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Blog Action Day- toxic water in the United States

Since its inception in 2007, has participated in Blog Action Day, an annual event that “unites the world’s bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day” in an effort to heighten awareness on global issues. This year, the topic is water:

We asked people to submit creative pieces describing what it would be like if they woke up tomorrow and all of the drinking water in America was toxic? You think you have time to conserve and that a Brita filter will fix everything, but given that 40% of American waterways are already too polluted to fish or even swim, do you really have time? Our world is so arrogant with water use that we don’t even bat an eye that it takes 400 gallons of water to produce a single cotton shirt. How can we justify this to our grandchildren when there is no more safe drinking water in our midst?

Below is Minneapolis Realtor, Eric Hempler’s creative entry. We invite you to add your thoughts to the comments as to how YOU would react if you woke up to toxic water nation wide?

I woke up early this morning sitting on the side of the bed thinking to myself, “today’s the day isn’t it?” Looking over at the calendar, I confirmed, started to change clothes and headed down to the basement to start up the Water Purifier. I had read the directions a hundred times before and was pretty sure I knew what to do, but I read through it once again as I started the Water Purifier up for the first official time.

As I was waiting for it to fill up, I looked around for a little bit and noticed how we rerouted everything to and from the Water Purifier. I also recalled the number of contractors we talked to over the impending weeks. It seemed like each person had a different answer on what to do and not a single person had the same price to do the work. When we first started shopping for the oversized water jug, we were given a date when everyone in the United States would have to have one. Everyone was on a waiting list, but we managed to luck out and get ours a month before the deadline, which gave me time to find a contractor, assuming they weren’t already busy, to install the thing.

After meeting with several “experts” I finally decided to do the work myself. The directions were clear and the homework I did online showed it really wasn’t that difficult. Over the next couple of weeks I spent my time rerouting the water supply to our new Water Purifier, which seemed to take up about 100 square feet once it was assembled.

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After connecting the supply lines, I had to run lines from the Water Purifier to the Water Heater and routes to the sinks, washer, dishwasher and anything else that had a faucet. After all of that was said and done it looked liked one of those old Octopus Furnaces. There was also a separate hookup for sludge and toxins to exit and were fed into the waste drains.

After everything was hooked up and ready, I did few test runs and everything seemed to be running smoothly. After thinking how much work I had put in assembling everything, I checked the gauges and the main panel to see when it would be ready to pull water from and headed back upstairs. After getting upstairs I laid down on the couch for a little bit until the Water Purifier would be ready.

I forgot I had talked to my son the night before about how we would have to wait a little bit when we got up to have water. Since he’s the oldest and my daughter is still too little to understand I had to explain to my son what we had to setup in the basement to have water that wouldn’t cause “ouwies”. I think my wife did a better job than I did.

My son thought we could just catch the rain or snow when it fell and collect it for the year, but unfortunately it really didn’t work that way. As I was thinking through more of the conversation the previous night as well as the news and conversations about the water problems I started to drift off to sleep.

I woke up the next morning, “Was it all a dream?” I asked myself. I looked over to check the date…

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Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.



  1. Ruthmarie Hicks

    October 15, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    Great post Lani,

    Water is one of those things that we just take for granted. We assume that it will always be there which is an unbelievable act of hubris. Essential for life itself – we can survive without food for weeks, but water – just a couple of days.

    Being in the east coast I tend to take water for granted. Sometimes we seem to have all too much of the stuff as the swollen remaining wetlands struggle to contain flooding. But this summer, we had a drought and it vividly portrayed how fast the normally lush (nearly subtropical) dense green foliage to brittle, dry and brown.

    As our weather patterns change due to man-made climate change – it is predicted that the east coast will have more water than it can handle, while some dry areas will get wetter, most will be dryer still. That combined with population growth in desert regions is an explosive combination. Water wars may become the norm in hot arid areas where a pool in every yard is the norm.

    I’ll leave everyone with this issue. The BP oil disaster was a mess. But it would have been far worse if Florida’s aquifers had been contaminated with oil because they supply fresh water to Floridians. If one of the major aquifers had gotten contaminated – your worst case scenario of waking up to unsafe, undrinkable water would not have been an all too real world scenario for millions of people.

  2. Joe Loomer

    October 16, 2010 at 8:54 am

    I grew up in some pretty nasty places. My parents were diplomats – not the political appointee type – the boots on the ground, career State Department type. Every country in Africa and South America had water that was not potable. We had to boil everything, and keep iodine pills with us to purify water while on in-country vacations or emergencies. You had to boil water before you used it to clean dishes, cook, or for any purpose that might come in to human contact. Of particular note, Lagos, Nigeria. This disgusting place was once the subject of a 60-minutes special titled “the dirtiest city in the world.” We were constantly reminded that if we washed our hands with tap water, not to then turn around and stick your fingers in your mouth. My sibllings and I would take turns getting worm treatments or other bacterial infection remedies. La Paz, Bolivia – came in a close second.

    Clean water – SAFE water – is no joke. I personally believe the next 9-11 may involve coordinated attacks on our water purification systems in major cities. The scenario painted by Eric could certainly come true – albeit without warning.

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

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