Jump to content

Water


qwertyy
 Share

Recommended Posts

How do you feel about the quality of DC area water?

Do you know of anywhere I can take my tap water to get tested for icky stuff?

Backstory: I live in Adams Morgan and have, in the last week, noticed reddish-pink stains appearing in my tub and toilet. This is not, as one might reasonably assume, a result of my limited housekeeping; I've been much more lax in the past and never seen anything like this--plus, the same color stains also appeared in the bottom of a mug in my kitchen sink that had about a tablespoon of water in it for about three days. I'm honestly kind of skeezed and kind of worried. I know from biology that red=bad. But how bad?

Expertise and anecdotes welcomed and appreciated.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Backstory: I live in Adams Morgan and have, in the last week, noticed reddish-pink stains appearing in my tub and toilet. This is not, as one might reasonably assume, a result of my limited housekeeping; I've been much more lax in the past and never seen anything like this--plus, the same color stains also appeared in the bottom of a mug in my kitchen sink that had about a tablespoon of water in it for about three days. I'm honestly kind of skeezed and kind of worried. I know from biology that red=bad. But how bad?

Expertise and anecdotes welcomed and appreciated.

I live in Adams Morgan and have the same thing going on right now... I believe it's caused by a higher than normal level of iron, but am not sure (and not sure about the health implications).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We don't drink the water in DC. I didn't much care one way or the other until the problems with lead started. I'm already losing brain cells, I didn't need anything to accelerate the process!!!

We get water delivered monthy from Drink More Water.

Not sure what we will do once we are in Gaithersburg. The house has a filtration system so perhaps we will give up the water cooler!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I live in Adams Morgan and have the same thing going on right now... I believe it's caused by a higher than normal level of iron, but am not sure (and not sure about the health implications).
What concerns me is that I learned orange=iron, red/pink=bacteria.

Is there a doctor in the house to help us out on this?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Come on, let's be logical about this. Every municipality in the world thinks that their city's water is swill less potable than geoduck piss. It's so fashionable to take a jab at your municipal water supply, that who knows anymore what cities actually have bad water?

You want bad water, head to someplace like Vegas. Their water comes from a water table whose aquifers must contain the remains of many out-of-luck gamblers.

New York tap water comes from the Catskills. It's like having a mountain spring in your kitchen.

Having drank deeply of the tap water in places like Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Mexico, I can tell you that there's nothing wrong with DC tap water.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What concerns me is that I learned orange=iron, red/pink=bacteria.

Is there a doctor in the house to help us out on this?

From the Tacoma, WA Public Water folks, link...

Bright pink stains on fixtures, drainboard surfaces and pet dishes are caused by the interaction of oxygen in the air with dissolved rust, resulting in an iron hydroxide precipitate on the surfaces.

Running the water for 15 to 60 seconds or until there is a change in the water temperature should help. Keeping the surfaces dry also helps solve this problem.

Pale pink stains or black-gray stains around bathtubs or showers may be a form of mildew. Again, keeping the fixtures dry will help reduce the problem.

And then there is this from the city of Norfolk, VA.

Pink Stains

What is this pink residue in my bathroom?

Pink residue is generally not a problem with water quality. In fact, pink residue is likely a result of airborne bacteria which produce a pinkish or dark gray film on regularly moist surfaces. Such surfaces include toilet bowls, showerheads, sink drains, and tiles.

Some people have also noted that the pink residue appears in their pet's water bowl, which causes no apparent harm to the pet and is easily cleaned off.

Many experts agree that the bacteria that causes these pink stains is most likely Serratia marcesens, a bacteria which is found naturally in soil, food, and in animals. Serratia, which produce a characteristic red pigment, thrive on moisture, dust, and phosphates and need almost nothing to survive.

The pinkish film often appears during or after construction or remodeling, when dust and dirt containing Serratia bacteria are stirred up. Once the bacteria is airborne, it will seek a moist location in which it can grow. Some people have reported that the pink residue only appears during certain times of the year, when their windows are left open for most of the day. This bacteria is present in a number of environments and wind can carry the airborne bacteria or stir up dust in which the bacteria is present.

The use of activated carbon filters, which remove chlorine from the water, can make the problem worse. The absence of the normal levels of chlorine in tap water allows Serratia to thrive.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Come on, let's be logical about this. Every municipality in the world thinks that their city's water is swill less potable than geoduck piss. It's so fashionable to take a jab at your municipal water supply, that who knows anymore what cities actually have bad water?

You want bad water, head to someplace like Vegas. Their water comes from a water table whose aquifers must contain the remains of many out-of-luck gamblers.

New York tap water comes from the Catskills. It's like having a mountain spring in your kitchen.

Having drank deeply of the tap water in places like Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Mexico, I can tell you that there's nothing wrong with DC tap water.

Trying to apply the logic that "it's worse in [Mexico/Afghanistan/other place where the majority of the people lives on less than a dollar a day]" may be able to revive the Pollyanna in us all by reminding us how *&$^%@ good we have it compared to other folks in the world, but it doesn't really enrich our knowledge in this case. DC water may be fine as a whole, but it differs neighborhood to neighborhood (lead pipes anyone?) and building to building (hello, corrosion!).

MDT, that helped. Thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

From the Tacoma, WA Public Water folks, link...

And then there is this from the city of Norfolk, VA.

On the plus side, it makes a great wild yeast sourdough starter. :)
Trying to apply the logic that "it's worse in [Mexico/Afghanistan/other place where the majority of the people lives on less than a dollar a day]" may be able to revive the Pollyanna in us all by reminding us how *&$^%@ good we have it compared to other folks in the world, but it doesn't really enrich our knowledge in this case. DC water may be fine as a whole, but it differs neighborhood to neighborhood (lead pipes anyone?) and building to building (hello, corrosion!).

MDT, that helped. Thanks!

Quite true. A quick look at the 2005 Water Quality Report gives a pretty good overview of what's in our water, in case anyone's curious. I eat this stuff up.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

After the whole lead reporting issue, I'd think that the EPA is keeping a closer eye on WASA these days.

As for the original question, I saw some at-home test kits at Lowe's some time ago. You take a sample and send it in for the results. There were several different kits for different items to test for. The internets also has a fair number of tests floating around. I'm afraid I don't know a local lab who will take a peek at your water for you, though. DC chlorinates their water pretty heavily, so I'd expect that there aren't too many bugs in there. Lead may be more of an issue, though.

I've known a lot of water purification people through the years, and they've always struck me as competent professionals who take their jobs very seriously. Don't recall every meeting anyone from WASA, but there's no reason to think otherwise.

It would also be a good time to remind everyone that the EPA requires all sorts of testing and close watch on municipal water systems. This is not the case for bottled water, which is regulated by the FDA. There is much more transparency on what's in our drinking water (and what's been done to it) than Safeway-brand water that's been sitting in a plastic bottle for lord-knows how long.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I remember reading a study in the last year or so about contaminants in bottled water. The generic grocery store stuff varied from location to location as I guess there are a number of suppliers, and it varied from pretty clean to not very clean at all (and even being worse than the munincipal water in the area in some cases I believe). The "brand" names were okay for the most part but had some variability as well. Generally it showed that most bottled water is cleanish, but alot of it really isn't all that great either.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Male Bass Across Region Found to Be Bearing Eggs...
According to a recent grade-school science-fair level study by WASA/EPA, 90% of a mere 100 DC homes sampled (nice ones, most likely in Georgetown) showed a lead parts per billion of 15, which, luckily, exactly meets the maximum ppb acceptable by EPA.

You can thank orthophosphate treatment, which is responsible for the decline. It is a food grade chemical corrosion inhibitor thing added to finished tap water. The orthophosphate works over the course of 6 months or so by creating a protective coating inside lead pipes and fixtures, like Pepto does in the commercials.

I’m not sure exacly how it works, but orthophosphate is the simplest in a series of phosphates and called as such by our nation’s public school morons and nerds alike. When all 3 H+ ions which are bonded to the oxygen in the structure (also known as protons) are lost from the orthophosphoric acid, an orthophosphate crouton is formed. Out with the old and in with the nucleus...

It has been 2 years since the orthophosphate treatment was introduced into DC water system and the results are so promising and stain-free (based on 100 homes) that WASA stopped adding chlorine to our water this spring.

EPA results for lead ppb of 90 houses in Washington, DC. Population 582,049

From July-Sept 2004: 82ppb (better score than most area sports teams)

October -Dec 2004: 31 ppb (not too shabby)

Jan-April 2005: 15ppb (Just right)

Good luck with the giardia if you live in the other 10 house where the water isn’t up to snuff, or the thousands that didn’t get picked to survey. You can contact the EPA to get your plumbing checked out. Probably a good reminder for all you gents over 40 to get your orthoprostate treatment too.

Recently the water pipes in Mt. Pleasant have been tinkered with and my tap water is no longer lumpy. Since using filters, my night vision has dissipated and I have stopped lactating.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

According to a recent grade-school science-fair level study by WASA/EPA, 90% of a mere 100 DC homes sampled (nice ones, most likely in Georgetown) showed a lead parts per billion of 15, which, luckily, exactly meets the maximum ppb acceptable by EPA.

You can thank orthophosphate treatment, which is responsible for the decline. It is a food grade chemical corrosion inhibitor thing added to finished tap water. The orthophosphate works over the course of 6 months or so by creating a protective coating inside lead pipes and fixtures, like Pepto does in the commercials.

I’m not sure exacly how it works, but orthophosphate is the simplest in a series of phosphates and called as such by our nation’s public school morons and nerds alike. When all 3 H+ ions which are bonded to the oxygen in the structure (also known as protons) are lost from the orthophosphoric acid, an orthophosphate crouton is formed. Out with the old and in with the nucleus...

It has been 2 years since the orthophosphate treatment was introduced into DC water system and the results are so promising and stain-free (based on 100 homes) that WASA stopped adding chlorine to our water this spring.

EPA results for lead ppb of 90 houses in Washington, DC. Population 582,049

From July-Sept 2004: 82ppb (better score than most area sports teams)

October -Dec 2004: 31 ppb (not too shabby)

Jan-April 2005: 15ppb (Just right)

Good luck with the giardia if you live in the other 10 house where the water isn’t up to snuff, or the thousands that didn’t get picked to survey. You can contact the EPA to get your plumbing checked out. Probably a good reminder for all you gents over 40 to get your orthoprostate treatment too.

Recently the water pipes in Mt. Pleasant have been tinkered with and my tap water is no longer lumpy. Since using filters, my night vision has dissipated and I have stopped lactating.

in my high school science project, for which i received a ford future scientist award, i demonstrated that the water in rock creek is potable -- until it passes the national zoo.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

OK, so this is slightly off topic, but not really- so bear with me. How many of you have treated your water at home or are using alternate water sources such as delivery for your water? I'm finding that the DC water makes my breads taste like complete crap compared to spring water. I'm considering putting in a reverse osmosis filtration system at home, but curious what others are using.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've read about preferring unsoftened water to softened for culinary uses...what are people's thoughts on that?

Unfortunately, like most well-owners in MoCo, I have the usual combination of acidic water and small amounts of iron sediment. 200 million years of erosion has a way of depleting the local limestone. When I first bought my home, I had the water tested by a local WQA-affiliated specialist, and installed a mineral acid neutralizer (solves both problems) and updated my water softener (the mineral neut exchanges hardness for pH). The softener could have been avoided by using a flow-metered sodium hydroxide injection pump instead, but that wouldn't have provided a settling/backflush cycle to eliminate iron sediments. So instead I have this softened water, which is great for cleaning, but apparently lousy for baking. I left provisions in place for tapping the main line between the neut and softener in case I want to mix some hardness back into the kitchen faucet line only, but...should I?

FWIW, everything still tastes slightly better (but looks the same) through either a Brita or the fridge's integral filter. When I lived in Massachusetts, you could see the clarity and color change between Brita and unfiltered tapwater.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We live in Maryland, but we have our water delivered by Drink More Water.
I live in Takoma Park and have had my water delivered by Drink More Water for years. I have been happy with both the taste of the water and the service they provide. I dont bake bread though, so I cant attest to the water's performance in that area...
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Before the DC lead water scare in 2004 we were Brita people. (I somewhat more reluctantly than Mr. BLB who had quite the expensive bottled water habit before we met.)

We switched to Drink More Water and haven't looked back. Never tried it with bread but I use it for all cooking.

The kitchen faucet does have filtered water through a ceramic filter (seperate from the other faucet so I am not washing my hands in expensive filtered water.)

I like that water just fine as it isn't as cold as the water in the cooler.

Jennifer

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We live on Capitol Hill and use a faucet-mounted Brita filter for cooking water, and a water-filtration cartridge in the refrigerator for drinking water. We've found such filters are perfectly adequate for producing clear and good-tasting water. But it's more healthy to drink wine anyway. :lol:

Sometimes we also buy Gerolsteiner at Trader Joe's.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd never heard of Drink More Water before, but an examination of their website information pushes some of my quack alert buttons. Asked about his water's lack of minerals, he goes off on a diatribe about heavy metals. (You want fewer heavy metals? Stop eating bivalves.) His "proprietary ten-stage system" looks like he went shopping with a punchlist of all of the major potable water filtration and disinfection system types, and plumbed them end-to-end. This is analogous to buying a handful of different surge protectors and power stabilizers, plugging them into each other in order, and then plugging a reading lamp into the last one and declaring it to be free of unhealthful EMI emissions.

To their credit, all of the systems depicted in the diagram are legitimate water purification technologies...no magnets, catalysts, crystals or ancient alien-built pyramids involved. And their prices are only about 20-100% higher than for equivalent containers of distilled water. But why? Except for nuclear submariners and astronauts (and maybe the late David, the Bubble Boy), humans don't normally drink chemically pure water for extended periods.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...