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A waterspout is a funnel that forms over the water. Waterspouts are much weaker than twisters over the land. When the funnel stretches from the thunderstorm into the ocean or lake, water is the debris that flies in every direction. However, if something like a ship is on the surface of the water then there could be a real threat to the boat. Waterspouts occasionally move inland where their power and danger level increase to that of its viciously twisted sister, the tornado.

What’s happening over the water? Left is one of the better images yet recorded of a waterspout, a type of tornado that occurs over water. Waterspouts are spinning columns of rising moist air that typically form over warm water. Waterspouts can be as dangerous as tornadoes and can feature wind speeds over 200 kilometers per hour. Many waterspouts form away from thunderstorms and even during relatively fair weather. Waterspouts may be relatively transparent and initially visible only by the unusual pattern they create on the water. The above image was taken in 1969 from an aircraft off the Florida Keys, a location arguably the hottest spot for waterspouts in the world with hundreds forming each year. Some people speculate that these waterspouts are responsible for many of the losses recorded in the Bermuda Triangle region of the Atlantic OceanNasa.gov photo credit: Joseph Golden, NOAA

Like folks spellbound by a tornado, people on beaches stand and stare as opposed to dashing for safety. The same awestruck curiosity occurs to some sailors on boats or ships. Once a waterspout forms, it could easily work like a supercell over the land where multiple twisters are spawned. If a waterspout were about to collide with your boat, your best bet might be diving underwater but even that is not guaranteed to save your life. Although you would manage to avoid the debris in the air, not enough is known about the vortex in the water. If could be safe or it could be like diving into the vortex of a maelstrom . . . a death sentence.

A person would need to be far above the water level, such as in a plane or on a mountain, to see the first sign of a waterspout. It starts as a dark spot forming on the ocean. The second phase still could not be seen from a ship, but could perhaps could be felt as the wind shifts and speeds up. If a person on a boat happened to look up at the cloud above when sensing the change in the wind, that person might notice a funnel forming in the clouds even though the vortex on the water’s surface is not clearly visible. As the winds increases, the spray is visible from the vortex on the ocean surface. When a waterspout is fully matured, anyone with eyes to see can watch the funnel reach from the cloud to dip and twist into the water. They also hiss and suck at the water instead of the rumbling growl of a twister on land.

*Waterspouts can also form over lakes or rivers, but are most commonly seen over the ocean. They suck up the water in their path, billowing a water spray like a mushroom cloud against the water surface. Waterspouts can range in size from several feet to more than a mile high, and their width can vary from a few feet to hundreds of feet. It is not uncommon to see more than one water-twister at a time. Some ships have reported seeing as many as 30 waterspouts in a single day.

*Many have been spotted over the Great Lakes.

    Images via: Flame, Flickr, One Mom, Stanford, Majorly Cool, wikemedia,

   Source linkhttp://webecoist.momtastic.com/2009/08/03/70-viciously-twisted-tornadoes-and-waterspouts/

I’m having such a great time blogging and can’t believe how much I am learning ( I hadn’t heard of a “waterspout” before this and I think they’re awesome !!!)



from Water Online, January 18, 2012, By Kevin Westerling, Web Editor


In what could be a life-saving discovery, a toxic molecule sometimes found in drinking water has been linked to the development of neurodegenerative diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s.

As reported by Miller-McClune, botanist Paul Cox and biologist Sandra Banack have spearheaded a consortium of scientists in researching the effects of the toxic molecule beta-methylamino-L-alanine (BMAA) present in cyanobacteria, which blooms in water and is often referred to as blue-green algae (though, scientifically speaking, it bears no relation to algae). Their studies indicate that as the consumption of BMAA increases in humans, so does the incidence of ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

ALS has been the focus of the researchers because of its severe nature — victims are paralyzed and typically die within five years — and the ability to accurately diagnose the disease in living patients. However, the findings also link BMAA concentrations to increased incidence of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Like ALS, they have no known causes and no cure.

The work of Banack, Cox, and their team first met with resistance from the scientific community, in part because funding and research has focused on genetics as the cause of these neurodegenerative diseases, and also due to the fact that BMAA is not one of the 20 “building block” amino acids that make up proteins in all living organisms. Additional research, however, showed how BMAA could accumulate in nerve cells, giving scientific credibility to the hypothesis.

One study, by neurologist Elijah Stommel of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, found that the rate of ALS doubles around lakes reported to have cyanobacterial blooms throughout New England, and he is building a database of ALS cases in the northeastern United States. There and elsewhere, sources of exposure to BMAA include direct drinking water, food (especially shellfish), or swimming in contaminated water.

According to the Miller-McClune article, no water treatment plants in the United States are known to test for BMAA. Standard water treatment methods such as sand filtration, powdered activated carbon, and chlorination have proven effective in removing the toxin, but flocculation was deemed less effective. Cox has lobbied for more BMAA monitoring, and the Institute for EthnoMedicine — which he cofounded with Banack in 2004 — has developed a dipstick-type water test to do so, as well as filter technology to remove the compound.

“People need to be very careful about the water they’re drinking,” the article quoted Cox. “At this point we suspect there may be a tie between cyanobacterial toxins and your risk of progressive neurodegenerative disease — but it’s still a hypothesis.”

If Cox and his colleagues are right, it would provide tremendous encouragement to the scores of people affected by these devastating illnesses. In fact, Phase II clinical studies are underway for a drug that could potentially remove BMAA from the body and slow the progression of ALS, which is diagnosed in around 5,600 Americans each year.

Needless to say, he has a lot of people rooting for him.


Scary stuff!!! This is why more and more people do not rely on city water. RainSoft Reverse Osmosis is the answer for our customers.


Published: October 06, 2011 8:00 AM By Ron Heusen, editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Ninety-seven percent of the world’s water is saline and not fit for human consumption or irrigation. The remaining three per cent is fresh water of which 2.5 per cent is locked ice. The remaining 0.5 per cent makes up our fresh water aquifers and the surface water that sustains all terrestrial life on earth.
The global hydrologic cycle that replenishes this half percent is a process that delivers this finite resource (water) to the world through wind driven circulation cells, each spanning 30 degrees of latitude.
The strongest cell is the Hadley, where warm moisture laden equatorial air rises and flows northward until it cools and deposits as precipitation. Most Canadians live in the Ferrel cell, positioned between the warm wet Hadley and the cold dry polar cell.
Global temperatures influence the amount of moisture these cells carry and where they release it. As global warming takes effect, climate change models predict some parts of Canada will see more moisture and some areas less.
Given 60 per cent of our water flows toward the unpopulated remote north, Canada does not have abundantly available water, making what we do have precious.
Fresh water is not just for drinking; it translates into food production, energy production and drives industry. That tiny half per cent of global fresh water supports everything we know.
Escalating contamination, strained and exhausted aquifers, expanding human populations and global warming are drawing humankind into a fresh water access crisis.
America’s “Great Plains” Ogallala aquifer, that lies beneath eight states and irrigates 27 per cent of U.S. irrigated land, is drying up due to over pumping. Some of us will likely be alive to see the death of that aquifer that is millions of years old.
The pending global water crisis has not escaped the opportunistic attention of multinational corporations. They are making privatization inroads into the consolidation of global water supplies, they have World Trade Organization and World Bank support and they want deregulation.
Under NAFTA, significant control of Canadian resources was lost to the Americans, and many believe that included our water.
The Security and Prosperity Partnership, a secretive trilateral (U.S., Canada, and Mexico) think-tank made up of government officials and corporate leaders, has placed water transfers from Canada to the U.S. on their agenda. This may appear benign, but a global oil industry was born from one well in 1859 in Oil Creek, Pa.
When we look at the history of the oil industry, it is not hard to imagine a future with profit focused American companies controlling Canadian water on the open market. The power that could come from businesses marketing a product, upon which everything depends, could be staggering.
The increasing value of water combined with global shortages could make well-funded legal departments providing advice to disingenuous public relation firms, powerful lobbyists influencing governments, economic disenfranchisement of water-starved nations, increasing global tensions and further marginalization of the domestic poor, reasonable predictions.
Will Canadians, suffering the malaise of perceptual disempowerment, even consider the ethics of whether our future American controlled Canadian fresh water is a global “right of life” or a “right of price”?


0.5%….Thats all the clean, drinkable water on earth. The talk about water as blue gold is true. With water containing iron, sulphur, tannin, salt, chemicals, iron / sulphur bacteria the list goes on and on, its easy to see why it is so precious. Aquifers drying up that are over a million years old reiterates the need for us all to open our eyes and protect the water around us. With more and more people using reverse osmosis and whole house carbon filters for their drinking water, the percentage is growing.  Still a large number of the masses drink what they are given hoping because they pay for it = its clean…

Spencerville Heritage Fair

It was a pretty drizzly day last Sunday so I took the opportunity to drive out to Spencerville. On June 4 and 5, 2011 we here at RainSoft Ottawa will be participating in the Annual Heritage Fair in Spencerville. It was a pleasant drive, about 45 minutes down the 416 and the Spencerville Mill, where all the excitement is to take place, is easy to find and absolutely gorgeous! I am quite excited for the day to arrive and the festivities to begin.

Among the activities are the Militia Muster (which we are sponsoring), the Antiques Appraiser Fair, and a Victorian Tea where, rumour has it, we shall meet Sir John A. himself!

Be sure to mark the date on your calendar and don’t miss the fun. I have been told that plenty of people will be dressing in Victorian costume too so dust off your bonnets.


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Be careful – don’t get burned

Unfortunately, as the world gets bigger and more complicated, it’s hard to know who to trust. Here’s a true story and a little advise from us here at RainSoft Ottawa.

An older lady and long time customer of ours bought an air purifier from a company we shall refer to as “the Snidely Whiplash” company. After a while she called them saying it wasn’t working. It took “the Snidely Whiplash” company two weeks to get to her home and what happened then is hard to believe. The air purifier needed repairs and would have to be taken away but “may we test your water?” They proceeded to look under her kitchen counter, proclaim that the RainSoft R.O. system was outdated and delivering undrinkable water and TWO HOURS later had her talked into one of their brand new systems worth several thousand dollars! They left with her air purifier and the RainSoft R. O. system and have not been back.

You can read between the lines, right? Our system was in perfect working order, having been serviced yearly. Two hours of badgering someone would most certainly wear down the best of us. After about fifteen minutes I would have used some vocabulary that my kids don’t know I know but this customer was old school and I think, felt bullied. So now she has spent thousands of dollars she didn’t need to spend, “the Snidely Whiplash” company has her old R. O. system and her air purifier – more dollars gone – and she is left feeling foolish and ashamed.

We think this kind of behavior is reprehensible. We could not be any more outraged if this customer was our very own mother! We stand behind our products 100% and we stand behind this particular customer 100% should she wish to pursue the matter with “the Snidely Whiplash” company.

So here’s our advise: if you are skeptical (and who wouldn’t be after hearing stories like this) we don’t mind. In fact, we encourage it. Due your due diligence, phone the Better Business Bureau, ask us for references, talk to us a lot. RainSoft has been in business for 59 years, in Ottawa for 40 and here at Canotek for 12. We live here, we work here, we play here. We are your neighbours and we’re not going anywhere. We want you to be happy with our product and our service. We do not want you to buy stuff you don’t need or don’t want. I know it’s getting hard to believe these days but some if us still care about our reputation and about treating people with courtesy and respect.

To “the Snidely Whiplash” company……………..

Buying a house in the country?

Lots of properties in the country surrounding Ottawa are on wells and septic systems. If you are out house hunting in those areas, it pays to have a little knowledge under your belt. There is a lot of useful information on the

CMHC website.

Remember, if there is a problem, you can count on RainSoft  613-742-0058

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Well – is it April tomorrow already? Wow, the older I get the faster time flies. We had a booth at both the GreenExpo and the Spring Home and Garden Show so the office has been busy. I guess I have been a little too preoccupied to notice that most of the snow is gone and the Canadian geese are back. If you’re like me, now is the time that thoughts turn to home improvement; spring cleaning, back yard clean-up, maybe even some new lawn chairs or a B-B-Q. How’s your water supply? Does it need a spring clean-up too?

If you weren’t able to visit us at the GreenExpo, go to

Youtube and then call us 613-742-0058