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.

What’s In Your Water?

Let’s start off by asking “What is in our water at Pocahontas Spring?”  The answer is “what Mother Earth put into it with the addition of fine filter to capture debris (don’t want rock parts in your water) and we hit it with a ultraviolet light to kill any bacteria.  Ultraviolet (or UV) light is a type of radiation. In simple terms, when any type of bacteria or microbe is directly exposed to certain types of UV light, the DNA (its fundamental building block) of the cell is damaged, preventing it from replicating. If a cell cannot reproduce, then the cell cannot cause infection, which is how UV light kills bacteria.  This does not affect the quality of the water (taste, smell, pH, alkaline or mineral makeup), it just kills the bacteria.  From there, the water goes out the vending spouts to your containers.

But water that goes through metropolitan treatment facilities, often have added chemicals, like chlorine and fluoride.  However, people are now concerned about the things that are being added to the water they drink.

Chlorination is the process of adding chlorine to drinking water to disinfect it and kill germs. Different processes can be used to achieve safe levels of chlorine in drinking water.   While the chlorine could be harmful in high doses, when it is added to water, they all mix in and spread out, resulting in low levels that kill germs but are still safe to drink.  The reason for adding chlorine is that the source of water that is being treated is a combination of a feed of water sources (lakes and streams) combined with runners off from sewers and land.  This means that treatment plants have a lot of stuff to kill before it gets to your house.  It also has to have enough chemicals in it to safely pass through pipes to residences.  To us, water like this is good for flushing and bathing, but not so good for drinking … but hey, we’re particular about our water.

Then there is fluoride.  The addition to fluoride, once hailed as an outstanding healthcare achievement since it was found to curb tooth decay, began being controversial in the 1950s.   Today, people have developed a number of theories, many of which have been debunked,  as to the dangers of the naturally found compound.  There is a big movement by many municipalities to have it removed from their water treatment, believing that it causes autism and a number of other negative health conditions.  The fact is, people want less added to their water.

When it comes to bottled water that you see in the store, there may be no chlorine or fluoride in the water but there may be something you never thought should be …. PLASTIC.  The perception of bottled water being clean and pure is being challenged by a global investigation that found the water tested is often contaminated with tiny particles of plastic.

A number of factors  are going to determine our fate as a planet, clean water is one of them.  We came across this  article in Wired that said climate change could impact the production / cost of beer!!!  Say it ain’t so!

There is also the issue of contaminants being purposely put into water sources that is meant to do no harm.  In Minnesota, they are using a chemical in lakes to get rid of the algae that is growing out of control … but some are skeptical as to whether or not it is harmful to those who later drink that water.  You decide, but we think when man tries to resolve one problem, he often creates two.

We prefer water from the earth, from deep within the earth.

Here Is What We Are Working On … And There’s Plenty

THANK YOU!  THANK YOU!  THANK YOU!

We are so appreciative of the support everyone showed during our Lynnfield Zoning Board of  Appeals meeting on October 2.  We prevailed at the hearing and many of you got to speak on behalf of our spring.  We know you had other things to do  and greatly appreciate your taking the time to attend.  Now our work continues.

Our goal is to provide our wonderful water to you and to educate you on what we see are challenges to water supplies around the world.  While we note challenges, we also want to provide solutions.  As we  carry out our mission, we will continue to be focused on writing here on the following issues:

Our Spring – We provide updates on our spring and share the stories of the people who visit it.  Our articles contain hyperlinks to the sources of our stories … NO FAKE NEWS HERE!   We know that people who visit  our website and spring have interest in water and conserving our planet … so we turn you on to news and resources  that keep  you informed.   Here is a good article we found on Indians who have no drinking  water when there is a Nestle water bottler nearby!  It is stories like this that we want to bring to your attention.

The Retail Water Markets – We know that you pass through shopping markets and see water labeled as “spring,” “mineral,” “pure,” etc.  But what we continue to read about mislabeling of water that is nothing more than filtered/chemically treated water. Lawsuits against giants Nestle and LaCroix provide a disturbing look into what goes into water that many people drink each day.  Whether people enjoy these water products for convenience or safety (public water supplies are another problem) they trust that these companies and the government organizations that provide oversight will provide a safe product.  This may not be the case.

Quality of Our Public Water – We are the first  to admit that Boston has done a lot to clean up the harbor and rivers … but it probably had nowhere to go but up!  Boston Harbor is the cleanest it has been in decades and the The Charles River is almost swimmable (not that we would recommend that).  However, each week we seem to see problems with local water supplies … like in Stoneham,

Plastics And Our Oceans – Our oceans are in trouble.  Plastics, overfishing and pollution spilling into the oceans is killing our most abundant resource … WATER!  Again, some of these issues  hit close to home like this story of seals dying along our coast earlier this year.  The specific reasons for this type of damage are not known, but it is clear that it has to do with our continued mistreatment of our oceans.  For our part, our business model is based on reusing containers (preferably glass) through vending refills.  This eliminates millions of plastic bottles from our landfills and oceans.

Saving Our Planet – We believe that our  spring provides a way for people to connect with the earth.   It is more than just saving our planet from pollution, it is about getting to know more about the planet so we care enough to save it.  To some, our spring has been a place of spiritual enrichment and others a place to meditate in a busy world.  There is a spiritual awakening going on around the country and we see it everyday at Boston Clear.

Whatever your reasons for visiting our  spring, we thank you.  We thank you for sharing your stories and stopping by to talk to us in the office.  We thank you for your support and we look forward to serving future generations the finest water in the galaxy!

 

 

 

 

One More Meeting In Lynnfield Regarding Boston Clear

Boston Clear will once again be defending your rights to be able to come get our precious water in a Lynnfield Zoning Board of Appeal Meeting on Tuesday, September 11 (7:30pm) at AL MERRITT CENTER 600 MARKET STREET LYNNFIELD, MA 01940

The issue is that there are four neighbors who do not want the spring to operate.  The four dominated a past ZBA meeting that consumed hours of time leading to no decision in the Boston Clear case and pushed back other cases that Lynnfield needed to address.

We are confident in our ability to move forward and hope that this meeting is the last so that we can move on and focus on serving our customers.  In times like this ,where clean water is a crisis in this country, we need to have a clean source for our families.  Many water supplies in the area, including that of Lynnfield Central Water District , are have trouble delivering clean water to its customers.

First, you need to know that a decision was made that Boston Clear could operate … thus the spring has remained open as it has for over 100 years.  However, four neighbors near the spring complained, thus the appeal.  (Here is the agenda that breaks down the case).

The CASE #18-14 Mary Bliss, Andrew Gallucci, Willis O’Brien and John Sievers, 165 Lowell Street, Lynnfield 01940.  Here are the three issues these neighbors raised:

1) Boston Clear Water Company, LLC is unlawfully practicing a commercial use in a residential district (Single Residence C district) at 165 Lowell Street, Lynnfield, MA 01940, as there is insufficient evidence to establish that a lawful preexisting non-conforming commercial use ever existed on said property.

2). To the extent that commercial activity was ever lawfully permitted at 165 Lowell Street, Lynnfield, MA, as a lawful preexisting non-conforming use prior to the adoption of Zoning in Lynnfield, said use was unlawfully extended without relief from the Lynnfield Zoning Board and therefore is not protected from zoning enforcement as a lawful preexisting non- conforming use.

3). To the extent that commercial activity was ever lawfully permitted at 165 Lowell Street, Lynnfield, MA, as a lawful preexisting non-conforming use prior to the adoption of Zoning In Lynnfield, all of said uses have since been abandoned for a a period of two (2) years, and therefore the use is no longer lawful and is not protected from zoning enforcement as a lawful preexisting non-conforming use, nor can the use of the property revert to commercial.

The requested relief from these four neighbors is as follows:

Order Boston Clear Water Company, LLC to immediately and forever cease and desist from all commercial use and related activity at 165 Lowell Street, Lynnfield, MA. B. Order Boston Clear to remove all tangible commercial items and vehicles of every kind from 165 Lowell Street, Lynnfield, MA. C. Order the immediate demolition and removal of all commercial structures and debris at 165 Lowell Street, Lynnfield, MA. D. Provide any further relief and issue any and all other orders and remedies the Board may deem appropriate and necessary to forever stop, enjoin, andremedy all of Boston Clear’s ongoing Zoning violations occurring at 165 Lowell Street, Lynnfield.MA.

We are confident in our approach and while we have grown weary of these unfounded complaints, it is time to move put closure to this matter.

Lend your voice and tell the ZBA what you think about the spring and its importance to your life.  You can contact the ZBA here or come to the meeting and let them know yourself.

We want to write more on the issues that are important to you … this one is important and we hope it is resolved tomorrow, we have more important work to do saving lives and the planet.