Monthly Archives: February 2014

Arsenic Presence and Detection in Groundwater

TOADS_CANADIAN

This short article, “What the Toad Knows” appears in Jan./Feb. issue of WaterCanada magazine.
WHAT CAN AMPHIBIANS tell us about arsenic levels in groundwater? Iris Koch and a team composed of researchers
CAN LIGHT SOURCEfrom the Royal Military College of Canada and scientists from the Canadian Light Source said frogs and toads could hold the key to arsenic detection in freshwater sites.

UPPER SEAL HARBOURThe team studied amphibians living in an old mine tailings site near Upper Seal Harbour, Nova Scotia. The animals showed high levels of arsenic after being tested using synchrotron light.
CONTAMINATED WATER SIGN“Any time you have water that’s contaminated, the organisms that are living in the water will likely give you some idea of how toxic the water is,” Koch said. “Organisms might respond in ways that indicate that they are being poisoned.”
TOAD IN WATERWhile the amphibians appeared to be relatively healthy despite displaying very detectable levels of inorganic arsenic, which is typically toxic, Koch said the biggest outcome of the research is understanding arsenic movement in the environment.
TAILING POND“At the end of the day, looking at a contaminated site like the one in Nova Scotia, we are interested in whether any of the arsenic in the soil and tailings gets into plants and animals,” she said. “We can learn about what animals do with the arsenic in their bodies and this might be helpful in predicting how people might interact with the arsenic, if they were exposed to it.”
Groundwater arsenic contamination is an international health concern since many countries, including China, India, Bangladesh, and Nepal, are dealing with widespread contamination issues. —Staff

In my follow-up research I found the following information on pages 9 and 10 (including a comparison chart) of a report on arsenic found in drinking water in Canadian provinces at –   href=”http://www.fraserhealth.ca/media/ArsenicReportSurreyLangley.pdf”
“Arsenic is found in both surface and groundwater, and levels are generally higher in groundwater (Wang & Mulligan, 2006). In Canada, total arsenic levels in drinking water  generally fall well below the MAC, although elevated concentrations have been found in areas with natural sources of arsenic. High levels of arsenic have been found in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and Nova Scotia, and in British Columbia (Table 1).
MINERALSMany of the Canadian arsenic occurrences have been associated with naturally occurring mineralized deposits, usually of volcanic origin. Finding high levels of arsenic in surficial materials is somewhat unusual unless they can be traced to the mineralized source area.”

Well water testing and source protection
Well owners are encouraged to test their water periodically to make sure it is safe to drink. When testing for arsenic,
a “low level” analysis is required to ensure that the minimum detection limit of the analytical method used by the
laboratory is below the drinking water guideline.

Call us if you have concerns about the condition of your water
and your family’s health.
WATER DROPLET HAPPY ICON GIMPCROPPED We offer a free home water analysis at
Eternally Pure Water Systems, Inc.
613-742-0058
Mon. – Fri.   9:00-5:00

RAINSOFT1

Associated link ~
http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/wsd/plan_protect_sustain/groundwater/library/ground_fact_sheets/pdfs/as(020715)_fin3.pdf

Close-up and personal encounter ~ Aw-w-w! ~ What fun!

SEALS AT PLAY

How thrilling! This is definitely on my ‘bucket list’ – an amazing close-up and personal encounter!

“Seals compete to be man’s best friend as they roll over to have their bellies tickled and nuzzle up to divers in the North Sea”, published 22 January 2014 by Lucy Crossley .

  • Seal pups were captured on camera off the coast of Northumberland
  • Animals believed to be two months old, and already weigh 200-300lbs
  • Curious pups cosy up to scuba divers as they play on the sea bed
  • Seal mammals are unlikely to see humans again once they reach adulthood

Playfully nuzzling up to the camera and warmly embracing a team of divers, these cute seal pups appear more like household pets as they frolic in the North Sea.The seals, believed to be around two months old, were unperturbed by the divers and their cameras as they butt their noses against the camera lens and enjoy having their bellies tickled.The adorable pups were captured on camera by scuba diver Jason Neilus as he and his friends took to the chilly waters off the Farne Islands in Northumberland. 
Scroll down for video

Seal of approval: A friendly seal pup cosies up to a scuba diver off the coast of Northumberland

Seal of approval: A friendly seal pup cosies up to a scuba diver off the coast of Northumberland

Tickled: This playful seal enjoys having its belly tickled by one of the divers

Tickled: This playful seal enjoys having its belly tickled by one of the divers


‘We’ve been visiting here for the last six years to say hello to the seal pups and we’ve never had this much interaction before,’ he wrote on his Vimeo blog.
‘They were everywhere and all over us.’
The seals were filmed in October last year, just before the St Jude’s Storm battered Britain and much of northern Europe.

Friendly: This seal appears more like a household dog or cat as it rolls over to be tickled

Friendly: This seal appears more like a household dog or cat as it rolls over to be tickled

Encounter: A pup shakes hands, or rather paws, with one of its new human friends

Encounter: A pup shakes hands, or rather paws, with one of its new human friends

Warm embrace: A seal comes in for a cuddle with a diver in the chilly North SeaWarm embrace: A seal comes in for a cuddle with a diver in the chilly North Sea
Friendly face: The seals, believed to be around two months old, were unperturbed by the divers and their cameras

Friendly face: The seals, believed to be around two months old, were unperturbed by the divers and their cameras

Nibble: This cheeky pup appears to be nibbling on the diver's glove

Nibble: This cheeky pup appears to be nibbling on the diver’s glove

‘After a nightmare drive there with the worst traffic coupled with the imminent arrival of the St. Jude storm we didn’t think this trip was going to be worth the effort but once again the seals made every second worthwhile,’ said Mr Neilus.
Filmed without lights, so as not to upset the young seal pups, the clip captures the curious creatures as they play in their natural habitat – cosying up to the divers without a care in the world.
In the videom which has been viewed 123,000 times on Vimeo, one pup even swims into one for its new friends for a quick cuddle, while others dart across the sea bed, pausing to cheekily nibble the divers’ fingers.

Along for the ride: A playful pup grabs hold of a diver's flipper

Along for the ride: A playful pup grabs hold of a diver’s flipper

Tag along: The seals were around two months old at the time they were filmed, but had already grown to two metres long, and weighed around 200 to 300lbs

Tag along: The seals were around two months old at the time they were filmed, but had already grown to two metres long, and weighed around 200 to 300lbs

Close encounter: Diver Mr Neilus said he had not expected to come face to face with so many seals

Close encounter: Diver Mr Neilus said he had not expected to come face to face with so many seals

Natural habitat: A seal frolics in the water

Natural habitat: A seal frolics in the water

Curious: This seal gives the underwater camera a closer inspection

Curious: This seal gives the underwater camera a closer inspection

Underwater: The clip captures the curious creatures as they play in their natural habitat

Underwater: The clip captures the curious creatures as they play in their natural habitat

Mr Neilus was quick to point out that as wild animals the seals chose to interact with the divers, and were not forced to interact with the group. None of the seals were harmed by diver interaction.
The seals were around two months old at the time they were filmed, but had already grown to two metres long, and weighed around 200 to 300lbs…
‘As always once the seals get older and move off to form colonies of their own elsewhere and the majority of them will not see people again.
Fully adult seals are rarely this interactive and whilst tolerant of divers they tend to keep away after their first year of diver visits,’ said Mr Neilus.

Star of the show: A seal swoops in the take a look at the camera

Star of the show: A seal swoops in the take a look at the camera

Face to face: The seals chose to interact with the divers, and were not forced to interact with the group

Face to face: The seals chose to interact with the divers, and were not forced to interact with the group

Technique: The divers filmed their seal encounter with special underwater cameras

Technique: The divers filmed their seal encounter with special underwater cameras

Heart of darkness: The crew did not use lights so they did not upset the young seals

Heart of darkness: The crew did not use lights so they did not upset the young seals

Growing up: Once the pups reach adulthood the majority of them will move away to form new colonies

Growing up: Once the pups reach adulthood the majority of them will move away to form new colonies

Divers say hello to the seal pups with lots of interaction and playfulness

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2543781/Seals-compete-mans-best-friend-roll-bellies-tickled-nuzzle-divers-North-Sea.html

Helpless Deer Trapped ~ Father And Son Totally Brilliant

 

DEER STRANDED ON ICEFebruary 18, 2014 Viralnova post: Two Helpless Deer Were Trapped On An Icy Lake.  What A Father And Son Did Next Is Totally Brilliant.

 A guy named James saw a Facebook post about two deer that were stranded on Albert Lea Lake in Minnesota, USA.  It was iced over, so the poor deer couldn’t get their footing and make it to safety.  They were there for as long as three days before James saw this post.

That’s when he and his dad took matters into their own hands.  They got their hovercraft ready and headed to the lake.

A father, son, GoPro camera, hovercraft, and two stranded deer… that’s apparently the recipe for an incredible video. Share this awesome act of kindness with others. And because it included a hovercraft, which is just awesome.

AFRAID OF YOUR COUCH? YOU SHOULD BE!!!

 

FAMILY ON COUCH

My blogs are usually water related (and some water related are a stretch of the imagination), but I’m taking a detour for this topic because it is of the utmost importance in my opinion.  This new HBO documentary, which aired a while back exposes the existence of deadly chemicals in furniture, and highlights the movement to fix a problem that touches us all.

DANGER SIGNI certainly hope that this toxic topic will be followed and acted upon in Canada – where our lives and especially our children’s lives are at stake!!!

SARAH JANSSENThe short video, “My Toxic Couch” below was uploaded to Youtube by Dr. Sarah Janssen, a senior scientist at the Natioanl Research Council in USA, on Feb 7, 2013 – Toxic flame retardant chemicals are saturated in the foam inside our furniture. These chemicals are linked to serious health effects and are worthless in preventing furniture fires. We need better regulation of these chemicals to address this problem.

The following excerpts are from an article by Gerri Miller, Nov. 21, 2013

The real concern is the troubling amount of chemicals in furniture cushions – which are dangerous for consumers and firefighters.  Are you sitting down? Before you do, think about your couch, because it could be killing you. Since 1975, in an effort to curb the number of lives lost in house fires, all furniture has been required to contain flame retardants. But these toxic substances — among the 84,000 chemicals in our products that are untested and unregulated – are dangerous to human health, causing an increased risk of cancer, mental problems and birth defects. This point is chillingly driven home HBO MOVIE SIGNin the documentary “Toxic Hot Seat,” which will premiere on HBO on Nov. 25. Filmmakers James Redford and Kirby Walker interviewed chemists, journalists, firefighters, politicians, and activists to uncover the truth behind this issue and how chemical companies and their lobbyists have spent millions to cover it up.  Initially, “We really thought it was going to be a story about legislation, how we could follow that and demonstrate whether there was progress and if not, why,” said Redford (the son of actor and environmental activist Robert Redford). NEWSPAPER2“That approach crashed and burned rapidly,” when they discovered three months into the project that the Chicago Tribune was working on a five-part series about the issue called “Playing With Fire,” and the journalists behind it agreed to be part of the documentary. “It required a lot of steps to get permission, but it really changed the complexion of the film.” Walker added that when they’d first heard stories about the chemical company cover-ups involving “front” groups and the tobacco industry, it smacked too much of conspiracy theory to be true. “We thought, ‘it can’t be this bad.’ But the Tribune found that it was indeed that bad, and we did include it. A democracy can’t function if the people who live in it don’t know the truth. Because of investigative journalism, we’re told what is happening and can advocate for ourselves. That really resonated with us.”

This HBO Documentary Film, “Toxic Hot Seat” HD Trailer (HBO Documentary Film, airing November 25th) was published Aug. 22, 2013
Movie comment ~ 
Amazing documentary about the toxic fire retardants found in most upholstery throughout the U.S., based on a well-intentioned by faulty specification mandated by California decades ago and perpetuated by the chemical industry. A “must-see” for architects and interior designers that specify furniture – will change one’s perspective about fire retardants.
 
FIRE SCIENCE LOGO The film depicts the impact these chemicals have had on firefighters, who have unusually high rates of cancer due to toxic chemical exposure, and via experiments, demonstrates the ineffectiveness of fire retardants.
VYTENIS BABRAUSKASDr. Vytenis Babrauskas, who published a study on the subject in 1987, asserted in the Tribune article that the amount of retardants in a typical home’s furniture provides “little to no fire protection.”
 
No wonder a large portion of the film focuses on efforts to change laws. Many states are considering legislation now, and in January, a new regulation will take effect that makes fire retardants no longer mandatory. Manufacturers don’t have to include the chemicals, but still can, so the onus is on the consumer to ask questions and buy accordingly.
FIRE EXTINGUISH
 
“We want people to demand change and reform. If enough people see this we can demand change in Washington,” Walker said. Added Redford, “My hope is everybody talks about it, gets on social media. If we speak up we can get these chemicals out of our lives. We can’t get rid of these couches with chemicals in them overnight, but it’s really about thinking ahead for our children. We act with our pocketbooks and it can really make a difference.”
Related link ~ 

OMG! My heart just jumped up to my throat!

BALLOON HIGHLINE

Hold on to your your favorite squeeze and/or whatever furniture you can grab and you might also want to take your heart medicine if necessary – you’re not going to believe this!
O.k. so my collage above is not what you’d expect for this post’s topic, but I didn’t want to give away the secret too soon!)

“You won’t get much closer to Skylining than this!…
We left winter behind and headed to the sun to try and turn our latest dream into reality…

All of the Skyliners team was excited to put their skills to the test on such an amazing line…
BALLOON HIGHLINE2
Thanks to the talent of the pilots, we came really close…
We’ll be going back again very soon to make it happen – watch this space!”

Youtube video, “The Balloon Highline” published on Feb 6, 2014 

Published on Feb 7, 2014 Globus Kon Tiki s’ajunta amb Skyliners per assolir un nou repte: passar per una cinta (Slack Line), d’un globus a un altre des de una alçada de 600 metres. L’event va tenir lloc a la comarca de la Noguera a Catalunya el 31 de gener de 2014. Translation: Globus Kon Tiki meets Skyliners to achieve a new challenge: to spend a tape (Slack Line), a balloon one other from from a height of 600 meters. The event took place in the region of Catalonia in Walnut January 31, 2014

O.K. Now breathe………….
Ah-h-h – this is more my style – magnificent and breathtaking panoramic videography,  colourful balloons, and gentle calming music – Enjoy! ~ 
Youtube video, “Hot air ballooning in Cappadocia, Turkey”, published on 5 Nov 2013 by GaborVids ~

Support our team by watching our feature documentaryhttps://www.reelhouse.org/seb.montaz/…

http://www.facebook.com/theSkyliners
http://www.globuskontiki.com
http://www.sebmontaz.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT IS THE WATER TANK PROJECT?

WATER TANKS UPDATE4BEST FOR HEADER

ART ABOVE NYC.
WATER ABOVE ALL.

Water tank wraps for water awareness.
 Coming Spring 2014


WATER TANK WATER TANK PROJECT LOGOThe Water Tank Project is the inaugural initiative of Word Above the Street, a non-profit dedicated to fostering environmental awareness and social advocacy through art and technology. In spring 2014, The Water Tank Project will transform the New York City skyline.

WATER TANKS PAINTED2Artwork by acclaimed artists and New York City public school students will be wrapped around 100 rooftop water tanks across all five boroughs, celebrating the talents of established and emerging artists, and calling attention to the global water crisis.

WATER TANKS PAINTED6Unprecedented in scale, The Water Tank Project is the first public art project to make use of water tanks in this way and will reach millions. For the duration of the project, art above will be complemented by action on the ground through educational programs, public tours, social media activities and a symposium dedicated to inspiring fresh views on global water issues.

WATER TANK PROJECT_ARTISTIC UPDATEOur aim is to produce art as social intervention, to inspire awe and joy, to educate, and to alter attitudes and habits among those who experience The Water Tank Project, ultimately creating meaningful and long-lasting change.

Here’s a link to my blog, “New York City’s Water System – How Bizarre!” of April 3, 2012, which will provide you with a most interesting history of the water tanks in NYC.  This includes a video and also a Prime Time Postscript clip -enjoy!

https://rainsoftottawa.wordpress.com/2012/04/03/new-york-citys-water-system-how-bizarre/?preview=true&preview_id=1422&preview_nonce=2fc7392cf4&post_format=standard

Canada’s Water Utilities in Trouble

WATER UTILITIES CANADA

ELIZ BRUBAKERThe following article, Making Bail – Helping Canada’s water utilities out of a bad spot, by Elizabeth Brubaker is from the Jan/Feb 2010 issue of Water Canada magazine.

Canada’s municipal utilities are in trouble, and it seems increasingly unlikely that the provinces will bail them out. Federal aid seems equally unlikely, given the finance minister’s warnings that there will be no major new spending initiatives in the 2010 budget. But our utilities need not despair. Although public money may be scarce, private investment and pricing reforms can provide sustainable solutions to the problems they face. (Important Update Note – 11/19/2013:  “…Where there’s a well, there’s a way  These are just a few illustrations of innovative financial solutions to meeting the need for safe water and sanitation. In 2014 businesses will partner with global non-governmental organizations, assessing water risk, scarcity and opportunity…” – taken from ” The Future of Water Sustainability ” – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/matt-damon/water-sustainability_b_4303872.html )

 Municipal residential drinking water JOHN STAGERsystems face a number of challenges. Ontario’s Chief Drinking Water Inspector John Stager reports that 199 systems exceeded provincial limits for total coliforms or E.coli at least once during the 2007-08 year, and 94 did so on multiple occasions. As well, 83 E COLIsystems exceeded provincial limits for lead, trihalomethanes, nitrates, or other chemicals at least once, and 67 did so on multiple occasions.
ONT MINISTRY LOGOStager also reports that Ontario Ministry of Environment inspectors found areas of non-compliance at 348 systems during the reporting year. They observed problems with the sizing, installation, and operation WASTE WATER FLOWof equipment; they detected inadequate sampling and reporting; they identified problems with operations and maintenance manuals; and they found unacceptable flow rates.
For these or other reasons, consumers do not trust the water coming out of their taps. In March 2009, Ipsos Reid probed consumer confidence in the safety and quality of Canada’s drinking WHAT WATER SHOULD I DRINKwater. Just 20 per cent of the Ontarians polled were very confident, while another 57 per cent were somewhat confident. The pollster also asked consumers about the source of the water they typically drink at home, and only 34 per cent of Ontarians replied that they drink water directly from the tap. The majority (63 per cent) filter their water or drink bottled water.
Meeting provincial and consumer water quality expectations is by RCCAO LOGOno means the only challenge for water providers. The Residential and Civil Construction Alliance of Ontario estimates that the province is losing at least 327 million cubic metres of treated water a year. These losses cost ratepayers an estimated $700 million annually.
  WATER LEAKS AGING PIPESWastewater systems are also in disrepair. In 2008, 102 sewage facilities violated provincial standards or their certificates of approval. Some of Canada’s biggest cities—Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton, London—failed to comply with the rules. And some communities failed again and again. Brockville
had 
19 exceedances, Sarnia had 23, and Waterloo had 17. Under the Canada-wide Strategy for the Management of Municipal Wastewater Effluent approved by the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment last February, poorly performing wastewater utilities will soon face new regulatory requirements.

FIXING PROBLEMS COST BILLIONSFixing these and other problems will cost billions, as will expanding the systems to meet new demand. Even if billions were available in the form of provincial and/or federal grants, municipalities would be wise to forgo them. Grants and other subsidies create ASSOCIATION CWWAperverse incentives. According to the Ontario Water Works Association and the OntarioASSOCIATION OMWA Municipal Water Association, subsidies are counterproductive, rewarding those who neglect their infrastructure and punishing those who operate effectively.

WASTEWATER DISREPAIR2They also cause delays—municipalities put off making essential improvements, hoping that free money might someday flow in to pay for them. When and if the free money does come, it encourages 
overbuilding. Grants have resulted in serious overcapacity. In 1996, 44 per cent of the capacity in place was excess to Ontario’s needs. That represented more than $25 billion in premature—in some cases, unnecessary—spending. It also gave many municipalities systems that were needlessly costly to run.

 WATER CONSERVATIONGrants also allow municipalities to under-price water. Cheap water deprives consumers of the incentives they need to conserve. It encourages waste and requires unnecessary capacity.

CPPPrivate capital offers municipalities an attractive alternative to grants. Increasingly, investors such as the TEACHERS' PENSIONCanada Pension Plan and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan want to put their money into water utilities, which offer steady, predictable, reliable revenue MIRA SHENKERstreams. According to Mira Shenker, editor of ReNew Canada magazine, “This is a sector that’s about to explode onto the marketplace.” Additionally, private dollars free up public funds for other purposes and transfer financial risks. And private money tends to be used efficiently—it comes with its own due diligence, enabling municipalities to get more for less.

Despite considerable theoretical support for private investment, and years of promotion by government agencies and consultants, Canada’s water and wastewater utilities have little experience with private capital. For a better idea of the possible extent of private investment, we can look to England and Wales, which privatized their water and wastewater systems in 1989. Since then, the private owners have invested about £3 billion (over C$5 billion) a year.
Private investment is not a magic wand. The investment will have to be recovered, and water rates across Canada are notoriously low—some of the lowest in the developed world. Low rates starve municipalities of capital and operating funds. Ontario alone has an unpaid bill of $11 billion in upkeep and repairs. In 2003, water revenues met just 64 per cent of the costs of providing services.
PRICING WATERFor these reasons, at least seven provincial bodies have advocated pricing reforms since the early 1990s. The Water Strategy Expert Panel concluded that “consumers should pay the full cost of the services they consume,” and the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario advocates full-cost recovery because it will enable systems to achieve financial sustainability and self-sufficiency, and it will encourage water conservation.
CD HOWEBusinesspeople are also supporting pricing reforms. Last year, the CD Howe Institute released a commentary by economist Steven Renzetti, who recommended universal metering, full cost accounting, and seasonal pricing to reflect marginal costs. Shortly afterwards, Compas polled CEOs and business leaders for their responses to Renzetti’s proposals. It reported that “immense majorities back universal use of water meters, full-cost accounting, and adequate revenue to allow full updating of equipment and processes.”
Environmentalists also support full-cost pricing. In August, a  WATER METER2coalition that included Ecojustice, Environmental Defence, Great Lakes United, and the Canadian Environmental Law Association issued a report urging the province to mandate meters and to encourage volume-based, full-cost pricing. The full-cost analysis, it added, should include source protection and water conservation.
Even consumers support higher prices. Nanos Research polled
Ontarians on the issue last spring, asking them how willing they would be to pay more for water if it improved the supply of clean water for 
Canadians and the environment. Nearly half (47 per cent) of the respondents were very or somewhat willing to pay more for water. Only 22 per cent were somewhat or very unwilling to pay more.

Despite this extraordinarily broad support, the provinces have waffled on pricing. In Ontario, the Sustainable Water and Sewage Systems Act, 2002, mandating provincially approved cost-recovery plans, has never been proclaimed. The more recent Financial Plans GORD MILLERRegulation is but a weak substitute that, according to Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller, “is unlikely to push most municipal systems towards achieving financial sustainability.”
There is reason for optimism. In their recent paper on safeguarding Ontario’s water resources, the Ministers of Environment and Natural Resources noted strong stakeholder support for metering and conservation-based pricing. In listing possible actions for their water strategy, they included requiring municipalities to have a pricing structure that charges all users the full cost of providing water and wastewater services. Full-cost pricing may at last be on its way, setting our water and wastewater utilities on the path to sustainability. 
~ Elizabeth Brubaker is the executive director of Environment Probe.

One alarming example of bacteria levels in water exceeding the recommended level – Hamilton, Ontario
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/news/alarming-bacteria-levels-in-major-hamilton-creek-1.1141484

RAINSOFT HOUSE WATER SYSTEMS

Please feel free to call us with any concerns you may have about municipal or well water systems’ that may affect
you and your family’s health and well being:

Eternally Pure Water Systems, Inc.
5450 Canotek Road, Unit 66-67
Ottawa, Ontario
613-742-0058

Related links:

http://www.esemag.com/archive/0903/challenges.html

http://publications.gc.ca/Collection-R/LoPBdP/BP/bp333-e.htm