The Pure Water Occasional for February 23, 2016

In this late-winter Occasional, you'll read about alkalizers, ionizers, mg/L, ug/L, the Zika virus, Pyriproxyfen, and Dr. Snow's famous Broad Street Pump. Then there are potassium chloride, microcephaly, tiny sea butterflies with wings, waterborne diseases, demand pumps, and a newly discovered holy well in London. Learn how ice stacking occurs and how hedge funds may solve the water crises. Hear a about the new microbead law and read the latest in water polo news.  And, as always, there is much, much more.

The Pure Water Occasional is a project of Pure Water Products and the Pure Water Gazette.

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. 

Can Drinking Alkaline Water Keep You Extra-Hydrated And Disease-Free?

by Molly Shea,  Assistant Editor, Yahoo Health

 Can Trendy Alkaline Water Cure What Ails You?

Gazette Introductory Note:  This piece calmly dismisses the basic assumption of sellers of the products called "alkalizers" or "ionizers"  that the human body needs large amounts of very alkaline water to maintain its health.  The key idea is expressed in the statement that the body does quite well at maintaining water's pH balance.  It has been doing this for eons without the help of radically treated water or the $2000 machines being sold to produce it.  The fact is that the body must have water at a very specific pH level and it has perfected the way of achieving that level quite without the help of special bottled water or costly electronic gadgets. Truth is, the pH level of the water we drink seems to have no effect at all on the body's ability to get the pH of the water it uses exactly right.--Hardly Waite.

Water is nature’s perfect beverage. Hydrating, calorie-free, and readily available, the simple drink is as good as it gets for ensuring proper functioning of all your body’s organs. But what if there was a different water, an even more hydrating liquid that goes farther to keep you healthy and thriving?

That’s the premise behind alkaline water, a version of H2O with a pH level higher than 7. (A pH above 7 is considered alkaline, while a pH lower than 7 is acidic — normal water typically has a pH of 7).The thinking is this: Maintaining a bodily pH level of 7.4 is key to optimum health. Because so many foods in the modern diet are considered acidic, drinking water with a higher pH than normal can help your body stay alkaline and disease-free, improving all aspects of health. Proponents call it a better form of hydration, and some drink alkaline water exclusively.

The water comes in two forms: “natural” alkaline water, gathered from areas like Hawaii’s volcanic regions, or “artificial” alkaline water, which is ionized by a machine or made by adding an alkalizing salt to normal water.

Where The Trend Began:

While water with extra benefits has been revered for ages, the specialty bottled water industry has boomed in just recent years. “People are drawn to something that impacts the body’s pH [levels]. Whether it’s placebo or fact, people feel that drinking alkaline water will help them get healthier,” says Richard Medina Jr., co-founder of L.A. Distributing Company, a New Age snack and beverage distributor. Even Mark Wahlberg and Puff Daddy got into the game in 2013 co-founding “Aqua Hydrate,” a brand of alkaline water that they tout as a natural hangover cure.

But for all its celebrity sparkle and dramatic claims, can drinking alkaline water actually make you any healthier?

What The Science Says:

As alluring as it sounds, the answer is no, says Stanley Goldfarb, MD, hydration expert and professor at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. “If you drink a lot of alkaline water, all you’re going to do is pee out a huge amount of alkaline material. There really is no rationale for this,” Goldfarb explains. Yes, maintaining the right pH balance is important, but your body does that on its own — no fancy water required.

“What people need to appreciate is that the body is designed to maintain its equilibrium in the face of whatever you take in,” Goldfarb explains. “We are designed to maintain the pH of our bodies in an extraordinarily specific range. We have so many defense mechanisms to prevent an accumulation of alkaline that drinking alkaline water will have little effect.”

As for claims that alkaline water can hydrate better than normal water, delivering vitamins and minerals to your body more rapidly and efficiently — those just don’t hold up. There are no studies that prove that drinking alkaline water is any more hydrating than your average tap, filtered, or bottled water, and any claims that it does so fly in the face of hydration research, says Goldfarb. “When it comes to… whether you’re taking in acid or alkaline, it really makes no difference,” he says.

But as much as alkaline water’s benefits have likely been overblown, so too have any potential side effects. Some warn against drinking too much alkaline water, for fear that it could lead to alkalosis — when your body’s pH level is too high, causing confusion, headaches, vomiting and more. According to Goldfarb, there’s very little chance that drinking alkaline water, even if you’re drinking it exclusively, could lead to any internal issues. “It’s not to say that you can’t overwhelm your system, but it’s rare.” That said, says Goldfarb, “if you have a disease, the answer changes, so I’m hesitant to say oh, no, drink what you want, [but in general] it won’t make a difference.”

As for whether water that’s naturally alkaline is any better than water that’s artificially alkalized, Goldfarb doesn’t see the evidence. “There’s no difference between natural and unnatural alkaline—it really doesn’t matter.”

The Verdict:

There are some situations where the pH level of the water you consume does impact your health, Goldfarb explains. “For example, [for] some people who have kidney disease, their bodies cannot rid themselves of acid as quickly as others. If you’re prone to kidney stones, then acidity might be a problem.” A study did suggest that drinking water with a pH of 8.8 (which is more alkaline) can help relieve symptoms of acid reflux, when it’s done as part of a doctor-approved treatment plan. Those exceptions aside, swilling alkaline water won’t make much of a difference.

If you love the taste of a certain water and have some extra money to blow, spending it on pricey aqua isn’t the worst thing you could do. Just turn a wary eye to health claims and don’t expect any magic.

Source: Yahoo Health.

Pure Water Gazette Fair Use Statement


From the Pure Water Gazette's Famous Water Pictures series:

 Dr. Snow's Pump

Waterborne diseases like infectious hepatitis,  bacterial dysentery, cholera, and giardiasis were common until fairly recently.  Throughout the world, health impacts were staggering. Entire villages in Europe were wiped out by plagues in the 11th and 12th centuries.   In 1848 and 1849 in a single cholera epidemic alone, 53,000 people died in London.

In 1854 Dr. John Snow, a London obstetrician, carefully plotted the locations of the illness and compared his findings to the subscriber lists of two private companies that provided water for London. His research showed that cholera occurred with greater frequency among the customers of one of the companies–the one that drew its water from the lower Thames river which was contaminated by London sewage. The other company used upper Thames water, which was less polluted.

Dr. Snow’s maps indicated a strong correlation between cholera cases and the proximity to the intersection of Cambridge and Broad Streets. The obvious conclusion was that the main cause of the cholera epidemic was the water drawn from a community pump on Broad Street.

The picture above depicts Dr. Snow removing the handle from the Broad St. pump. Below, an artist's rendition of the deadly pump before Dr. Snow's discovery.   For more details. 


This article is from the  Gazette's Famous Water Picture Series.

According to Doctors, Larvicide Manufactured By Monsanto Partner, Not Zika Virus, is the True Cause Of Brazil's Microcephaly Outbreak

By Alyssa Navarro, Tech Times


  A group of Argentine physicians claim that the sudden microcephaly outbreak in Brazil was not caused by the Zika virus but by a larvicide injected into the country's water supplies.

The microcephaly outbreak in Brazil, which coincided with the spread of the Zika virus, continues to stun the world, even months after the incident was first reported.

Pregnant women all over the world have been advised to take caution. The Zika virus infection has been linked to newborn babies with the birth defect microcephaly. This is a congenital condition in which babies are born with unusually tiny heads.

The notion, however, has recently been challenged by a group of Argentine physicians. The group suspects that the Zika virus is not to blame for the rise in microcephaly cases, but that a toxic larvicide introduced into Brazil's water supplies may be the real culprit.

Not A Coincidence?

According to the Physicians in Crop-Sprayed Towns (PCST), a chemical larvicide that produces malformations in mosquitoes was injected into Brazil's water supplies in 2014 in order to stop the development of mosquito larvae in drinking water tanks.

The chemical, which is known as Pyriproxyfen, was used in a massive government-run program tasked to control the mosquito population in the country. Pyriproxyfen is a larvicide manufactured by Sumitomo Chemical, a company associated with Monsanto.

"Malformations detected in thousands of children from pregnant women living in areas where the Brazilian state added pyriproxyfen to drinking water is not a coincidence," the PCST wrote in the report.

For instance, the Brazilian Health Ministry had injected pyriproxyfen to reservoirs in the state of Pernambuco. In the area, the proliferation of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which carries the Zika virus, is very high, the PCST said.


Pernambuco is also the first state in Brazil to notice the problem. The state contains 35 percent of the total microcephaly cases in the country.

The group of Argentine doctors points out that during past Zika epidemics, there have not been any cases of microcephaly linked with the virus. In fact, about 75 percent of the population in countries where Zika broke out had been infected by the mosquito-borne virus.

In countries such as Colombia where there are plenty of Zika cases, there are no records of microcephaly linked to Zika, the group said.

When the Colombian president announced that many of the country's citizens were infected with Zika but that there was not a single case of microcephaly, the allegations soon emerged. Some 3,177 pregnant women in the country were infected with Zika, but the PCST report said these women are carrying healthy fetuses or had given birth to healthy babies.

Remain Skeptical

On its website, Sumitomo Chemical says pyriproxyfen poses minimal risk to birds, fish and mammals.

However, the evidence is overwhelming. The Washington Post reported in January that after experts examined 732 cases out of 4,180 Zika-related microcephaly, more than half were not related to Zika at all. Only 270 cases were confirmed as Zika-linked microcephaly.

On top of all the suspicions, however, the World Health Organization (WHO) has been careful not to explicitly link Zika to microcephaly.

"Although a causal link between Zika infection in pregnancy and microcephaly — and I must emphasize — has not been established, the circumstantial evidence is suggestive and extremely worrisome," said WHO General Director Margaret Chan.

In the meantime, scientists are currently racing toward developing a vaccine for the mosquito-borne infection.

While there is no solid proof yet that the larvicide causes microcephaly, the local government of Grande do Sul in the southern portion of Brazil suspended the use of the chemical larvicide pyriproxyfen.


Source: Tech Times.

Pure Water Gazette Fair Use Statement

Softening Water with Potassium Chloride (KCl)


Postassium chloride (KCl) can be used as a substitute for traditional water softener salt to regenerate residential water softeners.  It is a popular alternative because of both  health
and environmental concerns associated with regular softener salt. Although KCl costs more than conventional softener salt--a lot more in some areas--use of potassium is increasing. A number of questions arise when softener users considered switching to potassium.  The informal FAQ below, based on information from William Wist et al., Water Softening with Potassium Chloride, answers most of these.

Do you need a special water softener if you plan to use potassium chloride?

No, any standard water softener will run on either salt or potassium.

Are changes in equipment needed if you switch from NaCl to KCl?

For normal salt settings, no change is needed. For extremely low salt doses (e. g.,  4 lbs. of salt per cubic foot of resin), however, a slight increase might be needed.  Four lbs. to 4.5 lbs., for example.

Can potassium chloride be added to a tank that already has salt in it?

Yes, there's no incompatibility  issue if you mix the two.

Can a softener running on KCl be used to remove iron and manganese from well water?

Yes, in reasonable amounts, just like salt.

Does KCl soften water as effectively as NaCl?


Are there any negative health issues associated with drinking water that has been softened with potassium chloride?

No, except for with a small number of people who are at risk of potassium overload.

Can KCl be used to water house plants?

Yes. Keep in mind that, as with any water, excess water should be allowed to drain from the bottom of the pot.
Can you put KCl-softened water in a fish tank?

Not a good idea. No softened water is recommended for use with fish.

How about dogs and cats?

Yes, its good for them.

How about lawn and garden?

No problem. In fact, potassium is a plant nutrient. However, avoid giving your plants too much of a good thing. It's best to alternate between watering with hard and softened water to provide a balance of nutrients.


Water News

Recent water news has been dominated by the Flint, MI public water lead scandal.  But a lot of other important and interesting things have happened.

India caste unrest: 'Ten million without water' in Delhi.More than 10 million people in India's capital are without water despite the army regaining control of its key water source after protests, officials say.

A 900-year-old 'holy well' was discovered in London that still has clean, drinkable water.

Perhaps it's only fitting that a scientific investigation recently uncovered a hidden well in the building's basement that dates back 900 years, to Celtic times, that is still full of spring water. And incredibly, the immaculate water remains fit to drink.

The well is thought to be one of around 20 throughout London that have been covered by roads and structures over the centuries and forgotten. Not all of the locations of these springs are known, and even fewer are accessible, making this well particularly unique.

The spring itself is fed by the Fleet River, which today is a subterranean creek covered by the streets of London. The only reminder that this waterway still persists is London's Fleet Street, which was named after it.

Are drought conditions in the American Southwest here to stay? A new study suggests that extremely dry conditions may now be standard in the central and western U.S.


 Can Wall Street solve the water crisis in the West? 

A maverick hedge fund manager thinks Wall Street is the answer to the water crisis in the West.

Two-thirds of the world faces severe water shortages. About four billion people, or two-thirds of the world's population, face severe water shortages during at least one month every year, far more than was previously thought.

Ice Stacking on Lake Superior

Lake ice can perform some cool tricks under the right conditions, like ice boulders in Lake Michigan or "snowball waves" recently seen at Maine's Sebago Lake.

And thanks to photographer Dawn M. LaPointe, we have a captivating new glimpse of another strange frozen-lake phenomenon: "ice stacking." Filmed on Feb. 13 at Lake Superior in Duluth, Minnesota, LaPointe's video features brittle, glasslike sheets of ice that buckle and jostle as they push against the shoreline. See the video, read the article.

Microbead Free Waters Act of 2015

President Obama just signed into law  a law banning the manufacture and sale of personal care products that contain microbeads. These are small plastic bits commonly used in such products as toothpaste and face wash liquids. The material usually ends up in waterways when they slip through water treatment plants after being washed down household drains.

The law banning microbeads goes into effect July 1, 2017,

Zimbabwe's main hydro power dam running out of water after drought. Zimbabwe's main hydro power dam could stop producing electricity in six months if water levels keep falling after the nation's worst drought in more than two decades..

EPA (finally!) recommends that Flint residents use filters to remove lead.

The EPA has issued a press release reporting that their testing reveals that water filters remove lead as promised.

Researchers have found that tiny sea butterflies actually have wings that allow them to fly through water. Tech Times.

U. of California water polo team rolls on in spite of redshirting of stars in preparation for Olympics. Details.


Parts per Million, Parts per Billion


Gazette Technical Wizard Pure Water Annie Answers Another of Life's Perplexing Water Treatment Questions

The constituents that are dissolved or suspended in water, whether they are natural minerals or serious chemical contaminants, are usually measured in either "parts per million" or "parts per billion." Another way of expressing the same values is "milligrams per liter" or "micrograms per liter."

There are a variety of ways to express these same values.

mg/L or ug/L

ppm or ppb

are the same.

The u is sometimes written as the Greek letter µ, but the meaning is the same.

When you read a water test, the first thing you need to notice is what the unit of measurement is.  Is the contaminant being reported as parts per million or parts per billion?  To say the least, this is important, because one part per million represents a quantity one thousand times greater than one part per billion.  I won't bother with the old "if you cut a pie into a million pieces" explanation.

To convert parts per billion to parts per million, divide by 1,000.  If the EPA's maximum allowable (MCL) for an industrial chemical is 2 ppb, dividing 2 by 1,000 gives you the allowable in ppm: 0.002.

If a water test reports in mg/L, you get the ug/L by multiplying by 1,000.  If a test finds 0.015 parts per million of a substance, it's the equivalent of 15 parts per billion.

Parts per trillion, by the way, is usually expressed as ng/L (nanograms per liter) and 1 ug/L = 1000 ng/L.

It is hard to think through the relationships between water contaminants because they vary so greatly and are seldom expressed in the same denomination.  For example:

The current "allowable" (MCL) for nitrates (which many cities in Iowa are finding  hard to meet) is 10 parts per million.  That's 10,000 parts per billion, or 10,000,000 parts per trillion.

The current allowable for arsenic is 0.010 parts per million.  That's 10 parts per billion or 10,000 parts per trillion.

The current allowable for lead is 0.015 parts per million. That's 15 parts per billion or 15,000 parts per trillion.

There is no national allowable for the likely carcinogen 1,2,3 -Triclopropane (TCP), but California's proposed limit is 5 parts per trillion.  That's 0.005 parts per billion or 0.000005 parts per million.

Demand Pumps: How to use them with residential reverse osmosis units

 by Gene Franks

Demand or Delivery Pumps are pumps used to send water from a storage tank to a point of use. They should not be confused with "booster pumps," which are used to increase the pressure going into the the reverse osmosis unit. Typical applications for demand pumps are to send water from a non-pressurized tank to a water vending machine or to increase water pressure from an undersink reverse osmosis unit to a refrigerator or icemaker that it is supplying.

Demand pumps are versatile tools that can also be used to send water to a car wash location, a fish pond, aquarium,  or a hot tub. They are sometimes used to move water from a non-pressurized distiller tank to a sink-mounted spigot. They work anywhere a pump is needed to move water to a point of use. They work with a non-pressurized water source or they can increase the pressure from bladder tanks like RO tanks

When there is a "demand" for water, the pump comes on and supplies it. When the demand is removed, the pump shuts itself off.

When you push a button to fill a water bottle from a supermarket's water vending machine, the button-push activates a solenoid that opens a closed valve in the water line. When the valve is open, the pump senses a demand for water and comes on. It pumps water through the open line until you release the button, closing the solenoid-controlled valve and shutting off the demand. Closing the valve causes pressure to build in the delivery line and the pump senses the pressure and stays off until there is another demand for water.

In the pump pictured above, the water line is installed in the ports marked by the yellow fitting protectors. The pressure switch is the appendage at the extreme left in the picture. It simply shuts off the pump's electrical supply when water pressure builds builds in the water line.

Small demand pumps are usually trouble free operators, but in some installations a pump tank should be added to assure smooth operation. Without a tank to provide constant back pressure for the pump's pressure switch, a phenomenon called "pump chatter" sometimes occurs. If the pressure drops slightly, the pump has to turn on briefly to renew the pressure when no demand for water has been made. Installation of a pump tank prevents this constant on/off cycling and also provides more water in storage and protects downstream plumbing and appliances from the shock of sudden pressure surges. A pump tank, while not always essential, improves the performance of virtually any demand pump installation.,

The illustration below shows a demand pump installation on an undersink reverse osmosis unit designed to send pressurized water to a remote refrigerator or icemaker. This is a good design, but there are other placement options. If the pump is installed in tube labelled "Outlet to Refrigerator," the sink-top spigot will get water only from the tank at right and the pump will not turn on to serve the sink-top spigot.

Click picture for larger image.

The pressure tank at right is the RO unit's regular storage tank. The tank at left is an additional "pump tank" added to smooth out the pump's operation and to provide extra storage. Water in the second tank is available for both the kitchen ledge faucet and the refrigerator. A check valve (one way valve) built into the pump head prevents migration of water back to the RO unit.

More about Demand Pumps. 


 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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