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It Came From Underground!

Budget cuts around the country are hitting cities hard. Several cities from California to Florida have had to file for bankruptcy. Most cities are struggling and have had to cut budgets. Unfortunately it is often the infrastructure of the city that suffers when these cuts are made.

The Lower East Side water main burst last month was a good example of what can happen when a city neglects in infrastructure. Not having the resources to implement an effective preventative back repair and inspection for its plumbing infrastructure and ended up with a costly and embarrassing water leak issue. The millions of dollars spent on repair and cleanup of the Lower East Side spill account for a lot more then is potentially saved by scaling back proper preventive services. Unfortunately in these tough economic times many home owners also try to scale back on many preventive services and end up suffering plumbing leaks and malfunctions.

The city and the DEP recently created a campaign to increase public awareness of the idea of backflow prevention. The Lower East Side pipe incident illustrates city plumbing is dated and has not been updated at a pace adequate to the growth of New York City. Sewage backups occur when antiquated city plumb is undated with wastewater from storms and water use. Since the system cannot handle the large volume of water it flows out of the pipes and floods peoples basements. Basement flooding is costly and hard to clean.

Home owners are not the only ones who suffer. Toxic water doesn't flow to proper treatment facilities contaminate our groundwater our waterways, and our overall environment. That is why the Department of Environmental Protection is spearheading efforts implement a plan to increase its abilities to monitor sewage levels, especially after periods of inclement weather, in order to diagnose potential problems and decrease reaction times to these potentially catastrophic issues. Unfortunately the project is likely several years from completion, so it is important that individual property owners take the necessary steps to prevent backflow issues. Having a properly installed backflow prevention device, most commonly in the form of a check valve, is not only a smart investment but also a legal requirement for most types of properties. The city is strongly incentivizing people to take sewage back flow prevention measures and prevent basement flooding as it struggles to

Leak detection services can help you whether you have a proper sewer backup system that will protect you from heft city fines and the dangers of sewage backflow. They can tell you if your leaky plumbing is putting you at heightened risk for water intrusion issues and basement flooding. The cost of water leak detection pales in comparison to the costs associated with flooding, leaking, and other forms of water intrusion.

You need to know that as a property owner you will be responsible for damage caused by the lack of a backflow prevention device or unaddressed leaks, even if the city's old plumbing is the main culprit. As a renter you should ask your landlord about sewage backup prevention and leak detection as your personal belongings are at risk of becoming damaged when a water intrusion occurs.


How to Test Rain Water Acidity

Water pollution is one of the most significant environmental problems we have to deal with today. It has been proven conclusively that the levels of toxins in your water supply are dangerous.

In general you think of industrial waste or pesticides and fertilizers that come from agriculture as the sources of water pollution. Those problems, however, are not the sole cause of the levels water contamination we have to deal with. Air pollution that comes from factory smoke, auto emissions, and other sources can get into the water that comes down as rain. That contaminated rainwater is what is people often call "acid rain."

It is wise to make yourself aware of the level of rain water contamination in your area. That is possible using a standard water testing kit that can help you understand the pH level in the water. These water testing kits are easy to find at a hardware store or online. Step one in using the water testing kit is to collect fresh rainwater.

Simply put some clean bowls or cans that can collect the rain outside during the next big storm. Put the collection bowls away from the house so you will not get run off from the house drains which could be contaminated by the drainpipes.

The pH water testing kit will either direct you to drop a tablet into a measured amount of rainwater or you will dip a strip that has been chemically treated into the water and then look for changes in color. By doing a water testing kit yourself, you can know without question how prevalent the issues is in your area.

Take into consideration that the water that you get from your tap comes from the city water supply that goes through a water processing facility. The "acid rain" is only part of a more prevalent problem of contaminated water that is affecting most metropolitan water reservoirs in this country.

As a parent and a homeowner, you are smart to buy a home water filtration unit to be sure that your drinking water is safe. It is practical to invest in a good water filter that you can rely on until the time comes with the public water contamination problem is fixed.


How To Treat Acid Well Water and Stop Corrosion of Copper Pipes

For piping systems fed by water from a private well, one of the most common causes of corrosion is low pH. A low pH is water with a pH of less than 7.0 pH. Signs of acid water are corrosion of fixtures, pinhole leaks, blue staining (from copper pipes) or rust staining (from iron pipes).

Common causes for acidic water are acid rainfall due to atmospheric carbon dioxide and other airborne pollutants, runoff from mining spoils, and decomposition of plant materials. Acidic waters can be high quality and are typically low in buffering calcium minerals, but are high in dissolved carbon-dioxide gas, which can cause the low pH or acidity.

Treatment is accomplished by neutralizing the water with the use of an automatic calcite neutralizer. These water filter tanks are filled with a blend of calcium and magnesium carbonates made from naturally occurring minerals, which dissolve into the water, making it less corrosive. Calcite is a white granular mineral that adds calcium to the water raising the pH and increasing the alkalinity. Periodically, (once or twice a year for a typical residential application) more mineral is added to the filter tank.

In some cases, instead of dissolved carbon dioxide causing the low pH or acidity, the acidity is caused by mineral acids, either natural or from mining or other industrial wastes. Often the pH is very low, less than 5.0. Treating this type of water requires injection of soda ash or sodium hydroxide with a metering pump, and generally, the neutralizing type mineral filters described above will not work well on this type of water.

o Calcite neutralizers raise pH, hardness and alkalinity by adding calcium and magnesium to the water.

o Soda ash feeders raise pH and increase alkalinity but not hardness. Soda ash is sodium carbonate so soda ash feeders do increase the sodium content of the water.

Calcite Neutralizers

One of the most convenient methods to raise pH, hardness and alkalinity is to use a calcite neutralizer filter. These filters will typically raise the pH of the water to 7.0 to 8.0 and add 30 to 100 ppm of hardness depending on the alkalinity and water hardness.

In neutralizer filters, acidic waters slowly dissolve the calcium and magnesium media on contact as the water flows through the filter, raising the pH of the water and increasing the alkalinity. This eliminates the effects of corrosive water chemistries and can help to prevent corrosion of piping and fixtures.

The size of the system is directly proportional to the flow rate of the water, in gallons per minute. The higher the flow rate, the larger the system required.

Soda Ash Feeders

Metering pumps are used to inject a small amount of soda ash (sodium carbonate) into the water, usually in conjunction with a contact tank. For best results, allow 10 minutes contact with the water for pH adjustment to occur.

For home wells, when the metering pumps are wired to turn on and start pumping soda ash solution, when the well pump is energized or running.

Soda ash is bought dry, usually in 25 or 50 lb bags and mixed with soft or pure water in the solution tank. When a saturated solution is achieved (approximately 1 pound per 5 gallons of water), a solution of between 50 and 500 ppm are injected, depending on the pH, alkalinity and flow rate of the water.

Follow-up Testing for Quality Assurance

The pH should be checked on-site and the metering pump adjusted after the system is installed and running. Routine weekly or monthly testing of the pH is recommended to make sure the treated water has the desired pH level.

If the piping in the home is copper it is also important to test for copper residuals to verify that the corrosion is slowing down or has stopped. A simple copper test, done on the water that is first drawn out of the tap will show if there is a copper residual still in the water, indicating corrosion. Over a period of six to twelve months the copper residual levels will slowly decrease in most cases, after the water has been treated.


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