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Old 03-01-2011, 06:13 PM   #1
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Default Water Contamination

A while back something incited me to start boiling the water I add to the wort after the boil before mixing them. I can't remember what the source was, but am now wondering if this is necessary.

Since the city treatment plants leave chlorine residue in the water, and anything the water contacts after the activated charcoal filter is sanitized, is there any other reason to take the time and energy to boil the water?

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Old 03-01-2011, 06:22 PM   #2
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Here's my standard rant to put it in perspective...I think it come more from new brewers little understanding of things, then any revelence. I think because we're afraid of this new beer making thing when we start out (heck half the time we're afraid were gonna make something toxic and poison our friends, OR that if we look at our beer wrong it's going to die a horrible death or both) that we forget some basic truths about the world. I wrote this last week when three folks posted something about this in the same day...

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Do you brush your teeth with your tap water? Do you shower with it and maybe get some in your mouth? Do you use ice made with the water coming into your house? Do you Drink it?

Do you live in a city that is currently having a boil water advisory?

Have we been so brainwashed from buying little plastic bottles of overpriced water (that may have ALSO come out of a tap, and MAY have less governement regulations than our municipal water) that we have forgotten that that sink in our kitchen isn't JUST used to wash dishes with? I have always found this fear that folks have of their own water ridiculous. If you can drink your water you can brew with it (all arguments about chlorimines aside, I'm talking about sanitization.) If you can drink the water out of your tap without getting sick, you can top off your fermenter with it. I've done it all my brewing career and NEVER had any issues.

I've just found this blind trust people have over those tiny plastic bottles over our own home water is ludicrious....

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Let's start with an independent four year study of the bottled water industry, completed in 1999 by the Natural Resources Defense Council.1 The report of the results along with a petition to the FDA stated that there were "major gaps in bottled water regulation and that bottled water is not necessarily safer than tap water". The study's principal findings were that although most bottled water seems good quality, "some bottled water contains bacterial contaminants, and several brands of bottled water contain synthetic organic chemicals (such as industrial solvents, chemicals from plastic, or trihalomethanes - the by-products of the chemical reaction between chlorine and organic matter in water) or inorganic contaminants (such as arsenic, a known carcinogen) in at least some bottles".

.........

This leads us to the subject of the chlorination of our public drinking water in the USA. This law is in effect to sterilize and disinfect the water, eradicating all types of bacteria.
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According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), which is a nonprofit organization devoted to protecting health and the environment, more than 25% of all bottled water comes from a public source. That's right - it's the same water that's piped to homes and businesses.

How can that happen? Because they can. No one is demanding truth in advertising from water bottling companies!

Standards for purity exist, of course. BUT ...Bottled water purity is regulated by the FDA, and because the FDA puts low priority on water, bottlers are inspected and tested less than once a year. According to one FDA official, it's the manufacturer's responsibility to ensure that the product complies with laws and regulations.

The result: Some do, and some don't. And even worse, if the water is bottled and delivered within the same state, there are NO regulations.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates tap water, so if a bottler uses a public source that has passed their inspection, it should be OK to drink - right? Not necessarily.

In tests done by the NRDC, at least one sample from a third of the brands contained bacterial or chemical contaminants,
including carcinogens in levels exceeding state or industry standards. Not to be argumentative, but I have to wonder why any level of carcinogens is OK.
My understanding is that our municipal water sources are tested several times a day. That's how they are able to have a boil water declaration if something is detected.

Personally...I trust my tap water and my plumbing more than I think it's worth buying water, or bothering to boil it, if I don't have a BWA in my town.
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Old 03-01-2011, 06:35 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revvy View Post
Here's my standard rant to put it in perspective...
I agree with Revvy. The only twist I might offer is shifting water profiles from different water sources. Some municipalities use surface and well water depending on the time of year. I can often tell when the switch has been made. Will it affect your beer? If you are running it through a filter, I doubt it.

Revvy, I had to chuckle when I saw this, having read enough threads to know that you have a number of "standard rants." I appreciate the depth of your knowledge, and willingness to share. I hope you are doing well in your recovery.
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Old 03-01-2011, 06:50 PM   #4
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I agree that bottled water and reverse osmosis filters are 95% marketing scams, but I didn't think that was the issue here. I was under the impression that some microorganisms that can ruin a beer aren't ones that would make you sick directly, so maybe treatment systems aren't designed to eliminate them?

Maybe a more direct question is why sanitize otherwise already clean equipment? Dust or insects?

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Old 03-01-2011, 07:10 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrewersKaramazov View Post

Revvy, I had to chuckle when I saw this, having read enough threads to know that you have a number of "standard rants." I appreciate the depth of your knowledge, and willingness to share. I hope you are doing well in your recovery.
It's funny, this topic comes up every now and then, and then can disappear on here for a year, with no one asking about this topic, and yet in the last three weeks there has been a flurry of it. I really didn't have a "standard rant" about this until it came up like 3 times the Saturday before I went into the hospital....this is about thread 8 or 9 about it in this period.
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Old 03-01-2011, 09:40 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revvy View Post
It's funny, this topic comes up every now and then, and then can disappear on here for a year, with no one asking about this topic, and yet in the last three weeks there has been a flurry of it. I really didn't have a "standard rant" about this until it came up like 3 times the Saturday before I went into the hospital....this is about thread 8 or 9 about it in this period.
Sorry, I did a forum search before posting, but apparently used different terms than are common here. Had the same trouble with 'slurry/yeastcake/trub/dregs' or whatever. Usually forums this busy have FAQs for stuff like this, but if there's something on it in the stickies, I'm not spotting it from the titles...
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Old 03-01-2011, 09:42 PM   #7
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Ah, it's great to see Revvy back in the saddle again...

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