Category Archives: Health Concerns

Drinking Water Contaminated ~ Drugs on Tap

  DRUGS IN WATER         Scientists are re-designing pharmaceuticals and other contaminants to keep them out of our drinking water.

MAIN IMAGEMaking pharmaceuticals that degrade before they can contaminate drinking water.

DRUGS ON TAPIn recent years, researchers have realized that many products, including pharmaceuticals, have ended up where they’re not supposed to be — in our drinking water. But now scientists have developed a way to make drugs that break down into harmless compounds before they contaminate our taps.

Pub JMESTheir report appears in ACS’ journal
ACSEnvironmental Science & Technology.

 

 

 

PROPRANOLOLThe researchers chose to work with a commonly used drug called propranolol — a beta blocker prescribed to treat high blood pressure and to prevent heart problems. It is very stable and has been found in sewage. They made a small molecular change in its structure that didn’t affect its beta blocking activity but allowed it to break down more easily than the NON TOXICoriginal form. Further studies are needed, but initial testing showed that the altered drug and its byproducts are likely not toxic. The researchers suggest that a similar approach could be used to re-design other classes of drugs and chemicals to make them more environmentally friendly, too. 

COSMETICSA wide range of active ingredients originating from pesticides, shampoos, lotions, cosmetics, disinfectants and drugs get washed into sewage systems or rivers and streams, ending up in our tap water.

WILDLIFEScientists don’t have a complete picture yet of what effects these substances have on wildlife and human health, but they are a major concern. Researchers have detected them in low levels in streams and rivers across the United States and in other countries. To address the specific problem of medications in the environment, Klaus Kümmerer and colleagues made tweaks to pharmaceuticals so they degrade after they’ve passed through both the body and sewage treatment systems, which aren’t capable of scrubbing wastewater of all contaminants.

KLAUSDr. Klaus Kümmerer, professor of sustainable chemistry and material resources at the University of Lüneburg

The authors acknowledge funding from the German Ministry of Education and Research.

http://canadafreepress.com/articles-health/75133

Fun Water Facts ~ Part II

Image result for friday fun facts

WATER GLASSYou can refill an 8 oz glass of water approximately
15,000 times for the same cost as a six-pack of soda.

 

DISHWASHERAn automatic dishwasher uses approximately 9 to 12 gallons of water while hand washing dishes can use up to 20 gallons.

 

LEAKY FAUCETIf every household in America had a faucet that dripped once each second, 928 million gallons of water a day would leak away.

 

COWA dairy cow must drink four gallons of water to produce one gallon of milk.

 

One gallon of water weighs approximately 8½ pounds.

 

RAINFALLOne inch of rainfall drops 7,000 gallons, or nearly 30 tons of water, on a 60′ x 180′ piece of land.

 

Image result for newspaper300 million gallons of water are needed to produce a single day’s supply of U.S. newsprint.

 

Image result for A person should consume 2½ quarts of water per dayA person should consume 2½ quarts of water per day (from all sources of water, food, etc.) to maintain health.

 

CHICKEN65% of the human body is water,
75% of the human brain is water.

75% of a chicken, 80% of a pineapple, and 95% of a tomato is water.

FIRST WATER PIPESThe first water pipes in the U.S. were made of hollowed-out logs.

 

SENTINEL352 days – record of consecutive days with no measurable precipitation in Sentinel, AZ (Feb 1901 – Jan 1902).

 

MOST RAIN HAWAIIThe world’s rainiest place is Mt. Wai’ale’ale, Kauai, Hawaii. During an average year, there are only 15 dry days.

LAKE TAHOEThe water in Lake Tahoe could cover a flat area the size ofCalifornia 14 inches deep. This amount of water is enough to supply everyone in the U.S. with 50 gallons of water/day for 5 years.

NEVADANevada is the driest state in the nation with an average annual rainfall of only about 7 inches

 

Canadian Drinking Water Tests Failing

Investigation finds Canada’s drinking water testing falls short – posted on Water Technology on JUNE 19, 2015

OTTAWA, Ontario — A CBC News investigation found that many Canadian cities’ drinking water is not tested for harmful contaminants, according to CBC.ca.

Out of 18 cities, only Ottawa tested for all 75 substances outlined in the country’s drinking water guidelines, noted the article. The cities were asked to provide a list of health-related contaminants tested in water.

Calgary, Edmonton and Hailfax test for all but one of the substances, stated the article, while Quebec City tests for 62, Regina 52 and Winnipeg 49. Iqaluit and St. John’s test water for 20 contaminants.

Countries like the U.S. have mandatory requirements for water testing, reported the article, and experts believe Canada’s voluntary guidelines should be made enforceable as well. Currently, each province decides the frequency of its municipalities’ testing.

“They should be testing for everything, maybe not all the time, but at least on a periodic basis, rather than never testing for them at all,” said Eva Pip, a University of Winnipeg professor specializing in water quality and toxicology, in the article. “There is no such thing anymore as a pristine environment anywhere on this planet.”

The article reports that while some substances may not present an immediate threat, they do present long-term risks, even when present in low doses.

“Many of the chemicals which are of industrial origin could affect the liver, and in some cases they are carcinogens,” explained Chris Metcalfe, a Trent University professor in environmental and resource studies, in the article. “They can lead to the development of cancer if we’re exposed over a very long period of time.”

WATER DROPLET HAPPY ICON GIMPCROPPEDOnce again it seems that health issues relating to the water we drink are increasing and I along with many many others can breathe a sigh of relief. Although I am very concerned with this news, I do not have to worry about my drinking water.  Our Rainsoft Reverse Osmosis water treatment system removes the dangerous chemicals, pharmaceuticals, pesticides and herbicides leaving pure delicious tasting drinking and cooking water.

To learn more about our system please watch Martin’s video (below) and call for more information.

Eternally Pure Water Systems, Inc.
 5450 Canotek Rd, 66-67
 Ottawa, Ontario  K1J 9G5
Tel – (613) 742-0058
Fax – (613) 742-4209

Hours: Mon. – Fri. 9:00  – 5:00 

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Click here to read the entire article.

http://www.watertechonline.com/articles/170093-investigation-finds-canadas-drinking-water-testing-falls-short

Wild Canadian Fish Party on Cocaine and Oxycodone

TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY FOLKS!

1-FISH ON DRUGS ONTARIO

The blog title may seem frivolous to you folks, but our drinking water is next in line for these dangerous drugs leaching into our water. The three drugs mentioned are three of many abusive drugs.

The following article link to Munchies_ Food by VICE appeared in Drinking Water Canada’s newsletter,  ~ “Why Wild Canadian Fish Are on Cocaine and Oxycodone” by Alex Swerdloff July 27, 2015

   GRAND RIVERBust out your rhinestone snuffboxes and hit up your favorite restroom, party people. It’s time to head up to Ontario’s Grand River. Cocaine, morphine, and oxycodone—among other drugs of abuse, as the scientists call them—apparently flow freely in the waters there.

JOURNALThat’s right. A study recently published in the journal Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry shows that way more fish have been getting their Tony Montana on than we previously believed.

The study, which comes out of McGill University’s Department of Chemical Engineering, focused on the Grand River Watershed in Southern Ontario. The research shows that water discharged from wastewater treatment plants in the area has low levels of the aforementioned drugs in it, which could affect marine life and contaminate local sources of drinking water.

PLANTHere’s the problem. Households and chemical plants discharge both figurative and literal crap into the river. A wastewater treatment plant is supposed to clean out most of these contaminants. And some distance downstream, the water then goes through an additional water treatment plant that cleans it further and prepares it for human consumption.

DRUGSBut the study showed that small quantities of drugs were found in the river water coming out of the water treatment plant, and their concentration did not decline with distance downstream from the plant. To make matters worse, the drugs were not removed completely during drinking water treatment.

In short, plants, fish and other living things in the river were swimming in water dosed with small amounts of recreational and prescription drugs. Screw Nemo—these fish seem to have more in common with Rick Ross!

YARGOBut there could be a solution. Professor Viviane Yargeau, who was the lead author of the study, argues, “Improving our wastewater treatment processes can help clean up our drinking water.”

FISH BESTWhat’s new about this research is that the scientists found drugs in the water between the wastewater treatment plant and the drinking water treatment plant. Sure, the drinking water treatment plants got most of the drugs out of the water, but not all. Improvements upstream would keep the life aquatic—including plants, insects, and fish—from inadvertently indulging.

It seems to me, however, that the researchers forgot to ask one all-important question: How in the hell does a fish line up a rail without an opposable thumb?

Back to Professor Yargeau. She explains, “We believe that if improvements are made to wastewater treatment plants to protect the sources of drinking water, this will prove a more effective way of dealing with the problem in the long run—as this strategy would also protect the aquatic environment and all the plants, insects and fish that are found there.”

WATERNext to come will be a five-year project to look into improving wastewater treatment to keep contaminants like cocaine out of Canada’s drinking water. But five years is a while away, so the fish will keep partying on in the meantime.

After all, even marine life deserves some booger sugar once in a while.

So folks now the choice is up to you ~ wait for the hammer to fall  ~ or be proactive and protect your family’s health right now.  We have great options for you as a water treatment system company.

WATER DROPLET1_FOR BLOG ICONOur RainSoft Reverse Osmosis Water system is exactly what you and I need right now.  Martin, owner of Eternally Pure Water Systems, Inc. explains how this system works to provide you with safe, delicious and refreshing drinking water.  Watch the video below (truly worth your while) and call us.  We’re here to solve all your water treatment problems.

Eternally Pure Water Systems, Inc.
 5450 Canotek Rd, 66-67
 Ottawa, Ontario  K1J 9G5
Tel – (613) 742-0058
Fax – (613) 742-4209

Hours: Mon. – Fri. 9:00  – 5:00 

Consumers Choice Gold Winners – 2006, 07, 08, 09, 10 
Web Site – www.rainsoftofottawa.com
Twitter – http://twitter.com/Rainsoftottawa  
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2nd Annual Float for Life Event

COUSTEAUThe day includes a float and a talk by Alexandra Cousteau, the granddaughter of Jacques-Yves Cousteau, the conservationist, filmmaker, photographer, and author who studied the sea. She will talk about her love of the oceans and growing up with her grandfather as her guide. Her father, Philippe, who co-produced numerous projects with Jacques, died when she was 3.
“Our oceans are in trouble,” Cousteau said. “Float for Life gives people an opportunity to reconnect with the ocean be reminded that we all have an important role to play in ocean conservation. After all, people protect what they love.”
SANIBELThe float promotes the environmental, economic, psychological and physical benefits of water as part of a fundraiser for the Sanibel Sea School. The school is a nonprofit focused on marine-based preservation and offers day camps, outings, and adult classes centered on wildlife and habitats in Sanibel.

“One of our favorite things to do with our campers is a soul float,” said Director of Operations Leah Biery.
A soul float is similar to a Float for Life. While being supported by life jackets or laying back on paddle and surf boards, the children float along the beach.
“We feel the water around us, catch the current,” she said. “They are feeling and connecting with the ocean and enjoying it.” And it’s done with the same goal as Float for Life.

Image result for float for lifeThe school is “in hopes that falling in love with the ocean will make them want to protect it,” Biery said.
In the inaugural Float year, 60 people participated, and Lynch is hoping for far more this year.
Participants will form groups of three; as one person floats, the others will support them gently for about 10 minutes. Then they will rotate.
“We believe the positive floating connection to the water will inspire individual calls to action to protect our oceans,” Lynch said. “It is pretty amazing how restorative it is. Some people feel like it’s an hour, others feel like it’s 2 minutes.”
She explained that the Gulf water is roughly the same salt content as human blood, creating a connective bond.
“When somebody is floating, they naturally feel at home because of the lightness,” she said. “When you lay in the water, you feel the quiet. The water is calming to your nervous system, and, along with the likeness of the salt content, the body lets go naturally. Muscles start to let go.”

By enforcing the body/nature connection, she said it leads to action, whether it’s “picking up plastic bags or straws on the beach or voting your conscience at the polls.”
Participants will receive an eco-friendly water bottle and samples of Earth-friendly sun screen.
Biery said the school is enjoying the partnership with Float for Life.
“We’re always amazed about how well the communities of Sanibel and Fort Myers come out to support us,” she said.
COUSTEAU2CROPAlexandra Cousteau
The granddaughter of Jacques-Yves Cousteau, known for his ABC show “The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau” from 1966-76, will speak about her famous family and her conservation work at the second annual Float for Life at Pink Shell in Fort Myers Beach.
Image result for float for life“After our first year, we wanted someone to draw more people and bring awareness to ocean conservation,” said Float for Life founder Shelley Lynch, a mental health therapist from Orlando.
Image result for alexandra cousteau blue legacyAlexandra Cousteau founded Blue Legacy, a non-profit organization to empower people to reclaim and restore the world’s water, one community at a time.
She has co-hosted “Blue August” on the Discovery Channel and was chief correspondent on water issues for Dicovery’s “Planet Green.”
She lives in Washington, D.C., and Berlin.

Connect with this reporter on Twitter @stacey_henson

Plastic Is Clogging Oceans ~ Disturbing Infographic

With an estimated 6.4 million tons of plastic getting dumped in the ocean annually, build-up has become a huge problem that merits serious attention.

We have a serious plastic problem here on Earth. In less than a century, plastic has permeated every aspect of our lives, creating tremendous amounts of waste that does not degrade. Much of it ends up in the oceans – an estimated 6.4 millions tons annually – which wreaks havoc with marine wildlife. From entanglement to ingestion, sea animals are suffering as a result of our obsession with plastic and reluctance to switch to reusables.

The following infographic is called “Spiraling Out of Control: Plastic Buildup in Our Oceans” and comes via CustomMade. It provides an excellent overview of the insidious cycle of plastic use that’s causing such damage. You will never want to accept another plastic shopping bag again after reading this.

plastic-buildup-720x6888.jpg.650x0_q70_crop-smart

Please make a commitment to do your part to save our oceans, human and aquatic life.  This can no longer be ignored.

Read more: http://www.treehugger.com/culture/disturbing-infographic-shows-how-plastic-clogging-our-oceans.html#ixzz3bvucaiaZ

http://www.care2.com/causes/disturbing-infographic-shows-how-plastic-is-clogging-our-oceans.html

Is Alberta well water safe to drink?

The following article was featured in the Mar/Apr WaterCanada magazine issue: “One Health” – Alberta researchers collaborate to better understand potential microbial hazards in rural drinking water. By Sylvia Checkley

Image result for waterborne pathogens in rural AlbertaResearchers from the University of Calgary and University of Alberta in collaboration with Alberta’s Provincial Laboratory for Public Health (ProvLab), Alberta Health Services, and FoodNet Canada will be using a “one health” lens to assess water quality and waterborne pathogens in rural Alberta. The “one health” approach recognizes that the health of people, animals, and the environment are all intrinsically linked.

  When bacteria like E. coli contaminates our water supply, it can greatly affect human, animal, and environmental health. Approximately 450,000 Albertans depend on private wells (or water systems) as a source for drinking water. Twenty to 40 per cent of these water systems fall short of current drinking water quality standards, as outlined in the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality. Guidelines recommend that private systems should be tested two to four times per year for microbial water quality, depending on type and treatment; however, testing is voluntary. A well water survey in Alberta published in 2010 indicated that only about 60 per cent of Albertans will test their water over a five year period. Most rural residents rarely or never test their water quality despite this service being offered at no cost to the well owner.
CATTLEWe know that there are disease causing agents such as bacteria and viruses from human septic systems, animal waste from livestock and wildlife, and other environmental microbial contaminants that can contaminate rural ground. The factors that influence the possibility of microbes contaminating a well water supply are many and varied, but important factors include climatic conditions, local soil, and aquifer properties; well characteristics such as type, depth, condition, and age of the well; age of the septic system; manure storage; and livestock housed on property in last 12 months.

  The public health authority currently looks at water quality indicators to determine if the water is safe. Currently, total coliforms (any bacteria in the coliform family) and E. coli are used as indicators of fecal contamination in a water supply. An E. coli or total coliform positive water sample is considered abnormal and is brought to the attention of the public health authority so they can discuss the results with the home owner and recommend appropriate actions such as well shock chlorination and resampling. Research has shown that drinking untreated or improperly treated groundwater can be associated with the transmission of disease causing agents. When untreated groundwater is used for irrigation, it can also be a threat to food safety especially through fruits and vegetables which might be eaten raw. Monitoring E. coli and total coliforms in drinking water based on current microbiological standards does not provide a reliable assessment of risk related to viral pathogens in the water systems. ( In depth information : http://www.waterencyclopedia.com/Ge-Hy/Human-Health-and-Water.html)  This issue has been Image result for Alberta groundwater quality assessment guidelinepreviously identified by Health Canada (Guideline for Canadian Drinking Water Quality) and the Alberta groundwater quality assessment guideline. They also may not be good indicators for other disease causing organisms.
  This project, funded by the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency and Alberta Innovates Environment and Energy Solutions, as well as FoodNet Canada, brings together professionals from different disciplines such as economists, engineers, environmental health officers, epidemiologists, microbiologists, physicians, veterinarians, and virologists to provide a robust assessment and interpretation of different aspects of well water quality. We are collaborating at local, provincial, and national levels to understand, manage and inform risk mitigation at the animal-human-environment interface. Stakeholders will be engaged throughout the process. Our partner, FoodNet Canada, is a federal program that uses a comprehensive surveillance at sentinel sites across Canada to reduce the burden of gastrointestinal disease in people. The newest surveillance site will be located in Alberta.
  This project has been developed to describe the patterns of disease causing E. coli and other bacteria, viruses, and antimicrobial resistant organisms in well water across Alberta, both seasonally and annually. We will be able to compare the traditional water quality indicators to newer monitoring methods looking directly for disease causing agents through molecular and other means. This will tell us how well the indicators work and provide evidence to support future changes to testing protocols. The study results will be applied to assess if there are associations between well water contamination and well characteristics, land use (septic systems, manure storage), environmental (climatic, geologic) and animal husbandry risk factors using our broad team’s expertise in this “one health” approach.
  Image result for Alberta livestock producers associationWe will also examine livestock producers’ perceptions of water quality, water contamination, and the influence of their perceptions on the management practices they choose that prevent
water contamination by animal waste. Engaging stakeholders in the process will help to provide robust evidence-based information that will be used to inform rural water users, livestock producers, decision makers, and the general public on the implications for human, animal, and environmental health.
CHECKLEY CROPPEDSylvia Checkley is an assistant
professor in ecosystem and public
health in the Faculty of Veterinary
Medicine at the University of
Calgary. She is also a program
lead in environmental surveillance at the Alberta
Provincial Laboratory for Public Health

 

Is Ottawa Still Doing This in 2015? – Alarming!!!

2015 – Ottawa is still dumping raw sewage into the Ottawa River and for some time the toxins have been getting into our drinking water!!!

The following excerpts are from an article from GREG WESTON, QMI AGENCY, entitled, |”Canada Is Full of Crap”, reposted today, May 5, 2015.  While Olympic ads are pitching Canada to the world as a land of vast beauty and pristine waters, a damning internal government report describes a country that’s full of crap. Literally. Hard to imagine in the 21st century, but a federal environmental study has found almost 400 cities and towns across the country are flushing their raw sewage directly into lakes, rivers and the ocean…The water communities are using as an open sewer is what they – and hundreds of others – use for drinking, bathing and food preparation…
How bad are the worst 399?
Apparently they are even more polluting than the nation’s capital, and Ottawa’s record is truly disgusting. In one incident, the city released over 700 million litres of raw sewage into the Ottawa River just in one nine-day period. Ottawa isn’t even on the list of the country’s worst offenders. It’s time the poop hits the fan and not the nearest river.

Ottawa Separated Sewage System?
DRY AND WET WEATHERMERITS AND DEMERITS LISTSEWERAGE SYSTEM
SEPARATE SEWER CROPPEDSeparating raw sewage from storm water may not be as easy as it appears, nor may it always be a practical solution.
Ottawa’s director of water and wastewater services, Dixon Weir, told the Sun that on a dry day in the nation’s capital 100% of the raw sewage residents create is treated.
COMBINED SEWER CROPPEDOn a wet and rainy day, when the city’s combined sewer operation is at capacity and handling not only raw sewage but storm water as well, the combined sewer operation system is capable of capturing and treating 99% of the raw sewage and storm water mixture, while the remaining 1% empties into the Ottawa River untreated.
The overflows into the river are built to prevent the system from backing up onto city streets or into basements.
Untreated runoff:DEMERITS
Weir said if the city decides to separate the raw sewage from storm water – which also carries contaminants, including E. coli- it wouldn’t be able to capture and treat any of the contaminated storm water.
SETTLING POND
In community developments built in the past 30 to 40 years, there are about 150 massive settling ponds where storm runoff sits and naturally cleanses itself before discharging into the river.
WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANT OTTAWAOttawa would be able to direct all sewage to a wastewater treatment plant, but none of the storm water collected in older neighbourhoods – containing animal and bird feces as well as other substances like lawn and garden fertilizers- would be treated.
WESTBORO BEACHFor example, Ottawa’s Westboro Beach had consistently high levels of E.coli and been closed 20 days this summer – more than any other city beach – but that neighbourhood has a separated sewer system.
LAST PARA“It would be obvious to say that a separated system would be the best solution, but that may not be true,” said Weir.
– Derek Puddicombe

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This system removes any concerns you have about your family’s health issues as a result of these toxins in your drinking water. You will also be amazed at how ‘refreshingly delicious’ our water tastes!!! 

WATER DROPLET HAPPY ICON GIMPCROPPEDEternally Pure Water Systems, Inc
5450 Canotek Road
Unit 66-67
Ottawa, ON K1J 9G5

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web: http://www.rainsoftofottawa.com
e-mail: martinbarrett@rainsoftottawa.com

 

Toxic ‘Blue-Green Algae’ in many Canadian Lakes

BLUE GREEN ALGAE
Cyanobacteria blooms pose a serious threat to drinking-water sources, because certain species contain toxins harmful to the liver or nervous system.
Cyanobacteria blooms pose a serious threat to drinking-water sources, because certain species contain toxins harmful to the liver or nervous system. (Photo credit: Dr. Ron Zurawell, Ph.D., P.Biol. Limnologist/Water Quality Specialist, Alberta Environment)(Photo credit: Dr. Ron Zurawell, Ph.D., P.Biol. Limnologist/Water Quality Specialist, Alberta Environment)
Article courtesy of ScienceDaily |February 26, 2015 | ScienceDaily | Shared as educational material
Summary:
Image result for blue green algaeThe organisms commonly known as blue-green algae have proliferated much more rapidly than other algae in lakes across North America and Europe over the past two centuries — and in many cases the rate of increase has sharply accelerated since the mid-20th century, according to an international team of researchers.
Image result for blue green algaeThe organisms commonly known as blue-green algae have proliferated much more rapidly than other algae in lakes across North America and Europe over the past two centuries — and in many cases the rate of increase has sharply accelerated since the mid-20th century, according to an international team of researchers led by scientists at McGill University.

The following youtube video is one of many published regarding the toxic blue-green algae. “Bloom – the Plight of Lake Champlain” (Part 1 of 4) is a documentary featuring Lake Champlain.


Their study, published in the journal Ecology Letters, represents the first continental-scale examination of historical changes in levels of cyanobacteria, the scientific term for the photosynthetic bacteria that form blue-green scum on the surface of ponds and lakes during hot summer months. Cyanobacteria blooms pose a serious threat to drinking-water sources, because certain species contain toxins harmful to the liver or nervous system.

Image result for blue green algae“We found that cyanobacterial populations have expanded really strongly in many lakes since the advent of industrial fertilizers and rapid urban growth,” says Zofia Taranu, who led the study as a PhD candidate in McGill’s Department of Biology. “While we already knew that cyanobacteria prefer warm and nutrient-rich conditions, our study is also the first to show that the effect of nutrients, such as phosphorus and nitrogen, overwhelm those of global warming.”

Alpine lakes affected:
Researchers from France, Italy, Spain, the UK, Malaysia, and across Canada contributed to the study. While the increase in cyanobacteria in agriculturally developed watersheds was in line with their expectations, the scientists were surprised to find that cyanobacteria also increased in many remote, alpine lakes. In those sites, warmer temperatures and nutrient loading from atmospheric sources are likely to have played a bigger role than direct agricultural runoff.

Dense algal blooms have become a summertime staple of media coverage — and a growing concern of lakefront homeowners — in certain regions, but until now there had been little in the way of long-term, large-scale synthesis of data on the phenomenon. This left room for doubt as to whether harmful algal blooms were truly on the rise, or whether communities were simply better equipped to identify and report blooms when they occur.

The rapid increase in cyanobacteria identified in the study points to the potential for a parallel increase in the concentration of harmful cyanotoxins, says Taranu, who is now a postdoctoral fellow at Université de Montréal. While potentially toxic species don’t synthesize toxins at all times, studies have shown that one of the best predictors of toxin concentrations in lakes is the total abundance of cyanobacteria.

Image result for Cyanobacteria cause damage to the liver or nervous systemCyanobacteria can produce toxins that cause damage to the liver or nervous system. The most common symptoms of acute exposure to harmful algal blooms are skin rash or irritation, gastroenteritis and respiratory distress. Chronic, low dose exposures over a lifetime may also result in liver tumors or endocrine disruption. Preliminary studies also suggest that a recently isolated cyanotoxin may become more concentrated across food chains and may be associated with the formation of progressive neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and ALS diseases. Although this latter work is still controversial among scientists, “our results underline the importance of further research in this area,” Taranu says.

Image result for minimizing excess fertilizer applicationCollaborations needed to tackle problem:
“Our work shows that we need to work harder as a society to reduce nutrient discharges to surface waters,” says Irene Gregory-Eaves, an associate professor of biology at McGill and co-author of the study. “Because diffuse nutrient loading (as opposed to end-of-pipe effluent) is the main issue, we need to build collaborations to tackle this complex problem. For example, partnerships among freshwater scientists and farmers are starting to happen, and more of this needs to take place, so that we can strike a balance between maximizing crop yields and minimizing excess fertilizer application.”

http://savethewater.org/2015/03/04/blue-green-algae-proliferating-lakes-2/

Arsenic, the Silent Killer – Part II

Please see my first article on arsenic: Arsenic – The Sleeping Giant, published Mar. 31st this year.

“Know Your Well ~ Saskatchewan’s watershed authority teaches users about proper maintenance.” This article appeared in the May/June issue of watercanada magazine by Kerry Freek


A man cleans a well during a community clean-up day in Anguissa, Yaoundé, Cameroon. Provincially, Saskatchewan has got high levels of arsenic, selenium and uranium. When floods occur, these concentrations can make well water unsafe. The Saskatchewan Watershed Authority recommended regular flushes to maintain good water quality.

For Saskatchewan, spring runoff season presents a huge risk for private well contamination, especially considering the province’s high levels of arsenic, Image result for Saskatchewan Watershed Authority (SWA)selenium, and uranium. At the height of this year’s flood crisis in theImage result for drinking water standards saskatchewanPrairies, Terry Hanley, director of science, information, and monitoring for the Saskatchewan Watershed
Authority (SWA) shared details on the water quality risks for well users.

“We have a database of about 4,000 wells that we’ve tested,” says Hanley. “About 50 per cent of those wells exceed at least one maximum allowable concentration (MAC) or drinking water standard. Now that there’s flooding, there’s increased risk to the 100,000 residents that rely on wells.”
He says that last year, after severe flooding in Maple Creek, Yorkton, and North Battleford, 70 per cent of wells in those areas exceeded acceptable nitrate or bacteriological levels. “The MAC for drinking water is 45 milligrams per litre, but we had levels in the 1,500 range,” says Hanley. “There are pretty significant risks, and we expect the same this year.”
That’s why the SWA offers free well tests. “We’ve had E. coli levels in the tens of thousands,” he reveals.
“That’s slightly less than treated effluent—it’s usually a shock to people. Just because the water’s clear doesn’t mean it’s good.”
In Manitoba—also affected by the spring floods—the chief provincial public health officer announced that people using private water supplies should boil their water and test it for bacteria. The Province added that it would cover the full cost of well-water testing for affected areas.
Image result for shock chlorinated the wellsIn addition to gathering demographics on site visits, SWA assesses the wells. How old is the casing? Are there well caps in place? Have the owners shock chlorinated the wells after major weather events?
They found some surprising statistics. Two out of three wells didn’t have caps or casing that is at least two to three inches above ground. Nine out of ten wells had never been shock chlorinated.
“It only takes a few hours to fix these things,” says Hanley, who hopes these assessments will help owners take the simple steps to better understand and maintain their wells.
It appears the program is working. “Of the clients we’ve tested, about 60 per cent have adopted our recommendations,” says Hanley. “That’s huge for us.” 

Here’s a link I  found on Uranium tailings in the Athabasca basin of northern Saskatchewan – definitely worth reading-  http://www.usask.ca/geology/JimSite/Research.html