Water Quality Myths

There is a lot of misinformation available about water quality.  If taken as true in the wrong situation they could be very costly, they might even cost you your life.

The first myth I want to mention is the belief that ground water is pure. See my article on why I dislike the term “purify” when it concerns water.  I have heard this over and over again, “if we were all drinking ground water we wouldn’t need all these chemicals and we would all be healthier”.  This simply isn’t true.  Ground water does contain bacteria, it is usually free from pathogenic organisms, but that is not guaranteed, and if your system isn’t used to the specific bacteria in the ground water they may still make you a little sick.

The second myth I want to squash is the idea that sunlight, specifically the ultraviolet radiation will kill bacteria.  Let’s think about this for a second.  Using a lack of common sense, sunlight disinfection appears to be true.  UV kills bacteria and the sun emits UV radiation sounds like a win-win scenario.  However with a lot more common sense and some education behind it, it becomes apparent that all the lakes and rivers on the surface of the earth are exposed to sunlight.  If UV from the sun disinfected water, there would be no microscopic life in our water and because this is the bottom of the ecosystem, there would be no ecosystem at all.   Continue reading

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Water Quality Is Subjective

Clean water is clean water right? If I don’t get sick when I drink it that means every one can drink it right? The truth is not everyone has the same body chemistry. Everyone has a slightly different tolerance and/or sensitivity to contaminants. This could be an allergy to something in the water but it doesn’t have to be that severe. Children are often more susceptible to contaminants in water, as are the elderly and pregnant women. In the past when water systems have been contaminated, the two populations most likely to get very sick and or die are your children and seniors. Honorable mention goes to people with weakened immune systems which are almost always at greater risk.
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Disinfection with Calcium Hypochlorite

This journal entry is a continuation of my series of entries on disinfection of drinking water.   Please read the following linked articles first,  Introduction to Disinfection and Disinfection with Sodium Hypochlorite.  I have covered a lot of background information already, which you will need to fully understand this journal entry.    Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Calcium Hypochlorite, Ca(OCl)₂ is a solid chemical used as a disinfectant and bleaching agent. It is used to store chlorine for long periods of time without having to resort to chlorine gas, which is extremely dangerous if not handled properly.  If stored is a room temperature environment away from moisture, temperature extremes and direct sunlight, calcium hypochlorite can last up to a year without serious degradation.  Beyond a year the chemical will become weaker with time.

Calcium hypochlorite is very similar to sodium hypochlorite.  The biggest difference is Continue reading

Well Disinfection: What To Do After Contamination Occurs

It is a common misconception that ground water is safe from contamination. This simply is not true. Wells can easily become contaminated if the proper maintenance isn’t taken and even with proper maintenance they can become contaminated during an emergency like a flood. See my article on Ground water and Wells for the proper maintenance of wells to prevent contamination.

Wells can become contaminated two separate ways. The first one is harder to control.  It happens when the entire aquifer becomes contaminated. This can happen when there is an environmental spill of something (anything really) that percolates into the aquifer in or around the recharge area. This could be on your property or a hundred miles away. It all depends on the aquifer.

How Contamination Enters A Well: From: http://www.health.gov.on.ca

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Disinfection With Sodium Hypochlorite

In order to prevent disease all water should be disinfected before drinking. The most common way this is done in North America is with chlorine in one form or another. Chlorine comes in three main types, chlorine gas, sodium hypochlorite and calcium hypochlorite. In this article I will focus on sodium hypochlorite.

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