Featured Archive

  • Hydration & Fitness: No One-Size-Fits All. After cancer,  Alzheimer’s — with its progressive damage to nerve cells, memory loss, impaired thinking, difficulties with verbal communication, and even personality changes — is the second most feared disease, according to an international survey. Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in America. Over five million in the US. have the disease and it is estimated that it will affect millions more in the years to come. As most of us know, someone with Alzheimer’s disease can live for years, even decades when, the disease becomes a huge emotional, physical, and economic burden on families. Reading through emails this morning, there was my daily blast from the Harvard Medical School that suggested ways of lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, including the need to keep important health numbers (cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar, etc) within a safe range along with taking an accurate waistline measurement. But for most of us, other recommendations followed the general advice of maintaining a healthy weight through diet and regular exercise. As I extend my research beyond water for health to the need for fitness, what’s becoming clearer is that there really is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to mindful eating and exercise. What works for me may or may not work for you. Pilates masters, for example, say that the Pilates exercises you do at your Barre studio may have some relationship to Pilates, but they are not the same as the Pilates exercises that Joseph H. Pilates conceived and are practiced at classical Pilates studios. Similarly, my field of focus for years has been drinking water. And what I know is that not all water is the same. Hydration through sugary drinks, which soft drinks touted as a benefit (“Who know Coke Hydrates?” was a Coke slogan) is not the same as drinking water from the tap. And tap water may not be the same as drinking bottled water, which while it has its environmental drawbacks, can be better than tap water when taken from a pure source and hasn’t traveled through miles of pipes only to be dumped at your door step and left for homeowners to finish the job of filtering out any unwanted taste, odors or unregulated compounds. For more on ways to help prevent Alzheimer’s as well as information on diagnosing and treating it, search for A Guide to Coping with Alzheimer’s Disease from Harvard Medical School. Share on Facebook

    Hydration & Fitness: There is No One-Size-Fits-All

    Hydration & Fitness: No One-Size-Fits All. After cancer,  Alzheimer’s — with its progressive damage to nerve cells, memory loss, impaired thinking, difficulties with verbal communication, and even personality changes — is the second most feared disease, according to an international survey. Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in America. Over five million in the US. have the disease and it is estimated that it will affect millions more in the years to come. As most of us know, someone with Alzheimer’s disease can live for years, even decades when, the disease becomes a huge emotional, physical, and economic burden on families. Reading through emails this morning, there was my daily blast from the Harvard Medical School that suggested ways of lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, including the need to keep important health numbers (cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar, etc) within a safe range along with taking an accurate waistline measurement. But for most of us, other recommendations followed the general advice of maintaining a healthy weight through diet and regular exercise. As I extend my research beyond water for health to the need for fitness, what’s becoming clearer is that there really is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to mindful eating and exercise. What works for me may or may not work for you. Pilates masters, for example, say that the Pilates exercises you do at your Barre studio may have some relationship to Pilates, but they are not the same as the Pilates exercises that Joseph H. Pilates conceived and are practiced at classical Pilates studios. Similarly, my field of focus for years has been drinking water. And what I know is that not all water is the same. Hydration through sugary drinks, which soft drinks touted as a benefit (“Who know Coke Hydrates?” was a Coke slogan) is not the same as drinking water from the tap. And tap water may not be the same as drinking bottled water, which while it has its environmental drawbacks, can be better than tap water when taken from a pure source and hasn’t traveled through miles of pipes only to be dumped at your door step and left for homeowners to finish the job of filtering out any unwanted taste, odors or unregulated compounds. For more on ways to help prevent Alzheimer’s as well as information on diagnosing and treating it, search for A Guide to Coping with Alzheimer’s Disease from Harvard Medical School. Share on Facebook

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  • Imagine this. With minimal warning you are told on one of the hottest weeks of Summer with a heat index over 100 that your tap water will be shut off for the foreseeable future. India, Pakistan, Africa? None of these. It happened to 100,000 residents of Prince Georges (PG)  County, Maryland–a community just outside Washington, DC–in July 2013. Life is full of work-arounds. You avoid a traffic snarl by taking a back road. People in Prince Georges County were told to fill bath tubs and buy bottled water. One resident recalls purchasing 42 gallons. Businesses too were on their own. Problems like this in part help explain the controversy surrounding tap water in America. But so do marketing efforts that confuse people. Inside the beltway, DC Water promotes tap only. Home water treatment company Brita, a division of Clorox, challenges people to ban the bottle. Some, like Culligan, have even used print advertising to suggest that people may not actually know what’s in their tap water. Most of us carry around two sets of ideas. In a new study, the Young & Rubicam advertising agency concluded that while we may profess one idea, we often conceal another motivation. People may say that they are either for or against tap water or bottled water, but in reality they may consume both, or even substitute a different beverage for water. Working around all the vested interests in drinking water in America, Michelle Obama and the Partnership for a Healthier America launched a simple and sweet initiative to encourage each of us to make an easy choice to improve our health and well-being. Uniting the World of Drinking Water Mrs. Obama’s big idea? Drink more water. “I’ve come to realize that if we were going to take just one step to make ourselves and our families healthier, probably the single best thing we could do is to simply drink more water every day,” the First Lady said during a kickoff event in Watertown, Wisconsin on September 12. Still, a spokesman for Mrs. Obama was asked to clarify if this includes bottled water. It does. “Whether it comes from a faucet, an underground spring, a rambling river or a plastic bottle, the message is: ‘Drink up.” Partisan rancor being what it now is, however, an initiative to get Americans to drink more water–backed by the American Beverage Association and the International Bottled Water Association–ignited controversy and prompted skepticism among some citizen interest groups promoting tap water over bottled water and others who challenge the 8×8 convention. While the health benefits of drinking water are well understood, there is confusion about whether we need to drink eight 8-ounces glasses each day. Further, environmental groups that want people to avoid drinking from plastic water bottles were also uncomfortable with the announcement, even though for close to a billion people on our planet there is no such thing as safe and pure water from a tap and these groups, it seems, typically fail to include other plastic […]

    Safe Water, Fresh Look at the Tap

    Imagine this. With minimal warning you are told on one of the hottest weeks of Summer with a heat index over 100 that your tap water will be shut off for the foreseeable future. India, Pakistan, Africa? None of these. It happened to 100,000 residents of Prince Georges (PG)  County, Maryland–a community just outside Washington, DC–in July 2013. Life is full of work-arounds. You avoid a traffic snarl by taking a back road. People in Prince Georges County were told to fill bath tubs and buy bottled water. One resident recalls purchasing 42 gallons. Businesses too were on their own. Problems like this in part help explain the controversy surrounding tap water in America. But so do marketing efforts that confuse people. Inside the beltway, DC Water promotes tap only. Home water treatment company Brita, a division of Clorox, challenges people to ban the bottle. Some, like Culligan, have even used print advertising to suggest that people may not actually know what’s in their tap water. Most of us carry around two sets of ideas. In a new study, the Young & Rubicam advertising agency concluded that while we may profess one idea, we often conceal another motivation. People may say that they are either for or against tap water or bottled water, but in reality they may consume both, or even substitute a different beverage for water. Working around all the vested interests in drinking water in America, Michelle Obama and the Partnership for a Healthier America launched a simple and sweet initiative to encourage each of us to make an easy choice to improve our health and well-being. Uniting the World of Drinking Water Mrs. Obama’s big idea? Drink more water. “I’ve come to realize that if we were going to take just one step to make ourselves and our families healthier, probably the single best thing we could do is to simply drink more water every day,” the First Lady said during a kickoff event in Watertown, Wisconsin on September 12. Still, a spokesman for Mrs. Obama was asked to clarify if this includes bottled water. It does. “Whether it comes from a faucet, an underground spring, a rambling river or a plastic bottle, the message is: ‘Drink up.” Partisan rancor being what it now is, however, an initiative to get Americans to drink more water–backed by the American Beverage Association and the International Bottled Water Association–ignited controversy and prompted skepticism among some citizen interest groups promoting tap water over bottled water and others who challenge the 8×8 convention. While the health benefits of drinking water are well understood, there is confusion about whether we need to drink eight 8-ounces glasses each day. Further, environmental groups that want people to avoid drinking from plastic water bottles were also uncomfortable with the announcement, even though for close to a billion people on our planet there is no such thing as safe and pure water from a tap and these groups, it seems, typically fail to include other plastic […]

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  • The next time you feel like foraging in the cupboard or fridge, consider that mindless snacking can pack on the pounds. Cleveland Clinic registered dietitians teamed up during Summer 2012 to suggest healthy alternatives to time-honored comfort foods. This included getting tough on soft drinks. Here’s what they wrote, “Pop open a can of soda when you’re thirsty, and you’ll feel refreshed. But you’re basically drinking sugar water with zero nutritional value. For a healthier alternative, try making a juice spritzer. Add a splash of soda water, diet ginger ale or diet lemon-lime soda to half a cup of 100 percent grape, orange or cranberry-blend juice with ice. Or cool off with diet tonic water and a wedge of lemon.” Better yet, the dietitians recommend drinking water — “It truly is ‘the real thing!” Source: Rethinking Snacks & Comfort Foods: 7 Tips — Health Hub from Cleveland Clinic http://bit.ly/UFOsCG]   Share on Facebook

    Thirsty? Get tough on soft drinks.

    The next time you feel like foraging in the cupboard or fridge, consider that mindless snacking can pack on the pounds. Cleveland Clinic registered dietitians teamed up during Summer 2012 to suggest healthy alternatives to time-honored comfort foods. This included getting tough on soft drinks. Here’s what they wrote, “Pop open a can of soda when you’re thirsty, and you’ll feel refreshed. But you’re basically drinking sugar water with zero nutritional value. For a healthier alternative, try making a juice spritzer. Add a splash of soda water, diet ginger ale or diet lemon-lime soda to half a cup of 100 percent grape, orange or cranberry-blend juice with ice. Or cool off with diet tonic water and a wedge of lemon.” Better yet, the dietitians recommend drinking water — “It truly is ‘the real thing!” Source: Rethinking Snacks & Comfort Foods: 7 Tips — Health Hub from Cleveland Clinic http://bit.ly/UFOsCG]   Share on Facebook

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  • http://www.seacoastonline.com/articles/20110814-LIFE-108140309   By Pam Stuppy August 14, 2011 2:00 AM The word is out — Americans in general consume too much sugar in one form or another. The recently revised Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that we modify our sweet tooth (our intake of “added sugars”). The American Heart Association goes into more detail. It specifies no more than 100 calories (25gm) a day from added sugars for women and no more than 150 calories (about 38gm) for men. Where did this sweets craving begin and how did it get out of hand? It is normal for humans to like sweet tastes. Studies show that even newborn babies prefer sweet flavors. Unfortunately, the number of sweet foods in the marketplace has grown (along with our waistlines and medical issues). Instead of sweet foods being an occasional treat, we now expect sweets more often. Tooth decay, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and other health concerns are associated with this change in dietary habits. Another problem is that these foods tend to be lower in nutrients than the less sweet options. The good news is that there are a number of small steps you can take to move toward the recommendation to reduce your sugar intake. Gradually weaning yourself to lesser amounts of sugar will allow time for your taste buds to get used to the change. If you crave sugar, it may be because of the type and timing of your food intake throughout the day. Leaving wide gaps between eating episodes leaves you vulnerable to grabbing the nearest sweet treat — and often over-consuming it. A better idea is to preplan healthy meals and snacks with gaps of no more than about three to four hours. Protein and fiber in a meal or snack slow down the digestion of carbohydrates. This means the carbs provide energy over several hours instead of rushing in and getting used up quickly, leaving you craving a quick energy fix. There are also ways to modify the amount of sugar you consume through cooking and shopping tips. Think of all the times you add sugar to foods or beverages and see if you can gradually wean yourself to lesser amounts. When it comes to baking, try cutting the amount of sugar in a recipe at least in half. You can also add sweet-tasting ingredients that add flavor without added calories — like sweet spices (cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, etc.), extracts (vanilla, almond, anise, coconut, etc.), or zests (lemon, lime, orange). Other ingredients that add nutrients as well as a sweet taste might be pieces of dried fruit (raisins, dried cranberries, dried apricots, dried plums, etc.), fresh fruit, applesauce or other fruit purees (you can also use these as a topping for pancakes instead of syrup). Examples might be muffins with dried fruit or oatmeal with applesauce and cinnamon. Try replacing breakfast pastries or doughnuts with healthier whole grain options — like whole grain toast topped with peanut butter and sliced banana. If you are a […]

    Healthbeat: New guidelines advise Americans to modify their sugar addiction

    http://www.seacoastonline.com/articles/20110814-LIFE-108140309   By Pam Stuppy August 14, 2011 2:00 AM The word is out — Americans in general consume too much sugar in one form or another. The recently revised Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that we modify our sweet tooth (our intake of “added sugars”). The American Heart Association goes into more detail. It specifies no more than 100 calories (25gm) a day from added sugars for women and no more than 150 calories (about 38gm) for men. Where did this sweets craving begin and how did it get out of hand? It is normal for humans to like sweet tastes. Studies show that even newborn babies prefer sweet flavors. Unfortunately, the number of sweet foods in the marketplace has grown (along with our waistlines and medical issues). Instead of sweet foods being an occasional treat, we now expect sweets more often. Tooth decay, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and other health concerns are associated with this change in dietary habits. Another problem is that these foods tend to be lower in nutrients than the less sweet options. The good news is that there are a number of small steps you can take to move toward the recommendation to reduce your sugar intake. Gradually weaning yourself to lesser amounts of sugar will allow time for your taste buds to get used to the change. If you crave sugar, it may be because of the type and timing of your food intake throughout the day. Leaving wide gaps between eating episodes leaves you vulnerable to grabbing the nearest sweet treat — and often over-consuming it. A better idea is to preplan healthy meals and snacks with gaps of no more than about three to four hours. Protein and fiber in a meal or snack slow down the digestion of carbohydrates. This means the carbs provide energy over several hours instead of rushing in and getting used up quickly, leaving you craving a quick energy fix. There are also ways to modify the amount of sugar you consume through cooking and shopping tips. Think of all the times you add sugar to foods or beverages and see if you can gradually wean yourself to lesser amounts. When it comes to baking, try cutting the amount of sugar in a recipe at least in half. You can also add sweet-tasting ingredients that add flavor without added calories — like sweet spices (cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, etc.), extracts (vanilla, almond, anise, coconut, etc.), or zests (lemon, lime, orange). Other ingredients that add nutrients as well as a sweet taste might be pieces of dried fruit (raisins, dried cranberries, dried apricots, dried plums, etc.), fresh fruit, applesauce or other fruit purees (you can also use these as a topping for pancakes instead of syrup). Examples might be muffins with dried fruit or oatmeal with applesauce and cinnamon. Try replacing breakfast pastries or doughnuts with healthier whole grain options — like whole grain toast topped with peanut butter and sliced banana. If you are a […]

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  • Why would someone want to dump 57 tons of white sand into an old school bus? To make a point. The point being to demonstrate how much sugar schoolchildren in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), the second largest in the U.S., consume every week just from flavored milk served in school meals. The sand in the school bus stunt was part of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s attempt to confront LAUSD, which refuses to allow his ABC film crew to shoot in public school cafeterias. As of this writing, Oliver, in his second season with the U.S. broadcast of “Food Revolution” has taken to the streets of LA with outdoor student cookoffs and cooking classes on wheels in an effort to teach kids about nutrition. Better nutrition for school kids is also the aim of science-based Dietary Guidelines for Americans, released January 31, 2011 by the Departments of Agriculture and of Health and Human Services. (1) But will kids eat healthier food, and what about drinking water in place of soft drinks? Louise Esaian, who oversees the food service program for Chicago Public Schools (CPS) told Chicago Tribune reporter Monica Eng that while 70 percent of students choose to eat lunch at school that introducing new concepts is challenging, especially if healthful options don’t actually taste as good as processed food. According to the Tribune report, CPS brought back a spicy chicken patty sandwich in all district high schools during January 2011, because of sagging lunch sales. (2) Tribune reporters watched nine of 10 students in the lunch line at North-Grand H.S. chose the less healthy, processed spicy chicken option with the addition of ketchup or barbecue sauce and pickled jalapeno pepper rings containing more than 1,100 mg of sodium, or two-thirds the daily recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most parents know that processed food with loads of salt tastes better compared to vegetables with no salt. So chefs pushing a healthier way to eat conclude that because it takes far less sodium to make dishes like rice and beans or broccoli palatable to students than what is used in processed foods, that it’s okay to add a little salt to fresh veggies. Nutrition expert Jane Brody of The New York Times advocates gradual adaptations. She wrote recently that, “Moderation, rather than constant deprivation and denial, is the key to a wholesome diet that you can stick with and enjoy. I say this with confidence because I’ve lived this way for most of my adult life and I’ve watched my sons do the same for more than four decades.” (3) “We get so much health advice on how to eat 100 percent perfect,” Clint Carter, contributing editor to the “Eat This, Not That,” published by Rodale Inc., recently told Barb Berggoetz in an article published by The Indianapolis Star. Instead of approaching food as an all-or-nothing transaction, Carter recommends making smarter decisions. Eating at a restaurant, even at fast-food places, Carter said, doesn’t mean you […]

    Jamie Oliver Makes a Point

    Why would someone want to dump 57 tons of white sand into an old school bus? To make a point. The point being to demonstrate how much sugar schoolchildren in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), the second largest in the U.S., consume every week just from flavored milk served in school meals. The sand in the school bus stunt was part of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s attempt to confront LAUSD, which refuses to allow his ABC film crew to shoot in public school cafeterias. As of this writing, Oliver, in his second season with the U.S. broadcast of “Food Revolution” has taken to the streets of LA with outdoor student cookoffs and cooking classes on wheels in an effort to teach kids about nutrition. Better nutrition for school kids is also the aim of science-based Dietary Guidelines for Americans, released January 31, 2011 by the Departments of Agriculture and of Health and Human Services. (1) But will kids eat healthier food, and what about drinking water in place of soft drinks? Louise Esaian, who oversees the food service program for Chicago Public Schools (CPS) told Chicago Tribune reporter Monica Eng that while 70 percent of students choose to eat lunch at school that introducing new concepts is challenging, especially if healthful options don’t actually taste as good as processed food. According to the Tribune report, CPS brought back a spicy chicken patty sandwich in all district high schools during January 2011, because of sagging lunch sales. (2) Tribune reporters watched nine of 10 students in the lunch line at North-Grand H.S. chose the less healthy, processed spicy chicken option with the addition of ketchup or barbecue sauce and pickled jalapeno pepper rings containing more than 1,100 mg of sodium, or two-thirds the daily recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most parents know that processed food with loads of salt tastes better compared to vegetables with no salt. So chefs pushing a healthier way to eat conclude that because it takes far less sodium to make dishes like rice and beans or broccoli palatable to students than what is used in processed foods, that it’s okay to add a little salt to fresh veggies. Nutrition expert Jane Brody of The New York Times advocates gradual adaptations. She wrote recently that, “Moderation, rather than constant deprivation and denial, is the key to a wholesome diet that you can stick with and enjoy. I say this with confidence because I’ve lived this way for most of my adult life and I’ve watched my sons do the same for more than four decades.” (3) “We get so much health advice on how to eat 100 percent perfect,” Clint Carter, contributing editor to the “Eat This, Not That,” published by Rodale Inc., recently told Barb Berggoetz in an article published by The Indianapolis Star. Instead of approaching food as an all-or-nothing transaction, Carter recommends making smarter decisions. Eating at a restaurant, even at fast-food places, Carter said, doesn’t mean you […]

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  • — Updated Feb 1, 2011 Researchers say that most people deny eating a lot of sugar. While over one-third of American adults are obese, researchers at Harvard University now predict that if current trends continue, the obesity rate in the U.S. won’t level off until it reaches over 40 percent. But despite warning signs – epidemic rates of diabetes, heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure and depression – people continue to indulge their sugar habit. The result is cause for alarm. Among obesity scientists, health providers and the medical community, there is major concern about sugar’s addictive quality. Barry Popkin, author of “The World is FAT” thinks that sugar-based diets, especially high consumption of soft drinks, are killing us. According to another source, Nature Cures Clinic of Portland, Oregon, our “daily bread” has turned into a non-stop feeding frenzy of sweets, artificial sweeteners and refined carbohydrates. What to do? Exercise, of course. Eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains and reduce salt and saturated fats, absolutely. Health and policy professionals like Profs. Popkin and world-renown public health scholars, Harvard’s Prof. Walter Willet and Yale Prof. Kelly D. Brownell, also recommend drinking more water. And now, as of January 31, 2011, so does the federal government. For the first time ever in its revised dietary Guidelines, the USDA recommends replacing sugary drinks like soda with water and avoiding fatty foods. [Link: www.cnpp.usda.gov/DietaryGuidelines.htm] (c) 2011 Jonathan Hall Share on Facebook

    Sugar Habit

    — Updated Feb 1, 2011 Researchers say that most people deny eating a lot of sugar. While over one-third of American adults are obese, researchers at Harvard University now predict that if current trends continue, the obesity rate in the U.S. won’t level off until it reaches over 40 percent. But despite warning signs – epidemic rates of diabetes, heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure and depression – people continue to indulge their sugar habit. The result is cause for alarm. Among obesity scientists, health providers and the medical community, there is major concern about sugar’s addictive quality. Barry Popkin, author of “The World is FAT” thinks that sugar-based diets, especially high consumption of soft drinks, are killing us. According to another source, Nature Cures Clinic of Portland, Oregon, our “daily bread” has turned into a non-stop feeding frenzy of sweets, artificial sweeteners and refined carbohydrates. What to do? Exercise, of course. Eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains and reduce salt and saturated fats, absolutely. Health and policy professionals like Profs. Popkin and world-renown public health scholars, Harvard’s Prof. Walter Willet and Yale Prof. Kelly D. Brownell, also recommend drinking more water. And now, as of January 31, 2011, so does the federal government. For the first time ever in its revised dietary Guidelines, the USDA recommends replacing sugary drinks like soda with water and avoiding fatty foods. [Link: www.cnpp.usda.gov/DietaryGuidelines.htm] (c) 2011 Jonathan Hall Share on Facebook

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  • [Around the Water Cooler interview March 17, 2010,  excerpted and edited for clarity by Jonathan O. Hall.] Professor Mark Edwards, PhD is the Charles Lunsford Professor of Civil Engineering at Virginia Tech University. The Journal Environmental Science and Technology has selected a paper written by Dr. Edwards and his associates as the best science paper of 2009 and this is among about 1500 papers that they publish annually. Prof. Edwards is the fourth recipient of the Villanova University’s Praxis Award in Professional Ethics. Mark has won a McArthur Fellow, and in 2007 was awarded a five-year grant of a half million dollars to expand his research into safe drinking water. Prof. Edwards was a keynote speaker at the Water Quality Association Conference in March 2010. JONATHAN: Welcome to the show, Mark. MARK: Thank you for having me, Jonathan. JONATHAN: Mark, the American Society of Civil Engineers, and you’re an engineer, has rated the drinking water infrastructure in the US as a D-minus. And on this show, just a couple weeks ago, Professor Edward Bauer, the Abel-Wolman Professor of Environmental Engineering and Chair of the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering at John Hopkins, said that there’s greater uncertainty now than in the past in terms of the safety of our drinking water. And we’re not trying to promote fear here, but do you agree that the lack of investments and an infrastructure in this country is compromising efforts to provide high qualify safe drinking water? MARK: Well, in general citizens in the US can have great faith in the quality of their tap water. But it is true that we have failed to invest in our water infrastructure, particularly the pipes that bring water from the treatment plan to your home. So even if you have the very best water treatment plant in the world and, you know, you operate at highest efficiency, if that clean water goes through a series of rusty old pipes full of bacteria and holes, the drinking water that you get out of your tap can have bacteria, rust, and potential contaminants in it as well. So this is something that we could and should do more with, in terms of spending money to upgrade this infrastructure. JONATHAN: Well, you and I both know that one of the biggest challenges here, when you’re talking about old pipes failing, are leaks. Approximately 15-40 percent of treated water from plants in the U.S. is leaked prior to reaching customers. How do leaks pose a danger to water supply and how serious are water main breaks? MARK: Well, one issue is just the lost resource itself. You know, as we tried to make our water go further and we try to conserve at home, it makes little sense to just waste 15-to-40 percent of the water through these leaks in pipes, and this has a big value, too, on the order of $3-5 billion a year. But about a decade ago, what we discovered is contrary to your […]

    Lead in Drinking Water, What You Should Know

    [Around the Water Cooler interview March 17, 2010,  excerpted and edited for clarity by Jonathan O. Hall.] Professor Mark Edwards, PhD is the Charles Lunsford Professor of Civil Engineering at Virginia Tech University. The Journal Environmental Science and Technology has selected a paper written by Dr. Edwards and his associates as the best science paper of 2009 and this is among about 1500 papers that they publish annually. Prof. Edwards is the fourth recipient of the Villanova University’s Praxis Award in Professional Ethics. Mark has won a McArthur Fellow, and in 2007 was awarded a five-year grant of a half million dollars to expand his research into safe drinking water. Prof. Edwards was a keynote speaker at the Water Quality Association Conference in March 2010. JONATHAN: Welcome to the show, Mark. MARK: Thank you for having me, Jonathan. JONATHAN: Mark, the American Society of Civil Engineers, and you’re an engineer, has rated the drinking water infrastructure in the US as a D-minus. And on this show, just a couple weeks ago, Professor Edward Bauer, the Abel-Wolman Professor of Environmental Engineering and Chair of the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering at John Hopkins, said that there’s greater uncertainty now than in the past in terms of the safety of our drinking water. And we’re not trying to promote fear here, but do you agree that the lack of investments and an infrastructure in this country is compromising efforts to provide high qualify safe drinking water? MARK: Well, in general citizens in the US can have great faith in the quality of their tap water. But it is true that we have failed to invest in our water infrastructure, particularly the pipes that bring water from the treatment plan to your home. So even if you have the very best water treatment plant in the world and, you know, you operate at highest efficiency, if that clean water goes through a series of rusty old pipes full of bacteria and holes, the drinking water that you get out of your tap can have bacteria, rust, and potential contaminants in it as well. So this is something that we could and should do more with, in terms of spending money to upgrade this infrastructure. JONATHAN: Well, you and I both know that one of the biggest challenges here, when you’re talking about old pipes failing, are leaks. Approximately 15-40 percent of treated water from plants in the U.S. is leaked prior to reaching customers. How do leaks pose a danger to water supply and how serious are water main breaks? MARK: Well, one issue is just the lost resource itself. You know, as we tried to make our water go further and we try to conserve at home, it makes little sense to just waste 15-to-40 percent of the water through these leaks in pipes, and this has a big value, too, on the order of $3-5 billion a year. But about a decade ago, what we discovered is contrary to your […]

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  • – January 2011 President Barack Obama emphasized rebuilding America in his second (2011) State of the Union address and called for renewed investments in the aging infrastructure systems that sustain economic growth and competitiveness and serve as engines for American jobs. The National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) applauds the President for his leadership on the issue of renewing America’s commitment to infrastructure investments but is disappointed that the President did not include mention of the need to recommit to investing in our water and wastewater infrastructure. America’s communities face a $500 billion need in clean water and drinking water infrastructure investments and federal  leadership and support for greater investment in this infrastructure is essential if we expect our economy  to thrive. It is well documented that our water infrastructure is reaching a tipping point. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) latest infrastructure report card gave the nation’s water infrastructure a D-, the lowest of any infrastructure category. As a result, each day the nation suffers significant losses and damages from broken water and sewer mains, sewage overflows, and scarcity of drinking water supplies among other challenges. Source: National Association of Clean Water Agencies – January 26, 2011 http://www.waterchat.com/News/Federal/11/Q1/fed_110128-03.htm Share on Facebook

    Guest Column: State of the Water Union

    – January 2011 President Barack Obama emphasized rebuilding America in his second (2011) State of the Union address and called for renewed investments in the aging infrastructure systems that sustain economic growth and competitiveness and serve as engines for American jobs. The National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) applauds the President for his leadership on the issue of renewing America’s commitment to infrastructure investments but is disappointed that the President did not include mention of the need to recommit to investing in our water and wastewater infrastructure. America’s communities face a $500 billion need in clean water and drinking water infrastructure investments and federal  leadership and support for greater investment in this infrastructure is essential if we expect our economy  to thrive. It is well documented that our water infrastructure is reaching a tipping point. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) latest infrastructure report card gave the nation’s water infrastructure a D-, the lowest of any infrastructure category. As a result, each day the nation suffers significant losses and damages from broken water and sewer mains, sewage overflows, and scarcity of drinking water supplies among other challenges. Source: National Association of Clean Water Agencies – January 26, 2011 http://www.waterchat.com/News/Federal/11/Q1/fed_110128-03.htm Share on Facebook

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