US Household Emergency Preparedness: A Status Report

New survey data from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) demonstrate many US households should increase their level of disaster and emergency preparedness. Improving Americans’ ability to cope in times of crisis can help reduce the strain on emergency service and healthcare systems. Being prepared at the household level also helps instill confidence


Philadelphia Water Main Break: Just a Taste of What’s to Come?

The Water Quality and Health Council has been sending out warnings about a serious and potentially deadly problem facing the US population posed by our aging piped water infrastructure (see our “Pain at the Pipe” Part 1 and Part 2 blog posts).  We are not alone in issuing this warning.  In May, the American Water


A Hint of Human Virus in Your Drinking Water?

Ground water is vulnerable to contamination from activities occurring on and below the earth’s surface. Image courtesy of US EPA website. A new study of small drinking water systems in Wisconsin shows residents of some communities in the state are exposed to viruses, including norovirus, through tap water. Researchers found human viruses in about 24


Clean Drinking Water: UN Goal Met Five Years Early

A significant global public health milestone has been reached: In the two decades between 1990 and 2010, over two billion people worldwide gained access to clean drinking water sources,i according to the United Nations (press release). This raises to 6.1 billion the number of people on Earth with access to clean drinking water, a full 89 percent of the world’s population.


Drink Water: Sage Advice in Two Little Words

Drink water: It’s a common refrain, but do you know why those two little words combine to produce such good advice? According to The Health Benefits of Water, after oxygen, water is the human body’s most important need. It’s simple and healthful, so make it a habit: drink water! Water serves many critical purposes in the


Haiti: Water for the Artibonite Valley

The Artibonite department is one of the most important regions of Haiti. For centuries, its thousands of acres of luxuriant vegetation carried the weight of the nation’s national production of rice, which once totaled 210,000 metric tons annually. As the most important and appreciated element of the country’s diet, the rice market single handedly supported


Pain at the Pipe – Part 2: Consequences of Failing to Repair and Replace Our Buried Water Piping Infrastructure

People repair and replace many things throughout their lives including shoes, clothing, automobile tires, household appliances and the like and sometimes even hips, knees, lungs, and kidneys. Generally, the longer the useful life, the greater the reliability, and the more something is out of sight, the less prepared people become when major renovation or replacement


Pain at the Pipe – Part 1: Why the US Should Respond to Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs

There is a complex, buried system of more than a million miles of pipe under our feet.  Through these pipes, clean drinking water flows to points of use, servicing millions of homes, businesses and institutions.  Unfortunately, this hidden but essential asset has reached its sunset years in many cities and towns.  In some places, such


Drinking Water and Chlorine Odor

How would you describe your tap water? A rich bouquet of earthy flavors? Sulfurous with a hint of chlorine? Or simply divine? The aesthetic properties of your tap water depend upon your local natural water supply source, how your water is treated, and how it is delivered to you. In the case of private well


Biofilms: The Good and the Bad

It’s easy to appreciate the need to disinfect germs on surfaces, but have you ever wondered how germs exist on surfaces in the first place? Enter the biofilm. In recent years, scientists have increased their understanding of these dense colonies of bacteria that produce an extracellular material that binds a community of different microorganisms together