Sticker Shock and the Nation’s Drinking Water Infrastructure Challenges
Fred M. Reiff, P.E.

WaterMainBreak

Water main break
Photo credit: EPA.gov

Over five years have passed since I wrote a 2-part series of articles titled “Pain at the Pipe.” Part 1 focused on why the US should respond to systemic drinking water infrastructure needs, while Part 2 addressed the consequences of failing to address those needs. Since then, drinking water infrastructure-related needs, as well as public health failures like Flint, Michigan, continue to make the news nationally and regionally, and have been highlighted in recent WQ&HC perspectives. In this article, I would like to focus on recent estimates of the magnitude and cost of the problem, and share some ideas regarding the need to establish realistic priorities, keeping in mind the axiom: If everything is a priority, nothing is a priority.

Size of the Problem

There are over 150,000 active public drinking water systems in the US that collectively deliver treated water … READ MORE >>

READ MORE >>

Easter Egg Safety
By the Water Quality & Health Council

Dying Easter eggs and organizing Easter egg hunts are treasured traditions in many families. Enjoying these traditions safely—without foodborne illness—is a matter of following a few commonsense guidelines. We provide the following Easter egg safety tips based on US Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommendations with our wishes for a healthy, enjoyable holiday.

Buying Eggs

Buy eggs from a refrigerated case. Open the carton and inspect for clean, uncracked shells. The egg carton should be imprinted with a USDA grade shield and indicate a future “sell by” date (see photos below).

Egg CartonRefrigerating Eggs

Any bacteria present in an egg can multiply quickly at room temperature, so refrigerate eggs as soon as possible after purchasing them. The USDA recommends storing eggs in their carton in the coldest part of the refrigerator (40 degrees F or below). Do not store eggs on the refrigerator door shelf, which is warmer than interior areas.

Screen Shot 2017-04-12 at 5.24.33 PMRefrigerated … READ MORE >>

READ MORE >>

Fancy Meeting You Here! Targeting Household Germs in Unexpected Places
By Linda F. Golodner

PerspectivesPic1When the weather warms up after a long winter, I get the urge to throw open windows and tackle spring cleaning chores. It’s a great feeling of accomplishment to complete these chores, but I recently learned from WebMD that some of the germiest places in homes are not even on most people’s radar. The table below, based on information from WebMD, lists the most unexpected hiding places for household germs, the reasons why they thrive in those places, and how you can reduce their unwanted presence.

 

Germ Hangout

Why They Love it There

What to Do About it

Kitchen sponge For germs, the kitchen sponge is a moist maze of top-notch dwelling places. Not only is there regular contact with water, but there is also often plenty of food debris swept up in sponges to sustain germs.

According to WebMD, your kitchen sponge is probably the dirtiest thing in

READ MORE >> READ MORE >>

Preventing Infection with Environmental Controls: A “Broad-spectrum” Approach
By the Water Quality & Health Council

Environmental ControlsAs reports of the dangers of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and “superbug” infections continue to make headlines, we think the time is right to consider the environmental controls at our disposal for fighting the spread of infectious illness. Environmental controls lower the risk of infection by taking the fight against pathogens into the environment. Once implemented, environmental controls can be thought of as offering “broad-spectrum” antibiotic protection.  

Examples of Environmental Controls in Preventing Infection

Disinfecting frequently touched surfaces: Hand contact with pathogens on frequently touched surfaces, such as door knobs and hand rails, is a common way to spread infection. Surfaces may look clean but looks can be deceiving, and the surface may be teeming with germs invisible to the naked eye.  Once hands are contaminated, the host has only to touch his or her face—especially the eyes, nose or mouth—to increase the likelihood of infection. Regularly disinfecting frequently touched surfaces READ MORE >>

READ MORE >>

World Water Day 2017: Why Waste Water?
By Joan B. Rose, Ph.D.

3_Card_WWD2017Every year on March 22, the world community celebrates World Water Day by highlighting a water-related theme. This year’s theme, “Why Waste Water?” is linked to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #6, to “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.” With a clever play on words, “Why Waste Water?” encourages us to (a) question the wasteful use of clean, treated water and (b) give some thought to “wastewater.”

Why a Focus on Wastewater?

In a circular economy, many resources are reused successfully, but wastewater remains a largely untapped resource. Does it seem odd to classify wastewater as a resource? Despite the fact that more than 80 percent of wastewater produced globally is discharged untreated into the environment, in a few places, especially where water is scarce, wastewater undergoes extensive treatment to produce high quality drinking water.

In addition to being a source of drinking … READ MORE >>

READ MORE >>

Subscribe to receive the weekly "Water Quality & Health Council Perspectives"