Monthly Archives: August 2016

Microplastics polluting the Ottawa River.

mIcrobeadsScientists from the Ottawa River Keepers and Carleton University, and have sampled sites on the Ottawa from Timiskaming  to Hudson, Quebec for microplastics. 24 sites over a 500k stretch were looked at and 100% of the samples contained these man made particles…this is an issue.

Microplastics act like a sponge and soak up contaminants in the water which are then consumed by fish and crustaceans…and now enter our food chain.

Microbeads 2These microplastics come from such things as beauty products, synthetic fabrics, or from larger pieces of plastics that have broken down. Microplastics are in the process of being banned by the federal gov’t right now.

Interestingly one about the Ottawa River is they are finding a lot of blue fibers, so they are trying to track down where they come from. The research continues into September, finding out how many microplastics are in the river, then where they are collecting , and lastly what their sources are.


Nestle’s Water Permit Up for Renewal

In the last blog we took a look at Water, Bottles , and Big Business..and now this just in.used plastic

Environmentalists are asking the Ontario Gov’t to not renew one of Nestle’s water taking permits in a southwestern town , saying “water should be for life, not for profits.

The permit for Nestle Waters in Aberfoyle, Ont., expired July 31st, but the company has been allowed to continue taking water even in the midst of a severe drought. The company was granted an automatic extension by the Ministry of Environment, without the usual 30 days of public comment. the ministry says a renewal application was received within 90 days of the expiry and so water can continue to be withdrawn pending renewal.

Further study and consultations are ahead before the the permit application is made. So what is at stake?

From a Ministry website  Nestle Canada has 3 permits that allow it to take 8.3 million litres a day for bottling. Nestle Waters Canada, a division of Nestle Canada has other water permits that allow it to take another 12 million litres of water per day. Nestle is not alone in the taking and bottling of water with three other companies with permits to remove approx 17.5 million litres of water per day.

Ontario charges $3.71per million litres of water per day., after a permit fee of $750 for low to medium risk water takings or $3000 for higher risk takings. Doing some quick math shows that charge for the water is a mere drop in the bucket. There is a recommendation to increase the charge, with no result yet. At $3.71 per million litre charge recovers only 1.2% of the governments water quantity management costs.ground water pump

The Ministry lists some 6,000 water taking permits in the southern half of Ontario. these permits allow municipalities, mining companies, and golf courses, in addition to the water bottlers to take up to 1.4 trillion litres out of Ontario’s surface and ground water supplies daily. Some rivers have had multiple permits applied to them.

The next time you buy bottled water consider these numbers.

Nestle bottling water in area of severe drought:

Bottles. Wells, and Big Business

plastic bottlesNestle recently was looking at  some land in Elora , Ontario…but it is not the land they were after , but what was underneath it. The property comes with a 110 metre well and the rights to pump 1300 litres of water per minute. PRIVATE WELLS

Some local water organizations opposed this development..with one of the agruements being that industrial users of water pay only $3.71 per million litres of water, while local Elora residents pay $2.14 per thousand litres…576 times higher.

Nestle and other companies that bottle water and the people that oppose them are battling over the central issue of ownership of a scarce resource. Bottled water is big the last two decades Nestles bottles water sales have gone from $400 million to approx $4 billion. There has been a shift away from carbonated soft drinks to bottled water. with the growth of this market Nestle controls most of the production capacity with 75 wells in 40 locations in North America. used plastic used plastic2

With this dominance comes the attention of environmental non governmental organizations that decry the use of plastic bottles and point out the incredibly low fees the company pays for the water it bottles.

So next time you are going into a store and purchase a litre or water for $1 or $2..consider the real costs, better to bottle your own Rainsoft filtered water at home and take it with you.

The Story of Bottled Water:

some information taken from a Globe and Mail article , Nov 30 ,2015. Water Fight.



How to Stay Hydrated?

65 PERCENTIt is hot out there…here are 7 tips for drinking water the right way.

  1. Don’t overdo it. We should be drinking between 6-8 glasses of water daily. Too much water can be dangerous and play havoc with your mental and physical well being.
  2. First thing. A glass of cold water first thing on an empty stomach helps activate the bodies organs, removes toxins, and improves bowel function.what is in it?
  3. Clock it. Drinking a large glass of water just before you eat actually upsets the digestive juices. Try to have that glass one hour before the meal to give the nutrients time to provide  the body with what it needs.
  4. Sip and Shower. A glass of warm water before you shower can help lower blood pressure levels. A glass of warm water will warm your body and improve blood flow.
  5. Nightcap. Drinking a glass of water an hour before bed can help the body replenish lost fluids. BODY
  6. Try it hot. the Chinese prefer hot water with their meals.  The thinking is that it helps the digestive organs work more efficiently. It is thought that iced water can cause fat in foods to clog, preventing digestive organs from working properly.
  7. Weigh it up. If you are not sure 8 glasses a day is right for you..get on the scales. Weigh yourself for 3-4 days right away in the morning. If you lose a pound in a day it could be that you came up short on liquids the day before…you did not drink enough water.


Olympic Green??

Div4We have written a couple of posts with respect to the potential water issues that plague Rio due to raw sewage and junk being put in the Ocean right in areas where competitions will be held. Dive5

But here is a new twist . The start of the women’s 10m synchronised diving was in jeopardy due to the green hue of the water. Dive3

On Monday the water had been the standard glimmering blue that we all know, but something happened on Tuesday that caused the water to change color to green and actually deepen in color as the competition wore on. Dive

At the time of writing this there has been no publicised reason for this. Some explanations have ranged from algae to urine. Olympic officials tested the water and assured the divers there was no health risk. the competition carried on , but people were scratching their heads. Dive2

Hopefully this situation will be cleared up in time for the next event.


Canada Wins Bronze:

5 Family Friendly Beaches in Ottawa

It is going to be hot this weekend in Ottawa…why not take your family out to one of these 5 family friendly beaches in Ottawa.Brit B

Britannia Beach..on the Ottawa River at Britannia Bay. It is a great city beach with large grassy and shady areas. Lifeguards are on duty.  Amenities include washrooms , a canteen, outdoor showers, picnic tables and free parking. Located at 2805 Carling.Mooney

Mooney’s Bay Beach..Big wide open spaces, feature great sandcastle building areas. Lifeguards on duty. a playground for little one and volleyball nets for the big ones. Picnic tables , barbecue pits, and a snack bar are available. Pay parking. 2926 Riverside Dr.Petrie B

Petrie Island Beaches..include two large public beaches. Lifeguards from noon till 7pm. Snack bar and picnic tables are available. Washrooms, water fountain, change rooms, and pay parking fill out the amenities. 727 Trim Rd.

Westboro BWestboro Beach…a quaint beach, lifeguards from noon till 7pm. Amenities include canteen, change rooms, washrooms, a swimming lane, and free parking. If the family is up to it there are some hiking trails running off the beach area. 745 Sir John A. MacDonald Parkway.Breton Beach

Breton Beach (Lac Philippe) A 20 min drive out to Gatineau Park. Lifeguards from 10am to 6pm. Towels, beach toys, sunscreen, hats and such are available to purchase on site. Pets are not allowed by there are many nearby trails that you can take Fido for a walk on. Other amenities include washrooms, change rooms, picnic tables, a wheelchair accessible ramp, and lift chair. Parking $11 per car. Chemin du Lac Phillippe, Masham.

Rio’s Water a Risk to Tourists as well as Athletes

Oli RioWe looked at the water situation in Rio not too long ago, but now with the Olympics about to get under way..what is the latest?


The Associated Press commissioned a 16 month long study whose findings are that with the Olympics about to get underway the waterways of Rio de Janeiro are as filthy and contaminated as ever. The risk to athletes is considerable..but what about tourists getting exposed. Athletes have and will be taking extraordinary precautions , but what of the 300,000-500,000 visitors.oli2

Testing at several of the cities world famous beaches has shown high viral loads, and often levels of bacteria that are cause for concern. The best advice to travelers is “don’t put your head under the water”.

Poop Water:

The sand itself is hiding danger. Samples of sand from the Copacabana and Ipanema beaches reveal high levels of viruses, with studies showing risk to babies and small children.oli4

Local authorities, including the mayor of Rio acknowledge the failure of the clean up efforts, while Olympic officials still promote the water is going to be safe for athletes and visitors alike. The water issue seems unsettled with the crux of the matter being the different types of testing used to determine water safety and health. Bacterial tests measure levels of coliforms..different types of bacteria that tend to not cause illnesses themselves, but are indicators of the presence of other potentially more harmful sewage. These bacterial tests are a world wide standard, but there is a growing understanding that they are not ideal for all climates. Bacteria breaks down quickly in tropical climates and salt water conditions, however viruses have been shown to survive much longer in these conditions.  This means that tropical Rio can show low bacteria levels…but completely miss the high virus levels. Through the AP’s testing in June  2016 the fecal coliforms in water samples at Ipanema Beach were quite low, but still had high reading for rotavirus…the main cause of gastroenteritus globally.

Continuing pollution problem in Rio:

Consider that the triathlon and marathon swimmers will be participating in the water off the Copacabana beach , and most likely tourists will take a dip there and hang out on the beach.