Archives : 2014 : May
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 »