In this beginning-of-summer, SuperMoon Occasional, you’ll hear a lot about tides (spring and neap, high and low), tractive force, the Steel Water Pipe Century Club, drain saddles, air gaps, and flow restrictors. Articles by Keith, Rosie Romero, Alyssa Abkowitz, and Pure Water Annie. Hear about removing perchlorate with bacteria, the phenomenal growth of synthetic grass, and the strange silvery sheen on Lake Erie. Find out how Homeland Security protects us against those who would terrorize us by complaining about the water. and why Lehi, UT is running out of water, The rise of the Grand Renaissance Dam, the fall of the great San Clemente Dam, and, as always, there is much, much more.
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While you were out gazing at the biggest full moon of the year, a lot of interesting things happened in the ever-changing world of water. Read on to hear about some of them.
Editor’s Note: Science (our religion) is mainly about cataloging events and objects, measuring them, and assigning them a cause. It uses the moon to explain the periodic bulging and surging of the ocean that we call tides. Could be, but someday we may discover that it is the tides that cause the moon.
Most of the information below is adapted from an interesting website called Keith’s Moon Page.–Hardly Waite.
The word “tides” is a generic term used to define the alternating rise and fall in sea level with respect to the land, produced by the gravitational attraction of the moon and the sun. To a much smaller extent, tides also occur in large lakes, the atmosphere, and within the solid crust of the earth, acted upon by these same gravitational forces of the moon and sun.
Tides are created because the Earth and the moon are attracted to each other, just like magnets are attracted to each other. The moon tries to pull at anything on the Earth to bring it closer. But, the Earth is able to hold onto everything except the water. Since the water is always moving, the Earth cannot hold onto it, and the moon is able to pull at it.
Each day, there are two high tides and two low tides. The ocean is constantly moving from high tide to low tide, and then back to high tide. There is a period of about 12 hours and 25 minutes between the two high tides.
When the moon is full or new, the gravitational pull of the moon and sun are combined. At these times, the high tides are very high and the low tides are very low. This is known as a spring high tide.
Spring tides are especially strong tides (they do not have anything to do with the season Spring). They occur when the Earth, the Sun, and the Moon are in a line. The gravitational forces of the Moon and the Sun both contribute to the tides. Spring tides occur during the full moon and the new moon.
During the moon’s quarter phases the sun and moon work at right angles, causing the bulges to cancel each other. The result is a smaller difference between high and low tides and is known as a neap tide. Neap tides are especially weak tides. They occur when the gravitational forces of the Moon and the Sun are perpendicular to one another (with respect to the Earth). Neap tides occur during quarter moons.
Winds and currents move the surface water causing waves. The gravitational attraction of the moon causes the oceans to bulge out in the direction of the moon. Another bulge occurs on the opposite side, since the Earth is also being pulled toward the moon (and away from the water on the far side). Ocean levels fluctuate daily as the sun, moon and earth interact. As the moon travels around the earth and as they, together, travel around the sun, the combined gravitational forces cause the world’s oceans to rise and fall. Since the earth is rotating while this is happening, two tides occur each day.
More About Tides
- The gravitational force of the moon is one ten-millionth that of earth, but when you combine other forces such as the earth’s centrifugal force created by its spin, you get tides.
- The sun’s gravitational force on the earth is only 46 percent that of the moon. Making the moon the single most important factor for the creation of tides.
- The sun’s gravity also produces tides. But since the forces are smaller, as compared to the moon, the effects are greatly decreased.
- Tides are not caused by the direct pull of the moon’s gravity. The moon is pulling upwards on the water while the earth is pulling downward. Slight advantage to the moon and thus we have tides.
- Whenever the Moon, Earth and Sun are aligned, the gravitational pull of the sun adds to that of the moon causing maximum tides.
- Spring tides happen when the sun and moon are on the same side of the earth (New Moon) or when the sun and moon are on opposite sides of the earth (Full Moon).
- When the Moon is at first quarter or last quarter phase (meaning that it is located at right angles to the Earth-Sun line), the Sun and Moon interfere with each other in producing tidal bulges and tides are generally weaker; these are called neap tides.
- Spring tides and neap tide levels are about 20% higher or lower than average.
- Offshore, in the deep ocean, the difference in tides is usually less than 1.6 feet
- The surf grows when it approaches a beach, and the tide increases. In bays and estuaries, this effect is amplified. (In the Bay of Fundy, tides have a range of 44.6 ft.)
- The highest tides in the world are at the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia, Canada.
- Because the earth rotates on its axis the moon completes one orbit in our sky every 25 hours (Not to be confused with moon’s 27 day orbit around the earth), we get two tidal peaks as well as two tidal troughs. These events are separated by about 12 hours.
- Since the moon moves around the Earth, it is not always in the same place at the same time each day. So, each day, the times for high and low tides change by 50 minutes.
- The type of gravitational force that causes tides is know as “Tractive” force.
Adapted from Keith’s Moon Page.
Brief Water News Items
An oily, silvery substance covered the water at the south end of Lake Erie along Porter Beach at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore driving swimmers from the water. The substance has not been identfied, but preliminary tests indicate it included D-gluconic acid, a mild acid used to clean metals, and tricalcium orthophosphate, an additive found in food and fertilizers. Full Story.
California’s West Valley Water District, which serves parts of San Bernardino and Riverside counties, has begun testing a new facility that uses naturally occurring bacteria to eliminate toxic substances. The facility will treat for perchlorate, an ingredient in rocket fuel, which was discovered in the Rialto/Colton groundwater basin in 2000. Full story.
It is just over a month until National Garden Hose Day. Full story.
Thinking about complaining to your city water department about the bad taste of your tap water? Think again. A Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation deputy director warned a group of Maury County (TN) residents who had complained about water quality that unfounded complaints about water quality could be considered “an act of terrorism.” The official told the audience, “You need to make sure that when you make water quality complaints you have a basis, because federally, if there’s no water quality issues, that can be considered under Homeland Security an act of terrorism.” Full story.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is analyzing the threat that hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, poses to drinking water, but to no one’s surprise it was just announced that the study won’t be completed until 2016. Congress ordered the EPA to investigate the effects of fracking in 2010. Full Story
Denver Water received the Steel Water Pipe Century Club award from the Steel Tank Institute/Steel Plate Fabricators Association, in recognition of the reliability of Conduit 40, a 24-inch diameter steel pipe installed in 1911, The award is given to utilities whose steel water pipe or pipeline has been in continious service for more than 100 years. Full story.
The San Clemente Dam (above) on the Carmel River above Carmel Valley, Calif. is being taken down. . The 106-foot concrete dam was built in 1921.The San Clemente Dam removal project is slated to begin on June 21, 2013 and is scheduled to take three years at a cost of $83 million, making it the largest dam removal project in California history. There is disagreement about who will pay the $83 million. Full Story.
Residents of Lehi, Utah have been warned by their water department that the city will run out of water very soon if residents continue to ignore restrictions against lawn watering. Full Story.
New In the Pure Water Gazette
Popular home building and remodeling expert Rosie Romero, who hosts a syndicated radio show in the Phoenix area called Rosie on the House, gives advice about “common water treatment-softening” myths.” then Gene Franks of Pure Water Products offers advice about Romero’s advice.
Egypt Believes that It Owns the Nile; Ethiopia Does Not Agree. The Debate over the Grand Renaissance Dam Heats Up.
A rift between Egypt and Ethiopia over a plan by Addis Ababa to build a huge dam on one of the tributaries of the River Nile has been festering for years, and now things appear to be getting worse.
Gazette technical wizard Pure Water Annie clears up troublesome questions about RO Drains. This article is part of Annie’s apparently never ending Water Treatment 101 series.
Water has been found in bore holes in a copper/zinc mine almost two miles beneath the surface of Ontario that has been shown by tests to be at least 1.5 billion years old–probably older. What is the nature of billion-year-old water?
How Will Artificial Grass Affect Water?
Editor’s Note: In earlier Gazettes we looked at the ins and outs, the ups and the downs, of the complicated fake vs.real Christmas tree issue. Artificial grass, which is growing rapidly in popularity, may be an even more perplexing water issue than Christmas trees. Imagine, for example, the impact on storm drain systems if just 10% of a city’s homes had lawns that did not soak up rainwater. Here’s a perceptive piece from the Wall Street Journal. — Hardly Waite.
Artificial Grass: It’s Not Just for Stadiums Any More
by Alyssa Abkowitz
Artificial grass, long considered the bad toupee of landscaping, has gotten a makeover. Manufacturers have developed new “yarns” that make synthetic grass look less shiny and more natural.
Today, six companies make artificial grass in the U.S., and residential sales have increased about 30% a year for the past five years, according to the Association of Synthetic Grass Installers.
Homeowners can have a full lawn of artificial grass installed or use it in specific areas: between pavers in a driveway, in a courtyard, around swimming pools and under swing sets. There are even varieties of synthetic grass for pet owners that include a drainage system, says Brian Karmie, co-founder of manufacturer ForeverLawn in Uniontown, Ohio. Companies also offer specialty grass for putting greens, which use tightly curled fibers instead of straight ones to simulate real putting surfaces, says Nick Vena, vice president of synthetic-grass distributor Purchase Green in San Dimas, Calif.
In recent years, synthetic-grass makers have introduced yarns with a lower luster, skinnier blades and a softer feel to make the appearance and feel of the grass more realistic. While artificial lawns only hit the residential market about a decade ago, they’ve been used in sports arenas regularly since the 1970s.
What is it? Typically made from polyethylene, synthetic grass is made on carpet machines and bound with a polyurethane or latex backing. The grass fibers have short, curled brownish fibers mixed with green and yellow blades that typically are 1¾ inches long. The quality is measured by the product’s face weight, or the weight of the fibers per square yard. Artificial-turf face weights range from 40 ounces to 93 ounces. High-end residential lawns typically use 80- to 93-ounce face weights.
Installation takes about two days: one day to excavate and grade 3 inches to 5 inches of soil, and another day to roll out the carpet and affix it to the ground. Then a sand infill is brushed into the grass to weigh it down and increase its durability, says Bryce Bartlett, director of sales for synthetic-grass installer Conservation Grass of Dallas.
Pros: There isn’t a lot of maintenance—no mowing or watering required—, and most artificial yards last 15 to 20 years. Homeowners with pets may hose down the lawn once a month with a cleaning solution that eats odor-causing bacteria. Owners can brush the blades with a broom to get them to stand up straight if the lawn starts to look matted down. Some states, such as Arizona and California, offer water-conservation rebates for installing synthetic grass.
Cons: Prices can be high, with large, high-quality lawns costing as much as $100,000. Also, the grass gets hotter than natural grass; on a 100-degree day, synthetic grass can reach 108 degrees, says Tony Vena, CEO of Purchase Green.
Price: The lowest-price, 40-ounce face weight is about $1.50 a square foot; the lushest face weight, of 93 ounces, about $4.50. Costs, with labor, range from $7 to $20 a square foot. With labor, costs typically range from $12 to $20 a square foot.
Reference: Wall Street Journal.
The only thing better than a garden hose is a garden hose with a filter. Don’t be caught without a garden hose filter on National Garden Hose Day.
Thank you for reading, and please stay tuned next Monday for another wisdom-packed Occasional.
Places to Visit on Our Websites
Model 77: “The World’s Greatest $77 Water Filter
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