Technology and Drinking Water’s Future…Hunter Worsfold
In 2011, there were 8,322 reported violations of maximum contaminant levers affecting 14,915,599 people. There were 109,167 total violations from all categories in 2011 – a big increase from 2010 where there were only 75,857 total violations.The EPA reported 93.2 percent of the population are on water supplies that meet all health related standards: 4,1010 systems out of the 53,000 violated an MCL and 1,264 violated a treatment standard and the violations are somewhat reduced from 2010. The rest are primarily monitoring/reporting. The problems are predominantly among small systems.
In California, 680 community water systems are forced to rely solely upon a contaminated groundwater source. Nearly 40 percent of these water treatment systems have been in violation of standards, according to the California Department of Public Health. Cost and a lack of expertise are the primary causes for these violations. Providing safe drinking water with contaminated source water via centralized treatment facilities, especially in small rural communities with a few hundred or less service, is cost prohibitive until economies of scale are achieved. The costs to plan, build and maintain centralized treatment facility are an unmanageable burden for small utility. Point-of entry (POE) systems can be the best option to provide safe drinking water in these communities; however, many state regulators are hard to convince even thous POE are included for legal compliance for some contaminants under the Safe Drinking Water Act.
Some industry professionals argue that traditional water softeners are the best solution to soften water, while turning a blind eye to the fact that they can waste a significant amount of the water in regeneration and over its useful life can dump 10-20 tons of SALT into the wastewater depending on the salt efficiency setting, unit design and capacity, feed water hardness, etc. A softener that regenerates every three days using nine pounds of salt per regeneration and 55 gallon of water will dump 21,900 pounds of salt and 133,833 gallons of water over a 20 years.