Fun Fact Friday: Water and News Related

News/ Previous Post Related:

  • On October 26, 2012 Treasure Island, California were without water service for 12 hour and then required to boil drinking water until Monday, October 29 when the boiling notice was lifted. It appears that a water main ruptured, the cause was aging. The 18in cast iron water main was likely an original pipe part of the infrastructure built in the 1930’s when the U.S. Navy inhabited the island.
  • New York City, Long Island Impose gas rationing system to curb long lines at gas stations. Drivers with license-plate numbers ending in an odd number to get gas on odd days and even license plates numbers to get gas on even days. License plates ending in letters are considered an odd number.
  • Laos approves a mega dam on the Mekong river. One of 14 new dams proposed for the Mekong river.
  • Four teenage girls in Africa have invented a generator powered by pee. Urine is put into an electrolytic cell, which cracks the urea into nitrogen, water, and hydrogen. The hydrogen goes into a water filter for purification, which then gets pushed into the gas cylinder. The gas cylinder pushes hydrogen into a cylinder of liquid borax, which is used to remove the moisture from the hydrogen gas. This purified hydrogen gas is pushed into the generator. 
Water Facts:
  • An adult’s body is roughly made up of 70% water. At birth, water accounts for approximately 80% of an infant’s body weight.
  • Water Intoxication: Drinking too much water too quickly can lead to water intoxication. Water intoxication occurs when water dilutes the sodium level in the bloodstream and causes an imbalance of water in the brain
  • The United States uses about 346,000 million gallons of fresh water every day. The United States uses nearly 80 percent of its water for irrigation and thermoelectric power.
  • Consumption in the United States: “8.6 billion gallons of bottled water.” There are approximately 300 million people in the U.S., so it works out to about 29 gallons per person per year.
  • Approximately 85 percent of U.S. residents receive their water from public water facilities. The remaining 15 percent supply their water from private wells or other sources.
  • Water leads to increased energy levels. The most common cause of daytime fatigue is mild dehydration.
  • There are more than 2100 known drinking water contaminants that may be present in tap water, including several known poisons.
  • According to the EPA, lead in drinking water contributes to 480,000 cases of learning disorders in children each year in the United States alone.
  • Tap water often contains at least as much, if not more, chlorine than is recommended for use in swimming pools.
    • More chlorine enters the body through dermal absorption and inhalation while showering than through drinking tap water
  • Chlorine is a suspected cause of breast cancer. Women suffering from breast cancer are all found to have 50-60% more chlorine in their breast tissue than healthy women.
  • Even MILD dehydration will slow down one’s metabolism as 3%.
  • Drinking five glasses of water daily decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45%, plus it can slash the risk of breast
    cancer by 79%., and one is 50% less likely to develop bladder cancer.
  • A rat can last longer without water than a camel. 
  • The price of bottled water is up to 10,000 times the cost of tap water.
  • Americans spend $4 billion per year on bottled water.


Can a little water really cripple the Big Apple?

Most of the press has been focused on New York, which by far was hit the hardest by Hurricane Sandy, but this article gives you a state by state breakdown of the impact of Hurricane Sandy’s. Having to cancel my trip to New York this past weekend. I wanted to understand if I made the right decision …

New York’s Flooded Subways:
5.3 Million New Yorkers depend on the Subways. It is the fifth largest subway system in the world – by far the largest in the U.S. The system took a $1.1 billion budget cut in 2009 and responded by shutting many stations after hours, slashing the number of staffed dare booths and postponing or canceling planned repairs and maintenance. For all the pumps at the systems disposal, they still can’t handle rainfall of more than 1.75 in per hour without causing disruptions. The entire subway system contains 660 miles and 468 stations- most of which is shut down because of its inundated with corrosive salt water.

  • The age of the subway system is roughly 108 years old.
  • The tunnels and stations are situated adjacent to or underneath rivers and harbors, and water seepage is unavoidable.
  • The street level grates that provide light and air to the tunnels and stations act as natural drains during even an ordinary rain, making a mess of platforms and often halting service.

Even on days when there is no rain we pump 13 million gallons of water. (Using three pump trains, 300 pump rooms and dozens of portable pumps). Hurricane Sandy put a lot more strain on the system with storm surges in lower Manhattan rising to 14 feet, blowing the doors off the previous 10 Feet record set by Hurricane Donna in 1960.

  • Below 40th Street, the subway system has an unknown number of stations that are flooded to the ceiling
  • All seven under river tubes linking the boroughs are inundated.
  • What lines are most affected See here
  • Video of MA Walks through in Flooded NYC Subway.

Preventive investments always seem too expensive at first, but only until you’re suddenly faced with the infinitely higher repair bills New York is dealing with today. And as oceans continue to warm, and sea levels continue to rise as a result of climate change, the problem is only getting worse. In the past 20 years, Hurricanes Andrew, Floyd, Katrina, Rita, Dean, Irene, Isaac and others have tried to remind us of that simple truth. Now Hurricane Sandy is adding her voice. One of these days, we might listen. Seems to be something to take into consideration when these 100 year storms appear to be hitting every two years. Now New York is looking at $10 Billion in damage to the transportation infrastructure and $40 Billion in economic losses related to the storm.

The Army, Air National Guard, Pentagon, Navy and Army Corps of Engineers are all working on power restoration and water clearance. The Army Corps of Engineers is primarily focusing on the subway system with 35 large-scale projects focusing on New York alone. The clean up process is extensive since all the tunnels are filled with salt water. It will be a long, painstaking cleanup. Every single piece of equipment- Signals, contacts, everything- has to be disassembled cleaned and dried. Then it can finally be reinstalled, luckily the subway cars themselves were stored in the high ground. New methods being taken into consideration to assist with clearing the tunnels is the use of a balloon. Which would inflate blocking the tunnel allowing for the pumps to take a manageable load? However, these balloons are a current project of the Department of Homeland Security to protect subways from terrorist gas attacks. New York should take notes from Bangkok which in 2011 faced a monsoon and despite the extensive flooding the subway system remained fully operational.

New Jersey Water Supply:
Governor Christie signed a mandatory statewide water use restrictions declaring a State of Water Emergency for New Jersey. Department of Environmental Protection to implement water usage instructions across the state. To make sure everyone has access to clean water, therefore, everyone must use water within moderation in an attempt to conserve water while we restore power at our supply facilities. Securing availability of clean water for everyone who needs it. The use restrictions including:

  • all indoor water use (showers, baths, domestic cleaning)
  • Nonessential Outdoor watering is prohibited
  • Watering grass, lawns, and landscapes prohibited
  • Washing paved surfaces prohibited
  • Filling: fountains, artificial waterfalls, pools is prohibited
  • Municipal street sweeping heavily restricted
  • Car washing prohibited
  • Serving water in restaurants, clubs or other eating establishments is prohibited unless requested by patrons.

Crazy Random Facts:

  • Hurricane Irene, visited New York last year, cost the city alone $55 million according to the New York Daily News.
  • In 2007, a 3.5 inches of rainfall overwhelmed New York City’s Subways pumps shutting down 19 lines.
  • In 1983, a Hurricane struck New York and washed Hog Island, a geographical feature south of Rockaway Beach, right off the map.
  • The New England Hurricane of 1938 was a last minute Hurricane to directly take a swipe at New York. As a point of reference, a major hurricane hits the Big Apple about every 75 years.