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(Science Daily)   The latest environmental threat: manmade water   (sciencedaily.com) divider line 32
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5331 clicks; posted to Geek » on 19 Jun 2008 at 5:16 PM (6 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2008-06-19 04:24:39 PM
We studied the chemistry of water produced in several of the largest desalination plants on earth and found that that composition of the desalted water is totally different from those of natural waters

Um, water is water, you mean the trace compositions of minerals and such.

I'm leaning toward calling BS here unless someone has more info. This can't be as severe a problem as these people seem to be making it out to be.
 
2008-06-19 04:37:35 PM
Well, resident water expert Dr. Bunsen Honeydew has weighed in. Does anyone have any insight outside of their gut feelings and such?
 
2008-06-19 04:58:10 PM
Uh..yeah..I'm going with Crosshair on this one.

H2O is water no matter where it comes from, right? Desalinated H2O is still H2O.
 
2008-06-19 05:02:06 PM
Piss is a problem?
 
2008-06-19 05:08:03 PM
Zxaranthium: Uh..yeah..I'm going with Crosshair on this one.

H2O is water no matter where it comes from, right? Desalinated H2O is still H2O.


Sure, water is water, but water from natural aquifers has more than H2O in it, just like desalinated water doesn't get reduced to just H2O. Trace chemicals make a difference when you're dealing in terms of millions of gallons, and especially when the medium in question is the closest thing known to a universal solvent.
 
2008-06-19 05:16:02 PM
Fraggler: Trace chemicals make a difference when you're dealing in terms of millions of gallons, and especially when the medium in question is the closest thing known to a universal solvent.

Yeah, but it is a little difficult to buy that a reverse osmosis process designed to deionize water can separate isotopes of a given element at measurably differing rates. Doing this on purpose requires thousands of passes through centrifuges or diffusion membranes designed for the purpose.

My guess--poor lab work.
 
2008-06-19 05:17:21 PM
You guys are idiots, manmade water is OH2 .

/just because the headline is off, doesn't mean trace elements can't be problematic
 
2008-06-19 05:23:52 PM
Crosshair: I'm leaning toward calling BS here unless someone has more info. This can't be as severe a problem as these people seem to be making it out to be.

I don't think they're calling it much of a problem. It seems more like they're interested in tracking the stuff to see where waste occurs, etc.

Doesn't matter though, because all these guys are from Duke. Duke sucks.
 
2008-06-19 05:31:07 PM
How is desalinated water by reverse osmosis much different than rain water?
 
2008-06-19 05:31:38 PM
Ice IX, anyone? (new window)
 
2008-06-19 05:37:21 PM
H-O-H

My God! It's an abomination!
 
2008-06-19 05:38:14 PM
sunsawed: Ice IX, anyone? (new window)

Nah. Vonnegut had it wrong.

This is a phase diagram (new window) for water--note that Ice IX can only occur under hundreds of megapascals of pressure (pressure scale is logarithmic) and very cold temperatures.

/Just sayin'
 
2008-06-19 05:45:07 PM
I can't make water, but I can make ice water.


/I use an onion.
 
2008-06-19 05:48:53 PM
pandabear: Fraggler: Trace chemicals make a difference when you're dealing in terms of millions of gallons, and especially when the medium in question is the closest thing known to a universal solvent.

Yeah, but it is a little difficult to buy that a reverse osmosis process designed to deionize water can separate isotopes of a given element at measurably differing rates. Doing this on purpose requires thousands of passes through centrifuges or diffusion membranes designed for the purpose.

My guess--poor lab work.


It's that the seawater that its made from has different trace elements than natural fresh water. These trace elements are not removed by the desalination process.
 
2008-06-19 05:50:29 PM
Step 1: Seperate water into hydrogen and oxygen near sea level.
Step 2: Float the hydroxyl gas high into the atmosphere.
Step 3: Burn the gas to spin a high speed turbine.
Step 4: Cool the steam using a thermopile to create a current through temperature difference.
Step 5: Use the weight of the water to spin a shaft on its way back down.
Step 6: possible energy surplus after electrolyzation of the water?
 
2008-06-19 05:53:29 PM
Crosshair: Um, water is water, you mean the trace compositions of minerals and such.

I'm leaning toward calling BS here unless someone has more info. This can't be as severe a problem as these people seem to be making it out to be.


You are calling BS because you don't understand geochemistry and you didn't read the article.

The mineral and isotopic composition of the water can cause a change in natural acquifiers if this leaks into them. The effect here is the potential to cause the acquifier to either leach bad things out of the surround rock, making it unpotable, or if it comes to the surface, shutting down the spring if it calcifies over, for example. Then there's the whole "killing whatever lives in the natural acquifier" bit that no one seems to get is a very very bad thing usually. Ecological cascades can really fark up a year's crops.

How severe are the above mentioned threats? That's the real question.

Note: the article isn't about the threats to the env. It's about how they need to trace leaks from artificial to natural water sources to prevent problems or stop them from continuing.

So there's nothing really to "call BS" about if you read the article.
 
2008-06-19 06:00:34 PM
I think subby was joking. There doesn't seem to be any mention of harm. In fact, it sounds like this is a useful way to acquire data on water flows and water usage.

The water is different because it contains some elements (lithium, strontium) with different isotopes from "natural" fresh water. It is also different because the oxygen and hydrogen have isotopes of hydrogen and oxygen in different ratios from the natural water.

Hydrogen comes in regular "flavour" (aka protium, no neutron), deuterium (one neutron) and tritium (two neutrons) plus the proton which makes it hydrogen.

Deuterium is heavy water. It can make you drunk without a hangover--but it costs as much for a glass of the stuff as you'd pay for a good bottle of Scotch. It is extracted from natural water sources for use in water-moderated nuclear reactors and other sciency stuff.

Different isotopes of carbon, etc., are used by plants and animals in preference to other isotopes. You can tell what an animal ate from the isotopes in its bones--this helps identify the diets of extinct animals from their fossil bones and shells. Plants can also be identified by their preference for heavier (Carbon 13 or 14) or lighter (Carbon 12) carbon atoms.

Carbon 14 is used in radio-carbon dating.

Despite the apparent lack of harm from manmade water, I suspect that drawing massive amounts of fossil water from the ground contributes to the increase of water vapour in the atmosphere and hence global warming.

Water vapour is the largest bulk of the greenhouse gases. It's not as powerful as CO2, NOx or methane, and it responds rapidly to changes in temperature, etc., making it more of a feedback than a forcing gas, but there's an awful lot of it.

As I've pointed out before, removing all the water vapour from the atmosphere would be a short term change. In about a year, three quarters of the water vapour removed would evapourate or sublimate back into the atmosphere.
 
2008-06-19 06:00:47 PM
Zxaranthium: H2O is water no matter where it comes from, right? Desalinated H2O is still H2O.

Seawater contains the little-known Evil Hydrogen element.
 
2008-06-19 06:03:37 PM
Alert me when man actuallymakeswater out of its basic elements on a massive scale. Desalinization just doesn't seem to fit "man-made" to me.
 
2008-06-19 06:11:37 PM
Chuck Wagon:It's that the seawater that its made from has different trace elements than natural fresh water. These trace elements are not removed by the desalination process.
TFA:details for the first time the isotope geochemistry - or chemical fingerprints - of the elements boron, lithium, strontium, oxygen and hydrogen found in reverse osmosis-desalted seawater and brackish groundwater.
"We studied the chemistry of water produced in several of the largest desalination plants on earth and found that that composition of the desalted water is totally different from those of natural waters," he explains.

Sure sounds as if he is saying this.
Boron has two naturally-occuring isotopes. Both stable. Oxygen has three--all stable. Lithium has two, both stable. Hydrogen has three, two stable and one with a half-life of 12 years. Strontium has four, all stable.
I find it highly doubtful that a pass through an osmosis plant will measurably change the ratio of say, O-16 to O-17 in the water or its contaminants. Or the ratio of H-1 to H-3--though this would be the most likely case, as the ratio of the weights of the isotopes is highest in this case. But if you waited a year to check it again, it would change in hydrogen's case by a fair amount as the tritium decayed.
 
2008-06-19 06:14:32 PM
I thought the article was going to predict a nightmare-scenario after we've all moved to hydrogen powered autos. Something like the excess H2O acting in a harmful manner - say increasing water vapor (greenhouse gas) or the more unpredictable effect of quantities of water created by travelling vehicles, left in places where it shouldn't be (imagine all the cars driving through deserts).
/Glad it wasn't about that.
 
2008-06-19 06:22:08 PM
I heard that some desalinization plants have problems with DHMO contamination. DHMO is one of the chemicals often found at meth labs.
 
2008-06-19 06:33:58 PM
Let's see, two Hs and one O...
/Is there more?
 
2008-06-19 06:57:13 PM
Subby fails to read the article and instead goes for the 'environmental' joke that'll get a greenlight for no good reason.

/I'm not bitter about my lack of greenlights or anything...
 
2008-06-19 07:58:44 PM
Well... have you ever been on a camping trip and always used the same bush to pee on? Man-made water kills nature.
 
2008-06-19 10:57:18 PM
I always make my own water! That way it's fresh, unlike that storebought crap.
 
2008-06-19 11:15:16 PM
sunsawed: Ice IX, anyone?
www.holycrapfoxes.com
Approves.
 
2008-06-20 12:10:44 AM
FTA:
...of the elements boron, lithium, strontium, oxygen and hydrogen found in reverse osmosis-desalted seawater and brackish groundwater.

Speaking as someone in the pharma industry, if my reverse-osmosis/deionisation equipment had any measurable quantity of that stuff in its output, i'd yell at the manufacturer.

The whole point of a reverse-osmosis process is to not have any of that stuff in it. Last time i checked, anyway.
 
2008-06-20 12:43:35 AM
That's why dihydrogen monoxide needs to be banned!
 
2008-06-20 12:51:43 AM
The only way I could see it being a problem is if the nearly pure water, while going back through the environment, goes through an aquifer that has been dealing with mineral water for centuries. It could pick up a bunch of compounds that have been sitting stable for all that time.

Or, more likely, it would pick up the pretty stable plastic like compounds that last week's water deposited .
 
2008-06-20 11:36:36 AM
WHY WHY WHY does the article insist on talking about "manmade water"? I don't think these plants take Hydrogen and Oxygen and combine them..
 
2008-06-20 12:59:45 PM
Looks like we'll have to get our water from Mars.
 
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