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Wahnapitae Water Contamination

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shrikar jha

on 2 June 2015

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Transcript of Wahnapitae Water Contamination

Bluish Stains
Background Information
Water Treatment Plant
Wahnapitae Water Contamination
What's Wrong
The First Nations community of Wahanpitae is located in Northern Ontario, a few kilometers East of Sudbury. We have been receiving many complaints from the residents of this area about the water. We have noticed that the water fixtures around town have bluish or reddish stains on them and although the water does not taste bad, it appears discoloured and turbid. The doctor has also mentioned that the number of children contracting diarrhea has increased. We as Environmental Health officers have found the sources to these problems and we will also provide information on how this problem can be resolved.
Reddish Stains
We believe the reason behind the reddish stains on the fixtures around the city is because of iron in the water.
The water should be tested to measure the amount and type of iron in the water.
Iron types found in water:
Organic Bound
Iron exists naturally in the rivers, lakes, and underground water.
The other reasons that by which iron can be added to the water are natural deposits, industrial waste, etc.
The watershed is not a factor that might be affecting the water as the water is flowing from the high elevated area to the low elevated area.
If this was not the case then it might have been a problem.
By: Shrikar, Gurvir, Harman, and Dhairya
The bluish stains are caused by copper in the water.
Copper is a mineral which is rarely present in water.
Raising the pH of the water and feeding poly phosphate and/or silicate chemicals into the water help protect plumbing from the effects of corrosion.
The reason why the copper got in the water is because the pipes are made up of copper.
People who drink water that contains copper in excess may experience gastrointestinal distress, which is a symptom of diarrhea.
As we just figured that the bluish and reddish stains on the water fixtures is because of the iron and copper present in the water the factories cannot be playing a huge role in our water problem.
But one of the contaminants that are causing the stains, iron, comes from the industrial discharge too, this might be a case where the iron is coming from.
But as it is the first nation community there might not be too many factories in that area but the factories might have been discharging/releasing waste in the natural source of water of Wahnapitae, Wahnapitae river, making it discoloured and turbid.
According to Polaris Institute the first nation communities are not getting the same quality of water as the other citizens of Canada.
The National Chief of the AFN and the authors of several books showed their feelings on the water quality of Wahnapitae by quoting, "The shocking and deplorable conditions of First Nation communities being denied access to safe, clean drinking water is similar to what I have witnessed myself in Mexico, India, South Africa and other Third World countries".
The responsibilities of safe, clean drinking water for the First Nations is shared by the First Nations communities and the Government of Canada. The Government of Canada is being careless on this matter when it is a very big deal because the First Nations of Wahnapitae have to drink turbid water that can affect their health, such as the increase of children contracting diarrhea.
In conclusion, by doing our research, we found out that the cause for the red stains is iron and the cause for blue stains is copper that is why a number of children are contracting diarrhea. There is a simple but challenging solution to the blue stains problem: change the pipes. By changing the water pipes from copper to polyvinyl chloride (PVC) the problem can be solved. This a very durable material that is not that expensive but very reliable. The pipes will be able to withstand cold and hot water.In order to take the iron out of the water, the government needs to keep a check on the factories/industries that they don't release waste into any source of water so that the iron from the waste cannot enter the water, then, as the water treatment pants will be fixed and working properly, all the unwanted stuff like iron will be taken out of the water so that we can limit the amount of iron and copper from the water that will be going to houses. so, if the treatment plants do their job properly, all the substances will be taken out and thus there will be no more stains on the water fixtures. We also discovered that the water coming out of the taps is actually more contaminated and turbid than the water in the treatment plant. The water in the Wahnapitae river has a pH value of 5, with a chlorine content of 0ppm, and the turbidity at 100JTU+. After the water got treated in the treatment plant, it occurred to us that the water is actually getting worse. The water in the treatment plant has a pH value of 4.5 which is making the water more acidic than it already is. Also in the treatment process there is a stage called disinfection where chlorine is added to kill any micro-organisms that are still present in the water. The treatment plant is not doing this step because there is 0ppm of chlorine present in the water in the treatment plant. In order to resolve this issue the government will have to become more strict with the water treatment plant. This means that they cannot ignore them and be careless as it can affect people's lives. They will have to monitor the treatment plant to make sure they are following all of the steps of water treatment before the water is sent to people's homes so they can have clean drinking water.
"Central Oregon Water Systems, Water Treatment Bend, Oregon." Central Oregon Water – COH2O » Water Softeners, Drinking Water Systems » Water That Causes Stains. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 May 2015.

"Robert B. Hill Co." Iron Removal with Water Softeners and Traditional Iron Removal -. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 May 2015.

"Polyvinyl Chloride." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 25 May 2015.

"Common Menu Bar Links." Drinking Water and Wastewater. N.p., 30 Apr. 2015. Web. 23 May 2015.

Hickman, Susan. "Boiling Point." Polaris Institute. N.p., 22 May 2008. Web. 24 May 2015.

"JOB OPPORTUNITIES." Community Profile. N.p., 2013. Web. 25 May 2015.

The water treatment plant of Wahnapitae is located in Sudbury that takes water from the primary water source which is the Wahnapitae River.
The treatment plant's job is to purify the water before sending it to houses for the intake
But the treatment plant is not cleaning the water properly as the water before treatment had a turbidity of 100JTU and after the treatment it remained the same that means the water didn't get any better.
Then, the water before the treatment had a pH of 5 then after the treatment it got 4.5, that means it actually made the water worse as it just got more acidic than getting neutral (7pH). Good quality freshwater has a pH value between 6.5 and 8.5. Water is acidic if the pH is below 7.
Even after the treatment the rate of chlorine remained the same (0ppm), that means the treatment plant didn't finish or done the second last step of cleaning the water, disinfection, where the chlorine is added to remove any micro-organisms like bacteria.
The quality of water that the people of Wahnapitae should be drinking is the same quality of water that we receive in Toronto. The water of Wahnapitae river after getting treated had a pH value of 4.5, 0 ppm of chlorine content and a turbidity of 100 JTU. This water quality is bad as it is nowhere near the quality of the Toronto tap water as we get a pH value of 7.5 which is good as it is close to 7 which is neutral. Then, 0.50 ppm of chlorine and turbidity of 0 JTU that is the best as even though there can be contaminants in water but if the water looks clear, no one will notice.
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