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Household Water Supply and Treatment Systems
This page is generously sponsored by Yuki Water Treatment.
Because groundwater throughout Jakarta (and other major cities) is severely polluted, water quality is an important concern in all households, expatriate and Indonesian. It has been stated that up to 80% of groundwater in Jakarta is polluted with pathogenic, disease causing bacteria, such as e-coli. It's highly advisable to drink boiled or bottled water during your stay in Indonesia due to the prevalence of water borne diseases.
As there is no municipal sewage system in Jakarta, most household waste is sent to a septic tank located somewhere under your garden. In many neighborhoods the septic tank is simply a hole in the ground with layers of coral rock and ijuk fiber at the bottom to filter the water. Poorly constructed or old septic tanks or septic holes could leak raw sewage which eventually leaches down into the groundwater supply. As a result, dangerous Coliform bacteria are commonly found in groundwater. A simple cut can become badly infected if bathed in water containing coliforms. This might be a concern for parents that have young children who splash and drink the water in the bath. It is suggested that an appropriate amount of a safe antiseptic added to bath water can sanitize the water for bathing.
Household Wells (aka Deep Wells)
Most homes in Jakarta have individual wells that supply water for household needs. These wells are referred to as deep wells, however, they are actually shallow wells of around 20m on average.
A typical domestic setup consists of a well pump that lifts the water from the well and pumps it into an above ground storage tank. See below for more information on water tank towers. During the dry season some shallow wells may run dry and need to be deepened. Although, this may not always be feasible and depends on your location and the rock formation beneath the well.
Ask the neighbors of houses you are considering renting if the wells have run dry in recent years. If the house you're considering has an older-looking water pump, you might ask the landlord to install a new, high quality jet pump before you move in. These are inexpensive and readily available so should not be a big issue.
When looking at prospective homes, it is best to check the water pressure, odor and sediment. It is also a good idea to have the water tested by a reputable laboratory. This is an inexpensive process and gives you peace of mind or a advanced warning on any water issues that may need to be addressed. Results are available within 3 days after a water sample has been submitted to the lab. If you are considering a water filter system, the type of system you are installing should take into account the results of the water testing to make sure the filter is solving the type of problems that are evident in the water.
City Water (aka PAM)
Some homes in Jakarta, and other major cities, have connections to PAM, the city water authority. While the quality of PAM water is better than groundwater, the supply is uncertain and the pressure can be low depending on your area. Due to a poorly maintained distribution system PAM water, even though it may have been clean upon leaving the water treatment facility, may be badly polluted by the time it reaches your home due to breakage in the main water lines and the poor quality of repairs done on these problems. PAM water is not potable and should be boiled before drinking or using in cooking. Be aware that water needs to be boiled for 20 minutes in order to kill all germs and disease-causing pathogens that may be present.
PAM water runs from the water line into a holding tank on your property, which is usually at ground level, or dug into the ground. If the power goes off, you will have to dip the water out of the holding tank with pails. Another consideration is, if your area should flood, the entire holding tank will have to been cleaned out, a real problem with this system!
You receive a bill monthly for your PAM water usage, based on a meter reading at the point of entry into your home. If you have a well, you might want to use the well water for garden uses, and use the PAM water for household needs to save on your water bill. Some families choose to have a well as a backup to the PAM supply and this is basically a very good idea. However, in some areas wells are totally restricted; so if the house does not already have one, digging a new one may not be an option.
PAM Call Center (62-21) 570-4250, Fax (62-21) 571-1796
Palyja (62-21) 2997-9999
Aertra (62-21) 577-2010
Common Water Contaminants
Some of the more common water contaminations you are likely to face are:
Iron in your water supply which will cause reddish brown stains on your bathroom fittings and will cause rust-colored spots on laundry as well as turning white clothing to a yellow color.
Manganese will cause black staining on bathroom fittings and will cause black spots on laundry as well as turning white clothing to a gray color.
Hydrogen Sulfide will cause your water to have a rotten egg odor. This is usually particularly evident from the hot water faucet.
Bacteria and Viruses As there is no municipal sewage system in Jakarta, all your household waste is sent to a septic tank located somewhere under your garden. In many neighborhoods the septic tank is simply a hole in the ground with layers of coral rock and ijuk fiber at the bottom to filter the water. Poorly constructed or old septic tanks or septic holes leak raw sewage which eventually leaches down into the groundwater supply. As a result, dangerous Coliform bacteria are commonly found in groundwater. A simple cut can become badly infected if bathed in water containing coliforms and showering or bathing can be dangerous, particularly for young children who splash and drink the water in the bath.
Salt Much of the northern sections of the city have extensive saltwater intrusion into the water table. The high salt content of the groundwater rusts metal objects that you may be cleaning with the water - cars, kitchen pans, etc.
Water Treatment Systems
Given the poor quality of water here in Indonesia, it is highly recommended that you have a water treatment system installed. There are few reputable companies in Jakarta that can install a variety of types of water treatment systems to filter or otherwise remove many of the common pollutants listed above.
Click here for a diagram of how these systems work.
It is common for companies employing expatriates to either rent or purchase water treatment systems and you should be sure to ask for one from your company. These systems last for a long time and these can be easily relocated so when you move home or leave the country the system can be moved as you move or relocated to the home of the person replacing you.
If you would like to have a filter system installed on the house you are renting, however, it is critical to make this request during your house rent negotiations as once the landlord is paid the rent in advance, you are not likely to be able to get them to purchase a system for you afterwards.
Note that there are many types of water filters available and it is highly recommended that you get involved with the selection process and be sure that the system being selected by your company or your landlord is a good quality water treatment system that is designed to treat the contaminants found in your water and not simply the cheapest water filter that they could find. Also, make certain that the company supplying this system is capable of supplying you with after sales services and replaceable filters or spare parts that the filter might need and will not vanish once your system is installed.
The performance of this system and the capabilities of the company maintaining it is what is going to be responsible for ensuring the quality and safety of your water for your family throughout the duration of your posting so be sure you get a system that you are 100% happy with.
Water Pressure and Water Towers
Poor water pressure is a common problem in many single family dwellings. Most homes will have a pump installed somewhere in the garage, garden or near the kitchen. This pump lifts water from your well and has to pump the water throughout your entire plumbing system.
At the point of extraction, it is advised to install an elevated storage tank (at least 500 liters). As electricity can be unreliable, it is best that this tank be situated in a tower that is higher than your ceiling height so that in the event of a power disruption you can rely upon gravity to bring the water into your home.
Following the storage tank it is a good idea to have a pressure pump installed as this will ensure constant, good water pressure throughout your home. Both of these pumps are readily available in most hardware stores, or special pump supply stores. Since these pumps are not easy to install and sizing of the pumps and their pipes is complex, it is advisable to use a pump specialist to ensure proper installation.
Your landlord will probably have contractors that can install these pumps for you or alternatively, a company that installs a water treatment system for your home can provide the right equipment and some of these companies can supply the required pumps along with the water treatment package.
Backups for Electrical or PAM Outages
If your water treatment system requires electricity to run, ensure that there is a by-pass switch to enable you to still get water through your system from your water tower in the event of electrical outage.
Another common backup water supply in the home is the bak mandi which is found in Indonesian-style bathrooms. If you have bak mandi in your home or servant's quarters, ensure that the servants keep them clean and filled up at all times as a backup water supply.
If the PAM water does not run for a couple of days, or if the power is off for an extended period, in some areas of the city you can buy clean water from the tukang air that pushes his wagon of water cans around. Some people buy from him even when the power is on as the water is usually obtained from a PAM water tank and is cleaner than ground water.
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Organic and Inorganic Minerals
Most knowledgeable people today recognize the body must have certain minerals to preserve health. However, only a few realize that the minerals needed to maintain healthy lifestyle must be in their organic. Below is a list of 5 facts regarding minerals commonly found in water supplies:
- Minerals found in soil, stone and water are inorganic in nature.
- Minerals found in plants and animals are organic in nature.
- Only plants can transform inorganic minerals into organic minerals.
- Animals must eat plants or plant-eating animals to obtain organic minerals.
- Inorganic minerals are useless and injurious to the animal organism.
How the Confusion Began
Because inorganic minerals and organic minerals have the same chemical compositions, they were often confused by early nutritionists. These nutritionists assumed chemical similarity in minerals meant nutritive similarity between organic and inorganic minerals. While it is true that the same minerals found in the human body are also found in soil and water, these minerals are inorganic in nature and therefore different in their structure and relative positions of component molecules than the organic minerals produced in plant. As a result, inorganic minerals in soil and water must be elaborated into organic compounds by plants before they can be assimilated by a human.
Over sixty years ago a German scientist named Abderhalden conducted a series of experiments comparing how several species absorbed different forms of iron. He found that animals fed with food poor in iron, plus in addition of inorganic iron, were unable in the long run to produce as much hemoglobin as those, receiving a natural iron-sufficient diet. While the inorganic iron may be absorbed into the body, it is not utilized in the formation of hemoglobin. Therefore, it is a grave error to assume and believe that human body can digest, assimilate and utilize minerals from soil and water.
Like mineral supplements, mineral waters cannot provide any beneficial minerals to the body. Any minerals contained in such waters are inorganic in nature and must be expelled by the body. Should an excess of these inorganic minerals be consumed, they will be deposited within your body and combines with cholesterol to form plaques that lead to cardiovascular problems, arthritic and rheumatic complaints. In the long run, inorganic mineral deposits will also cause kidney and gallstone formation, hardening of the arteries, arthritis, heart trouble, ossification of the brain and other serious diseases.
When mineralized waters are drunk, a condition known as leukocytosis occurs within the body in thirty minutes to three hours after drinking. Leukocytosis is the proliferation of white blood cells which are the body's first line of defense against foreign and harmful body substances. In this case, the “foreign and harmful body substances” are the inorganic minerals consumed from your mineral water.
The World’s Second Biggest Child Killer
Every 20 seconds, a child dies from water-related disease. Lack of sanitation is the main cause of these deaths. Children are particularly susceptible to certain diseases because their new immune systems aren't adequately developed to fight the bacteria, viruses, and parasites that cause these infections.
Based on 2009 data from UNICEF and WHO, diarrhea is the second leading cause of children mortality under the age of five. Each year, nearly one in five child, or about 1,500,000 children, died as a result of diarrhea. More children are dying of diarrhea than AIDS, malaria and measles combined annually.
Diarrhea, the frequent passing of loose or watery stools, is the most common cause of death in developing countries such as Indonesia, Africa and India. Diarrhea is usually a symptom of gastrointestinal infection and often last up to ten days and. Infection is usually spread through contaminated food or drinking-water, or from person to person due to poor hygiene. According to a research carried by Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center in USA, E. coli is responsible for at least 10% of infant diarrhea. According to Steve E. Hrudey’s research, Rotavirus, another common diarrhea-causing virus, is also often found in groundwater. Hrudey’s research shows that 13.8% of the contaminated groundwater in US tested positive for rotavirus Other diarrhea-causing viruses include Norwalk virus, Cytomegalo virus and viral hepatitis.
Prevention of death due to diarrhea can be done by improving water sanitation. This can be done by simply installing a simple water treatment at home to eliminate all diarrhea-causing viruses in your water supply.
Beware of E coli
“The death toll has risen to 35 in Germany's E. coli epidemic and health officials say about 100 patients have severe kidney damage. Karl Lauterbach, an epidemiologist who is also an opposition Social Democrat (SPD) politician, warned that E. coli infections were growing worldwide.” (BBC 13 June 2011)
E coli infection in Europe has expanded quickly to many countries, including Indonesia. To counter the effects of E coli, many doctors and scientist are currently trying to create a vaccine to limit this epidemic.
What is E Coli?
Escherichia coli, named after Theodor Escherich, is a gram-negative, rod-shaped bacterium that is commonly found in the lower intestine of warm-blooded organisms (endotherms). E coli can survive with or without air, and therefore can be found everywhere, especially in water and uncooked food.
There are hundreds of different strains of E. coli. Some are harmless while others are harmful enough to cause serious illness and death. The non-pathogenic strains of E. coli that exist in our intestines are harmless, while other strains such as enterotoxigenic, enteropathogenic, and enteroinvasive can cause severe diarrhea, kidney infections and infect the genital and urinary tracts.
According to a 1987 research done by Buckle, an American biologist researcher, E coli generally come from water source or food that has been contaminated by feces. The infected water source or food will, in turn, contaminate any kitchen ware that comes in contact with them.
3 Tips to Avoiding E coli
- Make sure your food is bought from a reliable or certifiable food supplier.
- Use only sterile water to clean uncooked food products.
- Utilize ozone technology product to safely sanitize all your uncooked food products. In Fresh Air for Life, a book authored by Dr Somersall and Dr Marsden, ozone was proven extremely effective against all forms of bacteria and viruses
The danger of fluoride in your water
Fluoride is a mineral that is commonly found in water. Although its role in the prevention of tooth decay is well established, fluoride is not generally considered an essential mineral because humans do not require it for growth or to sustain life. Although fluoride is a natural substance, fluoride is highly toxic to human beings. Consuming a mere 2-5 grams of sodium fluoride, a common ingredient in toothpaste, is fatal and will usually lead to death. Independent researches by scientists have shown the following possible threats imposed by fluoride consumption:
In 1995, Dr. Phyllis Mullenix published a research proving how fluoride can built up in brains of animals when consistently exposed in moderate levels. Dr. Mullenic research shows notable damages were done to the brain, thus affecting behavior pattern of the animal in an adverse manner.
Drinking fluoridated water is also linked with reduced cognitive ability in children. There are also over 30 animal studies proving fluoride is a neurotoxin that reduces learning and memory.
The Department of Health in New Jersey found that bone cancer in boys was seven times greater in areas where water was fluoridated.
Birth Defects and Prenatal Deaths
A toxicologist in the United Kingdom found that prenatal deaths in a fluoridated area are 15% higher than in non – fluoridated areas.
Acute Adverse Reactions
Several studies have shown that fluoridated water often cause acute adverse reactions effect s such as gastrointestinal symptoms, stomatitis, joint pains, polydipsia, headaches, visual disturbances, muscular weakness, and extreme tiredness.
Permanent Disfigurement of Teeth in Many Children
A very large and increasing number of children are currently experiencing dental fluorosis, which is a permanent adverse structural change to the teeth due to exposure to fluoride.
Water is created to make our life easier. However, complication can occur whenever water is intentionally or unintentionally ‘polluted’ by chemicals. Therefore, you need to ensure the water used in daily basis is always free of hazardous chemical.
Cancer Causing Facts
2/3 of the human body is made up of water. If toxins are allowed to build up in your water, the water within your system gets ‘dirty’. When this occurs, your body will be prone to various diseases, especially cancer.
To help maintain a healthy body system, you need to retain your blood pH between 7.35 – 7.45. Blood pH above or below the recommended scale have severe consequences in the long run. For instance, when your body pH gets too alkaline or above 7.45, your body will be vulnerable to bacteria; when your blood pH is too acidic or below 7.35, your body is susceptible to various cancers.
Maintaining sufficient oxygen levels within your body is also crucial for your health. Whenever your body lacks oxygen, your cellular respiration and oxidation cannot be processed efficiently. When this happens, carbon monoxide, a gas that the body cannot easily expel, will be produced. Increased carbon monoxide levels will then cause your blood to become more acidic due to formation of excess lactic acid. According to Dr. Stephen Levine from the National Cancer Institute, “Hypoxia or the lack of oxygen in the tissues is the fundamental cause of all degenerative diseases and cancer related diseases.”
With this in mind, cancer can be easily avoided by maintaining the water quality within our body. This can be done by consuming food products that are chemical and pesticide free.
The articles above were provided by Yuki Water Treatment.