1:5:10:365 EcoTip Blog

November 19, 2008

:324 Pesticides 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.

1:5:10:324 EcoTip: Agricultural runoff results in many types of pesticides and herbicides contaminating our water supplies. If you have concerns about your water quality, you can have it tested for many of the common pesticide and herbicide contaminants. For more information about pesticides in water check out the Pesticide Watch resource center

***********************************

 Additional Information:

National Testing Laboratories offers pesticide in water analysis for the following pesticides, herbicides and PCBs.

Alachlor, Atrazine, Chlordane, Aldrin, Dichloran, Dieldrin, Endrin, Heptachlor, Heptachlor epoxide, Hexachlorbenzene, Hexachlorocyclopentadiene,  Lindane, Methoxychlor, Pentachloronitrobenzene, Silvex (2,4,5-TP), Simazine, Toxaphene, Trifluralin, 2,4-D.

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

Would you like to receive an email alert for each new 1:5:10:365 EcoTip? Sign up for a Google Alert.

Advertisements

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.

***********************************

 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.

Would you like to receive an email alert for each new 1:5:10:365 EcoTip? Sign up for a Google Alert.

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.

***********************************

 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.  

Would you like to receive an email alert for each new 1:5:10:365 EcoTip? Sign up for a Google Alert.

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.

***********************************

 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.

Would you like to receive an email alert for each new 1:5:10:365 EcoTip? Sign up for a Google Alert.

July 10, 2008

:192 Carbon Water Filtration

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

1:5:10:192 EcoTip: Activated carbon in drinking water filters can help to remove chlorine and other volatile organic compounds. The length of time it takes the water to pass through the filter determines the amount of chemical that gets removed. The slower the water flow the greater the removal.

***********************************

 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :190, :191

Be careful when interpreting the quality of a water purifier based on manufacturer’s claims. I was once asked to evaluate a purifier based on test results showing a 99% removal of chlorine. The problem was the manufacturer’s instructions said to install the filter so that it would deliver 1 gallon per minute, but the test was performed with the water being passed through the filter at a rate of 0.1 gallon per minute (ten times slower). The advertised test results were of course much better than what was being delivered to the client’s glass. To get the better results the client needed to slow the rate of filtration down to the test rate.

Chlorine removal performance is easy to test – you can visit any aquarium shop that sells tropical fish and purchase a sensitive chlorine test kit. 

If you want to compare chemical removal efficiency between purifiers before you purchase one, make sure the testing has been performed in compliance with National Sanitation Foundation standards. This will help make sure you are comparing units that have been tested in a consistent way.

Would you like to receive an email alert for each new 1:5:10:365 EcoTip? Sign up for a Google Alert.

Blog at WordPress.com.