Reducing Pharmaceuticals in the Water Supply

Today’s pharmaceuticals play a major role in helping consumers keep chronic conditions under control, manage pain, promote healing or fight disease. According to a 2010 report by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics on the use of medicine in the United States, almost 4 billion prescriptions were filled in 2010. However, an estimated one-third of

World Water Week: Planning for Safe Water in an Urbanizing World

Stockholm is the gathering place this week for experts considering the significant challenges of providing safe drinking water in an increasingly urbanizing world. According to the World Water Week website, by 2050 more people will live in cities than are currently living in the entire world (6.8 billion people). The World Bank states that urban

How Safe is Your Drinking Water?

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has made it easier for consumers to find out whether their drinking water meets Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) standards.  On May 16, 2011, EPA announced an update to ECHO , the Enforcement and Compliance History Online, an electronic tool maintained by the EPA Office of Ground and

Radiation, Water Quality and the Fukushima Disaster

On March 11, 2011, Japan’s Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant withstood shaking from the fourth largest earthquake recorded worldwide in over one hundred years. However, the 19 foot-high seawall separating the facility from potential oceanic onslaughts could not withstand the tsunami that followed. The plant flooded, electrical power to the cooling system was lost,

Good News and Bad News: Evaluating Progress on the UN Millennium Development Goals for Safe Water and Sanitation

In September, 2000, world leaders gathered in New York to adopt the United Nations Millennium Declaration, a resolution to reduce extreme poverty by meeting a series of time-sensitive goals known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).  Included in these goals is the target of halving by 2015 the proportion of the world population that lacked

Water for Cities. Water for Dignity

This morning, a homeless young Haitian boy kneeled down near an open drainage ditch that had been overflowing due to the vast amount of rainfall from the previous night, meticulously washed his face and drank some water to start his day. In the minutes that followed, several other boys did the same. The statistics for

Topsy-turvy Winter Highlights Water Infrastructure Needs in El Paso

This winter residents of El Paso, Texas experienced unusually cold weather.  Temperatures reached six degrees Fahrenheit in early February, the lowest recorded for the city in 120 years.  In short order, El Paso became a city of frozen and burst water pipes where businesses and daily activities were seriously disrupted. Faced with a significant water

Is Your Well Drinking Water all Well and Good?

Mrs. Joan Betty Bernard (me mum), paraphrasing Senator Adelai Stevenson, told me over and over,  “Americans demand simple answers to complex questions“(as you would expect his actual quote was significantly more erudite).  Their statements are as true today as they were 50 years ago. Is private well water safe to drink?  Well, that depends on

Wisconsin Rolling the Dice by Rolling Back Mandatory Disinfection

Wisconsin is about to roll the dice on public health by rolling back a state rule requiring municipal governments to disinfect drinking water [GOP proposes rollback of mandatory disinfection for drinking water].  The current rule protects the safety of drinking water for 12 percent of Wisconsin’s municipal water supply systems in some of the state’s

Disinfection Byproducts and the Wrath of Unintended Consequences

In the past century, drinking water chlorination has dramatically reduced the incidence of waterborne disease wherever it has been adopted, contributing to greater life expectancy and healthier societies.  A recent article in the journal Science (The Chlorine Dilemma, January 7) takes a fresh look at water chlorination by stacking the “pros” of this technology against