What Does “Water Safe To Drink” Mean? Some Found Out Too Late


After 34 years of waiting, the Environmental Protection Agency broke ground on a $40 million decontamination plant on an old paint company lot in the city of Industry, CA in the San Gabriel Valley.  The company responsible for the contamination was Northrop Grumman. This new facility, one of thirty-two recently built in the valley, takes contaminated water out of the water table and puts it through a process known as reverse osmosis before returning it to the water flood control canals … then back into the ground.  According to an article in the San Gabriel Vally Tribune, “The largest of three new plants, will treat five square miles of underground pollution and produce clean drinking water at a rate of 2,000 gallons per minute …”     But what is “clean drinking water?”

The San Gabriel Valley was hit particularly hard with pollution from industries that dumped toxins into the ground.  Five companies that were responsible for dumping chemical toxins that have decimated the water supplies in the area were Aerojet Rocketdyne, Inc.; Chemical Waste Management; Allied Waste Industries, Inc. (for Azusa Land Reclamation, Inc., a closed landfill on the Azusa-Irwindale border); Winco Enterprises, Inc (in care of Parker Hannifin Corp.); and Hartwell Corp.  They are now part of a massive cleanup project that has crippled water supplies in California which was already under pressure from decades of drought.

Northrop Grumman also has problems in other parts of the country.  It is now part of a federal lawsuit brought by a family in Long Island, NY, most of them stricken with rare cancers.  Their claim is that Grumman contaminated the water beneath them causing a “plume of toxins” that has expanded over the years.   While it was not uncommon for big companies to dump harmful chemicals into the land, what is just as reprehensible is that those who monitored the water supply informed residents that there were no dangers.  According to an article in the NY Post:

But it also dumped carcinogens on land which later became the community park — where kids like Christopher [now has cancer] spent years playing Little League and attending summer camp. Last year, officials found radon gas in Bethpage schools.

Authorities say Bethpage’s water is safe. But residents scoffed at a 2013 state Department of Environmental Conservation study which found Bethpage cancer rates were similar to surrounding areas.

Officials have monitored and treated local water and public drinking wells since the 1970s, said the DEC, which said the state expanded efforts, and is using new technologies, to battle “the plume.”

But as new carcinogens are identified, it casts doubt on past water remediation at the longtime Superfund site, said lawyer Nicholas Rigano, who reps the family.

Long Island has a number of non-profit initiatives set up to monitor water quality, identify contributors to pollution and promote grants to improve water quality.  It may be too late to save the tap water, but it is a start at preventing the pollution from spreading even further.

Even in New England, where water quality is a growing problem, we see municipal water providers claiming that the water is safe … but is it?  How do you know?  That is a difficult question to answer and people across the country are wondering if the water that comes from the tap is safe for consumption.  The quick answer is “no, tap water is not safe and I would not allow my family to drink it.”

The Environmental Protection Agency sets the standards for drinking water through the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations (NPDWR).  One of the problems with the standard is that it lists 91 potential water contaminants that it regulates. But there are more than 60,000 chemicals used within the U.S., many of which have been identified as probable carcinogens. In addition, water run off and contaminates that are put into the sewage systems (flushed) present an unknown level of prescription drugs, disease and toxins that feed right back to water treatment facilities.  Those facilities treat the water with more chemicals then return them to consumers who drink at their own risk.

The Merrimac River, once a haven for sport fisherman, has experienced pollution problems because of heavy rains that cause sewage to be dumped into it.  According to a recent article in the Boston Globe:

Nearly 50 years after the Clean Water Act, the Merrimack has become one of the most polluted waterways in New England, one of dozens of rivers in the region that are repeatedly inundated with raw sewage from treatment plants overwhelmed by heavy rains … the Merrimack is expected to be deluged with an estimated 750 million gallons of sewage from the six treatment plants that feed into it — more than it has received in a decade…”

Our water systems are under extreme pressure and they are not going to get better anytime soon.  Get your drinking water from a known, reliable source where you can taste, see and feel the difference it can make in your life.  We’ll keep you informed here.

America’s Battle For Clean Water Has No Easy Answer

We expect honesty from those in our government (we won’t get any more political  than that here).  However, when it comes to our safety, we expect both honesty and transparency.  Never has there been a time when we need both of these when we look at our water supply.

As Pocahontas Spring’s natural flow slows at this time of year before returning to its more robust self in a few weeks , we reflect on how special this amazing resource is to us.  When you taste the purity of our water, you will never want tap water … you will never want bottled water again!  However, when it comes to tap water, it is more than just taste, it is about safety.

Maxx loves the spring and those New England Patriots

In Newark, NJ, the city conducted an engineering study and found that measures to prevent lead from leaching into drinking water were failing at a treatment plant.  The New York Times described the problem as one approaching the level of Flint, MI.  However, officials stated on the city’s website, in all caps, that “NEWARK’S WATER IS ABSOLUTELY SAFE TO DRINK.”  Then mayor Ras Baraka clarified the statement saying “In fact, Newark has some of the best drinking water. The problem is that our infrastructure is not safe.”  WHAT?

Problems with water stretch to rural areas as well.  NPR reported in small Martin county Kentucky town on the West Virginia border, a place where you might think the water is so pure, but found contamination so bad that some teenagers have no memory of ever drinking water from the tap.  Just like in Newark, the problem is not that treatment plants are putting out contaminated water (though some add chemicals to make sure the water is “clean”), the problem is the delivery system of pipes.  According to a Gail Brion, a University of Kentucky professor who specializes in water infrastructure:

“The treatment plant operators can’t control the quality of the water in the pipes if they cannot keep the pipes intact.  This is really not on the water quality coming out of the plant. It is on what happens to the water as it goes through this leaky straw.” 

In Miami, the rising water associated with global warming (whether or not you think humans are to blame is not the point) is leading to a crisis in that major city.  According to Bloomberg, Miami-Dade is built on the Biscayne Aquifer, 4,000 square miles of unusually shallow and porous limestone whose tiny air pockets are filled with rainwater and rivers running from the swamp to the ocean. The aquifer and the infrastructure that draws from it, cleans its water, and keeps it from overrunning the city combine to form a giant but fragile machine. Without this abundant source of fresh water, made cheap by its proximity to the surface, this hot, remote city could become uninhabitable.

So what is the fix?  First, come to our spring and fill your glass containers.  But we realize that not everyone can do that.  The Environmental Protection Agency estimates it will cost the nearly $400 billion to repair the millions of miles of eroding pipe that is the main culprit of dirty tap water.  The money for that will mostly come from those who are on the main water supply that is run by a municipality or private companies with oversight from government regulators.  For places like Martin county, one of the poorest counties in the country, its residence may never be able to afford repairs and will be forced to purchase bottled water (also a big expense).

Locally, we have seen towns across New England that have encountered problems with tap water, including our own Lynnfield, MA.  These crises are often viewed as temporary after some action taken … then assurances that the water is safe.  This trend, sadly, is most likely going to continue because there are no easy answers.

Big Problems Require Big Thinking … Our Growing Population And How To Feed It

We have addressed, and will continue  to  address, the issues surrounding how we provide safe drinking water to people locally and nationally.  One of the issues that has caused our water problems has been the expansion of our population that has led  to pollution, loss of  clean water supplies and over use of  chemicals to treat an aging  infrastructure to deliver clean water.   The sheer size of the world’s population is posing  yet another problem, how to feed us  all.

In an exceptional  article in the  Washington  Post, Joel Achenbach says that one of the solutions to feeding the masses involves less reliance on meat  and the adoption of more fruits and vegetables (just  like your mom told you).  Looks like the vegan  lifestyle was more  practical than many of us thought … it is the future.  According to a report published in the journal Nature:

The food system is a major driver of climate change, changes in land use, depletion of freshwater resources, and pollution of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems through excessive nitrogen and phosphorus inputs. Here we show that between   2010 and 2050, as a result of expected changes in population and income levels, the environmental effects of the food  system could increase by 50–90% in the absence of technological changes and dedicated mitigation measures, reaching  levels that are beyond the planetary boundaries that define a safe operating space for humanity. We analyse several options for reducing the environmental effects of the food system, including dietary changes towards healthier, more  plant-based diets, improvements in technologies and management, and reductions in food loss and waste. We find that  no single measure is enough to keep these effects within all planetary boundaries simultaneously, and that a synergistic  combination of measures will be needed to sufficiently mitigate the projected increase in environmental pressures.
One driving factor of the pollution of the earth (and there are many) is the consumption of meat (poultry, beef and pork).  Achenbach’s assessment is that “… efforts to keep climate change at an acceptable level won’t be successful without a huge reduction in meat consumption.”  Eat your veggies.
Here are some other facts you  might find interesting (shocking):
  • Half the planet’s ice-free land surface is devoted to livestock or the growing of feed for those animals, Richardson said. That’s an area equal to North and South America combined
  • Some 70 percent of the world’s fresh water is already used in agriculture
  • Rising income in China and many other formerly impoverished countries brings with it a higher demand for meat and other forms of animal protein
  • The current food system is incredibly wasteful, with about a third of the food produced eventually being discarded because of spoilage
  • About 3 billion people are malnourished today and 1 billion of them suffer from food scarcity

Changes in how we treat our planet will come about by either careful planning or necessity.   I think we know which one is preferred.

October 3, 2018 – You Were Heard And The Spring Stays!

It is with gratitude that we inform you that Pocahontas Spring at Boston Clear will remain open.  We had so many supporters who stayed until near midnight to hear the Lynnfield ZBA come  to its decision.   THANK YOU!!

While we will not dwell on the past, we take from this experience just how much this place is loved by so many people.  Now we move on to serving you the best water in the galaxy, bringing you life enriching stories and welcoming you to the spring.

Our  focus will now turn to serving you better.  The coming water crisis (both the shortage of and its treatment by chemicals) is a  growing concern.  In India, where access to clean water has become a health crisis, one technology company has started water ATMs around cities.  The company, Janajal, is at the forefront of delivering water to millions of people in India.  We see that same trend here in the U.S. as there are numerous reports  on how cities are struggling to deliver clean drinking water to its citizens.  In New York,  they recently announced a $200 million plan to  provide clean water.  It will take years to implement, so what do citizens do until then?

Bottled water is an issue.  It creates other problems such as concerns for how plastics interact with the water and the disposal of the plastic container.  In some situations, there will always be a need for plastic bottles, but the days of lifeless water being stacked on pallets at the store  will come to an end as consumers demand that their water offer something more than H2O.

The future of water is upon us and your support for our spring means that we will be her to be a part of the solution to the coming water crisis.  From all of us at Boston Clear …. THANK YOU!

 

A Story From A Loyal Customer And WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT

We are always reminded of the quality and character of the people who visit us here at Boston Clear.  Each one of you has a story and we honor every one of them.  Serving you is our mission, which brings us to one more battle that we must overcome.

Please mark your calendar for October 2, 2018 at 7:30pm for the Lynnfield Zoning Board of Appeals (TOWN HALL- H. JOSEPH MANEY HEARING ROOM 55 SUMMER STREET, LYNNFIELD, MA).  While we are confident in our position, the neighbors who have lodged their compliant seek nothing less than shutting the spring and leveling all structures on the land.   Such an action would be unconscionable.  We need everyone’s support … and Andrea’ note, below, is why we work so hard.

Andrea Vallario was drawn to yoga through the interesting blend of spirituality through body sense, philosophy and poetry. She began practice by studying with a variety of styles and teachers and almost immediately began training with alignment and heart-centered focused styles while maintaining an open internal curiosity toward direction of further study (all from her website).  She, like you, is just one of the special caring people who are blessed to to connect with at the spring.  Here is a letter that she wrote to us and gave us permission to share it here:

With hope I write to tell a little of my story. I have been working through some health issues for some time now, and have come to find what I have been looking for in a local practitioner and clinical herbalist. During one of my appointments, he offered to fill my bottle with the water he had in his kitchen. At some point during the session, I was compelled to ask him, since I have been coming to see him some time, and every time I enjoy water from his home, my body would seem to respond positively. I noticed a difference in taste, how my body felt, and how it responded to drinking the water that was offered. He of course shared a little bit about how most people get their water supply. And although for 3 years I have been appreciating the purified, filtered water from my place of work, it tasted nothing like the water that was given to me at my practitioners home.
 
Since that time in the office, I have been making trips, approx 40 min drive) to Boston Clear Water and sharing what I have with friends. It’s worth it.  I feel a sense of foundational support when I drink the water from the spring, something noticeably different from the water from work, or any other filtered or bottled water which I have had over the years. I even do my best to ration it while working for I feel a sense of emptiness in the water that is not from BCW.
 
Additionally, I write to support BCW mission to provide safe and healthy, affordable drinking water to many people in our area. And most importantly, I feel a sense of peace and welcome when I am at the site, with it’s prayers, statues, candles, sanctuary. I notice how the people who come all have a sense of gratitude and warmth, one of generosity and peace. When I am there, I feel like we are all together receiving blessings of nature and giving back. 
 
Please consider the words of many who come here for healing and how we walk away in better spirits with an attitude of service and responsibility to each other.
Thank you,
Sincerely, 
Andrea Vallario
Andrea Vallario RN, RYT 500
Thank you Andrea!!!!

A Mineral Spring With A Spiritual Side

We welcome everyone to drink our water and we want you to come to our spring.

Each day people come down the long drive, park near our red building, pull out their containers and fill them.  We love seeing you, and that is the most important part of our work here.  One of the most rewarding experiences is talking with all of you and we marvel when we see parents teaching their children about our natural mineral spring … one more generation.

Sharing a small symbol of love at the spring

Boston Clear’s primary mission is to preserve this special place so that many generations will be nourished by our water and be moved by the peace that surrounds the spring.  We learn more about how special our spring is by gathering information on its history and talking with the people who come here.  Anyone who knows Anthony and sees him at the spring, knows that they are going to get more than water when they poke their head into his office.  It is about sharing, talking and connecting with the earth.

When Anthony purchased the spring, he envisioned a sanctuary for people.  That meant cleaning the place.  For those of you who have come here for years, you will remember that the previous operators were not only poor at running the spring, they were careless with the land.  Anthony had car parts and trash pulled from the wetlands soon after he took ownership. It was an arduous task.  While the debris has never had any affect on the quality of water coming into the spring house that is delivered to you through our vending operation, it was tarnishing the history and spirit of the spring.

For centuries, Pocahontas Spring has been a gathering place for people who honored the land surrounding the spring.  At times, it meant communing with neighbors and at others it meant a spiritual connection with the earth.  That is why it was important for Anthony to create a place where people do more than fill containers, it is a place where people come together … and you have to have respect for any place that brings people together.

The spring is open because we want people to come.  Anthony has preserved a peaceful garden where couples come to sit on our bench, individuals come to contemplate difficult decisions and children giggle as they place their hands in a running stream of cold water.  You cannot help but feel the magic of this place.  Certainly you can find most any place to meditate (here is a good article we found) but why not have THE place to go … Pocahontas Spring.

You will see statues and symbols around the property.  While they individually may seem to represent a certain faith, belief or heritage, the main message of all of these is that we are all connected.  As Anthony is fond of saying of the spring, “This is a hate free zone.”

The spring calls you to come and we will always fulfill our mission to allow you to have access to it … for water, for spiritual healing or for peace.

Soda Giant Reacts To Consumer Demand For Refillable Containers

Something old is suddenly new again.

You do not have to be a true tree-hugger to realize that we have a problem with plastic, particularly plastic bottles.  We have all seen them blowing down the street and, worse, floating in our oceans and lakes.  Left to slowly decompose in our water over many decades,  these plastics break down into micro-particals that make their way into the plant and wildlife …. then back to us.  Now, big soda makers are making their move, which we applaud but also send a word of caution.

Pepsi has been experimenting with placing Aquafina refilling stations in colleges so that students, many of whom are environmentally conscience, can refill their own bottles.  Coca Cola has been doing the same thing with its Dasani brand.  If it catches on, look for more machines, and fewer bottles.  Along the same line of thinking, Pepsi also announced that it is buying SodaStream … a vertical business decision to turn their plain water into a bubbly plain water.  You seen the trend?  Refilling your containers is the new black!

Sharing a small symbol of love at the spring

Pepsi and Coke can look for ways to fool consumers but those who visit Boston Clear know that their water travels up from the center of the earth, passes through a filter to assure any small debris don’t make it into your water, then it gets a flash of ultraviolet light to kill any bacteria, and then it goes into your jug.  You know the supply chain, all in about 50 feet from the source to your bottle, which is something you cannot say about the water from these behemoths who were the same ones who jumped on distributing water after people smartened up about the dangers of the soft drinks they peddled for years.  What makes you think these big companies have changed their ways?

We know that many people who visit our spring also support local farmer’s markets because they want to know where are food comes from.    We see a trend in the consumer wanting to understand how the products they ingest are brought to their plate (glass) … what is in what we consume … how does what we consume affect the environment … are the things we consume good for us?  Boston Clear checks all those boxes.

We are happy that the big companies are coming around to Boston Clear’s way of thinking, but we know that they will be unable to match our quality, sustainability and transparency.  We are both a water source and spiritual healing ground … something no big company can replicate.

Tell a friend that there is a new bottling experience trend that may be best experienced by stopping by to see us at 165 Lowell Street, Lynnfield, MA …. home of the Pocahontas Spring operated by Boston Clear.  A source of mineral water for hundreds of years!