Viewpoint: Global water issues have global impact
Kurt C. Peterson, Publisher
It’s not out of the realm of possibility that someone, somewhere will come up with solutions to the many water crises that plague the planet. But until that happens, the world will have to find solutions to wisely manage our diminishing fresh-water resources. Whether it’s climate change or overuse that has contributed to the overall loss of potable water sources, the problems ultimately affect everyone.
There have been a multitude of natural disasters recently (just in the US alone, wildfires in the western states, hurricanes on the east coast, Hawaii’s rare hurricane season) that further highlight the need for a closer look at how to mitigate some of the damage to water infrastructure and sources. Too often, people have focused on the overall contamination picture without realizing that natural disasters create some of the most toxic water problems of all time. Just last year, Hurricane Harvey nearly destroyed the water infrastructure of a vast area in the Houston, TX region, causing a catastrophic breakdown in water supplies. Prior to that, an algal bloom in Lake Erie created a monumental problem with highly toxic microcystins that resulted in a severely compromised fresh-water source.
Most water treatment is designed to take something out of the water, such as removing hardness ions via water softeners or the tiniest of contaminants with micro-, ultra- or nanofiltration. While these are considered some of the best options, RO is often considered even better for removing PPCPs and other particulate contamination. Unfortunately, there is no 100-percent solution in water treatment and something always manages to evade the best of technologies and processes. The result is another form of pollution that has emerged. Technical Reviewer Peter Cartwright gives and in-depth appraisal of particulate pollution and what it will take to overcome it. There are too many variables for a single solution but human behavior modification ranks near the top. Cartwright examines causes as well as solutions to problems that are cumulatively affecting water sources.
In addition to RO, activated carbon is considered one of the finest filtration mediums for specific applications. Dr. Evan Koslow of KT Corporation offers a two-part, in-depth article on catalytic carbon, starting with fundamental principles. He continues with testing data and results that may cause many to re-think what they expect and want from their current carbon suppliers.
There are pros and cons to all things and water treatment is definitely no exception. There are numerous studies regarding the use and efficacy of different system types that have recently emerged, giving the industry assurance that they are on the right track with their efforts. Moving treatment equipment and processes from the design stage to commercial acceptance, however, takes more than a little shove in the right direction. Public Health Editor, Dr. Kelly A. Reynolds, and Assistant Professor Marc Verhougstraete of the University of Arizona, delve into how predictive modeling of POU device usage can help mitigate waterborne illness, especially during natural disasters. Quantifying the necessity for such devices also covers everyday occurrences, such as boil-water advisories. The ability to predict need will be a powerful tool that can be used to ensure safer water and better responses to crises.
It’s been a busy year so far, with no sign of slowing down in these pleasant autumn months. And we wouldn’t want it any other way, leading up to the holiday season. Take time to enjoy life responsibly and sustainably, be conscientious in your pursuits and safe in your travels. Until we meet again, keep sending your ideas our way. We love to hear from our readers!