Water As A Weapon – Part 1

Good Morning everyone,

I am encouraged, almost daily, to read about more interest and understanding about drinking water and that more and more people are showing interest in filtering their water.

And it is no wonder, with the increasing instances of contamination cropping up around the U.S.

Like the football invective, “After further review,” our drinking water needs further review.

Water as a weapon?

Unless you have been on Mars the last 15 or so years, you and I have witnessed the ugly manifestation of man’s inhumanity to man in the form of evil being thrown at the world in what we call “terrorism.”

Not so very long ago terrorism was directed almost exclusively against “official” targets; military, political, law enforcement and corporations.

Not the case today.  One of the primary goals of terrorists is to strike fear in the populace; to show that their government cannot protect them, and producing fear and uncertainty.

Today, terrorists attack any convenient target.  They don’t necessarily look for easy targets, but rather targets of high impact to the loss of human life.

Terrorism has come to our home, to the U.S., as well as many other places.  We are witnesses, and too many of us victims, or our neighbors or family, victims.  We are shocked by what we have seen.

Our Water as a Target

It is not lost on the federal, state and local governments that water, the very water that we depend on for health and life, can be and probably is being considered as a weapon and target, to be used to cause fear, illness and even to kill.

Let’s take a real quick look at how water is delivered from its source to our homes and see where it might be vulnerable to attack.

Drinking water that is fresh, clean and crystal clear is something most of us take for granted.  We might not give it a second thought.  But, between the source and our tap, a lot happens to make that water fit to drink.

It may come from mother nature, but it is  far from ready to drink at its source.  Some may do so, but they do so at a risk.

No, water that you and I drink goes  through a complex process to make it safe for us at our homes.  But is the process enough?

Its journey from the source, whether ground water or surface water takes the water to an intake and first, through a metal grill to filter out large debris such as large trash, branches, etc.

The water then goes to a pumping station for preliminary screening involving a large revolving screen to further remove fish, garbage, grass, etc.

After the debris is removed, a pump sends the water to the treatment plant.  The water is still dirty and smelly.

At the treatment plant activate carbon is added to absorb solvents and pesticides.  Then on to the mixing tanks.  The first tank contains aluminum sulfate that acts as a coagulant.  It forms sticky globs called “flocs.”

Mud and bacteria stick to the “flocs” which is then sent to the second mixing tank.

The second mixing tank holds a polymer that is essential for sedimentation.  Water is then injected with fine particles of sand, called “micro sand.”

The water is then sent to s settling tank where the “flocs” settle to the bottom.

The water is now clear, but not drinkable because it is still full of viruses, bacteria and other organic matter.

The water then flows over a filter, downhill to a layer of anthracite which is a type of coal.  It then flows through a layer of sand which filters out the remaining particles.

The water is still teeming with bacteria and viruses, so it has to be disinfected.

1.9 mg of chlorine is added for every four cups of water which is enough to kill off germs and bugs.

Silicon is then added to prevent calcium build-up from blocking our water pipes.

The treatment plant sends water samples to a government inspector who continually monitors the water supply to ensure it meets safety standards.

Chlorine remaining is now calculated at 20 millionth of an ounce per liter.

The water is now ready to be pumped to our homes and other places for human consumption.

The chlorine gas the processing plant uses is highly toxic.  That is why there is so much information about chlorine in water and its disinfectant by product “trihalomethane.”  (More about trihalomethanes later).

Chlorine is necessary to kill bacteria and viruses in the water, but is not good for human consumption.

I probably got a little too detailed here, but hopefully, you find it interesting and educational.

Can you vision any location along this route that could be vulnerable to attack by someone who wants to sabotage our water?

Yes, anywhere.

My next post will be a continuation of “Water as a Weapon.”

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