Spring wa­ter, drink­ing wa­ter ... gray wa­ter

The Catoosa County News - - EDITORIALS & OPINION -

We’re all wet. Our bod­ies con­tain about 60 per­cent wa­ter, give a point or a few. It de­pends upon sex, age, body type.

It is im­por­tant for trans­port­ing nu­tri­ents, mov­ing waste and var­i­ous body flu­ids and in our cells.

Peo­ple to­day be­lieve one wa­ter is bet­ter than an­other and are will­ing to pay for it.

If you were to board a time ma­chine and re­turn to the mid­dle 1900s it would be hard to con­vince any­one that the day will come when peo­ple would buy a bot­tle of wa­ter.

Wa­ter is wa­ter is wa­ter. In the 1800s many re­sorts sprang up around springs where peo­ple bathed and “took the wa­ter.”

Not all of them were grand re­sorts, some were fam­ily owned such as “Gillis Springs” and “Jay Bird Springs.”

The ma­jes­tic Wind­sor Ho­tel in Amer­i­cus, Ge­or­gia, was built next to a nat­u­rally flow­ing spring that at­tracted to en­joy the spring wa­ter. The spring was later cov­ered up by a post of­fice.

The wa­ter in “Ra­dium Springs” con­tains traces of ra­dium.

At the time ra­dium was thought to have health ben­e­fits and the glow of wrist watches was due in part to ra­dium painted on the num­bers. We know bet­ter now.

My grand­fa­ther was di­rec­tor of Stiles­boro Academy when he fell ill with Span­ish flu in 1919. He be­lieved if he could get back to his home in the Con­cord Com- mu­nity of Walker County and drink from the well he would be bet­ter.

His fa­ther hauled him home in the back of the fam­ily wagon and he got over the flu. Not ev­ery­body died of the flu but mil­lions did.

I was think­ing about that while tak­ing my morn­ing shower. I was bathing in drink­ing wa­ter.

For decades my fam­ily’s wa­ter sup­ply was a flow­ing spring. It served my fam­ily since at least 1839 and still flows. It is good wa­ter and I wish I had some sys­tem to use it.

We wash clothes, cars, dishes, take baths and flush toi­lets with drink­ing wa­ter. We use it to wa­ter lawns and gar­dens and I won­dered, “Do we need to use drink­ing wa­ter for all that?”

A lot of wa­ter goes down sink drains and into the sewage sys­tem or sep­tic tank that could be used for other things. It is called “gray wa­ter.”

We could build gray wa­ter sys­tems in homes for all out­side pur­poses and to flush toi­lets. I know of no home with a gray wa­ter sys­tem.

Some peo­ple cap­ture rain­wa­ter for out­side uses but not to the ex­tent of us­ing it for bathing and drink­ing.

My grand­mother washed dishes in well wa­ter heated on a wood-burn­ing stove. She didn’t use de­ter­gent and gave the nu­tri­ent rich wa­ter to her chick­ens. That was her gray wa­ter sys­tem.

There has to be a bet­ter way.

Joe Phillips writes his “Dear me” col­umns for sev­eral small news­pa­pers. He has many con­nec­tions to Walker County, in­clud­ing his grand­fa­ther, for­mer su­per­in­ten­dent Way­mond Mor­gan. He can be reached at joen­phillips@hot­mail.com.

Joe Phillips

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