Tag Archives: drinking water quality

Improving Private-Well Water Quality, North Carolina

MacDonald Gibson J, Pieper KJ. Strategies to Improve Private-Well Water Quality: A North Carolina Perspective. Environmental health perspectives. 2017 Jul 7;125(7):076001. doi: 10.1289/EHP890.

BACKGROUND: Evidence suggests that the 44.5 million U.S. residents drawing their drinking water from private wells face higher risks of waterborne contaminant exposure than those served by regulated community water supplies. Among U.S. states, North Carolina (N.C.) has the second-largest population relying on private wells, making it a useful microcosm to study challenges to maintaining private-well water quality.

OBJECTIVES: This paper summarizes recommendations from a two-day summit to identify options to improve drinking-water quality for N.C. residents served by private wells.

METHODS: The Research Triangle Environmental Health Collaborative invited 111 participants with knowledge of private-well water challenges to attend the Summit. Participants worked in small groups that focused on specific aspects and reconvened in plenary sessions to formulate consensus recommendations.

DISCUSSION: Summit participants highlighted four main barriers to ensuring safe water for residents currently relying on private wells: (1) a database of private well locations is unavailable; (2) racial disparities have perpetuated reliance on private wells in some urbanized areas; (3) many private-well users lack information or resources to monitor and maintain their wells; and (4) private-well support programs are fragmented and lack sufficient resources. The Summit produced 10 consensus recommendations for ways to overcome these barriers.

CONCLUSIONS: The Summit recommendations, if undertaken, could improve the health of North Carolinians facing elevated risks of exposure to waterborne contaminants because of their reliance on inadequately monitored and maintained private wells. Because many of the challenges in N.C. are common nationwide, these recommendations could serve as models for other states.

Water Safety Plans as a Tool for Arctic Communities

Lane K, Stoddart AK, Gagnon GA. Water safety plans as a tool for drinking water regulatory frameworks in Arctic communities. Environmental science and pollution research international. 2017 Jul 14. doi: 10.1007/s11356-017-9618-9.

Arctic communities often face drinking water supply challenges that are unique to their location. Consequently, conventional drinking water regulatory strategies often do not meet the needs of these communities. A literature review of Arctic jurisdictions was conducted to evaluate the current water management approaches and how these techniques could be applied to the territory of Nunavut in Canada. The countries included are all members of the Arctic Council and other Canadian jurisdictions considered important to the understanding of water management for Northern Canadian communities. The communities in Nunavut face many challenges in delivering safe water to customers due to remoteness, small community size and therefore staffing constraints, lack of guidelines and monitoring procedures specific to Nunavut, and water treatment and distribution systems that are vastly different than those used in southern communities. Water safety plans were explored as an alternative to water quality regulations as recent case studies have demonstrated the utility of this risk management tool, especially in the context of small communities. Iceland and Alberta both currently have regulated water safety plans (WSPs) and were examined to understand shortcomings and benefits if WSPs were to be applied as a possible strategy in Nunavut. Finally, this study discusses specific considerations that are necessary should a WSP approach be applied in Nunavut.

Corrosion Scales in Distribution Systems, Northern Pakistan

Baig SA, Lou Z, Baig MA, Qasim M, Shams DF, Mahmood Q, Xu X. Assessment of tap water quality and corrosion scales from the selected distribution systems in northern Pakistan. Environ Monit Assess. 2017 Apr;189(4):194. doi: 10.1007/s10661-017-5907-5.

Corrosion deposits formed within drinking water distribution systems deteriorate drinking water quality and resultantly cause public health consequences. In the present study, an attempt was made to investigate the concurrent conditions of corrosion scales and the drinking water quality in selected water supply schemes (WSS) in districts Chitral, Peshawar, and Abbottabad, northern Pakistan. Characterization analyses of the corrosion by-products revealed the presence of α-FeOOH, γ-FeOOH, Fe3O4, and SiO2 as major constituents with different proportions. The constituents of all the representative XRD peaks of Peshawar WSS were found insignificant as compared to other WSS, and the reason could be the variation of source water quality. Well-crystallized particles in SEM images indicated the formation of dense oxide layer on corrosion by-products. A wider asymmetric vibration peak of SiO2 appeared only in Chitral and Abbottabad WSS, which demonstrated higher siltation in the water source. One-way ANOVA analysis showed significant variations in pH, turbidity, TDS, K, Mg, PO4, Cl, and SO4 values, which revealed that these parameters differently contributed to the source water quality. Findings from this study suggested the implementation of proper corrosion prevention measures and the establishment of international collaboration for best corrosion practices, expertise, and developing standards.

Chemical quality and regulatory compliance, Iceland

Gunnarsdottir MJ, Gardarsson SM, Jonsson GS, Bartram J.Chemical quality and regulatory compliance of drinking water in Iceland. Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2016 Sep 26. pii: S1438-4639(16)30175-4. doi: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2016.09.011.

Assuring sufficient quality of drinking water is of great importance for public wellbeing and prosperity. Nations have developed regulatory system with the aim of providing drinking water of sufficient quality and to minimize the risk of contamination of the water supply in the first place. In this study the chemical quality of Icelandic drinking water was evaluated by systematically analyzing results from audit monitoring where 53 parameters were assessed for 345 samples from 79 aquifers, serving 74 water supply systems. Compliance to the Icelandic Drinking Water Regulation (IDWR) was evaluated with regard to parametric values, minimum requirement of sampling, and limit of detection. Water quality compliance was divided according to health-related chemicals and indicators, and analyzed according to size. Samples from few individual locations were benchmarked against natural background levels (NBLs) in order to identify potential pollution sources. The results show that drinking compliance was 99.97% in health-related chemicals and 99.44% in indicator parameters indicating that Icelandic groundwater abstracted for drinking water supply is generally of high quality with no expected health risks. In 10 water supply systems, of the 74 tested, there was an indication of anthropogenic chemical pollution, either at the source or in the network, and in another 6 water supplies there was a need to improve the water intake to prevent surface water intrusion. Benchmarking against the NBLs proved to be useful in tracing potential pollution sources, providing a useful tool for identifying pollution at an early stage.

Another GI Illness and Emergency Dept Visit Study, Atlanta, Georgia

The use of water residence time as a proxy for contamination by intrusion into a water distribution system is unsupported and speculative at best. It seems these researchers do not fully understand drinking water distribution systems.  Lastly, the ORs and CIs mentioned here are very low and are well within the range of no-effect.  Why speculate with such a weak finding?  Let’s use some common sense to operate and maintain water distribution systems and disinfectant residuals.

Levy K, Klein M, Sarnat SE, Panwhar S, Huttinger A, Tolbert P, Moe C. Refined assessment of associations between drinking water residence time and emergency department visits for gastrointestinal illness in Metro Atlanta, Georgia. Journal of Water and Health. 2016 Aug;14(4):672-681.

Recent outbreak investigations suggest that a substantial proportion of waterborne disease outbreaks are attributable to water distribution system issues. In this analysis, we examine the relationship between modeled water residence time (WRT), a proxy for probability of microorganism intrusion into the distribution system, and emergency department visits for gastrointestinal (GI) illness for two water utilities in Metro Atlanta, USA during 1993-2004. We also examine the association between proximity to the nearest distribution system node, based on patients’ residential address, and GI illness using logistic regression models. Comparing long (≥90th percentile) with intermediate WRTs (11th to 89th percentile), we observed a modestly increased risk for GI illness for Utility 1 (OR = 1.07, 95% CI: 1.02-1.13), which had substantially higher average WRT than Utility 2, for which we found no increased risk (OR = 0.98, 95% CI: 0.94-1.02). Examining finer, 12-hour increments of WRT, we found that exposures >48 h were associated with increased risk of GI illness, and exposures of >96 h had the strongest associations, although none of these associations was statistically significant. Our results suggest that utilities might consider reducing WRTs to <2-3 days or adding booster disinfection in areas with longer WRT, to minimize risk of GI illness from water consumption.

Flash Flood Impacts on Drinking Water Quality, 2012 Beijing Flood

Sun R, An D, Lu W, Shi Y, Wang L, Zhang C, Zhang P, Qi H, Wang Q. Impacts of a flash flood on drinking water quality: case study of areas most affected by the 2012 Beijing flood. Heliyon. 2016 Feb 19;2(2):e00071. doi: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2016.e00071.

In this study, we present a method for identifying sources of water pollution and their relative contributions in pollution disasters. The method uses a combination of principal component analysis and factor analysis. We carried out a case study in three rural villages close to Beijing after torrential rain on July 21, 2012. Nine water samples were analyzed for eight parameters, namely turbidity, total hardness, total dissolved solids, sulfates, chlorides, nitrates, total bacterial count, and total coliform groups. All of the samples showed different degrees of pollution, and most were unsuitable for drinking water as concentrations of various parameters exceeded recommended thresholds. Principal component analysis and factor analysis showed that two factors, the degree of mineralization and agricultural runoff, and flood entrainment, explained 82.50% of the total variance. The case study demonstrates that this method is useful for evaluating and interpreting large, complex water-quality data sets.

Drinking Water Quality and Healthy Life Expectancy

Kim JI, Kim G. Relationship Between the Remaining Years of Healthy Life Expectancy in Older Age and National Income Level, Educational Attainment, and Improved Water Quality. International Journal of Aging and Human Development. 2016 Jul 7. pii: 0091415016657560.

The remaining years of healthy life expectancy (RYH) at age 65 years can be calculated as RYH (65) = healthy life expectancy-aged 65 years. This study confirms the associations between socioeconomic indicators and the RYH (65) in 148 countries. The RYH data were obtained from the World Health Organization. Significant positive correlations between RYH (65) in men and women and the socioeconomic indicators national income, education level, and improved drinking water were found. Finally, the predictors of RYH (65) in men and women were used to build a model of the RYH using higher socioeconomic indicators (R2 = 0.744, p <0.001). Overall country-level educational attainment, national income level, and improved water quality influenced the RYH at 65 years. Therefore, policymaking to improve these country-level socioeconomic factors is expected to have latent effects on RYH in older age.