Archive for October, 2011

In a recent article from the timesunion.com, a news site covering Albany, NY and surrounding towns, gas industry executives claim that their work poses no threat to clean water sources.

Obviously, this is far from the truth. A shining example, that the article mentioned, can be found in nearby Dimock, PA. Residents have been coping with water pollution so severe that in some places the water can be lit on fire due to the large concentrations of methane that it contains. This town has become the victim of a gas boom in the area.

methane in water

Its quite insidious to realize the extent that gas companies will go to for this fuel source. For example, a common means for extracting gas from shale rock is called horizontal hydraulic fracturing. In this process, water that has been laced with chemicals is used to break up the shale to release gas. So, not only is the act of breaking this shale contributing to water pollution, these companies are delivering toxic water right into well water supplies.

So what has been the reaction from the local authorities? According to the article, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection basically has said that the problem has been fixed regarding the recent pollution issues. Was this issue resolved or was someone payed off? Whats the most likely answer to that question?

Residents of many cities in New York have much to be concerned about as it appears that the gas industry has been given the green light to proceed on drilling. This is no surprise, really. Money talks. Extra revenue in the present will trump any concerns about future environmental costs. When will government and business leaders realize that they cant put short term profit ahead of something as vitally important as clean water?

What does this mean for the future of our drinking water sources? How much worse must this situation get before our leaders make some real changes for the better? Yes, we need our fuel and energy as much as anything else. However, we can find ways to get the fuel we need in much more environmentally friendly ways.

Bay City Michigan, in conjunction with Bay County, is looking to spend $51 million to construct a new water treatment plant.

If this plant eventually gets the final approval and is completed, it would treat raw water from the Saginaw-Midland Municipal Water Supply Corp. The if is notable here because the other option is to spend $30 million to rehabilitate the current plant. The officials involved with the final decision state that they are ultimately looking for the least expensive option that also provides the best quality water. Although upgrading the older system costs less upfront, officials believe that the new plant will save money in the long run due to lower ongoing operational costs.
bay city water treatment plant
A new plant would be good news for nearby residents. This is because the plant would utilize a state-of-the-art membrane filtration system. No other chemicals are used besides chlorine in this type of system. The plant is currently scheduled to be completed by 2015 if it gets a final approval.

Positive water filtration stories like this one definitely help to bring some optimism to the future of our public drinking water sources. Sadly, sources of water pollution are not going away. If anything, our water is facing even more threats than ever before. Considering the simple and obvious importance of safe drinking water sources, no expense should be spared in making sure that we can protect and preserve the water that we have.

Although recent actions by the EPA are making it difficult for businesses and other institutions whose actions can affect our water supplies, these steps must be taken. There is no comparison in importance between a company losing money or going out of business and access to clean water for the general population. Its finally becoming more apparent that businesses and various organizations are starting to realize how vital it is to pursue sustainability.

Hopefully one day soon, it will finally be realized that there is no difference between good long term business health and environmental protection. These two simply go hand in hand. In the short term businesses might see diminishing profits. However, a change in business structure that embraces sustainability can eventually become very profitable in time. Ultimately, it can be no other way. Without our basic resources, there is no business that can survive.

It appears that the elected leaders of Bay County realize all of this. It definitely would make it easier for them to decide to spend the money. With the right mindset, there would be no question here. Ideally, the right thing would be done for both the local residents and the environment. These priorities should have no dollar sign attached to them. Its simply the right thing to do.

Although Bay City residents have some cleaner water to look forward to, they should still be using the best water filter that they can find for their homes. The best municipal water treatment systems in the country are not capable of delivering extremely pure water to residents. A final point-of-use filter can still make a considerable impact on the quality of your drinking water.

People are increasingly becoming aware of what a horrible choice bottled water really is.

One of many recently notable articles can be found at Vanderbilt Universitys student news site InsideVandy.com. The guest article did a wonderful job at concisely summarizing the major faults and issues surrounding bottled water.
bottled water waste
According to the writer, most Americans continue to drink bottled water either because it has become such a large part of our culture or people are generally unaware of how bad this water source really is. Well, its obviously a little of both in my opinion.

The article also points out some key facts concerning this plastic contained water

  • Its 10,000 times more expensive than tap water.
  • There is little to no regulation in the bottled water industry quality is not guaranteed.
  • Forty percent of water that is bottled is essentially tap water.
  • To produce a water bottle, it takes 3 times the amount of water that it can contain.

In light of these facts, it really makes no sense for this industry to continue to thrive like it has. Speaking of thriving, the industry rakes in more than 60 billion dollars per year. That money could definitely be used to make a positive impact on the environment, instead of the negative one that this industry is known for. The fact is that a high percentage of these bottles end up in landfills. This form of pollution, like most, is obviously avoidable.

More articles from university sites and others need to be published. Eventually, everyone will become aware of how bad this way of getting drinking water really is. How many water bottles will you throw away before you begin to become concerned? How many more hundreds of dollars do you want to waste on these overpriced bottles of water?

What about those who are concerned about the quality of tap water? There are alternatives. Home water filtration systems like Aquasana are an excellent option. These systems can offer you highly pure water for a fraction of the cost of bottled water. It only takes a small amount of planning ahead to fill your reusable water container at home to take with you to work or wherever.

Please do your part to help spread the message Bottled water has to go.