Water the most precious natural resource
I suppose we all may have a pre-conceived notion of where our drinking water comes from, but if not this is why I have produced this hub and I will give credit where and to whom it is due and that would be Polannalanna a fellow hubber.
To begin this hub I am right to the source of how my hub began and after that I will follow up with my own actual experience of working in this industry for over 20 years now and the NEED to conserve and NOT contaminate what I believe to be our greatest natural resource.
So grab a beverage, water will do ha ha, and maybe something to eat and let's expand this hub and merge others into a concerted effort to give precedence to not just a commodity, but a life giving resource.
(no longer avalable was a hub written by a fellow hubber who had a very different view about the safety of our drinking water. She believes we are drinking sewer water)
Sewer water, really? No Polly not really, as in we're not really drinking sewer water; now there have been documented occurrences where because of a back pressure or back siphonage condition and an improper cross connection between the potable water supply and the waste-water effluent where a backflow condition has occurred. Thankfully we have backflow preventers now and these have been in place since the 1940s pretty frequently although there have been various attempts to make use of a barometric loop, but costly and not a good protection from back pressure.
Another way the public water supply has or could be contaminated is through surface water contamination; this could happen due swamping of the waste-water treatment plant and by that I mean when there is a lot of rainfall the plants effluent can not properly discharge from the plant and it can cause a sewage back up and overflow, similar to a toilet clogging.
By the way effluent is the discharge water and most treatment plants are near a creek, river, bay etc. to discharge the treated water.
This is highly and I mean highly regulated by the EPA and local authorities with fines imposed and immediate action needing to be and being done. Yet in those extreme occurrences of bad weather and/or major equipment failure this is when and how untreated sewage could enter a potential source for drinking water.
But, drinking water is treated and regulated as well; it can be regulated by up to three federal agencies, the ones I know of or more.
Then again by local agencies. Potential surface water sources for potable water include rivers, lakes, and other fresh water sites.
Using cisterns has been done and is still done, but I would stay away from drinking that water unless you yourself know how to treat it to keep it from developing harmful bacteria, such as cryptosporidium and of course you must watch for insects and bird or animal droppings.
As far as the spring water industry goes, I know of certain companies that run tap water through a reverse osmosis triple filtering system to remove everything and then they have to add minerals back to the water to give it taste.
I myself am using well water, as do a lot of folks where there is not a suitable natural body of water nearby we must go below the grounds surface to seek out an aquifer and this water must be tested and determined whether or not it will need additional treatment. This is where spring water in a bottle comes from and where I enjoy getting my water from. Certain minerals such as iron are too abundant and must be removed, but if you are fortunate enough to have a deposit of limestone that the underground water percolates through then that is referred as sweet-water and it is usually excellent.
Even wells can become contaminated by of all things runoff; farms, oils from parking lots, chemicals and chemical compounds from manufacturing plants and other contaminating culprits can render a well absolutely ruined.
I really could go on and on and speak purely from experience as this is what I work with and in. I am also including a link to the EPA for any who would like to seek additional info that way.
Be blessed and don't be too concerned about your drinking water because you have a friend who works there to keep others safe and be a good steward of perhaps man's greatest natural resource.
After the water is re-claimed then what?
After the Waste-water treatment and the effluent leaves the plant it enters a body of water. The body of water will vary depending on your location and topography. An alternate method of treatment could be UV sterilization in the stead of chlorine, but this is a higher cost and removes even the good bacteria that occur naturally.
I will cover septic systems of homes and small businesses as well, but not now, so we can move on to water treatment as in drinking water treatment.
Water treatment process
Two separate processes and not one
Two processes and the water from the waste-water treatment process must first enter a body of water or percolate through the ground. If you have a septic system w/ drainfield or drywell or if your system is a sand mound system or even a public system that sprays the effluent on the ground to be absorbed by a cover crop and ...
The most important thing to realize here is that these are two separate treatment systems and outside of the possibility of drawing water from a body of water that may have had effluent introduced to it, this potable water must be continually monitored for organisms, chemicals, metals, organic compounds, PH and chlorine content. On a public water system there are monitoring points off of the distribution system to check the quality even outside of the Water-treatment plant.
A report for water quality is prepared and submitted annually for the public to see and chances are if you are an end user of this product, in a municipality there will be a report of results found of contaminants (not necessarily harmful and there are standards preset) in the finished product.
I am including a water quality report from my hometown of Annapolis and the larger city of Baltimore to my north for your information. Here are the links:
Now you might have noticed that some of these substances such as radiation and arsenic are naturally occurring. Wells may be used to supply water to the treatment plants and/or surface water draw sites.
Private treatment of waste and drinking water
Private Waste-water (Septic) and private drinking water (potable water) treatment systems are far less elaborate and have even caused contamination of neighboring potable water wells from waste-water (sewage) seepage.
These systems are widely un-regulated after the initial installment and we, as stewards of the environment must do our part to protect our most valuable natural resource as well as animal and plant life.
I am including drawings of a few private waste-water systems below and this will be followed by a typical well-water system comprised of a bored well and casing, submersible well pump and holding/storage tank/s and water conditioning equipment.
Septic tank w/ drainfield
Mound septic system
Drywell (Seepage pit) not preferred any longer
What do you think?
Well, we have seen the waste-water systems for private homes and we have seen a video for a larger scale waste-water treatment center so now I will concentrate on the drinking (potable) water system found privately.
Well pump in casing and tank
Water coming from the well enters blue tank
Much more to add...
There is more to this than what some may think, I and others in this industry are professionals and we know that if we don't do our jobs correctly the consequences are costly to say the least. I just want to inform and not create DIY's from anyone reading this, but we are ALL responsible to keep our water safe for as long as there is a planet called Earth.
I would like to discuss backflow preventers and cross-connections and even the un-regulated bottled water industry and I may add more to this hub if the comments warrant such an addition. Until then please remember God created only this one earth and He created man to care for it and to man He gave a helper, woman, to help man care for this earth.
We are Earth's chief stewards and worst abusers, but we can turn that around. The only question is are you willing to help restore and keep clean our Most Valuable Natural Resource...
WATER, we need it and we need it clean! Be safe and keep our water that way also.
Replies to Comments
Thank you Mr. Deeds for drawing to my attention an action that has slipped under my radar. I absolutely would stop this practice immediately within 10 miles of any residential area. MTBE which is derived from petroleum products and a known carcinogen was banned because it leaked into our ground water. I can only imagine what sort of nasty stuff can be injected into our aquifers from this process and possibly contaminate huge underground reservoirs which spread out laterally.
Another process, which hits closer to my home is Fly Ash dumping. Fly ash is the residual material left after burning coal at power plants. It has already contaminated several wells in my state, Maryland, in the Gambrills area. Courtesy of Baltimore Gas & Electric. It forced the re-location of approximately one dozen homes.
Come on let's be Watchdogs for Water.