Are our drinking water resources managed in a responsible way?
By Tor-Henning Iversen,
Prof. emeritus, https //: bio-consult.net
In the Business Administration’s perspective report, our natural resources are – national wealth – divided into four categories: Natural, human (human capital), man-made (real capital) and financial. By far the most important of these is human capital, ie. the value of all our future work effort.
But – in a future perspective towards 2050, the country’s wealth will continue to be inextricably linked to our natural resources. Since the turn of the century, we have already built up knowledge, technology and values that have benefited the entire nation through the extraction and further processing of our resources. How will the natural resources be further developed in the coming decades, which can benefit the nation of Norway?
Environmental pollutants in air and water
With the global changes as a consequence of environmental pollution both in the air and in water, the quality of the water will not be static, but will change in a negative direction if measures are not implemented that compensate for a quality reduction that has already had a noticeable effect. We are increasingly experiencing that the quality of our drinking water can change overnight. Boiling warning is a concept that many have become well acquainted with and in its worst consequence this leads to dramatic health effects. Well known is the Giardia infection that was caused by the single-celled protozoan Giardia lamblia which causes the disease giardiasis when drinking water or eating foods contaminated with the parasite’s cysts. The problem occurs when the cysts open in the small intestine and the active, floating form (trophozoite) lives and divides. After an incubation period of from a few days to three weeks, the symptoms can range from stomach ailments to severe diarrhea, dehydration, nausea, stomach cramps, weight loss, fatigue and flatulence. An outbreak occurred in Bergen in 2004 and a number of articles have been written about this pollution and possible sources of infection. The number of infected was from a few thousand to six-thousand people. In an evaluation report presented in 2006. it was unanimously concluded that the probable source of infection for the outbreak was sewage pollution of the water source Svartediket from homes in the nearby buildings. The conclusion was based on the fact that a sewer leak was detected 200 – 300 meters from the raw water intake in Svartediket.
Later, stomach ailments have been reported from different parts of the country as a consequence of ingesting contaminated water. In the summer of 2019, an outbreak on Askøy was also detected, which again got dramatic consequences for both children and adults . In a collaboration between Askøy municipality, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority Region South and West and the National Institute of Public Health, 1. November 2019 presented a report which discussed the source of the outbreak based on epidemiological, microbiological and environmental studies and implemented measures. The infection control guard at the National Institute of Public Health received on Thursday 6. June 2019 a notice of the outbreak. The local emergency room experienced an unexpected influx of patients with acute gastrointestinal infection. Common to these was that they lived close to each other and it was quickly believed that drinking water was the cause of the outbreak. Based on information about the patients’ place of residence, the suspicion was quickly directed at an elevation pool connected to Kleppe waterworks. Boiling notice was immediately sent out and the relevant height pool was closed. Same day it was proven Campylobacter jejunii in stool samples from several patients admitted to hospital. The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) and the Norwegian Food Safety Authority have followed up the case, but a specific incident could not be identified as the cause of the outbreak. Before the eruption, there was a period of prolonged drought, followed by heavy rainfall. This was interpreted as meaning that infiltration into cracks and finds of insight into the roof of the height pool together with a rich animal and bird life in the area during rain showers and leaching of faeces from birds / animals down into the height pool through cracks / leaks were assumed to be a reasonable explanation. on the pollution.
How should one be able to prevent such local outbreaks?
At all waterworks, a routine monitoring of water quality is required according to a sampling plan prepared by the environmental health service in collaboration with the water and sewerage department. This also happens on Askøy and it is concluded in the report from Askøy that raw water and drinking water maintain good hygienic quality according to The Drinking Water Regulations, ie. no samples have revealed fecal contamination. It is mentioned, however, that the detection of isolated cases of coliforms (not E.coli ) is made, but not by fecal indicator bacteria.
In a project at a waterworks on Askøy, surveys of water quality have been carried out for over 7 months by using a completely new technique based on knowledge of galvanic elements that affect the structure of the water molecule. Here, a revolutionary invention is used (see https://detallerbestevann.com) – a so-called water generator (DabV-1 and DabV-2) – to improve the water quality for residents connected to the waterworks. We have kept the results we have achieved unofficial and only the waterworks’ chairman of the board has been kept informed while the municipality himself has made analyzes of water quality.
It is assumed that drinking water should preferably be colorless. In practice will most drinking water sources have a yellow-brown discoloration of the water. This is due to a high content of humus and smaller amounts of manganese and iron. Such biological, physical and chemical substances in drinking water can be of health significance. For this reason, the drinking water suppliers state a color number which can be used as a measure of the water’s content of natural organic material (humic substances). When examining drinking water in an analysis laboratory (eg at Eurofins AS), the color number is stated in mg / l Pt. The numerical value corresponds to the concentration of the reference solution expressed in milligrams per liter.
We enclose a data overview (Table 1) which shows that when only two DabV-2 are applied to the outlet at the drinking water source and in the elevation basin, both disappear E. coli and coliform bacteria. We interpret this to mean that the connected UV unit in the main water source does not work when the color number exceeds the value 20 mg / l Pt. This means that the UV rays when the color number is now 56 mg / l Pt – are stopped by the large amount of humic substances and do not reach the bacteria. We have initially taken samples at four times at our own expense which have been analyzed by Eurofins AS. By agreement with the chairman of the board in the waterworks, we then left two DabV-2s still on the same pipes while the municipality itself carried out the water tests – without being aware that DabVs are connected. In total it turns out that all tests now show that the water has drinking water quality and no longer needs to be boiled . This is particularly important for the senior center and in the shopping center with medical center and cafeteria.
Table 1 . The table shows data for water quality at a waterworks on Askøy followed over 7 months. Abbreviations used are: %22Kolif.%22 are coliform bacteria which are indicator bacteria. E.coli is also a coliform bacterium. Coliform bacteria should not be detected in drinking water. %22In Ent.k%22 are intestinal enterococci found in the intestinal contents of humans and animals. Such bacteria survive longer in nature than the coliform bacteria.
In a similar way, we have used DabVs to clean up old pipes connected to a farm near Bergen. This facility is an old facility, which consists of a farmhouse, function room and stables for 30 horses at the end. Due to high water consumption in the stable, these pipes are cleaned in a relatively short time. This system has a pre-filter, but no UV system. The results are shown in Table 2 and also here it is expected that the number E. coli and coliform bacteria will go down against the requirement for drinking water that maintains good hygienic quality according to The Drinking Water Regulations.
Table 2 . The table shows data from the water quality associated with a farm near Bergen that gets its water from a polluted water source – see values for raw water / surface water.
The next table shows similar results from an old industrial area near Bergen which are premises connected to an old paper mill. The building stock is very old with two main pipes that go out from an elevation pool that supplies water to 14 tenants with everything from canteen, offices, plumber etc. In these corona times there is little traffic in the companies so little water is drained in the facility. It is therefore impressive to see that the alleged DabVs are able to clean the pipes in a short time. This system has never had any form of protection, neither pre-filter nor UV system.
Table 3 . The table shows data from the water quality related to the industrial area near Bergen which gets its water from the same polluted water source as the farm mentioned in Table 2 – see values for raw water / surface water.
Summary risk then it can be said that every home should have installed one or more DabVs on the intake for drinking water from a public waterworks in order to create a barrier 2 for drinking water protection. This will be 100% energy and environmentally friendly and cost saving compared to traditional ways to secure water supplies on . No need for a plumber as they are attached to the outside of the pipes (Picture 1).
Picture 1 . DabVs are attached with a strip to the water pipe system in the house.
In what way does the effect of DABVs coincide with the Norwegian Food Safety Authority’s requirements and the drinking water quality stipulated in the Drinking Water Regulations?
This article was written as a response to senior adviser Anders Bekkelund in the Norwegian Food Safety Authority as in an article called «Significant challenges for drinking water supplies». Here he addresses problems related to the need for increased investments in the pipeline network and that the need for emergency preparedness and delivery security must be strengthened. In his article, he reminds that the drinking water on Askøy in June 2019 was infected with Campylobacter . After this episode, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority was commissioned by the then Minister of Public Health Sylvi Listhaug in the Ministry of Health and Care Services to prepare a national status for the drinking water area.
In this context, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority has analyzed large amounts of raw data provided by municipal and private waterworks. The audit also conducted a survey which was answered by 149 municipalities with a total of over 2.5 million inhabitants.
Although drinking water in Norway is generally safe, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority believes that efforts and investments in drinking water supply must be increased if the situation is not to get worse. As mentioned in the introduction, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority’s report shows that the challenges are first and foremost that much of the pipeline network is old and poor, and that this entails both the risk of large leaks and the intake of foreign elements. The average age of the municipal water mains in Norway is 33 years. By county, the main weight is just over 30 years old. Anders Bekkelund points out that in 2018 almost 30 percent of the water leaked out of the municipal water pipes. More than 200 million cubic meters of finished drinking water disappear annually. The national targets for water and health state that the degree of leakage from each individual distribution system must be below 25 per cent by 2020. This goal was not reached.
Anders Bekkelund further points out that most municipalities have adopted plans for the drinking water area and 89 per cent of the municipalities have adopted an investment plan or are being prepared for the water area. In a report from 2017, Norsk Vann estimates that the drinking water area has an investment need of NOK 160 billion in the period 2016-2040.
From 2020, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority will concentrate its efforts in the drinking water area, especially on the water supply systems’ water pipes. The Norwegian Food Safety Authority will place particular emphasis on hazard mapping in this connection, and on whether the plans for operation, maintenance and renewal have been updated and followed.
Can the discovery of effective DabVs alleviate the Norwegian Food Safety Authority’s need to ensure a better drinking water supply?
A closer study of the attached tables and pictures shows that DabV is quite unique and will fully function as a barrier 2 for drinking water protection. The uncomplicated installation of DabVs will make it possible for any household to install it on its own drinking water supply. When you also know that the costs of procurement are trivial in relation to expensive UV systems, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority will be able to trust that there will be a long way between acute crisis situations and the concept of cooking warning, you can forget. The environmental and health consequences are therefore significant in a national context.