Berkey Filters Blog
More water than you could ever imagine… right beneath your feet!
by Jerry Alonzy
Image via Sergiu Bacioiu (Flickr)
In 1864, Jules Verne imagined an ocean where few men had ever been. Harry (or Axel, depending on the translation from the French you are reading) is the nephew of Professor Hardwigg, the discoverer of a document chronicling the voyage of Arne Saknussemm to the earth’s center. He stares dumbfounded at the vast body of water before him, illuminated by some seemingly magical force.
“I stood still, far more stupefied than astonished. Not all the wildest effects of imagination could have conjured up such as scene! ‘The sea – the sea,’ I cried.”
Yes, it was a sea far beneath the earth. “A vast, limitless expanse of water, the end of a lake if not of an ocean, spread before us, until it was lost in the distance.”
In one of his most well-known tales, “A Journey to the Center of the Earth,” Verne imagined a vast underground sea, a water source for uncountable species of plant and animal life unencumbered by the vagaries of our terrene climate and the rules of evolution. Could a body of clean, fresh water really exist deep within the earth to become the life force to a subterranean world?
This beautiful water is not as plentiful as it might seem!
Image via Manuel Calavera (Flickr)
Statistics on Water and Water Pollution
It seems hard to believe that in this day and age, people remain complacent about water pollution, but if you simply observe people around you, you’ll see that many are. Despite our knowledge of water pollution, the scarcity of water, and especially the scarcity of safe drinking water, we still over-consume and waste our resources every second of every day. It truly boggles my mind, but this is my field of work, my passion, so perhaps I have an edge on others who focus their lives around things other than water. This is one of the reasons why I began writing this blog, however. I wanted to share my knowledge of water with you, to give you the edge on understanding the importance of water. The statistics are clear and frightening: Our water supplies are polluted and waning. Let’s review some critically important statistics to see what I’m talking about. Read more »
Image via OakleyOriginals (Flickr)
Why You Need a Portable Water Filter
I hate to begin my blog on a depressing note, but the tragic deaths of the Sherpas on Mount Everest this past April are a sad reminder that the outdoors, while beautiful, can also be extremely unforgiving. Even seasoned mountaineers can be met with an unanticipated situation that, no matter how skilled or prepared they are, can cost them their lives. You might not be planning to attempt an Everest summit, but any outdoor excursion should still be approached with adequate preparation and care. This includes having a portable water filter on hand in the event of an unforeseen emergency.
Whether you are going camping, fishing, hiking, or on vacation to a foreign land, ensuring that you have plenty of access to safe drinking water should always be at the top of your list of things to do before you leave your home. I’ve addressed this in previous blog posts. Even if you are just going on a day hike with your family or friends, there is always a possibility that you might become lost or stuck out in the middle of nowhere. Even a well-planned camping trip to your favorite campgrounds can go awry should an unforeseen natural disaster strike the area while you’re roughing it. Read more »
The Natural Water Cycle – How water moves on the earth… and moved mankind
by Jerry Alonzy
Image via Daniele Nicolucci (Flickr)
According to the United States Geological Service (USGS), approximately 71%% of the earth’s surface is covered with water. Between oceans, lakes and uncountable rivers and streams, there is a remarkably small area without surface water. It’s amazing that more of us don’t have to drive boats to work!
Many areas of the world that do lack obvious surface water seem arid, but not too far beneath the surface the driest areas can have ground water… even vast aquifers with clean, pure water are accessible with modern technologies. Go deeper and there may be more water than exists in all the oceans! (A fascinating story and it’s not science fiction. Stay tuned for my next post!)
Earth’s water supply is virtually unlimited, but that doesn’t jive with the simple fact that there are serious clean water supply issues in some areas of the world. Similar to the problem we face with natural gas, oil and even food, the problem is not in the supply but in its harvesting, purification, storage and transport. It’s no exaggeration to say that all the water we will even need is right here! All that is needed is the will to reach for the brass ring and do what is needed to get it!
Read more »
Is There Arsenic in Your Water?
Image via Dhilung Kirat (Flickr)
If you look at the list of ingredients on the box of rat poisoning you have in your garage, you’ll see that it contains arsenic. That can of ant spray? Arsenic. The wood preservative for your deck and patio furniture? Arsenic. You’re not supposed to consume pesticides; you’re not supposed to inhale the wood preservative. Clearly, arsenic is a toxic material. So why is it sometimes in our water? Let me answer the questions I am asked frequently about arsenic in your water supply.
Q: What exactly is arsenic?
Read more »
The “natural” permeability of soil… a primer
The word “soil” is shorthand for a variety of minerals (in the form of crushed or eroded rock) and organic material between the surface of the earth and bedrock, also called “ledge”. Every type of soil has a natural ability to allow surface water to pass through; this is called permeability. A soil that has less permeability may cause puddling to occur at the surface, at least till the water can pass through the ground, or cause soggy ground. A soil with more permeability quickly dries at the surface, which can be a negative if, for example, water drains too quickly through the soil from your beloved vegetable or flower garden!
To a soil scientist, this simple explanation hardly (if you’ll excuse the pun) scratches the surface of soil study. Soils are not uniform, even within a relatively small area, and variations even a few meters apart can be dramatic. And don’t even try to wrap your head around geographic variances. New England soils, many formed from glacial activity during the ice ages, are totally different from those in Mexico or Florida.
What is important in this discussion is how different soils react to sudden exposure to water, such as a pelting rainstorm or, in the case of a septic system, doing laundry or flushing a toilet. Some soils swell when exposed to water, slowing down the percolation rate (the speed at which standing water will move through the soil). Others absorb water without swelling. These soils allow water to move through them quickly and allow for the best drainage. Read more »
Make certain that you’re drinking enough water every day!
Image via Harold Groven (Flickr)
Signs You’re Not Drinking Enough Water
If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I am a stickler for keeping hydrated. A majority of Americans are chronically dehydrated – 75 percent of us to be exact. This is not good, especially when you take into consideration that our bodies are 60 percent water. We need our water. I even make certain that my dog, Storm, has plenty of fresh drinking water all the time! My blog followers also know that there are conflicting schools of thought as to exactly how much water we need to drink daily, so it’s hard to know what your ideal daily water intake should be. You can tell very easily, however, if you aren’t getting drinking water. How? Look for these important signs: Read more »
Turn it off!
Image via Jenn Durfey (Flickr)
11 Ways to Save Water At Home
As our winters remain unusually dry in many portions of the country, water conservation is moving to the forefront of many people’s minds. Whether you live in a dry or wet area, you need to conserve water. America’s water supplies are dwindling, and we need to protect this precious resource. In fact, a recent NOAA report confirms that one in every 10 U.S. watersheds is short of water. On top of that, there are more Americans using water than there used to be.
Columbia University Water Center confirmed that global warming isn’t the only thing depleting our water supplies. Over the last 60 years, the United States has experienced a 99 percent increase in its population. We’ve basically doubled, and we cannot stick our heads in the sand any longer. If we keep consuming the water at the rate we are right now we’re going to run out, and some scientists believe that this will happen by the mid-21st century! Clearly, we need to be saving water. Here are eleven ways you can do so to help. Read more »
This makes me so angry and sad…Image via Horia Varlan (Flickr)
How Long Are Plastic Water Bottles In Landfills?
Indefinitely. That is how long plastic water bottles are in landfills. These bottles do not biodegrade; they do not break down and go away. They sit in landfills and pollute our soil and our air. If you toss a plastic water bottle into your trash after you are done with it, you will find that water bottle in the landfill that became its final resting place as long as 1,000 years from now. I’m not kidding. I know you might be blinking at your computer screen thinking, “Lynn. That’s impossible. Everything has to decompose at some point,” and I wish that were true. Unfortunately, most plastic water bottles do not decompose, and this is why they are becoming such a huge environmental problem.
We’ve all said it, “Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time,” and the same can be said about plastic bottles for consumer packaging. Glass bottles are heavy; glass bottles break. Consumers needed something that was easier to handle and didn’t end up costing them an entire bottle of juice, for example, if they dropped the bottle and broke it. We work hard for our money and many of us need to make it stretch. You drop a glass bottle of juice and you’ve lost an entire bottle of juice, plus the money you spent on it. You drop a plastic bottle of juice and, provided the cap is still on, you haven’t lost the juice or the money. Great idea, right? Not so fast. Read more »
Berries are a wonderful way to infuse your water with flavor.
Image via Chris (Flickr)
Different Ways to Naturally Flavor Your Water
As a water expert, I understand the importance of choosing water over any other beverage to quench my thirst and properly hydrate my body. One of the challenges I face when people ask me about water is convincing them to give up their sodas, coffees, teas, juices – you name it – and drink water instead. There are numerous reasons why people prefer a soda to a glass of water, but it’s a safe bet that the primary reason boils down to taste. Even I’ll admit that a sugary beverage can be far more appealing than a plain ole’ glass of H2O.
The beverage manufacturers figured this out a long time ago and introduced “flavored” waters to the market. The stuff started flying off grocery shelves, and why wouldn’t it? After all, you’re drinking water and it’s tasty to boot! It’s much healthier than that can of cola… or is it? Unfortunately, no, it’s not. Flavored waters, sports drinks, fruit punches, I could go on, are all laden with sugar, and the sugar-free varieties are filled with unhealthy chemical “sweeteners.” Read more »