Celebrate World Plumbing Day!

Today – March 11 – is recognized as World Plumbing Day, a day on which we recognize worldwide the importance of clean water, safe water treatment and water conservation. In the developing world, water is quite possibly the most valuable natural resource, and billions of people in the world do not have access to clean water or sanitation.

In the United States, we are fortunate in that we have access to both. That simple fact enables us to avoid illnesses and water-borne diseases that are common in other parts of the world. But World Plumbing Day reminds us that we can do more to preserve the quality of our own lives, improve the quality of life for others, and ensure that we have adequate water and sanitation for future generations.

Conserving water – that is, reducing water usage – is one of the most beneficial things we can do in the United States. By installing water-conserving fixtures, showerheads and appliances, consumers have reduced demand for treated water by three-quarters of a trillion gallons since 2006. In addition to reducing the demand for treated water, consumers have also significantly reduced the energy required to treat and deliver clean water to their homes and businesses. In fewer than 10 years, that has produced a savings of more than $14 billion dollars.

But we can do more. When you shop for new water-consuming fixtures, look for the EPA’s WaterSense label. This designation means that the labeled product works as well as standard models while reducing water consumption by at least 20%. WaterSense labeling is available for a variety of household and commercial plumbing fixtures, including toilets, faucets, showerheads, urinals and irrigation products.

Becoming more “water-efficient” is not only a good idea, it’s essential to preserve the quality of life for our future generations. Drought is a common occurrence in the western United States, but drought conditions affect all of us. According to NOAA, drought conditions are likely to intensify in 14 states between now and June, and new drought conditions are likely to form in at least seven states, including two states in the Great Lakes area!

By adopting water-efficient fixtures on a national basis, we can help reduce water consumption and ease the impact of drought conditions where and when they occur. In addition, by reducing water consumption, we can help ensure that we have adequate water available for human consumption, agriculture and recreational uses.

This is one area in which you can act very locally, and have a positive impact not only on your own expenses, but also on the quality of life in this region. The Boston area has made great strides in the last 30 years to improve the quality, quantity and safety of our municipal water supply. To continue on this path, we all need to take steps to reduce water consumption whenever and wherever we can.

If you would like more information about water-saving fixtures, or ways in which you can reduce the amount of water your home or business consumes, please contact us at Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating at (617) 288-2911. We’ll be happy to review your current plumbing fixtures and show you how you can reduce water consumption without sacrificing comfort.

Happy World Plumbing Day 2014!

If you’ve never heard of World Plumbing Day, it’s a special day set aside by the World Plumbing Council to draw attention to the important role that plumbing plays in sanitation and health. Currently, about 3 million people each year die from preventable water-related illnesses each year. The majority of deaths occur in children under five years of age.

In the US, we have access to reliably clean, safe and abundant water. Sanitation is the other half of the safe-water equation, and we also enjoy some of the most sanitary living conditions in the world – thanks to our strict plumbing and building codes.

For nearly ten years, global organizations like the World Health Organization have been working to bring clean drinking water and improved sanitation to areas of the world where access to these necessities are limited. We tend to think of water-related sanitation as a third-world problem, but every year, we receive many reminders about the dangers that lurk in our own high-quality water supplies.

Legionnaires Disease was first identified in Philadelphia in the mid-1970’s. It is a form of bacterial pneumonia that thrives in treated water systems like cooling towers, air conditioning systems, evaporative coolers, fountains, spas, humidifiers, icemakers, and hot water tanks.

Although we associate Legionnaires Disease with massive outbreaks, as many as 18,000 cases are documented each year in the United States, mostly among individuals. Aerosolized water in hotels, cruise ships, grocery stores, office buildings and public spaces spreads the bacteria. Aggressive changes to plumbing, heating and cooling codes, and procedures for treating and cleaning water-handling and storage systems now discourage major outbreaks of Legionnaires and other similar water-borne illnesses.

Clean, safe drinking water and high-quality sanitation form the basis of our modern society, but even in 2014 in Massachusetts, we still struggle with removing contaminants like lead from our water. According to the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, as of September 2013, nearly 2% of “high-risk” homes in Massachusetts still contain lead in the water in unacceptable levels.

At Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating, we take the safety of your plumbing seriously. Whether we work on your home heating, cooling or plumbing systems, you can rely on us to keep your water-handling systems clean and safe. If you have any concerns about the safety of your plumbing, heating, cooling or water-handling systems, contact us for help. We can help identify and remove lead-containing fixtures and water lines, the chief source of lead in residential tap water. Call us anytime at (617) 288-2911 and let us help you maintain your major residential heating, cooling and plumbing systems safely.

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