Saturday, March 14, 2009

Drinking Water

This is Bethel Beach and a sky which jump starts the imagination. (We'd be here all day long if I told you what I saw in that sky.) Usually when I'm down there I am facing the bay trying to figure out what little section of nothingness to photograph next. Rarely do I look behind me, but I'm starting to learn that the more I do the more I'm pleasantly surprised. This was one such occasion. Now, speaking of water, surprises and looking back, let's talk once again about the drinking water here in Mathews.

Today we continue with the topic of Mathews' lethal drinking water. As I've mentioned on numerous occasions, most (if not all?) people are on wells. The quality of the water ranges from skanky to raunchy, with very little in between.

I jokingly call the water lethal, but not without some degree of concern that it may be true. Back in the 1970's, long before heavily processed foods and other present-day dietary nightmares wreaked havoc on our health, almost every house on our lane had a history of cancer (the people living there, not the houses per se) . Although I was a teenager, I didn't think it took a nuclear physicist to figure out there was a trend, and I made up my mind it was the drinking water.

Whether it is or isn't is immaterial, because the stuff stinks, it tastes horrible, and it's ruthless to hair and clothes.

By now, those of you who are scientific, factual sorts are all, "Here she goes again. Another of CBW's cockamamie statements with absolutely nothing but the cobwebs of her failing mind to substantiate her claims."

Perhaps that's true, but I offer this from my handy dandy government publication known as the Mathews County Soil Survey from 1962, which really is a Must Read:

"At Port Haywood, a driven well, of a depth of 70 feet, entered blue mud* at about 20 feet and soft rocks at 40 feet; the yield of water was not satisfactory.** Another driven well at Fitchetts produced water that was too salty for use. An 817-foot drilled well at Mathews contained 167 parts per million of chloride, and it was abandoned. At North, a drilled well, 460 feet deep, yielded 12 gallons of water a minute and contained 550 parts per million of chloride."

Folks? The government covered all the bases geographically. And nary a clean drop of water was found. (BTW, "nary" is pronounced "nare," rhymes with "mare," in Mathews.)

Hello, welcome to Mathews. My name is Chesapeake Bay Woman, and I'm so glad you're visiting. Go ahead and take off your coat, stay a while, make yourself comfortable.

You must be parched. May I bring you a glass of chloride?


Two additional comments from the peanut gallery:

*How about some blue mud? Do you think maybe there's something swirling around in that mud? Well, it's called iron bacteria, which has been described as follows:

"Clues which indicate that iron bacteria may be present in well water are:
unpleasant tastes and odors commonly reported as: "swampy," "oily or petroleum," "cucumber," "sewage," "rotten vegetation," or "musty." The fact that these same words can be used to describe the smell of my house is really not germane. The point is, our water smells like rotten vegetation at best; sewage at worst.

**"Not satisfactory" may well be the understatement of the century. Similar to "Chesapeake Bay Woman doesn't enjoy housework."


TSannie said...

I want a drink.

Grandma J said...

I'll have a case of Aqua Fina in the back of my SUV.

Actually, I think quite a few places put chloride in their water systems. I could be making that up, but I think it's true.

Annie said... what do you drink?



mmm said...

Think of Mathews as a petroleum bog, a rich oil deposit in the early stages of its evolution. One day you Mathews natives are going to be wealthy. The Dismal Swamp, of course, is about 5,000 years ahead of you. Now if you'll stop burning all those leaves and throw them in the creek instead, you might close the gap a bit. Of course, I assuming that climate change, global warming, etc. won't lead to the sinking of Mathews Co., but let's not talk about things that Al Gore* invented...

Some folks in the mountains of VA use cisterns. They just channel the rainwater off the roof through the gutters into a hole in the ground or a tank. A little filtering here, UV treatment there and you have good water. Don't get confused though; the tank with copper coils coming out of the top, setting next to the furnace, that's not water.

Perhaps you could build a solar powered desalination plant on Queens Creek. I'm sure those folks from the Persian Gulf could show you how. Just be careful that the light reflecting off of the panels don't cause any birds to squint; wouldn't want the humane society shutting the operation down. And don't stick the panels too far out in the creek, lest some skier mistake them for an opportunity to go airborne; or, some motor boater or blow boater, who's been drinking from that tank next to the furnace just fails to see them from the start.

Also, I don't understand why you can't drink the salt water out of the creek, when you put salt in the water that comes out of the ground. If you don't know what stuff like osmolarity or osmotic and oncotic pressure is, how's it going to hurt you? Based on the law of oncotic pressure, if you eat meat, won't the protein suck all the water out of your intestinal lining; I'm sure I read that in one of Barbara Kingsolver's** books.

What were we talking about? Oh, that's right, I'm just trying to get CWB to ban me from the blog.

*We need people like Al G.
**I love Barbara K. and her books.

Have a nice ADD day everyone.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

TSA - Me too, and it's only 9:00 a.m.

GJ - You might want to bring 2 cases. Also, I have no idea the role of chloride in water at all, whether it's good bad or harmless, but it sure doesn't sound like something I'd want to be ingesting.

Annie - I drink a LOT of club soda/seltzer water. It has the fizz of Pepsi without the high fructose corn syrup and chemicals, plus it's cold. Also, we have the spring on my parents' property that we sometimes use as a water source, as crazy as that sounds. It doesn't smell, it tastes good, and it'll probably kill us in the end, but whatever. Sometimes I buy bottled water.

MMM - I will never ban you from the blog. But I do have a question: Can you send me some of whatever brand of coffee you're drinking? I'm just mustering up the energy to get out of bed, and it's 8:45, trying to choke down my first cup, and here you've gone and written a thesis on natural resources and global warming. Or was it about the Dismal Swamp? Cisterns vs. stills?

My ADD day is well underway.

Not Moved Mom said...

MMM-Wow, you must get up around 5 am to be able to pump all of that info out. I am like CBW, just trying to part the cobwebs out of my head and you have me totally confused (which takes very LITTLE). However, it must be that wonderful Mathews education coming out of you.

CBW-Someone needs to warn CBW Mom that I see a Mathews County cistern in CBW Dad's future. May the force be with you all.

Must return to parting the cobwebs or trying to decifer MMM's analogy of what is suppose to be "Simple" Life in Mathews....

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

NotMovedMom - There's a darn good chance that CB Daddy has already delved into the hobby of home production of beverages, but I can't say for certain. Or maybe I don't want to say for certain, but anyway, these are the sorts of projects that occur down the road a spell at his buddy's garage, known fondly as the Pink Feather (so called by my mother) or the Outback (so called by Daddy and his friend because they are going "out back" of the garage to solve serious world problems, such as thirst, for example.

Oh wait. You said cistern. I thought you said still.

Never mind.

Not Moved Mom said...

As I have learned, since having teenagers, there are some things that we just don't want to know. I am assuming that is now coming back to us in regards to our parents. Therefore, maybe you want to leave that one alone. However, some of our fellow bloggers may want to explore "down the road" or "outback" during Blogfest. They may get an education to take home with them.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

NMM - Exactly. I don't want to know.

I think you have a good idea about adding the outback to the list of tour stops. Indeed our blog fest guests would get an education...of some sort or another.

If nothing else they could see the inner workings of a "sometimes VW repair shop, sometimes antique tractor repair shop, sometimes washing machine repair shop, sometimes think tank." Sometimes.

mmm said...

Tanked in a thinktank?

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

MMM - I believe that would be known as a "drink tank."

IslandGirl said...

well by the time i have read everything i forgot what we were talking about today. Oh the water, is chloride something we put in our pools in the summer... believe me I don't know which could be better for you some good mathews water or the great taste of choloride you get from city water... ask me they both have the same effect on you, but one makes your house smell better. I remember the first time I went to richmond to get a perm in my hair(tellin age now) and the towel turned blue (or green i cant remember) due to all the iron in my hair or maybe the rust one of the two(maybe that is why i can't remember now)... but what I do remember was the embarasement when all the people around me looked at me like I was a strange... well i was finally happy when islandgirls mom decided to buy bottled water and stop drinking out of the faucet... maybe the bottle water will have a reverse effect on anything that had been happening in her body from all those years of drinking rotten egg smelling water.... speaking of going out back... so that is what my brothers are always doing when they go outback on those holidays... lol should have know...

p.s. nmm how long you had those cobwebs.... is it from going outback or drinking the water?

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Islandgirl - Too funny. But I swear this water wreaks havoc on a head of hair. Mine is like straw now. Dried out, won't hold color, gray hairs sprouting up everywhere....wait. Maybe the gray hair is a separate issue from the water.

Not Moved Mom said...

CBW-Don't even try to blame those gray hairs on the water...I do believe however...that those gray hairs could have even started with the outback activities during high school/college times.

Island girl-And you, missy, have had your outback time as well!

Haven't we all, I guess, that is when aging helps us out. Is it wisdom that kicks in or just flat ol' worn out? Anyway, I quit trying to figure the water deal out and decided to just drink a nutritious, non-toxic Pepsi to be safe.

Pleasing Procrasinator said...

Okay, my question is should we be bringing gallons of water to blogfest?

Annie said...

whew..what an exchange of views..or was it drinks? I couldn't tell from here!

Reminds me I have to take my own bottled water when I go to my son's place up the range...their dams are so low, that the water tasted terrible! Maybe it might be better now, as I think they may be using underground water now...I should try it, or maybe I shouldn't perhaps?

Must be time for a is 10.30am here , and I am still not awake. Perhaps that's because of the amount of sleep I got last night? mmm...zzz...

ps Sounds like I need to read a few more Barbara Kingsolver education is sadly lacking. Has she written many? I only read the one, and it was pretty good I thought.

ppsIt is quite a way to The Outback from here...would be a long time between drinks! Haha!

Mental P Mama said...

So, are you saying we have to bring our own water with us in July?

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

NMM - I still think I can blame the water for something. Wrinkles?

Pleasing Pro - Yes, bring extra water. It can't hurt. Unless you want to try the spring water in the field. (And I wouldn't blame you one bit if you didn't.)

Tastes great, less killing.

Annie - Yes, our outback is considerably closer as in out in back of our house, or out in our back yard, or out in back of the garage, etc. If by 10:30 the coffee or whatnot has not jolted you awake (and assuming you have no job to report to) take a nap. It's a good day for napping. (Every day's a good day for napping, I say.)

MPM - Yes, bring water. Also Thai spring rolls, if possible.

Happy Saturday.

Annie said...

Ah, I just had that nap...just what I needed...and sorry, I ate the spring rolls last night!

foolery said...

I can bring three ounces of water on the airplane. Given that paltry measurement, water will not be my liquid of choice, *ahem.*