Tag Archive: tap water quality


The EPA is considering requiring ALL POTABLE WATER STORAGE TANKS in the U.S.A. TO BE INSPECTED AND CLEANED.

Ron Perrin Water Technologies Owner

Ron Perrin in Washington D.C. on 10-14-14 to attend EPA meeting

Washington D.C. 10-14-14

Washington D.C. 10-14-14

 

On October 15th 2014, the EPA held a public meeting in regards to Distribution System Storage Facility Inspection and Cleaning. I attended that meeting in person to express my opinion on this issue. During the meeting a couple of surprising things were revealed. Many were under the impression that water tanks and towers were already being inspected during Sanitary Surveys performed by state regulators, when in fact most, if not all, state agencies do not allow their employees to climb to the top of water tanks and towers.  The few states that climbed the towers in the past did not do an internal inspection of the facility.


A survey had been sent to state regulators to get their opinion on this issue. About half thought a regulation would be a good idea, the other half thought a paper on guidance would be sufficient. I went away from the meeting more convinced than ever that there should be a national regulation requiring all potable water storage tanks to be inspected and cleaned on a regular schedule.


The webinar is over but the EPA is still taking comments until the end of 2014. If you would like to make a comment on this issue, please send an e-mail to:  SFIWebinar@cadmusgroup.com.  Or take the poll below and I will send in the results at the end of the year. This is a chance to let your opinion be known!

My customers tell me they need less chlorine to meet water quality standards after I remove the sediment from their water storage tanks and towers. Sediment enters the tank one particle at a time and eventually accumulates enough for bacteria, protozoa and even viruses to use it as a habitat to grow and become a serious health problem. If proper inspections are not done to determine sediment levels, corrective action is seldom, if ever, taken. My opinion is that potable water storage facilities should be inspected inside and out every year, and a cleaning program to ensure tanks and towers are cleaned every 3 to 5 years should be in place on all tanks. What do you think? Take THE POLL BELOW and also visit http://www.tankdiver.us.

10-14-14 Washington D.C. Mall

10-14-14 Washington D.C. Mall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is important!  Please SHARE OUR POLL!

 

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Topic: Distribution System Storage Facility Inspection and Cleaning

Background: The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water announces a public meeting and webinar on distribution system storage facility inspection and cleaning. The purpose of the meeting and webinar is to gather input and information from the public and stakeholders on the appropriate frequency of distribution system water storage facility inspection and cleaning, current practices, and the risk management approaches that can be taken to assure that inspection, cleaning and corrective action occur as necessary to help maintain facility integrity and finished water quality. The presenters and panelists will provide background information concerning storage facility inspection and cleaning, existing state programs and available guidance documents. For additional background information, please refer to the Federal Register notice published on Thursday, September 4, 2014 (79 FR 52647).

Public Comments: This meeting is open to the public. EPA encourages public input and will allocate time on the agenda for public comment. To ensure adequate time for public involvement, individuals or organizations interested in making a statement should mention their interest when they register. All presentation materials and statements should be emailed to SFIWebinar@cadmusgroup.com by October 8, 2014, so that the information can be incorporated into the webinar as appropriate. Only one person should present a statement on behalf of a group or organization, and statements will be limited to five minutes. Availability to make public comments will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis in the time available. Additional comments from attendees who did not pre-register to make comments will be taken if time permits. Comments, written statements, data or information can also be sent to SFIWebinar@cadmusgroup.com after the public meeting and webinar.

 

  1. Background

In the Federal Register notice for the proposed Revisions to the Total Coliform Rule (75 FR

40926, July 14, 2010), the EPA requested comment on the value and cost of periodic distribution

system storage tank inspection and cleaning. The EPA received comments regarding unsanitary

conditions and contamination that can be found in storage facilities, which are not routinely

inspected and cleaned, including breaches and accumulation of sediment, animals, insects and

other contaminants. Some commenters suggested the need for a Federal regulation requiring

systematic inspection and cleaning because the existing practices are not successful in all cases.

Others suggested that regular sanitary surveys conducted by States and the adherence to existing

industry guidance could resolve such issues. The comments can be reviewed in the docket for the

rule at http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=EPA-HQ-OW-2008-0878-0283. This

meeting and webinar and the subsequent opportunity to submit comments are intended to collect

more data and information about the frequency of distribution system water storage facility

Page of 4

inspection and cleaning and the need for more or better risk management approaches.

Dated: August 25, 2014.

Eric Burneson,

Acting Director,

Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water.

BILLING CODE 6560-50-P

[FR Doc. 2014-21073 Filed 09/03/2014 at 8:45 am; Publication Date: 09/04/2014]

Article by Chris Griffin ADEM, Posted on the Alabama Department of Environmental Management  web site.

Would you drink from a dirty water glass?

This is a great article that ask a great question.  It also points out that the Alabama Department of Environmental Management has certain recommendations about routine water tank and tower maintenance that include tank inspection at least once every five years.

But they have gotten it WRONG.  Alabama requires the tank to be inspected by draining and disinfecting the interior a minimum of once every five years.

What is wrong with that you ask?

Disinfecting is NOT CLEANING.  We are not all speaking the same language here.  Many say disinfecting assuming when that is done the tank will be clean.  This is not the case.  From the engineers who build water storage tanks down to the managers who run the systems there has been a major break in communications with what is actually in water storage facilities.

The tanks & towers are designed to be CLOSED SYSTEMS, they store the crystal clear clean water that comes from the water plant.  When Alabama DEM requires operators to drain & inspect the water storage tanks and then disinfect the interior, that disinfection process is to kill whatever contamination may have been introduced into the tank during the inspection.  Sediment that was on the floor of the facility before the inspection is there after the tank is disinfected and placed back into service.

Disinfecting is not Cleaning,  if you have contaminates like bacteria, protozoa or even viruses buried in the sediment before the disinfection the majority of them are going to be there after the disinfection.  The only way to remove them from the facility is to CLEAN the TANK.

Most tanks and water towers were not designed to be cleaned.  There are no handy cleaning ports to open up and wash things into.  It was assumed by the designing engineers  that only clean water would be stored in these facilities and there was no need.

The reality is that over time sediment accumulates on the floor of water storage tanks and towers.  They need to be Cleaned out, not looked at and disinfected.

Once sediment is de-watered a few inches of soft simi -liquid sediment can become 1/2 inch of hard clay like coating stuck on the floor of the tank.  An underwater inspection can offer more information about the facility without any disruption in service.   Divers deployed to clean the tank can remove everything that is loose in the floor of the facility and provide video documentation confirming the job was done and the floor is now clean.

Washing a tank out after draining it for an inspection is not a viable way to clean a tank.  For example on an elevated tower, where is the sediment being washed to?  We have seen many cases where it was washed down the center standpipe only to return when the facility is put back in service.

The other option is a bucket and shovel, where even the most dedicated crew can not get 100% of the sediment out.  The shovel is also hard on the painted surface of the floor.  Divers removing the sediment OUT of the facility and onto the yard of the tank is really the best option.  When you consider the  disruption in service, man hours and cost of water divers are also the most economical option to clean a water storage tank or tower.

 

This is a great article that ask a great question.  It also points out that the Alabama Department of Environmental Management has certain recommendations about routine water tank and tower maintenance that include tank inspection at least once every five years.

But they have gotten it WRONG.  Alabama requires the tank to be inspected by draining and disifecting the interior a minimum of once every five years.

What is wrong with that you ask?

Disinfecting is NOT CLEANING.  We are not all speaking the same language here.  Many say disinfecting assuming when that is done the tank will be clean.  This is not the case.  From the engineers who build water storage tanks down to the managers who run the systems there has been a major break in communications with what is actually in water storage facilities.

The tanks & towers are designed to be CLOSED SYSTEMS, they store the crystal clear clean water that comes from the water plant.  When Alabama DEM requires operators to drain & inspect the water storage tanks and then disinfect the interior, that disinfection process is to kill whatever contamination may have been introduced into the tank during the inspection.  Sediment that was on the floor of the facility before the inspection is there after the tank is disinfected and placed back into service.

Disinfecting is not Cleaning,  if you have contaminates like bacteria, protozoa or even viruses burried in the sediment before the disinfection the majority of them are going to be there after the disinfection.  The only way to remove them from the facility is to CLEAN the TANK.

Most tanks and water towers were not designed to be cleaned.  There are no handy cleaning ports to open up and wash things into.  It was assumed that only clean water would be stored in these facilities and there was no need.

The reality is that over time sediment accumilates on the floor of water storage tanks and towers.  They need to be Cleaned out, not looked at and disinfected.

Once sediment is de-watered a few inches of soft simi -liquid sediment can become 1/2 inch of hard clay like coating stuck on the floor of the tank.  An underwater inspection can offer more information about the facility without any disruption in service.   Divers deployed to clean the tank can remove everything that is loose in the floor of the facility and provide video documentation confirming the job was done and the floor is now clean.

Washing a tank out after draining it for an inspection is not a viable way to clean a tank.  For example on an elevated tower, where is the sediment being washed to?  We have seen many cases where it was washed down the center standpipe only to return when the facility is put back in service.

The other option is a bucket and shovel, where even the most dedicated crew can not get 100% of the sediment out.  The shovel is also hard on the painted surface of the floor.  Divers removing the sediment OUT of the facility and onto the yard of the tank is really the best option.  When you consider the  disruption in service, man hours and cost of water divers are also the most economical option to clean a water storage tank or tower.

Potable Water Diver in DRY SUIT

Sand & Sediment being pumped

Sand & Sediment being removed from a Potable Water Tank

If you have any more details about  rules for inspecting & cleaning water storage tanks in Alabama or any other state contact me-  Im always glad to share information.

By Photos by Ron Perrin   (c) Ron Perrin 2010 all rights reserved

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.

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.

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.

 

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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