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Ground water facts from the American Ground

Water Trust Water 2000 - are you pro-choice?

(NAPS) Few things in life are of more importance than a reliable source of water. Ground water, supplied by over 150,000 public water systems and 15 million private wells, is the source of drinking water for 130 million Americans. Water 2000 is a multi-billion dollar government plan to have safe drinking water and sanitation for all of America's population by the year 2000. In areas that qualify for federal assistance, citizens need to make informed decisions about how to (or whether to) spend the federal money.

No one can argue about the importance of safe drinking water, although only a small fraction of American's population does not have safe water in their homes. In most cases where water from an existing well is not satisfactory, a cost effective solution, and the best use of tax dollars, is to help families by providing a properly designed replacement well and/or an appropriate home water conditioning system.

Are there homes in your community that have unsafe water? How would federal tax dollars be spent to improve water supply or waste water treatment in your community? Will you have a say in the decision? What is your choice? Chances are that someone will propose, or has proposed, a pipeline and water distribution system. What will happen to all the existing private wells, one of the last bastions of home owner independence and self-reliance that is available to rural citizens?

Plans to provide public water supply in a rural area usually cause local controversy. Citizens should get involved in the process. Make sure decisions are based on hydrological facts and economic realities and not on conjecture and anecdote. The free flow of information, and up-front declaration of vested interests should be ingredients of the decision making process. Here is what some caller to the American Ground Water Trust have said:

  • Is this America? They are forcing homes with good water to connect up to pay the pipeline costs for the few homes with water quality problems.
  • If we don't use wells any more I suppose there is no point in protection our ground water.
  • Wouldn't a waste-water treatment system be of greater benefit to our community?
  • How will my long term costs of pipeline water compare with water from my well?
  • My well water was excellent but they made me connect up - I had no choice.

I have piped water now. Who will pay to seal up my redundant well?

Those rural water folks do a great job, but I miss the independence of my own supply.

We all need good quality water. There are many different ways to get it. What do you say?

The Trust is a nonprofit organization with the mission of promoting public education about ground water. As a 501(c)(3) tax exempt nonprofit organization, the Trust will not take a position, or make specific recommendations on the water supply decisions of any individual community. The Trust's HQ address is 16 Centre Street, Concord, NH 03301. Telephone (603)228-5444.

Compliments of American Ground Water Trust

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"LEAD AND PLUMBING"

Natural occurrence of lead in ground water is very rare but there is clear medical evidence that lead is harmful, especially for children. Most household danger from lead results from breathing in dust particles from old lead based paint. The principal health concern related to drinking water arises when water comes in contact with old lead pipes or with plumbing that has lead-based solder to join pipes. Lead in drinking water is not good news. However it is easy to test for lead, and not difficult to solve problems from lead in drinking water.

The risk problem occurs when water is acidic, (pH below 7) and can dissolve small quantities of lead. Homeowners should check the pH of their well water, especially houses built before 1987, when lead solder was banned. It makes good sense to test for lead. The lead test is not complex or expensive. Many hardware stores sell do-it yourself lead testing kits although a certified water-testing laboratory will provide a more accurate lead test. Always use the sample bottle provided by the laboratory and follow water sampling directions. Lead tests should be taken in the kitchen first thing in the morning. You want to sample the water that has been in contact with the pipes overnight. DON'T run the tap before taking a water sample for a lead test. If the water sample test result shows a level of lead above the EPA action limit of 15 parts per billion you should seek advise.

Controlling the pH of your water is usually less expensive than replacing your plumbing system. Keeping your water at or around a pH of 7 can be achieved by using water conditioning equipment that increases the alkalinity of water by passing it through granular lime or calcium carbonate particles. Carbon filters can remove lead from water. Before resorting to an expensive treatment solution do a repeat water test for lead and pH. For more information about lead in drinking water visit the Trust's web site at www.agwt.org.

Compliments of American Ground Water Trust
16 Centre Street
PO Box 1796
Concord, NH 03301

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"SHOCK CHLORINATION"

Sometimes homeowners are advised to "shock chlorinate" a well to get rid of a persistent well or water system bacteria problem. Many people think that just pouring a jug or two of bleach down the well will do the trick. There is more to it than that. Any well chlorination process needs to follow a basic procedure that will ensure that all parts of the water system have been exposed to the oxidizing effects of chlorine. Full details of the water well chlorination process are given on the Trust's web site (www.agwt.org) in the section on Well Bacteria.

For effective disinfection of wells and water systems, chlorine should be mixed with water before putting it down the well. Shock chlorine involves using an extra large dose of chlorine. Most water well contractors will perform this service. A convenient source of chlorine for do-it-yourself disinfection is household laundry bleach. Homeowners are advised not to use dry granular chlorine. Liquid bleach should not be put into the well straight from the bottle. The general recommendation for regular well chlorination is to dilute the bleach 1:100 before adding to the well.

For example:

- One gallon of bleach to 100 gallons of water,
- half a gallon of bleach to 50 gallons of water,
- one quart of bleach to 25 gallons of water.

For shock chlorination the amounts can be increased by 10, to a dilution of 1:10. For example:

- one gallon of bleach to 10 gallons of water,
- half a gallon of bleach to 5 gallons of water,
- one quart of bleach to 2.5 gallons of water.

(Please note that some manufacturers of laundry bleach may state that their products is formulated for laundry use and that it has not been made for any other purposes.)

Once all the chlorine mixture is in the well, use a hose connected to the home system being chlorinated and run water back down the well for at least 15 to 20 minutes. This will ensure that the chlorinated water is being circulated. At this time, make sure that the hose is used to thoroughly rinse down the sides of the well casing above water level.

Run each of the water taps in the house (hot & cold and those to the washing machine and dishwasher) until there is a smell of chlorine, then turn the taps off. Leave the chlorinated water in the system (well and plumbing) for 12 to 24 hours. This will disinfect the whole water system. Turn off the water heater during this time. If you don't have a good sense of smell, the use of a swimming pool chlorine test kit can show whether or not there is chlorinated water throughout the plumbing system. After the 24-hour period, remove all the chlorinated water from the well by running the pump and leading the hose to a "safe" area. Do not put the chlorine solution into a septic system, in a creek or pond (it could kill plants). Run the water system until all smell of chlorine is gone. Sample the well a day or two later and retest the water.

Compliments of American Ground Water Trust
16 Centre Street
PO Box 1796
Concord, NH 03301

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"ELECTRICAL GENERATORS AND WATER PUMPS"

When the power goes out during a storm or other emergency, it is convenient to have a generator to "get the lights and the water back on." Generators have wattage ratings that help the operator determine the number and type of appliances and motors that may be operated at one time. One horsepower (hp) is equivalent to 746 watts. Most residential water pumps are rated between one-half and one Hp for normal operating conditions. All things being equal, water pumps in deeper wells require more horsepower to operate efficiently than pumps in shallow wells.

Your water pump may require 15 to 50 percent more power (watts) to start up than the normal operating Hp rating of the pump in order to accommodate the starting torque of the motor. It is important to have enough generator power in reserve to cover peak electricity demands as appliances turn on and off. You may notice the lights dim or the generator strain temporarily when the water pump starts up and a surge of extra current is required. Limit the number of electrical appliances in operation at any one time to avoid over-taxing the generator and/or running equipment at below-recommended voltage levels.

To avoid electrical hazards, always consult the generator operating manual and hire a qualified electrician when connecting a generator into a building's electrical system. National building code requires that all generators tied into a public utility power grid (commercial power lines) use a "double-pull double-trow" (transfer isolation) switch to prevent the risk of backfeeding current from the generator to the main grid. The isolation switch automatically disconnects the home or business electrical wiring from the main grid and ties it into the generator. Backfeed of any current to the main grid can cause serious injury or electrocute line maintenance personnel working on the main grid powerlines. Also, generator and building electrical system damage can occur when normal operating power returns if the generator is used without an isolation switch. Other safety concerns include:

  • Ground the generator during operation with a weir of sufficient current capacity (Copper wire diameter: 0.12 millimeters {0.005 inches} per ampere).
  • Do not connect the generator to a commercial outlet.
  • Do not connect the generator to another generator.
  • Exhaust fumes from the generator are poisonous and may cause unconsciousness or death. Always operate the generator in a well-ventilated area where the exhaust from the gas engine will not accumulate. Do not operate the generator inside a building.
  • Always turn off the generator when refueling. Avoid spilling fuel on the muffler or other hot engine parts.
  • Operate the generator at least one meter (about 3 feet) from buildings, other equipment and not under a tight-fitting dust or weather cover to avoid overheating the generator engine.
  • Keep children away from operating or hot generators.
  • To avoid electrical shock, do not operate the generator in direct rain or snow. Do not touch the machine with wet hands.

    Compliments of American Ground Water Trust
    16 Centre Street
    PO Box 1796
    Concord, NH 03301

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DID YOU KNOW?

  • Government estimates of the cost to upgrade and maintain America's water and waste infrastructure over the next 20 years range between $130 to $350 billion.
  • President Nixon signed the National Environmental Policy Act on January 1, 1970. This was the first measure to enforce environmental impact statements as a precondition of projects receiving federal funding
  • There are old mines with high radon levels in the Rocky Mountains which people visit specifically to breath-in the radon-laden air because they believe that radon gas has curative properties.

    Compliments of American Ground Water Trust
    16 Centre Street
    PO Box 1796
    Concord, NH 03301

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WATER TRIVIA

  • Approximately 2.1 percent of the world's total water supply is stored in the earth's icecaps and glaciers. About 0.6 percent of the total water supply is stored as ground water.
  • The world's highest earth and rock cored dam is the Rogun dam in Russia. The top of the dam is 335 meters (1099 feet) above the lowest foundation.
  • Between 1976 and 1986 the average annual per capita consumption of bottles water increased from 1.5 gallons to 5.7 gallons. During that time, the volume of imported water increased from 1.2 million gallons to 30.8 million gallons.

    Compliments of American Ground Water Trust
    16 Centre Street
    PO Box 1796
    Concord, NH 03301

 

 

59 Highway 31 • PO Box 306 • Flemington • New Jersey • 08822 • (908) 782-2116 • info@stothoff.com

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