Celebrate Earth Day in Your Office with these 5 Tips!

earth day 2 Celebrate Earth Day in Your Office with these 5 Tips!Spearheaded by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson, a Democrat from Wisconsin, as an environmental teach-in in 1970, the first Earthy Day was celebrated by 20 million Americans from all walks of life and is credited with launching the modern environmental movement. In December of 1970, Congress authorized the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to tackle environmental issues. The Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act soon followed as well as the Environmental Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act. Today more than 1 billion people around the world participate in Earth Day activities, making Earth Day the largest civic observance in the world!

Your organization can participate in Earth Day this year by conserving water using these 5 tips below:

  • Wash company vehicles and service vans at commercial car washes that recycle water on an as-needed basis rather than on a set schedule.
  • Be sure your building’s irrigation system is watering only the areas intended, not sidewalks, streets or parking lots.
  • If you have a decorative fountain, set a timer so it is only on during work or daylight hours.
  • Make sure you repair leaking pipes and fixtures. Or install controls that turn faucets off automatically!
  • Switch to a bottleless water cooler! Replacing just one traditional 5-gallon jug water cooler is the greenhouse gas equivalent of planting up to 120 trees each year!
 Celebrate Earth Day in Your Office with these 5 Tips!

How’s My Waterway App Enables the Public to Research Local Waterways

HowsMyWaterwayApp Hows My Waterway App Enables the Public to Research Local WaterwaysTo celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, the US Environmental Protection Agency released the first version of the “How’s My Waterway” app and website in October of 2012 as a way for the public to serve as stewards of the nation’s waterways. The app enables the public to find out if local waterways are safe for swimming and fishing by revealing the types of pollutants that have been found in the water and if the EPA or the state is working to curtail pollution in that particular waterway.

The EPA has recently released an enhanced version which includes new data and improvements based on user feedback, specifically including localized information on waterways that supply drinking water, the health of watersheds, and efforts to restore waterways to protect and improve fish habitats by the National Fish Habitat Partnerships.

“Communities and neighborhoods across the U.S. want to know that their local lakes, rivers, and streams are healthy and safe to enjoy with their families, and providing that information is a priority for EPA,” said Nancy Stoner, the acting assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Water. “The enhanced version of ‘How’s My Waterway’ provides easy, user-friendly access to the health of the places we swim, fish and boat, where we get our drinking water, and what is being done to curb water pollution. People can get this information whether researching at a desktop or standing streamside looking at a smart phone.”

How’s My Waterway uses GPS technology or a user-entered zip code or city name to provide information about the quality of local water bodies. Once the user selects a specific lake, river, or stream the app provides information on the type of pollution reported for that waterway and what has been done by EPA and the state to reduce it. Additional reports and technical information is also available as well as descriptions on each type of water pollutant, including pollutant type, likely sources, and potential health risks.

EPA will be hosting a free webinar for the public on the new features of How’s My Waterway on Wednesday, April 23 from 1 to 3 p.m. EDT.Check out your local waterways by visiting the app: http://www.epa.gov/mywaterway!

Don’t like what you see or worried about what you could be drinking? Switch to a bottleless water cooler with state-of-the-art filtration and purification technology.

 Hows My Waterway App Enables the Public to Research Local Waterways

Weird Water News – April 18

The Quench Weird Water News recaps the week’s top 5 weird water news stories. Come back each Friday for the latest stories!

  • Well, Dyson vacuums do employ cyclone technology – James Dyson has designed a barge, the M.V Recyclone that would vacuum the plastic out of waterways.
  • Sounds like a scene out of Caddyshack! Spain’s Pablo Larrazabal had to jump into a lake to avoid being attacked by hornets while playing in the Maybank Malaysian Open!
  • It’s toilet-to-tap not tap-as-toilet! The city of Portland plans to dump 38 million gallons of water after a 19-year-old man urinated into an open reservoir, even though the contamination likely poses little risk.
  • Bottled water is expensive! He paid for a laptop and an iPhone, but he ended up with two bottles of water!

Another Town is Turning to the Toilet for Water

Lake Arrowhead 11 7 2013 300x200 Another Town is Turning to the Toilet for Water Wichita Falls, TX is rapidly running out of water and is desperate to find another drinking water source. After 3 years of reduced rainfall, the city is 34 inches behind on precipitation and the two lakes that traditionally provide water are only 26% full. The city has put in place a Water Conservation and Drought Contingency Plan, including listing the city under a “Stage 4 Drought Disaster” area. While residents and business owners have cut their water use in half, water rates have gone up and a surcharge has been imposed on those who exceed the water limit.

Wichita Falls has already employed the technique of cloud seeding, where specific chemicals are dispersed into the atmosphere to increase cloud condensation, but cloud seeding has not produced the much needed rain they need. In an effort to use the water they have more efficiently, Wichita Falls is turned to the “Indirect Potable Reuse” project.

The Indirect Potable Reuse project will allow Wichita Falls to recycle treated toilet water and turn it into drinking water. If the $35 million budget is approved by state regulators, Wichita Falls hopes to  take the wastewater from the local sewage plant purify and recycle it to Lake Arrowhead – which supplies drinking water – at a rate of 12 to 16 million gallons of water every day.  California is currently combating their severe drought by expanding the use of their toilet-to-tap program. Orange County Water District actually first examined the idea in the mid-1990s and subsequently built the largest Groundwater Replenishment System of its type in the world. The current system processes about 70 million gallons of treated wastewater into pure, potable water every day and the district is working to increase to 100 million gallons within the next year.

Does toilet-to-tap or indirect potable reuse water make you want to stop drinking water? First, watch this video about what happens when you don’t drink water. Then, check out our state-of-the-art filtration and purification technologies to ensure your office always has clean, great-tasting water.

 Another Town is Turning to the Toilet for Water

Weird Water News – April 11

The Quench Weird Water News recaps the week’s top 5 weird water news stories. Come back each Friday for the latest stories!

  • Thirsty? According to a poll released this week, almost 1 in 10 Kentucky adults or about 8% of the Kentucky population NEVER drink water!
  • Can they ship it to the U.S.? Berlin has too much water with the water table rising to just 2.5 meters (about 8 feet) below ground level, flooding basements and causing water damage.
  • Here comes the bride? The Brightwater Wastewater Treatment Center in Washington has opened its doors as a wedding venue, with a full catering kitchen, audio-video equipment, dance floor, and ample parking!

Schools Providing Drinking Water But Students Worry The Water is Dirty

DrinkingWaterinSchools Schools Providing Drinking Water But Students Worry The Water is DirtyResearchers from the University of Michigan and the University of Illinois at Chicago recently examined the compliance of the USDA mandate calling for access to free drinking water during lunchtime at schools participating in the National School Lunch Program as well as perceptions about water drinking fountain cleanliness and water quality. The study found that while most schools met the new requirement, less than one-third of children and teens were drinking the recommended daily water intake for their age group. In fact the study found that one-fourth of adolescents drink less than one serving of water a day!

Researchers found that most schools met the requirement through drinking fountains in the cafeteria, water pitchers on lunch tables, and making cups available for use at drinking fountains. However, the study also looked at the reasons why students were not taking advantage of the free drinking water. Researchers found that students worry about the cleanliness of the drinking fountains and were at least “a little” concerned about the quality of the drinking water.

The researchers, including Dr. Lindsey Turner, PhD Research Scientist at the Institute for Health Research and Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago, agree that schools are taking the first steps towards increasing children’s water consumption, but there is a long way to go before children are getting their daily recommended amount of water.

“With regard to changing student behaviors, nutrition professionals are credible messengers and are likely to be well-positioned to promote water consumption through educational activities,” concludes Dr. Turner. “Collaboration among school staff such as administrators, nurses, teachers, and other members of school wellness councils may be a particularly effective strategy to promote water consumption as part of creating a healthful school environment.”

Another way to promote water consumption? Make sure the drinking water source is always clean and the drinking water is always clean, cool, and refreshing by switching to a Quench Bottleless Water Cooler!

 Schools Providing Drinking Water But Students Worry The Water is Dirty

Winter Snowstorms Bring Salty Drinking Water

TheRecord RLRebach 150x150 Winter Snowstorms Bring Salty Drinking Water

Photo Courtesy of R.L. Rebach/The Record

Does your water taste salty? It could be from the snowstorms this past winter! Some states were forced to spread more salt than normal due to the several severe snowstorms.  New Jersey, for example, spread almost twice as much salt this past winter than the year before! It is estimated that over 22 million tons of salt are scattered on the roads annually – about 137 pounds of salt for every American.

But where does that salt go? As the salt dissolves, it is carried away either by snowmelt or spring rains to surface water sources like wetlands, rivers, and streams or it soaks through and enters the groundwater. An estimated 40% of the country’s urban streams have chloride levels that exceed safety guidelines for aquatic life because of road salt runoff. A range of studies have found that chloride from road salt can negatively impact the survival rates of crustaceans, amphibians, fish, plants and other organisms. Also according to some studies it could even hasten the invasion of non-native plant species. In addition to harming the plants and animals around the body of water, road salt can also reduce water circulation in lakes and ponds by preventing oxygen from reaching the bottom layers of the water, reducing the overall nutrient load.

Road salt in urban and suburban areas can cause problems for a city’s Department of Water Management. Just like the salty air in seaside towns increase rust on bikes, door hinges, and other metallic objects, road salt runoff can corrode the city’s pipes that carry water to and from the water treatment plant, causing water main leaks, breaks, and bursts!

Many times the road salt runoff enters rivers and streams that are sources for drinking water supplies. Often the road salt runoff is not enough for officials to notice a difference, but this year many officials are seeing a significant bump in sodium levels. Some reservoirs in northern New Jersey are seeing an increased level of sodium, measuring about 170 milligrams per liter or about 3 – 4 time higher than during the summer months. For comparison, a liter of Diet Coke contains about 119 milligrams of sodium.

The EPA has not set health-based Primary Drinking Water Standards for sodium or chloride under the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act, but has set a recommended upper limit of 250 mg/L for chloride and 50 mg/L for sodium for the aesthetics or taste of drinking water.  For drinking water to have a salty taste, the sodium measures between 30 and 60 milligrams per liter. While the higher concentration of sodium and chloride do not pose a health concern for most individuals – though those on a sodium restricted diet should take caution, salty drinking water is not refreshing. Switching to a filtered water cooler will ensure every sip of water will be cool and refreshing no matter how much road salt is needed each winter!

Weird Water News – April 4

The Quench Weird Water News recaps the week’s top 5 weird water news stories. Come back each Friday for the latest stories!

  • Anyone up for a Polar Bear Plunge? Astronomers have discovered a subsurface ocean on Saturn’s icy moon, Enceladus.
  • Really digging the past! Ali Erturk, a 14-year-old boy in Salt Lake City, was digging a trout pond in his father’s backyard when he stumbled upon the remains of an American Indian who lived about 1,000 years ago!
  • Like a scene out of a movie – Ella Birchenough, a 16-year-old from Dover, England, dropped her cellphone down a storm drain then got stuck trying to retrieve it!

Move Over Schools – National Parks are Banning the Bottle

BottledWaterBan 150x141 Move Over Schools   National Parks are Banning the Bottle

Almost two dozen units of the National Park System have banned the sale of disposable water bottles in an effort to reduce trash. According to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), disposable plastic water bottles are the biggest source of trash for parks, averaging about 1/3 of all solid waste in the park.  At the Grand Canyon National Park, disposable water bottles comprise and estimated 20% of the Grand Canyon’s waste stream and 30% of the parks recyclables.

However, banning the sale of plastic bottles in national parks has been hampered by the influence of Coca-Cola on top National Parks Service officials. However PEER Executive Jeff Ruch sees this influence waning: “from desert to ocean parks, from remote wilderness to urban enclaves, the drive to remove the blanket of discarded plastic bottles appears to be slowly regaining momentum.”

The National Park Service requires parks that would like to ban the bottle to extensively study the impacts of the ban, including reviewing the amount of waste that could be eliminated from the park, the costs of installing and maintaining water filling stations for visitors, and the impact on concessionaire and cooperative association revenues and consulting with the National Park Service’s Public Health Office. While only a handful of national parks have adopted ban the bottle bans under this policy, no park that has sought to ban the bottle has been turned down.

In addition to the National Parks that do not sell plastic water bottles, California’s Golden Gate National Recreational Area and Florida’s Biscayne Bay National Park are installing water filling station to provide free water to visitors.

Thinking of visiting one of the following national parks? Make sure you bring a reusable water bottle because they do not sell water in disposable water bottles!

  • Zion Park (UT)
  • Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (HI)
  • Washita Battlefield National Historic Site (OK)
  • Aztec Ruins National Monument (NM)
  • Big Thicket National Reserve (TX)
  • Dinosaur National Monument (CO)
  • El Malpais National Monument (NM)
  • El Morro National Monument (NM)
  • Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site (TX)
  • Little Bighorn National Monument (MT)
  • Petrified Forest National Park (AZ)
  • Saguaro National Park(AZ)
  • Arches National Park (UT)
  • Timpanogos Cave National Park (UT)
  • Canyonlands National Park(UT)
  • Mount Rushmore (SD) (May be able to purchase enriched or enhanced bottled water)
  • Colorado National Monument (CO)
  • Pecos National Historical Park (TX)
  • San Antonio Missions National Historical Parks (TX)
  • Outer Banks Group National Park(NC)
  • Natural Bridges National Monument (UT)
  • Hovenweep National Monument (UT)
 Move Over Schools   National Parks are Banning the Bottle

Weird Water News – March 28

The Quench Weird Water News recaps the week’s top 5 weird water news stories. Come back each Friday for the latest stories!

  • Forget plastic water bottles! What about an edible water blob? Created by 3 London-based industrial design students, Ooho is a blob-like water container that is cheap to make, hygienic, biodegradable and edible!
  • A tisket, a tasket, a bamboo water basket! Designer Arturo Vittori created the WarkaWater tower which provides clean water by gathering water from condensation in the desert.
  • And to your left we can see Boynton Beach, Florida… A hammerhead shark gave a Florida Atlantic University student a two hour tour as it dragged the student’s kayak out to sea.
  • How about a two hour tour of the Bigar Waterfall in Romania? The moss-covered cliff and underground water spring look like something out of a fairytale!
  • The drought in California is so severe that the ground is actually sinking! Sometimes at the alarming rate of 12 inches per year!