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Another Dirty Deed Blamed on Bottled Water

Newsflash! A celeb stoops low and points the finger at everyone’s favorite whipping boy, bottled water! Celebrity gawkers are in a tizzy about photos and video apparently showing an intoxicated Jaime Pressly (a 32-year-old actress on My Name is Earl) urinating in public outside of a Los Angeles bar.

She has issued a denial on her Twitter page, blaming it on the bottle–the water bottle, that is. Her story: as part of a bridal shower dare, she was actually emptying a bottle of water onto the sidewalk.

“Notice my hand in the back? It’s pouring a bottle of water! C’mon guys! Do you think I would really pee in the entry way to the Abbey in broad daylight!”

After videos were posted to YouTube, however, the gossipers aren’t buying it. I don’t see any bottles either! And even if the tale were true, she certainly didn’t recycle that bottle, now did she?

Los Angeles ‘Bottled Watergate’

On the flip side, doesn’t anyone notice that this sensitive procedure by the LA County Supervisors was creating jobs? How many basement-wage, demoralizing internships will now face the hatchet? My recently-graduated daughter would kill for this entry-level “graphic arts” opportunity! From L.A. Now at the latimesblogs,

Bottled Watergate Update
3:51 PM | April 8, 2009

Los Angeles County supervisors gave up their bottled water this week — trading individual plastic bottles emblazoned with the county seal for paper cups and old-fashioned carafes filled with iced tap water.

The move came a week after The Times reported that a student worker peeled the labels off individual water bottles, used a computer to print out custom labels and slapped them on. The relabeling of the bottles for the supervisors’ weekly board meetings had been going on for years.

Supervisors’ aides said the special water was needed to avoid giving free advertising to the original bottler on public-access television broadcasts.

But that struck many people as fiscally wasteful, environmentally unfriendly and politically tone deaf. After all, the supervisors have ordered cuts in recent months that has resulted in the removal of purified water in county hospitals. Workers in some county buildings complained that they did not even have a working drinking fountain.

How about Sewranee Springs? Effluessence?

Yea, marketing! With a strategic sleight of hand, we can plaster a new name over something less pleasant and magically change everyones’ perceptions! Los Angeles is on to this trick, as noted in this story from Reuters on how the water crisis is forcing the issue of reuse in Los Angeles as the situation intensifies. The article notes,

Just don’t call it “toilet-to-tap.”

County officials prefer the term “Groundwater Replenishment System,” a name chosen after similar projects in Los Angeles and San Diego fell prey to public misconceptions, also known as the “yuck” factor,” and local election-year politics.

Their experience underscores one of the great lessons facing municipal officials across the U.S. West as they seek to bring purification and recycling technologies to bear against drought cycles expected to worsen with climate change.

The ideas are flowing! SiouxArTesian? Trader Joes, here we come! ReAgua? Let’s all join in the fun! You, too, can create your own re-branded, re-positioned “groundwater replenishment” product. Just go to The Soft Drink Generator, an interactive distraction where you can build your very own bottle from the groundwater up.

Nice to know LA’s got balls

Los Angeles water officials discovered that several open reservoirs had elevated levels of bromate. Bromate, a carcinogen, forms when sunlight combines with bromide and chlorine. Ah ha, an innovative solution! This June, the Ivanhoe Reservoir was covered with millions of 4 inch, black, high-density polyethylene vapor control balls.

But… are the balls recyclable? Made from what…crude oil? Reportedly, when an underground storage facility is completed in 2013 and the balls are no longer needed the “shade balls” will be shredded or otherwise recycled. Seems like more of the same shortsightedness–solving the immediate problem while creating a new future problem.

And speaking of carcinogens, what about the sun-exposed plastics floating around in the drinking water supply? This is an issue that is still without definitive answers.

Aside from that, it looks insanely, irresistably freaky. Were it not so functional it could pass for an ambitious and visionary public art undertaking. Maybe they should have billed it that way.

First photo, from the Flickr photostream of councildistrictfour. Second photo, from Opflow Online at http://www.awwa.org. See also http://articles.latimes.com/2008/jun/10/local/me-balls10 for a news article with stunning photos and video.