: The quality of water supplied in July was better than the previous month but more than one out of seven samples have been found to be contaminated. In June, the number of contaminated samples was one in every five. Tested samples were infected with either E. coli or other contaminants that made the water unsafe for consumption. The officials said contamination was due to dirty water seeping into the porous and cracked drinking water pipelines in the city. With every passing year, pipelines are deteriorating, leading to more cracks, and resulting in increasing water contamination. Full story.
In south Thailand, small fishermen who once made a comfortable living from the abundant fish supply in the ocean, are now being driven out of business by changes brought by global warming and large-scale commercial fishing. Trawlers – fishing boats that pull huge nets through the water, sometimes dragging the nets across the sea floor – make up just 13 percent of the fishing vessels in Thailand, but are responsible for more than half of the country’s catch. For some small fishermen, the catch has dropped by half because the trawlers take too many fish and don’t leave enough for the community. Trawlers disrupt the natural system by sucking in everything in their path. Full Story.
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Thank you for reading, and please stay tuned next Monday for another inspiring Occasional.
Places to Visit on Our Websites in the meantime
Model 77: “The World’s Greatest $77 Water Filter”
”Sprite Shower Filters: You’ll Sing Better!”
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