That Flint water system proves the death of western civilisation

No, not that there’s lead in that water system up in Flint Michigan, that’s just the normal stupidity of bureaucrats (yes, really, read it and weep, including fake Amerind name). It’s this:


Expiry date on water.

Dust off an nuke it from orbit, it’s the only way.

16 thoughts on “That Flint water system proves the death of western civilisation”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    No, not that there’s lead in that water system up in Flint Michigan

    Really? For a moment I thought science had discovered the cause of Michael Moore’s idiocy.

  2. Let us remember that the same schizophrenic State which puts three week expiry dates on bottled water will also chide, harass and even prosecute you over waste.

  3. It’s an expiry date for the bottling process purification.

    After that point, there may be things growing in the water that are not good for you. Especially as they probably haven’t used any of the effective processes because people will be irrationally scared of them.

    It is, however, surprisingly short-dated. Why?

    Well, I suspect that is the stupidity of bureaucrats as well.

  4. If that water hasn’t been thoroughly filtered and sterilised it needs that date, especially if they don’t keep it in the dark…

    It’s amazing what can and will grow in spring water, y’know..

  5. Out in Iraq we had two grades of bottled water. The bulk of it was cheaply-labelled, flat-tasting H2O from a reverse-osmosis plant in Kuwait, supplied by the palletload of two-litre bottles. It was turned over quickly, and we were advised to ditch any opened and unfinished bottles at the end of the day and not to keep any local stocks: there probably was a best-before date on it as well. Why? It was, just, water clean enough to drink with most of the nasties filtered out, and the longer you left it in the heat (and especially light) the more time any residual unpleasantness had to breed. By the time you saw any greenish tinge, it could make you very sick indeed.

    There was also a second grade we office types didn’t need or use, which came in smaller (half-litre?) more robust bottles; apparently tasted absolutely gopping, but it had the various additives so that after a few weeks in your grab bag and then being opened and half-drunk on Monday, it wouldn’t add to your woes when you finished it off on Wednesday. And if you were putting it in a Camelbak, you added more puritabs on top of that… if you were thirsty enough to need it, you’d be glad of it whatever the chemical taste.

    The ready availability of “water that won’t make you very sick” is a remarkably recent innovation and is one of those “just happens” wonders we take for granted until the significant infrastructure required breaks down. The blind faith that “water in a bottle must be OK”, likewise, isn’t always supported by fact.

  6. Genuine questions here.

    I always thought the likes of Evian etc were “pure” – ie you could leave them for decades, in sunlight even and nothing would happen?

    Also, what about carbonated water. Presumably that is pure until opened?

  7. @bravefart.

    Oh, it’s pure enough. “Pure” ,however, doesn’t mean sterile. Just counts of (potential) pathogens that are low enough not to be a bother to anyone. A sniff of Fresh Mountain Air would have you inhale more nasties, really.

    The problem is algae, and the simple fact that even bottled water must contain enough of our salts, and their “food” to be palatable. Algal spores are too small to filter out, and all they need is light to grow in “pure” water. And the algal “pioneers” that can and will grow also happen to be mostly Nasties to us, or produce Nasties under the starvation diet they’re trying to grow in.

    Stored in the dark, most bottled water pretty much can keep for years. In the light? It depends.. but it will go off eventually.

    Carbonated water doesn’t have that problem. It’s simply too acidic for most things to grow in, so it’s ..preserved.. in a way.

  8. Expiry dating.

    Leaching of plasticisers (particularly exposed to u/v light, ie daylight, and with ambient temperature) into a liquid can occur – even water. It is necessary to carry out stability studies to establish how long a product can safely be stored, whether or not it contains preservatives, at varying temperatures.

    Stability studies are expensive, so usually they are restricted to two or three years.

    Bugs/moulds can grow in just about anything eventually, particularly water, which is why tap water is chlorinated and should not be kept to drink for more than 24 hours.

    The danger is not from the bugs/mould per se but from the toxins they produce or contain. It is then necessary to carry out stability testing to show how long the product can be stored before organisms (even dead ones) pass a certain level. There are permissible levels for different bugs/moulds.

    Again cost restrictions limit stability studies and declared shelf-lives.

    Perhaps bottled water is OK for ten years, even twenty, but it is not economical for producers to do the stability work which is required for each new batch of product.

  9. IIRC there’s a charity that distributes old evian bottles to the worst places for local water. Fill the bottle from the well, leave it in the sun for a couple of days and the UV will kill 90% of the bugs, 10% left in not good, of course, but better than 100%.

  10. Amazing.

    That water took 10,000 years (or maybe more) to percolate down through the limestone, and they bottled it just in time .

    What astonishing expertise.

  11. Out in Iraq we had two grades of bottled water.

    We had “Mecca water” in Basra.

    Mecca was important for himself to capture not just because of the statues of pagan gods (and because he was pissed off at being kicked out by the first ever Islamophobes) but the water.

    I did think of bringing a pallet-load back and eBaying it to the religiously deluded (Jordan does a good trade in moderately liquid mud to the Baptists) but couldn’t work out how to get it past the snowdrops.

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