TDS In Water: What Is It?

TDS In Water: What Is It?

TDS is the abbreviation for “Total Dissolved Solids”, and this can comprise of organic and inorganic dissolved substances. See, water is a great solvent (a material which makes it easy for other substances to dissolve into it) and as such, picks up impurities easily. You wouldn’t want 100% pure, TDS-free water, because it is entirely tasteless. Dissolved solids, in this sense, refer to minerals, metals, salts and ions dissolved into the water. While an exceptionally high TDS level may be something to look into, a slightly elevated level is not a health hazard. TDS Is a “secondary” drinking water standard and is regulated – because is is not an integral health hazard.

What Does A High TDS Level Mean?

So, your area may have a high TDS level of municipal water. This could be because of one of two reasons:

The concentration of dissolved ions may make the water corrosive, salty to taste, result in lime-scale build-up in household water-containing appliances and may lower the efficiency of hot water heaters. This is because of a large amount of minerals diffused into the water which hold these “destructive” properties.

It may also indicate higher than normal levels of ions, comprising of nitrate, aluminium, copper and lead.

How Do I Measure My TDS Levels?

Whether you suspect higher than normal TDS levels to your household water supply, it’s always interesting to see what you are being exposed to. A simple way to test the TDS levels of your water is to use a commercially available electronic pen or pad. What these devices do is measure the conductivity of the water (ability of the water to carry an ion, positive or negative) and not the TDS itself. These devices cannot be counted as entirely accurate sources, but they give a great approximation of the TDS levels in your water.

What Is A Normal TDS For Water?

The palatability of drinking- water has been rated by panels of tasters in relation to its TDS level as follows: excellent, less than 300 mg/litre; good, between 300 and 600 mg/litre; fair, between 600 and 900 mg/litre; poor, between 900 and 1200 mg/litre; and unacceptable, greater than 1200 mg/litre. Water with extremely low concentrations of TDS may also be unacceptable because of its flat, insipid taste.

A high TDS measurement only shows that your water sample contains a high concentration of dissolved solids such as minerals and salts. If you already have a filter in place, the measurement will vary depending on how your filter works and how clean/dirty the filters are.
(As quoted from Aquatic Smart.com)

While it’s difficult to give an exact amount of TDS to be looking out for, a good rule-of-thumb is that it should be as close to nil as possible. Aquazania’s purified water has a nil TDS level, and to alleviate the tastelessness of the TDS free water, mineral re-injection is vital.

Aqua-pinion: What is your optimal TDS level? Have you had better experience with the installation of a water filter, or does this not influence your water drinking habits?

We love to hear your feedback.

Water Facts South Africa: Aquafacts – All Your Questions, Answered!

We love being challenged to answer the hard questions that others might be too scared to face. In fact, we respect the clients who pose these questions – it shows us that our customers are fully aware of the health risks associated with bottled water. We’ve received many questions relating to our product and product safety and would love to share this knowledge with you :-)

Why Don’t We Service Aquazania Water Coolers Regularly?

We answer this question in-depth. Read the full article here.

Is It Bad To Leave Water Bottles in The Sun?

Yes! It’s extremely dangerous to leave certain water bottles in direct sunlight for extended periods of time. MunchiesVice.com beautifully curates study material and results and have explained in this article exactly what happens when water bottles are left in the sun. In short, two very dangerous chemicals are released into the water inside the bottle, namely Antimony and Bisphenol-A (AKA = BPA).

Quoted from the article mentioned above – some of the side effects of ingesting excess amounts of Antimony or BPA include “Research suggests that BPA could alter hormone levels, cause heart problems, and even increase the risk of cancer. Ingesting antimony can cause stomach pain, diarrhoea, vomiting, and stomach ulcers.” There are far worse possible consequences linked to this as well.

Whoa! That is PETRIFYING! But, if you drink Aquazania water – keep reading. See, at Aquazania we use patented and exclusive 21.8 litre water bottles which are manufactured on-site. We make use of PET to produce our water bottles. PET – short for Polyethylene Terephthalate, is a far safer and more easily recyclable form of plastic which is non-toxic and entirely sustainable.

Tests have been conducted on our bottles – left in direct sunlight for an extended period of time. When the water inside was tested – there was no trace of BPA present in the water.

My Water Cooler Is Making A Noise

Sheesh, that sudden “click” and subsequent buzzing sound coming from your water cooler can at first be quite frightening. After the frights ware off, it becomes a little annoying. And then we forget it happens. See, our water coolers have a similar cooling technology to fridges. That click and buzzing sound you’re hearing is the cooling mechanism kicking back into action once the water has dropped to a certain level. This is why your water is always perfectly chilled. Nothing to worry about when you hear this next!

Bottled Water Dispenser: Sparkling Water

The “water cooler” industry has taken some leaps and bounds of late with innovative and unique water solutions. Some of these include plumbed-in water coolers that can produce sparkling water as easily as they can dispense heated or chilled water! Unfortunately, on most standard water cooler models, you are restricted to chilled or heated water only. However, the newer models do have a carbonation functionality. This is a great solution if you are looking for a cost-effective, easy way to make flavoured sparkling drinks at home. Simply dispense some carbonated water and add a few drops of your favourite cordial or flavouring, Voilà!

Water Cooler Not Dispensing

This is entirely dependent on what type of water cooler you’re using.

Plumbed-in units require both electricity as well as fixed water supply to function. So, if your power goes out, or your water supply is cut temporarily, you won’t be able to dispense your cooler unfortunately.

Bottled-water coolers only require electricity to heat and cool your water; so, if the power goes off, you can still dispense water without any hassle – it just won’t be heated or chilled. If your bottled-water cooler is not dispensing, check to make sure there is no blockage in the area where your bottle is inserted, or allow the internal reservoir to refill (this can take a few minutes once a new bottle is applied, if the reservoir was fully drained before the next bottle was applied).

We hope this answers some burning questions – be sure to submit any other questions to us below and we’ll get cracking on solving more mysteries!

Lead Water Pipes: Time for Change

Lead Water Pipes: Time for Change

Lead poisoning has been a very real threat over many years. Awareness around the issue of lead contamination into water supplies has become a contentious issue over the past (nearly) two years in the Flint area in Michigan, USA. See, the dangers of lead are exceptional; lead that is absorbed into the human body can have a direct and dangerous effect on the liver, kidneys, reproductive systems of both men and women, as well as damage to the nervous system.

Lead exposure and poisoning in adults happens quietly and often goes undetected, until severe effects present themselves in the patient. However, in children, the affects are much more far-reaching and intense; the affects can include damage to motor skills and cognitive impairment. Stepping away from the current crisis in Michigan to have a look “closer to home”, is it time to consider the replacement of lead water pipes in totality? Is this the only way to overcome this socio-econiomic issue and reduce the far-reaching and disastrous effects?

A Ban on Lead

While we might be heading in the right direction, we are not entirely out of the red in this case. As of 1978, a ban on lead-based paint was implemented. However, considering that most homes of the worst affected area’s were likely built before the imposition of this lead ban, it’s probable that any occupants staying in these homes are still exposed to high levels of lead through either aesthetics (paint etc.) or lead water pipe infrastructure in their homes.

While South Africa, an already water-stressed country finds itself gripped in water shortages and droughts, Africa Check has put to bed the claims that South African drinking water has been sufficiently researched to make claims of this nature.

Extracted from this article – Water scientists and researchers contacted by Africa Check this week, said they were not aware of any international water quality rankings or surveys showing that South Africa is only one of twelve countries with safe tap water or that the quality of its tap water is ranked “third best overall”. Dr Nonhlanhla Kalebaila, research manager for drinking water treatment and quality at South Africa’s Water Research Commission (WRC), said she was “not aware of any study done to rank drinking water quality or safety in the world…”

So, putting us into a further dilemma, we cannot even be sure the information we are being provided is accurate. This is not something you would want to take a risk on. Sure, showering in lead-rich water (provided you don’t ingest any of it accidentally) might not have as serious an affect on you as drinking it would, but if you are using it to cook your food with or drink – you might want to make haste in getting yourself treated water or introducing a home-based solution to filter your water.

The best bet would be to completely eliminate municipal-supplied water from your diet. Regardless of whether you boil the water beforehand, it may still not be safe to consume (boiling water rids it of bacteria and the likes; it does not remove lead). The number one option is to remove lead pipes and replace them with safer infrastructures. Tying in again with the financial stress most citizens are under, this is usually not an option.

A suggestion would be to implement an alternative, stable drinking-water source to your home. This helps alleviate the frustration caused by water supply interruptions and ensure you always have uncompromised-quality water at your fingertips.

However, understanding that not all South Africans are in the financial position to do so, it’s important they consider fitting a specific, lead-eliminating water filter to their taps. Filters of these types also help to remove other heavy metals from the water supply.

How Do I Test For Lead In My Water?

If you are concerned about possible lead contamination of your water, take a few bottles and have them filled. The first one should contain water from a tap “first thing in the morning”. This will have the highest concentrations of any trace contaminant. Take another in the afternoon, and one at night, Have thee handed into a laboratory and tested fro heavy metals and lead presence.

Do you have a high lead concentration in your home? What changes have you made to remove it?

Potable Water: Alternative Sources of Drinking Water

Potable Water: Alternative Sources of Drinking Water

As South Africa finds itself in the grips of drastic water shortages, compacted and amplified by the recent drought, we’ve seen initiatives such as #ProjectWaterDrop and #OperationHydrate, started up within communities and promoted by radio stations nationwide.

These operations offer relief by means of gathering water from donations (these span from individuals, all the way through to specialist water suppliers – and ensure relief is brought to those who need it most.)

We in South Africa are very lucky to have the resources to do such; while rainfall might be non-existent in the worst affected areas., relief can be offered by means of donation to from the areas which have received rainfall.

But, what happens when an entire region has a rainfall of close on 0%? Science steps in and takes the wheel. We’ve come across a similar story which is proudly South African; that initiative draws Water From Air (their namesake). However, they have extraction units which need to be placed in humidity-specific area’s to optimise water collection from humid air.

Working off the same principle, UTEC (University of Engineering and Technology) in Peru has devised an ingenious, publicly accessible system which makes use of high humidity levels to produce potable water. This is vital for them as Lima, Peru, is classified a dessert area and experiences erratic (if any) rain fall.

The fascinating part of this entire development is how they chose to incorporate this technology into usable, accessible infrastructure. Prior to this, residents were getting their main water supplies from boreholes – meaning their water was of questionable safety and quality.

But, they have an average humidity level of 98%!

UTEC took a billboard and incorporated science into it. The billboard is bale to extract the humidity within the air and turn it into filtered, safe and clean drinking water!

Potable Water from Air: How does it work?

The moisture-rich air enters the air filters, located throughout the entire billboard. It then condenses the air (cools it rapidly) into an internal storage tank. That condensed water is then filtered through a range of carbon filters, removing major contaminant particles from the water and making it safe for human consumption. It is then moved to storage in a cooling container (also internally held); it can then be dispensed at will by passers-by.

In 3 months, this system has collected, filtered and dispensed close on 9 500 litres of water to those who need it most.

While one billboard has already made the world of change, many, many more are needed to meet the growing global water crisis.

In your opinion – do you think South Africa could benefit from installing a system like this?

Where do you think the best locations are to construct these type of structures? Bear in mind the humidity need to be as high as possible (in the 85% and above range).

Could this be our solution to finding water when there is none?

How is water purified in Gauteng?

Too often we are left wondering how certain processes take place, so with the spotlight on water being what it is at the moment, we decided to curate some readily available information into a digestible, simplified version so you can know exactly what’s happened with your water before it gets to your house :-) Note that this information was curated from the Rand Water website under their Water Wise initiative.

Where does our water come from?

Rand Water draws raw water for purification from the Vaal Dam (Department of Water and Environmental Affairs) via an intake tower. This raw water contains contaminants that can make it unsafe to drink. The raw water is transported through canals and pipelines to Rand Water’s purification stations in Vereeniging, where it is cleaned.

What is Screening?

When raw water arrives at the purification station, it passes through metal screens. These trap large living organisms (fish, crabs, floating plants, etc.), sticks, leaves, litter, but allow the water to pass through it.

What is Coagulation?

The raw water enters the middle of a spiral flocculator where slaked lime is added. This is thoroughly mixed in the rapidly moving water. The slaked lime attracts sand, silt and clay particles, some small living organisms, germs and all the contaminants (pesticides, lead, mercury, arsenic, etc.) to form clumps – known as coagulation.

What is Flocculation?

As the water begins to slow down in the outer section of the flocculator, the ‘clumps’ (coagulated lumps) join together to form ‘floc’.

What is Sedimentation?

The water flows slowly into large sedimentation tanks. The ‘floc’ then settles to the bottom of the tank to form ‘sludge’. This is called sedimentation. The ‘sludge’ is sucked up by de-sludging bridges and sent to a sludge deposit site. The water in the top part of the tank is now cleaner. It flows over the side of the sedimentation tank into the carbonation tank.

What is Carbonation?

When water leaves the sedimentation tank it has a pH of about 10.5, from the slaked lime that was added. This high pH (alkaline) makes the water feel and taste soapy. In order to make the water less alkaline (a lower pH), carbon dioxide is bubbled through the water. The pH of the water is now between 8.0 and 8.4. This makes the water taste and feel much better. At this pH level calcium carbonate is deposited in the distribution. This protects them from rusting.

What is Filtration?

The pH of the water has now been corrected through carbonation, but it still contains some small living organisms and germs. It flows into closed filter houses where it passes through sand filters. These are big, flat beds made up of different sized particles of sand and stone. As the water flows slowly through these filters all the small living organisms and some germs are trapped by the sand. The water now enters underground pipes.

What is Chlorination?

Even after the water has been filtered it still contains some germs. To kill these germs, chlorine gas (a disinfectant) is mixed with the water.

What happens to the clean water?

This clean water is pumped through underground pipes to booster pumping stations. The chlorine is only effective for 6 – 8 hours so it is necessary to add chloramine (chlorine and ammonia) to prevent any other germs, that may get into the water, from growing or multiplying. From the booster pumping stations the water is pumped into reservoirs. Rand Water then sells it to various local authorities that supply homes, schools, businesses and factories with clean water.

There you have it – all the way from the Vaal to our taps – the water purification process in Gauteng explained.

 

Do you have any interesting facts regarding Gauteng’s water purification? Leave a comment below and let us know :-)

Source: Water Wise

Reusable Plastic Water Bottles: Dangers You Never Knew Existed

We’ve debated, explained and outlined the dangers of BPA-releasing plastics, the associated dangers as well as what plastic to use in place of it. But an article recently published on Women’s Weekly details the struggle one father went through to get to the root of his young daughters’ unexplained and constant illness.

Reusable Water Bottles: No Safer

We’ve become entrenched in looking for that all-important “BPA-free” sticker on store-bought, reusable water bottles. We’re impressed to find “child safe” and “non toxic” on that same bottle, so into our trolley it happily goes. This is what happened to a UK based father and only after weeks of inexplicable illness of his young daughter, did he decide to take control of the problem and get to the root of the issue. Craig, the father, has a self-proclaimed OCD cleaning habit, but even this did not save him. He ran through every possibility in his mind as to what may be causing his daughter to have a constantly upset tummy – when he came to the realisation that the only product she has constant contact with is her water bottle.

Reusable Water Bottles: Immovable Parts

Craig has bought his young daughter a Sistema brand water bottle which she drank from every day. See, this bottle was promoted as BPA-free as well as being child safe. Craig decided to take the cap of the bottle – which he thoroughly washed, disinfected and air-dried daily, and dis-assemble it. He mentioned that because of the “child safety” this product needs, it took a lot of effort from him to pry open the bottle. What he saw inside horrified him; there was a black, mouldy build-up forming on the inside of the bottle lid! This was the culprit of his daughter’s unexplained illness! Craig mentions that he posted his finding on Facebook – understanding that it is in no way a brand fault – but simply to raise awareness of similar products and their associated dangers to the parents of children using items as such.
While we are very well aware of the dangers of bacterial build-up, some types of bottles cannot be entirely dis-assembled. We would suggest avoiding bottles of this nature and opting for either a glass bottle with a screw-off cap, or a bottle that has no hidden or immovable components. Even such, special care needs to be taken when cleaning items of this nature.

How To Clean Water Bottles: More Than Meets the Eye

If you already have a water bottle with immovable parts such as the types we have mentioned, it’s really your decision to keep them or consider an alternative. It’s impractical to hand a young school-going child a glass water bottle to look after at school, so plastic is really the best bet. Rather opt for a simple screw-cap type bottle. In any instance, with any type of bottle, it’s important you wash the bottle and cap thoroughly each day, with some bleach in the water to kill off living bacteria. Wash the bottle in this water, with the addition of a foaming agent such as a dish-washing detergent. It might even be advised to do this first, and then run the bottle through a dishwasher cycle again to make sure there are no “nasties” left behind. Always, always allow each component of the water bottle to air dry, preferably overnight, and make sure there is no water that has been left behind to stagnate.

However you look at it, with every new solution comes an unanticipated problem.

Hoping this helps you and possibly avoids any similar situations from arising.
Share your thoughts with us below, they are always welcome!

Bottled Water: Aquafacts

bottled water facts

 

Some interesting facts about bottled water. Let’s see how each of these work in relation to Aquazania bottled water and South Africa as a whole!

1) Some interesting bottled water facts posted by foodstuffsa details South Africa’s bottled water usage.

2) Convenience and quality are etching into first place together when it comes to South Africans purchasing bottled water. A factor gaining popularity in that decision includes the recent drought and imposed water restrictions.

3) According to SANBWA as excerpted from this article posted in 2012 – ” According to latest Plastics SA figures, there were 194 recyclers operating in 2010. Between them, they recycled 241 853 tons of plastics. This is 6% more than in 2009, whereas the growth in virgin consumption increased 4,7% in the same period, from 1 280 thousand tons to 1 340 thousand tons.” Figures for 2015 have not yet been released.

4) While we do  not have collated current data on emissions, Aquazania uses PET plastic to manufacture the bottles on site. This is one of the safest materials to use.

5) Unfortunately, South Africans are largely still gravitated towards carbonated canned drinks as their drink of choice. While water remains a depleting resource, South Africa has a lot of catching up to do in terms of overall public health.

6) While there is no current data on the average spend for South Africans on bottled water – this report details that just before the 2010 soccer world cup, the market stood at an average of R1.7 billion rand. This was projected to increase at a staggering 25%!

7) Considering the drought and water restrictions imposed, it can be safely assumed that a dangerously low amount of South Africans are drinking the daily recommended amount of water; if they are, it is likely un-sanitized water. This article details more on that.

8) While recycling is only in it’s infancy stages in South Africa – Aquazania provides glass bottles on request for specific water dispensers and all water bottles manufactured are made of PET and free of BPA.

9) While we cannot account for citizens doing their part in recycling plastic bottles, once an Aquazania water bottle has reached it’s “lifespan” – it is collected on site and recycled in totality.

10) While PET is nearly indestructible and takes many, many years to decompose – Aquazania’s social responsibility includes keeping record of all bottles returned so that recycling processes can be controlled in duration and frequency.

Water Distribution: More Than Meets the Eye

Water Distribution: More Than Meets the Eye

As recent circumstance in South Africa prevailed with drought and the lowest rainfall since 1960 – communities from across the country banded together to provide much needed relief to drought-rife area’s.

#OperationHydrate was one such initiative – headed up by non other than Yusuf Abramjee. The project has seen the distribution of over 9 million litres of water – both potable and for washing – handed out where it’s been needed most.

But, what far reaching effects may the operation carry that we have mistakenly overlooked?

Plastic Containers for Water Distribution

Collection points have been set-up throughout the country which allow for those who are able to donate to bring water bottles for re-distribution. Most donations come in the form of marked plastic bottles, usually those of the 2 litre cool-drink variant; these are divided between drinking water and water to be used for alternative reasons, such as washing and bathing. The problem therein lies with the plastic bottles used. While this is in essence a short-term solution, the environmental impact of the hugely increased water bottles present in communities that likely don’t have access to recycling plants may have a long-reaching effect. However, it’s been noted that many of those affected are taking the previously obtained water bottles and refilling them – showing their own sense of social responsibility.

Priorities

While the issue has been raised as to the impact the plastic bottles may have, we need to weigh up our priorities. “We do understand plastic is dangerous for the environment, but let’s be realistic. You have to weigh that against whether you give that water to people who face misery or death or give them water in a plastic bottle.”, said Mr Abramjee.

A long term solution may lie in having the water tanked to the areas affected – although that would constitute more of a long-term solution as opposed to what we are facing – a crisis.

With the winter months looming and the chances of rainfall on the down, this may be an option to look at. Further added by Christine Colvin, the senior manager of the freshwater programme at WWF-SA – “We need to look at fixing localised systems: boreholes, local storage capacity and rainwater harvesting.”

It’s vital to note that Aquazania recycles every 21.8 litre water bottle  received back, once it has reached maximum reuse capacity.

Water Crisis in South Africa: Long and Short

While initiatives such as #OperationHydrate and #ProjectWaterDrop have alleviated much of the pressure experienced in affected communities, it’s important to start long term planning. Short-term, it seems that as South African’s, we’ve got each others’ backs.

Long term – we have little other choice than to repair essential water-bearing infrastructure and think of alternative, eco-friendly solutions to getting large bodies of water to those who need it.

What’s your take on this?

Should we be jumping in to fix more “solid” solutions to this problem – or are we, as a country – doing enough already?