Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

UV-Irradiated Water Doesn't Alarm San Francisco Alarmists

Posted By on Tue, Jul 19, 2011 at 3:15 PM

click to enlarge radioactive_412_thumb_300x448.jpg

San Francisco's elected officials are worried that the radiation from cellphones will melt your brain. Our citizenry is certain that the radiation from PG&E Smart Meters will melt your brain. Our school board is terrified that irradiated meats will melt your children's brains

So the city's new policy of blasting all the tapwater with ultraviolet radiation will ... be fine! Just fine!

Actually, federal regulations now require cities to employ a second line of disinfection for their water systems. San Francisco already puts chloramine -- that's, essentially, chlorine and ammonia -- in its water. Now it's zapping it with UV radiation as well. UV systems have been used in Europe for years; along with our continental cousins' enjoyment of unpasteurized cheeses and offal meats, it's never been proven to do them a lick of harm.

Still, this is San Francisco. There's always someone worried his brain is going to be melted, right?

When it comes to UV disinfection, apparently not. Public Utilities Commission water quality engineer Eddie So pointed out that UV systems are one of three methods of filtering the federal government insists upon; San Francisco could have chosen ozone or chlorine dioxide as well. Julie Labonte, the PUC's water systems improvement director, says the city went with UV radiation because, unlike ozone or chlorine dioxide, it doesn't add anything to the water, which can lead to disinfection byproducts -- potentially harmful compounds formed by disinfectants and organic materials already in the water.

click to enlarge atomic_energy_merit_badge.jpg
If anyone's been yammering about how irradiating San Francisco's water supply is going to kill us all, such complaints haven't reached So or Labonte's ears.

"This is not a supernew technology," says Labonte. "I am not aware of any research or any complaints raised by any groups."

Well, here's one. While the EPA mandated San Francisco implement such a system, it didn't help pay for it. The price tag: $114 million. That's enough to melt your brain.

Follow us on Twitter at @TheSnitchSF and @SFWeekly.


  • Pin It

Tags: , , , , ,

About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Bio:
Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook

Slideshows

  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"