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The Bad News About Bottled Water Is Spreading

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 University’s student news site – 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, it’s obviously a little of both in my opinion.

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

  • It’s 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.

Fracking Waste Treatment Debate In Niagara Falls

In a report from NBC affiliate –, local authorities are debating whether or not to have the Niagara Falls treatment facility take on additional waste water from fracking sources.

Western New Yorkers have good reason to be concerned about this new threat to their clean drinking water supplies.
niagara falls waste water treatment
Apparently, this is yet another story of money VS the environment. Is it really this clear cut? It seems to be. Paul Drof, the Executive Director of the Water Board at the Buffalo Avenue water treatment plant is considering extra revenue from treating fracking waste water. He states that a number of local treatment plants have been closed down over the past 25 years due to a lack of funding. This makes basic economic sense to him as it would bring considerable fracking money to support the plant.

It would seem to me that there would be enough tax revenue to take care of something as basic as water treatment. Isn’t this a primary role of government – to provide for the basic needs of society like roads and clean water? I suppose that’s not where things seem to be headed.

The opposition to this proposal brings some very good arguments. First of all, the existing water treatment plant must be completely retrofitted to handle water from fracking sources. This would be an upfront cost of many millions of dollars.

In addition to the upfront cost, many scientists have mentioned that there is no scientific proof that this water can be effectively treated. This makes the situation look even worse for those concerned about maintaining clean water supplies.

It was beyond the scope of the news article to discuss the root of the problem here – fracking itself. More money and time needs to be spent on real long term solutions for our energy needs. Clean, renewable energy is the only real solution here. Fracking is not only a short term idea, it is also obviously very dirty.

Hopefully those in power will start to think a little more long-term.

It IS possible to do that and make money at the same time.

Hurricane Irene may seem like a distant memory for most people on the east coast, especially those that suffered no property damage. However, some towns are experiencing problems at local water treatment facilities.
hurricane irene aftermath
According to an article from the International Business Times, towns in New Jersey and Vermont experienced some of the worst flooding in years due to Irene’s strong winds. This has caused problems at local municipal water treatment plants. These facilities are only capable of handling a certain amount of water at any give time. After severe flooding occurs, the treatment system becomes stressed to a point where water can no longer be effectively treated. This flooding can also cause power outages, water line breaks, and a disruption in the disinfection process.

The end result of this problem is that the towns that are affected must call for a “boil-water advisory”. This extremely important alert means that tap water is not safe to drink. However, it is supposed to be safe enough for laundering clothes and general bathing. The water most likely contains decent quantities of bacteria that would cause sickness if consumed.

Living in this situation would really make you realize that it is easy to take clean tap water for granted. The most common reaction that most people have in this situation is to flock to their nearest supermarket or convenience store and stock up on bottled water. If you ask me, this is not only unnecessary, but also an environmental waste and an inconvenience. It would be relieving to know that I would not be one of the people fighting for my share of bottled water before stores run out. The simple reason for this is that I own an Aquasana water filter. I would rest assured knowing that my home water filter can handle a little extra bacteria.

This is just another great example where it pays to take more of a proactive approach to life. Too many people seem to only take action when they absolutely need to. The end result of this procrastination is usually means more money lost and time wasted. The point is that those affected by this storm (and anyone who relies on tap water) could have thought about potential tap water quality issues ahead of time. I still find it hard to believe how many people take access to clean water for granted, especially in America. It’s too bad that it takes a potential emergency situation to make people a little more aware of how unstable our way of life can be sometimes.

A lack of funding to drinking water monitoring systems for the St. Clair and Detroit rivers could affect the water supplied to about 3 million people.

In a recent article from, systems that are used to frequently monitor water quality in the Detroit area have been operating on a budget much less than required. These systems look for chemicals and oil related products at 13 different intakes. At a reduced operational level, the system cannot be used as frequently per day. This is definitely a concern, as contaminants need to be discovered well before they make it to a treatment plant.
water monitoring system
It costs 1 million dollars to have the system fully operational. There is currently only $210,000 being devoted to it as of this article. A recent spill that was detected this past July 15th shows that there is definitely a need for this monitoring system. There have also been 8 children that have been diagnosed with a rare form of kidney cancer known as Wilms’ Tumor since 2007. While there is no proof that this disease is directly linked to water pollution, it is a likely cause.

Michigan has definitely been one of the states hardest hit by the recession. Local politicians must have been, and continue to be under extreme pressure in deciding which programs must be reduced or cut because of a lack of state funding. However, basic public access to clean drinking water must be somewhere towards the top of the list. The money might be hard to find now, but it’s out there. Wealthy business owners and other high profile politicians can certainly find the means of protecting the health of people who have made them rich.

We’re not talking about some miscellaneous state-sponsored recreational program. This is about the basic human right to clean drinking water, and yet there’s a price tag on it. Water monitoring systems should be protected at all costs. Ideally, money should not be an issue, it should just be taken care of. I know, that’s not the world we live in. The dollar always has the last word. Hopefully those in power will begin to realize that some things in life deserve to be looked at from a less capitalistic viewpoint.

It appears that the city of Newport, Rhode Island, is yet another on the list of cities that have been neglecting their environmental responsibilities.

In a recent article from the Providence Journal, four good Samaritans dubbed “the sewer rats” have succeeded in preventing the city from continuing to dump sewage into the Narragansett Bay. The ensuing lawsuit is a culmination of years of persistence on behalf of “the sewer rats” as well as other concerned citizens.
sewage warning
If successful, the lawsuit will call for a seven year plan to overhaul the city’s wastewater management system to the tune of 25 million dollars. While the citizen watchdogs, or rats in this case, claim that the city has never lived up to its word, arguments from the other side say differently. City Manager Edward Lavallee claims that he had been working with consultants for years to help solve the city’s sewage overflow problem. He states that approximately 30 million dollars have been spent in recent years to address the issue. He also mentioned that the city (like every other one in the country) is experiencing major financial difficulties and this extra burden makes things even more challenging.

The lawsuit was initiated with some help from the EPA. This is noteworthy, as this government agency has been the focus of much scrutiny in recent weeks. I contend that their decisions may seem controversial and rash to some, yet extremely necessary to preserve our environment that so many take for granted. The agency is vital in helping to prevent more water pollution issues such as this one.

I personally think that this story may not seem so clear cut. I’d like to believe that the people elected or assigned to do an important job that can affect thousands of people would try to do the best that they could. I realize that the preceding statement was a very idealistic one. However, I’d like to believe that the city officials had the best intentions to deal with their sewage problems as quickly and efficiently as possible. You can easily argue that if the problem became so large as to grow into something that they couldn’t handle, that they would seek additional help. On the other hand, most people that have “jobs” both large and small, tend to do just enough to not get fired.

Obviously, it is hard to get the whole story here. One thing that I do know and believe in is the power of citizen action. This story is a great example of that. Ultimately, the power lies with the people, if they so choose to use their collective voices. This is definitely one of the great and defining characteristics of our nation. Hopefully word about stories like this one will spread and incite more people to take positive action to create a better world.

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