FreshWaterSystems.com explains why Americans should be concerned about water purification after the water main break at UCLA and how ultraviolet water treatment and UV sterilizer system can protect your tap water.
Drought and water quality are issues that affect every one of us and many of us just have blind faith that the water we are drinking from our tap will always be there and always be safe. We need to conserve water and we need to understand where our water is coming from, where it travels to get to your tap, and how you protect what you are drinking, inhaling, and reusing. It can be a matter of life or death.
Having the inconvenience of having your water shut off for a days and weeks, is nothing compared to the long term effects of what can and is happening in almost every US city. The municipal pipe that burst at UCLA is 93 years old. There are an estimated 240,000 water main breaks per year in the United States. That’s 27 water main breaks every hour.
California is facing one of the worst drought conditions in history. The water break came amid a severe drought in California, where under new regulations residents are subject to fines up to $500 a day for wasting water. That water main break has dumped approximately 1/5 of the water LA would use for an entire day onto the streets and surrounding areas. It is not unusual. 34 percent of the contiguous United States was in at least a moderate drought as of July 22, 2014. The National Drought Mitigation Center defines moderate drought as: some damage to crops, pastures; streams, reservoirs, or wells low, some water shortages developing or imminent; voluntary water-use restrictions requested.
Source: The National Drought Mitigation Center
One of the most costliest droughts destroyed at least half the crops on the Great Plains in 1988 and is considered a natural disaster. Who knows how much the final cost of this main break will be considering other factors such as UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion’s new wood gym floor is now under at least two inches of water – a recent renovation cost $132 million. At a higher potential cost, some people had to be rescued from underground parking. According to the American Water Works Association (AWWA), the cost of replacing antiquated pipes could reach more than $1 trillion dollars in the next decades. Where will that money come from?
Source: Mapping the Spread of Drought Across the U.S.
As homeowners, even apartment owners, we need to be proactive. We need to understand and think how old are the pipes going into your home? In fact, how old are the pipes in your home? What is in those pipes and what are you drinking? We really need to take the health of our drinking water into our own hands and do the due diligence to keep our families safe. Do you know what’s in your water? Do you know where your water comes from and how water traverses to your tap? Do you know how your water is treated, if there is anything added to it, or do you prefer to think it magically appears when you turn on your tap? Have you had your water tested? What about if you have aging parents, young children, immune compromised guests – what provisions have you put in place?
Anything can happen anywhere. Nearly half the population was ill and eight people died in the Walkerton Crisis where the water system became contaminated with a highly dangerous strain of E. coli bacteria, O157:H7. The CDC estimates that 265,000 STEC infections occur each year in the United States. E. coli O157:H7 causes over 36% of these infections. The types of E. coli that can cause illness can be transmitted through contaminated water or food, or through contact with animals or people.
Walkerton is a big story, but there are so many more that don’t make it past local news like this sampling of recent water-based eColi incidents (eColi is only one dangerous microorganism):
As North American’s we’ve always just had faith that our drinking water is safe and that’s not just municipally. A study covering much of the USA by VIQUA researcher, Diane Arnott shows that 28% of people do not test their well water regularly (and 10% do not test at all) but according to the USGS 33% of wells show a presence of coliforms. Those are scary statistics and carrying a Steripen with you while visiting rural homes looks rude and if you’re eating or showering there a Steripen can’t protect you from digesting or inhaling pathogens in the shower, or while helping with dishes.
The takeaway here is there is a larger picture about your water. There are strange things happening environmentally that will affect your available water consumption, your pocketbook, your health and so much more. It is time we all look at our own water and take t impetus to research how we can protect our family. In basic terms, UV water disinfection is a UV lamp appliance that passes water through ultraviolet light without adding chemicals to inactivate 99.99% of microorganisms in water including eColi, giardia, and cryptosporidium.
Over 300,000 residents around Charleston, West Virginia, were told on Thursday January, 9, 2014, that the water coming out of their sinks was unsafe for cooking, bathing, drinking, and even washing their dishes and clothes. Many business and restaurants were closed by the Health Department because they were not able to use tap water for washing hands or for dishwashers. The only thing that residents of nine West Virginia counties were advised to use their tap water for is flushing toilets and fire suppression.
The water was deemed unsafe because a chemical storage facility, Freedom Industries, had leaked almost 8,000 gallons of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol or MCHM into the river. This toxic spill was located just up stream from the West Virginia American Water Company’s water treatment plant. As a result, Earl Ray Tomblin the state’s Governor issued a State of Emergency order to assist residents in getting access to clean water and to obtain federal help.
MCHM is used to clean coal during the manufacturing and refining process. The chemical smells very similar to licorice. When exposed to MCHM, humans can experience nausea, vomiting, burning skin, itching eyes, and rashes. According to news reports, 169 people have been treated for symptoms related to the water spill and 10 people have been hospitalized. Unfortunately, the EPA does not regulate this chemical’s presence in water, and has not suggested a filtration method for homeowners to use.
After four days of flushing the pipe systems and testing, the water company has slowly begun to release areas from the “Do Not Use” order. As of January 13, the area allowed to use tap water is very small, but is expected to grow throughout the coming days. Residents of West Virginia can look up their address on this interactive map to see if their water is safe.
While many were shoveling snow this weekend, a new Federal law went into effect that you may not know about. Lead exposure can cause serious and long-term health problems. It can harm infants’ and children’s mental and physical development and has also been show to raise pregnant mothers’ reisk of miscarriage and early birth. In recognition of this dangerous contaminant, the Federal Government has passed a law stating that it is now illegal to install, sell, or manufacture pipes and fittings intended for use with potable water that contain more than .25% lead by weight. This law is an extension of previous state-wide laws in California, Vermont, and Louisiana. The federal law applies to resellers, contractors, manufacturers, dealers, and many others across the country.
Excluded from the law are those pipes, fittings, and faucets that do not come in contact with potable water. Agricultural water uses, industrial cooling towers, and toilets would be some of these exclusions. What is included in this law may be surprising, though. Many would automatically assume that sink taps and drinking fountains are included in this law. But did you know that bathroom sink fixtures, under the counter water filtration systems, and even hot water dispensers are also included in this law?
For several years since the law passed, many manufacturers have been working on designing and producing lead-free pipes, fittings, and fixtures. As a result, Fresh Water Systems has been phasing out items that contain more than .25% lead. When you purchase anything from Fresh Water Systesm from small John Guest fittings to large whole house filtration systems, you can rest easy that your purchase is not only compliant with the new law but will also be safe for your business or home.
For more information on the Federal Lead-Free compliance law visit Fresh Water Systems.com
If you need help selecting the right products for your next water project, give one of our Certified Water Specialists a call at 1-877-335-3339.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It is a great reminder for you or someone you love to take the time to reduce the risks of breast cancer. Breastcancer.org writes that “1 in 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer at sometime in their lives.” To promote early detection, women should practice regular self-check programs and get recommended mammograms. The National Breast Cancer Awareness Month website features a list of locations where women can get low cost screenings for both breast and cervical cancers.
There are many factors that can contribute to a woman’s risk of breast cancer. Family history can be a contributing factor, but other things can raise a woman’s risk of cancer. These variable factors are ones that women (and the men who love them) can work to reduce. Exercise and healthy habits like not smoking can decrease the risk of breast cancer.
But scientists have been discovering that environmental factors can also contribute to a person’s cancer risk, including exposure to toxic chemicals, like pesticides. One chemical has been proven in numerous studies to increase cancer is bisphenol A, known as BPA.
This chemical is used in making polycarbonate plastic. This plastic is used in many household products including plastic food storage containers, baby bottles, and in the linings of food cans. BPA is an endocrine-disrupting chemical that can cause abnormal development of cells in babies and children, which can continue into adulthood. As shown in the booklet put out by Breast Cancer Fund.org, BPA has even been proven to inhibit the efficacy of chemotherapy treatment after breast cancer has been found.
BPA is in many things in your home, but one way to begin to eliminate its presence while reducing the risk of breast cancer for women and young girls, is to replace water, juice bottles, and baby bottles with glass, stainless steel or BPA-free plastic. Baby bottles should be BPA-free as they are often heated, which can cause the dangerous chemical to leach out into the liquid. Many versions of commercially bottled water are also packaged in BPA bottles. Replace these disposable water bottles with a stainless steel water bottle. These are refillable, cost-saving, and BPA-free.
Another way to reduce exposure to BPA is to use products that are BPA-free. Freshwatersystems.com offers the innovative, Swift Green Refrigerator Filters that are the only replacement refrigerator water filter that offers BPA-free and eco-friendly construction. So, do yourself or the women you love a favor and go beyond the pink this month. Help to reduce the risk of breast cancer by going BPA-free.
Oct. 14, 2013: RECENT UPDATE:
Not only has BPA been linked to cancer, but now it seems to be very dangerous to unborn babies. A study recently released has also shown that women with higher BPA levels in their blood are more likely to miscarry.
In May 2013, The CDC released a study warning about the presence of bacteria in public pool filters in Atlanta, Georgia, including e. coli . Of the 161 pool samples, the CDC found that more than half of them showed evidence of e.coli as well as another harmful bacteria, pseudomonas aeruginosa. The chlorine resistant cryptodporiduim was present in one sample. Any of these bacteria could lead to a harmful infection for unsuspecting swimmers, particularly those with compromised immune system.
Now, in this month’s edition of Water Conditioning & Purification Magazine, pool experts explain the significance of the CDC’s research and study. Authors Jeff Williams, PhD, and Nathan Kenney explain that enjoyable and safe pool care depends on two things: good filters and regular chlorine treatments.
One of the key items that they focus on in the article is the reduction of turbidity. Lowering turbidity, they write, can lead to safer pools. The chance for bacteria and other organisms to thrive is lessened when pool maintenance reduces turbidity (or cloudiness), but they also cite research that argues that the risk of drowning is less in clear pools. Clear pools allow other swimmers and poolside observers to notice those swimmers who may encounter trouble while swimming.
One of the best ways to lower turbidity is by maintaining your pool’s filtering system. Most pool experts will recommend changing the pool’s filter every 1-2 seasons. The filter should be changed even more often if the pool is frequented by lots of people or is the center of frequent pool parties. Dirt, sand, suntan lotions and perspiration are a common cause for clogged and old filters. Sunbelt or heated pools that are open or only partially winterized during the Autumn and Winter months will still require frequent filter changes.
If you are concerned about caring for the safety of your pool, visit freshwatersystems.com. We can help in selecting the perfect pool filter cartridge to keep the water clean and safe.
The earthquake and resulting tsunami that caused such damage to Japan’s coast in 2011 is still wreaking havoc. In August 2013, it was discovered that the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant had been leaking more than 300 tonnes of radioactive water into the ground water and the sea.
The Japanese company has been searching for solutions to the leak, including building a giant, subterranean “ice wall” that would effectively freeze the surrounding ground, preventing groundwater from flowing into the sea. However, radiation has already gone into the sea, and is a continuing problem.
Nuclear power plants are used throughout the United States, and some have voiced concern that a similar accident may occur here. For those who live near these plants, we offer several options in personal radiation diction meters.
If you have any questions about these products, visit us at freshwatersystems.com. We would be happy to assist you in selecting the right device for your needs.