Archive for December, 2010December 29, 2010
Don’t let the winter blues get you down! The Des Moines Botanical Center is offering an eclectic line-up of live, musical artists every Sunday from 1:00-3:00 p.m. in January and February that will be sure to warm up the season. Admission is $5.00 per person with light appetizers and drinks available for purchase from the Riverwalk Café. The Des Moines Botanical Center is a family-friendly, smoke free environment with plenty of free parking and wheel chair accessible. Below, is a complete list of musicians scheduled to perform:
January 2 Cindy Grill and Alan Smith
January 9 Bob Pace
January 16 Brad “bebad” McCloud & “The Bear”
January 23 Pat Hemann & J.D. Flanagan
January 30 “Mojo” Jono
February 6 Tina Hasse-Findley & Brandon Findlay
February 13 Jodi Bodley & Dewey Cantrell
February 20 “Homegrown Tomatoes” (Bill Melton & Stephen Hines)
February 27 Matt Woods
Safety of Fluoridation
Fluoridation of municipal drinking water has aroused some controversy from its beginnings in 1945. There is no doubt high concentrations of fluoride are toxic to the human body. But it’s important to remember that the toxicity of any material depends on the dose amount and the exposure duration. In the case of municipal water fluoridation, the overwhelming weight of evidence shows the dose (~1 part per million) to be safe.
It is interesting that the fluoride controversy through the decades reflects the medical concerns of the day. Early on, concerns focused on a possible fluoride connection with Down’s syndrome. Present day concerns focus more on allergies and cancer.
When the entire body of information is examined, there is simply no statistical evidence that fluoridation has caused any significant decline in societal health. On the contrary, the period in which fluoride exposure has been increasing has been a period of steady health improvement in the U.S. Age-adjusted mortality rates for almost all diseases, including heart disease and most cancers, have been decreasing. The notable exceptions are lung cancer and melanoma, which are lifestyle diseases.
Well-constructed experiments have generated data that imply research should continue on fluoride’s possible side effects. DMWW and the water industry will continue to examine and react to this research. But at the current time, the weight of evidence overwhelmingly supports continued fluoridation of municipal drinking water. There really is no controversy right now among the medical and water industry establishments.
We do know that good dental health is important to our overall physical well being. Good teeth enable us to eat a healthy diet throughout our life and into old age, helping lengthen our lifespan. Fluoridation of municipal drinking water is endorsed by:
- American Dental Association
- American Medical Association
- American Heart Association
- American Cancer Society
- American Water Works Association
- Centers for Disease Control
Every U.S. Surgeon General and every sitting President since Kennedy have publicly endorsed fluoridation. As the Centers for Disease Control has recognized, municipal drinking water fluoridation is one of the great public health achievements of the 20th century.
Fluoridation During Municipal Water Treatment
Municipal water treatment is very similar to a manufacturing process where the composition of the final product must meet certain specifications, many of these prescribed by regulation. There are several steps in the DMWW process: coagulation and sedimentation to remove dirt in the river water, hardness reduction, filtration, nitrate removal, disinfection, and fluoridation.
DMWW source water (Raccoon and Des Moines Rivers, and shallow groundwater under river influence) contains some fluoride, usually between 0.1 and 0.5 part per million (ppm). This is increased to about 1 ppm by addition of fluorosilicic acid. There are other ways to add fluoride, most notably with sodium fluoride. Fluorosilicic acid can be added in the liquid form, which is mechanically simpler than adding solid sodium fluoride. Fluorosilicic acid is the most economical vehicle for fluoride addition.
Fluorosilicic acid is a co-product formed during the production of fertilizer. Phosphate rock used to produce fertilizer contains significant amounts of fluoride. This is recovered as fluorosilicic acid and used in water treatment, brewing, and other applications. Like all chemicals used for municipal water treatment, fluorosilicic acid must meet stringent requirements for composition and impurities.
The addition of fluorosilicic acid to the water is monitored every minute of every day by DMWW staff, so that the proper amount of fluoride is always maintained in the drinking water delivered to your home.
As cold weather draws near, water main breaks become more common. The months of December, January and February bring the highest number of water main breaks. Underground water mains can break for a number of reasons including corrosion, frost heave, and pressure fluctuations. Des Moines Water Works crews repair an average of 250 water main breaks each year. When a water main breaks, generally water comes to the surface and flows across the ground to a storm sewer or other waterway. Large water main breaks can reduce water pressure in the area and the flowing water can cause damage. If you see water surfacing, you should contact Des Moines Water Works at (515) 283-8700 to report a possible break.
Once a water main break has been confirmed, the exact location of the break is determined using ultrasonic leak detection equipment. This equipment listens to the sound the water makes as it exits the pipe and can determine the location of the leak based on the intensity of the sound. When the location of the leak has been determined, water service in the area must be shut down so the break can be repaired. Depending on the time of day and the extent of the outage, it may not be possible to notify customers before the water is shut off. Typically the water is off for approximately three hours.
When the water comes back on, there will likely be air in your water service piping. It is a good idea to run the first water after an outage through a faucet that does not have an aerator screen, such as bathtubs and hose bibs. Open faucets slowly to allow the air to escape. Air will make a spurting or hissing sound as it escapes through the faucet. Once the water is flowing, allow the faucet to run for a minute or two. The first water may be cloudy due to air in the water or particles that dislodge as the pipes fill with water. This should clear fairly quickly. If water is cloudy throughout the house and it does not clear after allowing the water to run for several minutes, contact Des Moines Water Works dispatch center at (515) 283-8772 for assistance.
If kitchen or bathroom faucets do not perform normally following a water outage, it may be necessary to remove the aerator screen. Typically, the aerator can simply be unscrewed from the faucet. Inspect the screen for small particles and rinse away any you find. Reinstall the aerator and test performance of the faucet again. If you experience difficulties such as low pressure throughout the house following a water outage call Des Moines Water Works dispatch center at (515) 283-8772 for assistance.
You can find a list of current DMWW water outages here: http://www.dmww.com/EmergencyOutagesPopup.aspx
Des Moines Water Works is still proud about Forbes.com awarding Des Moines the top spot on the list of Best Cities for Clean Drinking Water, in their April 2008 study. The study was conducted using data from consumer confidence reports provided annually by community water systems and compiled by University of Cincinnati researchers in 2006 in its “United States Drinking Water Quality Study Report.”
The Forbes.com article states, “Though the drinking water supply across much of the U.S. meets the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Safe Drinking Water standards, contaminant concentrations do vary from city to city. Forbes.com found that the metropolitan statistical areas with some of the cleanest water on tap include Des Moines, Iowa; Austin, Texas; and Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Other cities with sparkling clean water include Miami, Florida, and Birmingham, Alabama.”
The article continues with, “Iowa’s capital city ranked best on our list of U.S. cities with the cleanest drinking water. The insurance industry center and home of the Iowa Caucus had the second lowest level of bacteria in its drinking water and ranked in the top 15 for lowest levels of lead, turbidity and haloacetic acid.”
Des Moines Water Works releases its annual Consumer Confidence Report every June in customers’ monthly statement. Current and past water quality reports can be found on DMWW’s website. For more than 15 years, water supplied by Des Moines Water Works meets and surpasses all state and federal drinking water standards.
A copy of the full article by Forbes.com can be found at: http://www.forbes.com/2008/04/14/water-cities-drinking-forbeslife-cx_avd_0414health.html.