1:5:10:365 EcoTip Blog

November 22, 2008

:327 Lead in Fixtures

Filed under: :327 Lead in Fixtures — Tags: , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:27 am

Take the 1:5:10:365 challenge: Do one thing – for 5 to 10 minutes – 365 days a year to make our home and planet environment better.

1:5:10:326 EcoTip: Brass plumbing fixtures and lead solder have frequently contained lead. When purchasing new fixtures or soldering copper joints make sure they are certified lead free. You can’t tell if a fixture has brass just by looking at it. The brass is frequently used on the inside of the fixture where it is not visible.

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 Additional Information:

To test for lead in fixtures, you can perform a duel lead test. Let the water sit in the fixture overnight then collect the first water from the tap for analysis. Collect a second sample of water after it has been allowed to run for several minutes to clear the plumbing. If the first sample has lead and the second doesn’t – then your fixtures or household plumbing are the likely culprit. If its in both samples – its likely the water supply.

National Testing Laboratories offers a duel lead water analysis kit.

Lead check swabs can be used to test plumbing solder. (see EcoTip :033)

Here’s a link to the USEPA water quality standards: http://www.epa.gov/safewater/contaminants/index.html

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November 21, 2008

:326 Lead in Water

Filed under: :326 Lead in Water — Tags: , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:28 am

Take the 1:5:10:365 challenge: Do one thing – for 5 to 10 minutes – 365 days a year to make our home and planet environment better.

1:5:10:327 EcoTip: Lead is a heavy metal that has been used for plumbing pipes in municipal water systems. It is supposed to be phased out but can still contaminate drinking water.

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 Additional Information:

National Testing Laboratories offers water analysis for lead and other heavy metals.

Here’s a link to the USEPA water quality standards: http://www.epa.gov/safewater/contaminants/index.html

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November 18, 2008

:323 Bacteria in Water

Take the 1:5:10:365 challenge: Do one thing – for 5 to 10 minutes – 365 days a year to make our home and planet environment better.

1:5:10:323 EcoTip: The presence of E. coli in water is an indicator that sewage or animal wastes may be contaminating your water supply. Testing for E. coli and coliform bacteria is a simple screening test that can tell you if your well or water supply is contaminated with waste material.

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 Additional Information:

National testing laboratories provides a test kit for the presence or absence of E. coli and coliform bacteria with results two days after the samples are received by the laboratory.

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July 14, 2008

:196 Bacteria Contamination

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:196 EcoTip: Bacteria can contaminate and grow in water purification systems. They need to be properly cleaned when they are serviced to keep them in good working order.

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :190, :191, :192, :193, :194

The following information is quoted from the third edition (released in May 2008 ) of Prescriptions for a Healthy House: A Practical Guide for Architects, Builders & Homeowners:

Reverse Osmosis units should be tested and serviced on a regular basis. Annual testing of water quality is a good indicator of how well the unit is functioning and when the reverse osmosis membrane needs to be replaced. Poor water quality in some parts of the country means that membranes and filters need to be replaced more frequently there.

Servicing includes not only replacing filters as necessary but also cleaning and disinfecting the unit. The procedure involves disassembling the reverse osmosis system, cleaning the unit, flushing it with hydrogen peroxide, replacing the filters, and checking the unit’s performance.

– quoted from Warren Clough – a chemist with 50 years experience analyzing water quality and making water purification system recommendations. www.ozarkwaterandair.org

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July 13, 2008

:195 Water Softener Salt

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:195 EcoTip: Water softeners add salt to the water. The amount of sodium is usually small, but for those on a restricted sodium diet, reverse osmosis can reduce the levels of sodium chloride. Another alternative would be to use potassium chloride salt instead of sodium chloride. Potassium chloride may contain traces of naturally occurring beta radiation.

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :172, :190, :191, :192, :193, :194

The following information is quoted from the third edition (released in May 2008 ) of Prescriptions for a Healthy House: A Practical Guide for Architects, Builders & Homeowners:

Water conditioners are used to improve the aesthetic quality of water, including color, corrosiveness, clarity, and hardness. They use a process of ion exchange to eliminate from the water undesirable substances (such as calcium and magnesium) that may precipitate scale on fixtures, laundry machines, hot water heaters, dishwashers, shower stalls, sinks, and skin. Water conditioners can also be effective in removing sediment, chlorine, and certain metals, such as low levels of manganese and iron (both of which can cause stains) as well as odor from hydrogen sulfide. Flow rate is affected by both the size and the design of the water softener and must be appropriately specified on an individual basis. Conditioned water is often referred to as “soft” water. In the ion exchange process, calcium or magnesium ions are exchanged with either sodium or potassium. Sodium chloride is the more common regenerate for water conditioning, but many water treatment companies have switched to potassium chloride, which is widely believed to be a healthier and more ecologically sound choice. Potassium chloride is essentially a refined potash, and when returned to the ground water it can serve as a fertilizer for many plants. The small amount ingested daily from water conditioned with potassium is about equivalent to what you would gain by eating half a banana and can be a positive addition to your diet.

For those with a medical condition affecting electrolyte balance, blood pressure, or kidney function, we suggest you consult a physician before you consider purchasing a water-conditioning system with salt-based regenerates. Potassium chloride may also contain traces of naturally occurring gross beta radiation. Because of chloride discharge into city systems and the subsequent impact of chlorides on rivers and agriculture, some municipalities are moving to ban new salt-regenerating water conditioners and give rebates to customers who switch to salt-free systems. Municipal water and sewer systems are not configured to remove chlorides. This issue is of particular concern in dense metropolitan areas, but since the ion exchange process is also commonly used to remove water contaminants in private domestic wells, chlorides also are discharged into septic systems and ultimately into shallow aquifers.

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July 12, 2008

:194 RO Waste Water

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:194 EcoTip: Reverse osmosis units use several gallons of water to process each gallon of drinking water. The process water is frequently routed down the drain – but it could easily be used to drip water plants, or for other non-drinking uses.

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :172, :190, :191, :192, :193

The following information is quoted from the third edition (released in May 2008 ) of Prescriptions for a Healthy House: A Practical Guide for Architects, Builders & Homeowners:

The most valid criticism of RO is that anywhere from 3.5 to 5 gallons of water are rejected for every gallon of purified water produced. Many inexpensive, non certified RO systems have much higher rejection rates, are extremely wasteful, and still do not deliver verifiable contaminant reduction, the primary reason for using reverse osmosis.  

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July 11, 2008

:193 Reverse Osmosis

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:193 EcoTip: Reverse osmosis is a method for reducing the amount of dissolved solids in drinking water. It works best in combination with other water purification methods since it will not remove volatile organic compounds.

RO involves forcing water through a semipermeable membrane with extremely fine pores.

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :190, :191, :192

The following information is quoted from the third edition (released in May 2008 ) of Prescriptions for a Healthy House: A Practical Guide for Architects, Builders & Homeowners:

RO systems will remove a variety of ions and metals as well as some bacterial contaminants (cysts), but not coliform bacteria. RO systems will remove some arsenic (arsenic V but not the more toxic arsenic III). Reverse osmosis is well documented in the literature and in post-treatment testing proves to be effective in removing uranium, but NSF [National Sanitation Foundation] does not certify for uranium reduction, RO membranes eject the bulk of almost any dissolved and suspended contaminant including ionic, organic and silica compounds.

One criticism of reverse osmosis-filtered water is that it is stripped of essential minerals. Although this is true, it is a tradeoff for overall water quality. Most consumers do not depend on water for their nutritional needs but elect to take vitamin supplements or remineralize their RO water. Savvy water treatment companies use a crushed limestone (calcite) post-RO filter to impart a pleasant taste to the water. Parents sometimes express concern that RO removes fluoride added to municipal water for dental health purposes. This is true, but water fluoridation in general is a controversial issue and today most children under professional dental care receive whole-mouth fluoride treatments.

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