........In 1900, over 27,000 Americans died of typhoid fever, the most virulent of water-borne diseases. In 1913, the addition of chlorine was heralded as a major breakthrough in human health, and later a dash of fluoride was added to help curb tooth decay. Now with a population increase of heart attacks, strokes, cancer, senility and debilitating diseases on the rise, researchers have shown direct links to these diseases and the carcinogenic trihalomethanes (THM's) created by chlorine reacting with the organic matter in municipal water pumped through the taps of U.S. homes. Is there a safer alternative to chlorine? Well there's ozone (O3), but less than 50 ozonation facilities have been established in the U.S. In Europe, ozonation has been in use for years, because chlorine is more expensive there than ozone. In Norway, about 30% of all water is subjected to ultraviolet light sterilization methods. Since neither method produces carcinogens, these are 2 healthier alternatives to the chlorination of water.
........Besides THM's, many cities have service lines entering individual homes that are sometimes made of lead or have lead solder to join the pipes. The corrosive action of water on the pipes can leach small amounts of lead into home systems and cause serious health problems. Then there's the problem of chemical companies' legal and illegal dumping, which sometimes washes down into rivers and lakes that feed into city drinking water. In fact, EPA standards regarding the limitation of impurities in safe drinking water is exceeded overall by nearly half of all major U.S. cities, and few of these cities have made any corrective attempts to meet EPA standards. If more citizen groups sued cities to comply with government standards, there might be more compliance because of the notoriety of such public outcry.
........In rural areas, most people obtain their drinking water from wells that for the most part goes untreated prior to consumption. Many people think that groundwater is a series of lakes and streams flowing beneath the surface of the earth. Actually most underground water exists in permeable saturated zones of rock, sand or gravel called aquifers. Now it has been determined that many man-made chemicals have leached their way through the soil to underground water systems. One 1985 Library of Congress research report by Donald Feliciano stated that 38 states had found that agricultural activity was the known source of groundwater contamination. All 38 states reported nitrates (fertilizers), 24 reported bacteria (animal wastes), and 32 reported pesticides and herbicides in tested groundwater.
........In November 1990, the EPA released the Phase I Report of the National Survey of Pesticides in Drinking Water Wells. This was a 5-year, $12 million project that sampled various wells across the country for 101 pesticides, 25 pesticide degradates and nitrates. The results indicated that about 52% of the 94,600 wells in community water systems in the U.S. contained nitrate, about 10% contained one or more pesticides, and about 7% contained both. The survey also revealed that out of the approximate 10.5 million rural domestic wells studied, 57% of them contained nitrates, 4% contained one or more pesticides and about 3% contained both. In some areas of the country, high nitrate levels have even caused brain damage in newborn infants.
........The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was established in 1970 to presumably protect U.S. citizens from environmental pollution. What are American taxpayers doing to give themselves good water in American cities? Many households have reverted to bottled water, distillers, household purifying systems or their own well water. Some have even installed 1500-gallon household recycling units that clean and circulate the same water over and over via a computer controlled operation.
........Actually most of the U.S. gets its fresh water from surface sources, like lakes, rivers or reservoirs, many of which are continually becoming more and more polluted. Only 20% of current water supplies comes from under the ground, but studies indicate that over 90% of the potential freshwater reserves available lie below the surface of the ground! In 1980, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers inspected half of the 8,000 dams of the United States and found a third to be unsafe. So why are not ground sources being tapped more for their rich supply? Transporting water from faraway lakes and reservoirs is a lucrative arrangement for powerful groups of people, not to mention the politics and banking institutions that play a major role in the financing of the dams and water transport systems. Chlorinating this kind of water is also very profitable to chemical industries. Naturally too, the more customers a municipality can tie to a municipal water supply, the more fees the water commission can collect.
........Generally, the deeper the well, the more reliable it is as a clean water source. If a well goes no deeper than 50 feet, it is considered shallow. A deep or artesian well generally is drilled to between 100 and 200 feet below the surface, although some well bores descend to more than 1,000 feet. Montana boasts the deepest water well in the world, plunging 7,320 feet.
........In the early 50's, a geo-chemist, metallurgist, mining engineer and dowser named Stephan Riess theorized that a vast supply of water ran under the Mojave desert large enough to supply the needs of all the people in southern California. Riess's conclusions were corroborated by a study done by civil engineers. Their findings revealed that there was as Riess called it, primary water travelling in the deep rock fault system under the desert that had nothing in common with the water in the alluvium sedimentary aquifers. This rock fissure water was also so pure that chlorination was unnecessary, and it ran like deep, life-giving veins in the earth. In fact, Riess contended that most underground water did not originate via precipitation that had gradually percolated through the soil as previously thought. Water is incompressible, so once it has reached a depth where the density of the soil becomes equal to its own, it simply cannot "seep" downward any further. He felt instead that the largest quantities of water underground were formed from the elements within the earth, and constituted primary water that had never seen the surface of the earth before. Freshwater springs that spew forth large volumes of water off the coast of islands are good examples.
........As proof of his theory, Riess drilled a number of deep, successful wells, and turned barren, California desert land into fertile, productive acreage. A southern California magazine, Fortnight, ran a 2-part article in 1953, and diagnosed why such a discovery was ignored by local politicians. There was simply too much money to be made in the vast water transport systems planned that California's financial and political leadership had to ignore Riess's discovery. Riess asked, "Why should huge sums of money be spent to build pipe lines over great distances, when Mother Nature has created her own pipe lines? It is certainly far more economical to pump water vertically up 450 feet than to pump and transport it laterally for 450 miles!"
........By 1958, Riess's work was noticed by the Israeli government and they invited him to find water for their new city of Eliat on the Red Sea's Gulf of Aquaba. Riess met with the then Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and his advisors who urged him to go ahead with his search for water as soon as possible. On May 29, 1959, the Jerusalem Post announced that the Riess-located well was sufficient enough to supply a city of more than 100,000 people including industry and outlying villages!
........Although Bermuda traditionally relied upon roof top rainwater catch-basins, in 1949 the island was hit by the worst drought in 4 decades. Even though hydrologists declared that there was little underground fresh water available, dowser Henry Gross map-dowsed from his home in Maine the general locations of 4 good freshwater sources in Bermuda. Already existent wells had provided little palatable water, being mostly salty or brackish in content. When Gross was summoned to Bermuda, he accurately pinpointed his 4 locations which in turn were drilled for water. They were completed in 1950, wherein the 4 wells were able to produce 2 million gallons of fresh water per day for public consumption.
........Are these just isolated examples? Of course not, as Donald Bingham (a U.S. Geological Survey hydrologist) pointed out in an April, 1974 Popular Science article, there is a vast underground water system available in almost all parts of the country lying untapped.
........Some other alternatives to the water pollution problem have involved purifying water with magnetic or vortexian energy devices, installation of solar water distillers, and even towing icebergs from Antarctica! Even before 1900, small icebergs were towed to Lima (Callao), Peru. In the late 1950's, Scripps Institution oceanographer John Isaacs proposed the possibility of bringing Antarctic icebergs to Los Angeles. His plan involved having 3 tugboats maneuver a 10-mile long, half-mile wide iceberg to the southern California coast in about one year's time.
........The National Science Foundation awarded Dr. John Hult and Neill Ostrander of the Rand Corporation $50,000 in 1972 for their feasibility study entitled, "Antarctic Icebergs as a Global Fresh Water Resource." The determined cost to tow fresh water icebergs from Antarctica to California was less than 20% of the present cost being spent on the same quantity of fresh water. Unlike irregularly shaped Arctic icebergs, Antarctic icebergs are tabularly shaped and larger. A regularly shaped tabular iceberg is also more easily towable too, because it is longer than it is wide. Five or six tug boats with a tractive force of 125 tons each could theoretically shift an iceberg of 100 million tons through the water to any California destination. Melted water would then be pumped by pipeline to the coast.
........Since southern California's water problem is worsening every year, why have no icebergs loomed on the horizon? The Los Angeles' Metropolitan Water District (MWD) estimates that the daily demand of 3.5 billion gallons of water will outstrip the supply by year 2000. Instead of the cheaper iceberg alternative though, MWD is swerving toward the construction of expensive desalination plants, possibly even nuclear powered! That makes a lot more sense in an earthquake-prone area!?
........Another interesting invention that has never been implemented on a large scale was designed in 1931 by M. Achille Knapen. He succeeded in condensing and extracting water from warm air to irrigate fields and vineyards in southern France with what he called, an "air well" (See U.S. patent no. 1,816,592). Looking like a 40-foot concrete beehive, it was possible to produce as much as 6,000 gallons of water daily for every 1,000 square feet of condensing surface. An airwell can be built on practically any scale, and the wall materials can be concrete blocks, bricks or concentric hollow shells filled with sand or earth. A small airwell 12 feet high and 12 feet across with walls 2 feet thick can supply a generous output of daily water. It can be fitted with top and bottom air pipes, and a multitude of condensing plates on the inside. Warm air circulates and gives up moisture on the cool inside condensing plates angled downward toward a catch basin at the bottom were it is collected. Using scrap and local materials, makeshift air wells could help solve many water problems in drought ridden areas of the world, especially in Third World countries.
........The above subject is just one of the many creative alternatives mentioned in the new manual, Creative Alternatives For A Changing World.
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