Southern California’s Dirty Water Problems

In a recent article by Ryan P. Kelly and Margaret R. Caldwell on, the deteriorating quality of southern California’s bodies of water is under scrutiny by the EPA.

According to the article, water along the coastline and nearby rivers and steams have become considerably more polluted over the past few years. While this is a devastating fact by itself, this problem is compounded by at least two different factors. Firstly, much of California’s residents live in coastal counties. These residents are now being exposed to water that is considerably worse than in previous years. Another factor to consider is that these polluted waters end up in the coastal sea water, which has already been abused for decades.

To make matters even worse, coastal waters are also a victim of acidification. This is the end result of the process by which the world’s oceans absorb the carbon dioxide that is in the atmosphere. As the name implies, the pH levels of ocean waters are becoming much more acidic. This has been having dire effects on many much ocean life. For example, this has caused the shells of oysters, plankton, and mussels to dissolve.

This problem may not be news. It should not take a threat from the EPA for positive action to be taken on water pollution in any part of the country. On a more positive note, parts of southern California were able to make improvements in air quality over the past three decades. The same can, and must be done for local clean water sources.

City and state budgets are still strained from an economy that has yet to improve over the past three years of the great recession. However, something as basic to society as clean water should be protected at any cost. Ideally, this is not something should get caught up in any local governmental red tape. It’s simply something that needs to be taken care of.

President Trump signs order to revoke Clean Water Rule

The Clean Water Act of 1972 is being attacked by a series of lawsuits that aim to considerably limit the scope of its reach.

This is definitely a major step backwards for legislation that has done much to clean up our waterways. Recent Huffington Post and NY times articles have shown the severity of this issue. These lawsuits have been effective in reducing the number of waterways that have clear protection from the Clean Water Act.

It’s no surprise that these attacks are lead by certain Republicans in Congress. They are currently trying to prevent the Obama administration from being able to have the Act clearly label which streams should be protected. Should they succeed in their efforts, about 20% of wetlands will not be protected and approximately 117 million American’s will be forced to get their drinking water from sources that are not protected under the Act.

This has become a very complicated issue due to the efforts of the lawyers trying to limit the scope of the Clean Water Act. Many different types of waterways are being analyzed to determine which ones should be protected and which ones can basically be disregarded. How long will it take before our business and government leaders realize that all waterways need complete protection. It’s that simple, and it’s very important. We don’t need lawyers to make this issue more complicated so that polluters can make more money.

The end result of weaker environmental restrictions concerning our fresh water sources is lower business costs for companies that produce liquid wastes. Businesses that currently produce considerable liquid waste as a by product of operating would love to save money by having more convenient options to dispose of these toxins. When will they realize that this is an extremely short-sighted action to take? Their profits might be up in the short-term, but they are ruining the resources that they need to continue to do business in the future.

Ideally, businesses need to make fundamental changes in how they operate so that there is not such a considerable need to pollute. Again, the word sustainable comes to mind here. As we make a shift to a more local and sustainable way of producing the goods and services that we need, the far less water pollution there will be. This could be a win-win for both businesses and those who care about preserving our natural resources, and therefore our future.

2018 Pocket Water Filter Reviews

Pocket water filters are designed to provide access to clean, safe drinking water anywhere in the world. They are ideal for use in situations where potable (drinkable) water isn’t readily available.

Campers, hikers, and survivalists are the most common users of pocket water filters, but these devices are also invaluable to those planning on traveling to third world countries or conflict areas where the quality of municipal water supplies is questionable.

How Pocket Water Filters Work

Water filters use a variety of different filtration methods. The most common filtration elements are ceramic, carbon, and glass fibers. Some filters use silver-impregnated elements to prevent the growth of microbes.

The filtering “strength” of portable water filters is based on pore size of the filter element and is measured in microns. A micron (μm) is 1/1000 of a millimeter. The smaller the pore size the more effective the filter.

Good pocket water filters have a 0.2 micron filters, meaning that they’ll filter out any contaminants and microoganisms larger than 0.2 microns. The CDC recommends using a water filter with a pore size less than or equal to 0.3 microns.

Most pocket water filters use a hand-operated pump to draw water from a source and force it through the filtration element.

The Risks of Drinking Untreated Water

The majority of diseases contracted by campers and travelers are caused by contaminated water. Using a pocket water filter greatly decreases your chances of catching diseases caused from parasites, protozoa, and other microorganisms.

By using a filter, you’ll avoid water-borne illnesses caused by cryptosporidium, Giardia, salmonella, E.Coli, and many others. It’s important to note that filters are not effective against most viruses, so if you plan on drinking water in an area with a high risk of viral contamination you’ll need to take the additional step of purifying your water.

Pocket Water Filters For Camping and Hiking

Those hiking and camping in the wilderness for extended periods of time may be tempted to drink water from natural source like streams and lakes. While these water bodies might appear to be pure and pristine, this usually isn’t the case.

While certain wilderness areas certainly do have water than can be consumed freely without any concern of diseases and infections, the sad truth is that today’s modern world has made most natural water sources unsafe for human consumption. The list of man made pollutants is long: agriculture, livestock, factories, human waste.

This is why the the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that water from all natural sources be thoroughly filtered before drinking.

Katadyn Pocket Water Filter Review

The Katadyn Pocket Water Filter has gained a reputation as one of the most durable and high performing portable water filters on the market. This Swiss-made water filter is used by the U.S. Military, as well as the Red Cross and countless other relief organizations across the world.

The Katadyn Pocket Water Filter has a machined aluminum body with a black silicone cover.  The pump features a domed handle for comfort, which is important since it takes about four minutes of pumping to produce a gallon of filtered water at the 1-liter/minute filtration rate.

The ceramic filter element in the Katadyn Pocket Water Filter has a 0.2 micron pore size.  This is sufficient to remove most protozoa, bacteria, a variety of other disease-causing microorganisms. The filter is impregnated with silver, which provides further protection against the growth of microbes and protozoa.

It’s important to remember that these filters aren’t capable of removing viruses. In general, viruses aren’t considered to be a threat in most North American wilderness areas, but if you’re planning on drinking water in a third world country or an area where there’s a risk of human fecal contamination (including popular national parks) you’ll need to take the additional step of purifying your water.

The Katadyn Pocket Water Filter can be cleaned numerous times (even while out in the wilderness) before it needs to be replaced. A prefilter unit on the intake hose prevents sediment and debris from clogging  the primary filter.

The Katadyn Pocket Filter is capable of filtering 13,000 gallons of water, which is excellent. Most portable can only process 200 to 500 gallons of water before needing a cartridge replacement.

At 20 ounces and 2.5 x 10 inches, the Katadyn Pocket Microfilter is a little on the bulky side, but it’s a small price to pay for the reassurance that comes with owning one of the best portable filtration devices on the market.

The Katadyn Pocket Filter has a lifetime warranty.

MSR Hyperflow Filter Review

The MSR Hyperflow Filter offers massive output in a small package.  However, it’s a bit more complex than other, larger portable water filters, which might be a turnoff for casual users.

The MSR Hyperflow Filter has an impressive output of 3 liters per minute at 20 strokes per liter. In practice, this means you can fill your 1-liter Nalgene with 20 seconds of pumping. This is quite a bit faster than most other pocket water filters, which usually process about 1 liter of water per minute.

In addition to its high output levels, the MSR Hyperflow Filter is extremely compact and light. The official measurements are given as 7″ x 3.5″, but the filter body is only a couple inches across at its widest point. At 7.4 ounces, it’s among the lightest pocket water filters you can buy.

The HyperFlow filter features a pore size of 0.2 microns, which will remove bacteria, protozoa, and other microorganisms. As with most portable water filter systems, the HyperFlow is not capable of protecting against viruses. For this, you’ll need to take the extra step of purifying your water (see the article on filtering vs. purifying for more on this).

The MSR HyperFlow Filter has with a prefilter that blocks out large bits of sediment and debris to extend the life of the primary cartridge.  It also features a water bottle adapter designed to fit most wide-mouthed camping bottles (e.g. Nalgene).

While the HyperFlow filter provides the benefit of being very small and light, it’s not as easy to use as some of its larger counterparts. Users need to make sure to carefully read and follow all instructions regarding the assembly and use of the HyperFlow before heading out into the back country. It’s especially important to understand how to properly backwash the filter, since not doing this can cause issues down the road.

The MSR HyperFlow filter is made in Seattle, Washington by Mountain Safety Research.

Lifesaver 4000 Bottle Review

Originally invented in 2004 to provide clean drinking water during natural disasters, the Lifesaver 4000 is also ideal for hikers, campers, and travelers.

The Lifesaver 4000 measures 12.5 x 4.5 x 4.5 inches and weighs 22 ounces. While this is considerably larger and heavier than most other pocket water filters, it can process over 1000 gallons (4000 liters) of water from a single filter cartridge. Most other portable filters have cartridges that need to be replaced after 200-500 gallons (750-2000 liters).

To use the Lifesaver 4000 bottle, unscrew the base and pump a few times. This creates pressure in the bottle and forces water through the filter and out the nozzle. The filter treats about 0.75 liters per minute. The cartridge of the Lifesaver 4000 is designed to shut off when it reaches the end of its life to prevent users from accidentally drinking contaminated water.

Since the Lifesaver Bottle 4000 was designed for use in areas subject to all sorts of waterborne pathogens, it filters and purifies water. This means that in addition to removing microorganisms like bacteria and protozoa, it also protects against viruses. This isn’t necessary in places with a low risk of viruses (e.g. most North American wilderness areas), but you should always purify the water in areas where there’s a risk of fecal contamination, like heavily used parks, developing nations, conflict areas, and disaster zones.

While most pocket filtration systems use iodine or chlorine to purify water, the Lifesaver 4000 has a proprietary filter with a 15 nanometer pore size, eliminating the needs for chemical additives. Note that 15 nanometers is equal to 0.015 microns. This is much smaller than the 0.2 micron pore size of most pocket water filters.

The Lifesaver Bottle also features an activated carbon filter which helps remove a variety of pesticides and heavy metals. The carbon filter is only good for about 250 liters, so it will need to be replaced much more frequently than the main filter element. A prefilter screens out large objects to prolong the life of the primary cartridge.

The Lifesaver Bottle’s size and weight might make it less than ideal for many hardcore campers and backpackers, but the long life and ease of use could be perfect for hikers, travelers, or aid workers.  The Lifesaver 4000 is also a great way to ensure you and your family will have fresh water in the event of a disaster without the need to keep large amounts of water in storage.

Fracking: Bringing Water Pollution To a Town Near You!

In a recent article from the, a news site covering Albany, NY and surrounding towns, gas industry executives claim that their work poses no threat to clean water sources.

Obviously, this is far from the truth. A shining example, that the article mentioned, can be found in nearby Dimock, PA. Residents have been coping with water pollution so severe that in some places the water can be lit on fire due to the large concentrations of methane that it contains. This town has become the victim of a gas boom in the area.

methane in water

It’s quite insidious to realize the extent that gas companies will go to for this fuel source. For example, a common means for extracting gas from shale rock is called horizontal hydraulic fracturing. In this process, water that has been laced with chemicals is used to break up the shale to release gas. So, not only is the act of breaking this shale contributing to water pollution, these companies are delivering toxic water right into well water supplies.

So what has been the reaction from the local authorities? According to the article, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection basically has said that the problem has been fixed regarding the recent pollution issues. Was this issue resolved or was someone payed off? What’s the most likely answer to that question?

Residents of many cities in New York have much to be concerned about as it appears that the gas industry has been given the green light to proceed on drilling. This is no surprise, really. Money talks. Extra revenue in the present will trump any concerns about future environmental costs. When will government and business leaders realize that they can’t put short term profit ahead of something as vitally important as clean water?

What does this mean for the future of our drinking water sources? How much worse must this situation get before our leaders make some real changes for the better? Yes, we need our fuel and energy as much as anything else. However, we can find ways to get the fuel we need in much more environmentally friendly ways.

Is Your Tap Water Completely Safe to Drink?

One of the more recent examples of why municipally treated water is not quite potable can be found in a town in Massachusetts.

In a recent article found in the, Milford, MA is the beneficiary of a new water filter. The town has been getting its water from a private water utility called the Milford Water Company. This water filter has not come too soon as the EPA has been pressuring the company to do something about increased levels of THM’s or trihalomethanes that have been found in the water.

This is a serious concern as this toxin can cause health problems for those that are exposed to it over a prolonged period of time. Now that the water company has installed a “carbon sandwich filter”, tests on the water reveal that the THM levels are now within state standards. State standards? I’m sorry, but there should be no acceptable level of contaminants found in water that is used by the general public.

It’s safe to assume that many of the residents in this town, and all across the U.S. drink tap water. They assume that the water that their city is providing them is good enough to drink. Most assumptions are bad, especially ones that can affect your health. Those in charge with providing clean water to residents of the average city might have the best of intentions. They might be doing all they can to provide the best water possible. Does this mean that it’s good enough?

Residents of Milford know that it’s not good enough as they have become aware of their town’s water issues. Hopefully other cities and towns will try to become more proactive about water filtration maintenance.

These concerns will obviously make people consider other alternatives. Hopefully people will opt out of the bottled water choice. The most ideal option is a home water filter. Why settle for almost healthy water? Drinking water should be as clean and pure as possible. You should be going out of your way to find the best water filter that you can.

While the average American has access to much cleaner water than residents of many third world nations, it still does not mean that it is completely safe to drink. It should go without saying that the quality of the water that you drink is just as important as the act of drinking it.

So don’t take any chances. Filter your water right at the point of use – your kitchen’s faucet.

Vegetable Gardening for Beginners

In this brief article I wanted to share my new project, which is a garden. Everyone should be doing this because it’s a lot of fun and great to grow and eat your own foods! Plus it’s great exercise.

There is nothing better than fresh organic vegetables, especially if it is your caring care that has brought them to maturity. If you’ve always dreamed of having a vegetable garden, but you do not know how to do it, here are some basic tips that should help you get started. Spring is upon us and it’s time to start planning your kitchen garden.

The ideal location

Obviously, the location of your vegetable garden is very important. When you choose where you are going to implement it, you have to keep in mind several parameters:


Your garden should receive direct sunlight for as long as possible each day. A few darker hours in the morning or late afternoon should not be too damaging, but a vegetable garden requires a minimum of 6 hours of direct sunlight each day.

The water

You will need to water your vegetables very often; we must immediately think of the proximity of a tap. You can also bring a garden hose long enough!


It must be flat so that the water does not flow until it has penetrated well into the earth.

The wind

It is best to choose a location protected from heavy gusts, if you live in a region that is subject to it.


Your garden should be at least 5 meters from any large tree (such as a maple or willow). The roots of these are long and “steal” the nutrients and water your vegetables need to grow well.

The walls

If you have enough space elsewhere, it’s not a good idea to plant your vegetables too close to the wall of the house. When you do not have a choice, it can still be done, but make sure that it is the wall that is exposed to the south.

The different types of vegetable gardens

There are many ways to grow a garden. Here is an overview:

The vegetable garden in squares

This is the most effective way to start. This type of vegetable garden consists of one or more squares (usually 4 X 4 feet) slightly elevated in which one can plant several species. We can find sets of departure in specialized stores, but it is also possible to build your squares with planks or by stacking blocks if you are a little handyman. The big advantage of this method is that the quality of the land does not matter because it fills the squares of soil and compost purchased.

Choosing the right watering system

A big part of having a successful garden is a proper watering system. Larger gardens often times automate this system using times and sprinklers. If you’re doing a smaller garden then you should buy a garden hose or even several garden hoses that will reach the furthest parts of your garden. I found some very useful information on where they discuss the effects on different hose materials on the plants and soil.

Most people overlook the importance of the materials of different garden hoses. Be sure to look into the BPA free materials, which can have a huge impact on plant growth. The other big thing to look for is how well the garden hose will stand up over time. You will want it to perform for many years to come, since the aren’t cheap.

In the open ground

Whether you choose to grow in rows or plots, you will first need to remove all the grass, if necessary, and then return the soil to the entire surface to a depth of about 30 cm, adding a few bags of soil and compost. Your land must become supple and malleable. To make the job easier, you can put simple boards (old barn wood, for example) between the rows, which will allow you to circulate more easily for maintenance.

The tools you will need

Since this is your first vegetable garden and you do not know yet if this will become a real passion, it is not necessary to invest astronomical amounts in the tooling. You can very well maintain your little piece of land with basic tools:

A spade: it is useful for removing the turf layer (cutting the roots), turning the soil and cutting curbs. It can also be used as a shovel.

  • A hoe: to aerate the soil around the plants and pull out the weeds.
  • A claw with teeth: useful for weeding, loosening, ventilating and cleaning the earth.
  • A rake: to equalize the area.

There are many other tools you may want to buy later: fork, shovel, wheelbarrow, transplanter, shears, sieves, etc.

And of course, do not forget gardening gloves, very useful for avoiding blisters and other minor injuries.

Starting a Garden in the City:

Cultivate a vegetable garden in town on a small surface or even without land at all, it is possible. The pleasure of picking a ripe tomato or savoring a crunchy salad is no longer unattainable dreams for city dwellers. Indeed, thanks to varieties well chosen, grown in a kitchen garden above ground , it is now within the reach of everyone! Discover how to put all the odds on your side to succeed a mini vegetable garden in town.

Starting a Garden in your Apartment:

When the available space is reduced, do not imagine being able to feed an entire family with a small vegetable garden in town. By cons, it is easy to grow some vegetables and aromatics in a garden, on a terrace, a balcony or even a window sill.

A minimum of sun is essential for the vegetable garden to prosper. A south or south-west orientation is ideal. However, if your vegetable garden does not receive more than 4 hours of sun a day, prefer the cultivation of salads, radishes, parsley, mint or chives . In the case of a north-facing or very shady space, think instead of the LED kitchen garden that will compensate for the lack of sun.

Enjoy a small vegetable garden ANYWHERE!

To create a kitchen garden in the city, the solutions of cultivation above ground do not miss. The vegetable patch is perfect in a small garden as well as bag culture, also very practical on a balcony. Raised or vertical garden solutions are ideal for a balcony or terrace. It only has to choose according to the available place and the desired style! Once installed, your garden will give the best of himself if you give him some attention.

It is particularly useful to include flowers that attract pollinating insects (yarrow, for example) or act as a repellent for unwanted (the marigold among others).

Finally, give your vegetable garden some pretty label-plant labels that will allow you to easily spot your plantations. It is also a decorative touch not to neglect! And then, enjoy your new vegetable garden as soon as possible by sowing radish in March, if the weather is mild. You can eat the first 20 days after!

Water Refilling Stations in Universities

Universities like the College Of Dupage, in Naperville Illinois, are making strides against disposable bottled water.

The college has installed a total of five water bottle filling stations throughout the campus. Students that are concerned about bottled water waste can now use these water filtration systems to do their part to help reduce the amount of bottles that end up in landfills.

What’s unique about these systems is that they showcase a “green ticker” that displays how many water bottles have been spared from use and therefore needless waste. Since the filters inception in the college in 2010, more than 40,000 16 ounce bottles have been saved. This is obviously a major step taken to combat this source of environmental pollution.

The systems are set to fill 16 ounce reusable bottles. No buttons need pushing as the system detects the presence of a bottle and automatically fills it up.

It won’t be long before word of these great systems spreads to other institutions. While the upfront costs associated with these systems range in the thousands, the waste saved from landfills is priceless. This is the kind of leadership that must take place for real change to happen. Organizations should not always need a monetary return for every investment that is made.

As more universities, corporate office spaces, and organizations of all kinds get word of these great systems, we will see some major headway in the prevention of bottled water use and waste. Major change can also come from the home. Obviously, a good amount of time of the average person is spent away from school and work. Having a good water filter at home will ensure that you will have access to clean water no matter where you are. Definitely do some research to get the best water filter that you can find.

We can all do our part to spread the word about this. Tell everyone you know that using a water filter is less expensive, more convenient, and less wasteful than bottled water.

What Are they Putting in My Water?

Corporate polluters have been getting away with poisoning our drinking water sources for many years now. Residents of Washington County in Minnesota know all about the dangers of water pollution.

In a recent article from the South Washington County Bulletin (, findings show levels of PFC’s in citizens of Cottage Grove have been declining. PFC is short for perfluorochemicals. While there does not seem to be any documented studies that has linked this chemical to any human diseases or illnesses, you can be sure that they can and will damage your health.

This chemical is used by many companies to make fluropolymer coatings and other products that resist oil, stains, water, grease, and heat. This chemical does not break down in nature. It eventually can show up in food products and drinking water.

The company that has been responsible for dumping this toxic chemical is 3M. The company has been lawfully dumping this chemical waste in sites nearby Cottage Grove for decades. Unfortunately, all of those years have passed before there was enough awareness of the consequences of this action. Apparently there was not enough concern or knowledge of the impact that this pollution would have on drinking water sources.

Although there has been a decline in the amount of this chemical found in individuals that have been tested in 2010 than those tested in 2008, the fact that there is any amount in their blood streams is obviously a cause for concern. While there may not be any direct link between this chemical and any specific illness, it won’t be surprising when it happens.

As part of the Minnesota Department Of Health’s remediation efforts, new carbon filters have been placed at nearby water treatment plants. Those who had relied on their well water were either given carbon filtration units, or were connected to the city’s treated water.

This story is a shining example of how it pays to be proactive when trying to protect your health. Instead of just assuming that the water that you are currently drinking is safe, why not make sure. One of the only ways that you can do this is to filter it right at the point of use. Again, this is where a good home water filtration comes in. Had residents of Cottage Grove and nearby towns assumed that their public drinking water and tap water was not safe to drink, they could have drastically limited their exposure to this toxin by installing a home water filtration system. It’s the best water filter for preventative health measures.

Does Drinking Wastewater Sound Good to You?

Please forgive the title of this post, but I just couldn’t help myself. The fact is that people are already drinking treated wastewater and most of them are obviously not aware of it.

In a recent article from, many cities around the U.S. are considering the use of treated wastewater for public drinking water. Right from the start, I share the same initial feelings with just about anyone who would become aware of this – it sounds disgusting.

However, treatment plants are supposed to be able to make this water just as safe, if not safer than our existing water supplies. Even with improved technologies, it is obviously still difficult to forget where this water just came from.

The primary driving force behind this idea comes from the fact that we are experiencing water shortages that only seem to be getting worse. This is no surprise as the general population keeps increasing at fast rates. Locations that are already stressed for water must do something to be able to supply it to future generations.

I, for one, support the more natural and traditionally common use of wastewater – use it for irrigation and industrial purposes. Letting nature filter it might be a longer process, but I’d bet you’d end up with some better water. I realize that this does not solve the current water shortage crisis, but this quicker turnaround for wastewater just does not sound right.

This is just another example of why it makes sense to filter your water one more time at home. A point-of-use home water filter can really make a difference in the quality of water that you end up consuming. Why take any chances with the quality of something as important as drinking water?

I’d like to think that we will make some technological breakthroughs that will allow us to bypass the need for drinking this highly polluted water. For example, if water desalinization ever becomes cheap and efficient enough, that would solve our drinking water problems. Let’s hope for the best…

Clean Water = Clean Energy

This news arrives by way of The Sacramento Bee ( The article mentions how the California Association of Sanitation Agencies (CASA) are taking considerable actions to both educate the public and various leaders and to actively help solve current energy problems. California’s wastewater treatment plants are doing their part to create clean energy in addition to their obvious and much needed clean water operations.

The mayor of California and the President have both set respective state and national clean energy goals. It is expected that a high percentage of our energy needs can be provided by clean, renewable sources in the coming decades. The end result of this goal should be clear to all by now; we will benefit from considerably less air pollution and we will not be reliant on foreign energy sources.

There are already quite a few clean water agencies in California that are able to completely offset their own energy usage by using the energy that is created when wastewater is treated. This energy comes from the methane, biosolids, and biogas that is stored in the wastewater and other substances that the plants process. Some of these other substances include oil and grease provided by restaurants.

Energy produced from wastewater treatment plants represents an opportunity that is too significant to ignore. For example, the Water Environment Research Foundation has mentioned that biosolids and wastewater contain at least five times the amount of energy that is needed to process them. It is easy to imagine the considerable clean energy potential if this process were scaled to a national and fully cooperative level.

CASA’s Gary Darling is very optimistic about the organization’s ability to spread the word and ultimately have a large effect on clean energy awareness and production. His “Waste to Watts” motto will undoubtedly take off as more and more people realize the urgency that is involved with clean energy and clean water.

This is the kind of leadership that must gain some real traction if we are to be able to benefit from a cleaner, more livable future. I believe that our leaders will start to pay attention to movements like this one because they make too much sense. It will be difficult to say no to something that not only improves our environment, but makes money at the same time. This is the kind of win-win situationthat can bring much hope to our future world.