Daily Archives: June 26, 2011

Would You Drink This?

Source: Claire Taylor, Would You Drink This? TheAdvertiser.com June 25, 2011.

Iron and manganese are probably the most common ground water quality problems in the US. It is very hard to imagine that such colored water is safe to drink.  But if it is properly disinfected, it may very well be safe.

Iron and manganese can be removed by installing treatment at the well or in the homes, or a new well could be drilled. Either way, water rates will go up….in the end, the customers get the quality of drinking they are willing and able to afford.

E. coli O104 Outbreak in France: Food or Drinking Water?

A localized outbreak in France associated with sprouts…..at least it seems. The outbreak of E. coli in Germany is one of the deadliest infections to affect Europe in recent years.  Some farmers want compensation after Spanish cucumbers were wrongly blamed.

And now some authorities are suggesting that some of the cases could have been caused by the bacteria entering parts the drinking water system…..if there is no chlorine residual in the distribution system, then it is entirely possible for drinking water to become contaminated in the distribution system…..it has happened in the US as well (e.g, Cabool, MO in the 1980s)…..

Click here for the full news article.



Las Vegas Reclaimed Wastewater: An Odiferous Dispute

Odor complaints from residents along the downstream discharge channel of the North Las Vegas Wastewater Reclamation Facility….of course, no problem at the treatment plant…..sounds like a fun time….

Click here for the news article.

Boiling Drinking Water in Urban Zambia: Contamination Occurs During Storage

This study confirms the finding of others that once treated in a household by what ever method, drinking water can be easily contaminated during storage.  Boiling water for disinfection takes time, is energy intensive, and not everyone follows through to actually do it. Despite the disadvantages of using a chlorine solution (e.g., sodium hypochlorite) for disinfection, having a slight chlorine residual in the water still remains the best way to addess potential contamination during storage.
Psutka, R., Peletz, R., Michelo, S., Kelly, P., and Clasen, T. Assessing the Microbiological Performance and Potential Cost of Boiling Drinking Water in Urban Zambia. Environ Sci Technol. 2011 Jun 23.

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Keppel St., London WC1E 7H, United Kingdom.

This six-week study in peri-urban Zambia assessed the microbiological effectiveness and potential cost of boiling among 49 households without a water connection who reported “always” or “almost always” boiling their water before drinking it.

Source and household drinking water samples were compared weekly for thermotolerant coliforms (TTC), an indicator of fecal contamination. Demographics, costs, and other information were collected through surveys and structured observations.

Drinking water samples taken at the household (geometric mean 7.2 TTC/100 mL, 95% CI, 5.4-9.7) were actually worse in microbiological quality than source water (geometric mean 4.0 TTC/100 mL, 95% CI, 3.1-5.1) (p < 0.001), although both are relatively low levels of contamination.

Only 60% of drinking water samples were reported to have actually been boiled at the time of collection from the home, suggesting over-reporting and inconsistent compliance. However, these samples were of no higher microbiological quality.

Evidence suggests that water quality deteriorated after boiling due to lack of residual protection and unsafe storage and handling. The potential cost of fuel or electricity for boiling was estimated at 5% and 7% of income, respectively.

Click here for the abstract and to obtain the paper (fee).