Infectious Diseases Can Spread Via Drinking Water

The ongoing 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak reminds us how rapidly infectious agents can travel the globe. Today it is possible to be anywhere in the world within hours. Our increasingly mobile society means that diseases that used to seem exotic and distant can impact any population. Of the 50 most deadly infectious diseases, approximately a third may be transmitted by drinking water.

The top deadliest diseases from drinking water
The following is a summary of the top deadliest diseases known to infect humans that have a waterborne transmission route ranked from the least to most deadly (numbers in parentheses indicate ranking). Table 1 includes these and other infections that made the list, considering all transmission routes.1

Lassa fever (49) was originally discovered in the late ’60s in Lassa, Nigeria. That country reported that a new outbreak began in January 2020 with over 1,700 new cases suspected. An estimated 300,000 infections occur annually.2 Although primarily endemic in West Africa, rodents are an intermediate host and can transmit the disease to people. Ingestion of contaminated food and water is another common transmission route. Symptoms may progress to hemorrhaging, fever and multiple organ failure.

Rabbit fever (48), also known as tularemia, is caused by the bacterium Francisella tularensis. This highly contagious organism causes an average of 126 cases per year in the US. Tularemia can be spread through arthropod bites, contact with infected animal tissues, inhalation of contaminated aerosols and ingestion of contaminated food or water. Historically, F. tularensis has been utilized as a bioweapon. Thus, officials monitor carefully for increases that might indicate foul play.

Taenia solium (46) is a type of tapeworm found in pork whose larval stage causes a disease known as cysticercosis. The disease spreads through feces-contaminated food or water from an infected person. Larvae then invade the central nervous system tissues. Endemic in Latin America, cases are routinely diagnosed in US-born residents.3

Rotavirus (45) is the number one cause of childhood diarrhea worldwide. Although the availability of a vaccine dramatically reduced the number of rotavirus deaths, an estimated 215,000 are still attributed to this organism.4
The majority of cholera (42) cases can be treated with oral rehydration solutions but in many areas treatments for the severe, acute watery diarrhea is not available. It is estimated that up to four million cases and 143,000 deaths occur from the bacterium Vibrio cholerae annually. The current (seventh) pandemic hit South Asia in 1962, Africa in 1971 and the Americas in 1991.5

Typhoid fever (42) cases are estimated as high as 22 million with 210,000 deaths annually. Spread via food and water contaminated with Salmonella enterica serotype typhi and paratyphi, it’s the largest global burden in in the developing world.

Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (E. coli) (40) causes severe outbreaks of food and waterborne disease. The disease is usually self-limiting but may progress to bloody diarrhea and the deadly haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS), which can result in acute renal failure. Children and the elderly are most at risk.

Botulism (31) is the most deadly toxin known. Produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, the toxin is destroyed by conventional drinking water treatment but can spread via intentional acts of contamination. A powerful neurotoxin, botulism death usually occurs following muscular paralysis and respiratory failure.

Legionnaire’s disease (31) is spread via water aerosols from showers, cooling towers, fountains and hot tubs. The Legionella pneumophila bacteria grows in premise-plumbing systems. The 10,000 cases of Legionnaire’s disease reported in the US annually are thought to be a large underestimation of the true disease burden. The elderly, smokers and people with chronic lung disease are most at risk.

Anthrax (31) spores are produced by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis and are commonly found in soil and infect domestic and wild animals feeding on outdoor plants and grasses. Once inside the human body, the spores become active, multiply and produce potent toxins leading to severe illness and death.
SARS (29) or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (which became a global threat in 2003), is caused by a strain of coronavirus. Symptoms similar to influenza complicate rapid and distinct diagnoses. Respiratory illness is often accompanied by severe diarrhea. Although rare, case-fatality rates may be as high as 50 percent.

Guillain-Barré syndrome (27) is a chronic autoimmune condition that attacks the nerves, causing a paralytic illness similar to polio that can progress to total body paralysis and death. Although the exact cause is unknown, the syndrome often occurs following acute infections from respiratory or waterborne microbes, including influenza, Zika and hepatitis A viruses.

Listeriosis (18) is caused by the food and waterborne bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. Found commonly in soft cheeses and ready-to-eat meat products, infections may become invasive and lead to severe health outcomes including septicemia, meningitis and spontaneous abortion.

MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) (15), like it’s relative SARS, may be spread by the respiratory and fecal-oral route. First reported in 2012, MERS is the most deadly virus with a possible waterborne route on our list of top 50 infections, with a death rate of over 34 percent.

Minimizing endemic and epidemic waterborne disease
The only disease that has been successfully eradicated from the globe is smallpox. As microbial hazards continue to emerge due to mutations or expanded routes of transmission, efforts to contain their spread will be promoted. Most microbial pathogens spread via potable water supplies can be removed or inactivated by the use of POU drinking water treatment devices. Therefore, POU device technology designed to remove microbes is recommended to control endemic and epidemic illness risks.

Original Article: http://wcponline.com/2020/03/15/25764/

By: Kelly A. Reynolds, MSPH, PhD

Posted on: Sunday, March 15th, 2020

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Rust from Irrigation Systems: Causes, Treatments, & Prevention

If you have an irrigation system, you probably have rust spots appearing on the side of your home, on patio furniture, paved ways, landscaping, and other areas. The iron within your water causes these reddish-brown spots, particularly for those who have well water. Rust can also form in a standard municipal water system but in considerably fewer amounts. In this article, we discuss how you can treat and prevent rust from forming around your property. 

Removing Rust & Iron Stains  

Before tackling the main problem – removing the rust from your water supply – you should remove the stains that have built up over time that have formed around your property. You can do this with many cleaners, but Magica is a renowned product for removing spotty rust stains and is safe for any surface, including concrete, wood, fabric, and metal. Even after you remove these stains, they will come back, and you will need to find a more permanent solution to tackle the root of the issue by fixing the iron levels in your water supply.

Your water must be oxidized and then filtered out to remove the iron, and you can only do this with a filter that uses manganese dioxide or a form of catalytic media that will react with the iron. Depending on your water’s characteristics, you may need to use an oxidizer like chlorine, oxygen, or hydrogen peroxide. Removing rust is important as it is aesthetically unpleasant and does damage to your plants and surfaces, sometimes killing vegetation entirely.

The Reynolds Irrigation Stain Control System

The Reynolds Irrigation Stain Control System is a preventative maintenance process that prevents rust from forming on all surfaces of your home, including your white linens and the bathtub. This system has an RC solution; a clear blue concentrated non-toxic neutral phosphate that will prevent mineral and iron stains. The solution is 100% bio-degradable and is injected into the irrigation stream as it enters your water supply. 

The feed system includes a solution tank, industrial-grade flow switch, and a high-performance solid-state injection pump, which is adjustable so solutions can be appropriately proportioned for any water quality. This product is one of the best treatments for preventing rust formation occurring with your irrigation system. 

Reynolds Water Conditioning Co. was established in 1931 and is Michigan’s oldest water conditioning treatment company. Still owned and operated by the Reynolds family, Reynolds Water Conditioning takes pride in offering the highest quality products at a cost-effective price. https://www.reynoldswater.com | 1-800-572-9575

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5 Trends That Will Affect the Water Industry in the Next Decade

The water industry is posed to have several new changes that happen within the next decade due to rapid urbanization, climate change, consumer demands, and emerging digital technologies. Complex business challenges will arise, and companies can turn these changes into opportunities that could benefit both businesses and consumers and the environment. Below, are five trends that will have an impact on the water industry within the next decade:

1. Extreme Weather

It is anticipated that we will have more extreme weather in the next decade than ever recorded before. Most of the climate change is attributed to water, and these changes will influence agricultural production, rises in sea levels, and wildfires leading to droughts and floods. 

Hard engineering structures such as dikes, seawalls, and levees can be built to protect coastal communities against severe flooding. The use of intricate water modeling technologies can help determine current vulnerabilities and offer better solutions to address these coastal challenges.

2. Agricultural Changes

The UN has projected that the world’s population will reach more than nine billion by 2050 and making sure that there is enough food for everyone will be essential. It is estimated that global food production needs to be increased by at least 70% to maintain enough food. To keep up with these demands, there needs to be enough arable land for crop production and more efficient irrigation technology to handle the requests. Precision farming systems, coupled with emerging technologies to improve agricultural production, will help in using less water for more crops. 

3. Reusing Wastewater

Wastewater is made up of many valuable elements such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and other resources that can be used for energy and be reused instead of letting them be discarded back into the environment. The current water consumption model is liner in nature, meaning that water is extracted from a source, checked for quality, consumed, treated, and discharged in a receiving body of water. In the next decade, we will see the emergence of a more circular model, one of which focuses on reusing wastewater and utilizing its properties we are currently discarding. To do this, we will need to rethink and redesign the current infrastructure. 

4. Customer-Led Revolution

Digital technologies are used by consumers nearly every moment of the day, empowering them more than ever. People expect more personalized products and services to improve every aspect of their life, which will only increase as time goes on. Businesses must accept that the new paradigm of the empowered customer adapts their mindsets to service this expectation. Technologies for smart water softeners, filtration systems, and other consumer products will give homeowners more control over bills, utilization, and overall maintenance. The water industry will be challenged to examine how to work with businesses, consumers, and technologies to achieve the desired goals for all. 

5. Smart Network and Technologies

As we progress into a more tech-driven world, smart water network solutions will increase in use and improve the reliability of physical water operations by gathering and analyzing data more effectively. The Internet of Things (IoT) is a term coined to describe all devices connected to the internet and speak with each other, sending data, automatic process, and analytics. IoT will help better manage the water industry infrastructure and reduce non-revenue water losses; it will also support essential changes to how utility companies operate and function. This will allow the opportunity to improve productivity and ROI, all while enhancing customer experience and expectations. 

Reynolds Water Conditioning Co. was established in 1931 and is Michigan’s oldest water conditioning treatment company. Reynolds Water is delighted to provide the highest quality products at a cost-effective price. www.reynoldswater.com

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The Benefits of Reverse Osmosis

Most homeowners choose a reverse osmosis system for their water filtration needs. Reverse osmosis works by forcing water across several layers of a semi-permeable membrane to catch contaminants. Particles that are caught are then flushed out of the system. This is a process in which dissolved inorganic solids (such as salts) are removed from a solution (such as water).

Key Benefits of a Reverse Osmosis System:

  • Improves Taste. When water is filtered with reverse osmosis (RO), it removes contaminants that could alter the taste and odor. Another benefit is texture and softness. Your water should look, taste, and feel refreshing. 
  • Saves Money. With a RO system, you can stop purchasing cases of bottled water and discontinue water delivery. This will save you a lot of money and cost you only pennies per gallon for better tasting water.
  • Helps the Environment. Drinking water from your own kitchen facet cuts down on plastic bottles that can end up in landfills. For every six bottles of water purchased, Americans on average, only recycle one of them.   
  • Easy Maintenance. The simplicity of RO systems cannot be underestimated. Surprisingly, these systems are straightforward to clean, fix, and service. There are very few moving parts; thus, identifying and replacing parts is relativity easy.
  • Removes Impurities. Reverse osmosis removes a plethora of pollutants from water. The common contaminants that a RO can eliminate are nitrates, pesticides, sulfates, fluoride, bacteria, pharmaceuticals, arsenic, and much more. The carbon filter within the RO system will also remove chlorine and chloramines. 

Reverse osmosis is an effective and affordable way to improve the health, taste, odor, and overall quality of your water. Read more about reverse osmosis here

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Tips on Keeping Your Water Softener Running Efficiently

There are plenty of things that can go wrong with your water softener over time, and regular maintenance is a must if you want to ensure that your unit works consistently. Below are a few common issues with water softeners and some tips that will help you make your softener work more efficiently and last longer.

Avoid Salt Bridges and Salt Mushing: 

A salt bridge occurs when a hard crust forms in the brine tank and creates a space between the water and the salt. This prevents the salt from dissolving into the water to make the brine. You may notice an issue if your salt tank appears full, but your water seems hard. The best way to tell if you have a salt bridge is to take the end of a broom handle and press against the top of the salt wall. If the top of the salt collapses inwards, then you have a salt bridge.

Salt Mushing:

This is the more serious of the two issues and happens when dissolved salt recrystallizes to form sludge at the bottom of the tank. The thick layer of salt at the bottom keeps the water softener from properly cycling through the regeneration process and leaves the water hard and blocking the rest of the tank filtration. Salt mushing is probably the cause of hard water if you already tested for bridging. 

Be Selective with Your Salt Choice:

There are three basic types of water softener salts available for softeners: rock, solar, and evaporated. Rock salt, the least expensive of the three, contains higher levels of insoluble minerals or impurities and can muddy your tank over time, decreasing the softening elements. The second option is solar salt, which is more soluble than rock salt, is obtained by the evaporation of seawater, and is found in both pellet and crystal form. The last option is evaporated salt and is obtained through a combination of mining and evaporation and is the purest form of salt at 99.99% sodium chloride. 

By periodically checking your water softener, you can keep it running smoothly with little to no hard water occurring. Read more on other tips to ensure you have a fully functional water softener system here

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Water Quality Association Executive Lists Life-Sustaining Businesses Essential for Covid-19 Pandemic

Paul Undesser, WAQ Executive Director, announced Shelter-in-Place Directives for the COVID-19 pandemic on March 20, 2020. Undesser announced that certain water treatment businesses are deemed “essential” for sustaining life per the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). 

The types of companies listed are; water treatment professionals, manufacturers, deliveries, and service providers point-of-use and point-of-entry (POU/POE) water treatment products and services. Due to the critical products and services these companies provide within the water drinking and purification industries, they provide crucial roles in life-sustaining activities.

The DHS issued advisory guidance to state, local, and tribal officials on March 19 regarding the assigning of essential workers who are critical to maintaining important operations and public works. The DHS labeled those within the plumbing, electrical, extermination, and other service providers “essential” who provide services that are necessary to maintaining safety, sanitation, and essential operations of residences. More on this announcement can be found here.

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The Use of Water Softeners Continue to Rise Worldwide

According to this article, a global survey was conducted showing an increase in the use of water softeners to create safe drinking water worldwide. Additionally, there has been a rise in awareness for utilizing water softeners for balancing the proper amounts of magnesium and calcium safe for drinking levels.

If a person drinks soft water with higher levels of magnesium or calcium, it can lead to increased health problems. Experts are also advising people to stay clear of water softener systems that use sodium instead of magnesium and calcium. 

Water softener systems that use magnesium and calcium can not only offer health advantages but also save you money when compared to other softener systems.

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Coronavirus Sparks Concern on Bottled Water Shortage

The U.S Environmental Protection Agency is in the process of reassuring residents that water from their tap is safe to consume. However, hundreds of people are crowding local grocery stores throughout the country to stock up on bottled water supplies due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Government officials have stated that conventional water treatment and disinfection removes any viruses, including the COVID-19, and no extra measures like boiling water will be necessary. In this article, the Salt Lake City Department of Public Utilities offers information on their website to advise customers and answer questions that the public may have regarding this matter. It is always a best practice to have a four-day supply of water for emergency precautions; however, the department has downplayed the need to stockpile water for the coronavirus outbreak.

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EPA Announces Regulation for PFAS

Last month, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that they would begin to regulate a category of chemicals known as PFAS. PFAS’s are linked to cancer and other health issues that can be found in the environment and the human body.  

Environmentalists have voiced their concerns that Trump’s EPA administration have procrastinated with environmental regulations rather than steadfast on issues. Currently, the EPA recommends water should contain 70 parts per trillion (ppt) of PFAS or less; however, this amount is not mandatory. Many health officials argue this number is still too high. 

The next step will be a lengthy process entailing two long years with agency debates to determine a consensus on new contamination level standards. Once a consensus has been reached, the agency will have another 18 months to finalize the drinking water requirements. The EPA will create two drinking water standards during this process. The first standard will be heavily based on health considerations, and the second will focus on financial investment obligations. For more information about this EPA update, read this article.

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4 Steps on How to Remove Rust from Drinking Water

Rust is commonly regarded as one element but is actually composed of several compounds that consist of iron and oxygen. Rust forms when free iron is exposed to oxygen and water. The water color in your home could be yellow, orange, or brown depending on the concentration of the rust. Typically, rusty water pipes on a well water system will have a higher concentration of iron leading to rusty water issues. Thankfully you can remove rust in your home with water softeners, oxidizing filters and sequestration.

Step 1: Connect an ion exchange water softener to your water supply. This device will contain sodium that will combine with the iron and remove the rust from your water.

Step 2: Install an oxidizing filter before the water softener line. This device will contain manganese oxides that will convert soluble compounds into insoluble compounds, which then will filter out of the water. Oxidizing filters are most appropriate for treat water with a moderate level of concentrated iron and where the pH is at least 6.8

Step 3: Use a solution feeder to add polyphosphates to your water supply. Polyphosphates contain phosphorus, which disperse in the water so the iron doesn’t form rust. However, a polyphosphate chemical feeder can be more expensive than other options. It is only recommended to use a polyphosphate feeder if the rust issues are severe enough warrant this option.

Step 4: Add about half gallon of bleach to your water supply. After adding the bleach, allow to water to sit for about 12 hours and run the water until no more bleach is present in the system. This system is most effective when the rust in your water is being produced by bacteria.

Read More on How to Effectively Remove Rust from Your Water Supply

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