Highwater Marks

I read an interesting article in the National Geographic Daily News about a push to make recycled wastewater, or reclaimed water, more appealing to people on municipal water systems. This could partially help to meet some of our current and future potable water needs in the U.S and worldwide. It could conceivably meet 6% of U.S. municipal water needs. Treated wastewater is already being used in some countries, like Singapore, and some say that their model could be used to incentivize the use of reclaimed water. It looks to be a difficult sell to the American public, but it seems like it may be viable method to use water more efficiently. Much treated wastewater is currently being discharged into our oceans. A big concern is that reclaimed water may contain contaminants that are not currently tested by the E.P.A. (see my previous post, Our Tap Water at Risk: E.P.A. not doing adequate job of protecting drinking water.). How will the public feel confident that the treated wastewater is actually safe? Better regulation is needed for all our drinking water to ensure that our water is safe. If this method of recycling is to be used, people should demand that better testing is conducted before this water is used in our drinking supply. And why isn't the E.P.A. testing for radiation in our water? To be safe, a point of use home water filter is a great way to feel confident that you are doing the best you can to remove harmful contaminants from your drinking supply. Check out our large variety of home water filters at Highwater Filter's webstore. Thanks for reading!

A recent study released by the USGS shows 13% of private wells in the U.S.  are contaminated with levels of metals and other elements above the set safety standards for health. Contaminants of particular concern include arsenic, uranium, manganese, radon, lithium and boron.

Some of the contaminants come from natural sources and therefore can be overshadowed by anthropogenic contamination (human-sourced). But regardless of the source, owners of private wells should test their water to determine the extent of contamination so they know what contaminants they are at risk for.

A good water test may cost $200 or more in a laboratory, but there are also home test kits available that can be bought for as little as $15. It's imperative that you find out what is in your water to determine if you should take measures to protect you and your family.

Filtering water at the tap is an inexpensive and effective fix for many elemental and chemical contaminants. There are water filters available for just about every contaminant and many of them are effective against multiple pollutants. To be extra protected, some even opt to purify their water with one of the many water purifiers on the market. Once you discover the crystal clarity and great taste of your filtered well water, you will wonder why there are so many others who are lugging big jugs from the grocery store, or stock-piling cases of plastic bottled water. You just can't beat the convenience and cost of your home-filtered water.

At Highwater Filters, we have a solution available to help you remove metals and other contaminants from your well water. A recent addition to our inventory is a ceramic counter top filter that is made specifically for well water by New Wave Enviro. It's got a cleanable ceramic filter that's designed to remove suspended solids, pathogenic bacteria, hydrogen sulfide, Chlorine, Mercury, Lead and VOC's.  

 

Check out the Premium Ceramic system here.

Investing in a water test may be the best decision you ever make. Don't put it off. There are a number of water test products available on the web.

And please visit the Highwater Filters webstore for the best quality, U.S. made home water filters.

Special offer for readers of this blog! Take 5% off the already low price of any Premium water filter product by New Wave Enviro. You must use discount code NWDIS at checkout to get your discount.

Read more here about the USGS survey: Environmental Health News

Thanks for stopping by!

Events at Fukushima continue to be tenuous. Workers are desperately trying to inject decontaminated water into the reactors in an attempt to cool the reactor cores. But the process was suspended today after only 90 minutes, due to pipe leakage. Hopefully, they'll have the system back up by tomorrow. This follows major problems with the purification process they are using to filter radioactive particles from contaminated water in order to re-inject into the reactors. There were simply too many radioactive particles for the system to handle. And news in the areas surrounding the reactors is grim. All 15 samples of urine from residents living 30-40 km from the site had levels of at least 3 millisieverts of radiation. This isn't good. Although, well below the maximum annual level of 20 millisieverts threshold permitted for a health adult, this is cause for concern. Radiation is cumulative. This must be very disconcerting for people living in proximity to the plant. [caption id="attachment_838" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Ft. Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant, Ft. Calhoun , Nebraska"][/caption] News out of Nebraska continues to be concerning as well. Flood waters have now surrounded the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant. An 8-foot berm that was constructed to block flood waters from the plant was breached yesterday and water is now seeping into a turbine building. Authorities continue to assure the public that things are under control. As someone who actively participated in protests and demonstrations against nuclear power back in the late 70's and early 80's, it has been my long held position that nuclear power is not safe, nor affordable. We were convincing enough back then to put an end to the construction of nuke plants, until a permit for new construction of a plant was approved last year. This new trend must be reevaluated, considering the circumstances. Many of our aging reactors are living on borrowed time. The life expectancy of the designs from 30-50 years ago were 40 years. Some of those plants have continued to operate past their projected lifespan. Decommissioning a nuke plant costs a billion dollars. How will that be paid for? On a brighter note, Highwater Filters has a new storefront! We are still working out the bugs, but once we do, I'll be announcing a Super Store-wide Sale that you won't want to miss. Check back soon for details on big discounts on our TRAP radiation filters, Life Saver non-electric distiller kits, Katadyn water filters and more! For more info on Fukushima go here (WSJ) and here (The Japan Times). For more info on the events at the Ft. Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant go here (Salon.com). Thanks for reading!
In a devastating blow to the people of Japan, Tepco announced today that the highest readings yet (up to 4,000 millisieverts per hour at reactor No. 1) were recorded inside the Fukushima reactor. This announcement comes on the heals of visible steam escaping from the plant recorded on video. To make matters worse, rains threaten efforts to install new decontamination equipment in the plant. Workers are currently racing to install the new equipment by June 15, but impending heavy rains threaten to cause the radioactive water inside the plant to overflow, potentially causing considerable damage. Tepco has warned that heavy rain could cause the overflow by June 20th, or possibly sooner. Rain is expected tonight and throughout the oncoming week in the Fukushima area. Let's hope it doesn't amount to as much as the forecasters fear. Highwater Filters is still offering free shipping on TRAP radiation filters and housings for people living in Japan. We recognize the immediate need to make your drinking water safe. We make this small gesture for the many people in Japan who are facing very troubling times. Please email us at info@highwaterfilters.com to receive a discount code for free shipping to Japan. I am starting to look into a good organization that could help to provide TRAP filters to people who are without the means to purchase a filtering system. I have pledged 10% of the purchase price of the TRAP radiation bundles of a single housing and 3 TRAP filters to make this happen. See here or here for details. For recent update on situation at Fukushima: Japan Times From the Business Insider. Here's a good video concerning the current situation at Fukushima: Record radiation levels at Fukushima
Dr. Helen Caldicott is arguably the world's leading expert on the effects of radioactivity on the human body. She is the founder of  Physicians for Social Responsibility and she has been a relentless voice of reason for decades. Her dire warnings about the dangers of nuclear power have rendered many, many people speechless. In her April 30th  Op-Ed article in the New York Times (Unsafe at Any Dose), Dr. Caldicott puts the recent nuclear accident at Fukushima, Japan in clear perspective. She states: "doctors know that there is no such thing as a safe dose of radiation, and that radiation is cumulative." Dr. Caldicott describes the cancers and miscarriages that occurred, and continue to occur long after the Chernobyl nuclear accident. She explains how leukemia can take 5-10 years to emerge, but most cancers take 15-60 years. She cites a publication from the New York Academy of Sciences that says over a million cases of cancer deaths and diseases have resulted since Chernobyl. Leaders in the nuclear power industry and some government officials may downplay the significance of elevated emissions of radioactive isotopes. There are good reasons they want us in the dark about the dangers. It's people like Dr. Helen Caldicott who know the truth about the hazards of nuclear power and nuclear war and are not afraid to speak out. She is a true planetary hero. Incidently, if you know anything about Dr. Helen Caldicott, she has really been a beacon in the anti-nuclear movement for many, many years. When I was a member of the Environmental Action Committee as a college student at Plattsburgh State University of New York in the early 80's, we had Dr. Caldicott speak at our annual Towards Tomorrow Festival. The National Film Board of Canada came down from Montreal and filmed her speech. It is forever documented in the film "If You Love This Planet." It won an Academy Award for short documentary and required a disclaimer/trailer in the U.S. that it was deemed propaganda by the US government! I was in the audience in the film. I could go on about Dr. Helen Caldicott. She is my hero! If You Love This Planet Thanks for reading!  
radiation_h2oWhile dangerous events at the Fukushima and other Japanese nuclear reactors  are far from over, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has cut back radiation monitoring to pre-tsunami levels. One has to wonder what the bleep are they thinking??? The dangers of nuclear fallout are far from over in Japan and answers about how much radiation is safe are far from conclusive. There have been elevated levels of iodine-131, Cesium-134, Cesium-137 and Strontium-90 found in U.S. milk. Levels of Iodine-131 exceeded permissible limits set by the Safe Drinking Water Act and rainwater has been found with levels that exceed the EPA's Maximum Contaminant Levels for drinking water. So why are we not ramping up our monitoring of radiation in the US instead of ramping it down? In a way, I sort of feel like a whiny baby complaining about the radiation in the U.S. when so many people in Japan are facing much graver levels of contamination. My heart goes out to all the people who have no options but to stay at home despite levels of radiation that could jeopardize their health. I am announcing right here and now that in recognition of the victims of Japan's recent earthquake and devastating tsunami, I am offering FREE SHIPPING to Japan on all products until further notice. I hope that this will help the victims of the terrible recent events better afford products that can remove or reduce radioactive particles from water. I am excited by the new TRAP water filters, developed by NuWater Concepts, that were designed specifically for the fallout from the recent nuclear accidents in Japan. Finally, there is a product that addresses radioisotopes that can become suspended in water and can be ingested. The TRAP is the answer we've been looking for! Click here to read the TRAP brochure. Look for special deals on TRAP bundles coming soon! For more info on EPA's decision to ramp down radiation monitoring, click here. Attention! $50 Off Katadyn Pocket starting July 19, 2011 for one week only! You must use this discount code in order to qualify: PKTSVR. In addition, I am also offering free shipping on this item. Hurry, Sale ends July 26th! We are also offering $100 Off for Katadyn Expeditions, plus free shipping. Discount code: EXPSVR. Sale ends July 26th! Thanks for reading!
We have just received our first shipment of TRAP radiation filters and I am so excited to have them available for sale at Highwater Filters. The TRAP home water filter was developed by NuWater Concepts after the recent earthquake in Japan and the subsequent nuclear disaster that has left many citizens of Japan, and others across the globe, feeling vulnerable to the fallout of iodine-131, cesium-127, and other radioisotopes. Now you can rest easier knowing that the TRAP radiation filter removes radioactive particles from your drinking water. How does it do it? With a proprietary layered blend of activated carbon, zeolite, and polymer beads. The TRAP is the first home water filter of its kind to directly address the immediate needs of people facing the dangers from nuclear fallout. We've got two different countertop housings to hold the TRAP filter. I hope to add an undercounter model sometime in the future. Everything is made in the U.S.A. I am thrilled that I can ship the TRAP radiation water filters to Japan and worldwide. Cost estimates for shipping are available when you add to your shopping cart. For more information, check out my Highwater Filters website. Thanks for reading!
I often visit forums and blogs where questions are posed regarding the type of water filter a consumer should buy. The number of different answers almost surpasses the number of choices a person has for water treatment. It can be a daunting task to decide which kind of filter best meets your particular needs. Although I’ve been passionate about clean water for a long time, I have only just begun to learn about water treatment. I am happy to share what I have learned here on this blog. Some key things to consider when choosing a water filter: • Where will you treat the water? Will you be wilderness hiking or camping? Will you be traveling overseas? Will you be in areas where disease outbreaks are prevalent? Will you have access to electricity? Are you looking for an emergency filter that is lightweight and portable? Do you want to treat water from your tap? • What is the water source that you intend to treat? Is the water in a remote wilderness location? Are you treating surface water from a creek, river, lake, or sea? Do people or industry exist nearby? Are there any known sources of contamination in your water source? Does your tap water come from a municipal water supply? Do you have well water? It would require a sizable book to fully cover all the different needs and best solutions for water treatment. The following just scratches the surface, but may be useful if you are trying to choose the right filter for your situation. I took the following information about water-bourne microorganisms from some promotional material I received from the Katadyn company:

Do You Need a Drinking Water System?

Microorganisms generally come from human or animal waste and are spread by rain and run-off. A pristine stream may be safe one day and contaminated the next. It all depends upon what’s happening upstream. Since you never know what’s in the water, it makes sense to always protect yourself with a quality water system. Beware of these three types of microorganisms: Cysts. Cysts are present in most outdoor water sources. Their relatively large size makes them easy to filter but their protective shell strongly resists chemical treatment (examples: Giardia, Cryptosporidium). Bacteria. Bacteria are a common threat in untreated water. Most quality water microfilters remove bacteria. (examples: e coli, salmonella). Viruses. Viruses are the least common microorganism, however they can also be a serious health risk. Viruses are typically too small to be removed by a water microfilter and require chemical disinfection (examples: Polio, Hepatitis A, Norwalk Virus,). Other concerns that many people around the world are struggling with are the existence of many water contaminants that originate from industry, or from illegal dumping of toxic contaminants. Accidental and deliberate spills happen every day and fines often aren’t severe enough to act as a deterrent to polluters. The pursuit of new energy sources has created some serious environmental problems. (See my previous post on hydro-fracking.) Heavy metals lace our water and soil in many of our communities. There is also a long list of chemicals that people around the world must now contend with in their drinking water. The latest threat that the people of Japan and surrounding areas are facing is contamination from the nuclear power generators that were damaged during their recent earthquake. Emissions from the Fukushima plant are at dangerous levels and swaths of the area surrounding the plant have been evacuated. There is a big demand for water treatment that eliminates radioactive particles. The good news is that a company in California, Nuwater Concepts, has developed a home water filter (TRAP) that removes radioactive particles of concern released from nuke plants. I’ve been working with them to keep me supplied with this new product and I expect to receive my first shipment sometime within the next week. I've already got them listed in my Highwater Filters store, but not quite ready to take orders yet. Please check back to see when they become available, or email us at info@highwaterfilters.com to be notified as soon as they are available for sale in our webstore. If you are backpacking or hiking in the wilderness, or traveling overseas, Katadyn water filters are a popular Swiss-made brand of water filters that to those in-the-know are considered one of the best filters available anywhere. If you are concerned about your home drinking water, it behooves you to get your water tested in a lab. This will greatly benefit you when choosing a water filter. [caption id="attachment_393" align="alignleft" width="150"] The PurestOne home purifier[/caption] We just added the PurestOne home purifier that I think is one of the best deals on the market. It’s well-constructed, carries a lifetime warranty on the housing, and removes an impressive amount of contaminants from your tap water. And it’s made in the U.S.A. Feel free to comment on this blog and ask a question about your specific water treatment need. If I don’t know the answer, I can at least try to find out. Thanks for reading!

It’s been over a month since the tragic earthquake in Japan left a large portion of that country in a constant state of high alert. Concerns for leaking radiation from damaged nuclear plants continue to make many people all over the world nervous about the possibility of radioactive emissions falling in their area of the globe. Don’t let those who are quick to dismiss these concerns as "going overboard" deter you from getting the facts for yourself. Anyone who wonders what the dangers are should research the risks posed and decide if precautions are needed, even if the only benefit is peace of mind. Don’t we all at least wish for this? As I’ve said in my previous blog post about radiation and drinking water, there are so many claims out there about what method is best for filtering radioactive particles from water. It’s difficult to separate truth from wishful thinking. Chemistry was never my strong suit, but I’m learning a lot about radiation these days. I am happy to share what I have discovered with you here. I went to the Environmental Protection Agency's website to see what information they have available about radiation. I discovered they had plenty of free info available to citizens like me. I learned that most radiation occurs naturally at levels too low to be concerned about. I learned there exists a spectrum of radiation that includes lower level non-ionizing radiation such as sound waves, light, and microwaves. This is not the type of radiation we should be worried about, however. On the higher end of the spectrum is radiation that falls within the "ionizing radiation" range. Radiation within this range can be used in manufacturing processes, in cancer therapy, and to generate electricity. Radiation from Japan’s nuclear facilities falls into this category. [caption id="attachment_231" align="alignleft" width="365"]

Types of Radiation in the Electromagnetic Spectrum[/caption] There are three main kinds of ionizing radiation: alpha particles, beta particles, and gamma rays. The kind we are concerned about affecting our health from a nuclear reactor accident are beta particles. I could give you a detailed description about how beta particles are formed, but I doubt I’d fool you into thinking that I know what I’m talking about. In a nutshell, when the ratio of neutrons to protons becomes too high, it causes a chain reaction that forcibly removes an electron from the nucleus of an atom. The original radionuclide, considered a “beta emitter”, is transformed into a different element. There are many beta emitters including cesium-137, strontium-90, and iodine-131. Radioactive iodine is the biggest concern after a nuclear reactor accident. These particles are what are most likely to cause contamination to our food or water after a nuclear accident. According to information from the EPA's website, “ Direct exposure to beta particles is a hazard, because emissions from strong sources can redden or even burn the skin. However, emissions from inhaled or ingested beta particle emitters are the greatest concern. Beta particles released directly to living tissue can cause damage at the molecular level, which can disrupt cell function. Because they are much smaller and have less charge than alpha particles, beta particles generally travel further into tissues. As a result, the cellular damage is more dispersed.” A common fear of exposure to radiation from contaminated food and water after a nuclear accident is the threat of cancer. This can occur after long term low-level exposure and can take many years before symptoms appear. Immediate threats from higher doses of radiation can include burning of the skin and radiation sickness, or radiation poisoning. Symptoms include premature aging, nausea, hair loss, weakness, diminished energy, and sometimes death. Other long term health effects include physical anomalies in babies who are exposed in the womb, and genetic mutations passed on to future generations. So that’s some background information for you to try to absorb, but the burning question of the day remains, how can we protect ourselves if water becomes contaminated after a nuclear accident?   First off, it is useful to know the MCL (maximum contaminant level) for beta particles in water. The EPA sets this at 4 millirems per year. If your water exceeds levels that could cause you harm, the EPA lists (drum roll, please) ion exchange and reverse osmosis as the two methods of filtering water that are proven effective. So there you have the results of my investigation. I am not saying there isn’t information out there on the web that will dispute this conclusion, and I know there are many who would never depend on or trust the EPA for a decision that may be the difference between life and death. I encourage you to do further research and see if there is information out there that can support, or dispel, these claims.

I am especially curious to learn of any credible information as to the effectiveness of silver-impregnated ceramic filters like are in many of our Katadyn water filters, including our best-selling Pocket Microfilter.   I am also interested to see if claims that distilling removes radioactive particles is true. especially regarding iodine-131. Since we sell Katadyn products, and portable non-electric distillers, I would be pleased to know that both these methods are effective against the type of radiation we are currently concerned with. Unfortunately at this time, all I can claim is that the silver impregnated ceramic filters and distillation can reduce radioactive particles. And for me, that is an added sense of security. Please feel welcome to leave a comment if there is anything you can add to this conversation, or if you have any questions that you are itching to ask. I will do my best to respond and find answers. Thanks for reading! Update: January 10, 2013 The Vortex Non-electric Water Distiller Kit by Highwater Filters is now available. We have both kits installed in 5 gallon buckets and DIY kits available.

Update: We now carry CuZn Water Filtration products including a radiation filter. Go here to view replacement filter. Triple under counter for radiation, fluoride, chlorine and other contaminants.

I've just updated my blog with my latest research. Please check it out: Filtering radiation from water.

Can radioactive particles be filtered out of contaminated drinking water?

That is what I have been trying to find out for the last two days. There are plenty of claims out there and much debate on forums across the web about radiation and drinking water. My search has proven enlightening and inconclusive at the same time. If my eyes didn’t hurt, I might soldier on, but for now I’d like to make the following claim. There is probably no method of filtering water that is 100% effective against all kinds of radioactive particles.

radiation_h2o I just got off the phone with the owner of a company that makes distiller kits that I am adding to the Highwater Filters web store very soon. I asked him if you can effectively remove radioactive particles from water by distilling it. He pretty much said what I have said above. Not all types of radioactive particles can be removed by distilling. I hesitated to ask him what types can be removed because I got the feeling he did not want to make any claims that could possibly be challenged later, and I understand that completely. Although I have read on boards and in articles that distillation is the best, and perhaps only, method for treating water contaminated with radioactive particles, I have also read that reverse osmosis is the best, that ceramic filters reduce radioactive particles, and that carbon filters are effective as well. One of my competitors is leading the charge on their blog by touting that Katadyn emergency water filters are able to filter out radioactive particles, but they really don’t say how effectively. I will wait until I can get factual evidence before I make any claims. All I know is that the Katadyn company claims that the ceramic filters reduce radioactive particles. To me that means you better test the water before drinking. Perhaps a two or three phase filtering system will be effective. Some of the forums out there have some great information about filters made from earth and other biological materials. You can DIY some filters in a 5 gallon bucket. I also read just the other day that banana peels make great filters. There are a lot of methods out there, both tried and true and some that seem dubious. But I am not inclined to dismiss anything without trying to find out the truth. Another concern I have for filtering contaminated water is that used filters need to be handled and disposed of properly. I think that after the emergencies in Japan are lifted, we may be able to learn more about the proper way to safely dispose of the filters. Many radioactive particles have relatively short lives; for some, within two weeks particles will be rendered safe. So it may be just a matter of storing them temporarily in a place that is safely contained and protected from exposure. I found it difficult to find scientific evidence that any of the claims I read about are true. Some of the authors sure sound convincing but many of them will profit from the knowledge they are sharing. How do you tell whose claims are based on real science and whose are purely speculation? The answer is not quite clear to me yet. I’d love to hear from anyone who can help me filter out the facts from the myths. Pun intended!  

Update: January 10, 2013 The Vortex Non-electric Water Distiller Kit by Highwater Filters is now available. We have both kits installed in 5 gallon buckets and DIY kits available.

Update: May 17, 2018 We now carry CuZn Water Filtration products including a radiation filter. Go here to view replacement filter. Triple under counter for radiation, fluoride, chlorine and other contaminants.