The Pure Water Occasional for January 25, 2016

In this mid-Winter Occasional, you'll get bad news about water-powered sump pumps, failure of the maize and coffee crops, problems with the Ganges and Mosul Dams, sick bass, pipe corrosion, dying cattle in Zimbabwe, pollution from fish farms, PFOA in Hoosick Falls water, lead in Flint, MI, chocolate-colored water in St. Joseph, LA, and coal ash pollution that plagues the poor. However, there is good news about tardigrades (aka "water bears"), and there is now abundant water in Folsom Lake.  You'll meet LeeAnn Walters, learn why you should go to bed with your tummy full of water, and hear for the hundredth time someone's advice about how much water you should drink.  Finally, Pure Water Annie tells you how to get lead out of your drinking 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.

We have so many water treatment products to choose from that you'll be totally confused!

To read this issue on the Pure Water Gazette's website,  please go here.  (Recommended! When you read online you get the added advantage of the Gazette's sidebar feed of the very latest world water news.)

You'll sing better.


What Water Does for You

Drinking water at bedtime does more than make you pee


Drinking a glass of water before bedtime helps the body replenish the fluids it loses during the day. The human body is mostly water, and it is vital to keep it hydrated so it works properly. The body doesn’t need to excrete a lot of fluid during sleep so providing it with water before bedtime helps it to maintain hydration.

  Water helps the body burn calories efficiently

Keeping your body well hydrated increases its metabolic efficiency and helps it maintain an ideal weight. Water is a natural calorie-burner. Many people sip ice water to burn calories and help lose weight. The belief is that cool water makes the body work double time to keep warm and this burns calories. Clearly, if you drink a lot of cold water at bedtime you will burn extra calories making trips to the bathroom.  That's our theory, anyway.

Water helps you sleep

Drinking water naturally balances the body’s vitamins, nutrients and minerals, replenishing what it burns up during the day. Drinking water before bed balances the body’s hormones, energy levels, muscles and joints, which relaxes the body. During sleep, water has time to reach and replenish every part of the body. Many people feel that they sleep more soundly and consistently by drinking water before bed, leaving muscles, vitamins and minerals in harmony.

Water clears your body of toxins

One of the best benefits of drinking water is that it acts as a natural cleanser. The body attracts many toxins from food and the environment. Cleaning it out consistently helps keep it healthy and functioning well. Drinking water before bed will provide your body with the cleaning agent and the time to clear out your system.  The digestive tract, muscles and skin benefit from the cleansing process. Clearly, the cleanest water you can get is best at clearing your body of toxins.

Along with all of the normal health benefits of drinking water, simply having a glass before bedtime each night can have a big and positive effect on lifestyle. People find that they sleep better and have more energy.  Improved digestion, weight loss, greater alertness and a general feeling of well-being can result from a nightcap of good old H2O.


The above was adapted from an article in Water Technology magazine.

How much water should you drink in a day?

The advice you've heard for years may no longer hold true.

by Chanie Kirschner


I know. The Gazette has already put up half a dozen "how much water should you drink" articles, but they keep writing them so we reprint one now and then. This article is helpful if you want to know how much water someone at the Mayo Clinic who has never seen you and knows nothing about you thinks you should drink if you are pregnant and how much you should drink if you aren't pregnant. The Gazette's advice on the topic, and we've been consistent on this since they started writing " how much water" articles, is get a drink whenever you're thirsty. --Hardly Waite.

Everyone's heard the old refrain — drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Turns out that’s not entirely accurate. The Mayo Clinic recommends about 13 cups a day for an average male and about nine cups a day for the average female. But the actual amount of water a person should drink in a day can vary based on where you live, how much you weigh, and what kind of lifestyle you lead.

Water makes up 60 percent of our body's weight and is absolutely imperative for our organs to function. Since we are constantly losing water through sweat, urine and even our breath, drinking enough water is crucial. If you become dehydrated, you will lose energy and become nauseated, headache-y, and tired. Severe dehydration can even send you to the hospital so drinking an adequate amount of water is crucial to maintaining your health on a daily basis.

If you exercise, you are losing more water than the average person. Therefore, it's important to drink water before, during and after your workout — an extra 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 cups should be sufficient for a short workout. If you're doing prolonged exercise, like running in a marathon, you have to drink much more than that.

In the summertime or if you live in a warm climate, you’ll also need to drink more water than the recommended amount. That's because heat can make you sweat more and lose fluids faster.

You'll also need to drink more water than is usually recommended if you're sick with a fever, vomiting or diarrhea. If all you've got is a pesky cold, drinking water can also help keep your nasal passages hydrated and prevent you from getting sicker.

Another instance where you need to drink more water? If you're pregnant or breastfeeding. The Mayo Clinc recommended that a pregnant woman drink at least 10 cups of water a day and a nursing woman to drink 13 cups of water a day. That's because nursing drains your body and can leave you dehydrated if you're not drinking enough. Not to mention that adequate hydration while breastfeeding can ensure an ample milk supply. When I had my last child, the hospital lactation specialist told me to drink one cup of water each hour of the day from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. — that's a lot of water!

How do you know if you’re drinking enough? You can count the cups you drink or you can just peek in the toilet after you pee — you should be peeing a clear or light yellow liquid. If your urine is dark yellow or cloudy, you definitely are not drinking enough.

This is a lot of water to drink for physical health, but drinking water can have an influence on your emotional health as well. A 2014 study found that, if you're not drinking enough water, drinking more water will better your mood and increase general positive emotions. If you're already drinking a good bit of water during the way, keep it up! The same study found that folks who drank a high amount of water over the course of the day experienced a decrease in their happiness levels if they decreased their water intake.

If water isn't your thing, you can also safely substitute juice, milk or coffee for a cup or two a day. Since I was never a major water drinker, I like to combine 1/3 cup juice with 2/3 cup water. My husband says I like to drink juice that way because I grew up on watered-down juice from a can. Maybe. But at least it helps me meet my daily water intake goal!

Source: Mother Nature Network.

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Consumer advice:  Read why you probably shouldn't get a water-powered sump pump on the Gazette's website.

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Lead in the water of Flint, Michigan

The ongoing story of Flint, MI water has dominated water news for the past several weeks. The unfolding of events in Flint reveal gross political ineptness, a culture of greed, and the failure of the regulatory system. There are way too many fine stories on the Flint tragedy for us to reprint, but the excellent Mother Jones piece below explains most of the essentials of the event.--Hardly Waite.

Meet the mom who helped expose Flint's toxic water nightmare.

On a chilly evening last March in Flint, Michigan, LeeAnne Walters was getting ready for bed when she heard her daughter shriek from the bathroom of the family's two-story clapboard house. She ran upstairs to find 18-year-old Kaylie standing in the shower, staring at a clump of long brown hair that had fallen from her head. Read the Mother Jones account of the ongoing story of the Flint, Michigan water debacle.


South Africa suffers driest year on record in 2015. South Africa suffered its driest year on record in 2015, the national weather service said in mid-January. The killer drought that has threatened the vital maize crop and hit economic growth showed no sign of abating.

 Climate change affecting coffee Climate change is a threat to coffee production in the medium and long term, Andrea Illy, chairman and CEO of Italian coffee company Illy, told CNBC at the World Economic Forum in Davos,

Ganges dam project stumbles on Indian flooding fears. Bangladesh's plan to build a dam on the Ganges River to ease water shortages in its southwest coastal region hangs in the balance as neighboring India has yet to accept the plan.

El Niño and drought take a toll on Zimbabwe's cattle. Worsening drought in Zimbabwe has dried up water holes, crops and pasture, leaving farmers unable to feed their animals - and unable to sell them for much either.

Mosul Dam

More than 16 months after Iraqi and Kurdish forces reclaimed Mosul Dam from Islamic State fighters, the structure faces a new threat: the danger that it may collapse because of insufficient maintenance, overwhelming major communities downstream with floodwaters.

In the worst-case scenario, according to State Department officials, an estimated 500,000 people could be killed while more than a million could be rendered homeless if the dam, Iraq’s largest, were to collapse in the spring, when the Tigris is swollen by rain and melting snow. The casualty toll and damage would be much less if Iraqi citizens received adequate warning, if the dam collapsed only partially or if it were breached in the summer or fall, when the water level is lower.  Full Story.

Study of sick bass in Susquehanna cites endocrine disrupters.

Hormone-altering compounds and herbicides are likely weakening the immune systems of Susquehanna River smallmouth bass, precipitating a population collapse, a new study has concluded .

Florida fracking activists dare lawmakers to drink their water.

Anti-fracking activists poured into the Florida capitol to push for a ban on the controversial drilling technique and speak out against bills that would regulate it. As fracking continues, the protests heat up.

Treating fish farms like factory farms is bad for our water.

Fish farms are often given a pass by regulators, but they can be major polluters.

"Water Bears" in Japan survive and reproduce after being frozen for 30 years. 

Researchers at the National Institute of Polar Research in Tokyo defrosted and revived two of the tiny animals called tardigrades, which are also known as water bears, from a batch collected in the Antarctic in 1983,  While one tardigrade died after 20 days, the other began reproducing. It laid 19 eggs, of which 14 hatched successfully.

Federal civil rights probe seeks to understand why the poor bear so much of a burden for our coal-fired energy waste.

Too often toxic coal ash, a byproduct of coal-fired power, ends up in poor, minority communities. U.S. civil rights officials are launching a deeper look at federal environmental policy to find out why.

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights will hold a hearing next week on environmental justice and the Environmental Protection Agency. The focus is the impact of coal ash, a toxic waste product of burning coal that often contains harmful metals such as lead, mercury, chromium and cadmium.

Depending on exposure, such contaminants can cause cancer and harm most human organs, and kill or sicken wildlife. Coal ash is the second largest source of industrial waste in the country, after mining, according to a joint report from the nonprofit environment law organization, Earthjustice, and the Physicians for Social Responsibility.

Thanks El Niño! 44-foot rise of Folsom Lake offers hope for California's worst ever drought.

California lake levels are rising as fast as the stock market is falling, with Folsom Lake east of Sacramento rising an astonishing 44 feet in just over a month and Lake Oroville, the second most expansive water storage facility in the state rising another 20 feet.

PFOA Pollutes the Water in Hoosick Falls

 PFOA is linked to thyroid disease, testicular cancer and other serious health risks

The water in the village of Hoosick Falls, NY has tested positive for a chemical called PFOA. Samples near Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics plant showed levels 45 times higher than what’s considered safe.

The chemical has been linked to serious health issues such as cancer.

Nationwide testing has found that 6.5 million Americans in 27 states are drinking water tainted by an industrial compound that was used for decades to make Teflon.

The chemical, known as PFOA, has been detected in 94 public water systems. The amounts are small, but new research indicates that it can be hazardous even at the tiniest doses. PFOA and closely related fluorinated chemicals – including PFOS, once used to make Scotchgard – can cause cancer, birth defects and heart disease and weaken the immune system.

Even the lowest level of PFOA detected by the water testing, which was mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency, was about five times higher than what’s safe to drink, according to the new research. This means that even if the EPA has not reported finding PFOA in your drinking water supply, it could still be contaminated.

Gazette note: PFOA is removed by carbon filtration, and the city has carbon treatment in its long-range plans.  This is yet another case where point-of-use carbon filtration would have protected the individual user from unsuspected contaminants like PFOA.


More information.

Tap Water, St. Joseph, LA

The tap water sample drawn recently from a residential tap in St. Joseph, LA is "officially" safe.  Officials blame the discoloration on old pipes.  Full story.

Getting the Lead Out

by Pure Water Annie

Gazette tech wizard Pure Water Annie tells you how to protect your drinking water from lead.


The most common advice for removing lead from drinking water tells you to remove the source of lead. This is excellent advice, but unfortunately home owners have no control over lead entering the home from external sources. Lead most often comes from piping. If the water supplier still has lead pipes in service, or if your home has old copper pipes with lead solder joints, that is probably your source of lead. "Removing" the lead in this case involves corrosion control through pH and alkalinity adjustment, adding calcium (e. g. with a calcite filter) to the water line, or using a phosphate-based corrosion inhibitor.

This sounds complicated, and it is. Most of these strategies must be done by the supplier and are outside the control of the individual home owner.

A common whole house strategy for lead removal that is sometimes recommended to home owners is using a standard ion exchange water softener. This, too, can be tricky, because flow rates have to be kept low, and often the source of lead can be in the home plumbing itself. If so, a softener, by removing the calcium from the water, can actually promote corrosion and leaching of lead and make the problem worse.

The best strategy is to treat only the drinking water.  Here you have several good options.

Point of Use Treatment

There are carbon cartridges with excellent lead removal properties from reputable makers that can be used in countertop and undersink filters. These usually consist of a an ion exchange medium that is molded into the carbon. Such filters can be inexpensive and very effective.

Activated alumina, most often used for fluoride reduction, can be used as well for lead removal, but since its effectiveness is pH-dependent, be sure you know what you're doing.  KDF combined with carbon has also been shown to be very effective at removing lead, but results should be verified if you're going to trust your life to it.

Another very effective way to remove lead from drinking water is with a steam distiller.  Distillers work well, but they can be inconvenient, expensive to operate,  and  they often require lots of attention.

Without doubt, the best home treatment to assure lead-free drinking water is a reverse osmosis unit.  RO serves as an excellent lead barrier and removes 95% or so of soluble lead. RO units are relatively inexpensive and easy to maintain.

Reverse osmosis by its nature removes 95% of lead from incoming water.  RO is the most effective drinking water protection for the home.

Corrosion of water pipes has many causes, and not all are well understood. It also affects the quality of drinking water. 

Here are a few of the main reasons why water pipes corrode. Some are simple and easy to remedy; others are complex and hard to diagnose. Often, more than one of the following contributes to the breakdown of pipes.

Galvanic.  Galvanic corrosion is common with metal pipes.  It occurs when pipes made of different metals are joined.  A small electrical current flows from one to the other.  Galvanic corrosion is easily prevented by installing a dielectric union when joining the pipes, but in the effort to save money, dielectric connectors are often left out.

Galvanic Corrosion

Dissolved Gases and Chemicals. High levels of dissolved gases, like oxygen or carbon dioxide, can corrode metals pipes and cause pinhole leaks. High levels of chlorine can be corrosive to pipe, and high levels of fluoride corrodes stainless steel. Chloramine is associated with the leaching of lead from inner pipe surfaces.

Low pH.  Water with low pH attacks copper pipes and causes pinhole leaks. Copper is subject corrosion when the water is below 7.0 pH. This is usually not a problem with city water, but it can be a significant issue for well owners.

Low alkalinity.  Alkalinity is related to pH, but it isn't the same. Low alkalinity leaves pipes vulnerable to acids.

Low TDS (Total Dissolved Solids).  Nature hates a vacuum. Water that has a low dissolved mineral content can pull minerals from metal pipes.

Pinhole Leak in Copper Pipe Caused by Corrosion

High Temperature and High Flow Rates.   Hot water is much more corrosive than cold. The faster water flows through a pipe, the more it breaks down the pipe.

Microbiological.  Microbes, if given a food supply and oxygen, can corrode pipes causing interior buildup and subsequent leaks.

Corrosion in a water distribution system can cause health issues as well as damaging water leaks.  When pipes are corroded, some of the metal from the pipe enters the drinking water and is consumed. Pipes and fixtures containing copper, lead, and brass (brass contains lead) can cause a variety of health problems.

While the municipal supplier regulates such contaminants as lead at the water plant, no one is checking the actual amount of lead or copper that comes out of the kitchen tap.

Pipe corrosion is a compelling justification for having a drinking water system under the kitchen sink.  A comprehensive treatment system like reverse osmosis takes care of virtually any  contamination that enters the water on its way from the water plant.


People often purchase a water filter when a plumber shows them the inside of a pipe during a plumbing repair. The pristine water described in the city's annual water report has to come through miles of dirty pipes before it gets to your drinking glass.


 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 next week.

Places to Visit on Our Websites in the meantime.

Garden Hose Filters.  Don’t be the last on your block to own one.

Model 77: “The World’s Greatest $77 Water Filter”

Sprite Shower Filters: You’ll Sing Better!”

An Alphabetical Index to Water Treatment Products

Our famous whole house Chloramine Catcher

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