Tag Archive: drinking water


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.

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You would think if an inspection of a water storage tank or tower shows a lot of nasty looking sediment in the floor, the tank would be cleaned.  But that is often not the case.  Our company performs water tank inspections with a custom made underwater video camera that enters the tank records the interior roof conditions and then makes its way to the floor of the tank.  The camera sends its video signal to the topside operator who records it on an HD recorder.

When our camera comes back with several inches of soft ugly sediment in the floor of a water storage tank or tower most people would assume that the utility manager would make sure that tank gets cleaned out ASAP.  The fact is most try, if it is a water tower the choice of doing it “In House” may not exist for many small utilities.  Water utility workers are just not trained or equipped to work 150 feet off the ground.  So the operator or utility manager request funds to get the tank cleaned.

Here is where the problem comes in, the city manager, city council or board of directors decide that spending money to clean the inside of a water storage tank or tower may not be a good use of the funds, often they  refuse to look at the inspection video.

While some utilities have good management, more and more are ignoring needed maintenance procedures because of shrinking budgets and bad priorities.  After all what is the most important priority for a water utility anyway?  We have several customers who hire us every year to inspect their water storage tanks & towers and every year we tell them their facilities need to be cleaned.

They tell us that they ask for the funds but are turned down for various reasons year after year.  In Texas, a rule in the Texas Administrative code 290.46 requires water utility operators to inspect their tanks & towers each year.  Many of our customers tell us because of that rule they can get funds to preform the tank inspection, but no requirements to clean the tank means its just not important.  I approach administrators as a contractor and they see me as a guy looking for work and somehow trying to trick them into looking at the inspection video.  This should not be a sales job.  Sediment Builds up in water storage tanks & towers over time,  it has already gone through the water treatment plant, its as clean as it is going to get.  The water goes from that water storage tank to your tap.  If the tank or tower is full of sediment bacteria, protazoa and even viruses can find a safe harbor where they get a foothold in the water system and grow.  Removing the sediment from the floor of the tank removes the habitat that contaminates can hide and thrive it.  Florida has one of the best rules in the country requiring that water storage tanks & towers be cleaned at least once every five years.  The American Water Works Association recommends that water tanks be cleaned every three to five years or as needed.  How long would you use a water glass in your house without washing it?  The City of Arlington Texas was recently ranked the # 1 water in the country.  I happen to know they clean their water storage tanks every year.

Nationally, there are approximately 170,000 public water systems (PWS). These public water systems range in size from large metropolitan areas to rest stops and campgrounds, provided that they meet the public water system definition. The definition of a public water system is a system for the provision to the public of water for human consumption through pipes or other constructed conveyances, if such system has at least 15 service connections or regularly serves at least 25 individuals. Nationally, 22% of the public water systems (approximately 37,000 pws) had violations of the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations in calendar year 1999.  I recently read an estimate that there were more than 400,000 water storage tanks and towers in the U.S.  The majority of them probable need to be inspected, cleaned or both right now.

Isn’t it time we demand clean water for everyone?  Isn’t it reasonable to demand that all water storage tanks & towers be cleaned at least once every five years?  What good is a multi million dollar water treatment plant if the clean pure water is pumped into a forty year old water tower that has never been cleaned?  It is just basic housekeeping, floors need to be cleaned from time to time water storage facilities are no different.  The difference is without a law, a rule a code too many of us are drinking from water tanks that rarely if ever get cleaned.  I think water tank inspections and cleanings should be part of the the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations.  If we had some basic housekeeping in the rules, it may well be that the overall water quality violations greatly decrease because contaminates will routinely be removed from water systems before they become a threat.

For More information on EPA enforcement of the Safe Water Drinking Act Click here  EPA compliance and enforcement of the Safe Water Drinking Act.



Tap water in 42 states is contaminated with more than 140 unregulated chemicals that lack safety standards, according to the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG’s) two-and-a-half year investigation of water suppliers’ tests of the treated tap water served to communities across the country.

In an analysis of more than 22 million tap water quality tests, most of which were required under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, EWG found that water suppliers across the U.S. detected 260 contaminants in water served to the public. One hundred forty-one (141) of these detected chemicals — more than half — are unregulated; public health officials have not set safety standards for these chemicals, even though millions drink them every day.

EWG’s analysis also found over 90 percent compliance with enforceable health standards on the part of the nation’s water utilities, showing a clear commitment to comply with safety standards once they are developed. The problem, however, is EPA’s failure to establish enforceable health standards and monitoring requirements for scores of widespread tap water contaminants. Of the 260 contaminants detected in tap water from 42 states, for only 114 has EPA set enforceable health limits (called Maximum Contaminant Levels, or MCLs), and for 5 others the Agency has set non-enforceable goals called secondary standards. (EPA 2005a). The 141 remaining chemicals without health-based limits contaminate water served to 195,257,000 people in 22,614 communities in 42 states.

Read the full report Here: http://www.ewg.org/tapwater/findings.php 

To date only the State of Florida has set standards for cleaning water storage tanks.  Not only should standards be set for additional contaminates I thisnk is is just as or pehaps more important that standards be set for keeping tanks clean.  At this time it is just not understood how much sediment accumulates in an average water storage tank over a few years.  That sediment becomes a habitat where bacteria and other contaminates can thrive. 

Once in your tank bacteria can grow rapidly if it finds a place to hide from the treatment chemicals sent to destroy it.

See the video; Bacteria Growth  http://current.com/items/89137743_bacteria_growth

The EWG’s report also points out that “90 percent compliance with enforceable health standards on the part of the nation’s water utilities, showing a clear commitment to comply with safety standards.” If standards are put in place giving water utilities a time table that water storage tanks should be cleaned and or inspected the water utilities will comply.  For the most part they or the people controling their funds do not understand the improtance of inspection & cleaning. 

Even after the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG’s) two-and-a-half year investigation of water suppliers’ tests of the treated tap water served to communities across the country.  No one looked at the effects of Sediment in the water storage tanks.  It apparently was not an issue, never thought of,  the investigation only looked at reports of what the water utilitys found in their systems.

Keeping your water storage tanks clean may be one of the most overlooked maintenance procedures in the water industry.  Out of sight and out of mind, sediment in the bottom of your water storage tanks is never seen and rarely thought of. 

In 2002 The EPA Office of Ground and Drinking Water issued a paper on distribution systems titled “Health Risk From Microbial Growth and Biofilms in Drinking Water Distribution Systems”.  See the link below to read the full report.

That report sited –

Hepatitis A is a  primary pathogen that has been documented to survive more than four months in the sediment of a potable water storage tank.  

 

Bacteria, protozoa, and viruses can find sediment in the floor of a water storage tank an inviting habitat.

 

So if the EPA knows all of this why are most water storage tanks so dirty?  Like most thisngs in comes down to MONEY.

If you live in a new progressive community the likelyhood of your water storage tanks being inspected and cleaned on a regular basis is much better than if you are in a older, smaller and les affluent community.  If regulations are put into place money would need to follow to allow ecanomically depresed communities to maintain there systems properly.

 

I have been inspecting and cleaning water storage tanks since 1992.  What I have seen is the more ecanomically depresed  the community is the more likely they are to need their tanks cleand.  They are also more likely to drink more tap water.  I would think that the more affluent a community the more bottled water is consumed.  So we end up with the people who need clean tap water the most getting it the least.   I have found something important to do but I cand only help a very small % on my own. The health concerns associated with sediment in the water supplies are much biger than I am.   It is bigger than papers written and published by the EPA detailing the problem. It will take the general public to be concerned and perhaps a little sikened and outraged wouldnt hurt.  It will take people like you and me making noise and getting attention on this subject before the proper action will be taken. The Mission of this blog is to make some noise on this subject.  Let me know what you think.

If you are interested in this subject there are a few things to do:

Leave a comment:  Subscribe to this blog for future updates.

Check out my video site:

http://current.com/people/ronperrin Leave a comment: Vote the VIDEO up so it will make it to to the current cable TV Channel. 

The EPA has published many reports on this subject.  The work has been done to establish the problem.  Its up to us to make sure something gets done about it. 

Hope to hear from you soon

Ron Perrin

Additional referenced and papers from the EPA.

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

http://www.epa.gov//safewater/disinfection/tcr/pdfs/issuepaper_tcr_inorganiccontaminantaccumulation.pdf

http://www.epa.gov/safewater/arsenic/pdfs/occurrence.pdf

http://www.epa.gov//safewater/mdbp/word/alter/chapt_2.doc

http://www.epa.gov/safewater/wot/pdfs/book_waterontap_full.pdf

http://www.epa.gov/safewater/tcrdsr.html

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