I still find it funny about the level of disinformation that has been broadcast by the ADA, FDA and AMA. They all follow the goosestep, government message in favor of fluoridation. And I find that any questioning of that message is greeted with shock and awe. So I feel it important to continue spreading the message.
Last week we received about 4 inches of rain. We were stuck in an east coast weather pattern that brought tons of moisture up the coast from the Gulf of Mexico. And while our little town is about 20 miles from the real deluge and flooding, we got our fair share of rain.
Seeing all this precipitation (and thinking about my water bill) I would love to be able to save some water for some of our less rainy days and weeks. Not only would it be good for me and my yard, it also helps in the whole self sufficiency thing. You ask, what happens during the zombie apocalypse when there is no electricity to run the pumps – meaning no public water system. Our closest water source is just 5 blocks away. But Wyomissing Creek is not big enough to supply the whole Borough.
Of course, storing and using rainwater brings up a whole slew of issues. And none of them cause anything but anger and irritation to me. And most of my irritation is over the potential of my own community finding one or more reasons why they will say I can’t do it.
For me, there would be 2 main reasons for storing rain water. 1) First, my downspouts have issues anyways. I need to do work on them (mostly cleaning) and this would be a great time to include barrels with the upgrade. 2) Second would be to help with watering my garden. With all the rain, I have not had to turn the hose on in the past 2 weeks. But when its not raining, I am watering a lot. The idea of being able to save what is coming down naturally – and having it closer to the garden than my present hose, is appealing.
In looking into these, I have found that they are not too expensive – ranging from between $100-$400, depending on the style and size. On the one hand, cheaper always works. But at the same time, I think the wooden barrels look really stylish.
I will need to get at least 2 of these barrels – for the East and West corners of the house. They will be in the front – as these are the spouts giving me the most problems.
But What about the Neighbors?
This is the part I am most concerned about On the one hand, I have one neighbor who I know is going to give me a hassle. He gives me shit about everything I do, so I have grown to expect it. He will be the one to glare at me when I am installing it. Then go to the Borough (where he is a council member) to determine whether I have broken any rules and regulations. I know he has already gone to them with other issues. And for my water downspouts, he has been able to do nothing. He tried to get me sited for not pealing paint around these same spouts about a year ago. But even the fact that it sometimes runs over into his yard has not given his grounds for a formal complaint. It would be just my luck that he will find some reason to get me in trouble after I have paid for the barrels.
If my problems do not go further than an irritating neighbor, I will be blessed. Because there have been so many others who have tried collecting their rainwater where the issues have become serious. As written on Accuweather.com a couple years ago:
Is collecting rainwater legal in your state?
By by Chaffin Mitchell, AccuWeather Staff Writer
November 15, 2016, 4:50:11 PM EST
Some U.S. states have laws restricting collection of rainwater, making it difficult for the average homeowner to set up a rainwater harvesting system.
Strict regulations and restrictions have been put in place over the last century. Currently, nine states have laws restricting the collection of rainwater, but the severity of those laws differ.
The issue of illegally harvesting rainwater went viral in 2012 when a 64-year-old man, Gary Harrington, was sentenced to 30 days in jail in Oregon.
In the western U.S., any use of rainwater is subject to legal restriction of some sort. In the 1860s, miners in Colorado experienced water shortages and developed a system to divide water based on a priority system.
This system developed into the prior appropriation system, which is basically calling dibs on water.
“Stream flow is supplied by precipitation in the form of rain and snow, so if the supply is taken away, stream flow will decrease,” Jeff Deatherage, water supply chief in Colorado, said.
However, this issue has nothing to do with the environment. In fact, a number of independent studies proved that letting people collect rainwater on their property actually reduces demand from water facilities and improves conservation efforts.
Some Perspectives about Water from Some World Travelers I have Known
I grew up in Southern California in the 70’s and 80’s. We were always in a drought condition, and would be yelled at for watering the lawn and washing your car. Tap water tasted like hell, but we always knew it was safe to drink.
We also used to go camping a lot. We would go to the Mountains and the Desert. Our trailer had a sizable water tank that we could drink from. we would also bring a 5 gallon Sparklett’s bottle for drinking. All of this to know we were safe.
I wasn’t aware of unsafe drinking water until my Mom starting using the catch-all scare tactic – Montezuma’s Revenge. The name alone was enough to have us worried. We were told that if you drank unsafe water, you would get it. There was never an explanation about what it was, but diarrhea and barfing were part of it. And that fear alone was usually enough to keep us from drinking from streams or ponds while out in the wilderness hiking.
When we got older, my younger sister studied up on Giardia – AKA the Thunder Shits – which became the new name for it. Either way, the rules were simple. Do not drink from streams while hiking. And when you are in Mexico DON’T DRINK THE WATER! Else Montezuma may come for a visit.
With this in mind, I have always been extra careful with the water I drink.
So when it comes to water – whether it is at home, or when you are away, what things do you think about? I have traveled a little bit – through at least 30 of the United States, Northern Mexico (OK TJ and as far as about 60 miles into Mexico), Montreal, Canada and then a month in Jolly Old England. And with the exception of Mexico, all of the water I have encountered was considered to be “safe”.
That does not mean it was drinkable taste wise. Desert water usually sucks. Many mountain springs taste wonderful, but others have such high mineral content as to taste awful. Swampy areas (The Caribbean and East Coast USA) taste swampy or like a swimming pool (that is a swimming pool filled with swamp water and Chlorine). They leave much to be desired. As far as big cities go, it is said that New York City has great tasting water. I do not remember myself, though I have been there many times.
So I have asked some of my friends on Facebook who travel a lot about their thoughts are on drinking and traveling.
Paul Constantine – who I went to high school with. He has traveled as a tourist extensively:
When you asked this question the first country that came to mind was Iceland. The country is loaded with huge waterfalls and numerous rivers. The water is clean and cold. You can drink right out of the streams. You can’t do that in most parts of the world without getting sick. They use their hot springs as bathing areas.
Most of Europe is like being in the the U.S. you have better water quality in the country side and less desirable water near the major cities. I usually drink bottled water to avoid getting sick.
Roland and Galina Denzel – Also a high school friend and his wife who is from Bulgaria.
I live in an area with hard water, so it’s always interesting to me how ‘slick’ showers feels when I travel. It makes me wonder about the drinking differences.
Many of the places we travel don’t have consistently safe water in the city, so they (and we) drink filtered or bottled, but it’s great when we go to the villages where they get water from wells. The water tastes pretty amazing. This city boy kind of cringes at first, but I’ve never gotten sick from the mountain springs in Bulgaria. They come bubbling straight out of the ground and taste so pure and clean.
Sheldon Forrest – American expat and regular world traveler.
Usually my rule of thumb is anywhere outside Canada, the US, or Europe, to drink only bottled water (plus juice, plus beer/wine). I seem to recall the tap water in Japan was ok, but I relied on bottled water in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and of course India.
It was suggested to me to immerse in the Ganges at Varanasi, the holy city, only the water there is totally septic…because it is too far downstream at that point with too much waste entering along the way…but I did immerse at Rishikesh (where the Beatles went to meet the Maharishi in ‘68) because, being in the Himalayan foothills, it is much closer to the source, and it is translucent enough that you can see fish swimming in it, meaning it is water that won’t kill fish, like in Varanasi. Got all the spiritual benefits with none of the health problems.
There is absolutely nowhere in Latin America or Africa where I would drink tap water.
NOTE: Sheldon wrote this to me from Paris as he was preparing for a trip to Africa, where he has been for the past couple weeks. This picture is of water buffalo (I think) in Uganda.
Bridget Goodman – Southern California Expat living in Khazakstan.
1) Kharkiv, Ukraine, 2001: Instructed not to drink the tap water, only bottled. Water from shower head either icy cold or burning hot, no in between. Sometimes no hot water for a week, sometimes no water for a day or two.
2) Lviv, Ukraine, same time period: told that because of old pipes there is only water available from the tap from 6-9 am and 6-9 pm.
3) Astana, Kazakhstan, present day: No one drinks tap water. 5-gallon water dispensers in nearly every university office. Frequent leaks and outages mean sometimes no water for a few hours to a day, and then when it comes back the water comes out brown for a while. That’s why I usually have a bottle in the bathroom and one in the kitchen filled with tap water on reserve in case I need to wash hands, brush my teeth, or heat water for a “bucket bath”.
But, final story: going into the hills of Almaty on the way to Big Almaty Lake. Our driver found a place to stop with a natural spout. It was the purest cleanest tasting water I have ever had in my life.
Hope that’s enough.
These different stories about water around the world tell us a lot about the variability of safe drinking water around the world. Consider areas of the world like China and India – with huge populations of people. What about people living in Latin America and Africa. Do they just have a natural resistance to their local waters that allow them to drink it? Or what adaptations have they made to their lives to accommodate for their water. Does it show in higher rates of death and sickness?
These are questions I do not know how to answer. But they make the idea of having safe water to drink seem a whole lot more important than we think about. Is it a mark of civilization that we place such a priority on safe drinking water?
I remember reading the play An Enemy of the People by Henrick Ibsen when I was in high school. It was written in 1882. In the story, a whistelblower discovers that a new costly waterworks project has been compromised by a polluting factory (a paper pulp mill if I remember correctly). He discovers the problem right before the water works is brought online. But before he can tell the town, the people in control stop him – in order to protect themselves from the costly repairs that it will take to make it safe. They demonize the whistleblower to cover up the problem. Seems a whole lot like what has happened in Flint Michigan if you ask me.
Please check out the article, but I wanted to comment on each of the reasons:
Fluoride – addressed in a previous article. Not a good idea to ingest neuro toxins.
Chlorine – While necessary for purification, not necessary for your body.
Arsenic – Arsenic and Old Lace. Enough said.
Heavy Metals – music style aside, not good unless you want to permanently stunt growth and damage the brain. Lead is bad. Mercury is bad.
Hexavalent Chrome – also mentioned in a previous article in regard to Erin Brokovich. I grew up working in a chrome plating plant. I remember during the 70’s when my Dad’s plant began a process to change from Hexavalent Chrome to Trivalent Chrome. And the reasons came down to issues with waste water treatment. Pollution is a bad thing for all of us who ant to live here. But only in the last 100 years were we able to scientifically see just how bad and consider what we need to do about it. In the case of decorative chrome plating, by and large the industry has gone away. It is too expensive and too dirty to make sense economically or socially. Look around while you are driving. How many chrome plated bumpers do you see? Check out people’s wheels. Most have changed to other alloys or hubcaps. Its been a global change that people have not really seen. Chrome was bad and has gone away. People found alternatives.
Pharmaceutical Drugs – One of my major pet peeves. What do you do with drugs that you have and are no longer taking? What are your options? 1) thrown them in the trash, 2) wash down the sink, 3) flush down the toilet. Are any of these OK? I came to the conclusion that none are. Again, maybe it was my experience working around my father’s chrome plating plant, treating the waste water. We had a process for filtering the water, settling out the sediments and the neutralizing the acidity. At a certain point, it was deemed acceptable to dump into the sewer – all according to the standards set by the state and municipalities. But I knew there was NO WAY I wanted to be downstream of it. I had dealt with acid burns and fumes. And how much more effort would the sewage treatment plants do with Gray Water. The answer is, almost nothing. Filter, settle, Flash Chlorine and then dump it in the ocean. And we were lucky to know it was going to the ocean and not upstream of some other community’s drinking water supply.
Back to the drugs. Consider what happens when these pharmaceutical drugs end up in the environment. Are they being filtered in any way? Does the chlorine kill it off? Even worse, it you thrown them in the trash. Then they go to a landfill. Pray no one finds them. And guess what, once water gets to them, they will be leaching into the groundwater. I thought it was important when disposing of some stronger anti seizure medications. I lived in fear that some kid would find them and try them out for fun. But just as bad would be if they polluted the environment.
Fluoride in our water supply is one of the most frightening health issues facing our world today. Our schools teach kids about brushing your teeth with Fluoride toothpaste. Dentists bathe children’s teeth in toxic Fluoride slurry at age 6. How many people ask about why we are using a toxic chemical for cosmetic purposes?
Right now, the political questions against adding Fluoride to the water include:
Science does not agree on the benefits of adding Fluoride. In fact the studies in favor of adding fluoride are over 50 years old. The testing methods used do not pass today’s safety standards.
The Fluoride used for water fluoridation does not have FDA approval, with control of strength and dosing
Forcing mass medication of the population breaks civil liberties
The chemicals are not high purity and pharmaceutical quality products. The fluoride used is industrial by-products from aluminum and fertilizer manufacturing. Other toxins and heavy metals (arsenic, lead and chromium) are present.
The medical community and the government (think FDA and AMA) continue to stand by the aged model. More and more research is revealing the negative impact of fluoride on the brain.
As noted on FlourideAlert.org
Fluoride’s ability to damage the brain is one of the most active areas of fluoride research today. Over 300 studies have found that fluoride is a neurotoxin (a chemical that can damage the brain). This research includes:
Over 100 animal studies showing that prolonged exposure to varying levels of fluoride can damage the brain, particularly when coupled with an iodine deficiency, or aluminum excesss.
53 human studies linking moderately high fluoride exposures with reduced intelligence;
45 animal studies reporting that mice or rats ingesting fluoride have an impaired capacity to learn and/or remember;
3 human studies linking fluoride exposure with impaired fetal brain development.
And despite these studies, our government continues to add fluoride to our water supplies under the auspices of “protecting our teeth”.
Europe and other nations are not in lock step with the fluoride program in the USA. In fact, China, Austria, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, Hungary and Japan are fluoride free.
Only time will tell if they start to listen.
Last year I took one of our infant foster children to the pediatrician. While there, I was visited by a specialist in the office who proceeded to extol the virtues of drinking fluoridated water to help the baby’s dental health. “He needs at least one glass of plain tap water every day. That will provide him the proper amount of fluoride he needs each day.” To say that I was disturbed by her advice is an understatement.
Since learning about Fluoride and other toxins in the water, I drink only filtered water. I use a simple water pitcher filter. It is cost effective. The taste is much better, but it does not filter out Fluoride. To remove Fluoride, you must use either a reverse osmosis filter or an Activated Alumina filter. These are a little pricier, but in the end something that I want to try.
I seek out Natural Spring Water for drinking when I can find it. I also stopped using fluoridated toothpaste years ago.
Will it help?
NOTE: All the facts and figures and quotes here I found on other websites, including:
I began asking about the water I drink after a trip to Miami, FL. Our local water in Reading, PA never bothered me. In fact, I thought it tasted pretty good. I grew up in Southern California, where the water is undrinkable. We always bought Sparkletts bottled water (the green cap with Fluoride for our teeth J). But the water in Miami was so vile tasting I spit it out of my mouth at a restaurant. And think how many people in the area were consuming it every day.
After that trip to Miami that I finally had had enough and would no longer drink it our local water. We had previously affectionately called the tap water Schuylkill Punch. We laughed during droughts when people would say things like, “Be sure to flush twice. Philly needs the water.” It reminds us about who is living upstream that we are drinking from.
Water has been in the news in the past couple years because of the tragic water supply in Flint, Michigan. The water is polluted. The aging public water system caused it. Most of the city’s pipes are over 50 years old and are made with Lead. The City knew it was in major need of an update. The Republicans and Democrats are blaming each other. The biggest problem is that the city has not invested in the upkeep of their water supply. Now everyone must drink bottled water because what comes out of the tap is completely contaminated. And who knows for how long.
Here in the USA, we take things like this for granted. Most areas have public drinking water available. Most of us never question it. We turn it on. We shower, we wash our hands. We wash our dishes, we cook we wash our clothing. And we drink it.
In other parts of the world, this is obviously not so. Industrial pollution, over population, farming runoff. You name it. I always think about the Ganges River – where millions of Indians make a pilgrimage each year to bathe in its holy waters. But they should pray hard before-hand because the water is nasty polluted with Human waste.
The failure of the Flint water supply is one of those examples of how your life can be turned on its head. In Flint, it was caused by bad government, misappropriation of taxes, call it what you want. But the people had the expectation that their water was safe and would continue to be safe. Now that it has happened – and it was near an election year, it made national headlines. For the people, it is the apocalypse. They must drink bottled water. They must decide whether they want to try cleaning their clothing or their bodies or their lives with the water that comes to their home.
Consider how many other municipalities have had problems with their water that we never hear about. California made headlines after the fact in Hinkley – where the water supply (and the air) became contaminated with Chromium. It took an unlikely lawsuit and a paralegal named Erin Brockovich to bring peoples’ attention to it. And unlike Flint, where the water came out of the tap looking like it came out of a swamp, Hinkley’s water looked clean. It was the cancer that made people question it.
What do you know about your own water supply?
I began this mentioning that when I moved to Pennsylvania, I thought the water tasted pretty good. The comparison was the swill that was aqua ducted from Mono Lake, up in the Sierras, down to the LA Basin. And with all the traveling, all the filtering, all the chlorine and other chemicals to make it clean enough to drink, it left much to be desired.
A little research here in PA told me most of our water comes from the Schuylkill River at some point. It is re routed through a couple lakes, piped all over the place, filtered Chlorinated, fluoridated and then pushed through our pipes. For our municipality, the water comes from the Tulpehocken Creek, downstream from Blue Marsh Lake. It draws directly from the local watershed and not necessarily from the sewage treatment plant north of here – isn’t that something to be proud of. But we do get farm runoff. And remember the name of that lake includes the word “Marsh.” Funny thing is that the Tulpehocken creek, about a mile past our local water supply intake, empties into the Schuylkill River. The water we get is at least that much more pristine.
For homework, consider where your water comes from.
This is usually easy to find out.
The information about my local water was just a Google search away. The Website for our Borough noted the Water company that provides our water. That water company’s website has an annual public disclosure statement telling the sources of the water as well as results of their testing for purity.
And for this, governmental agencies are very good. They go out of their way to test and show results in ways that will make them look good. They set the bar and stay under it. This does not mean that our water is ACTUALLY clean and safe. Just that they can prove it following the EPA guidelines and standards. They admit to including additives (Chlorine and Fluoride). They test for the bad things (Lead, Chromium, Nitrates). They publish it for all 2 of us whoever look at it online (which is about two more people than actually went to their offices to see the test results that they were forced to publish before.
Find your water source
Review the test results for your water supply
Question their testing techniques
For my family and my garden, I want to know what goes into our bodies. And stay tuned for more discussions about water. It is somewhat of an obsession of mine, and there is a lot I want to visit.
Down the Rabbit Hole
Astrogardens begins in the garden – your home. It is a place you can connect with nature and prepare your home from the world around you. And this is a place where I can talk about my own adventures in my backyard – and where they lead.
But more, Astrogardens is a place when I will be taking deep dives into subjects that dare to be explored. We will go down the rabbit hole to see what we may find. And we will go there with No Fear. There are enemies all around us. Their biggest defense is our ignorance.