Tag Archives: Cumberland

Water Pollution..some questions answered.

coral1What is water pollution?

Water pollution is the contamination of water bodies. Pollutants are either directly or indirectly discharged into water bodies without adequate treatment to remove the harmful compounds leading to environmental degradation. sailing4

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What are the causes of water pollution?

About half of all the pollution in the oceans is caused by sewage and waste water. Each year human activity generates some 400 billion tons of industrial waste, much of this is pumped untreated into our oceans, rivers , or lakes. yammy

Why is it important to know about water pollution?

Water covers nearly 70% of the Earth’s surface and is an important resource that we can not live without. Human health and the natural environment are directly affected by water quality.rio8

What percentage of the world’s water is polluted?

In developing countries 70% of the industrial waste is dumped untreated in the water where they pollute the usable water supply. The food sector is responsible for nearly half of organic water pollutants.  round3

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Syria: Wadi Barada repair deal reached

wadi-baradaDamaged water infrastructure at Wadi Barada has left 5.5million people in Damascus area with severe water shortages.

Syrian government workers have entered a formerly rebel held area near Damascus to restore water to the capitol after weeks of shortages. The government engineers were allowed to enter the Ain al Fija facilities in opposition held Wadi Barada with an agreement with the rebels. Military operations have been halted. wadi1

The Syrian Observatory for Human rights confirmed repair crews are on the scheme and estimate 3 days will be required to get the water flowing to Damascus again. Fighting in the area had damaged the infrastructure and left some 5.5 million people in the capital and surrounding area with water shortages. wadi2

Government forces has battled the rebels for the last few weeks in the Wadi Barada area. Even with this truce fighting continues. wadi3

The Syrian conflict started in March 2011 as a largely unarmed uprising, but has since developed into a full-scale civil war killing hundreds of thousands and displaces more than half of the countries prewar population.

In Ottawa and area we have roughly a million people or perhaps a bit more than that. It is astounding to consider a city of 5.5 million to be suffering from water shortage no matter what the reason. We are blessed to be able to turn on the tap and have water.

 

 

Precautionary boil water order what to do?

watermainMoncton is asking some of their residents to boil their water after a major water main break. Although we in Ottawa are not affected by this, we do from time to time have water mains that break. So what should you do when your local is hit with this issue?

First, do not drink the water without boiling it. The water should be boiled for at least one minute to be considered safe.

Any water to be ingested or used for drinking , preparing food, making ice cubes, washing fruits and veggies, and brushing teeth should be boiled. watermain-1

Contaminated water may cause illness in humans, including diarrhea, cramps , nausea, headaches, or other symptoms. Contaminated water is not the only cause of these symptoms. If you experience these, and the symptoms persist you may want to see your doctor.

The water is safe for showering and bathing.

Hands can continue to be washed using tap water and a proper hand washing technique, rubbing all parts of the hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds. watermain-2

Laundry may be washed in tap water, either by hand or machine.

Dishes may be washed by hand or by machine in hot soapy water..then left to air dry.

Users may experience discolored water or air in their plumbing systems. If you completely lose water pressure you should turn off the circuit breaker for the hot water tank to prevent damage to the heating element.

 

The Big Six

Modern urban wastewater treatment plant.

Every year Water Canada publishes a list of Canada’s biggest water projects. this year we have the top six projects coating some $3.4 billion. These projects not only represent a major investment in infrastructure , but also are significant for the capacity of future growth where they are located. Also of note is 20 billion in federal money earmarked for water infrastructure in 2017.

First up in the big six is the North End Sewage Treatment Plant Biological Nutrient Removal Upgrade. $794.6 million. Winnipeg is the home of one of Canada’s oldest biological treatment plants..soon to get an upgrade. Presently Treating 200 million litres of waste water per day, and serving 705 of the cities population the new facility provisions for future expansion to 2067 population forecasts. lion-gate

The Lions Gate Secondary Wastewater Treatment Plant in North Vancouver. $700 million. New Federal and Provincial guidelines require the upgrade of all primary treatment plants in urban areas to secondary sewage treatment by 2020. Of note once operational Lions Gate will be able to remove 90% of organic matter.

In Calgary we have the Bonnybrook Wastewater Treatment Plant D Expansion. $600 million. One of three of Calgary’s treatment plants , Bonnybrook, is undergoing an expansion with the plant estimated to be able to service an additional population of 325,000. When completed in 2022 the facility will be servicing a population of 1.366 million people in Calgary and surrounding areas.

 

Annacis Island Wastewater Treatment Expansion. $550 million. This Vancouver facility improvement will accomodate future growth, improve on the ability to withstand a major earthquake, take advantage of green energy captured on site, and manage odour.

Hanlan Water Project. Mississauga. $450million. Will help in the management of continued growth.

South End Water Pollution Control Centre.$335.6million. Water and wastewater is a big issue in Winnepeg with wastewater treatment plant expansion in both the north and the south end.

 

Wynne wants debate on bottled water?

bottOntario charges $3.71 per million litres of water taken by water bottlers , on top of a$750 fee for water taken in low to medium risk areas. Wynne wants to increase the charges to water bottlers in the new year. In addition to the fee increases she wants to open up a much larger dialogue on the future of the entire water bottling industry.

Premier Wynne feels raising the fees is not enough, we need to look at the whole water bottling industry, and culture it has,  given that most of us don’t really need bottled water. She wants to look at the industry as a whole, and the governments role in regulating it. There are times when bottled water is necessary due to pipe issues or other problems.plastic bottles

The Wellington Water Watchers, a group of water environmentalists in the Guelph area, agree with the price increase, but note that any price hike would not be enough as the profits are so high…and other water use concerns are not addressed.

Water bottling companies have aggressively been marketing healthy bottled water for over 20yrs. The government will have to take back the high ground and promote the safety of tap water. The province must educate the public of the smaller environmental footprint , drinking tap water is good, and bring a reusable bottle with you.

Premier Wynne has imposed a 2 yr moratorium on new permits or expanding operations. Changes to water permits would be limiting to periods of 1-5 yrs, down from a maximum of 10yrs, requirements that the companies weekly report how much water they took vs how much they are allowed to take, and stronger scientific requirements…studies done on the environmental impacts.

 

 

Water Watchers Chair Mike Nagy says”..climate change , droughts, carbon emissions, are all tied to this wasteful industry. It should be part of that holistic discussion about people not just rejecting products that are wasteful, but also reconnecting on a personnel level with their water….”

For their part the Canadian Bottled Water Association says that by making it more expensive for the bottlers , it will only be making it more expensive for the public who buy the bottled water product.

I must admit that in looking at what it costs to get the water vs the cost at the store some one is making big money….and then there is the waste plastic that has to be dealt with.

Smiths Falls Water Contamination

fire-1A local flea market near Smiths Falls , Ontario has burned to the ground. A water contamination crisis has erupted from the loss, and the province is still not sure about the size of the affected area.                                                                 The Rideau Valley Marketplace burned down Nov.6th, even after the best efforts of the local fire department. Shortly thereafter the local residents could see foam in their water, and it had a strong chemical smell. Health authorities immediately put out a no drinking warning…followed 10 days later with a no contact with the water, even flushing the water has been prohibited as it is possible to inhale the water droplets stirred up by the flush.

Testing has shown that the use of a fire retardant foam and 80 truckloads of water led to a toxic chemical brew seeping into the local water supply. Last Friday a meeting was held for the residents to meet with officials from the Ministry of the Environment, and local medical officials and politicians. Further testing has shown the contaminated water is moving around in the ground and bedrock. Due to the local conditions the scope of the contaminated area still has to be determined. A clean up firm has been contracted to drill holes and pump out and treat the contaminated water. Monthly testing will allow for monitoring the situation , as well as give time for a long term plan to be devised. fire-2

Meanwhile the local people affected are drinking bottled water , and heated outdoor tanks are supplying water to shower, cook, and clean with. Concerns about the plumbing feeding those affected homes has led to the pipes to be pressure cleaned..but other issues have arisen. For instance at the meeting there was no one to address insurance concerns with regards to ruined dishwashers ,washing machines , and bathtubs that were affected adversely by the toxic water.

 

Perhaps it is time for some one to come up with a more earth friendly fire retardant…or perhaps just use water.

Contaminated Water Causes Snow Geese Die Off

gooseA snow storm pushed a large flock of snow geese off their migration route seeking refuge in the acidic , metal laden waters of an old open pit mine in Montana. Witnesses described the visual as several acres of white birds on November 28th.

The responsibility for the open Berkeley Pit in Butte belongs to Atlantic Richfield and Montana Resources. An off duty MR employee gave the heads up as he spotted the flock of some 25,000 geese heading toward the pit from 25 miles away. Typically, Butte gets between 2000-5000 flyovers annually, including migration periods. As soon as possible employees used spot lights, noisemakers, and other efforts to scare the birds off the deadly waters. By November 29th more than 90% of the birds had been scared off the water. Despite their best efforts some 7,000 birds died from exposure to the toxic soup.

The Berkeley Pit holds about 175bn litres of water. The death toll is estimated by drones and airplanes flying over. Federal and state agencies are still seeking to confirm the number…which is going to be considerably higher that the 1995 incident when 342 birds died, which prompted the local authorities to have a plan in place. Even with a plan they were swamped with just the shear volume of birds. MR and Arco could face fines if they are found to be non compliant with the bird hazing program.

 

An investigation is underway to determine what circumstances led to ” this kind of perfect storm”, with thousands of birds making a late migration and then facing a snowstorm , with the Berkeley Pit being the only open water in the area.

There are estimated to be 4-6 million snow geese in North America. Losing several thousand will not put them on the endangered list. A concern would be how many other toxic open water pits are there, and with changing climate conditions will migrating flocks adjust their routes and end up flying into dangerous waters?