Lead has been a hot topic for consumers and the media for many years. We all have heard about the deterioration of U.S. water distribution systems, lead service lines, extremely high levels of lead in Washington, D.C.’s drinking water because of a change from chlorine to chloramine, lead in paint, lead in toys, new lead content laws in California and Vermont (soon to be national)—concerns about lead that will never go away.
Challenges in creating a consistent lead certification protocol
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) released a report in August revealing that 20% of untreated water samples from wells across the U.S. contain concentrations of trace elements exceeding human health benchmarks. Raissa Rocha, editorial intern for Water Quality Products, spoke with Joe Ayotte, USGS hydrologist and lead author of the study, about the report and the occurrence of trace elements in groundwater.
Raissa Rocha: What was the purpose of this study?
In recent days, groundwater has been gaining attention. Increased hydraulic fracturing operations have caused controversy over potential methane gas contamination. Reports indicate that groundwater aquifers, especially in the drought-prone southwestern U.S., are being depleted more quickly than they can be recharged. Surveys, like the one recently released by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), reveal that contaminants such as arsenic are widespread in the nation’s water wells.
In July 2011, the California Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC) issued its first annual report on plumbing products sampled and tested for lead concentrations in 2010. All drinking water faucets that were sampled and tested were reported to comply with the state’s new low-lead law.
California checks for compliance with its first round of product testing
Many adverse ecological effects have been attributed to pharmaceutical and personal care products (PPCPs) and endocrine-disrupting compounds (EDCs), but it is not clear what risk they pose to human health. In the past, water was known to contain these chemicals, but the exact amount was difficult to quantify. Recently, these chemicals have gained much more attention.
Treatment solutions for chemicals affecting human health
When the McGraw Hill Data Center in East Windsor, N.J., was being built, the local municipal authority informed the company that it did not have the capacity to support the makeup water for the data center’s condensers or chill water plant. A new well was drilled to serve the plant; however, the groundwater supply had iron and manganese levels that exceeded regulatory limits.
System resolves high contaminant concentrations for data center
Worldwide, engineered plastic connectors and tubing are used in the water quality industry for a host of residential, commercial and industrial applications. From water treatment and filtration to beverage dispensing and ice making, there are several sound reasons for their widespread use.
Low-lead plastic products are ready for federal lead legislation
Activated carbon is commonly used in point-of-use (POU) and point-of-entry (POE) water applications. Activated carbon is predominantly used to remove organic-based contaminants and inorganic contaminants like free chlorine and monochloramine from water. Other water treatment processes such as reverse osmosis or ion exchange are better suited for other inorganic chemicals that may be present in water.
Factors impacting contaminant removal
Elevated levels of arsenic, iron and manganese prompted Brandywine Elementary School in Greenfield, Ind., a small town just east of Indianapolis, to seek a treatment solution for the school’s drinking water. The water system is served by one well that provides drinking water for approximately 330 students in kindergarten to fifth grade.
In July 2009, Ladd Eng. Inc. contacted AdEdge Technologies Inc. to provide a proposal for the Brandywine Elementary School in the Southern Hancock School District.
System remedies elementary school’s high arsenic, iron and manganese