I always take the greatest care to not sound water alarms when science and truth contradict my concerns. Some alerts, however like those over fracking and the situation in Flint, are very real and very much deserving of our concern, and remedial action. It never ceases to amaze me the shortcuts and bastardization of safe practices that municipalities take with drinking water, often escaping scrutinization of the public.
One such atrocity is the situation in New Orleans where drinking water is used to cool turbines in the wastewater plant and recycle back into the drinking water supply. I have included a link at the end of this article but want to make a few comments first.
Technically speaking, as long as the cooling chambers of the turbines are closed to mixing with sewage, and as long as the materials inside the turbine chambers are of an EPA accepted material, the operators of this system are correct in calling it safe. However, that word “safe” is an instantaneous word. In other words, the system is safe at this moment, but at any moment in the future, a mechanical failure could mix sewage with drinking water.
So we have to ask ourselves, who purposely designs something that introduces risk into a drinking water supply? We also should ask, what is the detection, shutdown and reversal treatment technology should a catastrophe occur?
This situation in New Orleans is despicable. Closed-loop cooling systems should always be isolated and separate from public drinking water. This is not hard to do. Our automobiles all have a closed-loop cooling system. The radiator cools the water and stores capacity to keep the system filled.
Whoever designed this abomination and installed it into the New Orleans drinking water system should be fired if still employed. To me, such actions should be criminal.
Folks, all I can say is that if someone tells you that your water is safe to drink, don’t take it for granted. Water can be safe right “now” but deadly an hour from now. The takeaway is what I always say; “Learn all you can about your water.”