October 28, 2016

Shigella Outbreak in Flint, Michigan Adds to City’s Woes

A Shigella outbreak in Flint, Michigan in Genesee County is compounding the trouble in that city that began when an administrator appointed by Governor Rick Snyder switched the city's water supply from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department to the Flint River to save money. Government officials did not treat the water with anti-corrosive compounds. Residents began complaining almost immediately about foul-smelling, discolored water. The water was so corrosive it leached lead from old pipes in the city's water system and homes. Many of the city's children have now suffered lead poisoning, with possibly permanent health consequences. A Legionnaires' Disease outbreak, which sickened 87 people and killed 10 people, may have also been connected to the water switch, although no … [Read more...]

Avoid Blue-Green Algae in Lakes and Ponds

The Minnesota Department of Health is warning people to avoid blue-green algae in lakes, streams, and ponds. This algae can cause illness to humans and has killed many dogs. Blue-green algal blooms were reported in lakes across the state last summer. Two people got sick, and many dogs died after exposure to the algae. These blooms usually start in June, but spring has been warm this year, so the growth may have already begun. Blue-green algae usually has an unpleasant smell and most people avoid it. But people can become ill after they swim, boat, water ski, or bathe in water that has this toxic algae. Swallowing the algae, or having skin contact with the water can cause illness. In addition, breathing in tiny droplets of water in the air can make you sick. The symptoms of … [Read more...]

Sioux City Officials Released Sewage with E. Coli into Missouri River

Sioux City officials are facing penalties for releasing improperly treated sewage that contained E. coli bacteria into the Missouri River. The illegal discharges from the Sioux City Wastewater Treatment Plant took place between March 2012 and June 2015. The Iowa Sierra Club wants federal authorities to file criminal charges against the men responsible, because the Iowa DNR says that criminal charges are not warranted . The Iowa Department of Natural Resources wants the state's Attorney General Tom Miller to file civil suit against the city. Allegedly, twelve federal provisions, seven Iowa codes, and one Iowa code provision were violated. the DNR received a tip in April 2016 that the city was operating the disinfection system for wastewater in violation of the National Pollutant … [Read more...]

Flint’s Water Supply: Lead and Legionnaires’ Disease

Severe water quality problems in Flint Michigan have caught the eye of consumer advocates and activists around the country. In 2014, the city disconnected the city from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department and provided residents with water from the Flint River because it was cheaper. Residents noticed changes in the color, taste, and smell coming out of their taps right away. Testing showed high levels of bacteria, which forced city administrators to issue boil advisories, and to increase the amount of chlorine put into the water. That meant the water also contained high levels of "potentially carcinogenic disinfectant byproducts," according to Food & Water Watch. Because this water was more corrosive, lead leached into Flint's drinking water. And now many residents have lead … [Read more...]

Brain Eating Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water

Last Wednesday, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals found the amoeba Naegleria fowleri in St. Bernard Parish water system at a leaking sampling station. This system provides water for 44,000 residents in that parish. Louisiana has a new public drinking water surveillance program and this testing is part of that program. On July 28, 2015, the DHH issued another report stating that the Naegleria fowler amoeba was found in the Ascension Consolidated Utility District 1, which serves 1,800 residents in a small community north of Donaldsonville. A 60-day chlorine burn will be conducted at that site as well. That water system was not in compliance with the requirements for chloramine disinfectant levels. Tap water is safe for residents to drink, but, do not let the water get in … [Read more...]

Brainerd MN Will Not Chlorinate City Water Supply

The city of Brianerd, Minnesota will not chlorinate its city water supply, the public utilities commission decided this week.  With a population of about 13,500 people, Brainered draws its water from an aquifer 170 feet below the city and has never added the chemical to to its water. But last month, a storm created conditions that could have contaminate the water supply with bacteria. So, the system was flushed with chlorine. With the problems created by the storm resolved, the public utilities commission had to decide whether to continue the use of chlorine. The vote on Tuesday was unanimous to end the use of the chemical. Brainerd residents are fond of the taste of their water and  didn't want it altered. This was the third time in 30 years that the city's water supply was … [Read more...]

Toledo, OH Residents Urged to Not Drink or Touch the Water

The City of Toledo, Ohio has posted an urgent notice for residents of Toledo and Lucas counties who receive water from the city: do not drink or touch the water. The water is contaminated with algal toxins that boiling cannot remove. In fact, boiling will increase the concentration of the toxins. This notice applies to ALL customers of Toledo water. Water should not be consumed until the all clear is issued. Do not give this water to pets. Do not use the water for washing, showering, bathing, brushing teeth, making ice, preparing infant formula, or for cleaning. And do not use it to wash food. Filtration systems will not remove the toxins. In addition, restaurants and food facilities are being asked to temporarily suspend their operations unless they can guarantee no consumption of tap … [Read more...]

E. coli in Portland Oregon Water System Leads to Boil Notice

The Portland Water Bureau issued a Boil Water Notice to all of its customers on May 23, 2014 after E. coli was found in the drinking water supply. The affected areas include Portland Water Bureau, Burlington, City of Gresham north of I-84, Lake Grove, Lorna Portland, Palatine HIll, Rockwood, Tigard Water Service Area (including Durham, King City and Bull Mountain), Valley View, and West Slope Water Districts. The number of people affected by this notice is about 670,000. Water samples taken at three locations tested positive for E. coli over a three day period. They were collected at the outlets of Mount Tabor Reservoirs 1 and 5, and at the SE 2nd Avenue and Salmon Street water sampling station. Those reservoirs have been taken offline. All customers should boil all tap water used … [Read more...]

Focus of World Water Day 2014 is Energy

The focus of World Water Day 2014 is energy. The United Nations designated March 22, 1993 World Water Day and it has been observed annually since then as  a day to focus attention on freshwater resources.  Each year, a different aspect of freshwater management is highlighted. This year's focus is energy. Organizers hope this year's observance will raise awareness of the link between water and energy,  contribute to the policy conversation in this area, and demonstrate how integrated approaches to these issues can achieve better results. "Particular attention will be paid to identifying best practices that can make a water- and energy-efficient 'Green Industry' a reality," according to the UN 's Water website. At least 780 million people throughout the world lack access to safe … [Read more...]

Nephros Water Filtration Products Recalled

After the news about the chemical spill in West Virginia, and coal ash in the Dan River in North Carolina, many people are looking into water filtration products. Two products have been recalled because they "pose risks to health, potentially resulting in sickness or death" according to the FDA. One person has died and one person has contracted an infection as a result of these products. The products are Nephros non-medical water filtration SafeSpout and SafeShower products. All production lots are recalled. The products were manufactured between July 2011 and September 2013 and distributed between October 2011 and October 2013. They are SafeSpout 70-0233 and 70-0238; SafeShower HH (Hand Held) 70-0237; and SafeShower FH (Fixed Head) 70-0236. Exposure to harmful bacteria could occur … [Read more...]

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