Without a doubt, 2020 will be remembered as the alarming year in history where the world’s governments and medical scientists grappled with the fluctuating Covid-19 pandemic.
We have been well-versed in how the virus spreads and have experienced the measures taken to stop it. It is transmitted person to person, ramping up the call for face masks, and lives for extended periods on various surfaces; necessitating the need for regular sanitizing.
On the other hand, the global consensus is that Covid-19 does not thrive and transmit well in water.
Experience with similar coronaviruses shows no evidence that Covid is present in surface or groundwater sources, nor is it transmitted through contaminated drinking water. That does not, in any way, suggest that maintaining optimal water quality should be any less of a priority.
A virus may not thrive in insufficiently treated water, but harmful bacteria certainly will. A body weakened by the bacteria is naturally more susceptible to a potential virus.
Homeowners and businesses can benefit by having their water checked and monitored by expert technologists who have the means to upgrade its purity. One such company in our area is Flow Water Solutions in Caledon. Flow Water Solutions, is also a licensed well contractor; which means they can service all aspects; including the pump, the treatment system and the points of distribution.
For example, Flow Water sends water samples to an accredited lab to be tested for coliform and e-coli. As well, the company thoroughly tests the water to determine hardness, iron content, pH and total dissolved solid.
The company advocates the installation ultraviolet water purification systems, where Ultraviolet (UV) rays penetrate harmful pathogens in your home’s water and destroy illness-causing microorganisms by attacking their genetic core. “We recommend that every well should have a UV system installed and maintained for customers’ peace of mind and protection,” says Flow Water’s Hugh Scholz. A UV water purifier exposes harmful organisms, such as bacteria, viruses to a germicidal ultraviolet wavelength. With enough energy, UV radiation disrupts the DNA in pathogenic microorganisms so they cannot reproduce.
Regarding Covid-19, a paper issued by the World Health Organization describes it as an “enveloped virus” dependent on a fragile outer membrane for its protection. Such enveloped viruses are unstable in a water environment and are susceptible to accidents, such as chlorine.
Hugh Sholz is cautious about chlorine application. The process does have its advantages, the primary one being that it resides in water for a prolonged period of time, attacking and eliminating its harmful components. Yet, chlorine has detrimental properties. “When you are dealing with chlorine,” says Hugh. “You are dealing with a carcinogen.” While the UV application will not linger as long as chlorine, it acts as a germicide and can kill up to 99 per cent of bacteria and viruses. Pointing out chlorine as a possible cancer-causing agent is not intended to chase people away from deploying it. It is simply something that needs to be taken into consideration when deciding which water purification route is best. “In the end, the consumers have to educate themselves,” urges Hugh. Chlorine is part of an effective “chemical injection” purification process.
The three chemicals most commonly used as primary disinfectants are chlorine, chlorine dioxide and ozone. Monochloramine, usually referred to as chloramine, is also applied as a residual disinfectant for distribution.
Since the chemical injection systems provided by Flow Water pulse these necessary components into the water at a controlled and proper rate, overexposure to a particular agent is controlled and harmful side effects diminished.
Another option is an RO, or Reverse Osmosis, system. Reverse osmosis is a relatively simple filtration process, wherein water pressure pushes tap water through a semipermeable membrane to remove impurities from water. RO can be installed to remove high levels of total dissolved solids, (TDS) in the water. Flow Water’s systems can be designed to remove up to 3,000 TDS.
Hard water is an issue for much of our area. It is the result of high amounts of TDS. TDS are minerals, salts, metals, cations or anions dissolved in water. They include inorganic salts (primarily calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, bicarbonates, chlorides, and sulfates) and some small amounts of organic matter that are dissolved in water. High TDS levels in water can be very corrosive and cause serious damage to plumbing fixtures and household appliances.
A basic water softener typically used in the home consists of resin beads that captures TDS, as well as the periodical use of salt to cleanse the beads. If you have such a basic system, it is advised that you check salt levels at least once a month. This is easily done by lifting the tank lid and looking inside. If the tank is less than half full, add more salt; or find a water professional to handle the maintenance.
While some people may worry about the presence of chemicals in their water, there are chemicals that are vital to ensuring water reaches its optimal potability. Eliminating dangerous organisms and maintaining fixtures are not the only things the homeowners have to keep in mind. There is also a clear threat of methane permeating the water system.
Methane is a gas created by decaying organic vegetation and must be removed from the water supply. Hugh points out that it can be explosive at certain concentrations. “It must be treated with respect and we recommend using a licensed well contractor to handle the job.”.
In conclusion, these are definitely worrisome times. Water purity, once dealt with by consulting a professional and incorporating the correct measures, can be become the least of those worries.
Therefore, Hugh understands and encourages folks to be “justifiably cautious” when it comes to the water they consume.
Written by: Dan Pelton