News for February 2012
While you were caught up in the excitement of celebrating Groundhog Day and sending out your valentines,
a lot of important things happened in the world of water. Read on to hear all about it.
Waste water from the North Texas area becomes Houston's drinking water.
Wastewater from the Dallas-Ft. Wroth Metroplex flows downstream 250 miles in the Trinity River and into Lake Livingston, where Houston gets most of its water. Read the
of South Alamo, TX were warned by the EPA
to not eat fish from the
Donna Reservoir and Canal. "The
principal pollutants in the reservoir are polychlorinated biphenyls
(PCBs). PCBs are a group of synthetic organic chemicals that can
cause a number of different harmful effects in humans. The primary
risk to human health from PCBs is from suspended sediment in the
water and the consumption of contaminated fish. Effects of
consumption of contaminated fish may include nausea, vomiting,
abdominal pain, skin rashes, acne, and cancer."
you know that too much acidity in your body can cause pain, weight
gain, fatigue, and other health problems? According to author Michelle Schoffro Cook ( The
Ultimate pH Solution), there are many ways to combat
acidity and to start feeling great.
One is "Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into a tall glass of water and
drink immediately. This one step will help you to quickly reset your
body chemistry."More information.
Consideration that consuming low-pH lemon water can correct an acidic condition in the body casts serious doubt on the belief that humans can thrive only if they drink "alkalized" water from an expensive electrical gadget. "While lemons are acidic they interact with the body’s metabolism to have an alkalizing effect on the bodily fluids helping to restore balance to the body’s pH."
The Azusa, Texas water treatment plant is being buried in its own sludge. Removing sediment from the water of the San Gabriel River is piling up sludge faster than the city's water treatment plant can get rid of it.
the spectacular BP leak caught the world's attention, the Gulf of Mexico is
continually plagued by persistent, slow but devastating oil leaks
that don't make the news. “Aided by satellite imagery and research
conducted by SkyTruth and
aerial observation by SouthWings,
the Waterkeeper Alliance and its local Waterkeeper organizations
learned that an offshore platform and 28 wells belonging to
Taylor Energy Company LLC have been quietly leaking oil into the Gulf
Attendant in Jakarta Brings Water Treatment Industry to Its Knees
Hardly Waite, Pure
to the Jakarta
a parking attendant in Jakarta was arrested for receiving a kilogram
of crystal methamphetamine from a source in the United Arab Emirates
that was delivered via a courier service.
bad news for the water treatment industry is that the meth was
delivered in a water filter. The powder was disguised as filtration
medium but was confirmed to be methamphetamine by a lab test.
that the level of craziness generated by the War on Drugs is even
scarier than that of the War on Terror, water filter shipments will
likely now be subject to search and seizure. It took only a single
nitwit with a bomb in his shoe to force the whole world to remove its
shoes at airports.
crews in Portland,OR replaced a sewer pipe that collapsed and caused
a minor cave-in.
The ancient cement pipe was installed in 1860. (Who says US infrastructure needs updating?)
Your Old Well Could Be Worth $300,000
become conduits, or straws, which draw down potentially hazardous
materials into the groundwater," said Cheryl Wong, a land use
program manager with Santa Cruz (CA) County. She is speaking of
unused water wells.
According to Ms. Wong, there are some 1000 abandoned
wells around Santa Cruz County, ". . .ranging
from dozens to hundreds of feet deep, tucked into backyards and
agricultural fields throughout the county," and these pose a
significant threat to groundwater.
The county is offering grants of
up to $300,000 to encourage owners to close off these unused well to
protect the county's water supply. More.
Knoxville's Aging Sewage System
175 miles of Knoxville's wastewater system has been replaced or
rehabilitated in a massive project intended to stop sewage overflows,
improve waterways and help the city cope with growth.
Cities face a never-ending battle to keep up with the expense of
replacing aging piping systems.
killer makers, with profits in the billions, expend enormous amounts of money to control press coverage of
their products and avoid paying for cleanup of the mess their
products leave behind.
The federal government is building a new national center that
will improve the forecasting and reporting of droughts, floods and other water crises to improve policy and safety. The $18.8 million National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Water Center will be located on the campus of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa
of a mobile home park in the Great Falls, Montana area have been warned
not to drink their tap water because it contains arsenic four times
higher than what is considered safe for human consumption. And that isn't the only problem. The resident in the picture shows what the perpetual sludge in the water does to his sediment filter in only a month. The source of the arsenic at the trailer park is unknown.
According to the EPA, "Significant or prolonged exposure to arsenic can cause a thickening or discoloration of the skin, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, numbness in the hands and feet, partial paralysis and blindness. Arsenic also has been linked to cancer of the bladder, lungs, skin, kidney, nasal passages, liver and prostate."
The recommended limit for arsenic in drinking water is only 15 parts per billion. Reverse osmosis and a variety of specialty filter media can reduce arsenic.
former owner of a southwestern Pennsylvania wastewater firm has
pleaded guilty to dumping millions of gallons of water containing
natural gas drilling wastewater, sewage sludge and restaurant grease
into streams and mine shafts in a six-county
EPA says that more testing needs to be done on Marcellus Shale
fracking operation discharge into rivers. See video.
A grant from the Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) will help improve the drinking water treatment system in
Andrews, Texas. The grant for $388,000 will be used by the city to
install a filtration and reverse osmosis system to reduce arsenic and
fluoride levels in drinking water provided to municipal customers.
Exposure to high levels of arsenic can result in kidney disease as
well as lung and liver cancer, and excessive levels of fluoride in
drinking water can result in abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting.
Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant in Brooklyn hosted a free guided
tour for couples that was billed by the city as an "unforgettable"
way to celebrate Valentine's Day. The complex is the largest of New
York City's 14 sewage treatment plants, processing 1.5 million
gallons of waste every day.
Environmental Protection Agency
posted the final health
assessment for tetrachloroethylene — also known as
perchloroethylene, or perc — to EPA’s Integrated Risk Information
System (IRIS) database.
is a chemical solvent widely used in the dry cleaning industry as
well as in the cleaning of metal machinery and the manufacturing of
some consumer products and other chemicals
issue to ponder--
by Kate Cline, Editor of Water Quality Products magazine.
Several bottled water bans have made it into the headlines in the
last few weeks—first, the National Park Service announced it would
ban sales of bottled water at Grand Canyon National Park, then the
University of Vermont announced it would ban sales of bottled water
on its campus. Both organizations cited the environment as the reason
behind the bans. Both also will sell cheap reusable bottles and offer
bottle filling stations instead.
As with past bottled water bans, the International Bottled Water
Assn. quickly responded in opposition, citing EPA statistics that
bottles make up a miniscule portion of U.S. waste, and that in the
absence of bottled water, consumers are likely to opt for bottled
sodas or sports drinks rather than carrying and refilling reusable
Do you think these bans are justified? Is there a way for bottled
water to peacefully coexist alongside tap water or filtered water?
Comment: Bottled water is another of those thorny many-sided issues. First, there's the rights angle, and it seems to us that banning anything usually isn't a very good idea. Then there is the "lesser evil" consideration, unless the U. of Vermont is also banning sugar/chemical drink machines from its campus. We would certainly not want students to waste money on mere water when for the same price they could be making themselves fat and unhealthy with Pepsi. It isn't often that the International Bottled Water Association says something sensible, but here's a video where they make some interesting points.--Hardly Waite, Pure Water Gazette.
the amazing participation of 300,000
persons worldwide in 2011, Water Monitoring Day is being launched
for 2012 with high hopes.
Winners of the 2012 Water Prize
have been announced, and again we were bitterly disappointed at being passed over.
The EPA plans to install 30 wells in the Glendale-Burbank, CA area in March to monitor levels of chromium 6 in underground water in order to get a fuller picture of how extensive the contamination is.
An Italian woman died of Legionnaires' Disease contracted in a dental office.
The foul smell in Eight Mile, AL may be coming from the water.
THMs High In A Florida Town's Water Supply
The water supply system at Mims (Brevard County) FL has struggled for some time to meet EPA standards for THMs (trihalomethanes) in its drinking water.
Trihalomethanes and other byproducts form when disinfecting chemicals such as chlorine are added to kill the much more acute health threat from viruses, bacteria and other microbes.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates drinking a half-gallon of water containing 100 parts per billion of trihalomethanes daily for 70 years could result in three more cases of cancer per 10,000 people.
The EPA requires community water plants to limit TTHMs to 80 parts per billion, as measured by the running annual average of periodic tests.
The average result for the Mims plant in 2010 was 190.25 parts per billion. One test last year reached as high as 536 parts per billion.
In December, TTHMs measured at 34 parts per billion, bringing the running average to 95 parts per billion. Full Story.
A Few Things You Should Know about Benzene
by Pure Water Annie
Benzene is a known carcinogen. There is a lot of it around. You'd do best to take in as little as possible.
Benzene is an organic chemical, one of the aromatic hydrocarbons. It is essentially colorless and has a slightly sweet odor. It is highly flammable. Benzene dissolves easily in water and evaporates quickly at room temperature. It boils at 176 degrees F.
Benzene has been much in the news recently because of its presence in the fracking fluids being injected into the ground by gas well producers,
but it can contaminate water via many other sources.
Natural sources of benzene include volcanoes and forest fires.
Benzene is also a natural part of crude oil, gasoline and cigarette
smoke. Burning PVC also produces benzene.Some industries use benzene to make other chemicals that are
used to make plastics, resins, nylon and synthetic fibers. Benzene is
also used to make some types of lubricants and pesticides.
cause cells not to work correctly, leading to conditions such as
anemia. It can damage the immune system by changing blood levels of
antibodies and causing the loss of white blood cells.
of gasoline, benzene is found in groundwater contaminated by leaking underground fuel storage tanks, or in surface water subject to fuel
spills. Gasoline contains a bit less than 1% benzene. Produced
from coal or petroleum (usually the latter), benzene ranks among the top 20
chemicals in production volume. Benzene is used to make solvents, detergents,
plastics, resins, paint and many other products.
Benzene is a carcinogen in humans. Also, long exposure to high levels in air causes leukemia. People who are exposed over long periods in their workplace are most at risk.
Drinking water or eating food containing high levels of benzene can cause vomiting, dizziness, or even death.
The EPA regulates benzene. The MCL for benzene in water is 0.005 mg/L (5 ppb).
If exposed to air, benzene evaporates to the environment.
It can also be broken down by some soil microbes. It may also be degraded in some ground waters. If benzene is released to surface water, most of it should evaporate within a few hours. Though it does not degrade by reacting with water, it may be degraded by microbes. It is not likely to accumulate in aquatic organisms.
Benzene can be removed from water by adsorption with granular activated carbon. It can also be treated by ozonation. Because benzene evaporates easily, open tank aeration is also a valuable treatment method. If benzene is present, it should be treated as a "whole house" issue because inhalation is a hazard. The most practical residential treatment is filtration with a good activated carbon filter.
US EPA, US Occupational Safety and Health Administration, US Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention, Clean Water Partners. Water Technology
Volume 32, Issue 4 - April 2009
Numerical Wizard B. Bea Sharper ferrets out the watery facts that Harper's misses
MCL for benzene in water-- 0.005 ppm.
Boiling point of benzene -- 176 degrees F.
MCL for Trihalomethanes in water -- 0.008 ppm.
MCL for arsenic in water -- 0.015 ppm
MCL for nitrates in water -- 10 ppm.
Gallons of water used in Houston on a hot summer day -- 500,000,000.
Depth of the ice that the Russians drilled through to reach the
surface of Lake Vostok -- 3.5 kilometers.
In addition to Lake Vostok, the approximate number of subglacial lakes found in the Antarctic -- 150.
Number of years that Taylor Oil's secret oil spill as been poisoning the Gulf of Mexico -- 7
Number of people who took
Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant
St. Valentine's Day Tour -- 100.