Services You Can Expect from a Quality Assisted Living Provider

Sam-Burlum-logo3 (2) ResizedWritten by, Samuel K. Burlum, Investigative Reporter and author, Published on 4/11/2018, Exclusive

Tags: Assisted Living, Health Care Facilities, Long Term Care, Nursing Homes, Quality of Life, Rehab, Rehabilitation, Senior Health Care

Source: Not all assisted living facilities are created equal; however, there are some basic services and expectations across the board that a new resident can expect from any assisted living campus. We look at these and the small differences that set some assisted living facilities apart from the rest.

An assisted living facility or residency is the ideal situation for an elderly individual in their golden years that has little or no family to rely upon for assistance with day to day chores or help in maintaining quality their life.  Oftentimes, these senior individuals find themselves unable to do all the same physical tasks they once could complete on their own. This change can prove quite challenging mentally, emotionally and physically. Assisted living campuses are designed to provide the senior resident with some assistance while allowing them to enjoy the freedom of life, such as making their own appointments, shopping, visiting family, and venturing outside the campus, just as they would if they remained in their own home.

There are some basic services an assisted living facility will offer. Unlike a nursing home, much of the residents from an assisted living center have a key element in maintaining their quality of life; mobility. Residents usually find themselves able to still be mobile on and off the campus, even if many no longer drive a car. Most assisted living facilities provide a bus/van service allowing the resident to schedule transportation needs, which is included as part of their monthly rent/lease agreement.

Assisted living services can include housekeeping and laundry services, as well as prepared meals, which are usually served in a group community dining area. This allows residents an opportunity to socialize and gather together. Apartments are self-contained and grocery services or other types of shopping and errands are also offered. Some services are personalized depending on the needs of the individual resident. The initial intake process will provide the opportunity to make that determination, as well as take into consideration when residents require medication administration and assistance. A nurse can be scheduled to help a resident with these needs. You will not find monitoring or medical equipment in this kind of situation, however, doctors and nurses are just a phone call away.

If a resident has limited mobility, a personal aide can be assigned to them. This aide would help the individual in getting dressed, bathing and escorting the resident to other parts of the campus for meals and activities, or to run light duty errands. This cost can be factored into the custom package for a resident that may be disabled or need just a little extra help.

Assisted living campuses will offer administration services to any individual with regards to exploring all options of benefits the senior may have coming to them and help the senior through whatever the process may be to obtain their benefits. Assisted living administrators cannot administer medicine or legal advice, however, they can redirect those concerns to local professionals in the community that are trained to better serve the senior elder person.

Assisted living facilities will have among other things; community and activity centers such as a gym, movie room, central gathering room, dining facilities, a chapel, a salon or barber shop, post office, small community library, and in some cases a store that carries basic needs for residents (grooming and toiletry items, select food items, some general household items, basic medical items, etc.).

Many assisted living facilities may resemble either a hotel or resort. Some are designed to look like a Main Street fully contained under a roof, or there are even senior housing campuses which have been converted into assisted living centers out of an old hospital or school. Some campuses look like any other block of community housing or apartments. New communities which are the first step to living in an assisted living campus begins with the move or sale of the former family home, where older parents become empty nesters. They often opt to move to an adult community, which requires for residents to be 55 and older, as well as have no children living in the home. These campuses may also have an assisted living facility on campus or nearby.

Samuel K. Burlum is an investigative reporter who authors articles related to economic development, innovation, green technology, business strategy, and public policy concerns. Burlum is also a career entrepreneur who lends his expertise as a consultant to start-up companies, small businesses, and mid-size enterprises, providing advisement in several areas including strategic business planning, business development, supply chain management, and systems integration. He is also author of The Race to Protect Our Most Important Natural Resource-Water, Main Street Survival Guide for Small Businesses, and Life in the Green Lane-in Pursuit of the American Dream.

Who are the Eco-Warriors?

Sam-Burlum-logo3 (2) ResizedWritten by, Samuel K. Burlum, Investigative, Reporter And author Published on 1/30/18 a Exclusive

Tags: Business, Community, Economy, Farming, Finance, Government, Healthy Living, Small Business

Source: As there is more public awareness and public education about environmental concerns related to fresh drinking water supplies, air pollution, and what occurs on land, local advocacy continues to grow to protect our communities from these threats. So, who is fighting for the planet? We take a look at some of the non-profit groups that fight on the side of a cleaner environment.

We know they are out there.  Occasionally, one of their spokespersons are quoted for an article related to a battle with contributors to water, air, or soil pollution. They are photographed and filmed during their rallies and events, as the opposition to big energy, big oil, big industrial machine, and bad political policy. Their fight is beyond the newspaper headings and court rooms. They fight for the environment, for clean water, clean air, and land conservation. So, who are they? They are the Eco-Warriors, a category of organizations that from around the world stand up for environmental justice and the people whom which pollution affects.

The Sierra Club is one of the first environmental working groups ever established to tackle threats to our land, air, and water. Based in Oakland, California, the Sierra Club has extensions in every state. The Sierra Club was originally founded by the legendary conservationist John Muir in 1892. They are one of the largest of the Eco-Warrior Organizations, having a membership reaching over three million people. They lay claim to some of the most important environmental legislation including their assistance in the passing of The Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act. The Sierra Club is currently led by Executive Director Michael Brune, and his Executive Team.

Friends of the Earth are led by Erich Pica, President, who has been working on behalf of the environment for decades. Friends of the Earth utilizes a mix of strategies in their mission to fight on behalf of the environment, including advocacy campaigning, instigating lawsuits, rallies and events, and organizing members on the ground. Friends of the Earth have been around for almost fifty years. With offices in both Washington, D.C. and Berkeley, California, Friends of the Earth campaigns on local, state, and federal levels, on issues related to fossil fuel use reduction, standing up for the Rain Forest, advocating for organic and chemical free farming, and advocating for protection from corporate and industrial polluters.

When the political policy does not match the needs of the environment, the first in Washington, D.C. to take notice is the Natural Resources Defense Council, or the NRDC for short. The NRDC is on the front line of the environmental policy making debate. Combining the power of skilled and trained law professionals and its one million plus membership, the National Resources Defense Council leverages their knowledge, capital, relationships, and membership to speak up and act on behalf of the environment, clean water, clean air, and proper use of the ground under our feet. Since 1970, the NRDC has addressed concerns in the areas of climate change/global warming, clean air, energy and transportation, food and agriculture, health and environment, environmental justice, urban solutions, and sustainability, while also having an eye to the worldwide stage in international environmental battlefronts. Rhea Shu is currently the NRDC President.

Earth Justice headquartered in San Francisco, California, is led by Trip Van Noppen, the organization’s President. Earth Justice puts the tool of the law in the hands of its membership and advocacy groups; in challenging private, commercial, and government entities accountable to the law when they infringe on the rights of mother earth. They believe in standing up for the wild (animals and plants); healthy communities and the people within those communities; clean energy (including renewable energy sources) and a healthy climate. Earth Justice began their journey in 1965 when a group of attorneys, passionate about the environment, began to challenge the courts in the rights of the people for a clean and healthy environment. In many cases, Earth Justice will partner with other environmental working groups to address issues of coal ash, fracking, pesticides, salmon, and wolves. With over 400 cases on deck, Earth Justice is currently leading the way to bring justice to the planet is the non-profit organization founded by Matt Damon and Gary White, who’s main purpose is to provide access to clean drinking water, sanitation and education for impoverished communities, villages, and in developing countries. partners with local organizers on the ground to establish new freshwater wells and provides education to communities on how to better manage their new-found resources. Based in Kansas City, has contributed to the improvement of lives of people around the globe including in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean Islands. has been able to provide over 9 million people with access to safe and clean water and sanitation, while helping communities institute practices that lessen their environmental impact. prides itself on the fact most of its work and impact is conducted and seen in the field where people need the most help.

The World Green Energy Symposium, directed by Professor Robert Gallagher, takes a different approach to solving environmental issues. The WGES gathers together many of brilliant minds together in one hall, including innovators, policy makers, financiers, community activists, educators, inventors, elected officials, green enthusiasts, and eco-warriors, to discuss the issues at stake and share solutions in mitigating problems related to mother earth. From energy generation and usage, to green tech innovation; from regulation and policy, to new ideas and rule-making, the World Green Energy Symposium has offered this cross-market dialog, resulting in real-time solutions being put to work in the field. Each year, the WGES honors one entity that stands out among the rest for their work, innovation, and achievements on behalf of the environment. The NOVA Award has been deemed the Oscar of the Green Community, and has been awarded to schools of thought, companies, and government agencies that have championed their ideas from concept to finished product in making a difference.

Clean Water Action, with chapters in over fourteen states, is one of the leading advocacy working groups in pitching for clean drinking water, and aims to protect natural water sources, land, and air. Since 1972, Clean Water Action has championed for the environment, cleaner communities, and regulation that puts mother earth back at the helm. In recent history, Clean Water Action has focused their efforts on fighting the practice of fracking for oil and gas, to keep toxic chemicals and pollutants out of waterways, lakes, streams, and rivers, and to build a future of clean energy and water usage. Clean Water Action has been aggressive and very vocal in the State of New Jersey, which is highest on the EPA’s list for having the most superfund or brownfield sites. Led by Robert Wendelgass, Clean Water Action has their main office in Washington, D.C.

Green America, based in Washington, D.C., is led by Alisa Gravitz, which has been on the side of the environment for decades. Green America’s mission is to harness economic power, the strength of the consumers, investors, businesses, and the marketplace to create a socially just and environmentally sustainable society. Green America focuses on climate change, food production, finance and green investments, labor, social justice, and green living. Green America has gotten some attention in the last six months, as Green America has brought to light the infringement of the Back Forty Mine, which is beginning to threaten the sacred Menominee River, a vital source of clean fresh drinking water to over 35 million people, as it feeds into the Great Lakes.

There are many more Eco-Warriors out there, which look to protect nature’s wildlife and national treasures, working on behalf of the planet. Remember, we only get one planet, so we must help mother earth win the fight.

Samuel K. Burlum is an investigative reporter who authors articles related to economic development, innovation, green technology, business strategy, and public policy concerns. Burlum is also a career entrepreneur who lends his expertise as a consultant to start-up companies, small businesses, and mid-size enterprises, providing advisement in several areas including strategic business planning, business development, supply chain management, and systems integration. He is also author of The Race to Protect Our Most Important Natural Resource-Water, Main Street Survival Guide for Small Businesses, and Life in the Green Lane-in Pursuit of the American Dream.

Recycle, Re-purpose, Reuse; Giving New Life to Used Items

Sam-Burlum-logo3 (2) ResizedWritten by, Samuel K. Burlum, Investigative Reporter and author, Published on 2/1/18 a Exclusive

Tags: Business, Community, Economy, Finance, Government, Green, Healthy Living

Source: In comparison against most smaller and undeveloped nations, the United States categorically is one of the wealthiest nations in the world. When compared to the average household in other nations, even the poor are not considered so poor. As a nation we also are some of the world’s most consuming population of material things. Our nation also wastes just as much as it consumes. So how do we lessen our consumer footprint not to be so wasteful?

There is an old saying, “Everything has its place.” Go into any suburban home in post-modern day era, and you most likely will find a basement, an attic, a closet, a garage, or even a shed full of items which have outlasted their initial use. It seems that most households in America will replace their cell phone every six months, a kitchen appliance once a year, and then there is the question of what to do that occasional odd ball item which someone may give us as a gift, yet serves no immediate purpose in our household.

So what are we to do with all of this stuff? The obvious answer is if the item is much past its prime, beyond the cost of repairing it; it is time to recycle it. Every year, landfills run out of space because we still do not recycle enough. Glass, plastic, metal, electronics, appliances, wood, paper, cardboard, automobiles, and even some types of concrete-cement all can be re-processed and converted into other products. Before you throw something into the garbage can, ask yourself can that item be recycled. Most county governments have a waste disposal and recycling center which you can donor your renewable waste. Salvage yards will accept every type of metal and in some cases, plastic, glass, cardboard, and electronics. Wood items are ground down to make mulch or cardboard.

If you have children, you will know this scenario all too well; you buy an outfit, a pair of shoes, or a toy for your young child just to watch them outgrow it in a matter of a few months. There are a few options…You can trade up your gently used items for either cash, store credit, or a donation voucher at a local consignment shop which deals mainly with children’s items. One store in mind is called Once Upon a Child, where slightly used items are cleaned up and prepared for resale well below the original sticker price. You can find many name brand items can be found in these types of stores for a fraction of the former sticker price, thus allowing disadvantage parents to purchase name brand clothing for their children, without the high cost. You can also donate your items to your local church or to a family that might have children that might be slightly younger than yours; thus allowing for the children items to get a second life.

Just about any household item can be cleaned up and resold at a consignment shop, flea market, if the age of the item is correct, and antique shop, or even at a church bazaar fundraiser. There is an old saying, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Your item may have outlived its use with you, however for someone else the item’s life is just beginning. Common items that you can find at flea markets or bazaars include tools, car parts, children’s toys, household decor, and even furniture.

You can try finding a new home for your item online. Craig’s List and EBAY are online havens for folks looking to sell and buy slightly used items. Even Facebook offers their version of the local marketplace. The most popular categories to buy and sell used items include used furniture, used cars and trucks, used garden tools and equipment; and children’s items. You will also be surprised at the amount of private sellers of jewelry, collectibles, and closeout items from businesses which are liquidating their left over inventory.

Many non-profit organizations have programs where you can donate your used and undesired car, boat, truck, trailer, or recreational vehicle. The standard previously followed, is that the donor would receive a donation voucher that they could write off their taxes in the amount of the lowest retail book value for their donated vehicle. In more current years, the donor gets a voucher for their item that relates to the scrap value of their former item. Then the non-profit will usually deal with a third party who would determine whether to scrap the item, or offer it for sale at the higher retail value. The public has no idea how much more the third party makes or how much the non-profit will actually receive. In this case, its best to sell your item as a private sale to another individual and then donate the cash amount to the non-profit you desire to assist.

The latest trend is that something old can be made new again. Wooden pallets can be taken apart and remade into shelves, storage crates, or even décor. Metal sheathing can be re-purposed into material for walls, shelving, made into crafts and containers, or even used in the construction or renovation of a home or business. Glass bottles and jars are great for making sand art pieces, planter pots for small flowers, or even fill them with candy or treats as gifts. Even old lumber, such as rustic beams, floorboards, shiplap siding, can be re-purposed for giving a new home the rustic look, or can be used to replace damaged lumber in a restoration project.

Even some waste products around the home can serve another purpose. Food scraps such as used coffee grinds, egg shells, banana peels and bones from meat when added to leaves and grass clippings, make for a great compost mixture for the at home gardener. Cardboard and newspaper can serve as a weed barrier in vegetable gardens and are safe for the soil.  When the cardboard and newspaper break down, they provide contents for earth worms to use to help enrich the garden soil.

Many of us are used to taking former dish and bathroom towels once they are past their prime and put those towels back to work in the garage as wash rags for the car or lawn equipment. Plastic bags from the grocery store can be reused as small garbage bags around the home. Brown paper bags from the grocery store can be made into protective book covers for children’s school books. Gift boxes can be held on to and reused again the following holiday season. Just about any item around the home can be re-purposed and reused into something else.

It is our responsibility as stewards of planet earth, to find ways to get the most life out of the consumer goods and material items around us. With limited landfill space, and the need to protect our precious fresh water supplies, the more we can do to recycle, reuse, and re-purpose, gives us one less item that makes its way to the landfill before its prime.

Samuel K. Burlum is an investigative reporter who authors articles related to economic development, innovation, green technology, business strategy, and public policy concerns. Burlum is also a career entrepreneur who lends his expertise as a consultant to start-up companies, small businesses, and mid-size enterprises, providing advisement in several areas including strategic business planning, business development, supply chain management, and systems integration. He is also author of The Race to Protect Our Most Important Natural Resource-Water, Main Street Survival Guide for Small Businesses, and Life in the Green Lane-in Pursuit of the American Dream.

8 Ways to Improve Your Health and Wellness


Published by Natural Awakenings Magazine-Central NJ, Natural Awakenings Magazine-North Central NJ, Written by Samuel K. Burlum, Investigative Reporter and Author,

There is no doubt that we are living in a fast-paced society. We can receive communications in seconds, order a meal in minutes, and travel cross-country in a matter of hours. However, we pay a price for this lifestyle full of modern conveniences: our health. In order to fulfill all of the day’s demands, we ignore our bodies and minds when they need our attention the most.

One common excuse for ignoring our health and wellness needs is a lack of money. Healthcare can be expensive and it may be that certain options seem out of reach. Another reason is lack of time, which many will relate to given that everyone seems busier than ever before. However, with commitment and a little creativity, there are some small steps that each person can take to reinvest in their own health.

Leave the car at home. If your destination is not too far away, elect to take a walk or ride a bike, and combine exercise with the handling of the day’s tasks. If you will normally walk a couple of blocks, stretch it to a mile.

Eat healthier on the go. Sometimes our schedule does not allow us the time to cook a healthy meal. Try instead to pack a bag of healthy snacks such as fruit or salad for those times that you will be traveling a lot. If you must stop for fast food, consider ordering a salad and water instead of a burger and soda. An increasing number of restaurants also offer organic food selections.

Drink more water. The human body consists of between 60 to 70 percent water, which needs to be replaced throughout the day. When we consume water, our body disposes of water that carries with it the toxic influences that we have ingested or absorbed. In addition to making the choice to drink more water, also pay attention to its quality, for not all options are the same.

Switch to non-toxic chemicals in the home. Many of us enjoy a clean environment free from dirt and grime, resulting in any number of chemical cleaners filling cabinets and closets. When we use these products to clean, the chemicals are also released into the air, so select non-toxic cleaners for maintaining your home. Reducing the number of chemicals used will result in fewer being inhaled.

Take time out from screens. People are exposed to digital screens all day, including phones, mobile devices, tablets, computers and televisions. They bombard our lives with news, information and advertisements. Take a break from screens in order to give the mind a few minutes of clarity. Choose instead to enjoy an activity outside, or pick up a book and read a chapter.

Commit to crushing bad habits. They say too much of anything can become a bad thing. Smoking is one the leading causes of lung disease and cancer, so look for alternatives to picking up a cigarette or tobacco product. Alcohol has also been connected to many health issues, so make an intention to reduce your consumption of it. Commit to having one less drink at the bar, reducing the alcohol you purchase for your home, or attending happier hour less frequently or for less time. To really pack a punch, replace a bad habit with a more productive or healthier one.

Slow down the clock. Many of us schedule every minute of every day with an activity, imposing additional burdens and stress on our minds and bodies. Instead of filling the day with activities, prioritize the day’s goals and focus on doing the best job you can for each task you perform. Slowing down will not only increase the quality of the outcomes achieved, it will decrease stress levels as well.

Take a rest. It is commonly believed that we need around eight hours of sleep in a twenty-four hour period. Life gets in the way, and many of us do not get the sleep we need to allow our body to rejuvenate and heal itself. After lunch or mid-afternoon, take time out for a 20 to 30 minute nap, allowing your mind and body a break to refresh itself.

Many of these suggestions only require a bit of extra attention and time. These low- and no-cost practices may help encourage you towards better health and wellness practices for your body and mind. The first step is making a choice to commit to your own health, for no one can make that choice for you.

Samuel K. Burlum is an investigative reporter who authors articles related to economic development, innovation, green technology, business strategy, and public policy concerns. Burlum is also a career entrepreneur who lends his expertise as a consultant to start-up companies, small businesses, and mid-size enterprises, providing advisement in several areas including strategic business planning, business development, supply chain management, and systems integration. He is also author of The Race to Protect Our Most Important Natural Resource-Water, Main Street Survival Guide for Small Businesses, and Life in the Green Lane-in Pursuit of the American Dream.

No Farmer, No Food: Support Your Local Family Farm

Source: Are you hungry for healthy food? Does your current food supply have the right nutrition content? Where do you go to get your supply of fresh produce, dairy, and meats? Do you trust your current food supply? If you have any doubt about your current food supply, you may want to get back to basics and support your local family farm.

Most households get their food supply from the local grocery or convenience store. Communities have been waking up to the notion that they need to be aware of where their food comes from, how their food is raised or made, what chemicals are introduced into their food supply chain, and about the impact in which factory farming and long-distance farming has on the environment. The answer to the demand to better food sourcing has been the rise and acceptance of the local family farm.

Farmers markets have been on resurgence throughout the United States. Parking lots and municipal city centers in just about every Main Street, USA, have played host to a community of healthy living advocates who bring together local family farms, local vendors who have sustainable practices, and green healthy products and services, bridging the gap between local consumers and the farms.

The concept of field-to-table, cutting out commercial factory farming and the supermarket, and even produce grown outside the country, has grown in popularity as individuals take more interest in how to better feed their families. The average local farmers market usually sets up and is open for four to six hours, one day a week.

Family farms that have found value in gaining access directly with the community of customers who are looking for a way to increase the health and well-being of their families, and demand the food they are putting on the table can be trusted. These family farms have expanded their product and services, where once they only grew produce, might also offer honey, jams, and specialty prepared foods.

Multiple studies, both by schools of thought and by non-profit organizations, have proven that the most sustainable method for feeding communities is to support local family farms that can provide their goods and services with minimal need for transporting the food from farm to market.

One of the elements to consider when choosing your produce is “how long has the produced been picked from the field?” As soon as fruit or vegetable is selected and picked from the plant or vine, it no longer can be supplied water or nutrients from the ground. The produce would need to be consumed as close to the time it was picked in order to retain and offer the best nutritional value to the consumer. The longer produce needs to be preserved, the more it is exposed to chemicals (used for food preservation during long distance transport). These chemicals are either introduced during the growing process or they are sprayed on during processing and packaging of the produce.

The local family farm provides a host of solutions in living and eating healthier. The local family farm may wait until the very last minute before picking produce from the vine, which makes their produce the freshest offered in local community. Some family farms do not believe in the use of toxic pesticides or fertilizers ridden with chemicals. Some family farms utilize best organic growing practices, leaving their produce to be of the highest natural quality offered. Some family farms will also only feed their livestock and fowl organic feed and hay, thus allowing for their meat supply to also be free of chemicals.

Some large grocery chains were quick to adopt “from the field to the table” experience, and only source from local regional farmers, and will only offer certified organic fruits and vegetables. Whole Foods and Wegmans Markets were some of the very first to offer organic produce and non-GMO food alternatives. Since the organic healthy living revolution took hold, just about every major grocery food supermarket chain now offers a line of both organic non-GMO and traditional food products.

Though these types of purchasing arrangements assist some local farmers, many are not as lucky. They work eight months in the fields from sun up to sundown, leaving little time to market their goods to large chain stores; thus relying on their own roadside farm stand stores and the local farmer’s market.

Local family farms need your business, and in order to provide balance in the community of healthy living and food supplies, we need them. Take the time to stop in your local farmers market and support a local family farm today. It just might be one of the healthiest choices you make.

Samuel K. Burlum is an investigative reporter who authors articles related to economic development, innovation, green technology, business strategy, and public policy concerns. Burlum is also a career entrepreneur who lends his expertise as a consultant to start-up companies, small businesses, and mid-size enterprises, providing advisement in several areas including strategic business planning, business development, supply chain management, and systems integration. He is also author of The Race to Protect Our Most Important Natural Resource-Water, Main Street Survival Guide for Small Businesses, and Life in the Green Lane-in Pursuit of the American Dream.


Waters-Valuable-roles-1-300x250Published by, Written by, Samuel K. Burlum, Investigative Reporter and author

Source: To survive and thrive as a civilization, our reliance upon pure, uncontaminated water goes beyond our drinking needs. Society is equally as dependent upon clean water that comes from trusted sources for commercial and industrial consumption. So how much water is actually required to sustain our society’s needs?

Water – the very essence and building block of life. In our current day and age, many people take one of the most valuable, natural resources we have for granted. Life today is so modernized and fast paced, that rarely do we take time to think about all of the reasons we are dependent on water. Whether it is for drinking or our use of this vital resource for manufacturing products, water is a critical component in the majority of aspects regarding the operations of society. The lack of water in some countries is a matter of national security, as they depend on neighboring nations. Every industry relies on water to manufacture its goods. Water is essential for food production. Even sewage treatment is dependent on water to assist with our waste water management. So how much water is needed to sustain all the moving parts of our society? We will take a look at five essentials within our society where water is most critical in supplying the things we need in order to maintain daily life.

Food production is vitally dependent upon having clean, fresh water supplies for growing crops for our consumption. In the United States alone, there are about 442 million acres of land which are dedicated to farming and raising crops of plants; which includes growing food for humans and for livestock. Many of these crops rely on irrigation when rain seasons fall short to deliver rain water consistently throughout the growing season. Much like our drinking water, water for farming and gardening comes from many of the same sources. Agriculture and horticulture account for eighty percent (80%) of all ground water usage within many of the nation’s region, and up to ninety percent (90%) in some of the western states. In relation to farming, states such as California, Texas, Idaho, and Florida are the largest consumers of water. Their water usage is almost always freshwater, which is a major stress on water left for public drinking water supplies. Water for agriculture does eventually work its way back into the eco-system.

A substantial amount of energy is required when it is produced from thermoelectric energy, which is our second largest source of water consumption. This process of producing energy from thermoelectric involves the use of serious amounts of our water sources. Water is utilized to assist in cooling equipment which aids in the production of electric power. Heat exchangers circulate the water and then return it to its source. Another form of water – steam, is used to turn turbine generators, resulting in the production of electric power. Not all of this water is fresh water. Some of it is sourced from salt water, or saline water.

Water can also be used for hydro-electric power generation. Water for hydro-electric power comes by way of damming up rivers and building hydro-electric power plants that are integrated into the falls of the river. A leading example and most well-known is the Niagara Falls, which was the first hydro-electric power plant in the United States. Niagara Falls relies on overflow from Lake Erie into the Niagara River as well as into Lake Ontario. Another highly recognized example of water being put to work to generate electric power is the Hoover Dam. This dam is situated on the Colorado River between Nevada and Arizona. The Colorado river relies on water from melting glacier and ice caps located high in the Colorado Rockies.

Water is necessary for the manufacturing of consumer goods, vehicles, and just about all material items we purchase as modern conveniences. Water is required for mixing paint, which is a base for paints when painting the inside of a home. Water is required to rinse away the left over materials from manufacturing a product, and to wash away any unwanted debris, shavings or millings left behind by the manufacturing process of that particular product. Water is also needed to supply these manufacturing facilities with fresh drinking water for employees, showers in locker rooms, and for restroom toilet facilities. Many manufacturing sites have air conditioning units, due to the nature of the need for a temperature controlled environment; water is used as part of the air conditioning-cooling process. Just the same, these facilities may use water to convert to steam for heating the same facilities.

When manufacturing raw goods, such as metals or plastic, water is one of the most important elements added to the process. Water is used to cool down steel or strengthen it when the hot steel is dipped in water immediately after the shape of the metal has been formed. Utilized as a natural cleaning agent, water is sometimes applied under high pressure to prep materials for their next phase of manufacturing purpose, and sometimes it is mixed with a chemical to sterilize a particular metal for food or medical use. Water is an added ingredient in making plastic, and used to clean plastic parts. Its heavy use in the process of manufacturing on CNC machines is critical, as this resource is projected onto the surface of the widget being manufactured, in order to keep the widget and the drill bit and/or laser cutter cool for accurate manufacturing of the widget.

Water is in high demand in the construction industry. The manufacturing and application of cement and concrete rely upon it. Water is part of the process in making lumber and building materials. The construction industry also depends on its industry partner of mining and quarry for aggregate materials (stone, sand, rock) which is used in erecting buildings and the manufacturing of construction materials. Water is necessary for “washing,” or filtering dust and impurities from aggregate materials. Once buildings are constructed, approved and occupied, many then rely on copious amounts of water sources for maintenance, including irrigating of plants and grounds. Water use for landscaping must be uncontaminated. Golf Courses are the largest consumer of fresh water sources for their buildings and grounds preservation.

One very controversial use of water pertains to the oil industry. This is for a process called hydro-drilling/hydro-fracking; where a deep well is drilled far below the earth’s surface into pockets where oil and gas preserves may be located. These pockets are found in very hard to reach places hidden inside either rock formations and/or softer material caught between large fissures of rock. Fracking fluid, usually consisting of water, other chemical agents, and sand, are put under high pressure then pumped into these crevices where oil and gas exists, forcing these substances to float to the surface. Unfortunately, fresh clean drinking water is used to make the chemical mixture, and there has been little effort on how to remediate the spent water mixture once it has been put to work in the oil and gas wells. To make matters worse, this mixture of material, with a water base, is then left in the ground, and seeps into other ground water supplies, including private wells for drinking water.

Sewage treatment requires not only spent water, as it is part of the sewage, but fresh water that is added to help filter out contaminates. Sewage treatment in the United States is some of the most advanced in the world, yet it still requires fresh water supply. In some countries, which do not have sophisticated and modern infrastructure, sewage is directly dumped into streams, rivers, lakes, harbors, and even water ways reserved for travel. As sewage is introduced into water sources reserved for drinking water, or is also needed for drinking water, larger problems arise. Unsanitary and poisoned water leads to a series of health hazards, some of them catastrophic to entire populations.

Countries without strong sources of fresh, unpolluted drinking water will lack the most fundamental base of an economic engine; manufacturing. Nations that lack water for manufacturing are at the mercy of trade agreements in regards to how much their population will pay for goods and services from other nations. Many countries in the Middle East are without water, or have negligible resources to rely upon. This leaves them forced to utilize other forms of creating value with which to meet their countries’ economic needs, such as tourism, information, technology, and fossil fuels; where fossil fuel exists. Many of these countries purpose to be central distribution and entry points to the region for goods and services from Europe, China, and the US, to the Middle East.

As you can see, there are far more uses of fresh water in our society than one often considers. As a society we usually only focus on what is in front of us; on which pours out of the faucet or comes out of the shower head. The hidden danger is where we waste water in all of the other areas of our lives.

Samuel K. Burlum is an investigative reporter who authors articles related to economic development, innovation, green technology, business strategy, and public policy concerns. Burlum is also a career entrepreneur who lends his expertise as a consultant to start-up companies, small businesses, and mid-size enterprises, providing advisement in several areas including strategic business planning, business development, supply chain management, and systems integration. He is also author of The Race to Protect Our Most Important Natural Resource-Water, Main Street Survival Guide for Small Businesses, and Life in the Green Lane-in Pursuit of the American Dream.

Give Mother Earth A Fighting Chance

Our planet currently supports a population of more than 7.5 billion people, resulting in a demand for clean drinking water and quality air that is at an all-time high. Unless society collectively changes its lifestyle habits that affect the environment, Mother Earth will not have a chance to recover from the abuse inflicted by humans for decades.

Earth Day is a reminder that planet Earth belongs to all of us, not just a select few. Every decision—our daily transportation choices, what products we purchase, how much water we consume and how much we waste—has an effect on the entire population, current and future. Although this responsibility may seem to be a heavy burden, there are alternatives to many of our day-to-day decisions that can make a big difference to the planet.

Here are some simple steps that will help create a more environmentally friendly home.

  • Switch from harmful toxic chemical cleaners to nontoxic biodegradable products. This lessens the exposure to toxins in the home environment and reduces the amount of chemical agents that end up in landfills and pollute fresh drinking water supplies.
  • Fix leaky faucets and pipes around the home. Every gallon leaked not only increases the water bill, but also contributes to the waste of clean drinking water supplies, which is limited. Install rain barrels to capture runoff that can be used for watering plants in order to preserve clean drinking water for human consumption.
  • Understand that everything, including waste, has its place. Instead of throwing away food scraps, begin a compost bin in order to transform scraps into valuable soil for gardening and planting.
  • List your unwanted, slightly used household items on a website like Craig’s List or donate them to a nonprofit second-hand store. This enables individuals that cannot afford brand new items to more easily fulfill their needs while repurposing items rather than adding to a landfill.
  • Recycle rather than trash as many items as allowed by your local municipality, including all metal, plastic, glass, paper and cardboard, electronics and other items that are now commonly reused to make renewable products and packaging.
  • Consolidate errands and plan accordingly to streamline your trips for efficiency, which conserves fuel and saves time and money. If your commute is less than a mile or two away, consider walking, riding a bike or even car pooling with a friend. Those living in rural communities that require a vehicle for transportation may want to purchase a vehicle higher in fuel efficiency, or purchase a green technology retrofit in order to make their existing vehicle more fuel efficient while also decreasing its toxic emissions.
  • Commit to teaching the younger generations about the importance of environmental stewardship and their responsibility to live a lifestyle that lessens their negative impact on Mother Earth. All the practices and methods of preserving the environment and conserving our most important natural resources can be passed down to our children and our children’s children. This is needed in order to continue the legacy of helping Mother Earth recover from years of abuse, while also preserving resources for future generations to come.

If we all take small steps in changing our daily habits with regards to how we treat water, waste and energy, we will have made a big difference collectively in giving Mother Earth a fighting chance.

Samuel K. Burlum is an investigative reporter who authors articles related to economic development, innovation, green technology, business strategy, and public policy concerns. Burlum is also a career entrepreneur who lends his expertise as a consultant to start-up companies, small businesses, and mid-size enterprises, providing advisement in several areas including strategic business planning, business development, supply chain management, and systems integration. He is also author of The Race to Protect Our Most Important Natural Resource-Water, Main Street Survival Guide for Small Businesses, and Life in the Green Lane-in Pursuit of the American Dream.


Remediation-ideas-for-home-1-300x250Published by, Written by, Samuel K. Burlum, Investigative Reporter and author,

Source: Homeowners look for ways to mediate water supplies at the tap in addressing water sources that have been affected by pollution. Advances in water filtration technology have drastically improved, allowing for more affordable options for homeowners to choose solutions in addressing this rising challenge.

As more municipalities continue to have challenges with containing outside pollution sources from entering public water supplies, home owners are now taking responsibilities of clean drinking water into their own hands, and are instituting technology and practices to assure they have healthy and clean drinking water for their households and their families. Cities like Flint, Michigan, are still struggling with aging water delivery systems and decaying infrastructure, while also trying to source drinking water from supplies less influenced by pollution.

Even private wells may be affected by outside influences that have made their way into their water supply deep in the ground. Some private wells are in areas known for heavy minerals and metals naturally found in the ground; hence having “hard water,” which will require some sort of filtration. Concerns and negative effects associated with the practice of fracking for oil and natural gas have only driven up the need to filter underground water sources at the tap. Home owners search out for the best options that will give them more comfort in assuring better water quality at the tap. We take a look at a number of available technology options in mitigating effected water at the tap.

Water treatment systems can improve the quality of water supplies and reduce the hazards created by bacteria, chemical pollutants, and toxic substances. Before you purchase a system for your home, you should have your water tested first, to decide what the top risk is affecting your water, if any, and to determine the best option to address your situation. No two homes are the same. Some homes, even if they are next door, can differ. A home’s infrastructure (piping, well, water basin, tanks, coils, etc.) can also effect water quality before it is poured from the facet.

The most common water treatment systems for the home generally utilized will fall into one of the following types: disinfection practices (chlorination, ultraviolet light, radio frequency); filtration (using carbon filters and disposable cartridges); reverse osmosis; distillation, and ion exchanges (water softener units). There are a number of additional methods that can be instituted for purifying your water supply in your home. Some of these practices cost little or no money to sophisticated systems that can cost upwards to thousands of dollars.

Disinfection practices and systems are designed to bacteria which are harmful to humans, viruses, and other agents that can be found in water that can cause great illness and disease. Four disinfection methods to address these concerns include chlorination, treating water with ultraviolet light, radio frequency, pasteurizing, and you can deal with disinfecting your water simply by boiling it. The oldest and most common method of disinfection is chlorination. An automated pump is designed to inject chlorine in small doses into water supplies, acting as an oxidizing agent that kills most bacteria and viruses. Using chlorine must be applied with caution. Chlorine will react to heavy metals, so additional filters with disposable cartridges are recommended.

Pasteurization and boiling water are cost effective ways to address cleaning water supplies, however it is time consuming. Both practices aim to destroy bacteria by heating the water to a high degree of temperature, however boiled water has a flat taste since the carbon dioxide within the water is removed. Most municipalities that experience a disruption in service, when water pipe infrastructure is serviced, recommend boiling your water before usage. This is meant as only a short term remedy.

Ultraviolet light uses a system of low pressure mercury lamps to produce ultraviolet light which then projects its radiant heat to the targeted source of treatment; will kill bacteria, however it is less effective on viruses and other living matter that cause illnesses. Lamps have to be replaced, as they have a short life expectancy and become less effective as the lamps degrade over time. Radio frequency also works in as similar fashion. Radio frequency of light pulses of electrical current will charge pipes and tubes, making for water scale less prevailing. You will still need an additional filter system to deal with granular material left behind to either process.

There are several types of filters to choose from for treating water. Depending on how your water test results reveal, will usually help you in selecting the type of filtration system you purchase for your home. Mechanical filters are designed to remove material from water such as sand, dirt, grit, salt, clay, and other organic matter. These systems are usually stacked together with other water treatment options because mechanical filters do not have the ability to address bacteria and or virus living in tainted water supplies. These filters are made from a host of materials including paper, fabric, ceramic, or metal screening materials, and need to be serviced on a regular basis as granular material is collected in these filters.

Active carbon filters soak up water impurities into the filter cartridge. These types of filters are commonly used in filtering chlorine chemical residue, odors and horrible agents that influence taste. Some advanced carbon filters are designed to even remove radon gas. These filters can be very highly effective in dealing with basic water treatment contaminates, but they are unable to treat highly effected polluted water sources. These filters need to be integrated into the home using other types of water treatment, or the water source should be abandoned for a healthier clean drinking water source. These filters lose their ability to treat water as these filters collect impurities, and must be changed from time to time.

Oxidizing filters have the ability to remove iron, manganese, and sulfur. This is an alternative to water softener treatment systems. To treat acidic water supplies, naturalizing filters are a viable option. This filtration system used broken up limestone chips as the catalyst in addressing such lead, copper, and other toxic heavy metals that leach into water from aging water infrastructure such as decaying metal pipes. This is in part the cause of Flint, Michigan’s, and many other metro cities dilemma that have experienced the tragedy of neglecting aging infrastructure.

Another option for home water treatment is by way of reverse osmosis. This process includes pressurizing and forcing water through a filtering membrane which removes up to 80-90% of contaminates impurities, and glandular material. Mechanical and or carbon filters are always accompanied a reverse osmosis system. The filters are first in charge, to remove granular material, impurities, and contaminates, before the water subject to passing through the membrane. These systems are costly, however they are most recommended for cooking and food preparation, and must be checked on a regular basis for form and functionality.

Distillation is a process of water is boiled to a steam and then the steam is collected and cooled back to a water state then filtered. This removes all minerals, impurities, bacteria, since the unwanted agents are left behind. This is a relatively slow process, where only five to ten gallons of water are distilled at a time, and five gallons of regular unfiltered water from the faucet will equal just one gallon of distilled water. Stills must be maintained more than other systems and can be costly based on the quality.

Ion exchangers are a fancy way of saying water softener systems. Most homes supplied by private well water have an issue with being “hard water,” where the mineral content makes the water very course. Iron, calcium, magnesium in excessive amounts can be reason for hard water. These minerals can wreak havoc on copper pipes, coils, and faucets because they react to metal. In this process of an ion exchanger, water is pumped through a system of a tank which is treated with salt crystals used to dissolve the mineral count. The water then passes through a series of filters to extract the impurities and smaller granular materials. These are the most common systems found in homes that have their own private wells.

Before considering a final purchase on any one system, you will want to consider a number of factors. In long term, is it cheaper to rent or buy a system, and what is the life span and return of investment of each system? Take into consideration consumer ratings on these systems. Know that some water treatment systems are more popular than others depending on the region of geographic area your home may be located in. These systems should be installed by a professional since they do involve tying into plumbing and/or electrical systems. Check your local town for permit requirements when installing your water treatment remediation system.

Samuel K. Burlum is an investigative reporter who authors articles related to economic development, innovation, green technology, business strategy, and public policy concerns. Burlum is also a career entrepreneur who lends his expertise as a consultant to start-up companies, small businesses, and mid-size enterprises, providing advisement in several areas including strategic business planning, business development, supply chain management, and systems integration. He is also author of The Race to Protect Our Most Important Natural Resource-Water, Main Street Survival Guide for Small Businesses, and Life in the Green Lane-in Pursuit of the American Dream.


Water-around-the-globe-300x250Published by, Written by, Samuel K. Burlum, Investigative Reporter and author,

Source: So many bottled water companies claim that their water comes from the best sources; and with all of the different types of water out there for human consumption, it can be confusing. We investigate into where some of the best sources of water comes from, spanning around the world on a search of the planets freshest and cleanest water supplies.

Although 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered in water, only one percent is available for fresh drinking water. So where does the best water come from?

Words like “all natural,” and “spring water,” can seem very appetizing, however when it comes to getting a better understanding of where the best sources of water are originated in the world, we need to dig a little deeper, actually sometimes a lot deeper, and sometimes we must look at earths most highest peaks.  Most sources of drinking water at that come from the faucet comes from one of two places; surface water or ground water.

Surface water is water that is collected from lakes, reservoirs, rivers, and streams. This is the case for most major metro urban centers, where they rely on these sources for their fresh drinking water. Ground water on the other hand comes from aquifers (highly permeable rocks, soil, and/or sand) which can be extracted through wells that pump the water to the surface or found as natural fed springs. In places where these resources have been over taxed, waste water is treated and put back into water distribution systems for use. In some areas where fresh water is scarce, salt water is refined into fresh water through the process of desalination.

So where does the ground water come from? Ground water is water that is located under the surface land ground locked up in spaces called pores, which are between rocks, sand, soil, and can be located between cracks and crevices deep below the earth’s surface. In some instances, these water supplies are under such immense pressure, it can spring up through the surface on their own. In most cases, a well must be dug, and water must be pumped to the surface. Most of these types of water pockets are trapped in what is known as aquifers. There are two common types of aquifers; sand and gravel aquifers and bedrock aquifers. Water found in sand and gravel is located where water is trapped between the individual chunks of gravel and grains of sand. In situations of bedrock aquifers, most water is found along fractures within the rock, joints, voids, and valleys between different slides of rock formations. This is the hardest of water to drill for since this water is surrounded by more solid material, however this water usually is more pure than sand and gravel aquifers because just as much as it traps water within, it blocks other materials from seeping into these spaces.

How ground water is replenished, is process of natural cycles. Rain water, melting snow and ice seep through the layers of soil and make their way into these natural aquifers. Most water that enters topsoil layers is absorbed by plant life; some water is held by the soil as topsoil acts as a natural sponge. The rest of the water moves down into the layers of the aquifer. In order for water to be allowed to flow to a well or a stream, an aquifer must be at its maximum potential. The surface of these aquifers, which leak water into wells, streams, and springs, is called the water table; which is the very top of where water levels are located. In cases where there is an over-abundance of surface water, streams, ponds, and lakes begin to take shape.

This natural “factory,” an eco-system that regenerates water and produces our most valuable resource is extremely sensitive. This is why our number one concern is how do we properly handle waste management, surface runoff, and limit the number of harmful toxins we introduce to this cycle.

Surface water is usually categorized as water that comes from streams, rivers, lakes, and reservoirs. Surface water is more preferred since it is less expensive to extract, collect, and redistribute to faucets of households. Because surface water is more available, and does not have any natural barriers to help filter pollution or containments, it must be property treated using both chemical and mechanical filtration processes. Surface water is more sensitive and susceptible to pollution due to it being out in the “open.” Brownsfields, which are properties contaminated by pollution in the ground, are monitored, so that run off contamination does not seep into surface water supplies.

Artesian wells are a pumpless water source that uses pipes to allow underground water that is under natural pressure that pushes it to the surface. Scientist say this type of well defies the laws of gravity, because the pressure that builds up between layers of rock has a chance to subside when water finds at path to the surface. This water is considered one of the most pure sources since the water from and artesian well becomes naturally filters as it passes through porous rock. Artesian wells are very popular due to their lack of needed infrastructure to access the water from these sources. This form of water source needs minimal filtration and can be brought to the surface with little or no effort.

The most pure of water supplies, which equates two-thirds of the available fresh drinking water for human consumption, is trapped inside frozen ice caps, icebergs, and glaciers. Knowing this, countries within the artic circles, have the most valuable water, as those with the highest elevated mountain regions which have the most snow fall. Yet is takes many years for this water source to reach a point where humans can access it.

The Institute of Earth Sciences, located at Germany’s Heidelberg University, claims that the cleanest and most pure water source within the article circle is located in the small village of Elmvale, Ontario. The reason for this is that this water is accessible and contains less atmospheric lead than any other source within the Article Circle.

Water located under Mt. Fuji, in Japan is considered one of the most pure sources in the Pacific. Located under the famous volcano, just 600 meters below the surface is the natural spring that provides this fresh water natural resource.

The Andes Mountains and Valleys contain some of the most pure water in the world, due to the minimal human urban development. With far and between modern manufacturing, and the added bonus of ice caps, snow caps, and glaciers, water that makes it into these aquifers have had minimal contact with any man made infrastructure or human influence (waste water, pollution, toxic run off, etc.).

The countries of Canada, Finland, Switzerland, Fiji, Norway, Austria, Sweden, and New Zealand are deemed to have the richest and pure water sources in the world, both from ground water, surface water, and when it is delivered to the tap.

Countries to have the worst water quality include Mexico, Indonesia, Tajikistan, Mongolia, and India; due to the high concentrations of manmade pollution that has found its way into water sources. Years of abusive land management practices, harsh agriculture (due to the over usage of fertilizers and chemicals), poor waste management, manufacturing and mining pollution had been major contributing factors to why the majority of these countries water supplies have been compromised.

Poor water quality has a significant impact on human health. Many poisonous and fatal bacteria, viruses, and disease thrive in dirty water conditions. Insects that carry harmful illnesses and disease find haven in polluted water sources which only makes matters worse. As human beings we have a social responsibility to contain as much of our negative influences upon fresh water sources as much as possible, and curb practices that compromise both surface and ground water resources. To ignore our own findings from professionals, advocates, and schools of thought about the importance of preserving fresh water sources will only lead to our own demise. We should not discount these warnings and take responsibility for protecting the most important natural resource to our existence.

Samuel K. Burlum is an investigative reporter who authors articles related to economic development, innovation, green technology, business strategy, and public policy concerns. Burlum is also a career entrepreneur who lends his expertise as a consultant to start-up companies, small businesses, and mid-size enterprises, providing advisement in several areas including strategic business planning, business development, supply chain management, and systems integration. He is also author of The Race to Protect Our Most Important Natural Resource-Water, Main Street Survival Guide for Small Businesses, and Life in the Green Lane-in Pursuit of the American Dream.


Water-Technology-300x250Published by, Written by, Samuel K. Burlum, Investigative Reporterand author of The Green Lane, a syndicated column Published on 01/15/17, Exclusive

Source: In order to preserve our most valuable natural resource – clean, fresh, drinking water, we must explore new ways of handling and protecting current water supplies, as new technology is made available. There have been many technological advances aimed at conserving water usage. They range from small, at home products and scale up to technology and systems for industrial use, all focused on reducing our use of fresh clean water.

Technology that allows us to live cleaner, more convenient lives is constantly developing. One area of concentrated focus where technological advances and improvements are moving at a rapid pace concerns water – its conservation, distribution, and treatment. In some areas of the world, these technologies could not come into existence or be instituted any faster, as some geographic locations deal with a growing population spiraling out of control, placing new demands on available clean fresh water supplies.

Some of these technologies are simple upgrades to already available water treatment products within the home. Others however, are completely innovative and radical by traditional standard, designed to handle water treatment and/or water conservation on a massive scale. The practice of water conservation is nothing new, with methods and technology that have allowed us to improve over time. As we have serious concerns surrounding waste water treatment, and how we can reuse gray water, new ideas have been instituted on deciding when we can use gray water when the situation does not require fresh drinking water supply to complete a function.

One place in the home where water is wasted most frequently is in the bathroom. The toilet’s design has not really changed all that much, but in some cases, the internal parts within the tank have advanced. Some of these toilets have become very efficient in the amount of water it takes to operate it. Tap and flush technology are new regulators and float systems allow for more precise measurement of water needed by the toilet; allowing for the necessary amount of designated water measurement to be used. This is more advanced than the traditional float style regulator. Another innovative, inexpensive technology is a toilet tank bag, which is simple to use and install. The bag is filled with water, then placed in the tank of the toilet. The toilet bag displaces some of the water in the tank and allows for the toilet to use less water when it is replenishing the toilet with water following a flush.

The shower ranks second place in the area of water efficiency loss in the home. Many faucet manufactures have begun to offer high efficiency faucet aerators, shower heads, and faucets. The purpose of these the new faucets is to push the water around through powerful jets, providing a similar effect as if you had more water. These new faucet designs can cut back usage of ten gallons for every ten minutes of shower time. That may not mean much to a household of one, but it would in a household of four to six people, where each person may shower at least once a day. It is estimated that a household of four to six people can save up to 400 gallons a month in water usage using these types of apparatuses. That is over 4800 gallons of water a year savings, which translates into savings in the pocket.

Water flow valves are not well known technology, since they are standard in most homes. Home owners are largely unaware that they can already regulate water usage just by turning the knob of these valve devices. Closing the valve by 50% will allow you to see drastic savings, for in most cases, you do not need the amount of water which exits the faucet to do the job at that time. There are do-it-yourself complete at-home water conservation kits, which range in price, with many under just a few hundred dollars. These kits also provide additional information on how to save on your monthly water usage and include a water flow meter that can measure usage around the house. Then you can fine tune faucets, water valves, and appliances yourself.

One of the latest at-home technologies showing up along Main Street, USA in clean fresh drinking water is the installation of Smart Metering of water usage, and the integration of Smart Watering controls. Regulating and measuring water usage has gone digital, and some would say it is more accurate, saving us thousands of gallons of water per household per month. These meters are more precise in the way they measure usage and control distribution. Advancements in ultrasonic metering have led to many water utilities installing these new meters across the landscape. Ultrasonic water metering and water controlling devices have no or minimal moving parts, allowing for more accurate data about water usage to be provided, and less maintenance of the actual metering unit.

In commercial and industrial applications, the reuse of treated gray water has been gradually accepted for some applications. For the purposes of operating air conditioning and cooling units for buildings and businesses, the reuse of gray water for use inside these machines has been more prevalent in these past few years. Gray water that has been filtered has been used for secondary uses, such as water for cooling systems, irrigation for farming and gardening, and even for reuse at car washes. More research has been conducted in how to extract soap and cleaners from gray water so at some point gray water can be recycled for use in other things such as laundry. Gray water that has been treated is now being sold as a secondary water commodity by waste water treatment facilities and water utilities to help offset treatment cost, while conserving clean fresh water for drinking, showers, and cooking.

Systems for collecting rain water have also grown in popularity. Before we had an understanding on the importance of rain water to our fresh water system, we were unaware of the many opportunities that allowed for us to collect rain water. New practices in creating parking lots with pervious surfaces, either by way of drainage, or by using stone and brick instead of asphalt or concrete paving, has allowed for some commercial building owners to collect runoff rain water into giant holding tanks and cisterns. Subsequently, the collected water is then pumped to distribution locations. This water is then recycled for irrigation of gardens and lawns, or for allocation towards decorative fountains. Rain water has also been used for the washing of buildings and sidewalks.

Commercial businesses are encouraged to install ultra-low flow toilets and faucets as one way to reduce water usage. Commercial buildings that use water to cool equipment can recycle gray water or switch to air cooled equipment for heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration. These types of buildings which still use steam boilers for heat, can upgrade the type of boiler to a machine that will use treated gray water. Many businesses have switched from fossil fuel and water driven utilities to electric, in order to save on the use of water and energy. New commercial dishwashers and ice machines use far less water than previously designed equipment. Although it may seem an expensive investment at first, use of the new equipment will save a restaurant, hotel, hospital, or school thousands of gallons of lost water a year to aging and cafeteria degrading equipment. Commercial appliances with the EPA Water Sense decal have been tested and rated for water conservation and cost savings.

On the side of sustainable manufacturing are the many practices of water conservation, mandated by law. Gone are the days when manufacturing sites were allowed to discharge waste water into local lakes, rivers, and streams. The old mindset was, “out of sight, out of mind,” and polluted water would be sent down the river, only to end up as some else’s environmental hazard. Many manufacturing factories that exist today are responsible for proper hazardous waste disposal, separating waste from the water that carries it. Just like the human body, there is no substitute for clean fresh water in manufacturing goods and products, especially in the making of plastics, vehicles, appliances, and other popular modern conveniences. Factories now filter and recycle water to be reused in processing raw goods.

Water treatment systems for recycling and reusing water have evolved over time. One of the most popular of today’s latest systems is the Membrane Bioreactor system (MBR), which separates and treats different types of liquids and solids. Dissolved air floatation is a type of device that bubbles any contaminate to the surface of water. Then the frothy foam can be skimmed from the top surface of the water. Filtration and softening systems are most commonly found in factories. There, an individual would see oversized units that resemble what a person can find in their home. New systems known as Reject Recovery Reverse Osmosis Water Treatment systems can be found being used in the soda and beverage industry. Sequencing batch recovery systems are found in engine and automobile manufacturing sites.

Other methods of water conservation now practiced by environmentalist include the replacement of protected wetlands and the reclaiming of these natural eco-systems. Research has found that wetlands have served us as a natural filter and barrier. The natural ecosystem of plants, animal life, and soil when mixed with water, naturally filters sediment and other material carried downstream. The wetlands function as a natural water purification system, as it collects pollutants and heavy metals, well before these materials enter the natural waterways or ground water aquifers. Wetlands trap many of these harmful agents and either converts them to less harmful materials, or traps them and buries them into the under-muck layers. Surrounding ecosystems, where ground water has been restored, has aided in lessening the need for humanly created irrigation systems for lawns, gardens, and natural plant life found either at a well decorated office complex or housing unit.

Samuel K. Burlum is an investigative reporter who authors articles related to economic development, innovation, green technology, business strategy, and public policy concerns. Burlum is also a career entrepreneur who lends his expertise as a consultant to start-up companies, small businesses, and mid-size enterprises, providing advisement in several areas including strategic business planning, business development, supply chain management, and systems integration. He is also author of The Race to Protect Our Most Important Natural Resource-Water, Main Street Survival Guide for Small Businesses, and Life in the Green Lane-in Pursuit of the American Dream.

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