Tap Water Fluoridation

Last trip to the dentist’s office, the technician cleaned my teeth, gave me fluoride and told me it was ok to swallow it. She said our water has the same additive and it was GOOD for you. Fluoride treatments are fine for teeth, where it can help, but fluoride has NO business being digested and getting its way into my bloodstream!

So far, there hasn’t been a single conclusive study that shows ANY tangible benefit to fluoridated tap water.  Fluoride has been linked to lower IQ, thyroid and bone problems, and 30% of children that drink fluoridated tap water have “dental fluorosis” -white spots and pitting of the teeth, which may indicate bone damage.

It is quite easy to remove the fluoride from the drinking water. The simple act of having a reverse osmosis drinking water system installed should protect you by removing the fluoride from your drinking water.  

For more info or to arrange a free in-home water test, please contact Douglas Environmental at 780-410-0837 or contact us through our website.

How is Water Different Now than 100 Years Ago?

One comment I hear quite often from rural homeowners is that their well water was good enough for their grandparents who dug the well, why would they need to treat it now?

The difference is something most people don’t think of – pollution.  Your grandparents didn’t have refinery row affecting their air quality.  Crops from nearby farms weren’t sprayed with pesticides and herbicides.  Oil & gas exploration and extraction was NOT a factor here 100 years ago.  All these things can impact the water in the ground, just as they affect the air we breathe and the food we eat.

Most people wash their fruits and veggies after coming back from the supermarket. City water even has drugs and chemicals in it now that didn’t exist 20 years ago.  If it was ok to drink 100 years ago, it does NOT mean it is safe now.  Effective treatment brings peace of mind, better taste and convenience compared to bottled water.  A qualified professional can assess your needs, make recommendations and help with installation of the equipment that meets your needs and your budget.  Call Douglas Environmental for a no-charge assessment of your water today!

News Update: Nomination for Small Business of the Year!

It is with extreme emotion that we have accepted a nomination for the Small Business of the Year award from the Sherwood Park and District Chamber of Commerce in the category of "New Business Innovation."  We have been working very closely with the inventor of the Pirana Method for septic remediation and have successfully adapted the technology to the Canadian climate, working in the Greater Edmonton Area, specifically Strathcona County as our launch market.

We were informed today that Douglas Environmental has been selected as a Finalist in this award category for the Business Awards being held on Friday, October 19th at the Agora in Sherwood Park.  We will be present with our families, supporters and peers eagerly awaiting the announcement of all the award winners in 9 categories from 27 Finalists.  Of course, while we hope to take home the prize, we are honoured to have been nominated and further to be found worthy by the independent panel of judges who review the entries from over 50 nominees overall.

For more info on the Business Awards, please see: 


and for a list of the Finalists, please see:


Editorial on our 2012 Small Business of the Year Nomination

630 CHED Talk to the Experts – July 14th: 12-1pm

about an hour away from going on the air for 630 CHED's Talk to the Experts show -if you know anyone with septic concerns, please pass this info along: on the air 12-1pm (or listen online at the link below) -have questions or concerns about septic? Please listen or call in!

If you're outside the Edmonton area, you can use the link below to listen online!


How to Repair Septic Drainfields

Rural property owners can expect a major replacement of their drainfield every 20-25 years. This is due to the natural biological process that occurs with the bacteria in our stomachs. A slime called "Biomat" is produced and over time, causes fields to clog and drain more slowly every year until they eventually fail.

Once that happens, the next step is normally to dig up your yard, haul away the contaminated soil and start again -usually to the tune of $20-$35,000. Now there is a way to undo years of biological damage -using nature to fight back with another natural process. The Pirana Method converts your system to an aerobic one, using oxygen and a patented bacteria blend to digest all the solids, all the organics and most-importantly, all the biomat. Remove the clog, return the function! As long as a Pirana is running, a septic system simply cannot become clogged with biomat and organics. Ever.

For more information, please visit www.douglasenviro.ca/septic or call 780-410-0837 for your no charge consultation to see if you are eligible to save thousands with remediation instead of replacing your field.

Edmonton City Water Quality

We performed a filter change service call on a reverse osmosis system this afternoon.  The "before" and "after" images really show the difference between filtered water and plain old city water.  It never ceases to amaze me how the government says the water supplied through the municipal system is clean and safe, "some of the best in the world" I keep hearing…

The image shown here shows what the filtration equipment does.  During the maintenance, I changed all the filter cartridges, the "pre" filter, a "post" filter and did some other service.  The "pre" filter is exposed to water coming directly from the city of Edmonton.  If the water is so good, what is all the gunk all over the filter?  The "post" filter is also shown – it was installed at the same time as the "pre" filter, the only difference is that the "post" filter only has water that has been treated by reverse osmosis running over and through it.

The difference?  As you can see, other than the fact it is wet and showing a little bit of the carbon block filter it is wrapped around (think of a wet, clingy t-shirt, and how it can become translucent) it is clearly still in like-new, "white" condition.  A brand new, still in the wrapper filter cartridge is shown in the middle for reference.

My question is simple – if the water quality in Edmonton, Sherwood Park, St. Albert and the entire Greater Edmonton Area is so good, why do the filters turn this horrible colour after being exposed to our pristine water supply?

Treatment is quick, efficient and easy to use, requires very little maintenance and gives peace of mind – we get rid of the gunk!

But Our Family Has Always Drank the Water Here

When consulting with well water clients, I quite often hear people voicing concerns about iron staining or really hard water, maybe some colour staining or odour issues – but what I also hear is that families have lived on the property for years and years and if the water was good enough for grandpa to drink, why would I need some kind of purifier so I can drink it? 

"If it was good enough for my grandparents, it is good enough for me!"

While on the surface, this makes sense, when you dig a little deeper, it is easy to see we don't live in the same world our grandparents did.  There are thousands upon thousands of drugs, chemicals and additives we are forced to deal with every day – there's a good chance the grandpa drinking the well water didn't drink it from a plastic cup because plastic may not have been invented yet!

In a rural area, you may not be overly concerned with pharmaceuticals and those kind of chemicals – but… what about pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and fertilizers?  There are thousands of types that weren't even imagined when grandpa drew water from your well.  We definitely live in a different world now and one thing we have to take seriously is our health.  (Grandpa probably didn't live in an era where he knew many people that got cancer either – that is a product of our unnatural environment!)

The fact is, when you draw water from a private well, there is no city scientist, no government agency – no one but you to ensure the water you drink is safe for your family.  Having pure, safe and clean water is not only easy, but also affordable.

250,000 people in farm areas in California were recently affected by excessive nitrate levels in the ground water.  This problem is new – it didn't exist there a few years ago – but with the increasing application of chemicals in their environment, unsafe drinking water is the result.  The problem has no taste, no odour, nor any colour – nitrate problems are is easily detectable with a field test kit, and easily removed with most of the drinking water systems we provide.  Once an on-site purification system is installed, you have protection from nitrates, arsenic, lead, and thousands and thousands of possible chemical threats to your family's health.

Seasonal Water Changes -Oooh oooh that smell!

If you’re like most people in Edmonton, you’ll soon notice a change in the taste and a change in the quality of water as we move into spring.  Why is that?  Edmonton's water comes from the North Saskatchewan River which flows right through town.  All winter long, snow accumulates on the banks and in spring, as temperatures rise again, that snow melts – carrying with it organic material, debris, bits of leaves, twigs and bugs and anything else that may be on the banks of the river.

Chlorine is added to clear up the water, and ammonia is added to help preserve the chlorine, as well as to mask some of the smell.  (Mixing the two together creates "chloramine" -the legal name for this type of disinfection.)  Because contaminant levels are higher in spring, more chemicals are added to the water.

The result?  The water still looks clean and clear, but has more odour to it, as well as increased "disinfection byproducts" -these are the chemicals which form when chlorine and ammonia react with the materials in the water.  These byproducts have been associated with some health concerns which is beyond the scope of this article, but suffice it to say that although they are kept to reasonable levels, they are present in the water and are not good for you.

Many clients, especially this time of year, choose a treatment system that removes the odour, taste and chemicals from the water in the home, resulting in better tasting, healthier water that isn't exposing you to harmful chemicals when you bathe, shower, wash in or drink the water.  The result is water that tastes great, is better for you, your hair and skin, and leaves you refreshed, not dried out, itchy and looking for moisturizer.  Treated water helps appliances last longer and saves you money on heating, detergent usage and plumbing maintenance.

Every Rural Resident’s Best Friend: A Spare Sump Pump!

Rural living has come a long way since the Ingalls family settled in Walnut Creek.  Well water pumps and pressure systems now can rival the flow rates of city water supplies, with efficient and user-friendly treatment systems often delivering rural owners better water than our urban friends enjoy.  High speed Internet, widened rural roads, corner stores a plenty – things are just getting easier and easier.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the responsibility of home owners to look after their “stuff” – if there are sewer backups, storm water backups, power outages that cut off water supplies, rural home owners need to be prepared.  Two areas of critical importance are the pumps that get water out of and away from your home.  This normally includes a sump pump under your home and a septic pump that feeds your septic drainage system.  If either of these pumps fail, home owners could be in serious trouble – and fast!

Perhaps the best form of insurance is a spare “emergency” sump pump.  If either of these two pumps fail, having a ready-to-go pump on hand can allow you to quickly and effectively empty out a sump pit, or “filled to the brim” septic tank.  In the case of a winter septic emergency (ie. your septic pump failing) you are legally allowed to pump out your tank to a nearby bush area, provided you meet a few guidelines about the chosen location (that’s outside the scope of this article and will vary from county to county, so look up bylaw information in your area first!)

Likewise, if your sump pump fails and you start to see water from under the home finding its way into the home, quickly dropping in your spare pump will allow you to get that water down to a manageable level.  In both circumstances, what this does is buy you time.  You now don’t “NEED” an emergency call from a plumber or septic repair company.  Let’s face it, these problems usually happen late Friday night, when its -30, and after normal service hours end, usually two days away from most service companies’ regular rate service hours.

Usually for around $100 at your local plumbing supply or hardware store, you can get yourself a spare pump and enough hose to run the line to the nearest relief zone – again, that “bush” area mentioned earlier.  It’s much easier to scope out the property and come up with a plan ahead of time, when it’s nice out – and not pitch black, rather than running into town at an odd hour, then wondering what kind and how long the tubing needs to be to get to that area of relief.

Prevention is the best medicine – have your systems serviced and checked annually, and as a backup, always have a spare pump on-hand.  With rural living comes certain responsibilities.  This isn’t really even a matter of IF this will happen to you, it’s more a matter of WHEN  – so when the time comes, be prepared and have the equipment you need to resolve the emergency ready, know where it is, how it operates and where you are going to pump that stuff!

Rotten Egg Smell

One of the issues many rural residents face with their private well water supply is a rotten egg odour coming from the water.

There are two main causes of this, and the first thing to check is your hot water.  If the odour is new, meaning it wasn’t something you noticed in the water a few months ago, then do a quick and free water test – plug the drain and run your hot water into the sink – let it fill up a few inches and give it the smell test.  Is there odour?  How strong is it?

Then repeat the test, but this time with cold water.  If you have odour on the hot water, but not the cold water, this problem could be fixed very quickly and easily by your plumber, or a handy home owner.  You likely need to replace the anode rod on your hot water tank.  There are a number of factors in well water that can cause the problem, but the fix is pretty simple.

If you have odour on both hot and cold water, the issue is likely either sulfur in the water (h2s gas) or can, in some cases, be from the iron content.  Treating the water presents a few options, all of which will involve oxidation of some sort – meaning taking the gases from the water and making them react to form solids which can then be filtered out.

Common solutions involve chlorine injection – a process by which chlorine is dosed into the water, allowed to react (usually for about 10 minutes in a contact or “retention” tank,) then filtered out by a media that would remove both the chlorine and the sediment.  This usually clarifies the water as well and has long-been a relatively low-cost way to treat iron and sulfur issues.

We prefer to inject hydrogen peroxide instead of chlorine.  It is much nicer to work with, is a stronger oxidizer, and doesn’t need to be removed – instead the home owner just keeps some simple test strips in their kitchen and periodically checks to ensure there’s a little hydrogen peroxide left at the tap.  If there is, then it’s doing its job and everything should be fine.  Because the hydrogen peroxide doesn’t need to be removed, we can focus more attention on the sediment and give even better filtration to the whole home – resulting in the clearest, cleanest water supply possible, and longer life for hot water tanks, faucets and appliances.

Iron filters are another way, but really would only work if the rotten egg odour is not caused by the presence of SRB’s, or “Sulfur Reducing Bacteria.”  If they are the root cause, then chemical injection oxidation may be the best way to go.  The nice thing about iron filters is that they are much lower maintenance.  Usually they are set to regenerate and backwash about once a week (depending on filter size and water usage) and typically can contain an entire year’s worth of regenerant in their tank – meaning you don’t have a lot of maintenance.  The main down-side to chlorine or other chemical injection systems is that you need to store, handle and sometimes mix/dilute chemicals in the home.

To find out more on treating sulfur in well water, or troubleshooting rotten egg odour, contact a water treatment professional.