Tag Archives: WaterCanada

Drinking water ~ Are we still hooked on plastic?

BOTTLE BANThe following article, “Tapping In – Are municipal bans on bottled water effective in driving sustainable behaviours around drinking water? by Ashlee Jollymore appeared in watercanada’s July/Aug. issue.
Depending on where you are, it may be getting harder to buy a bottle of water. In response to concerns over the environmental, economic, and social impacts of bottled water, local governments in many parts of North America have enacted or considered restrictions on bottled water sales. Most SAN BRIDGEnotably, the City of San Francisco banned bottled water sales on most city-owned properties, making it the largest local government in North America to do so. But are outright bans the best way to promote sustainable choices?
CHARTThe most common argument for restricting the sale of bottled water stems from its environmental footprint. The average Canadian drinks nearly 70 litres of bottled water a year, an increase of 107.3 per cent since 1999. Canadians dispose of RECYCLING CHARTat least a billion plastic water bottles per year. The best case scenario for disposal is recycling and, although rates in Canada are relatively high, recycling is energy intensive and can result in down-cycled materials. Bottles not recycled are diverted to landfills, and in the worst case, become litter in natural environments like oceans, lakes, and rivers.
Opponents to bottled water restrictions highlight the recyclability of plastic bottles and say campaigns to increase recycling are effective at decreasing waste. Opponents also cite the protection of individual freedoms and note that it should be up to the consumer to decide.
Shifting to tap
While bottled water is far from the only type of packaged beverage available to consumers, its impacts are singled out because of concerns over selling water as a product for large corporate profit. Our societal indecision over how to think about water, alternating between water as a commodity and public resource critical for life, “spurs an emotional response that is not seen for other types of
packaged beverages,” said Elizabeth Griswold, the Image result for Canadian Bottled Water Associationexecutive director of the Canadian Bottled Water Association.

In 2009, bottled water sales comprised only 10 per cent of the Canadian non-alcoholic beverage market (with carbonated soft drinks comprising 17 per cent). “Bottled water doesn’t compete with tap water—it competes with other bottled beverages,” Griswold said. “Consumers who are drinking bottled water are replacing it with soft drinks, juice, coffee, all of which come in packaging.” So, how can a ban ensure consumers drink tap water rather than buy a soda?
Image result for convincing the public to drink tap waterThe logistical challenge around implementing bottled water bans is convincing the public to drink tap water as well as ensuring convenient access through fountains, refilling stations, and taps. Consumer perception surveys show that convenience is the most cited reason people drink bottled water, followed by quality Water Pollutantspreferences (including concerns over health impacts as well as taste and aesthetic preferences). Other surveys have shown Canadians tend to trust their municipalities to provide water services and are, for the most part, satisfied with the quality of tap water.
Local governments considering or enacting bans take both points seriously. For a ban to be successful, “Students have to be educated in order to reduce demand for bottled water while also improving infrastructure and access to tap water,” according to Veronika Bylicki of Tap That!, a University of British Columbia group advocating for water alternatives on campus.
In 2009, the City of Toronto banned the sale of plastic bottles in its parks and facilities, including those with business tenants such as civic squares. It focused on a social media and marketing campaign highlighting its motivations and the high quality of municipal water. This helped reduce opposition from citizens, businesses, and vendors affected.
“ Ending the sale of bottled water is necessary to change habits. We can educate for years, and there will still be people who otherwise won’t change to more sustainable habits.” —Veronika Bylicki
“Once they understood what we were trying to do, which was of course environmental, and that our tap water is at least as good as bottled, then it was just business as usual,” said Douglas Reid, manager of facilities for the City of Toronto. “It’s all been pretty positive, really.” He also added there has a been a decrease in the city’s recycling load.
Given that bottled water is extensively marketed to consumers, bans also send a strong message about its cultural acceptability. But altering behaviours and getting people to choose tap water even if they have other choices is a more difficult undertaking.
“People probably do switch to other beverages,” Reid said, adding that “the ban is doing what it is supposed to. If people are drinking water, they are drinking tap water, so environmentally we are doing better. But are we getting people to drink more tap water? That we just don’t know.”
A ban’s greatest strength may be the potency of the message it sends around drinking tap water as the best option. Since the City of Toronto enacted its ban in 2012, Reid said he sees a lot more reusable water bottles around. “It’s one of a number of tools, but it certainly hammers home the point in an effective way,” he said.
ASHLEEAshlee Jollymore is a
biogeochemist and PhD
candidate in the ecohydrology
group at the University of
British Columbia.


PEI potato industry lobbies for deep well


The following excerpt from “Hot Potato – The Prince Edward Island potato industry is lobbying for deep-well permits, but not without great resistance” by Rachel Phan appeared in WaterCanada’s Mar/Apr issue.

POTATO BOARDOn the East Coast of Canada, a contentious debate rages on over the Prince Edward Island Potato Board’s request to have a moratorium lifted on deep-well water extraction for irrigation.
CAVENDISHThe board, along with industry giant Cavendish Farms, began a full-scale lobby effort in January 2014 to push for deep-well permits, saying science indicates the Island has a high water-recharge rate. This has been met with significant backlash from environmentalists, citizen’s groups, and political parties that say extracting tonnes of water out of the Island’s deep water aquifer is risky business, especially since Prince Edward Island relies exclusively on groundwater. “High-volume extraction could mean individual wells could dry up. There aren’t a lot of central water systems here in TODD DUPUISP.E.I.,” said Todd Dupuis, executive director of regional programs for the Atlantic Salmon Federation. “Often the country folk have their own wells, and if they’re in close proximity to a monster  well that’s taking a lot of water out of the  ground, it can actually really lower the  water table to the point where your well  no longer produces water.”
The moratorium, which was initially intended to be in place for a year, has been in place since 2001. In the more than 10 years since the moratorium was put in place, the Prince Edward Island department of environment has studied the Island’s water recharge GROUND WATER EXTRACTIONrate. It released a provincial water extraction policy earlier this year around the same time the potato board began its lobby efforts, sparking claims the province is working in the interest of potato growers. The policy noted the province has “abundant groundwater recharge” of approximately two billion cubic metres a year, contradicting recent reports of a dwindling water supply in the province. (For more on this, see bit.ly/peiwater.)
LINKLETTER“The department of environment found that […] less than seven per cent of the P.E. I. groundwater is used by all users,” said Gary Linkletter, chairman of the Prince Edward Island Potato Board. “Of that seven per cent, […] industrial uses about 30 per cent and residential about 60 per cent. Currently, irrigation is hardly even a player in P.E.I. groundwater use. “If there was a real concern about water use, these other users are the ones where a LOGOmoratorium would actually make a difference. […] We feel it is only proper and fair that agriculture not be subject to the current, very selective moratorium.” Prince Edward Island potato growers have said that, without deep-water wells, productivity will decline and lead to the reduction of the province’s $1-billion potato industry. Some growers have expressed concerns over staying competitive, especially since American farmers can sometimes KEVIN MCISSACharvest twice the amount of potatoes from one acre. “We’re not even close to that in Canada because we don’t have the longer growing season or access to irrigation,” Kevin MacIsaac, chair of the United Potato Growers of Canada, told The Guardian…
“[Growers] add more fertilizer than they need, and that stuff is very water soluble and full of nitrate and phosphate,” Dupuis said. PEI GROUNDWATER SUPPLY“There’s always stuff left over: it leeches down into the soil, and the soil in P.E.I. is sandstone, so it is very porous. The water up high is latent with fertilizer and percolates down.”
Linkletter said the contamination of aquifers by fertilizers is actually exacerbated by dry conditions. “Proper moisture conditions for the crop to grow would reduce what fertilizer is left in the soil. […] It would be more likely to reduce problems rather than increase them.”
DEEP WELL IRRIGATIONHe added that the deep-well extraction for irrigation would only occur for a very limited portion of the year, and that such wells would be monitored to ensure “responsible supplemental irrigation.”
Since the potato industry has made its request to the province to remove the moratorium, there has been an impassioned response from concerned islanders who are attending usually empty 011514Daryl Guignion for Nigel's story ion deep water welle.committee meetings in droves. A February 26 meeting was attended by 200 Prince Edward Islanders, including biologist Darryl Guignon, who said, “None of us have been asked anything about this. Nor the department of fisheries and oceans, nor the public! It’s our water for heaven’s sake, and we can’t even have an input in a water policy?”
JANICE SHERRYEnvironment Minister Janice Sherry has said the provincial government will not make a decision on deep-well irrigation and the moratorium will not be lifted until there is further proof that such practices would not diminish the quantity or quality of Prince Edward Island’s groundwater.

Rachel Phan is Water Canada’s managing editor.




Excerpts from “Rust Never Sleeps” – A lack of pipe cleaning standards contributes to perennial corrosion issues, from Mar/Apr issue of WaterCanada by Randy Cooper.

If a corroded metallic water pipe is cleaned but not coated or lined, it will simply corrode again, often at an accelerated rate. As aging water assets reach the end of their lives, leaks, breaks, and decreased hydraulic performance are increasingly evident across Canada. RUST6PHOTOPADOld metallic pipes are often rife with rust (due to corrosion), sediment, old coatings, and even biological growth that can negatively affect water quality. BURST WATER MAINAs pipes become clogged, greater pressures are required to deliver water… In water main systems, we have main bursts.

“Burst water main spout 250 ft. fountain”, published Oct. 29, 2012 – A burst water main sends a massive jet of water the height of a 13-story building raining down over a suburb in Melbourne, Australia.
TRENCHLESS2One solution for aging pipes is to clean them out and reline them using TRENCHLESStrenchless technologies.      These operations entail digging small surgical pits in the ground to gain access to buried water pipes. Once the pipe is opened and properly cleaned, a new liner can be installed and secured…
LINING2Liners are typically designed to last fifty years, greatly improving water quality and quantity, and substantially lowering maintenance costs, including leakage, main breaks, and pumping costs.
RUSTY WATER FROM PIPESA whole new set of challenges emerges as we prepare to install pipe liners. Firstly, if a corroded metallic water pipe is cleaned but not coated or lined, it will simply corrode again, often at an accelerated rate, producing foul-tasting, “red”(rusty) water in the process. In other words, while cleaning is necessary, it does not exactly solve the problem. Secondly, if the old pipe is not properly cleaned and prepared prior to lining, the new liner may eventually leak again or even fail prematurely. It is not enough to clean the pipe – it has to be cleaned properly, and this is no small 
task. SCRAPERThere are many old methods for pipe cleaning, each of which provides strikingly different outcomes. They vary from simply swabbing a pipe using a foam plug to radical intervention using a powered, metal scraper…  A judgment call determines what is actually clean. There is seldom, if ever, any quantitative measure of “clean” or “surface preparation,” or “dryness” or  “liner bond.” In fact, these terms are not defined anywhere. There is no federal,  provincial, or professional standard, nor is there any recognized manual of best practices that provides a substantive, quantitative measure for cleaning old water pipes. Given the challenge of failing  infrastructure, there simply must be.

RELINING PIPEEvery pipe liner that is brought into service will see variations in water pressure over its life, from system operating pressures to test pressures and transient surge pressures (also known as water hammer). In addition, these liners will have to stand up under soil and traffic loads, continued corrosion, temperature swings, and variations in water chemistry. In order to keep them leak-free over their design lives and tightly conforming to the old pipe, good cleaning practices need to be standardized with quantitative, measured outcomes… NACE LOGOFor instance, the National Association of Corrosion Engineers (NACE) is a professional body with expertise in pipeline corrosion.  NACE promulgates standards for the cleanliness and protection of metallic  substrates (including pipelines) against corrosion prior to coating in many related applications. Similarly, the American Society for Testing and Materials produces standards for the testing of cleanliness and bond. The adaptation and  Incorporation of these established practices and standards into a pipe cleaning  standard just makes sense. So, what are we waiting for? Government and  professional associations need to step forward now to develop and implement  a cleaning standard at the dawn of this renewal era.

– stains in sinks and tubs
– damage to pipes
– damage to appliances and fixtures
– health concerns – drinking water
– home resale value




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