bottled water Archive

  • 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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  • [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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