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Archive for February, 2012

You can lead a Horse to water, but you cannot make it drink

Posted on: February 27th, 2012 by admin No Comments

As equestrian pursuits are experiencing a huge rise in popularity across the UK, it seems only prudent to detail the essential drinking water requirements of Horses. Please note: If any of the following text causes concern or raises questions pertinent to your own Horse, then please do not hesitate to contact your local Vet specialising in Horses for her/his advice.

Horses are not exactly the same in their drinking water needs as other hoofed animals. Most (but sadly not all) keepers of this most majestic of beasts, know by experience what their particular charge requires on a daily basis. However, those that are new to the keeping of Horses, or those that sadly assume ‘that any water’ is suitable should understand that the ‘wrong’ quality of drinking water can not only make the animal refuse to drink, but can seriously damage the animals health by either direct damage caused by toxic compounds or by starting a chain reaction in the Horses gut that through the generation of toxins, can lead to a particular animals death. Please remember the ancient folk saying that has been passed down (by various cultures) through the centuries: ‘You can lead a Horse to water but you can’t make it drink’’. It has always been understood by Horse using cultures across the globe that the animal itself has the ability to sense or taste for some of the easier to identify toxins.

Water for horses

Water for Horses

It should be obvious that an adequate supply of good-quality, clean drinking water is essential for Horses. Under proper care, the Horse should have free access to fresh, pure water at all times; devoid of any chemical compounds or biological organisms that may cause illness or distress, of a quality similar to human needs. However, the exact drinking water requirements for the Horse have been hard to define in the past because numerous dietary and environmental factors affect water absorption and excretion in this most difficult of ungulates. Unlike most other herbivores, the digestive system of the Horse is considered monogastric (single stomach) rather than ruminant. The digestive tract includes the stomach, small intestine and large intestine. The stomach and small intestine are commonly referred to as the upper gut, where most of the protein, fat, vitamins and minerals contained in feed are digested and absorbed. Although the Horse lacks the complex fore-stomach of a ruminant, unique characteristics of its large intestine, or hindgut, allow the horse to utilise cellulose and other fermentable substrates in much the same way as ruminants. In the Horse, water is absorbed from most sections of this digestive tract.

After a meal, water is needed in the gut to dilute the digester – food after it enters the animal – and to maintain the uniform consistency of this digester throughout the gut during the digestive process. If water is consumed without any food being eaten, then the water is absorbed more rapidly and completely. Please note; other dietary factors that may affect absorption include complex polysaccharides (these compounds tend to form gels in the gut and reduce water absorption).

The seemingly totally natural act of drinking for the Horse is a highly complex physiological process that is obviously induced as a result of the dehydration of the Horses body tissues. Most Horses drink during or soon after eating and the frequency of drinking and the water consumed usually increase during hot weather, or after strenuous exercise. When a Horse is thirsty its salivary flow is usually reduced, and the dryness of the mouth may also stimulate drinking.

Physiological variables such as age, growth rate, or lactation are major factors influencing the water requirements for Horses. Adult Horses conserve body water more efficiently than foals, so foals dehydrate more quickly than adults. Adult Horses (just being maintained) require a minimum of 2 litres of water per kg of dry food, whereas foals and young growing Horses may require 3 litres per kg of dry food. An adult Horse needs about 5 litres of water per 100 kg of bodyweight for maintenance. Therefore, foals have a greater requirement for water than an adult Horse in proportion to their size

Also, the Horse’s water requirements may vary substantially depending on ambient temperature, humidity and water loss – e.g. sweating; quantity of urine produced (some mineral compounds in water can act as diuretics) and water content of their food. As in other animals, water requirements will increase as the temperature of their environment increases. For instance, a rise from 15°C to 20°C in temperature will increase water loss by 20 percent and will increase an adult Horse’s water requirements by about 5 litres. The composition of their food has also a major impact on water intake. The amount of water provided by green forage can be very substantial. In fact, the resting Horse grazing grass with moisture content over 70 percent may not need to drink any water at all. Obviously on the other hand, diets that are very dry or high in salt will increase the Horse’s thirst.

Water Deficiency

Inadequate water intake is obviously detrimental to a Horse’s health, and the deficiency of easily obtained clean water may result in the self evident condition called death. The signs of inadequate water intake include the decreased consumption of dry feed, followed by decreased physical activity. It should also be noted that inadequate water intake may increase the risk of intestinal impactions and colic.

Water deprivation for 24, 48, and 72 hours can decrease the normal resting Horse’s body weight by 4, 6.8, and 9 percent, respectively, when the ambient temperature is 63 – 81 °F (17 – 27 °C). Signs of dehydration, such as a dry mouth and sunken eyes are evident when 6 percent or more loss of body weight has occurred. Also, the quality of the drinking water may have a tremendous impact on whether the Horse ‘wants’ to drink, and therefore the Horses water intake may be decreased substantially when the quality of the drinking water is seemingly poor to the particular Horses ‘taste’.

Quality of Drinking Water

An indication of water quality that is most commonly quoted for Horses is the amount of Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) in the water. A TDS of approximately 6,000 ppm constituting common mineral contaminants is generally considered the safe limit in water for Horses. However, if the bulk of the TDS reading is comprised mainly of compounds that may cause adverse or even toxic effects (like Lead or Arsenic for example) then a TDS parameter on its own must be interpreted with caution. Therefore, the water should have a complete chemical analysis to determine the concentrations of specific ions, to identify the toxic compounds that have unsafe levels.

Horses can tolerate Fluoride contamination two to three times greater than cattle. According to Lewis (1995), drinking water containing Fluoride at a concentration of 4 ppm is considered to be marginally safe for Horses, but water containing more than 8 ppm should be avoided at all costs. Please Note: Fluoride is not always added only by water companies across the UK; it can naturally occur in certain geologies and their associated groundwater strata. Chronic Selenium toxicity has been reported as a result of a consumption of water containing 0.0005 to 0.002 ppm of Selenium, but short term intake of water with Se concentrations below 0.01 ppm are not generally considered harmful. Horses may also develop some degree of adaptation to some other water contaminants. For instance, drinking water containing Sulphate concentrations exceeding 1000 ppm may initially cause diarrhoea, but Horses that have adapted to moderate levels of Sulphate can tolerate two to three times this concentration.

pure water for horses

Nitrate toxicity is becoming more common in Horses

It is generally assumed that minerals such as Sodium, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Iron, Chloride, and Sulphate at levels commonly found in natural and public water supplies are not toxic to Horses under most practical circumstances. However, at moderately high concentrations, these contaminants may affect the water quality and therefore create a refusal to drink, and of course this may lead to a decreased water intake and therefore dehydration. On the other hand, many potentially toxic compounds that may be present in water do not damage the’ taste’ of water and therefore the Horses water intake, so they are potentially more harmful than those that affect the Horses ‘taste’ or liking for their particular drinking water supply. Nitrate for example is odourless, and tasteless, even at extremely high concentrations. A number of other chemical compounds that may be present in water can also pose a toxicological hazard. Toxic water contaminants that should be totally avoided (or on a practicable basis at least filtered out) include most pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals, Nitrates, Nitrites, Chlorines and Chloramines and most industrial pollutants, and to be on the safe side; most micro-organisms.

Arsenic should also get a mention here – a nasty heavy metal and particularly toxic to most organisms, works by replacing the Life essential Phosphate with Arsenate in the cell (the two compounds are almost identical). Ipso facto, the cell dies. Arsenic is far more prevalent in groundwater supplies across the UK, than most people imagine – Areas of the UK like the Somerset Levels for example, have high levels of Arsenic not too far beneath the surface. So any bore hole has a potential of extracting water with Arsenic in solution. Most of the 400 or so bore holes are known by the local Council, who instruct the landowner how to filter the Arsenic out of solution if the landowner wishes to use the groundwater for most applications. The guidelines for private water extraction (and its intended use) are covered in ‘The Private Water Supply Regulations 2009’. Unfortunately, Arsenic in moderate levels has no ‘taste’ to Horses.

Although Horses may appear to be more tolerant to some water contaminants, it has to be stressed that the quality of certain water supplies may not cause much of a health problem, but rather cause an issue of the Horse refusing to drink. Some Horses may be particularly choosy and outright reject contaminated water especially if the drinking water contains high levels of Chlorine (which has a unique ‘disinfectant’ like smell) or Chloramines, or an unsuitable TDS or pH level. Obviously, in order to be unreservedly accepted by Horses, their drinking water must also be free from any pollution by sewage, farm chemicals, or industrial contaminants of any kind – as well as being potentially toxic, anecdotal evidence suggests that most of these have a ‘taste’ that most Horses dislike.

Nitrate Toxicity

Nitrate toxicity has been rare in Horses but unfortunately is now becoming more common in the UK. In the past, It was most often associated with high Nitrate levels in forage. However, nowadays the Horses drinking water may contribute significantly to the overall burden of dietary Nitrates, especially if it is tap water containing high Nitrate levels, or water from Nitrate contaminated groundwater. Water containing high Nitrate levels resulting from surface contamination from manure, barnyard, and farmland runoff is usually also extremely high in micro organisms. For these reasons alone, Nitrate should be absent from the drinking water of Horses whenever possible.

Nitrates are extremely water soluble and move easily with percolating or runoff water from arable farmland. Therefore, ponds with runoff from heavily fertilised fields and water from poorly lined, shallow wells may contain high levels of Nitrates. Water from deep wells (and bore holes) is usually – but not always – Nitrate free.

However, with Nitrate becoming an ever increasing problem in tap water (as well as groundwater) with Nitrate levels (at certain times) far exceeding the levels set by the UK’s Regulatory Standard for Nitrates in public tap water supplies. It is strongly advised that the keeper/owner of such a magnificent (and expensive) animal have their Horses water supply tested for Nitrates on a regular basis. If any Nitrate levels are found, it is also strongly recommended that adequate Nitrate removal from ANY water supply should be considered wherever possible.

Nitrogen in the form of Nitrate is not especially toxic, but when reduced in the rumen to Nitrite and absorbed into the blood, the Nitrite reduces the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood by reacting with haemoglobin to form methemoglobin, which cannot carry oxygen. Most ruminants have an ability to convert some Nitrate to usable products. In the Horse however, the rumen microbes can readily reduce Nitrate to the more toxic Nitrite form. Therefore, the total amount of Nitrates in the Horses diet is vitally important and subject to abrupt change with the variable growing conditions of harvested and pastured forage and of course, silage.

For example, during a drought, normal silage may accumulate high concentrations of Nitrate and when added to the Nitrate that may be present in the Horses drinking water may result in a lethal combination. Although, the ensiling process should reduce the Nitrate level to acceptable levels after a period of aging for 60 to 90 days in the silo. Unfortunately, unlike other simple-stomached animals such as pigs and sheep, Horses have a cecum that contains colonies of bacteria capable of converting Nitrate to the more toxic Nitrite form. In the past, the preformed Nitrate with its potential Nitrite compounds was rarely encountered in sufficient concentrations in water and feed to be a toxic threat. Unfortunately, high Nitrate concentrations in tap water and dry feed are encountered now on a daily basis. On the other hand, there is also some anecdotal evidence that suggests that Horses who have the correct feed and drinking water that is extremely low in, or totally without Nitrate contamination, have a higher feed to energy ratio than Horses whose feed and drinking water contains this contaminant. This may be because of the slightly higher oxygen levels in a Horses blood supply that consume water and food free of any Nitrate contamination; however, more research needs to be done on this topic.

Bacterial Contamination

In some situations, bacteria in a Horse’s drinking water pose a slightly greater threat than the other possible contaminants in water, because most infectious pathogens enjoy being in solution and therefore, can easily be transmitted via contaminated water. The healthy quality of water can be expressed by counting numbers of coliform bacteria. Not all coliform bacteria are harmful, but their mere presence is a very sensitive indicator of a very poor drinking water status.

Commonly, when coliform bacteria are present, there is a high risk that other infectious bacteria and viruses may also be present in the water. Potentially dangerous microbiological contamination can easily occur in any Horses drinking water. For instance, water polluted by the urinary excretion of Leptospira by rodents can cause abortion in mares and the death of foals.

Horses are also sensitive to toxins produced by Cyanobacteria (often called blue-green algae because they are similar to algae in habitat, morphology and photosynthetic activity). They are a component of the natural plankton population in healthy and balanced surface water supplies. They are found as single cells or in clumped or filamentous colonies. Cyanobacteria can move vertically through water by adjusting their buoyancy in the water column. Cyanobacteria only become a potential hazard when they are present in large numbers (blooms). Blooms typically occur on warm days with light to calm winds, in waters of neutral to alkaline pH containing elevated levels of inorganic phosphorus and nitrogen, although blooms at other times are possible. It is recommended that water contaminated with these algae ‘blooms’ should be seriously avoided. Cyanobacteria poisoning in domestic livestock may cause photosensitisation, sudden death, weakness, bloody diarrhoea, tremors, and convulsions. After post-mortem, clumps of algae may be found in the gastrointestinal contents of animals that die suddenly.

Nowadays however, most if not all harmful bacteria and algae can be easily destroyed and removed by the installation of a filtration and purification system to the Horses drinking water supply that includes an Ultra Violet Steriliser (UV); this treats the water supply flowing through it with high levels of Ultra Violet Light at such high frequencies; it destroys any organic life-form. Please telephone Aquatec Rainsoft Ltd: ++44 (0) 117 910 9988 for more details.

The affects of Antibiotics, Chlorine, Chloramines and Stress on the Gut Flora and Fauna

Broad-spectrum antibiotics and some anti-parasitic chemicals periodically introduced into the Horse’s digestive system because of illness or infection, sometimes devastate the beneficial bacterial gut population as well as the intended target pathogens. Frequent occurrence of a repeated disease following antibiotic treatment suggests a protective and suppressing effect from the normal resident population. This normal gut flora and fauna acts as an important barrier to pathogenic colonisation by monopolising all available nutrients and residential sites in the gut ecosystem. Some are also able to produce their own antibodies against other species. For example, various lactobacillus strains produce lactic and acetic acids and hydrogen peroxide which inhibit the growth of Escherichia coli and other gas producing coliforms which cause disease when their colony numbers become excessive.

After any course of antibiotics, a course of probiotics should be considered to renew the Horses gut flora and fauna (please take advice from your own Horse Vet). It has been found by certain equine research groups that a course of probiotics improves the fermentation process in the hind gut (large intestine) that indicates that these ‘good bacteria’ can be beneficial in stabilising digestive disturbances. Because these digestive disturbances result from carbohydrate ‘overload’, caused when the Horse is fed concentrate feed or the gut flora and fauna has been disrupted (such as after a course of antibiotics, high levels of stress, or continued contamination of their food and/or drinking water). It has also been shown that these ‘overloads’ can bring out colic and laminitis in some individuals.

Laboratory experiments have also shown that Horses that have a reduced gut flora and fauna have much weaker immune systems than those with a normal collection of gut flora and fauna, which can be demonstrated by phagocytic activity and lowered immunoglobulin levels. Recent findings show that Lactobacilli (a probiotic) given orally can stimulate immunity in a nonspecific way, which demonstrates many more areas of potential health benefits that can now be derived from probiotics. It seems that not only do they have the ability to affect the balance of the gut flora and fauna, but they could also influence various diseases, which can occur in tissues other than the intestinal tract.

The use of probiotics is more for prophylactic medicine rather than for use in a disease therapy. Pathogens that cause disorders are usually well established by the time the symptoms show, and providing an abundance of beneficial microorganisms at this stage is consequently unlikely to be as effective as the present antibiotic strategies that are well tried and well known.

Stress is also a major factor in the Horse’s life, which will also disrupt the gut flora and fauna. Stress can be generated by any drastic change in the physical or emotional environment – birth, weaning, travelling or even just plain fear. The optimum pH for the growth of the beneficial bacterial species in the gut flora and fauna in a Horse is a pH of 6 – entirely different from the pH needs of most pathogens – which is generally a pH of 8 to 9 (remember, the pH scale is logarithmic NOT linear). The imposition of stress on the Horse can result in an increase in this intestinal pH and therefore, hugely favours the development of pathogens. When this occurs, the number of for example Lactobacilli decreases whilst the numbers of Coliforms can increase.

Chlorine and/or Chloramines in the water, which can be added by the water supply company to act as a purifying, antibacterial agent, will also have a detrimental effect on the Horse’s beneficial gut flora and fauna. There is also some anecdotal evidence that suggests a beneficial improvement to the Horse’s skin and coat can be seen over the short term, by the removal of Chlorine and/or Chloramines from the Horses drinking and general use stable water.

Drinking Water and General Stable Water Purification/Filtration Systems for Horses

The technical level of the general filtration and water purification of the drinking and general stable water for Horses has today reached high levels of expertise. It is nowadays common practise for the almost complete removal of Nitrates, Chlorine and Chloramines, bacterial pathogens and algae; whilst changing the water quality itself to the beneficial TDS and pH levels that the Horse requires for maintaining health and a sound overall condition.

Aquatec Rainsoft Ltd of Bristol, UK have been designing and building specialist water purification systems for Horses for years; please telephone ++44 (0) 117 910 9988 for more details. Aquatec Rainsoft Ltd’s purification systems come as ‘complete’ integrated systems that ‘liquid engineers’ your local water supply to the Horses unique requirements by passing the water supply through various designs of pressure vessels that contain novel filter media. These media either remove or destroy any organism or harmful chemical compound that may be present. These processes run side by side with the ability of these systems to alter the water quality itself regarding the pH and TDS level to suit your Horse’s unique metabolism.

With the levels of chemical compounds and organic pathogens increasing in the general tap water supply as well as most groundwater supplies – on a yearly basis, it should be seriously considered whether an Aquatec Rainsoft Ltd Integrated Water Purification System may be beneficial to your Horse’s health and wellbeing.

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Nitrate in Your Water Supply

Posted on: February 22nd, 2012 by admin No Comments

Does it Pose a Potential Health Problem?

What is Nitrate?

Nitrate (NO3) is a colourless, odorless, and tasteless and extremely water soluble molecule made up of nitrogen and oxygen. It is naturally part of the nitrogen cycle where (mainly aerobic) bacteria breakdown animal and vegetable proteins and ammonium compounds – urine, excreta, and foodstuff remains. Ammonium (NH3NH4) – Nitrite (NO2) – Nitrate (NO3). This bacterial mechanism is part of the great circle of life and is how natural and manmade bodies of water, lakes and reservoirs, rivers, wet-lands (where your drinking water comes from), and even the sea is filtered and kept suitable to support the huge variety of life.

Nitrate is also a natural constituent of algae & plants and is found in vegetables at varying levels depending on the amount of fertiliser applied and obviously, on other growing conditions. Most human adults (according to the World Health Organisation) intake between 20-70 milligrams of Nitrate per day with most of this coming from foods like lettuce, celery, beetroot, sugar beet, spinach, and edible seaweeds. When foods containing naturally low levels of Nitrate are consumed as part of a normal balanced diet the Nitrate exposure is not (at this moment in time) thought to be detrimental to most adult humans.

Other common sources of Nitrate contamination in groundwater include animal wastes (wherever animals are reared on farmland, their wastes enter the soil and therefore the groundwater) septic tanks, local sewage treatment systems, decaying plant debris, and industrial pollution from manufacturing processes. Also, as Nitrate is a major constituent of many fertilisers, and as already stated is extremely water soluble; huge quantities of manufactured Nitrate enters the groundwater/water table whenever these fertilisers are added to the soil.

Nitrates water

Are Nitrates in water supply harmful?

Nitrate Levels in UK Tap Water

The current UK regulatory standard for Nitrate is 50 mg/l – (milligrams per litre). Derived from the water standard advised by the European Union’s Drinking Water Directive. This EU standard is based on the World Health Organisation’s guidelines for drinking water, which is also 50 mg/l – (milligrams per litre). That regulatory standard is intended to ensure that UK drinking water will not cause Methemoglobinemia in human infants.

However, the UK regulatory standards for Nitrate are breached at various times of the year, usually around the summer months, or if a particular area has a prolonged drought. In most years, representative tests for Nitrate on water samples taken from public water supplies in England and Wales just meet the UK regulatory standard for Nitrate. Regular remedial action is usually taken in the few locations where the UK regulatory standard for Nitrate is exceeded; this action involves the installation of special water treatment processes (usually Ion Exchange) to reduce the Nitrate concentrations in the public drinking water. Also, the technique of blending water containing high Nitrates from one supply with water that is low in Nitrates from another; is regularly practised by various water companies across the UK to achieve compliance with the UK regulatory standard for Nitrates.

However, in areas of high population or major urban growth and manufacture – using the greater London, Birmingham, or Manchester areas as examples, water is recycled time and time again; leading to regular localised ‘breaches’ of the UK regulatory standards for Nitrates.

Health Risk of Nitrates?

Methemoglobinemia (blue baby syndrome or cyanosis) – Nitrate/Nitrite poisoning

Young human infants who are fed water or milk formula made with water that is high in Nitrate can develop a condition that medical experts call Methemoglobinemia, and some infants may be more sensitive than others. The condition is also called blue baby syndrome because the most obvious symptom of acute Nitrate/Nitrite poisoning in young infants is the bluish colour of the skin; the skin appears blue-gray or lavender in colour, particularly around the eyes and mouth (this condition is also called cyanosis). An infant with these symptoms (no matter how slight) should be taken to casualty immediately, where an initial blood sample may be taken – the blood sample of an affected infant will be a chocolate brown instead of a healthy red colour. Nitrate poisoning can be treated, and in most cases the infant makes a full recovery. It is has to be strongly stressed, that it is extremely crucial to deal with this problem IMMEDIATELY, because this condition can lead to coma and eventual death if it is not treated promptly.

Young human infants are extremely susceptible to acute Nitrate poisoning because of certain bacteria that may live in their digestive system during the first few months of their life. These bacteria convert Nitrate (NO3) into the more toxic Nitrite (NO2). The Nitrite reacts with hemoglobin (which carries oxygen to all parts of the body) to form methemoglobin, which does not carry oxygen. The level of oxygen in the blood carried throughout the body decreases in proportion to the amount of hemoglobin converted to methemoglobin. As the oxygen level decreases, the infant is slowly suffocated; hence the blue colouration of the skin.

In all cases where the drinking water contains high levels of Nitrate, an alternative source of water low in Nitrates should be found for the human infant. Boiling the water WILL NOT reduce the Nitrate concentration; in fact, it actually INCREASES the concentration by only evaporating the water content. Water that is high in Nitrates should never be used for preparing infant milk formula or in any other way that could result in the infant consuming any liquids with a high Nitrate level.

Around the age of three months, an increase in the amount of the hydrochloric acid in a human infant’s stomach kills most of the natural bacteria that convert Nitrate to Nitrite. By the time an infant is six months old, its digestive system should be fully developed, and none of the Nitrate converting bacteria remain. In older children and adults, Nitrate is absorbed and excreted, and Methemoglobinemia is not usually a concern for most healthy adult humans.

Although no confirmed cases of blue baby syndrome have been associated with Nitrate in breast milk, it may still be advisable for nursing women to avoid drinking water that contains more than 50 mgl – (milligrams per litre) Nitrate. However, infants under one year of age and women who are pregnant are still at risk of certain adverse effects, because when nursing mothers ingest liquids/foods that contain high levels of Nitrate; the amount of Nitrate in breast milk may increase. Some scientific studies have found some evidence suggesting that women who drink water containing high levels of Nitrate during pregnancy are more likely to give birth to babies with certain birth defects. High levels of Nitrate in the drinking water, liquids, and foods given to the pregnant mother may also lower the amount of oxygen available to the foetus. It may be that this potential reduction of oxygen to the unborn foetus, especially the reduction of oxygen supply to a newborn infant’s brain, may result in irreversible brain damage.

Other Health Risks from Nitrates in Your Water Supply Including Cancer

As it is now a medically accepted fact that severe Methemoglobinemia can result in brain damage and death. Pregnant women, adults with reduced stomach acidity, and people deficient in the enzyme that changes methemoglobin back to the normal hemoglobin are all susceptible to Nitrite induced Methemoglobinemia and therefore, should take precautions about the quality of their drinking water and other liquids/foods, especially when it comes to their Nitrate content..

People who have an immune deficiency, heart or lung disease, certain other inherited enzyme defects, or various cancers; may also be more sensitive to the toxic effects of consuming Nitrate than others. In addition, some medical experts also believe that the long-term drinking of water that is high in Nitrate may increase the risk of certain types of cancer.

A number of epidemiological studies have investigated the possible association of Nitrate in public tap water supplies and the incidence of various cancers. As yet, none have provided any firm evidence for determining any direct association. In fact, no adverse effects have even been linked with inhaling Nitrates or Nitrites, so reference concentrations – used to suggest safe levels of a substance and therefore, to assess the potential toxicity when inhaling these compounds – have not been developed. The contribution of Nitrates and by bacterial conversion Nitrites, to the potential to cause various human cancers and the magnitude of the associated risk of actually developing these cancers is unclear. A number of studies have demonstrated that extremely high doses of Nitrite can cause various cancers in research laboratory animals because Nitrites react with secondary amines in food to form nitrosamines, many of which are highly carcinogenic. There is also some medical concern in the US about a possible link between drinking water with high levels of Nitrate and Thyroid cancer.

What can you do if you are concerned about drinking water containing Nitrate?

The technology exists to almost completely remove any level of Nitrate from your incoming public mains or private bore hole – water supply. This can be easily accomplished by the use of a special Ion Exchange Resin, a process that is exactly the same as the one used by water supply companies when they have to reduce the level of Nitrate in their treated water supplied to the public (incidentally, a technology that doesn’t waste water as some other technologies do). This technology can be as simple as a small unit fitted under the kitchen sink, to self regenerating systems in ever-increasing capacities, according to the level of Nitrate free water required by the end-user.

Aquatec – the Pure Water People, a UK-based company, has specialised in the design and construction of these Nitrate Removal Systems for many years. Aquatec has under-the-sink units, self regenerating domestic family units, to units for large retirement homes and hospitals; and even larger units and computerised controlled systems for industrial and agricultural applications, including public aquaria and zoos. If you are at all concerned about the level of Nitrate in your water supply, then don’t hesitate to book your free water test today.

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4 Financial Benefits of Water Purification Systems

Posted on: February 21st, 2012 by admin No Comments

Spend money to make money is an oft-quoted truism, but the fact that you can spend money to save money is also true.

While purchasing a water purification system may seem like a large initial investment, deeper analysis of your energy costs and the costs of running your home reveals otherwise. Here are four
reasons why buying a water purification system could save you thousands of pounds during your lifetime.

1) Imagine the expense of having a major home appliance such as a washing machine or a boiler break down. If either of these vital home appliances fails, most likely it will be because of limescale clogging up the pipes, something that will happen after the warranty expires. Not only could repairing or replacing these items be incredibly expensive, but you have the extra money lost from taking time off of work to sort out the problem.

2) While the cost of buying kettles is not nearly as prohibitive, the expense of buying multiple kettles over a life-time really adds up. When you buy Aquatec’s bespoke purification systems we guarantee that your kettle will descale within 12-16 weeks of installation prolonging its life and saving you the time and money of buying another one.

Water purification

Home water purification can save money

3) Limescale buildup also stops your appliances from working properly. Because appliances that are blocked with scale have to work harder to do the same job, that racks up your energy costs. We estimate that having a water purification system that softens hard water and eliminates limescale could reduce your energy bills by up to 40%.

4) Huge savings on cleaning products. Our water softening process means that you will need less cleaning products to clean the limescale off of your taps and bathroom. Furthermore you will need less washing machine powder or dishwashing machine powder to get your clothes or dishes clean. Our pure water technology will cut out expensive sprays and bleaches from your shopping list over the long term.

So contact us for a free water test today and find out whether you could make huge savings by installing one of our home water purification systems.

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Could Fracking Contaminate UK Groundwater?

Posted on: February 14th, 2012 by admin No Comments

Advances in technology have helped boost the growth of gas shale drilling in the United States over the past few years.

‘Fracking’, as it is known, has helped the United States to become almost self reliant in energy; lowering the price of gas for the largest energy user in the world.

But as this new art of releasing the natural gas embedded in shale rock deep below the Earth’s surface has expanded, it has obviously raised concerns. Environmentalists and concerned citizens wonder about the impact that this type of drilling for gas has on the environment, especially on UK groundwater.

Water Contamination Concerns

The concerns about the possible contamination of UK groundwater come from the essential part of the process called hydraulic fracturing, which in combination with the horizontal drilling techniques pioneered in the US, is an essential part of the shale gas production process.

The shale rock in which the gas is trapped (in small pockets) is so solid that it has to be ‘fractured’ in order to help the gas reach the surface. Called ‘fracking fluid’, a combination of water and sand laced with a cocktail of chemical compounds which the various drilling companies are reticent of detailing, is pumped into the gas shale at very high pressures, shattering the rock and opening millions of tiny little fissures. When this happens, a small earthquake is produced by the pressurised injection of this ‘fracking fluid’, fracturing the gas shale around the horizontal pipeline.

fracking contaminates water

Fracking could cause UK water concerns

The gas trapped inside the shale is now released and makes its way to the surface along with approximately half of this chemical cocktail called ‘fracking fluid’, plus huge quantities of mud and rock. The rest of this ‘fracking fluid’ remains deep underground, and there is part of the concern, no one really knows what happens to it?

Fracking in the UK

From there, if the possible UK scenario is similar to the US experience, the gas is piped to nearby compressor stations that purify it and prepare it to be piped (and sometimes transported in liquefied form) to power plants, manufacturers, and ultimately, domestic customers.

Volatile organic compounds (carbon-based gaseous substances with a variety of detrimental health effects) and other dangerous chemicals are burned off directly into the air during this on-site compression process. Meanwhile, the returned ‘fracking fluid’, now conveniently called wastewater, is either transported off or stored in large – open-air – membrane lined pits – on site, where it is allowed to evaporate. ‘Fracking’ is an energy-and resource-intensive process. Again, if the UK experience will be similar to the US, every individual shale-gas drilling site that is ‘fracked’ requires between three and eight million gallons of water. Huge transport fleets have to make hundreds of trips to carry this ‘fracking fluid’ to and from each drilling site.

It’s this injection of ‘fracking fluid’, a chemical cocktail with possible unknown health effects, and the shattering of the geological strata; that raises concerns about the possible contamination of UK groundwater. If the rock strata that contains the groundwater lie within the vicinity of the shale gas deposit, then the possibility of potential contamination from this chemical cocktail (and the gas itself?) must be a huge risk. Is the possible contamination of the UK’s groundwater for cheaper energy bills worth this health risk?

Shale Gas Deposits

Just like the United States, it seems that the UK has extensive shale gas deposits (deep underground) sweeping right across the country. So what could be the potential health implications if fields of gas drilling wells were suddenly to appear across our green and pleasant land? This is the crux of the problem, the concerns of many NGOs lobbying to either halt or at least slow down this type of drilling in the UK, because no one really knows!

If we only experience a fraction of the ‘fracking’ experience in the United States then we could be entering a situation where we all have to be highly suspicious of our drinking water.

Unlike the United States, the UK has a far better water supply situation with the various water supply companies extensively filtering our drinking water and obviously monitoring for any contaminants that may be of concern. But is this enough?

Unanswered Questions About Fracking

• We don’t know what chemical cocktail is used in this ‘fracking fluid’? (the drilling companies concerned say that their particular ‘fracking cocktails’ are ‘commercially sensitive secrets’).
• We don’t know what ‘other’ chemical compounds may be in the shale gas itself, some may have health implications years in the future?
• We don’t know how these minor earthquakes will damage the ability of the rock strata to hold our groundwater?
• We don’t even know ‘if’ our water supply companies ‘can’ remove every chemical compound that may appear from this particular type of possible groundwater contamination?

This is the concern. Exploratory drilling companies are being granted licenses to drill (just look at Blackpool for an example) across the UK, before the possible chance of contamination of our communal drinking water can be explored and evaluated. Even ‘if’ our water companies ‘can’ filter out the possible contamination for the main centres of population throughout the UK, what’s going to happen to the people and businesses not on the main water supply network? Other people or parts of the environment that may be affected are:

• Residents that get their house-hold water from bore-holes.
• Villages and outlying hamlets which have always relied on traditional supplies from ancient springs and artesian wells which have historically supplied them with relatively clean water.
• The farming community that use huge amounts of groundwater to produce our food.
• Fisheries and fish farms that rely on the height of the water table and therefore the groundwater itself.
• Rivers, lakes and wet-places that are just starting to recover from the contamination over the years since our industrial revolution.

This possible contamination of our shared water supply could lead to the scenario where no one trusts the tap water anymore. A situation that has not been seen for an awfully long time in the UK. A situation that may lead to everybody having their own filtration and water purification system in their own home, filtering their incoming mains water, not just relying on their water company to provide clean, safe drinking water.

Water purification companies like Aquatec Rainsoft Ltd of Bristol are already on the case, developing water purification systems for the normal house-hold as well as systems for businesses; to mitigate any contamination that may be present by removing ‘every’ chemical compound from the water supply, and then replacing the essential electrolytes for human health. An Aquatec Rainsoft Ltd spokesperson said today that “Aquatec Rainsoft Ltd prides itself on providing clean, safe, and fresh drinking water for any situation. Tailored to suit most people’s home, business, and budget. We have looked at the possible situation that may arise concerning fracking, and have developed filtration and purification systems that are second to none in their ability to provide the best possible water from whatever the supply.”

If you want a free water test, contact Aquatec today.

Read more on Fracking here.

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Reverend Tackles Zimbabwe Water Purification

Posted on: February 6th, 2012 by admin No Comments

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The BBC has reported on a reverend from Dorset who works to bring water purification equipment to residents of Zimbabwe.

Despite having retired from his job as a medical technician, the reverend Alan Clarredge risks his life to help others.

The 71-year-old felt moved to set up the pure water charity after a stint treating the first wife of the despot Robert Mugabe.

The Zimbabwe health authorities say that since then his work has helped to save an estimated 3 million lives. The country is desperately in need of such action as Mugabe’s actions have bankrupt the economy and created massive food shortages.

water purification Zimbabwe

Reverend Alan Clarredge

Many Zimbabweans are forced to live on handouts and they struggle for basic medical care with supplies stopped before they come in. Dirty drinking water is one of the largest killers in the world and is responsible for a huge amount of children’s deaths globally, which is why pure water is important for health.

The reverend explained: “There are risks but I do it because I’ve lived with the people and seen their needs.”

“I love doing it and it is an honour to be able to help the people of Zimbabwe.”

He has now been working in Zimbabwe for 30 years and founded the Rivers of Living Water charity that purifies water in small village clinics. Pure water helps protects locals against horrible diseases such as cholera and gives them a greater quality of life.

This Saturday Mr Clarredge will be holding a coffee morning at Rossmore Gospel Church in Poole to help raise the money for his next trip to Zimbabwe.

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