The Pure Water Occasional for June 20, 2016
In this Garden Hose Day Eve Occasional, you’ll read a lot about National Garden Hose Day, the Garden Hose Pull and the now defunct Hose Blast. Outdoor showers, the no-shower movement, problems with public pools, floods from Texas to Paris, Biorock Reefs, pink water, a case of child abuse with water, and a hot water flood in a British department store. Read about the world’s tallest waterfalls, fluoride (non-) use in Western Europe, the new 50% recovery RO membrane, the National Park Service’s 100th birthday, dishonest lead reporting in Boston, the expanding of the Dead Zone in the Gulf, hard water and eczema, removing fluoride with fruit peels, and the cruel West Bank water cutoff. Learn how moss pulls water out of the air and how nitrates, methane, PFOA and PFOS can be removed from water. And, as always, there is much, much more.
The Pure Water Occasional is a project of Pure Water Products and the Pure Water Gazette.
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You’ll sing better.
This outdoor shower would not be possible without the great American garden hose. In this issue you’ll read about the new date for National Garden Hose Day. And remember that outdoor showering is a whole new experience with a Pure Water Products Garden Hose Filter. Don’t be the last on your block to own one!
The no-showering challenge: why we should all take part
by Madeleine Somerville
In doing so, he discovered what thousands of others have: the more we fervently try to clean ourselves with soaps, body washes, and those silly little body poufs, the harder our skin works to restore equilibrium, cueing us to begin the whole bewildering process again. Showering strips the skin of its own oil and bacteria – which, many would argue, is the whole point of showering – but apparently this sometimes works a little too well, especially when you add hot water and cleansing products to the mix.
National Garden Hose Day Is Just Around the Corner
The garden hose is a national treasure. I hope you’ll take your family to a Garden Hose Day celebration in your area. —Bob Logan, National Garden Hose Day Director.
National Garden Hose Day celebrations around the country this year will include some new activities. Above is a Cleveland practice session for the new canine division of the Garden Hose Pull, the holiday’s most popular event. Dogs are enthusiastic contenders, but cats have shown no interest in the event.
National Garden Hose Day officials have high hopes that the new date for National Garden Hose Day –moved from August 3 to June 21–will bring new energy to the celebration. Moving the event from summer’s “Dog Days” to its exhuberant beginning is expected to bring people out. Last year’s event was essentially a disappointment. Officials blamed a combination of drought conditions along with reluctance to support events that were seen as high water consumers for the downturn in attendance. Some of the popular events, like the traditional Hose Blast, received negative publicity because of high water consumption. The event has been discontinued.
The Fire Hose Blast, although very popular, was phased out after 2013 and has now been officially cancelled because of complaints of high water consumption and injuries to contestants.
Bob Logan of Minneapolis, National Garden Hose Day director for the current year, said that new activities have been added that are expected to appeal to a wider audience. According to Logan, “Although the hose blast drew large crowds, there were complaints of water waste and injuries. Although the Blast is gone, this year’s event will center around the ever-popular Garden Hose Pull and some exciting new events.”
The most popular of the new items according to pre-holiday reports is a garden hose recycling competition that has been underway for some weeks in several cities. This event offers prizes for innovative uses for old garden hoses. The purpose of the event is to find uses for garden hoses that at one time would have ended in landfills.
This colorful garden hose basket was made from a Baltimore family’s discarded hose. The hose was replaced because the color clashed with the trim on the patio. This garden hose basket could easily be worked into a self-watering planter.
Mr. Logan concluded: The garden hose is a national treasure, and Garden Hose Day is set aside to honor it. Look for events in your area.
Biorock reefs — sunken steel frames connected to a low-voltage current — are giving coral a second chance at surviving humanity. The process involves rebuilding coral reefs using steel frames and, most surprising, a steady current of electricity.
Problems with public pools that can put swimmers at risk. Report from Orange County, CA.
There is yet another theory from experts to explain how water got on the moon.
A Detroit Free Press report revealed that 70% of Flint residents do not trust water filters to remove lead from their water.
Moss is a master of mechanical engineering. Researchers say the way this desert moss absorbs water directly from the air may help engineers design better water collection systems for humans.
Cascading water at a temperature of about 175F brought down a suspended ceiling flooding a store in Nottingham.
Water in some areas of Oregon turned pink because of overdosing with potassium permanganate used for algae control.
An Oklahoma campaign to get children to drink more water has revealed startling facts about the sugar content of soft drinks.
Israel has turned off the water supply for areas of the West Bank during Ramadan.
Two students in India have designed a “filter” that uses fruit peels to remove fluoride from lake water.
A British study indicates that hard water can cause eczema in babies.
Dead Zone Forcast: The 2016 summertime Gulf of Mexico dead zone will be 6,824 square miles, a low-oxygen area the size of Connecticut, according to a forecast from scientists with Louisiana State University, the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium and the University of Michigan. That’s just a bit larger than the 2015 area of hypoxia – but 3½ times larger than the reduction goal set by a federal-state consortium of environmental agencies.
A couple in Nashville were charged with abuse for disciplining children with a “water treatment.”
A fox appeared during the filming of a commercial. This proves that alkaline water is infused with love.
A noxious mess made mostly by a now-defunct company flows downstream and ultimately could lead to household spigots in Greensboro, NC and other communities. An editorialist explains why strict regulation of companies that traffic in chemicals is essential.
Although Americans consider fluoridated tap water to be a universally accepted practice, at present, 97% of the western European population drinks non-fluoridated water. This includes: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Norway, Portugal, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland, and approximately 90% of both the United Kingdom and Spain. Although some of these countries fluoridate their salt, the majority do not. (The only western European countries that allow salt fluoridation are Austria, France, Germany, Spain, and Switzerland.)
The National Park Service Celebrates Its 100th Birthday in 2016.
When President Barack Obama delivers his remarks at Yosemite National Park in late June, he’ll have no shortage of accomplishments to tout. Obama has created 21 new national monuments using his authority under the Antiquities Act, more than any other president. Overall, he’s protected more than 265 million acres of public lands and waters, including a broad swath of the Pacific Ocean — again, more than any other president, White House officials say.
But as the National Park Service celebrates its 100th birthday this year, it faces a precarious and uncertain future. More from the Desert Sun.
Boston and 30 other cities “Cooked the Books” in order to underestimate the amount of lead in its water.
Of those, 21 cities, including Boston use the same system to test water that was used in Flint, Mich., the Guardian reports, where, three officials were charged with crimes in the wake of that cities water crisis.
The Guardian lists Boston, Worcester and Springfield among cities that “pre-flushed” pipes ahead of testing for lead, ignoring Environmental Protection Agency instructions. Boston was also among the cities that told water testers to run water slowly during the test, which results in less lead turning up in the water.
The city of Boston told The Guardian it intends to change its testing procedures before its next round of testing.
Boston has had its own issues with students being exposed to lead-tainted water. Two Boston Public Schools employees were placed on leave after elevated lead levels were found in nine schools.
PFOA, PFOS and Others
Perfluorinated Chemicals (PFCs) are a group of manufactured chemicals used in a wide range of industries and commercial products. The two most common PFCs are perfluorooctanoic acid (also known as PFOA or C8) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS). PFCs have been in use since the 1940s to make products that are water-, oil-, fire-, stain- or grease-resistant—products like Teflon®, non-stick cookware, stain-resistant carpeting and fire-extinguishing foams.
PFCs are among a group of chemicals that the EPA has labelled “emerging contaminants”—chemicals that may pose or are percieved to pose a threat to human health or the environment. PFCs are of concern because:
- They break down slowly in the environment and move about readily in air.
- They have been detected in surface water in cities throughout the U.S.
- They have been detected in the blood of as many as 98% of Americans.
- Once in the body they tend to stay there for a long period of time, about 4 years.
- They have been shown to cause developmental and other health effects in laboratory animals.
How to get rid of PFCs from drinking water? Fortunately, carbon filtration and reverse osmosis both work well.
Methane in Well Water: How to Get Rid of It
Gazette Introductory Note: Methane removal from water has become a public concern recently because of spectacular internet videos showing flaming tap water in areas where hydraulic fracturing for petroleum production has caused gas intrusions into water wells. There are a lot of myths about how methane is removed from water. We sell several varieties of aeration equipment and often get calls about using Aermax, a compressor-driven closed tank aeration system, for removing methane. This is not a good idea. Here’s a good overview of treatment for methane from the Minnesota Department of Health. It will tell you what works and what doesn’t work.
Methane Removal and Treatment
Methane will not be removed by common water treatment devices such as sediment filters, water softeners, or carbon filters. Most removal or treatment techniques involve aeration. A gas shroud, attached to a submersible pump in the well, may provide relief in some circumstances. Fittings that drain back or aerate water into the well have been used, but are not particularly effective, and may cause other problems such as well corrosion or plugging.
Aeration is the process of mixing air into water and venting the gas to the outside atmosphere. Aeration can remove methane, as well as other gasses such as hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg smell).
Treatment devices range from the simple to the complex. The simplest is to use a pressure tank without a bladder or diaphragm, often referred to as a “galvanized” tank. An air release valve, vented to the atmosphere, releases the methane. This system is relatively simple and inexpensive, and does not require a second pump or tank, but is relatively inefficient at treating large volumes of water or removing large quantities of methane.
A more effective, but more complicated, system is to add an aspirator or aerator to the inlet of a water storage tank. An air pump or compressor will speed up the methane removal, but adds expense and maintenance.
Waterfall, diffusion, or mechanical aerators are devices that more effectively mix air with the water, resulting in more rapid and efficient removal, but increased cost and maintenance. Some systems involve a storage/treatment tank system with spray aerators enclosed in the tank. Use of an unpressurized treatment tank will require two pumps and two tanks – a well pump and a re-pressurizing pump, and a treatment tank and a pressure tank. Retention times of several minutes are typically needed to allow release of the methane. Air separators, similar to devices used on hot water heating systems to remove air, have also been used to remove methane.
Vents, air release valves, and other mechanical parts can fail, or freeze if not properly installed and maintained. Systems that use a nonpressurized tank may be subject to airborne contamination of the water supply if not carefully installed and maintained. All systems should be designed to be sanitary, avoid cross connections, and be vented outside.
Removing Nitrates at Point of Entry with Anion Exchange Resin
As nitrate contamination of US wells, including those used for city water supplies, becomes more common, the need for nitrate treatment is becoming more urgent. The acceptable limit for nitrates is 10 mg/L and this limit is being exceeded with greater frequency because of excessive fertilizer use and contamination from animal farms and feedlots.
Removing nitrates from drinking water is fairly simple, with reverse osmosis being a proven performer with nitrates. Distillation is also very effective with nitrates. There are also small and relatively inexpensive”nitrate selective” cartridge filters that can be used under the sink.
For point of entry applications, however, the price of equipment and operation goes up sharply, with the main strategy being anion exchange. An anion exchanger works a lot like a water softener, but it costs more to purchase and operate. In addition, there are some pitfalls to avoid.
Here’s some advice from a Penn State University publication:
Once a water supply becomes contaminated with nitrate, it is costly to treat. While treatment to meet drinking water needs is practical, treatment of larger quantities like livestock supplies is costly. Ion exchange units, reverse osmosis, or distillation all remove nitrate from drinking water. Note that boiling water does not remove nitrates and is not a treatment alternative. In fact, it increases nitrate concentrations as water evaporates.
An ion exchange unit operates much like a household water softener. A softener filters calcium and magnesium laden water through a resin coated with sodium ions. As water flows through the unit, the resin releases its sodium ions and readily trades them for the calcium and magnesium. For nitrate removal, the resin exchanges chloride ions for nitrate and sulfate ions in the water. After treating many gallons of water, the resin will “run out” of chloride. Regenerating the resin with a concentrated solution of sodium chloride (you can use bicarbonate instead of chloride) recharges it for further treatment.
Ion exchange does have drawbacks. Because the resin prefers to absorb sulfate, water high in sulfates hinders the nitrate exchange and reduces system effectiveness. If the resin becomes saturated, it releases the nitrates in place of sulfates, resulting in an increased nitrate concentration in the “treated” water. Also, nitrate ion exchange can make the water corrosive. Neutralizing the water after it leaves the unit reduces this effect. Finally, ion exchange can be expensive and requires maintenance. Since the backwash brine will be high in nitrates, care must be given to its disposal.
Source: Penn State Extension.
Pentair’s new 50% recovery membrane is now available from Pure Water Products. We’re offering the 50 gallon-per-day model with the appropriate 150 ml flow restrictor and inline check valve at a low package price. Although it isn’t yet on our website, you can order it by phone (940 382 3814) or you can get it as a “no charge” upgrade on our standard Black and White RO units. Go here to learn how to convert your current RO unit to a 50% recovery water saver.
Please visit our RO Parts Page for tanks and accessories. We also have dedicated parts pages for countertop water filters, undersink filters, and aeration equipment. We stock parts for everything we sell.
Thank you for reading. Please come back.
Places to Visit on Our Websites:
Garden Hose Filters. Don’t be the last on your block to own one. And don’t forget that National Garden Hose Day is just around the corner.
Model 77: “The World’s Greatest $77 Water Filter”
”Sprite Shower Filters: You’ll Sing Better!”
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