Does Drinking Wastewater Sound Good to You?
March 19, 2018
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 usatoday.com, 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
March 13, 2018
This news arrives by way of The Sacramento Bee (sacbee.com). 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.
Clean Water Advocacy
March 6, 2018
It is widely known that Erin Brockovich does not back down when confronted with a tough fight.
This is good news for those who care about our clean water sources. A recent Edmonton Journal article (edmontonjournal.com) follows up with Erin’s current clean water activism. Her latest film appearance is in the documentary called “Last Call at the Oasis.” It is about the dwindling clean water supplies around the world and the drastic repercussions already being experienced.
Brockovich is especially concerned with water issues at home in the U.S. “There are people in our country that don’t get water, and that is a shocker for people“. As she alludes to the idea that water shortages and water pollution is falsely assumed to be largely a third world problem, she is becoming just as surprised at others to find out how untrue this is.
The film named after her, in which Julia Roberts won an Oscar for, has certainly aided in her fight to help protect clean drinking water sources and to expose companies that threaten to ruin them for all. She is also currently working on a case of a group of children in New York suffering from unusual neurological symptoms that may be attributed to polluted water.
Perhaps the most important take-away from this article was the fact that she encourages others to take a stand. She realizes that one person can only do so much, and that, she has. Our collective voice for clean water rights can be much more powerful that just one, albeit a very strong one. Grassroots efforts can turn into very large campaigns when people come together.
Hopefully Erin Brockovich’s work is showing the people that she comes into contact with just how true that can be.
Bottled Water Prices Continue To Rise in 2018
March 2, 2018
From a recent report from reuters.com, it seems that the bottled water industry is just as strong as ever.
Nestle, a Switzerland corporation, is the largest food and beverage company in the world. It sells 15 different types of bottled water. It is not worth mentioning specific brand names, as you have most definitely heard of at least a few of them.
What is interesting to note about this specific corporation (and possibly a few others as well) is that they have recently increased the cost of their completely unnecessary product. As expensive and overpriced as bottled water is, it just became pricier. The company justifies this price increase due to higher commodity prices. They are not concerned about the effects of this increase because they know that the demand will be there.
While it is quite unfortunate to hear that the demand for bottled water will be increasing, there is a silver lining to this story. Apparently, part of the increase in the sale of bottled water is due to a decline in the consumption of carbonated soft drinks. Obviously, it is considerably better to be drinking water compared to soda. However, it is quite apparent that there is still much work to do to educate the general public about all of the downsides to the consumption of bottled water.
Not surprisingly, it is also right here in the United States where this education is needed the most. This is the only “developed” country whose carbonated soft drink sales are still higher than bottled water sales. So of all of the plastic contained fluids that are available, we are still choosing the worst ones. The end environmental result remains the same; considerably too much extra waste due to plastic bottles. I think that it is worth repeating that our landfill problems are not going to take care of themselves.
Obviously, a company that sells a billion cases of water a year is not about to walk away from such a cash cow. Their only real concern is to mitigate any bad press that they might get with some good public relations. Like most corporate polluters, they ultimately feel that environmental concerns are someone else’s problem.
This is grossly irresponsible. More recently quoted from Spiderman, Voltaire said “with great power comes great responsibility“. This is absolutely true in this case and in any other situation where a decision can affect many people or the world as a whole.
Personal consumer choices still hold great weight in this world. We can all make a big difference by making the right daily choices. Deciding which things to buy and not purchasing certain items at all can make for widespread changes in time. This will not happen overnight. It is our responsibility to help each other make wiser consumer decisions.
If you do not yet know about all of the many ways that home water filters are so much better than bottled water, then please find out. Whether you discover these advantages through this site or any of the other ones online, take that first step. You’ll eventually find out that you could be getting water that is cleaner, drastically less expensive, and much more environmentally friendly.
Thanks for taking the time to read this, and thank you for helping to spread the word.
Indiana Has the Most Polluted Waterways
February 21, 2018
In a report from indystar Indiana was the state that allowed the most pollutants in its waterways for 2017.
More than 27 million pounds of toxins were dumped by industries in the Hoosier state in this past year. The company – AK Steel – was the largest single contributor of this water pollution. In 2010, the company dumped about 24 million pounds of pollutants in the Ohio River in that year alone. This plant uses nitric acid to clean its stainless steel products. This toxin then gets released into waterways as wastewater that contains nitrates.
Not surprisingly, those that are in charge of speaking on behalf of these industrial (or should I say – industrious?) polluters completely downplay the vast chemical discharges. The director of government and public relations for AK Steel basically claims that the company’s discharge is well within government regulations and poses no threat to the environment. Even the spokeswoman for the Indiana Department of Environmental Management said that the pollution that the company is responsible for “cannot be used to draw conclusions to human health or the environment“.
Really? Well, based on the responses by these two individuals, it is fairly easy to draw conclusions about who signs their paychecks. It is unbelievably audacious to defend a company whose waste has made its state’s waterways the most polluted in the country. It’s typically not a crime to finish in last place, but in this case it should be. No amount of pollution should be considered safe and acceptable, so there is absolutely no reasonable defense for a company who pollutes the most.
It can be an easy argument to say that this company provides a much needed and valuable product for our country. However, there seems to be no attempt at discovering a better way to deal with the waste that is created from its business operations. Sure, this would mean an extra expense for the company. It could even be quite expensive. However, sustainable and long term operations should not be considered without making this change.
Hopefully the residents of Indiana are doing all that they can to protect themselves from their highly polluted water. Obviously, fishing should be out of the question since fish are the first to fall victim of the poisons in rivers. Many will start looking for the best water filter that they can find. This ultimately follows the awareness that bottled water is not the best choice for many reasons. Tap water is definitely out of the question here as well.
I guess the silver lining here is….well, not silver but a strong steel industry. At least Indiana can be proud of that. Who needs potable water?
Napa Valley Wines Getting Polluted?
February 16, 2018
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Napa County, California, have recently pledged to appropriate $3.3 million in funding to improve water quality and the natural wildlife habitat of the Napa River watershed.
This recent announcement can be found in the EPA’s newsroom at yosemite.epa.gov.
This two part restoration effort covers 15 miles of the Napa River. Also, approximately 135 acres of farmland will be converted back to wildlife habitat. More than 40 landowners have agreed to contribute to help make this happen.
Although this project will benefit many species of wildlife, salmon is definitely a major focal point here. Local salmon populations have been declining for decades in the Napa River. Stream erosion and higher concentrations of fine sediment are two of the primary culprits for the dwindling salmon numbers. The river once supported between six thousand to eight thousand Steelhead salmon. Now the adult salmon population measures in just the hundreds. The grant money will help stop erosion and improve spawning gravel to help spur a recovery in salmon population numbers.
There is also strong economic incentive for this project. The Napa Valley is perhaps one of the most well known wine producing locations in the world. Local winemakers have been not surprisingly very cooperative with the restoration efforts. More than 20 acres have been restored to help protect the Napa River. This can be seen as a common sense move on behalf of the vintners as they are taking a positive step in helping to protect their own stake in a $61 billion per year industry.
The river has become increasingly narrow which has led to a high erosion factor. A decrease in water has created banks as high as 30 feet. This has created a situation where these banks can collapse much more easily. Work is being done to mitigate this danger as well.
Another important goal of this project is to minimize potential pollution sources affecting the Napa River. Polluted runoff will be monitored as well as an implementation of heightened pollution standards.
This project is a truly shining example of how environmentalism and economic stability go hand in hand. It is very refreshing to see businesses and agencies like the EPA working together on a common goal.
It really is quite simple. Any business activity that is not good for the environment is also not good for business. There is no long term business model that does not rely on environmental resources. So it is easy to conclude that taking care of the environment easily translates into a long term, sustainable business.
The moral of this story is that you can make money by making a better world.
Hopefully examples like this news story will start to spread to other parts of the country and the world.
Better Water = Better Beer!
February 12, 2018
This post comes by way of The Huffington Post and describes one of the very many ways clean water is important.
As any beer enthusiast knows, you need good water to make good beer.
The higher the water quality, the better the beer!
Those who work at New Belgium Brewing, are also well aware of this fact. This company produces the very popular Fat Tire Amber Ale as well as 15 other quality brews. Jenn Vervier, their Director of Strategic Development and Sustainability, outlines the importance of clean water not just for basic health needs but also for sustainability-minded businesses like New Belgium Brewing.
The article primarily mentions the importance of the Clean Water Act, which is celebrating its 40th year anniversary. The brewery is specifically concerned about some smaller waterways that are currently not protected by the Act. These mountainous streams contribute to the rivers whose water is used by the brewery to make its beer. Although the main rivers are protected under the CWA, they are still at the mercy of the smaller streams that feed into them.
Environmentally aware businesses like New Belgium are counting on the Trump Administration to help strengthen the power and reach of the CWA, which was weakened by the previous administration. The good news is that the President seems to be a strong proponent of the work being done by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The people have spoken as the EPA received more than 200,000 comments from people who are in support of stronger water pollution restrictions and a healthier Clean Water Act. This is obviously a topic that should receive full support from everyone. After all, we all need clean water. It doesn’t get more basic than this.
This story is not surprising as Colorado is a very forward thinking and environmentally conscious part of the country. Hopefully this awareness spreads throughout the rest of the country. Businesses should eventually become aware of what New Belgium has; that clean water equals good business. Any of the costs associated with the EPA and its Clean Water Act will eventually be recouped through a much more sustainable and long lasting business.
One day we might not need agencies like the EPA. We should eventually get to a point where pollution would be unthinkable. We would finally have a full understanding of the idea that we have only one environment that we all live in. It’s all connected, so we must do all we can to protect it.
Oil Refineries, Your Water and the Environment
February 6, 2018
Commerce City Colorado, just north of Denver, is still being exposed to water pollution from an oil refinery leak that began almost a year ago.
The denverpost has been following this story since November of last year. The primary pollutant in this case is Benzene, a well known carcinogen. Apparently, efforts over the past few months have largely failed at both removing significant amount of this toxin and preventing any more from entering the environment.
Although almost 700,000 gallons of “material” have been removed over the past few months, recent measurements show that there are levels of benzene that are more than 400 parts per billion in affected bodies of water. Government mandated “safe” levels of benzene in drinking water must not pass 5 parts per billion. This is obviously major cause for concern when you realize that nearby waterways are being exposed to levels of benzene that are more than 100 times the limit of what is considered “safe”.
It turns out that this story is nothing new for this part of Colorado. This refinery site dates back to the 1930′s. State health officials have known about pollution incidents in the area for more than a decade now, making this the most enduring case of industrial pollution in Colorado.
The refinery company in question here, Suncor, has attempted to mitigate the problem to some degree. Last year they managed to pump out 209 million gallons of contaminated groundwater. This water was then treated and released into Sand Creek. Obviously, this is the least that they should do since they are the reason for this toxic mess to begin with.
Not surprisingly, Suncor has not received any fines even though the pollution they have caused due to their business practices has contributed to benzene levels that have been tested to be more than a 1,000 times the legal limit. Sadly, the little that has been done to repair the environmental damage here only occurred when the EPA finally stepped in.
When will ethics and environmentalism finally trump the power and influence of the almighty dollar? Hopefully sometime soon. We are running our of rivers and waterways to pollute.
Fast Food Refuses to Give Water to Children?
January 24, 2018
I know it sounds too surreal to be true! It is very true though. I experienced it first hand in 100 degree Fahrenheit temperature (37c). Taco Bell refused to serve or sell water during a heat wave by a school to myself and dehydrated high school students.
If you contact Taco Bell they will tell you that they have always given out water. This is sadly VERY untrue. They (the location of topic) were not distributing water in ANY form for the month of September. If you did not drink soda you were out of luck. I have heard the Manager of the store say contrary as well. I do not know why they are claiming this.
During this past month of September 2017 in a full blown heat wave here in the Austin area at least one Taco Bell has refused to give and or sell water to children right by a school.
Every day they get out of school, spend their money at the Taco Bell while they wait to be picked up. Taco Bell will only SELL them caffeine infested, fattening soda that will not help them with their dehydration one bit. And if the children have no money they start to beg for money to get soda.
This is not a matter of Taco Bell charging for the cup. Taco Bell is REFUSING to sell or give any water to those poor children. If your child goes to North Hollywood High and you would like to help in this cause please do some or all of the following…
It is not illegal to refuse to serve water. It is unbelievable that we might actually have to pass a law because of Taco Bell to make them serve water in a state that lays claim to being a healthy state. We have a call in with a State Assemblyman who is currently double checking the legalities of this issue so that we can push it forward.
About Our Protest…
On Monday Oct 13th between 2pm and 6pm we had scheduled picketing in front of the Taco Bell on Magnolia and Colfax.
Although Taco Bell has agreed already resolved this issue we are not entirely canceling this. Taco Bell has told me they will hand out coupons to try and compensate their upset customers and bring this to an end (Not their words).
Protesting will be done in a 100% peaceful manor. All protesting must be done on the sidewalk off Taco Bell property. 100% access to the restaurant must be allowed to the store. Entrances will not be blocked. Bring your own signs!!
Finding the Best Water Bottle
January 16, 2018
I’ve used good water bottles and seriously bad ones too. I have had favourites and then had favourites overtaken my favourites. At the end of the day, water is the best drink on earth and a great water bottle is essential, especially when travelling.
Some might think I am crazy, possibly a little obsessed about water bottles. But, hey, that’s just me. We are all different and some more “different” than others.
So let’s get back to basics and dive into the history of water, the bottling of it and the introduction of water bottles into modern day society.
Why Water Bottles?
Most of the portable water bottles you see today have not been around for long. Although, bottling water from the ground began back in 1622 in a small village in the UK. The demand came from villagers believing in the therapeutic benefits of this water. The first instance of commercial water bottling in the U.S began in Boston in 1767, again, people belived in the benefits of the “mineral” in the water.
Zoom forward a few decades and we have a billion dollar industry built on misleading market hype.
There is nothing more I hate than seeing people finish a disposable water bottle in thirty seconds and throw it away. I am guilty, I admit. When I am at home, I always use one of my many water bottles. But, when I am travelling and unsure of local water quality I buy awful disposal water bottles.
I have tried numerous advanced filtration water bottles and will review them in depth in further articles.
Water is truly the most beneficial liquid that we can consume. My mission is to find the best portable water bottle on the market. I want to make it easier for the world to remain hydrated, with minimal environment impact.
Six Water facts you need to know…
- Roughly 70% of an adult’s body is made up of water
- Water helps your kidneys and also aids in healthy bowel function
- In Africa alone, people spend 40 billion hours every year walking for water
- NASA has discovered water in the form of ice on the moon, mars and many other moons and planets.
- Water use has grown at more than twice the rate of population increase in the last century
Is this possible? Is there one water bottle that is better than the rest? I will find the answer to this question. I will drink litres and litres to get the bottom of this.