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!

Biofilm in Office Drinking Water

Typical Bottled Water Cooler Reservoir Biofilm in Office Drinking WaterSlippery rocks submerged in lakes, moss on tree trunks, and even plaque on our teeth are all natural examples of biofilm, but what about the biofilm that forms on the inside of traditional 5-gallon plastic water coolers?

What is biofilm?

Biofilm are layers of bacteria that have attached to surfaces and to each other, trapping bacteria, fungi, algae, and sometimes even dirt! While some biofilm communities can be made of a single species, many biofilms include a mixture of different species, including legionella. They are held together because the cells of the bacteria produce a sticky extracellular matrix made of proteins though sometimes cells in a biofilm can detach from the colony and continue life as floating microorganisms. Biofilm can affect the taste of water and often, if left unchecked, can produce an odor.

Colonies of biofilm can grow and establish themselves in as little as 24 hours and often they continue to grow until they are visible to the naked eye! The International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) recommends that bottled water coolers be sanitized every 3 months due to the biofilm in the reservoir, but most users do not clean their water cooler on a regular basis, creating a perfect environment for biofilm to grow.

There is no universal treatment for biofilms and many scientists agree the best weapon again unwanted biofilms is to prevent them from forming. One way to prevent biofilm is to switch to a water cooler that uses stainless steel tanks. Scientists have found that plastic containers promote adhesion and colonization because their inner surfaces are rough, but stainless steel tanks have a smooth inner surface helping to prevent biofilm from forming.

Weird Water News – March 21

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

  • Watch out! Captain Dave Anderson, who runs Capt. Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Safari, caught a dolphin stampede on video!
  • The old saying goes that new cars depreciate in value the minute you drive them off the lot, but… Amanda Hubbard’s new car depreciated in size overnight when a sheet of ice landed on its roof!

Western Washington University Joins Hundreds of Schools who Ban the Bottle

WWU Logo Western Washington University Joins Hundreds of Schools who Ban the BottleCongratulations to Western Washington University! They have voted to end the sale and distribution of bottled water on campus starting on April 1. WWU is now the largest college or university in the state of Washington to end the sale of bottled water on campus, joining Seattle University and Evergreen State College.

The elimination of the sale of bottled water on campus followed a student initiative in spring 2012 that found “selling of bottled water to be an unsustainable practice.” The student initiative also included ways to offset the lost revenue from the sale of bottled water, which was about 10% of all cold beverages sold on campus.The advisory initiative was approved by 73% of students who voted for or against the measure.

WWU joins over 100 colleges and universities who completely ban the sale of plastic water bottles on campus, including the University of Vermont, Brown University, Drake University, Gonzaga University, and Vassar College.

While they have not completely banned the bottle, hundreds of other colleges and universities, including Syracuse University, Dartmouth College, and Princeton University, are working to shift the student culture away from disposable single-serve water bottles towards drinking local and using reusable water bottles.  For example, after receiving a grant from the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute (NYSP2I), St. Lawrence University in New York is working to create a campus-wide social atmosphere shift away from the use of disposable plastic water bottles. Students working on the project hope that if this shift is achieved, the university will no longer profit from the selling of disposable bottles on campus, and in turn selling bottled water will no longer be an economical option.

If you are looking to join the growing number of colleges and universities who ban the sale of plastic water bottles, why not look into bottled water on tap or bottleless water coolers.

 Western Washington University Joins Hundreds of Schools who Ban the Bottle