Friday, July 28, 2023

Diesel in the Water System Has Long Term Negative Consequences



This warning does not come from me, it comes from Tom Volinchak, a Memphis-based water expert and the author of Open Tap: Drink Poison- Let's Fix It (if you have Kindle Unlimited, it is free). St. Jude turned to Mr. Volinchak to design its water system. The laboratories at St. Jude have a need for pristine water. 

He was on Facebook Live a couple of nights ago sounding the alarm, and warning us to be cautious about using the water, indefinitely. He does offer a solution, thankfully. 

I summarize the points that he made during the presentation, which you can watch yourself here:   Germantown Water Contamination

 1) The people in the water department at Germantown are good folks who are dedicated, but they can only work with the system they are given. 
 2) The leadership of the municipality, and the age and history of the system determine the safety. 
3) Every system he designs has containment for anything that can contaminate water, such as a diesel generator, that is around stored water.  

 4) He is unsure if federal regulations require containment for things like diesel generators around water storage, 

 5) There is no way that Germantown officials can say the water is safe after this incident, because it is not. Tests  determine 
only the specific time and place where the test was taken

 6) No matter what the TDEC or EPA say, we should assume that our water is contaminated indefinitely, due to the scale (gunk, e.g. calcium deposits) on the pipes that can trap diesel, and release it at any time into our homes. 
 7) The Germantown officials cannot set a time when the water can be treated as normal enough to use, because there is no way to tell at this point.   
8) Detergent should be run through the pipes. Oil and water do not mix, and running water alone through the lines won't cut it. 

9) Memphis Aquifer has some of the best water in the world, but due to these issues, MLGW water is now better than Germantown water.  

10) The number of violations that Germantown has racked up on water reporting is concerning.

11) We all need activated carbon filters not only in our kitchens, but in our showers. They do a VERY GOOD job of filtering diesel out of water. If you have good carbon based filters, that will make your water safe to drink and shower. And, he shared his opinion that the City ought to pay for them.
10) if you have a swimming pool, you really should buy an expensive filter for it. The reason is, as the water evaporates, the possible diesel doesn't, and you replace it with water that could have diesel in it.  This could lead to unsafe levels of diesel in your pool.


  1. Thank you. What would you consider as a good carbon filter? Activated charcoal?

    1. Activated Charcoal is apparently the same thing as activated carbon. I ordered an AquaBliss shower filter from Amazon. I just looked at a bunch of filters and decided on that. I suggest you look at reviews, filter ingredients, etc. I am going to get my drinking and cooking water by filling up containers at Whole Foods near Mendenhall.

  2. Any filters you would recommend?!

    1. Not specifically. Make sure it is carbon, or partially carbon, and look carefully at the number and qualitiy of reviews.

  3. I’m not very good with legal matters. Surely there is a way to recall the mayor. People are gearing up for lawsuits, but those take years and ultimately may not reveal much. Removing the mayor and then fixing the rot from the inside out is the best way to get answers. An independent advisory board of citizens and professionals should work with the new mayor on investigating all this. All claims filed against the city over the last 10 years should be reviewed and financial information sent off to outside accountants. Unless the mayor is removed, he and whoever else is responsible has the full power of the city administrative engine to hide any neglect and misconduct.

    1. There is a high bar to pass for recalling a mayor. Election for mayor happens in 2026.

    2. From what I saw in the municipal charter, as long as the paperwork is in order, you need 35% to sign it and then 66% to vote for recall. The signatures should be easy to get. The high bar would likely be that 66% as people would likely not turn up to vote even if they were in favor of the recall. Still seems to be worth a shot. And 2026 is two years away.

  4. All lawsuits will do is enrich lawyers and raise our taxes. Where do you think the money to defend suits and pay if needed is going to come from. It’s our taxes. Elections are coming go vote meanwhile look for candidates who will do whatever it is you think needs doing

  5. RIP Germantown. I can see people moving out of this town.