Extremely Rare but Deadly: Brain-Eating Naegleria fowleri Amoeba in Water

In a nutshell… This article discusses Naegleria fowleri risk and prevention in water. These free-living amoebas can thrive in warm freshwaters such as lakes and sometimes inadequately treated, warm household (e.g., drinking, bathing) water. Entry of contaminated water through the nose—not by swallowing—can lead to a fatal brain infection. Only a handful of cases are

Chlorine vs. Chlorine Bleach: What’s the Difference?

In a nutshell… The terms “chlorine” and “chlorine bleach” are not always used accurately in reporting emergency incidents in which elemental chlorine gas or liquid chlorine bleach escape their containers. These two substances have different chemical and physical properties and represent different potential risks to human health. This article explains the differences between the substances

Coronavirus Creates New Challenges for Small and Rural Drinking Water Systems

In a nutshell… Many small U.S. community water systems were already struggling with economic, technical, and regulatory challenges before coronavirus (COVID-19) made them bigger. This article highlights how small and rural utilities are coping to stay operational during the pandemic.   The majority (97%) of the nation’s 146,000+ active public water systems are considered “small”

Flush with Success: Water Mains and Fire Hydrants

In a nutshell… Virtually all U.S. public water suppliers flush their distribution systems from time to time by opening “blow off” valves and fire hydrants. Regular flushing of water mains improves water quality and increases the reliability of their treated drinking water. You can do this in your home, too!   Perhaps you’ve seen and

How to Disinfect Water Storage Tanks Using Chlorine Bleach

Eight-five percent of Americans get their daily drinking water from a community water system. About 15% rely on a private well for some or all of their household water. But just about everyone has seen and drunk water from a water storage tank or trailer. They come in all shapes and sizes. Many are permanent; others are temporary like those used at large outdoor events and “water buffalos” used by the military.

Building the Workforce for Tomorrow’s Safe Water

Reliable, 24/7 operation of the nation’s water utilities depends on access to a qualified workforce—particularly sufficient numbers of certified water operators who run the equipment and control the treatment processes for drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater. These allied and evolving fields are increasingly linked through water reuse to ensure that Americans have access to clean and safe water and to help protect the environment. 

Wildfire Impacts on Drinking Water Quality

Americans consume over one billion glasses of drinking water each day from over 151,000 U.S. community water systems. But natural and man-made disasters, including wildfires, can impact the provision of safe drinking water. Thankfully rare, wildfires sometimes damage or destroy the treatment plants, storage tanks, pump stations, and pipes that are needed to provide drinking water to our homes, schools, and businesses.

Hot Tap Water Quality: Q&A with Emily Fritz of Louisville Water Company

Every day, Americans consume more than one billion glasses of tap water, the majority of which is provided by over 50,000 community water systems. Conventional water treatment transforms raw water into safe (finished) drinking water for pennies per gallon, thanks to widespread treatment, disinfection, and protection of water as it travels to your home. The

Drinking Water Challenges in a Winter Wonderland

As much of America endures a particularly cold winter—especially for those of us in the polar vortex-targeted tundra of northern Minnesota—our aging drinking water infrastructure is under tremendous pressure. Cold temperatures, snow, and ice can challenge large metropolitan water treatment facilities and privately-owned household wells alike. Fortunately, there are many proactive steps that experienced public water system operators, as well as savvy homeowners, can take each year before temperatures fall to help ensure that safe drinking water is available during even the coldest winter. That way, everyone can focus more on enjoying the wintry weather (and ice fishing) and less on responding to water-related crises.

Community Drinking Water Treatment Using Calcium Hypochlorite

Conventional water treatment transforms raw water into finished drinking water that is biologically and chemically safe. We recently celebrated the 110th anniversary of U.S. drinking water chlorination, a disinfection technology that debuted in Jersey City in 1908 using a dry compound called “chloride of lime.” Today we more properly call it calcium hypochlorite. Calcium hypochlorite