Archive for May, 2013

Water is Liquid Gold

Filed Under Category Water, Water Contaminant, Water Supply by Shirley Ng

Yes, Bottled Water Costs More than Gas–Much, Much More

ISP2081682_POSWater is such a precious resource that it has been referred to as “liquid gold.” In recent years, bottled beverage companies have taken advantage of the scarcity status of water to market and popularize bottled water. To get consumers to jump on the bottled water bandwagon, these bottled water companies have placed their water in its own category of “premium water”, with advertising campaigns that suggest their water is “spring water” or “mountain water” and cleaner and purer than municipal tap water.

In fact, according to the site Food and Water Watch, as much as 48.7% of bottled water actually comes from municipal tap water. Popular and “premium” bottled water brands such as Dasani and Aquafina, are actually tap water. Six years ago, PepsiCo. Inc., the makers of Aquafina, even admitted that this water brand came from tap water and announced that they would re-label their bottles to state as such that it came from a public water source.

It is interesting to note also that when people are given taste tests of bottled water versus tap water, the latter is frequently chosen as the one that has better taste. Showtime TV once did a study on water drinkers in New York and gave them a blind taste test, where an overwhelmingly majority of them, 75%, chose the tap water over the bottled water:

In the U.S., tap water is federally regulated under the jurisdiction of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and is tested for dangerous contaminants, whereas bottled water is not as stringently regulated under the jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as previously written about in a Zuvo Water blog post.

Thus the quality of bottled water certainly doesn’t justify its high cost, if most of it comes from tap water, which usually costs just pennies to consume.

It is shocking to find for instance, that a gallon of bottled water costs more than 2x a gallon of gas. A gallon of gas currently averages about $3.50-$4.00. In order to fill up a car that has a 15-gallon tank, it would cost about $60.

A liter of bottled water averages about $2.50 from a convenience store. A gallon is made up of 3.79 liters, which means that a gallon of bottled water would cost about $10. Thus if one were to fill up a 15-gallon tank car with water, it would cost $150 total, versus $60 total for filling it up with gas.

According to the EPA, the $2.50 spent on a liter of bottled water would pay for about 1,000 gallons of tap water. Bottled water companies are making huge profits by drawing water from public water sources, putting it in plastic containers, and reselling it at thousands of times the price of regular tap.

At the $10 per gallon rate, bottled water also costs more than a gallon of milk (which can range anywhere from $3-$8), as well as more than an entire 12-pack of beer, the world’s most widely consumed alcoholic beverage.

People will cite the convenience of bottled water as the main reason why they buy and consume it, as it is easy to pick up at a store, gas station, convenience mart, etc. Tap water is catching up to this convenience angle. Water bottle refill stations are beginning to make their way onto U.S. universities, into airports, and in parks around cities. Since 2010 for instance, San Francisco has installed outdoor water bottle refilling stations (“tap stations”) around the city to provide everyone with access to its high quality tap water while on the go. The tap stations enable one to reuse their own container rather than purchase costly single-use bottled water.

Once the convenience of tap water catches up, it will be hard to justify paying 1,000 times and up the cost of tap water for bottled water.

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Are you looking for a great alternative to bottled water? Download our Buyer’s Guide

Lead in Drinking Water: How It Harms Us and What We Can Do About It

Filed Under Category Health, Water, Water Contaminant, Water Supply by Shirley Ng

Where does lead come from?

Lead is a metal used by many civilizations to transport water, and used as far back in history as Roman times. It has a variety of uses but has been banned in household paint since 1978 and was eliminated from gasoline by the late 1980s. It is still found in water service lines, lead solder and brass fixtures. It is also added to metal alloys such as brass and bronze, and it exists in many older water faucets and fixtures.

511edb29-3c65-428b-8ed0-fd399f4b9ca1_300Lead is rarely found in source water, but is present in water service lines and enters tap water through the corrosion of plumbing materials. Homes built before the mid ‘80s are more likely to have lead pipes, fixtures, and solder. However, new homes are still at risk: even legally “lead-free” plumbing may have levels of lead up to 8 percent.

The effects of lead

Lead is a toxic substance and has serious effects on human health. Even low levels in drinking water, when ingested continuously, will cause a deterioration in one’s health. These effects are cumulative and usually are irreversible, especially in sensitive populations such as fetuses, children, and pregnant women. In babies and children, exposure to lead in drinking water above an action level can hurt developing brains, resulting in delays in physical and mental development, along with deficits in attention span and learning abilities. In adults, lead in drinking water can cause high blood pressure. Adults who drink lead-infected water over many years are also at risk of developing kidney problems.

Lead poisoning used to be a much larger concern in the United States, but has declined significantly as lead was banned from paint and gasoline and other sources. It is still a concern for tainted drinking water however. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that 10 to 20 percent of exposure comes from lead released into drinking water caused by corroded pipes in homes and buildings.

What can you do to reduce your risk of lead poisoning?

How concerned should you be about the water that you and your children are drinking? That depends, in part, on where you live. In some communities, water distribution lines still have lead service connections. And, if the water in your area is especially acidic or “soft,” it can be very corrosive. The more corrosive the water, the more lead it can dissolve as it stands in pipes.

To be proactive about reducing your risk to lead poisoning in your drinking water, check with your local water department to see whether the service connection to your building contains lead. The age of your home will tell you a lot too. If you aren’t sure about the pipes in your home and want to know more about them, have a plumber inspect them.

Whether or not you have had your water tested for lead, there are also several simple changes you can make in your daily water habits to protect yourself and your family.

  • Flush your pipes before drinking: The more time that water is sitting in your home’s pipes, the more lead it may contain. Anytime the water in a particular faucet has not been used for six hours or longer, “flush” your cold-water pipes by running the water. In the morning, run the faucet where you normally take your first drink of water or fill up your coffee pot until the water turns as cold as will get. This flushes out the water that has been standing in your pipes overnight. If no one is home and using water during the day, do the same thing in the evening.
  • Use cold water: Always use cold tap water for cooking, drinking, and preparing baby formula or foods. Hot water is likely to have higher levels of lead.
  • Fill a container with water: After you have flushed your pipes in the morning or evening, fill a jug with water and store it in your refrigerator for cooking or drinking use later on.
  • Have an electrician check your wiring: Corrosion within your plumbing may be greater when grounding wires from your home’s electrical system are attached.
  • Have your water tested: After you have taken the precautions listed above for reducing the lead in water used for drinking or cooking, have your water tested. The only way to be sure of the amount of lead in your water is to have it tested by a competent laboratory. Your water supplier may be able to offer information or assistance/information on testing.

Treatment devices for removing/reducing lead in water

You can also purchase a home water treatment device for lead reduction, such as a Zuvo Water Filtration System. The product you purchase should meet the ANSI/NSF Standard 53 for Drinking Water Treatment Units. This standard addresses point-of-use (POU) and point-of-entry (POE) systems designed to reduce specific health-related contaminants, such as lead, that may be present in public or private drinking water.

Your best defense against lead in drinking water ultimately is knowledge. If you are concerned about lead, learn as much as you can about the pipes that lead to your house and the plumbing that runs to your faucets. Follow the previous steps described to reduce your chances of lead poisoning, such as flushing out your pipes before drinking and using only cold water for cooking and drinking.

For more information on lead poisoning, a web site such as EPA’s site on water, http://water.epa.gov/, and its drinking water section, has a lot of detailed information on lead in water. Another site with additional information is the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): www.cdc.gov/

Conserving Water and Money by Using a Water Filtration System

Filed Under Category Product Reviews, Water Contaminant by Shirley Ng

Plant with Water DropletsWater supplies are becoming strained. In 1990, 30 states across the United States reported “water-stress” conditions. In 2000, that number increased to 40, and then to 45 in 2009. Water prices have risen steadily as well over the last dozen years. A USA Today study of 100 municipalities showed that water rates doubled during a 12-year stretch in 25% of those municipalities, and in a few, even tripled. All these alarming factors point to a greater need than ever to conserve water. Taking measures at home to conserve water not only saves you money, it will also benefit the community at large.

One often overlooked method of conserving water is to switch to filtered tap water. One gallon of spring water (or bottled water of any kind) requires much more water to produce than just the water in the bottle. Energy and water is used to transport the water, produce the bottle, and run the equipment. Buy your own water filter and connect it to your faucet, or place a water filter in your fridge.

_MG_6423_ON_Blue_Teardrop_Dropout copyHome dwellers that utilize water filtration systems can even be more water efficient depending on the type they select. Reverse osmosis systems are incredibly big water wasters and are not recommended for water conservation. Although they don’t require electricity if you are on municipal water, a RO system will waste 4-8 gallons of water for every, one gallon of filtered water produced. Not only are all these gallons of water wasted, but many dollars are also wasted on your utility bill. Consider getting a more water-conservation friendly water filtration system, such as Stratus by Zuvo Water, which does not create any wastewater at all and is currently available on Indiegogo.com.

Filtering water at home is also cheaper than relying on bottled water. Even when factoring in the cost of the variety of filtering systems on the market, from inexpensive carafe and pitcher filters to costlier countertop or under-counter filters, filtered tap water is still far more affordable in the long run than bottled water.

Here’s a comparison of the average cost of one gallon of tap water, one gallon of filtered tap water, and one gallon of commercial bottled water:

  • Tap water: $0.002 per gallon
  • Average home filtered water: from $0.06 to $0.20 per gallon
  • Bottled water: from $0.89 to $8.00+ per gallon



Choosing a water filter can seem like a daunting process, but it doesn’t have to be. Find out what is in your water. Contact your local utility and request a copy of the Annual Water Quality Report, also called the Consumer Confidence Report (CCR). The report will give you information about any contaminant violations in your water system and help you figure out what type of filtration system is best for your home. And even though there may not be contaminants of concern based on the CCR or your test results, in the case of a private well, a home water filtration system can still provide an added layer of safety/protection for your water.

What Are VOCs and Do You Need to Filter Your Water for Them?

Filed Under Category Water Contaminant by Shirley Ng

VOCs are “volatile organic compounds.” They are synthetic organic compounds–chemicals synthesized from carbon and other elements such as hydrogen, nitrogen, or chlorine. VOCs have important properties in common: they evaporate or vaporize readily (they are volatile.) They are not a product of nature, but are man-made to meet hundreds of diverse needs in our everyday lives and are emitted by thousands of common products. Examples include paints, varnishes, wax, cleaning, disinfecting, cosmetic, degreasing, and hobby products. Fuels are made up of organic chemicals. All of these products can release organic compounds while you are using them, and, to some degree, when they are stored.

The manufacturing of VOCs has risen dramatically during the past 50 years and thus have inevitably crept into our water as a harmful contaminant. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that VOCs are present in one-fifth of the nation’s water supplies. More than 700 synthetic organic compounds have been identified in drinking water supplies across the U.S. They originate from a variety of sources, including the aforementioned everyday household products and leakage or improper disposal of chemical wastes from commercial and industrial establishments. VOCs can have very dangerous effects on one’s health. At high levels of exposure, many types of VOCs can cause central nervous system depression (drowsiness, stupor), liver and kidney diseases, and a variety of cancers. All VOCs can be irritating upon contact with the skin, or to the mucous membranes if inhaled.

For VOCs found in water supplies, EPA has established a maximum contaminant level (MCL). Water containing a chemical in an amount lower than the MCL is considered safe to drink. Drinking water containing one or more VOCs at levels above standards should not be consumed. And because little is known about the compounding effects of exposure to multiple VOCs, attention should be given if two or more VOC chemicals are found in your drinking water. In any case, all sources of VOC contamination in water should be eliminated when possible.

How do you protect your water from, and reduce VOCs? Protecting your water source is the most effective method to eliminate exposure to these chemicals.

Public water systems are required to be monitored on a routine basis for contamination. In regards to private water supplies, however, it is the homeowner’s responsibility to regularly have their water quality evaluated. If you live in an area where there is potential for organic compounds in your water, have it tested periodically for VOCs. If VOCs or other contaminants are found at levels approaching or above drinking water standards, the source of contamination should be eliminated.

If testing indicates contaminant levels that exceed drinking water standards, water treatment systems can be used to reduce them to well below the standard. Home filter systems are designed to reduce water contaminants and will provide a high quality water supply if properly installed and maintained. Be sure that systems purchased for home treatment of VOCs are certified to remove those found in your water.

Activated carbon filters are generally very effective at removing most organic contaminants from water. Certain forms of carbon also have a greater capacity for VOC reduction. The effectiveness of carbon filters is related to:

(1) the type and level of contaminant(s)
(2) the level of water usage and
(3) the type of carbon being used.

Large concentrations of VOCs and high water use will reduce the carbon life. The manufacturer’s guidelines for replacing carbon filters should always be followed.

And even though there may not be contaminants of concern, or in the case of a private well, test results turn up OK, a home water filtration system like the Zuvo Water Filtration System, used in combination with a Zuvo VOC filter, can provide an added layer of safety/protection for your drinking water. The Zuvo system will also improve the taste and quality of otherwise potable municipal or well water.

Why is the Clean Water Act Important?

Filed Under Category Water, Water Contaminant, Water Supply by Elizabeth Flammini

Why is the Clean Water Act Important?October 18th marks the fortieth anniversary of the Clean Water Act. Why is the Clean Water Act important? To understand the why, let’s start with what the Clean Water Act is. In 1972, Congress passed this landmark legislation when many of our waterways were so contaminated by industrial waste and other pollutants that they were unfit for public use. The Cuyahoga River in Ohio infamously caught on fire because of the contaminants in the water.

The Clean Water Act or CWA, is the primary legislation in the United States that addresses water pollution. Under the CWA, the EPA established water quality standards for all contaminants in surface waters.

Goals of the Clean Water Act

The CWA set a national goal “to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation’s waters”, with interim goals that all waters be fishable and swimmable where possible. The 1972 act introduced the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), which is the permitting system for regulating the discharge of point-source pollutants. The law requires that any point-source facility, such as a municipal wastewater treatment facility, that discharges polluted wastewater into a body of water must first obtain a permit from the EPA. The operator of the wastewater treatment plant is required to meet discharge standards for a number of contaminants and report on compliance on a regular basis. What is impressive is that the 1972 statute, its regulatory provisions and the institutions created 40 years ago, still make up the bulk of the framework for protecting and restoring the nation’s rivers, streams, lakes, wetlands and coastal waters.

Successes of the Clean Water Act

The CWA sought to make all water fishable and swimmable by 1985, and gave regulators the tools to actually follow through by punishing polluters. After four decades and because of the CWA, an estimated 65 percent of U.S. waterways are now fishable and swimmable. So the CWA continues to be a work in progress towards reaching the goal of all waters being fishable and swimmable, but we’ve come a long way since the days of the Cuyahoga River burning. The Clean Water Act is important for ensuring we continue to roll forward and not back.

Fracking Puts Underground Water at Risk

Filed Under Category Health, Water, Water Contaminant, Water Supply by Elizabeth Flammini

Fracking isn’t a word we learn in school, and it’s likely one that isn’t familiar to many people. So what is “fracking” anyway and what does it have to do with water? Fracking is short for hydraulic fracturing, a method used to extract natural gas or oil from rock deep below the earth’s surface.

Fracking is a controversial and meaty topic. It’s one of those classic struggles between tree huggers and capitalists, Democrats and Republicans, the left and the right. The arguments occur over protecting the environment including air, water and soil versus domestic energy independence and job creation. But that’s not all! There’s also a moral versus financial dilemma for property owners who typically live in rural areas and in many cases make a living by farming.

Zuvo Blog Fracking Puts Underground Water at RiskHere’s why this matters in regards to drinking water systems. All water that flows through a drinking water tap comes from a water source like snow melt, that makes its way into a river or reservoir, or groundwater that is stored in an underground aquifer. The fracking process involves injecting a well with high volumes of water mixed with chemicals and sand into openings or fractures in the rock. The pressure forces larger openings in the rock to occur through which pockets of natural gas or oil escape. Assertions that fracking is safe are largely true when the term only refers to the actual process of pumping the fluids into the ground to break apart the rock.[1] It’s all of the supporting operations like drilling the well, setting off explosions and storing wastewater in open containment basins associated with fracking that puts underground water at risk. Once groundwater and other drinking water sources are contaminated, it is very difficult and costly to restore them to their original quality. This is partly why the EPA, at Congress’ request, is studying whether fracking may be harmful to groundwater and drinking water systems.

Given the growing population and increasing stress on water resources, are the benefits of fracking worth the risk of destroying what are presently good-quality water supplies? Residents in New York State didn’t think so and successfully lobbied for a moratorium on fracking in 2010 so that state regulators could conduct an environmental review and develop rules. Opponents of fracking cite unknown health impacts, oil and gas companies’ exemption from the Clean Water Act, and lack of requirements for oil and gas companies to disclose the chemicals, many of which are likely or known carcinogens, used in the process. Proponents argue that fracking operations should be expanded because natural gas provides a cheap, clean way to generate electricity (especially compared to coal) and to move towards greater domestic energy independence. Not to mention this is an industry where jobs are being created.

This is one of the best-researched and comprehensive articles we’ve come across on fracking. It’s a blog post written by wired.com geek mom, Laura Grace Weldon. Why do we give it such high marks? For three reasons:

  1. 1. it’s a first-hand “in my backyard” account by a mom who questions the impact to her family
  2. 2. it’s written so that anyone can understand the technical information and
  3. 3. it’s thorough and sorts through the confusion surrounding fracking.


Weldon’s article provides an in-depth investigation of the following issues that make the story of fracking so complicated, rich and complete with a diverse cast of characters:

  • • Sorting though the confusion
  • • Disclosure and rights
  • • Health and environmental considerations


What would you do, if you were a landowner faced with signing an agreement with an oil and gas company that holds the promise of a new source of income for you and your family?

Where do you think the line should be drawn, if at all, between doing what is necessary to create jobs versus protecting natural resources especially, drinking water systems?

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Are you considering a UV water filter system? Download our Buyer’s Guide

 


[1] Will Fracking Impact My Family? GeekMom, Wired.com, Laura Grace Weldon, July 27, 2012.

Clean it Up

Filed Under Category Water Contaminant by Annie Barbour

In restaurants, water is quickly on the rise as the preferred drink – perhaps because of the price, for health reasons, or for the palate’s sake – as water has a way of simply pairing with a meal. Clean water hydrates, keeps us active, clears up our skin and does so many more things for our bodies – it’s amazing! But what about when the water isn’t clean? What happens when people drink contaminated water, and what can be done about it?

Contamination in water comes from a whole slew of man-made and naturally occurring things: industrial waste, hazardous sediments, household chemicals, bacteria, viruses and parasites to name a few. We’ve previously discussed some ground and surface water contaminants, but what do parasites have to do with water?

The most notable parasitic water outbreak in the United States occurred in Milwaukee in 1993. Cryptosporidium, a parasite, had unknowingly contaminated Milwaukee Water Works’ (MWW) source water: Lake Michigan. The source water flowed to MWW as it always did, and after being treated, was provided to the homes of Milwaukee residents.

Although the turbidity readings had been unusually high, which can signal microbial contamination, the MWW employees did not catch the problem until after the fact, as all of the water quality standards were met. The municipality became alerted of the problem when people throughout the city began calling about diarrhea, and increased absences from school and work were reported. A boil alert was put into effect, the water plant was shut down, and in a week’s time, the incidence of sickness tapered off. When all was said and done, this specific parasite, in a single occurrence, caused 400,000 people in Milwaukee to become sick, and resulted in 100 deaths of people with weak immune systems.

So how did this happen? For starters, cryptosporidium contaminated the water source through infected stools of animals or people. Secondly, Cryptosporidium cysts have tough walls that can withstand many environmental stresses and are resistant to chlorine which many municipalities use to disinfect water.

Of course since the 1993 outbreak, more measures to keep water safe are being taken. The EPA’s Interim Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule regulates that 99% of Cryptosporidium be removed if a municipality serves 10,000 people or more.  Since then, no more large-scale outbreaks have occurred. However, if you are served by a smaller scale source for your water or looking for an added factor of safety, consider a home filtration system like the Zuvo Water Filtration System. The Zuvo system is tested to NSF/ANSI standards for the reduction of protozoan cysts including Cryptosporidium.

We’d like to hear from you, what potential drinking water contaminants are of most concern to you?

You Have a Right to Know

Filed Under Category Health, Water, Water Contaminant, Water Supply by Annie Barbour

Lead, arsenic and unpronounceable words like Cryptosporidium (also known as “Crypto”) aren’t your everyday vocabulary words. We understand that. However, these specific words are important in determining everyday health for you, your family and your neighborhood.  Water is an incredible ingredient for your well-being, and the quality can and should be guaranteed. Today, community water systems ensure drinking water quality through compliance with primary standards for approximately 90 contaminants. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is charged with setting the standards and regulating the levels of contaminants and indicators in drinking water. What may be surprising is these public drinking water standards have only been in place since 1974 when the Safe Drinking Water Act became law.

Drinking water, as well as bottled water, may reasonably be expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants. The presence of contaminants doesn’t necessarily indicate that water poses a health risk.[1] Annual drinking water reports, also known as Consumer Confidence Reports (CCRs), are provided each year by water utilities, detailing local water quality to customers. The EPA requires community water systems to supply these reports by July 1st each year to the people it serves including home-owners, apartment building landlords and mobile home park residents.

CCRs are required to include several key points about the water it delivers. What source does the water come from? What are the contaminant levels in the local water as compared to the EPA maximum contaminant level (MCLs)?  What is the probable cause of the delineated contaminants? If contaminants exceed the maximum level, what are the potential health effects? The community water system must also provide a plan of action to bring the contamination level below the MCL. The dangers of lead, nitrates, arsenic and illness-causing Cryptosporidium are also entailed in the report.

Each summer, a report is distributed to community members via newspaper, direct mail and/or the Internet. Some reports are also available for download from the EPA’s website.  If a contaminant does surpass the maximum EPA level, consider having your drinking water tested. In addition to the yearly report, pay attention to changes in the color, odor and taste of your water. Changes in these characteristics can indicate that something is not right in your water; a home water-quality test will inform you of specific contamination concentration levels such as lead, iron and coliform bacteria. With this information, if a contaminant, such as lead, exceeds the MCL, consider installing a home water treatment system like the Zuvo Water Filtration System to reduce the concentration to below the MCL.

The United States government amended the Safe Drinking Water Act in 1999 to include the vital, public information the CCR provides. Take advantage of it. Check your water quality. If necessary, improve your water quality with a home water filtration system.

Have you read your annual Consumer Confidence Report provided by your local water utility? Do any contaminants in your drinking water exceed the MCL? If so, what have you done to mitigate the risk?


[1]EPA Water: Basic Information about Regulated Drinking Water Contaminants http://water.epa.gov/drink/contaminants/basicinformation/index.cfm
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Ground to Glass

Filed Under Category Health, Water, Water Contaminant, Water Supply by Annie Barbour

Each morning in many houses besides your own, a daily routine begins. You brush your teeth, shower, flush the toilet, make a family-sized batch of oatmeal and remind your children to brush their teeth too. Though morning routines are not identical, life’s basic necessities and cleanliness norms suggest that “getting ready” always requires one thing: water. When you turn the faucet’s handle, you expect water to readily flow from it. But how does it get there, from start to finish?

As we explained in a previous blog post about the water cycle, initially the water is supplied through precipitation, and is collected as surface water or groundwater in a river, local lake or a well. Water is then pumped from one of these sources to a water treatment plant, for the town’s use. Once it reaches the plant, the water goes through a series of treatment processes, to make it safe to drink and use in your home. A typical water treatment plant includes the following processes: coagulation, sedimentation, filtration, disinfection and storage.

After sediment is removed from the water through coagulation, sedimentation and filtration, the water needs to be disinfected to remove illness-causing pathogens. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets contamination limits for drinking water according to the Safe Drinking Water Act, which are all based on a minimal, healthy level.  Arsenic, lead, viruses and mercury are just a few of the contaminants regulated by the EPA, and reduced by water treatment plants.

Public water systems disinfect water through one or more processes, including chlorine treatment, ultraviolet radiation (UV), and less common alternatives including ozonation, boiling and pasteurization. Gaseous forms of chlorine treat public water, reducing disease-causing bacteria and organisms, and removes minerals like iron and hydrogen sulfide. After primary disinfection occurs and the water leaves the municipality, some disinfectant remains to continuously keep water safe. Some utilities have switched from free chlorine to chloramines for maintaining a disinfectant residual in the distribution system. The secondary or residual disinfectant can, and often times does, affect the taste and odor of your tap water, though is not harmful. Alternatively, ultraviolet treatment kills contaminants through radiation, and safely improves water quality. This type of process does not affect the taste or odor after the fact, albeit nor does it have a disinfectant residual.

The filtered and disinfected water is stored and then used when it is needed. Tanks, aquifers and water towers, are all types of reservoirs used for water storage.  Water towers typically hold enough of a water supply for one day of the population’s use. Water towers are usually elevated by structure and location, providing sufficient pressure to deliver water to the homes and businesses within the town. After the water volume in the tower is reduced from a day’s use, more water is pumped in at night when usage is minimal from the municipal source.  By the time you awake in the morning, the tower is filled with clean water – ready for you, your family and your town’s use.

What is the initial source of your drinking water? Do you know how it’s treated?

Got Lead?

Filed Under Category Health, Water, Water Contaminant by Annie Barbour

“Don’t eat the paint,” your grandmother advises, as she fills a glass of water straight from the tap. “Gladly,” you think, neither tempted by this odd warning nor confused about the meaning. Old homes have lead paint; by now – it’s a well-known fact. What your grandma doesn’t know, is that the old pipes that bring water to the faucet are made of lead, and heed an important warning of their own in your freshly poured glass.

Lead is a naturally occurring, inexpensive metal that is bluish-gray in appearance and easy to manufacture. Because of its inherent properties, lead is used in a variety of products including batteries, bullets, piping and up until 1978, paint. Though useful, this metal has serious effects on people when overexposure occurs. Lead-based paint was banned by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission because of the poisonous effects on children, which resulted in irreversible slowed mental and physical development and a reduction in attention span. Lead poisoning in adults can negatively affect muscle coordination, reproduction, increase blood pressure and cause nerve damage.

Lead can also be consumed through tap water that is supplied through lead-based pipes, fixtures and connectors built in homes most typically before 1986.  The water becomes contaminated when it sits in the lead pipes for several hours, and the metal leaches into the potable water. Leaching cannot be pinpointed to one single factor, but occurs more frequently from soft and acidic water, high temperatures, and in old plumbing. In recent years, lead exposures have decreased, thanks in part to the EPA’s Lead and Copper Rule, which monitors lead levels at the tap and takes necessary measures if required. However, as reported in a recent article in the Chicago Tribune concerns have been raised about the screening process for lead.

Apart from municipal checks or using a home water quality test kit, there is no way to tell whether there is lead in drinking water, as the metal is odorless, tasteless and colorless when dissolved in water. Because of this, it is important to check with your local municipality to ensure safe drinking water. Ask if your water has an action level of 15 parts per million (ppm), which exceeds the EPA’s maximum level, and if your street’s water main pipe has lead in it.  If the lead concentration in your tap water exceeds the action level of 15 ppm, running your water for 30 to 45 seconds, or installing a home filtration system is recommended to reduce it. The Zuvo® Water Filtration System is certified to meet the NSF/ANSI Standard 53 for the reduction of lead.

Are you concerned about lead in your water? If you are, please contact Zuvo Water for more information or check with your local water utility.