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Purging your pipes

How clean is your water and the pipes that deliver it?

An algae bloom may create the need to purge your pipes
An algae bloom may create the need to purge your pipes
James George/EPA

The mayor is on television drinking a glass of water to prove to you that it is safe again after being turned off for several days due to a toxic contamination event. What should you do?

a. Have a glass of water
b. Make baby some formula
c. Ask grandpa if he wants some lemonade with ice
d. Wait awhile to see of the mayor gets sick

If it were me, I would purge my pipes. Can you trust the same people who waited for the algae to bloom? By the way, could they have prevented that or is it a natural occurrence? Some people like to complain about the Environmental Protection Agency, mostly businesses that are regulated by them. The EPA is trying hard to keep our air and water clean as if our lives depend upon that.

“Climate change is predicted to change many environmental conditions that could affect the
natural properties of fresh and marine waters both in the US and worldwide. Changes in these factors could favor the growth of harmful algal blooms and habitat changes such that marine HABs can invade and occur in freshwater. An increase in the occurrence and intensity of harmful algal blooms may negatively impact the environment, human
health, and the economy for communities across the US and around the world.”

Climate change may be a cause for recent increases in the frequency of algae blooms.

An important concern might be, how do you rid your pipes from contamination that may have entered at the moment local officials said to not use the water? Let’s ask an expert.

“How to Drain Your Home's Plumbing System
By Bob Formisano, Home Repair Expert

Charging the Plumbing System with Water

To activate the plumbing system and refill it with water proceed as follows:

  • Close the basement faucet or lowest level faucet in the house;
  • Now close all the upper faucets. Closing the faucets allows air remain in the pipes to recharge the air chambers you may have in your home's plumbing system;
  • Go back and open the main water valve to let the water back into your pipes;
  • Now, one by one, starting with the highest level faucets, turn on the faucets and let the air/water sputter out until only clear water flows from the faucet.
  • You may see discolored water come out at first, this is normal.
  • Open the shower faucets;
  • Flush the toilets

Once the water is running clear, turn off the faucets starting at the highest floor level and work your way down through the house. You may have an occasional sputter the next time you use a faucet but any remaining air will quickly be purged.”

Algae blooms have been around for a long time and people have learned to navigate them. However, when 500,000 people are out of water for several days as they were in Toledo, Ohio this past weekend, one may wonder about their water supply. The DC water sources are still moving and not stagnant.

Pollution from fertilizers is the biggest concern here because they have damaged the Chesapeake Bay. According to the WUSA9 report, officials monitor for algae blooms and say that even if it isn’ toxic, it can make water taste bad. My ice tastes terrible, so that might be an indication to drink bottled water.

“DC area water monitored for algae bloom

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- Water managers across the D.C. area have been keeping a close eye on the situation in Toledo, where a water ban had hundreds of thousands of people scrambling for drinking water.

Monday was a spectacular day on Rocky Gorge Rocky Reservoir on the Patuxent River, which provides about 1/3 of the water to hundreds of thousands of people in Montgomery and Prince George's Counties.

Water managers say it's not likely that this reservoir, nor any of the other water sources in the D.C. region, could be suffocated by the kind of intense algae bloom that left hundreds of thousands of people in Ohio in Michigan without drinkable water.

But that doesn't keep them from worrying.

"Our source water should be of primary concern to everyone. There's just an issue of what -- there's only so much contaminants that can get into a body of water before there's an issue for everybody."”

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