Category: Drinking Water Contaminants


This is quick and to the point, we need your help to get the word out.

Our Mission: To promote the safe inspection and cleaning of water storage tanks and towers. We plan to do this with our blog, publications and film. The Working title to our film is Out of Sight, Out of Mind: What’s in Your Water? We will soon have a crowd funding event to get the movie going too.

Advertisement space is now available on our blog we are also accepting on topic post with links to the authors webpage. To contribute content to the film or the blog contact Ron Perrin at RonPerrinCSHO@gmail.com. If you would like to show your support for our mission a donation as small as $5 is a great way to show you care about this issue.

Any amount is accepted and we are fully TAX-DEDUCTABLE!

Simply click this link: DONATE NOW!

Water storage tanks and towers are assets that represent a major capital investment. In 2015 I developed a class for the Environmental Training Institute at The University of Texas at Arlington.  The class “WTR 308 Potable Water Storage Inspection Techniques” is next being offered May 23-24, 2017.  This class covers common contaminants that may be found in tank sediment such as Legionella bacteria and Cryptosporidium along with new deadly threats like Naegleria fowleri that has turned up in multiple Louisiana water systems in the past few years.

The class also covers basic safety procedures when inspecting water storage such as safety issues associated with working in confined spaces and working at height. The course also covers inspection strategy development, selection and use of underwater cameras, sediment sampling devices, gas monitoring instruments needed for human entry into the tank, and best practices for inspection documentation. To enroll in the May 23-24, 2017 class contact the UTA Environmental Training Institute at 866-906-9190.

About the Instructor:

Ron Perrin is a Certified Safety and Health Official (CSHO), a Safety and Health  Environmental Professional (SHEP) and a OSHA certified Construction Safety Trainer. Ron is the owner of Ron Perrin Water Technologies in Fort Worth, Texas.  Since 1997 his company has inspected thousands of water storage tanks and towers in 14 states.  Ron may be contacted through his web site at www.ronperrin.com. Or contact RPWT Office Manager Debi Wheelan: tankinspections@aol.com               Call: 817-377-4899            Fax 817-246-1740

 

This site is supported by Ron Perrin.  Since 1997 my company Ron Perrin Water Technologies has been a leader in underwater inspection and cleaning for the water utility industry. We offer underwater inspection and cleaning services to municipal water utilities so they do not need to drain water tanks or towers to inspect or clean them. Our city drinking water comes from surface waters (lakes, rivers or streams) or ground water (well water).  After the water is treated it is sent to the water storage tanks & towers where it waits to be used at your tap.  Over time sediment builds up in these tanks  the sediment can be a safe habitat for bacteria protozoa and even viruses.

Our cleaning service is performed by Commercial Divers(also called line air because they are breathing surface supplied air on an umbilical line). They wear dry suits that completely seal them in their own environment.  The diver is then washed down with a chlorine solution before entering the water supply.

Once inside the water tank or tower our diver can quickly remove the accumulated sediment from the interior floor of the tank. Removing the habitat that can hide bacteria and other contamnants makes the water safer to drink and safes the utility money by reducing chlorine cost.   because the contaminants are no longer growing and depleting the chlorine reserves.

WORMS IN TAP WATER!
Worms are ok in water if you’re fishing, but Thursday morning, the 30th of July, I woke to see a news story about worms in drinking water. I live in Fort Worth but the story was getting wide coverage from CBS Houston. I had to know more about this! I went to work and told Ryan, our director of media & video production, to pack a bag because we were headed to Houston. We went to the heart of the story, Woodland Acres, which is a subdivision in Old River-Winfree about 25 miles east of Baytown, Texas, to see the worms for ourselves. We met several residents who were still had worms coming out of their tap water. Read more on our new page www.WORMSINDRINKINGWATER.COM

National Primary Drinking Water Regulations: Finished Water Storage Facility Inspection Requirements Addendum to the Revised Total Coliform Rule.

EPA is planning to propose an addendum to the Revised Total Coliform Rule (RTCR) to strenghten public health protection by including finished water storage facility inspection (SFI) requirements. In the preamble to the July 2010 proposed RTCR (75 FR 40926), EPA requested comment on the value and cost of storage facility inspection and cleaning. (Hide)

EPA received comments regarding unsanitary conditions and contamination that can be found in finished water storage facilities that are not routinely inspected and cleaned, including breaches and accumulation of sediment, animals, insects, and other contaminants. The Agency is developing an SFI proposal in order to allow interested parties to again comment and provide any additional relevant information. EPA is planning to propose and request comment on requirements for public water systems to periodically inspect the interior and exterior of their finished water storage facilities at least and to correct any sanitary defects found. Any potential requirements would apply to all public water systems that have one or more finished water storage facilities. Like the 2013 final RTCR, the proposed storage tank inspection requirements would maintain or improve public health protection by reducing cases of illnesses, and possibly deaths, due to exposure to waterborne pathogens.
          ———————————————————————————————————————-
8/15/14 UPDATE:  At a Water Quality Conference in Austin, Texas earlier this month, I spoke to an EPA official who advised me the inspection requirement of the RTCR will stop short of requiring storage tanks to be inspected.  The rule will be implemented by the States and in full effect by 2015.  We may see a wide range of different interpretations as we compare State to State.
Another EPA spokesperson confirmed to me that a water storage tank inspection would be an important part of assessing the system if there would be a violation under RTCR.  In addition, if sediment was found in the storage tank, cleaning the tank and removing the sediment would be considered a corrective action.  The official refused to go on camera and asked not to be named due to EPA rules against speaking for privately owned companies.
This blog will post new developments on the RTCR as news becomes available.

Click here for more information including the proposed time line: Regulatory Development and Retrospective Review Tracker

Image

Sediment being removed from potable water storage tank 2014. (c) Ron Perrin Water Technologies.

For more information on potable water storage inspection or cleaning see: http://www.ronperrin.com

 

In July of 2010 the EPA requested comments on proposed changes to the

Total Coliform Rule.  The entire posting can be read on this link.

Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 134 / Wednesday, July 14, 2010 / Proposed Rules

See my post: EPA considering requiring all Water Storage Tanks to be cleaned!

Published 7-17-2010, I highlighted the relevant parts of the Federal Register post from July 2010.

The EPA is currently doing a study on the cost or requiring all potable water tanks and towers in the U.S. to be inspected and cleaned.

On May 22, 2013 we were contacted by The Cadmus Group and ask to participate in a survey on water tank inspection and cleaning.

I have made an inquiry to he Cadmus Group as to the progress of the survey, I am currently waiting for a reply.  You can explore my former post from 2010 (linked above) to get a good idea of how this came about and why the EPA thinks there is a need for a national rule.

Do you want to know more about YOUR LOCAL DRINKING WATER?  START HERE: http://water.epa.gov/drink/local/

300.000 Gallon

300.000 Gallon

Sediment Being RemovedFrom 300,000 gallon drinking water tower.

Sediment Being Removed
From 300,000 gallon drinking water tower.

The water storage tanks and towers you see around your city or town are the last stop for drinking water on its way to your tap.  By the time the water enters the storage tank it has been processed through filter media or other forms of treatment to meet EPA standards. Over years of service, sediment builds up in water storage tanks and towers.  One particle at a time, from a half to three inches is a common amount of build up over several years.  This sediment that gathers on the bottom of the tank floor is seldom thought about.  Out of sight and out of mind, it lays undisturbed becoming a welcoming habitat for bacteria, protozoa and even viruses. . .

Sediment under Microscope

Sediment under Microscope

A close up of the sediment under a 4x microscope did not reveal any moving contaminates, but still, nothing you would want to drink. . . . .

Sediment water under a 40X microscope

Sediment water under a 40X microscope

. . . However, under a 40x microscope we could see the movement of microorganisms.  Removing the sediment from the floor of the tank removed the habitat that these microbes were able to live in.  Now chlorine will keep the drinking water fresh and pure, free from bacteria and other living contaminants. . . . . This is raw video of what we found with our 40X electronic microscope.   For more information on water tank cleaning visit my commercial web site at http://www.ronperrin.com One of our divers thought he had something important to say from the top of a water storage tank we were cleaning.  He made this video and put it online.  A little rough, a little crude, but he makes a good point. If you would like a quote on cleaning or inspecting a water storage tank or tower please call us toll free at 888-481-1768. Check us out on FACEBOOK and LINKED IN and share this site with your friends!

Do you need a Potable water tank or tower inspected?

Our inspection methods offer the most information for the least cost,  all of our inspection methods include an underwater DVD allowing you to see what is in your storage tanks.  Remote video camera, ROV or potable water diver we have a method for every budget.

Call us toll free at 888-481-1768 or simply fill out the form below:

All water tanks accumulate sediment over time.  The soft sediment in the floor of water tanks and towers becomes a safe habitat for bacteria, protozoa and even VIRUSES!   *** see reference at bottom of the page.

Out of sight out of mind-

No one thinks about the sediment.   Most have no idea it is even there.

Not the water utility administrators, not the mayor not the elected city council members.  Many times elected officials vote to clean or  repaint the exterior of a water tower and never consider the inside condition.  The popular view is that Pure Treated drinking water is pumped into the water storage tank or tower where it is held, until the end user opens a tap at their kitchen sink and gets a glass of crystal clean water.

The Truth-

All water distribution systems accumulate sediment in tanks over time.

The water is often tested daily, if the chlorine residual goes down – operators do not ask why, they just add more chlorine, over time the additional chlorine breaks down and itself becomes a contaminate in the tank that can cause cancer.   *** See References below

Instead of constantly adding more and more treatment chemicals, simply cleaning the sediment from the floor of the tanks is the solution.

A countless number of biological contaminates can use the sediment in the floor of water tanks and towers to get a foot hold in a municipal drinking water system and grow into a real health concern.  Why should we care what is on the bottom of a water storage tank?

We drink off the bottom of water storage tanks!  Of course like many things the adverse health effects are unequally distributed to poor communities where drinking store bought bottled water is not a given, It is also these communities who have underfunded water systems that suffer from lack of maintenance.

Many utility systems that can afford inspection and cleaning of their systems simply do not allocate the funds for it because there are no regulations requiring them to do so.

In Texas yearly inspections of water storage tanks and towers are required.

Tanks get inspected in Texas.  The problem in this state is there is no rule or regulation requiring tanks to be cleaned. So while thanks get inspected every year,  most are seldom if  ever cleaned.

The AWWA (American Water Works Association)  recommends that water storage tanks be cleaned every 3 to 5 years or as needed.  The EPA has published multiple white papers about contamination public water systems and the importance to keep tanks free of sediment.

Few ever read EPA white papers and AWWA recommendations are largely ignored when there are no rules or regulations backing them up.

Of course there is always someone who is doing the right thing out there, just because it is the right thing to do.  In this case that would be the City of Arlington, Texas.

According to surveys conducted by the Environmental Working Group, Arlington, Texas has The best water in the United States, probably making it the best water in the world.  Arlington is located in the middle of the DFW metroplex getting its water from the same source as 50 other systems.   The water is treated in two water plants using similar treatment chemicals and methods as surrounding systems.

What sets them apart?  For the past 18 years But they  have made a commitment to keep their tanks clean,  Every year a Potable Water Dive crew is contracted to vacuum the tanks clean while they remain full of treated drinking water.    The divers literarily clean dust from the floor of water storage tanks, while surrounding cities allow multiple inches to accumulate before cleaning.

Too many water utilities in this country have no idea how much sediment if  any  is in the floor of their water storage tanks because they have never hired an inspection crew with underwater cameras to check it out.  It is never thought of so they stay caught in the cycle of adding more and more treatment chemicals when contamination is detected.

Lack of regulations in this overlooked undervalued part of our infrastructure is needlessly putting millions of people at risk for illness, cancer and even death.  When the solution is as simple as cleaning the floor of a storage area.  It just so happens that this area stores water, and it is often 150 foot or more up in the air.

The City of Arlington has proven the effectiveness of keeping water storage tanks clean,

According to the research I did for my book “Inspecting and Cleaning Potable Water Storage”  the majority of states do not have regulations requiring inspection or cleaning.

Do you think the EPA should require tanks to be Cleaned?

Take the poll :     CLICK HERE AND TAKE THE POLL AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS BLOG

Please share this with friends check out my Videos posted on you tube  just search RON PERRIN

Visit http://www.ronperrin.com

This is a vastly complicated subject, that can be pulled down to three very simple terms.

  1. If you have a water storage tank or tower in your town there is sediment in it.
  2. Sediment bad,
  3. Remove Sediment and you remove the inorganic contaminates the habitat that organic contaminates can grow in.

See other videos and Vote Me Up! at http://current.com/users/ronperrin.htm

*** Quick Reference:

See:  Disinfection byproducts list at: http://water.epa.gov/drink/contaminants/index.cfm#Byproduc

Reference: Health Risk From Microbiological Growth and Biofilms in Drinking water Systems.  Published by  the EPA office of Water  June 17, 2002.

http://www.epa.gov/ogwdw/disinfection/tcr/pdfs/whitepaper_tcr_biofilms.pdf

QUOTE:

PAGE 26        G. Sediment Accumulation

Significant microbial activity may occur in accumulated sediment (USEPA, 1992b). Organic and inorganic sediments can also accumulate in low-flow areas of the distribution system, and enhance microbial activity by providing protection and nutrients (USEPA, 1992b). Biofilms that slough can accumulate in the periphery of distribution systems leading to sediment accumulation and the proliferation of some microorganisms (van der Kooij, 2000). Sediments may be an important source of nutrients in open finished water reservoirs, by accumulating slowly biodegrading materials which

are then broken down and released into the water column (LeChevallier, 1999b). The opportunities for biofilm development may be more abundant in storage tanks than in distribution system piping. Frequently, water is drawn from storage tanks only when water demand is high, such as during drought, fire flow, and flushing operations. This intermittent use results in prolonged storage times that may lead to increased sediment accumulation and lack of a disinfectant residual in the finished water storage vessel. Biological and aesthetic effects can be observed following the release of accumulated sediments from low flow areas of the distribution system (Geldreich, 1990).

Many studies have identified microbes in accumulated sediments, including both pathogens and non-pathogens. These include bacteria, viruses, protozoa, algae, fungi and invertebrates. Opportunistic pathogens that have been detected, and can multiply in sediments, include Legionella and mycobacteria (van der Kooij, 2000). Some primary pathogens can also survive for some time in sediments. Hepatitis A virus survived more than four months in sediments at both 5/C and 25/C (Sobsey et al., 1986). Other opportunistic pathogens found in sediments include Pseudomonas fluorescens

and Flavobacterium spp. (Berger et al., 1993). Sediments can also release nutrients into the water which stimulate biofilm growth downstream (LeChevallier, 1999b).

—————

Page 34      I. Proper Storage Vessel Management and Alteration

Proper storage vessel management and alteration, when necessary, can prevent contamination of the distribution system. Following TCR violations in 1996 in Washington D.C., one measure that proved effective in bringing the system back into compliance was the cleaning, inspection and disinfection of storage tanks and reservoirs (Clark, et al., 1999).

END QUOTE

A countless number of biological contaminants can use the sediment in the floor of water tanks and towers to get a foot hold in a municipal drinking water system and grow into a real health concern.  Why should we care what is on the bottom of a water storage tank?

We drink off the bottom of water storage tanks!  Of course like many things the adverse health effects are unequally distributed to poor communities where drinking store bought bottled water is not a given, It is also these communities who have underfunded water systems that suffer from lack of maintenance.

Many utility systems that can afford inspection and cleaning of their systems simply do not allocate the funds for it because there are no regulations requiring them to do so.

See potable water storage tank inspection and cleaning on this video.

This video shows how professional companies like “RON PERRIN WATER TECHNOLOGIES” using cutting edge equipment can make quick work out of inspecting and cleaning the most difficult water storage facilities.  The inspections can be performed with zero water loss or disruption in service.   Potable water divers can clean the floor of the facilities with minimal water loss providing a healthier storage area for municipal drinking water.  This makes a huge difference, a clean storage tank reduces the amount of treatment chemicals needed to meet current sanitary regulations.

Do you think the EPA should require Potable Water Storage tanks and towers to be cleaned?

Take the poll on this blog and be counted!

Link to the video

https://ronperrin.wordpress.com/2010/05/25/water-storage-tank-cleaning/

From my conversations with others in the industry this is what

their concerns are for storage tanks.

None of the tools that are outlined below have worked to get PWSs to

clean their tanks every 5 years.  Unfortunately, it comes down to the

personal preference of each PWS’s Manager whether the tank is cleaned on

a schedule recommended by guidance.

Some manager’s religiously clean their tanks every year, or every three years but for others, it never

occurs to them to clean their tanks.

This is unacceptable and can

sicken hundreds and cause fatalities.  Because nothing has worked, it is
vital for the protection of public health to create a regulatory (not
guidance) back stop that any system that has not cleaned and inspected
their storage tanks in the last 5 years would incur a violation.  This
is not a burden to those PWSs that have done what is right and followed
guidance but it does provide equal public health protection for those
who have not followed guidance.  We need to ask ourselves, where will
the next waterborne disease outbreak, like Alamosa occur?   In Alamosa,
one person died and 1300 others were sickened in a waterborne disease
outbreak that was caused due to neglect of their storage tanks – this
was completely preventable.  This person died needlessly.  Create a
regulatory backstop to prevent waterborne disease outbreaks from ever
occurring from such a preventable cause.

AWWA guidance and EPA whitepapers do not work to get PWSs to clean their
tanks every 5 years!

AWWA Manual M42 recommends tanks be drained, inspected and cleaned at
least every 3 years.  This same recommendation is reflected in EPA’s
Whitepaper on Finished Water Storage Tanks.  Kirmeyer, one of the
industry’s most  knowledgeable persons on storage tanks and water
quality, recommends tanks be drained, cleaned and have a comprehensive
inspection every 3  to 5 years.  These recommendations are ignored and
unknown to most PWSs.  They are recommendations, they are nice to do and
as a consequence, tanks are not cleaned and inspected and that’s why we
continue to find feet of sediment inside of tanks.  They don’t realize
the public health significance that sediment and holes large enough to
allow birds, rodents and insects into their tanks can have, it can lead
to waterborne disease outbreaks.  Salmonella can last for months in a
wet environment.  Clearly guidance does not work to get PWSs to clean
their tanks every 5 years.  We need a regulatory backstop to get PWSs to
do what is right for public health protection.  This does not need to be
delayed to study this to death, this is one of the most simple and
practical ways to protect public health.

None of the 50 states use their Significant Deficiency authority in
sanitary surveys for ground or surface water to clean their tanks every
5 years

None of the states have “not cleaning and inspecting their tank within
the last 5 years” as an item on their list of significant deficiencies.
The reason is States don’t realize the public health significance of
sediment buildup and/or the significance of breaches to a storage tank.
That is why cleaning and inspection is not on State’s significant
deficiency lists for sanitary surveys.  When you have both sediment
buildup and breaches, that is a fatal combination, and what causes
waterborne disease outbreaks like in Alamosa, Colorado.  One person died
from this Salmonella waterborne disease outbreak in Alamosa, he died,
from something that is totally and completely preventable.  There is a
class action lawsuit ongoing at this time.   You may justly ask why
aren’t we having waterborne outbreaks at more systems?  Because along
with sediment buildup and holes you need an event that would scour this
disease laden sediment into the distribution system.  Unfortunately,
that event that would awake this sleeping giant of a public health
concern is uncontrolled (e.g., fire flow, poor operation, power outages,
etc.) and that is completely unpredictable.  Gideon, Missouri had holes
that allowed salmonella contaminated bird feces into their tank but, it
was not until they underwent a flushing program that accidentally
drained their tank and flushed contaminated sediment into their
distribution system that the outbreak occurred.  This series of events
that led to hundreds of illnesses and 7 deaths stands ready to occur
again at hundreds of PWSs across the country.  EPA you have given the
drinking water industry a tremendous opportunity to prevent hundreds of
serious illnesses and fatalities from occurring from something the
industry already recognizes is vital to perform by creating a regulatory
backstop.  But, and I can not say this strongly enough, if you are
relying on significant deficiencies to achieve this goal it is not and
will not work unless there is a regulatory back stop.

State regulations that require PWSs to inspect their tanks only do not
work to get PWSs to clean their tanks every 5 years!

In the State of Texas where they have regulations that require PWSs to
have yearly inspections do not clean their tanks even when provided
overwhelming video and picture evidence of the sediment buildup.  They
don’t clean their tanks because they are not required to.  It is
impossible to inspect the floor of a tank when the sediment is not
removed.  The State of Wisconsin has recommendations for inspection
every 5 years, yet in the City of Brookfield two tanks were last cleaned
at a frequency of 7 years with 4 to 12 inches of sediment and another at
a 15 year frequency with 28 inches of sediment.     Clearly regulations
and recommendations to inspect only do not work to get PWSs to clean
their tanks every 5 years.  We need a regulatory backstop to get PWSs to
do what is right for public health protection.

State recommendations to inspect and clean their tanks do not work to
clean tanks every 5 years

Recommendations are largely ignored by PWSs.  Actually it’s much worse,
PWSs don’t even know these recommendations exist.  For example in the
State of Minnesota they had recommendations that stated ” All water
storage tanks should be inspected, cleaned and disinfected on an annual
basis.  Cleaning and disinfection should take place more frequently when
there have been identified water quality issues”.  The City of Moorhead,
one of the largest PWSs in the State, was unaware of any such
recommendation.  Recommendations to inspect and clean do not work to get
PWS to clean their tanks every 5 years.  We need a regulatory backstop
to get PWSs to do what is right for public health protection.

Protect public health over politics

Many agencies purporting to protect small systems (e.g., Rural Water,
RCAP, etc.) from the high costs of regulations are the very same systems
with the highest levels of sediment and most significant holes in their
storage tanks.  Many of these small systems can clean their tanks by
themselves with their own staff and fire hoses.  If these agencies were
truly helping these systems they should be assisting them to comply with
industry guidance of cleaning their tanks every 3 years.  If this were
the case such agencies would be able to say don’t worry about a
regulation to inspect and clean your tank it will never apply to you
because we ensure your tank in cleaned every 3 years.   The cost of a
cleaning a storage tank does not compare to the cost of a waterborne
disease outbreak and defending yourself from class action lawsuits.

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