Tuesday, June 23, 2015

June 23, 2015 Update on Arsenic and other thoughts for the week!

Update on What is Happening on the Arsenic question in our community!

Our community has an arsenic problem and the State of Arizona ADEQ Department is doing a fine job of addressing the issues.  Problem is that it just is taking too long.  In 2006 the standards were changed by the Federal EPA from 50 PPB to 10 PPB and this was a shock to the water systems everywhere since they had to adjust and drop their levels quickly.

What did that mean?     Local water systems had to put in place equipment that could take the arsenic levels down.  Some of the communities chose to blend their water supplies with water that had lower levels with those waters which had higher levels to achieve a balanced drinking supply that would fit within the guidelines.  The EPA was funded with special loan supplies made possible by the Federal Government to assist in the transition.  Was this good enough?  Yes, but the questions remains, why didn't all those communities which had problems partake in the dole out?  Well, what was obvious is that the money had to be paid back.  Greed in trying to get more than what was needed is also a concern.

How can this be that 9 years later communities are still dawdling! In a small community like the one in which I live the water company has been procrastinating in putting in the water program which would be beneficial to the residents.  The water supply is over the Federal EPA guides.  Measurement of the level of arsenic in the water is done by both the state and the water company.  It seems there is a discrepancy in their numbers. No one seems to respond directly to the variation, but each point of variance means a question as to the risk factors in play.

Illness is caused by AR III and AR V:  The water in our community has AR III and AR V.  Testing done by a supplier of filters in a reverse osmosis system was for the purpose of determining which filter was needed to remove the type of arsenic.  Illness is cancer in humans, death in pets, and a variety of other illness factors which build up since the body absorbs arsenic and retains it.

Where do we go from here?  Is it acceptable to wait until the court ordered time of May 2016 or should the remediation of the water take place now?  It is not rocket science to have a company come in and advise what should be done to reduce the level of arsenic in the water.  Also, how long should it take to put the system in place?  Answers by the water company have not been forth coming, have they done anything to provide them?  It does not appear so!  They keep procrastinating and it has been 9 years from the issuance of the mandate by the EPA.  Problems in the water supply were present since 1980, isn't that nice! One of the legislators from our district has stepped up and had those involved at the state level report where and what things were being done. 

Many residents have come forward:  A meeting of the residents of my community was held a week ago.  We had a county supervisor present and he assured he would look into the matter as he was unaware of the problem.  We asked that water be tested by the community health service since it was a matter of health and safety.  He assured he would get them into the matter of testing.  I estimate that about 75 residents were at the meeting, a very good turnout on short notice.

We need to have more residents get into the fray!  Write to the HOA Board, your Board of Supervisors, your legislators, and the state people at the EPA.

What can you do to protect yourself?

I have installed a filter system for water which we drink and for cooking.  It is installed under the sink and works well to remove the arsenic III and V from our water.  This is short term, but the filter will last for 1000 gallons which is about a year's supply.  That will take us through the court ordered May 2016 date when the water company is supposed to have their reduction in place.  If not?  Well, we will buy another arsenic filter (Cost $89) to go another year.  The water company offers a gallon of water per day per person, but their source is inadequate and when people have shown up to get 2 gallons of water, were given one plus a small amount in another gallon as they had run out.  Another option is to purchase water from local stores in larger quantities (5 gallon).

Personal Note:

In 2004 my brother Leslie Alfred Isaacs died.  He was 72.  Today is June 23rd, the date he was born!  I surely miss him as we used to talk everyday about the events that were going on in our lives and our children.  He was a good man who cared so much about others and their needs.  We all should care and do something about it.  That is one of the reasons that I am so interested in community affairs and those who live around us.

Friday, June 12, 2015

June 12, 2015: Update on Arsenic in the water in Valle Vista

Times are a changing with regard to the water and Arsenic:

The water situation has escalated into a whole different realm.  When I discussed the water problem with Culligan Water Company recently I was told that they had installed a special filter to treat the water that would be obtained from the Truxton Water Company.  Reason was that the water contained Arsenic III which is the inorganic variety and most deadly since it cannot be removed with ordinary filtration like Arsenic V.

The Brita water filters only work to remove particles, chlorine, and other contaminants, but only ARV and nothing to do with ARIII.  I talked with the store where I purchased the system (Home Depot) and they said they were unaware that ARIII had to be removed and assumed it was ARV which is the organic kind of arsenic.

The folks at Home Depot were very cooperative and said that I could bring the Brita system back and get a full refund.  Also, they did not have any type of filter system which could remove ARIII.

Searched the Internet:

What a wonderful life we lead in 2015.  I was able to search the internet and find Pure Earth Technologies.  The call that I placed gave me a lot of information in addition to printed information on their website.  It seems that they do not use a reverse osmosis system, it is an on demand system which will purify the water immediately when you turn on the faucet!  I ordered the system and it cost $289.00 including free delivery and no sales tax because it comes from Georgia.  It will arrive on 6/15/2015.

Decided it was time to inform other people!

At first I thought that I would tell a few friends about the situation.  Especially the person who had installed the Brita system.  Then my letter was published in the newsletter which is distributed to all residents of Valle Vista.  I have received a number of calls and then an invitation to speak at the Board of Directors meeting on Monday the 15th of June.  Since then, there have been other calls and other people whom I had never met before, contacting me about the meeting.  I decided additionally to write the legislators in our district and the Mohave County Commissioner for our district.  Commissioner Gary Watson is coming to our meeting on Monday!  I have to prepare a talk to explain what I have discovered so far, and let me say that it is a lot!

Arsenic III is very dangerous when you drink the water and the symptoms appear quickly.  Loss of appetite, nausea, and other signs that you know you are ill.  On top of this the big C is going to  attack you unless something is done pronto.  Best recommendation is to stop drinking the water!!!  Get bottled water!  Make coffee and cook with bottled water!!!

Truxton Water has been aware since 1980:

The shame of this whole situation is that Truxton Water Company has been aware of this situation since 1980.  Has violated ADEQ court orders (a state agency) and is now under order to provide drinkable water to the community it serves which is 740 customers.  Their solution is laughable: 1 gallon of water per person per day.  This is to be done from a system which provides  60 gallons of water per day.  There are about 2200 people residing in Valle Vista alone.  There are other customers on the service and they are not even considered in the count.

Additionally, there are people who are not  customers of Truxton directly.  They are secondary customers who purchase water to haul to their homes from a stand-pipe which is located at a local gas station.  There are no warning signs that this water has AR III or AR V in the water.  They take the water home, feed their animals, drink it, and blithely think all is well.  It is not!

What remedies are available to get better water and safety?

First:  Immediately require signage which warns of the extent that the water is dangerous.

Second: Require that Truxton put in a water treatment facility in 60 days and not wait until one year or May 2016!

Third:  A serious remedy would be Condemnation by the County or State of the entire water system, from well to pipes.  In other words, take over the water company.  As a part of this allow only those customers currently receiving water to  purchase shares in the water company.  Have management of this company be done by the Valle Vista Home Owners Association.

Fourth:  Compensation of the owners of the water company should be determined by the courts.  Claims against any all funds allocated could also be adjudicated at the same court.

Fifth:  A Class Action lawsuit should be investigated for the purpose of determining loss of value for existing property owners due to the negative publicity and diminution of values created by tainted water and the inability of new home owners being allowed to purchase water from Truxton Water Company.

These are a few suggestions and are by no means penultimate solution.  It should be up to the customers of Truxton Water Company and the water company itself to achieve a fair and just solution to this horrendous problem.

Friday, June 5, 2015

June 5, 2015:  Thoughts to the start of the summer months

A drought in California and Arsenic in our water in Arizona..

There are many folks living in California who are having severe water problems because of a lack of water and those living in Texas are having severe water problems because of excess water.  Doesn't that make you wonder why sometimes we never get things right?  There are icebergs melting in the cold climes adding water to the oceans and we have politicians running around talking about how we have global warming, scientists saying that for the next few years we are going to have global cooling!  What is the end result?  Who knows...progress causes everyone to scratch their heads and say huh?

Here in our Arizona community we have a problem with Arsenic:

Our community is serviced by a water company who has been trying to make it next to impossible to do business with them.  Under an agreement with the officials at the state's attorney general's office the water company agreed to provide potable drinking water during the lull of when they put in a large water removal plant to take the arsenic out of the customers water.  That won't happen until May 2016 which is their deadline and they are always waiting until the last minute to get things done.  Don't you wonder where they get their water? 

We went to Home Depot to get an Arsenic filter for our own water rather than go to the office of the water company every day and get 1 gallon of water per person at a set time and sign in when you get the water.  The other problem is that they are giving the water out from behind closed doors!  Yes, they put the water system they have into a closed room, no one can see what they are doing, and you cannot question if the water is good or not. 

The Brita Water system we got is for under the sink.  We replaced a leaky Culligan system and the cost differential was not too much than to get the parts from Culligan.  Problems we had with the new system were discovered after our handy-man installed the system.  It seems that there is a little gadget called a water restrictor which the instruction booklet says is a must do in order to make the system function.  Well, we had this running for some time and nothing was happening!  The water was not going into the pressure tank, the water was not flowing from the faucet, and we could not stand the noise.  So at about 3 am in the morning we got up and turned off the water flowing into the drain!  Read many of the YouTube comments and the videos which had people talking about their methodology of installation and came to the conclusion that first thing in the morning we would  correct some of the problems. 

Our fix..which worked!  Put some air in the pressure tank.  You use a bicycle pump!  Check if the restrictor valve was installed.  We put the air in and installed the restrictor valve which had been put in the box for safe keeping? (Only the handyman knows why it need to be there rather than in the system).  Right away the water filled the tank!  Right away the noisy flow of water was eliminated! Now we go through the steps of purging the system of particles which are cast off by the filters when first installed.  We have only one more time to do this and we then can turn on the line to the ice maker in the refrigerator.  Oh Happy Day!

I have said enough today!  More in a few days.