The Story of Bottled Water, released on March 22, 2010 (World Water Day) employs the Story of Stuff style to tell the story of manufactured demand—how you get Americans to buy more than half a billion bottles of water every week when it already flows from the tap. Over five minutes, the film explores the bottled water industrys attacks on tap water and its use of seductive, environmental-themed advertising to cover up the mountains of plastic waste it produces. The film concludes with a call to take back the tap, not only by making a personal commitment to avoid bottled water, but by supporting investments in clean, available tap water for all.
Reading Your Water Quality Report
From coast to coast, the news has been awash with reports of consumers kicking the bottled water habit and taking back the tap. People are catching on to the industry‚ marketing con job. They now know that bottled water is an overpriced rip-off that‚ no more pure or healthful than tap water. Furthermore, its production and transportation gobbles energy and spews pollution and climate-changing gases into our atmosphere.
If youre among the growing mass of people making the move to tap water, perhaps you have questions about the quality of your city or town‚ water supply. Although most municipal water beats the stuff in the bottle, learning more about it makes sense.
We all have the right to know what‚ in our drinking water. Congress codified this principle in 1996 with amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act. The changes greatly improve public access to information about drinking water quality.
The Safe Drinking Water Act, passed in 1976, authorized EPA to set drinking water standards for all public water systems. Water utilities monitor and treat drinking water to abide by these federal standards. The 1996 amendments added a requirement for utilities to notify the public about any detected regulated contaminant and any water quality violation.
The centerpiece of these right-to-know provisions is the annual water quality report. Although these reports are intended to help consumers make informed choices about their drinking water, they can be confusing and full of jargon. This guide is intended to help you understand what your water quality report is and how to interpret what it tells you.
What Is a Water Quality Report?
A water quality report, also called a consumer confidence report, lets you know what contaminants, if any, are in your drinking water and how these contaminants may affect your health. It lists all the regulated toxicants that were detected in your water over the preceding calendar year.
Who Gets a Water Quality Report?
A water quality report is available for every customer of a community water system, which is one that provides year-round service to more than 15 households or more than 25 people.
When Is a Water Quality Report Issued?
You should receive your water quality report by July 1 of each year.
What Does a Water Quality Report Tell You?
Every water quality report must contain certain information:
- The source of the drinking water, be it a river, lake, groundwater aquifer or some other body of water;
- A brief summary of the state‚ source water assessment of the susceptibility of the source water to contamination and how to get a copy of the complete assessment;
- EPA regulations and health goals for drinking water contaminants;
- A list of all detected contaminants and their levels;
- Potential health effects of any contaminant detected at a level that violates EPA‚ health standard;
- An educational statement for people with weakened immune systems about cryptosporidium and other microbial contaminants;1
- Contact information for the water system and EPA‚ Safe Drinking Water Hotline
Why Is a Water Quality Report Important?
Your water system must tell you about any violation of EPA water quality standards at the time it occurs and again in the annual report. You should not drink water that fails to meet EPA standards because it may be unsafe. Thankfully, public utilities have worked hard to improve water quality, and today, more than 90 percent of water systems meet all EPA regulations.
Another important part of the report is the list of all detected regulated contaminants. EPA sets the maximum level of contaminants — the MCL — that it will allow in drinking water based on the filtering and treatment capabilities of today‚ technology. The water quality report also tells you about potentially harmful substances found in your water at levels below their legal limit, which often is or approaches the agency‚ more stringent, optimum human health goal for the maximum level of contaminants, the MCLG.
How Is a Water Quality Report Distributed?
This depends on the size of the water system. All large water systems mail out the reports, often as an insert in the bill, and very large systems must both mail and post them online. Small systems serving fewer than 10,000 people can have the mailing requirement waived. In this case, however, they must publish the report in at least one local newspaper and make it available to the public upon request.
Water systems also must make a “good faith effort” to reach renters, workers and other consumers who do not receive water bills. These systems should use a combination of different outreach methods, such as posting the reports online, mailing them and advertising in local newspapers.
More information is available online at www.epa.gov/safewater/ccr/index.html. For general queries about water quality reports and other safe drinking water issues, you can contact EPA‚ Safe Drinking Water Hotline toll-free at 1-800-426-4791.
Download the printable How to Read Your Water Quality Report for this easy to read chart:
1 This section does not indicate if these microbes are in your drinking water. EPA requires that utilities remove 99 percent of cryptosporidium.
2 Most types of coliform bacteria are harmless, but they indicate possible fecal contamination, which can carry disease-causing viruses and organisms.
Bottle bills (also known as container deposit laws) are a proven, sustainable method of capturing beverage bottles and cans for recycling. The refund value of the container (usually 5 or 10 cents) provides a monetary incentive to return the container for recycling. A bottle bill, or container deposit law, requires a refundable deposit on beverage containers to ensure that the containers are returned for recycling.
Benefits of bottle bills
From reducing litter to increasing the economy, container deposit systems offer a number of benefits.
- Supply recyclable materials for a high-demand market
- Conserve energy and natural resources
- Create new businesses and jobs
- Reduce waste disposal costs
- Reduce litter
- and provide many more benefits
Because recycling is mandated on a local level, different states can decide how to incentivize participation. One option that has gained popularity is the bottle bill.
The bottle bill allows for consumers to pay an extra charge when purchasing beverage containers. This charge is then totally or partially refunded when the container is recycled at a certified redemption center.
While most programs nationwide will give consumers money for materials such as aluminum, the bottle bill unifies this refund across the state.
Beverage Container Deposits
The first bottle bill was passed in Oregon in 1971. Currently, eleven states operate these programs. States differ in how unredeemed deposits are dispersed.
Here’s how the bottle bill works in each state:
- California (imposed Sept. 29, 1986): A 5-cent deposit is imposed on all eligible beverage containers. Unredeemed deposits are retained by a state-managed fund.
- Connecticut (April 12, 1978): A 5-cent deposit is imposed on all eligible beverage containers. Unredeemed deposits are retained by distributors/bottlers.
- Delaware (June 30, 1982): A 5-cent deposit is imposed on all eligible beverage containers. Unredeemed deposits are retained by distributors/bottlers.
- Hawaii (June 25, 2002): Distributors pay a 5-cent-per-container deposit into a special state fund on a monthly basis. Distributors charge retailers the deposit on each container purchased by the retailer. In turn, the retailer charges the consumer for the deposit. Unredeemed deposits are retained by a state-managed fund.
- Iowa (April 1978): At least a 5-cent deposit is imposed on all eligible beverage containers. Unredeemed deposits are retained by distributors/bottlers.
- Maine (Jan. 12, 1976): A 5-cent deposit is imposed on beer, soft drink, wine cooler, non-alcoholic carbonated and non-carbonated beverage containers, and a 15-cent deposit is imposed on wine and other liquor beverage containers. Unredeemed deposits are retained by the state General Fund.
- Massachusetts (Jan. 1983): A 5-cent deposit is imposed on all eligible beverage containers. Unredeemed deposits are retained by a state Clean Environment Fund.
- Michigan (Nov. 2, 1976): A 10-cent deposit is imposed on all eligible beverage containers. Unredeemed deposits are retained at 75 percent by a state-managed fund and 25 percent by retailers.
- New York (June 15, 1982): At least a 5-cent deposit is imposed on all eligible beverage containers. Unredeemed deposits are retained by distributors/bottlers.
- Oregon (July 2, 1971): A 2-cent deposit is imposed on all standardized refillable beverage containers, and a 5-cent deposit is imposed on all non-standardized refillable beverage containers. Unredeemed deposits are retained by distributors/bottlers.
- Vermont (April 7, 1972): A 5-cent deposit is imposed on beer, malt, soft drink, mineral and soda water and wine cooler beverage containers. A 15-cent deposit is imposed on liquor beverage containers greater than 50 milliliters. Unredeemed deposits are retained by distributors/bottlers.
These 11 states report higher recycling rates for beverage containers than states without such programs. California, for example, reported a 60 percent recycling rate for its beverage containers between January and December 200. During that year, more than 13 billion containers were recycled, which was 814 million more than the previous year.
California leads the nation in the total quantity of bottles and cans recycled. States with deposit programs have generally maintained higher recycling rates for beverage containers than the U.S. average rate.
Bottle bill opponents call deposit requirements a “tax” fronted by taxpayers. However, one-way, throwaway, no-deposit, no-return beverage containers are a corporate subsidy, a hidden tax. Taxpayers absorb the cost of disposing of beverage containers. And many taxpayers absorb the costs of recycling beverage containers through curbside recycling programs.
When there is a refundable deposit on beverage containers, the consumers pay the deposit. The deposit is refunded if the container is returned. And the beverage distributors and bottlers absorb the cost of collection. They then chose whether or not to pass their costs on to their consumers. Because 70 percent or more of the deposit containers are returned, taxpayers pay less for disposal, litter pickup and curbside recycling.
National Recycling Program
Based on a report published by the General Accounting Office on municipal recycling, recycling stakeholders who were interviewed encouraged increasing municipal recycling via adoption of a federal bottle bill. The National Beverage Producer Responsibility Act of 2003 was introduced to the Senate, which referred the bill on Nov. 14 to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.
The bill was introduced to the Committee three days later by Senator Jeffords (I-VT), but no action has as yet been taken on the bill.
For more information about bottle bills, visit www.bottlebill.org.
The Mississippi Natchez Democrat reports that crews first discovered the radioactive water in the plant’s Unit 2 turbine building after heavy rains began hitting the area last week. Unit 2 was a partially-constructed, abandoned structure that should not have contained any radioactive materials, let alone tritium, which is commonly used to manufacture nuclear weapons and test atomic bombs (http://www.nirs.org/radiation/triti…).
According to reports, alarms began to go off as workers were releasing the radioactive storm water into the river, which engaged the stop flow on the release pump. Neither NRC nor plant officials know how much tritium was released into the river during this release.
“Although concentrations of tritium exceeded EPA drinking water limits, the release should not represent a hazard to public health because of its dilution in the river,” insisted Lara Uselding, public affairs officer at NRC Region IV, to reporters.
Such a statement, of course, is a health concern because precise levels of released tritium are unknown. Just because the radioactive substance has been diluted does not necessarily mean it is harmless, nor does it verify the substance’s source or whether or not it is still being unknowingly released. Without this crucial information, there is no telling where else tritium might be lurking around the plant and river.
A beta radioactive substance, tritium bombards cells and damages DNA when inhaled or swallowed, and can persist in the body for more than ten years upon exposure. Its perpetual effect on cells can lead to all sorts of serious diseases, including, but not limited to, gene mutations, birth defects, and cancer.
Sources for this story include:
Last year, one of the most important films of our time was made. The film “Tapped” has opened my eyes to the damaging effects that plastic has on our environment and the bottled water companies control of our water. Take the time to see this documentary and pass it on to everyone you know.
“If you eliminate the scourge of bottled water, you will be eliminating one of the biggest problems facing our environment”. —Charles Moore, founder, Algalita, and discoverer of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch
Tapped is a condemnation of one of the most ubiquitous acts of consumption today, the purchase of bottled water. The scathing new documentary reveals a litany of damaging effects as it follows this environmental scourge from production to “disposal,” including the Pacific Ocean’s floating continents of plastic debris twice the size of the continental United States.
This documentary also examines the role of the bottled water industry and its effects on our health, climate change, pollution, and our reliance on oil.
Along the way, the directors demonstrate how corporate greed combines with a lack of government oversight to allow bottled-water giants Coke and Pepsi to continue bottling water during recent droughts in Georgia and North Carolina, and encasing it in cancer-causing chemicals.
Watch the trailer:
Too Many Bottles-It is a Waste
- Single-serve bottled water is the fastest growing beverage of choice in the United States.
- Americans purchased nearly 31 billion bottles of water in 2006 and spend $11 billion on bottled water every year.
- Nearly 2.5 billion bottles of water a year are sold in New York alone-stacked up end to end, they’d reach the moon.
It’s a Waste of Money
- Tap water creates less pollution and uses far less energy and natural resources than transporting and manufacturing of plastic water bottles.
- Bottled water costs as much as $10 per gallon-tap water costs less than one cent per gallon.
- Nationally, local governments spend $43 billion per year to deliver some of the highest quality water in the world.
- In New York, we spend $2 billion per year to provide safe, clean drinking water to the public.
It’s a Waste of Plastic
- Unlike soda and other carbonated beverages, there is no deposit on water bottles so fewer are recycled.
- Nationally, only 10% of plastic water bottles are recycled-90% end up as either garbage or litter.
- 30 million single-serve non-returnable containers end up in landfills or as litter every day.
- We spend millions annually to clean up plastic bottles that litter our highways, parks and open spaces.
It’s a Waste of Energy
- 18 million barrels of crude oil equivalent were consumed in 2005 to replace the 2 million tons of plastic bottles that were wasted instead of recycled.
- Manufacturing that much plastic releases more than 800,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, contributing to global climate change.
- If we recycled the water bottles used in New York, we would save more than 67,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases.
- In New York, the oil used to make our bottles is equal to 66 million gallons of gasoline; enough to power 120,000 automobiles for a year.
- Since New York adopted the bottle bill in 1982, 90.6 billion beverage containers have been recycled. Roadside container litter has been reduced over 70%.
- San Francisco and Los Angeles have banned city departments from buying bottled water. Ann Arbor, Michigan is calling for city events to be bottled water free. Salt Lake City urges city workers not to buy bottled water. Maine, Hawaii, California and Oregon have deposit laws that include bottled water.
What You Can Do
- Recycle or return all of your beverage containers.
- Pick up bottles along the road or sidewalk and recycle them.
- Drink tap water-it’s better for the environment, even using a filter is cheaper than buying bottles.
- Get involved-help start a recycling program at school, work and sporting events.
- Buy and refill reusable bottles.
- Learn more about your local recycling program.
Have you been searching for the best, safest drinking water available for your family? If so, look no further. Multi-Pure’s Water filtration devices have been certified by NSF International® to reduce the most contaminants over any other water filter on the market today.
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California Department of Public Health
Iowa Department of Public Health
Wisconsin Department of Commerce
Massachusetts Board of Plumbing
Colorado Department of Health, Drinking Water Program
There are hundreds of companies that sell drinking water systems for the treatment of various contaminants. Although most companies make devices that can remove chlorine from water, only thirty-eight (38) of those companies offer drinking water treatment systems that are certified by NSF to reduce Trihalomethanes (a disinfection by-product known to cause cancer in humans and miscarriages) under NSF’s Standard No. 53, Health Effects (March, 2009 Listings). And, only five companies have devices certified by NSF to reduce PCBs. MultiPure Drinking Water Systems offers products certified to reduce MTBE, a gasoline additive classified as a possible human carcinogen, which has been found in drinking water coast-to-coast.
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MultiPure’s Superior Performance Confirmed by Testing and Certification
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Black Water and Brazenness: Life in Shale Country is the first article in a series, “Bradford Blues: Gas Drilling Disrupts Lives, Endangers Health in Bradford County, PA,” based on interviews with residents in 2011.
In the streaming gold-green light of June, Bradford County’s rolling hills fill the soul with a sense of sweetness. But the beauty of a chestnut horse glowing against a green field on the high side of one road is marred by the huge fracking pit down a low hill on the other side.
Fracking pits are multi-million gallon earthen impoundments, lined with easily punctured plastic sheets, often filled with “flowback,” gas drilling waste with numerous toxic fracking chemicals. Flowback also includes dangerous materials which are harmless deep down in the shale but are brought up by drilling and fracking processes. These contaminants include arsenic, barium, and the intensely radioactive radium 226, which causes lung and bone cancer and has a half-life of 1,600 years.
Fracking Fumes, Bad Water, and Namelessness
Local people such as Monika Osborn worry about the proximity of gas drilling operations to schools, waterways, and to their own homes. ”I’m surrounded by 28 gas wells,” Osborn said last weekend, referring to them as “monsters.” She said she was “nearly suffocated” by a wave of fumes coming from a drilling operation last week. Osborn, who has refused to sign a lease, mentions quietly that she is losing her hair, but hasn’t reported this to any authorities. Mistrust of the industry, of the PA Deparment of Environmental Protection (DEP), and of everyone in government who is supposed to be looking out for people’s health and well-being, runs rampant in Bradford County, as I found out early. …………………..
Read the story in its entirety at:
“The brazenness, the lies, the immorality of it knocks you off your feet, to take away people’s water and not repace it,” said Osborn.
Jody and Jason’s family can’t shower safely at home or provide the animals drinking water from their own well. As a recent study by researchers at Duke University pointed out, the health consequences of human exposure to high levels of methane through ingestion and skin contact has yet to be studied.
Black water, gray water, fizzy water, flaming water…. What the frack is going on when people don’t have clean, safe water in Pennsylvania in the year 2011?
Do I need a water filter?
Never before has the need been greater for quality home water purification.
America’s tap water is contaminated with toxic heavy metals, synthetic organic chemicals, chlorination by-products, biological parasites and virtually thousands of harmful contaminants.
“E.P.A. reports show that U.S. water supplies contain over 2300 cancer causing chemicals…” — Ralph Nader Research Group
Studies also show that bottled water isn’t any purer than tap water, it simply costs more. Most quality home water purification products can provide water far superior to bottled water, at a fraction of the cost and in the convenience of your own home. The intention of this site is to promote the use of home water filtration, show what products are available and how to determine which ones are the best. Our goal is to also increase basic awareness of this critically important subject.
In America’s highly industrialized society we use over 80,000 toxic chemicals every day, and over 1000 new ones are being developed every year. We are learning the hard way that all of the chemicals we use, will ultimately show up in the water we drink. There is no “new water”, this planet keeps recycling the same water over and over. As we use more synthetic chemicals, the levels in our water supplies increases proportionately.
In contrast to popular belief, our water treatment facilities were not designed to take out synthetic organic chemicals and toxic heavy metals like lead. Municipal water treatment today is essentially the same as it was over 100 years ago, the water is flown through sand beds to remove visible particles and then bleach (chlorine) is added to kill most of the bacteria! We do not filter out the synthetic chemicals!
75 years ago, before all of these chemicals were present in our environment, 1 out of 50 Americans would get cancer in their lives… now, 1 in 3 Americans… 1 in 2 males, will become cancer victims! 1 in 8 women get breast cancer, childhood cancers have increased 300% in just the last 20 years… and much of this can be linked to the accumulation of man made chemicals in our body.
Cancer is not natural, it’s a man made disease, and for the most part… completely preventable. The purity of our water is one of the most critical factors in the prevention of cancer and other degenerative diseases. Water is our body’s only means of purifying its self. If our water already contains chemical contaminants, our body is not able to use it to its full benefit. When the risk is so great and the solution is so simple… why chance it?
In-home water purification is the most effective, by far the most convenient and most economical means of providing clean, healthy water for you and your family.
“Healthy water” is the best health insurance we can get… and home water purification is the best way to get it… possibly the only way.