Tag Archive: tap 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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Since 2004, testing by water utilities has found 315 pollutants in the tap water Americans drink, according to an Environmental Working Group (EWG) drinking water quality analysis of almost 20 million records obtained from state water officials.

More than half of the chemicals detected are not subject to health or safety regulations and can legally be present in any amount. The federal government does have health guidelines for others, but 49 of these contaminants have been found in one place or another at levels above those guidelines, polluting the tap water for 53.6 million Americans. The government has not set a single new drinking water standard since 2001.

Water utilities spend 19 times more on water treatment chemicals every year than the federal government invests in protecting lakes and rivers from pollution in the first place.

Read More Here : EWG.ORG WATER – HOME PAGE

Sediment being removed from a ISD water storage tank in West Texas.

The New York Times has A series about the worsening pollution in American waters and regulators’ response.  I found a lot of great information reading this series.

What is in your water?

Working with the Environmental working group the New York Times has published an interactive site to allow you to better understand what is in the water we drink.  Find your utility here New York Times Water Data Web Site. In an Article titled “That Tap Water Is Legal but May Be Unhealthy”  published in the New York Times, December  16, 2009, Charles Duhigg points out

“Only 91 contaminants are regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act, yet more than 60,000 chemicals are used within the United States, according to Environmental Protection Agency estimates. Government and independent scientists have scrutinized thousands of those chemicals in recent decades, and identified hundreds associated with a risk of cancer and other diseases at small concentrations in drinking water, according to an analysis of government records by The New York Times”.

According to Duhigg the reports published by the National Academy of Sciences and many other health reports suggest that millions of Americans become sick each year from drinking contaminated water, with maladies from upset stomachs to cancer and birth defects.

Read the entire article here: That Tap Water Is Legal but May Be Unhealthy

To find our what is in your water click this link: Environmental Working Group & New York Times interactive web page.

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

I have posted the most interesting part (at least to me).

2. Storage Tank Inspection and Cleaning EPA requests comment on the value and cost of periodic storage tank inspection and cleaning. There are instances of storage tanks being the source of waterborne disease outbreaks at PWSs. In December 1993, a Salmonella typhimurium outbreak in Gideon, Missouri resulted in over 600 people affected by diarrhea, 31 cases of laboratory-confirmed salmonellosis and seven deaths of nursing home residents who had exhibited diarrheal illness (four deaths were confirmed by culture). The larger of the two storage tanks had a breach in the roof hatch that allowed pigeon droppings to be carried into the tank and likely accumulated in the several inches of sediment. This contaminated sediment, more than likely, was pulled into the distribution system by a flushing program that  drained the tank (Clark et al. 1996). Salmonella typhimurium was isolated from the sediment of one of the towers, and tap water tested positive for fecal coliforms (CDC 1996). In March 2008, Alamosa, Colorado (with a population of about 9,000 people) experienced a waterborne disease outbreak associated with Salmonella. The report released by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (Falco and Williams 2009) indicated that the outbreak resulted in 442 reported cases of illnesses, 122 of which were laboratory confirmed, and one fatality. The State epidemiologist estimated that a total of 1,300 people may have been ill. Two storage tanks in Alamosa had several inches of sediment and breaches; one tank had breaches large enough for birds and animals to enter. Some of the key factors that contributed to these two outbreaks include significant levels of sediment (several inches to feet) and the presence of breaches of the integrity of the storage tank. Sediment accumulation occurs within storage facilities due to quiescent conditions which promote particle setting. Over time sediment continues to accumulate in a tank, even if the finished water is consistently treated tobelow 0.1 nephelometric turbidity unit(NTU). For surface water systems, it isnot uncommon to have 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 inch or more of sediment accumulate after two to three years (Kirmeyer et al. 1999).

While there are no turbidity regulations for ground water systems (except for ground water under the direct influence of surface water (GWUDI)), the levels of turbidity can be significant in the water pumped from an aquifer. Sand particles, if allowed to accumulate, provide pore spaces that house diverse populations ofbiota (which may include pathogenic microorganisms) (Kirmeyer et al. 1999; van der Kooij 2003). Periodic high flows in the storage tank may scour, stir up, and suspend the sediment (along with entrapped bacteria and pathogens) and carry it into the distribution system, with greater accumulation of sediment being a more significant concern. Other water quality problems associated with sediment accumulation include increased disinfectant demand and disinfection byproduct formation. The storage tank’s vulnerability to contamination increases when breaches of the storage tank allow insects, animals, and birds and their associated diseases to enter. Contamination from bird and other animal excrement can potentially transmit disease-causing organisms to the finished water.  Waterfowl, for example, are known carriers of many different waterborne pathogens including Vibrio cholerae(Ogg et al. 1989). Based on the potential public health implications associated with poorly maintained storage tanks (e.g., as indicated by significant sediment accumulation and breaches), EPA is interested in receiving comments and supporting information regarding the state and condition of tanks that have been cleaned and inspected, costs of storage tank inspection and cleaning, and how public health can be better protected. EPA requests information on whether there are States that recommend or require periodic inspection and cleaning of storage tanks. If so, what are the requirements, the frequency of inspection and cleaning, and how successful are they? Are inspections and cleaning done by individual PWSs or by contractors?

End

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The EPA extended the comment period until October 13, 2010.


Photos & comment from Ron Perrin:

Sediment Being removed from the floor of a water storage tank

Three inches of sediment being removed from a water tower.

Over time sediment builds up in almost all water storage tanks.  Only with annual inspection of the tanks can the utility operators know they have a problem with sediment levels or a possible breach in the tank.  The most common breach is missing or corroded vent screens.  In areas in the US where tanks are rarely or never inspected it is more common to see water storage tanks & towers with holes in the roof allowing insects and birds to enter the tank.

This sediment that builds up in the floor of the tank can become a breeding ground for bacteria, protozoa and even viruses.  As contaminants become a problem, the water utilities add more and more chlorine and other treatment chemicals. This kills living organisms but starts to build up chemical byproducts like chloroform, trihalomethanes, bromoform, and other contaminants that have been linked to cancer.

Removing the sediment in the floor of water storage tanks is the best way to keep them healthy.  It takes less treatment chemicals, less treatment chemicals means less chemical by-products in our water.  Please join me in responding to the EPA request for comment.  Let them know there should be rules to inspect and clean all water storage tanks that serve water to the public.

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Related Information:

The New York Times has a series of articles called “Toxic Waters” about the worsening pollution in American waters and regulators’ response.  Read more at this link:

That Tap Water Is Legal but May Be Unhealthy By CHARLES DUHIGG Published: December 17, 2009

What’s in Your Water

The 35-year-old federal law regulating tap water is so out of date that the water Americans drink can pose what scientists say are serious health risks — and still be legal. Examine whether contaminants in your water supply met two standards: the legal limits established by the Safe Drinking Water Act, and the typically stricter health guidelines. The data was collected by an advocacy organization, the Environmental Working Group, who shared it with The Times.  See the link below:

What is in your water? Find water Quality reports here:

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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