Category Archives: Natural Events

Comox Valley, BC, Canada: Comox Lake Water Quality Monitoring Program – 2008

Are we not equal or is there a lack of standards? I don’t feel like we are treated equally when I compare the number of times water in my community is tested considering it is at high risk for contamination compared with other BC communities whose water source is closed and a low risk for contamination. On July 16, 2012 a man tragically died in our water source. I didn’t hear our health authority was doing additional testing to ensure our water was safe. My condolences to the man`s family. Portland dumped 38 million gallons of water after a man pees in their reservoir. Isn’t someone dying in our water worse or is it because we have more water that makes our water safe, or perhaps Portland overreacted. Exhibit 5 lists the potential contaminants in Comox Lake. Click here or the pdf file to read the entire report or an excerpt below.

 

Page 18

 

According to the report, they test the following:

3.2 Water Quality Monitoring Description
3.2.1 Water Quality Testing
The current water quality monitoring program for the Comox Valley water system include
the following analyses:
• Weekly bacteriological analysis on distributed water
• Continuous chlorine residual analysis of the treated water
• Monthly metal scan and hardness analysis on raw water
• Annual testing on distributed water for trihalomethanes (THMs), alkalinity, chloride,
fluoride, sulphate, and the parameters listed above.
Analyses are currently performed by North Island Laboratories in Courtenay, which is
approved by VIHA.
Exhibit 9 lists the parameters, as well as their testing frequency.
Raw water is sampled at the lake discharge. Treated water is tested at the chlorination
building. Distributed water is sampled at four locations on the distribution system, which are: West Courtenay Reservoir, Marsden Reservoir, East Courtenay Reservoir, and Comox Reservoir. Exhibit 10 shows the reservoir locations.

Continuously
Chlorine residual

Weekly
Escherichia Coli (Microbiological)
Total Coliform (Microbiological)
Non-Coliform Bacteria (Microbiological)

Monthly
Hardness (Physical and chemical)
Aluminum (Metals)
Antimony (Metals)
Arsenic (Metals)
Barium (Metals)
Beryllium (Metals)
Boron (Metals)
Cadmium (Metals)
Calcium (Metals)
Chromium (Metals)
Cobalt (Metals)
Copper (Metals)
Iron (Metals)
Lead (Metals)
Magnesium (Metals)
Manganese (Metals)
Mercury (Metals)
Molybdenum (Metals)
Nickel (Metals)
Potassium (Metals)
Selenium (Metals)
Silicon (Metals)
Silver (Metals)
Sodium (Metals)
Strontium (Metals)
Thallium (Metals)
Tin (Metals)
Titanium (Metals)
uranium (Metals)
Zinc (Metals)

Annually
Alkalinity (Physical and chemical)
Aluminum (Metals)
Antimony (Metals)
Arsenic (Metals)
Barium (Metals)
Boron (Metals)
Cadmium (Metals)
Chloride (Physical and chemical)
Chromium (Metals)
Copper (Metals)
Fluoride (Physical and chemical)
Hardness (Physical and chemical)
Heterotrophic Plate Count (Microbiological)
Iron (Metals)
Lead (Metals)
Manganese (Metals)
Sodium (Metals)
Sulphate (Physical and chemical)
Temperature (Physical and chemical)
Trihalomethanes-total (THMs)
Uranium (Metals)
Zinc (Metals)

Video on the Story of Bottled Water

Please consider donating to these guys after you watch their amazing video. Click here to learn more about them. Thank you.

 

Orig Posted: Aug 6, 2012

Cyanobacteria: Blue-green algae poisoning threatens livestock

Here is an article with a good picture of cyanobacteria. I don’t have confidence with their descrption of where it can be found in water or how it should be treated. I also don’t have confidence recommending which country is an expert on cyanobacteria. I do have confidence stating there are huge gaps internationally regarding cyanobacteria so extreme caution should be used both in how to identify it and treat it. Here is a report report74_management_strategies_BGA (2)  from Australia that I think is worth reading – even it recommends consulting a cyanobacteria expert and another website that gives good information about cyanobacteria species. I’m not a scientist, I just like to read and find conflicting information so please consult with an expert on this topic rather than follow my ramblings. Thanks.

 

Several livestock deaths have been attributed to blue-green algae poisoning in North Dakota recently, putting livestock producers and veterinarians on alert.

Cases usually occur in late summer or early fall, when stagnant ponds and the right nutrient conditions allow for overgrowth of algae, according to Gerald Stokka, North Dakota State University Extension veterinarian and livestock stewardship specialist. However, this spring’s mild weather and warm water have been ideal conditions for algae blooms to occur.

Blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria, typically grow in stagnant, warm pond water. When the algae die, they produce a toxin that is poisonous to most livestock and wildlife, including ducks, geese, rabbits, muskrats, frogs, fish and snakes.

Under favorable conditions, blue-green algae can double in number in 24 hours, and these blooms can turn pond water blue to brownish green.

“A close watch for unexplained livestock deaths is important,” Stokka says. “Consult a veterinarian to find a cause of death so steps can be taken to prevent additional livestock deaths.”

He also urges producers to take note of any dead wildlife around bodies of water because that could be an indication of blue-green algae in the water. The algae flourish only in the top few inches of water, so toxic concentrations typically are found just in small ponds where waves don’t mix the water thoroughly. Blue-green algae blooms do not occur in lakes and rivers.

A veterinarian can help determine if a particular pond has toxic concentrations of the algae, Stokka says.

Another option is to send a water sample to the NDSU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. The lab also can diagnose a blue-green algae problem in dead animals if someone sends a liver sample. For more information on how to submit samples, contact the lab at (701) 231-7527 or (701) 231-8307, or visit its website at http://www.vdl.ndsu.edu/.

If a pond contains toxic concentrations of blue-green algae, keep animals from drinking the water by fencing off the pond and providing another source of water. Because the toxins are concentrated at the surface, water may be pumped from the bottom of deep sloughs or potholes to watering tanks.

Generally, toxic algae blooms last only a few days, but they may persist for several weeks.

Small ponds that don’t drain into other waterways or bodies of water may need to be treated with copper sulfate or an algicide. Stokka recommends a treatment rate of 2 pounds of copper sulfate per acre-foot of water. That approximates a rate of 8 pounds per 1 million gallons.

Toxin levels increase immediately after treatment, so livestock should not be allowed to drink from treated ponds for a week.

For more information on detecting blue-green algae and protecting livestock from its toxins, contact your county office of the NDSU Extension Service. Ask for the publication “Cyanobacteria (Blue Green Algae) Poisoning.”

 

 

Cyanobacteria: It’s Easier Being Green Than Blue-green

The Oregon Health Authority gives a much simpler definition of algae for those of us who aren’t plant biologists. Click here for the full article or read an excerpt below.

 

Kermit the frog sang the song “It isn’t easy being green” lamenting the troubles of being a frog. The blue-green I am referring to is blue-green algae. What is it and why should you care? First things first. According to Dictionary.com “algae are any of numerous groups of chlorophyll-containing, mainly aquatic eukaryotic organisms ranging from microscopic single-celled forms to multicellular forms 100 feet (30 meters) or more long, distinguished from plants by the absence of true roots, stems, and leaves and by a lack of nonreproductive cells in the reproductive structures: classified into six phyla Euglenophyta, Crysophyta, Pyrrophyta, Chlorophyta, Phaeophyta, and Rhodophyta. Blue-green algae are defined as “a widely distributed group of predominantly photosynthetic prokaryotic organisms of the subkingdom Cyanophyta, resembling phototrophic bacteria, occurring singly or in colonies in diverse habitats: some species can fix atmospheric nitrogen.” it is also called Cyanobacteria.

The Oregon Health Authority gives a much simpler definition of algae for those of us who aren’t plant biologists. They say “algae are microscopic plants that grow naturally in oceans and fresh water. Under certain conditions, some algae can grow into a large visible mass called a bloom.” The blue-green is one of the algae that produces toxins (poisons) that can cause serious illness or death in humans and even pets, wildlife, and livestock.

Blue-green Algae Waves

What does an algae bloom look like? Scientists describe blooms as looking like a scum or foam on the surface of the water that can appear in various colors such as white, brown, green, or in this case blue-green. Don’t let that fool you though because you can’t tell whether what appears to be an algae bloom is toxic or not just by looking at it. The water has to be tested to be sure. If the surface of a pond, lake, or reservoir looks suspicious to you (doesn’t aways look as green as the picture above) it’s better to stay out of direct contact with the water.

You might remember that last summer there were some blue-green algae advisories throughout Western Oregon which included Walterville Pond, Dorena Reservoir, Dexter Reservoir, and Tenmile Lake in Coos County. The one issued for Dexter Reservoir could not have come at a worse time considering it was issued July 3rd. just one day before crowds of people gathered along the shore for a 4th of July celebration with entertainment, food, and fireworks sponsored by the Dexter Volunteer Fire Department and the Lowell Volunteer Fire Department in conjunction with Eugene Daily News.

2013 Swimming At Dexter Reservoir | Photo by Tim Chuey

Despite the advisory some folks did go into the water and I know I saw a couple of dogs frolicking and splashing near the shore. I don’t know if anyone got sick, but they were taking an unnecessary risk. Being near the water or even boating, as long as you don’t get a heavy spray of water hitting the boaters, is not a problem. You must have direct contact with contaminated water. “Skin irritation or rash is the most commonly reported health effect. Other symptoms range from diarrhea, cramps and vomiting to fainting, numbness, dizziness, tingling and paralysis. The most severe reactions occur when large amounts of water are swallowed. The chronic effects of long-term exposure to algae toxins are being studied.”

If you enjoy a picnic, camping, or boating near area lakes and reservoirs you should make sure the water is not going to harm you, your family, or your pets.

Germany’s 10 Huge Lessons About Solar Energy

Check this out from Germany who have embraced solar energy. Why can’t we? This is a must read. Click here for the full article or read an excerpt below.

 

http://climatecrocks.com/2013/02/11/germanys-10-huge-lessons-about-solar-energy/

 

Electricity suppliers get their electricity on the grid through a bidding process. The suppliers that can sell their electricity to the grid for cheapest win. Because the costs of solar and wind power plants are essentially just in the process of building them (the fuel costs are $0 and the maintenance costs are negligible), they can outbid pretty much every other source of power. As a result, 1) they win the bids when they produce electricity; 2) they drive down the price of wholesale electricity.

Because solar power is often produced when electricity demand is the greatest (and electricity is, thus, the least available and most expensive), it brings down the price of electricity even more than wind.

 

 

Cyanobacteria: Algae bloom scuttles Free Fishing Weekend Saturday’s event at Lost Creek Lake was canceled by the Oregon Health Authority; Anabaena flos-aquae algae can be toxic

This is the most comprehensive warning I have read regarding what to do during a bloom. I do not agree with their statement regarding some  “Not all blue-green algae strains produce toxins dangerous to people or pets, and not all blooms release toxins.” I don’t feel they know everything about cyanobacteria to make that statement when there are over 1100 different species and huge gaps within their knowledge base according to Cyanobacteria experts in 2004. Click here for the source or read an excerpt below.

 

A blue-green algae bloom at Lost Creek Lake may or may not be toxic to people and pets, but it proved fatal to a Free Fishing Weekend event planned there Saturday.

The Oregon Health Authority on Tuesday afternoon issued an advisory against water contact at the lake — the first advisory issued this year in Oregon — after the discovery of a large bloom of cyanobacteria at Jackson County’s largest water body, which prompted Oregon State Parks officials to cancel the annual fishing event.

Water tests showed more than 3.2 million cells per milliliter of Anabaena flos-aquae, a cyanobacteria that has bloomed regularly in late spring at the Rogue River reservoir 30 miles north of Medford, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which operates the lake.

Anabaena flos-aquae can produce potentially dangerous toxins, particularly when the bloom dies off. But not all blooms are toxic. The threshold for a public-health advisory in Oregon is 100,000 cells per milliliter.

State parks officials canceled the event Wednesday, but the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife still plans to release 5,250 rainbow trout there this week.

During advisories, people and pets are warned to avoid all water contact, but compliance is voluntary. Anglers are encouraged to practice catch-and-release fishing during advisories.

People who eat fish from algae-tainted waters should remove all fat, skin and organs before cooking, because toxins can collect there. People should not eat crayfish or freshwater shellfish taken from infested lakes during an advisory.

Boating and fishing are considered safe so long as boat speeds do not create excessive water spray, according to health officials.

Toxins cannot be filtered by standard camp filters or by boiling the water. In-home filtering systems cannot cleanse the water, though public treatment plants can reduce algae toxins through filtration and disinfection.

Exposure to toxins can produce symptoms of numbness, tingling and dizziness that can lead to difficulty breathing or heart problems, and require immediate medical attention. Symptoms of skin irritation, weakness, diarrhea, nausea, cramps and fainting should also receive medical attention if they persist or worsen.

Children and pets are at increased risk for exposure because of their size and level of activity.

The public will be advised when the concern no longer exists.

Not all blue-green algae strains produce toxins dangerous to people or pets, and not all blooms release toxins.

No confirmed human illnesses have been tied directly to an algae outbreak in Oregon. However, at least four dogs have died in recent years from toxins in water near the Umpqua River near Elkton.

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or mfreeman@mailtribune.com.

Health Canada: Enteric Protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium

I find drinking water treatment information very confusing. The authorities make vague statements where if you don’t read the entire paragraph you miss the fact they aren’t testing for everything in your water. They spread the information/facts out over several different websites so you might only get half the picture unless you know where to look for the other half. Then there is the technical aspect where you have to be a rocket scientist/investigator to understand what they mean in their statements because they use these weird words/terms. Click on the picture below and let me know if you understand why that graphic is so important. Click here for the source.

 

Figure 3. Example of a risk assessment for Giardia, under specified conditions

A flow chart outlining the steps in a quantitative microbial risk assessment, including an example calculation under specified conditions, for Giardia in drinking water