Michigan’s Underground Storage Tanks are Raising Concern

Legacy tanks typically store fuel and other hazardous chemicals underground. These tanks generally receive a little-to-no maintenance and were buried before strict regulations were established.

Experts are concerned about the chemicals leaching into municipal drinking water.  A recent fuel leak in Flat Rock was suspected to be caused by a pair of underground steel tanks. The fuel spread to the Huron River by a tributary, as spotted by a fisherman.

After a swift cleanup and containment efforts (such as closing the park), the Flat Rock tanks are a microcosm for a much more significant issue throughout the entire state. Over 8,000 underground storage tanks are potentially leaking, according to the state of Michigan.

Jill Greenberg, an employee of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, said, “Of the 24,000 contaminated sites, 8,000 are leaky underground storage tanks. If there’s a property transaction and the owner knows about contamination, they are legally required to disclose it.”

Companies that are no longer in business are notorious for abandoning tanks as far back as 100 years ago. Greenberg suggested a need for heavier funding to address the unregistered sites, such as those in Flat Rock. However, state leaders anticipate a budget of $163 million to locate and remedy the tanks that have slipped through time.

The overwhelming feeling at the state and federal levels is that these storage tanks pose an urgent crisis that cannot continue to be ignored. Some representatives believe infrastructure dollars should be used toward the tanks.

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) said, “EGLE inherited an outdated it system that heavily relied on paper records. We are in the process of upgrading our system and that will allow us to categorize, cross reference and track the contaminated properties we know about.”

United States Representative Debbie Dingell said the tanks in Flat Rock were 100 years old and said, “Nobody had a record of them. I’m sure there’s situations like that all over the state.”

The State of Michigan’s Office of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs is working in conjunction with EGLE to address the tanks. Unfortunately, holding current property owners accountable is fruitless, since many of the tanks were abandoned decades ago. Regardless, regulations should be established now to minimize surprises in the future.

Are you worried about chemicals in your water? Contact the water purification experts at Reynolds Water Conditioning today.

Reynolds Water Conditioning was established in 1931 and is Michigan’s oldest water conditioning treatment company. Still owned and operated by the Reynolds family, we take pride in providing the highest quality products at a cost-effective price. If your tap water lacks the quality you deserve, contact us today at www.reynoldswater.com or call 800-572-9575.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Contaminated Water Detected by Smartphone Screens

Billions of smartphones and tablets worldwide could be used to sense toxins in water and soil by way of the touchscreen technology used in everyday practice without any modifications. The report was published in the journal Sensors and Actuators B.

Researchers at the University of Cambridge have successfully shown how a regular touchscreen can identify contaminants by dropping liquid samples on the screen. Since touchscreen sensitivity is comparable to lab-based equipment, it can be used in unsterilized environments.

For now, this novel accomplishment is a proof of concept, but it can be expanded for various applications such as biosensing or medical diagnostics. Smartphones interpret electrical fields when a finger disrupts the electrical field running through a touchscreen.

Dr. Ronan Daly from Cambridge’s Institute of Manufacturing, who co-led the research, said, “We wanted to know if we could interact with the technology in a different way, without having to fundamentally change the screen. Instead of interpreting a signal from your finger, what if we could get a touchscreen to read electrolytes, since these ions also interact with the electric fields?”

During trials, researchers pipetted several liquids onto smartphone screens. Depending on the concentration of ions and their charge, the measurements were recorded from each droplet.

The new technology could be used to detect arsenic contamination in drinking water. Arsenic is a common contaminant found in groundwater but is filtered out by most municipal water systems. Arsenic water contamination is a substantial problem in parts of the world without water treatment.

“In theory, you could add a drop of water to your phone before you drink it, in order to check that it’s safe. For example, if we could get the sensitivity to a point where the touchscreen could detect heavy metals, it could be used to test for things like lead in drinking water. We also hope in the future to deliver sensors for home health monitoring,” said Daly.

Reynolds Water Conditioning was established in 1931 and is Michigan’s oldest water conditioning treatment company. Still owned and operated by the Reynolds family, we take pride in providing the highest quality products at a cost-effective price. If your tap water lacks the quality you deserve, contact us today at www.reynoldswater.com or call 800-572-9575.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

PFAS Will Soon Be Regulated by EPA

Polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are commonly known as “forever chemicals” due to their inability to break down naturally through time. These toxic chemicals have been found in water supplies in communities statewide. It is in the blood of 99.9 percent of all inhabitants on Earth.

Until now, there have not been any stringent standards for PFAS. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will soon regulate these human-made toxins that pose severe and life-threatening health risks for millions of people. In 2016, a recommended (yet unenforceable) health advisory limit was set at 70 parts per trillion for PFAS in drinking water. Now, scientists are saying those levels are unsafe for human health. With the new standards set by the EPA, local water utility companies will encounter consequences if they do not follow them.

PFAS can be found in much more than water; they have been used for decades in Teflon pans, fire retardants, cosmetics, dental floss, food packaging, clothing, cleaning supplies, and much more. With the new regulations, manufacturers will be required to provide specific data about the chemicals they use to create their products.

By 2023, the Defense Department will complete preliminary evaluations of possible PFAS contamination in roughly 700 different installations. The Food and Drug Administration, as well as the Agriculture and Health and Human Services departments, are both researching the health effects of PFAS.

EPA Administrator Michael Regan said, “This is a really bold set of actions for a big problem. This strategy really lays out a series of concrete and ambitious actions to protect people. There are concrete steps that we are taking that move this issue forward in a very aggressive way.”

PFAS can lead to infertility risks, thyroid disease, cancer, developmental problems in children, and much more. A 2016 study by scientists at Harvard University found that drinking water supplies for more than six million Americans had highly unsafe levels of PFAS.

The study’s lead author, Xindi Hu, said, “Virtually all Americans are exposed to these chemicals. They never break down. Once they are released into the environment, they are there.”

Robert Bilott, an environmental attorney whose story was made famous by the movie “Dark Waters,” when he successfully sued DuPont on behalf of plaintiffs exposed to PFAS in Ohio and West Virginia, said, “I do believe that in this term, we will make significant progress on this issue. I hate to be cynical, but I’ve been seeing this for 20 years. It’s massively overdue. It’s decades overdue. This is a huge public health threat, and it’s something that has just gone on way too long.”

More than likely, you have PFAS in your drinking water. Contact the water purification experts at Reynolds today – we can ensure your water is clean, pure, and safe from chemicals.

Reynolds Water Conditioning was established in 1931 and is Michigan’s oldest water conditioning treatment company. Still owned and operated by the Reynolds family, we take pride in providing the highest quality products at a cost-effective price. If your tap water lacks the quality you deserve, contact us today at www.reynoldswater.com or call 800-572-9575.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Yale Study Finds Lower Birth Weight in Flint Children Following Water Crisis

The Yale School of Public Health found that babies born to mothers who were exposed to contaminated water from the Flint River had lower birth weights, according to research published in the Journal of Population Economics.

Flint officials switched the drinking water to the Flint River in April 2014 in an effort to save money. It was later determined that the river had unsafe levels of lead, bacteria, and other contaminants, which had leached into the water, and thereby, the affecting residents of Flint.

Yale professor Xi Chen said, “Our study shows that the impact {of the Flint water crisis} is evident as early as the beginning of life, and it could be long-lasting for decades to come. It has much larger effects towards minority groups.”

The relationship between the Flint water crisis and lower birthweights will help researchers understand the long-term economic and social effects of water pollution. Since birth weight is the most critical factor in predicting long-term development like school performance or job placement and salary.

Compared to the national average, babies born in Flint were born over one ounce lighter, with a 15.5 percent frequency. Researchers found that mothers from majority groups with higher educations and incomes tended to purchase bottled water after the crisis, avoiding their exposure to lead contamination.

Those mothers who were at more of a disadvantage or in minority groups with lower education levels were more susceptible to giving birth to children with lower birth weight.

Chen said, “They [disadvantaged mothers] had very little room for adaptation because buying the [bottled] water needed knowledge and also the money.”

The people who suffered from the Flint water crisis experienced both long- and short-term consequences. Health disparities in early life stages might lead to more significant gaps in health and well-being throughout their lifetimes. About 1500 babies were born in the Flint area in 2014.

To ensure your water is free from lead and other contaminants, contact the water purification experts at Reynolds Water today.

Reynolds Water Conditioning was established in 1931 and is Michigan’s oldest water conditioning treatment company. Still owned and operated by the Reynolds family, we take pride in providing the highest quality products at a cost-effective price. If your tap water lacks the quality you deserve, contact us today at www.reynoldswater.com or call 800-572-9575.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Michigan Creates Drinking Water Panel

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) recently created a Corrosion Control Advisory Panel aimed at drinking water remediation. EGLE also implemented new standards earlier in the year, including the Lead and Copper Rule (LCR), which helps detect lead in drinking water.

There are seven drinking water professionals on the Corrosion Control Advisory Panel:

  • Elin Betanzo, PE, president and founder, Safe Water Engineering, LLC
  • David Cornwell, CEO, Cornwell Engineering Group, Inc.
  • Darren Lytle, environmental engineer, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Drinking Water Management Branch CESER Water Infrastructure Division
  • Susan Masten, professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Michigan State University
  • Desmond Murray, associate professor of chemistry, Andrews University
  • Terese Olson, associate professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Michigan
  • Andrea Porter, environmental engineer, Groundwater & Drinking Water Branch, EPA, Region V

The panel’s purpose is to provide suggestions on strategies to comply with LCR corrosion protection requirements, give input regarding the corrosion protection methods, advise which actions would be most effective to ensure public protection, evaluate studies to make recommendations, and identify systems of measurement to assess corrosion control.

Michigan is ramping up its effort to diminish lead exposure in drinking water by repairing damaged and aging infrastructure throughout the state. The new Corrosion Control Advisory Panel will report to EGLE’s Drinking Water and Environmental Health Division (DWEHD), which regulates 2,685 public drinking water systems through the LCR.

The LCR requires drinking water systems to offer corrosion control when the federal level for copper or lead is exceeded. The purpose of the corrosion control is to limit heavy metals into drinking water, thereby protecting Michigan residents from harm. A statewide effort is already in the works to remove all lead service lines.

Are you concerned about what’s in your drinking water? Contact the purification experts at Reynolds Water Conditioning today.

Reynolds Water Conditioning was established in 1931 and is Michigan’s oldest water conditioning treatment company. Still owned and operated by the Reynolds family, we take pride in providing the highest quality products at a cost-effective price. If your tap water lacks the quality you deserve, contact us today at www.reynoldswater.com or call 800-572-9575.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Ozone Proves to be Useful to Disinfect Water

The standards of water disinfection are currently chlorine and ultraviolet light when pertaining to city water. A project called MIKROOZON backed by Schleswig-Holstein, CONDIAS, and the European Union aims to create a tiny ozone generator for people to use in water dispensers or appliances such as fridges or dishwashers.

There are several advantages when it comes to ozone being used for water disinfection, including a positive environmental impact, a short retention time, and tasteless quality. Ozone is an excellent choice when it comes to combatting germs, thanks to its high oxidation potential. The cell membrane in common pathogens is easily broken down by ozone.

Ozone water disinfection is the standard in Germany to clean swimming pools, drinking water, and wastewater. However, ozone is not typically implemented to purify water in small appliances such as ice machines, water dispensers, and showers.

Norman Laske, a researcher at Fraunhofer ISIT, said, “The ozone generator is very compact and can be integrated in systems and appliances that require regular disinfection. You simply connect it up to the water line, and it will produce the right amount of ozonized water whenever required.”

Only a couple of centimeters in size, the ozone generator can generate pure, clean water through electrolysis.

Volker Holinder, CEO of CONDIAS GmbH, said, “Each partner has contributed years of experience from their own area of specialization. This has created a product that can now be manufactured on an industrial scale. The spread of the coronavirus has underlined the importance of disinfection. The use of chemical disinfectants is often problematic, because they leave harmful residues. Our system uses electrolytically generated ozone to eliminate germs. It therefore does not produce any residues from disinfectants.”

Do you have dirty water? Contact the water purification experts at Reynolds Water today.

Reynolds Water Conditioning was established in 1931 and is Michigan’s oldest water conditioning treatment company. Still owned and operated by the Reynolds family, we take pride in providing the highest quality products at a cost-effective price. If your tap water lacks the quality you deserve, contact us today at www.reynoldswater.com or call 800-572-9575.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Distrust of Tap Water Results

Throughout the United States, an increasing number of Americans show signs of distrust in tap water. About 60 million did not drink their tap water in 2018, according to a study published by Pennsylvania State University researchers. This marked a 40 percent increase when compared to 2014.

The drinking water crisis that emerged in Flint prompted the rise in consumers questioning tap water purity. Despite assurances that the water was safe, scientists proved them wrong by conducting independent tests showing astonishingly high lead levels.

Though the water crisis in Flint was broadly publicized, other cities have struggled with lead in their water systems as well. Washington, DC, Chicago, Newark, Toledo, Ohio, and Charleston, West Virginia, have all been publicly grappling with drinking water emergencies.

Erik Olson, senior director of the National Resources Defense Council, said, “The fundamental problem with drinking water is that we continue to live off the investments of our great-grandparents. Most of the drinking water to this day is still delivered through pipes that are many decades old and treated with WWI-era technology. PFAS, found in everything from fast food wrappers to fire-fighting foams, are called ‘permanent chemicals’ because they don’t break down easily and can build up in people and animals.”

Concrete and cast-iron pipes can be over 125 years old; there are more than 250,000 water pipe breaks in the United States annually. When these pipes fracture, pathogens can contaminate water headed right into homes.  

The toxic algae bloom in Lake Erie affected Toledo, and a coal processing plant leaked chemicals from a storage tank in Charleston. Despite efforts by city authorities, advanced filtration systems still (or other pricy solutions) cause residents to be wary of drinking tap water.

“Dark Waters” is a 2019 film analyzing attorney Robert Bilott’s 20-year legal fight against DuPont. The manufacturing giant was knowingly discharging PFAS chemicals in Parkersburg, West Virginia, which caused cancer and immune system problems in humans and animals, including livestock. These “forever chemicals” are at the top of many peoples’ lists regarding tap water contamination. PFAS are present in the blood of 99 percent of humans. Environmental Working Group released an interactive map that shows the levels of PFAS contamination throughout the United States. 

Are you concerned about the number or type of chemicals in your drinking water? Let Reynolds Water Conditioning purify your water today.

Reynolds Water Conditioning was established in 1931 and is Michigan’s oldest water conditioning treatment company. Still owned and operated by the Reynolds family, we take pride in providing the highest quality products at a cost-effective price. If your tap water lacks the quality you deserve, contact us today at www.reynoldswater.com or call 800-572-9575.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

EPA Grants 1.2M to U-M to Study Wastewater Viruses

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has granted the University of Michigan researchers $1.2 million. The purpose of the funds is to study the efficiency of current wastewater virus removal treatments. One of the overall goals is to increase the viability of using wastewater as drinking water.

While existing technologies might be quite effective, they can be equally complex. By upgrading the water treatment facilities – particularly in drought-prone areas – reusing wastewater might be more realistic and practical.

Krista Wigginton, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, said, “In areas where water scarcity is becoming a growing concern, they may be forced to look at methods like desalination or potable reuse for their drinking water. If we make reuse rules too stringent, and we’re not giving treatment systems the proper credit for what they’re already removing from the water, we’re going to create a much more expensive project for communities.”

Wigginton will lead a three-year study to identify what aspects of water quality can be monitored in real-time. Using three methods (ozone, coagulation/flocculation/sedimentation, and biological wastewater treatment), the researchers will evaluate whether viruses are effectively removed during those processes. 

Contaminated and strained water resources combined with a rising global population are determining factors for treating and reusing wastewater as drinking water. According to the World Health Organization, half of the global population will reside in “water-stressed” areas. In the United States, countless regions are experiencing lengthy droughts that compromise water supplies.

The EPA said, “The changing climate is challenging many communities to meet their long-term water needs. Reuse of treated wastewater and stormwater for agricultural, nonpotable or even potable uses provides an alternative source of water that can be more reliable than traditional water sources.”

Wigginton said, “We may actually be better at virus removal than we already know. For some of these processes, like ultraviolet light, we already have robust models for predicting how they eliminate viruses. But for others that may not have been studied as much, we don’t have these models. We want to correct that.”

Are you interested in purifying your water? Contact Reynolds Water Conditioning Co. today to learn how we can improve your water.

Reynolds Water Conditioning was established in 1931 and is Michigan’s oldest water conditioning treatment company. Still owned and operated by the Reynolds family, we take pride in providing the highest quality products at a cost-effective price. If your tap water lacks the quality you deserve, contact us today at www.reynoldswater.com or call 800-572-9575.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

EPA Issues First PFAS Regulations

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is focused on distinguishing chances to better protect public health and the environment. Recently, the EPA unveiled the Preliminary Effluent Guidelines Program Plan 15, which aims to reduce chemicals in wastewater.

In an effort to lower toxins from specific industries, the EPA enacted three new rules or guidelines to reduce per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and other pollutants.

Radhika Fox, Assistant Administrator for Water, said, “To protect drinking water supplies, recreational waters, and aquatic ecosystems, it is essential that we utilize the latest scientific and technological breakthroughs in wastewater treatment. Importantly and for the first time, EPA is committing to limit PFAS in wastewater discharges.”

The two standards for PFAS pertain to the following industries:

  • Metal finishing industries are to remediate PFAS discharges from chromium electroplating facilities
  • Industries manufacturing organic chemicals, plastics, and synthetic fibers to clean up PFAS runoff from buildings manufacturing the chemical

Nutrient discharges from meat and poultry product industries are also to be addressed. Also included in the report was the steam electric power generating category. The EPA will consider reinforcing the already-strict limits which apply to coal power plants regarding waste streams used to produce electricity.

PFAS are man-made substances used in industrial settings to create thousands of products worldwide. Dubbed “Forever Chemicals,” these chemicals do not break down over time and are extremely persistent in the environment. Found in the blood of 99.9 percent of human beings across the globe, it’s impossible to reverse exposure to PFAS.

Present in everyday household items, food, drinking water, living organisms, workplace facilities, and much more, PFAS are found in carpet, Teflon products (cookware, Scotchguard, etc.), leather, apparel, rubber plastics, paper, packaging, and so much more. The list is seemingly endless.

PFAS is an emerging issue because it has been found to create a host of health issues in living beings, including humans. Adverse health effects include problems with the reproductive system, developmental and fetal complications, immune system impediments, autoimmune disease spikes, thyroid hormone disruption, and cancer.

To reduce PFAS from your drinking water, contact the treatment experts at Reynolds today.

Reynolds Water Conditioning was established in 1931 and is Michigan’s oldest water conditioning treatment company. Still owned and operated by the Reynolds family, we take pride in providing the highest quality products at a cost-effective price. If your tap water lacks the quality you deserve, contact us today at www.reynoldswater.com or call 800-572-9575.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Ohio’s Chippewa Lake Celebrates Two Years Sans Algal Blooms

Ohio’s largest inland natural lake, Chippewa Lake, is commending its method of algal bloom treatment by celebrating the second anniversary of complete remediation. BlueGreen Water Technologies issued a press release explaining how their treatment halted five years of sky-high toxicity levels in the lake. The treatment product, called Lake Guard® Blue, removed the toxic algae in only 24 hours and marked the first full-scale United States implementation.

Dr. Moshe Harel, BlueGreen CSO, said, “The success of BlueGreen’s treatment in Chippewa Lake was achieved through a change of phytoplankton composition: the Lake Guard® Blue effectively removed the toxic cyanobacterial species to boost the “immune system” of the lake. By increasing the diversity of beneficial phytoplankton species and restoring the lake to a healthy ecosystem, we have prevented the resurgence of the harmful cyanobacteria.”

Professor Aaron Kaplan, Chair of BlueGreen’s Scientific Board, said, “This event is a milestone along BlueGreen’s road of achievements. The fact that Chippewa Lake remains clean while all other lakes in the region are under harmful algal bloom alert speaks for itself.”

BlueGreen was named the Global Water Awards’ “2021 Breakthrough Technology Company of the Year” by Global Water Intelligence (GWI) and operates on a global scale to identify and remedy toxic blue-green algae blooms.

Dr. Waleed Nasser, Director of Operations of BlueGreen US, said, “The significance of this milestone cannot be overstated, as recurring toxic blooms can be so devastating to communities like Chippewa Lake.”

Do you want to ensure your water is clean, pure, and refreshing? Contact the water treatment experts today at Reynolds Water Conditioning.

Reynolds Water Conditioning was established in 1931 and is Michigan’s oldest water conditioning treatment company. Still owned and operated by the Reynolds family, we take pride in providing the highest quality products at a cost-effective price. If your tap water lacks the quality you deserve, contact us today at www.reynoldswater.com or call 800-572-9575.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.