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Interesting Facts


Wastewater / Sewer Services

  • The British Medical Journal conducted a poll asking what was the greatest medical milestone since 1840 (when the Journal was first published).   Adequate sanitation was chosen as the winner, receiving more votes than breakthroughs such as the introduction of antibiotics, the development of anesthesia, widespread vaccinations, and the discovery of DNA. (7)
  • Clean water and sanitation have likely saved millions -- perhaps billions -- of lives since widespread implementation in the 19th and 20th centuries. (8)
  • In the late 1960s, Time magazine had declared Lake Erie dead because it had become so polluted.  The Cuyahoga River and Buffalo River started on fire due to the high level of contamination.
  • After the implementation of the Federal Clean Water Act in 1972 and the associated wastewater system improvements, the number of waterways meeting water quality goals for fishing and swimming has roughly doubled. (9)
  • The U.S. Government Accountability Office estimates that water and wastewater utilities are not generating enough revenue from user rates to cover the full cost of their service.  As a result, several utilities are starting to experience the effects of chronically postponed maintenance from funding shortfalls. (10)
  • In 2006, U.S. infrastructure was #6 on the World Economic Forum’s ranking of best national infrastructure systems. By 2012, the ranking had fallen to #16. (11)
  • It has been estimated that more than $180 billion is needed to repair or replace U.S. water, wastewater, and stormwater systems. Investing in water infrastructure generally produces healthier communities, reduces water pollution, and is estimated to directly generate nearly 1.9 million jobs.  An additional 800,000 jobs will come from increased economic activity in related sectors. (12)

Lake Erie

  • Lake Erie is the 12th largest freshwater lake in the world. (2)
  • Lake Erie has 871 miles of shoreline. (2)
  • Lake Erie is the shallowest, warmest, most southern and most biologically productive of all the Great Lakes. (2)
  • Lake Erie often supplies more fish for human consumption than the other four Great Lakes combined. The Lake Erie walleye sport fishery is widely considered the best in the world. (2)
  • Lake Erie’s deepest point is 210 feet. (2)
  • Lake Erie is 241 miles long with a widest point at 57 miles and the narrowest point at 28 miles. It covers 9,910 square miles and drains 30,140 square miles. (2)
  • Wind setups (wind pushing the water from one end of the lake toward the other) have produced large short-term differences in water levels between the eastern and western ends of the lake, the record being more than 16 feet (4.88). (2)
  • A drop of water entering Lake Erie from the Detroit River will take only 2.6 years to reach Niagara Falls. Compare this short time to Lake Superior where a drop of water will take 191 years to move out of the lake. (2)
  • The greater part of Lake Erie's southern shore was at one time occupied by a nation known to the Iroquois League as the "Erielhonan", or the "long-tails", a tribe of Indians from which the lake derived its name. This name is always mentioned by the early French writers as meaning "cat"; Lac du Chat means "Lake of the Cat". Many attribute this reference to the wild cat or panther. (1)

Water Facts

  • Once you drink water, it leaves your stomach in about 5 minutes! (4)
  • Saline water can be desalinated for use as drinking water by going through a process to remove the salt from the water. The process costs so much that it isn't done on a very large scale. The cost of desalting sea water in the U.S. ranges from $1 to $16 per 1000 gallons. (5)
  • The United States consumes water at twice the rate of other industrialized nations. (5)
  • 75% of the earth is covered with water. (6)
  • 97% of earth's water is in the oceans. Only 3% of the earth's water can be used as drinking water. 75% of the world's fresh water is frozen in the polar ice caps. (6)
  • If all the world's water were fit into a gallon jug, the fresh water available for us to use would equal only about one tablespoon. (6)
  • The average person in the United States uses 80 to 100 gallons of water each day. During medieval times a person used only 5 gallons per day. (6)
  • You can refill an 8-oz glass of water approximately 15,000 times for the same cost as a six-pack of soda. (6)
  • An automatic dishwasher uses approximately 9 to 12 gallons of water while hand washing dishes can use up to 20 gallons. (6)
  • Sources of water pollution include; oil spills, fertilizer and agricultural run-off, sewage, stormwater, and industrial wastes. (6)
  • The first United States water plant with filters was built in 1872 in Poughkeepsie, New York. (6)
  • In Altona, Germany in 1892, the water from the Elbe River filtered before drinking. At the time, hundreds of people from nearby Hamburg (which did not filter their water) died from cholera. The citizens of Altona were untouched by this waterborne disease. (6)
  • Human brains are 75% water. (6)
  • Human bones are 25% water. (6)
  • Human blood is 83% water. (6)
  • A healthy person can drink about three gallons (48 cups) of water per day.
  • Drinking too much water too quickly can lead to water intoxication. Water intoxication occurs when water dilutes the sodium level in the bloodstream and causes an imbalance of water in the brain.
  • Water intoxication is most likely to occur during periods of intense athletic performance.
  • The earth is a closed system, similar to a terrarium, meaning that it rarely loses or gains extra matter. The same water that existed on the earth millions of years ago is still present today.
  • The United States uses nearly 80 percent of its water for irrigation and thermoelectric power.
  • The average person in the United States uses anywhere from 80-100 gallons of water per day. Flushing the toilet actually takes up the largest amount of this water.
  • Approximately 85 percent of U.S. residents receive their water from public water facilities. The remaining 15 percent supply their own water from private wells or other sources.
  • By the time a person feels thirsty, his or her body has lost over 1 percent of its total water amount.
  • The weight a person loses directly after intense physical activity is weight from water, not fat.

Toilet Facts

  • The average person spends three years of their life on the toilet (3)
  • Most toilets flush in the key of E flat (3)
  • We use an average of 57 sheets of toilet paper a day! (3)

Sources

  1. http://www.great-lakes.net/lakes/ref/eriefact.html
  2. http://ohioseagrant.osu.edu/_documents/publications/FS/FS-087%20Lake%20Erie%20Facts.pdf
  3. http://www.buzzle.com/articles/water-facts.html
  4. http://www.budgetwater.info/water_facts.htm
  5. http://mcmua.com/w_education.asp
  6. http://www.allaboutwater.org/water-facts.html
  7. http://www.theguardian.com/society/2007/jan/19/health.medicineandhealth3
  8. http://abcnews.go.com/Health/TenWays/story?id=3605442&page=1#.T76BZu2KyxE
  9. http://blog.epa.gov/blog/2012/10/cwa40/
  10. http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d11225.pdf
  11. http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/08/16/uk-usa-economy-infrastructure-idUSLNE77E04E20110816
  12. http://www.forbes.com/sites/petergleick/2011/10/05/jobs-and-water-for-america/