Reviews

"... it's excellent for a layman."

Andy Rooney, 60 Minutes, CBS

"Prof. Symons' book is a highly informative consumers' guide to potable water. The book is clearly written, with introductions to technical jargon that even include phonetic pronunciation. Professionals working in the area of potable water treatment are apt to recognize many of the questions that Dr. Symons addresses in this book. In addition to its value for the general public, educators may find the book to be a useful file of discussion topics for introductory classes in water treatment and public health.

One theme that runs throughout Prof. Symons' book is that the potable water supplies of the U.S. and Canada are safe and of high quality. This well-deserved advocacy of the water supply industry extends, I think, a bit far to what appears to be a bias against the bottled water industry. For example, in responding to a question about tap water that contains benzene or cleaning fluid, the reader is encouraged to vigorously mix the water with a beater, among other things &emdash; and bottled water is mentioned almost as an afterthought. Of course, even a batch of Perrier was contaminated with benzene a few years ago, and this may have made a sufficient impression on some former bottled water buyers to induce them to try such home treatment methods. Four later questions do discuss bottled water and go far in demystifying the terms used to describe these waters.

The book understandably does not enter into the realm of unknown or unquantified health risks that dominate much of the current research on potable water treatment. Rather than focusing on issues which might drive consumers to obtain water from dubious sources such as private (untested) wells, Symons reassures readers of the overall reliability of U.S. and Canadian potable water treatment."*

Mark Wiesner, Ph.D., P.E.
Assoc. Professor, Environmental Science and Engineering, Rice University

* Review based on the out-of-print sister publication "Drinking Water-Refreshing Answers to All Your Questions".

"It was fun to read the straight forward answers provided by Dr. Symons to 128 questions about the drinking water supplied to your home. The choice of questions reveals the close interactions the author has had with the public in his long and distinguished career as an environmental engineer. Any consumer who has concerns about the safety of the tap water in the home, or who is considering whether to purchase bottled water rather than drink tap water, or who is considering purchase of a home treatment system, would benefit from this highly readable book. As a fellow professional in the water treatment field, even this reviewer picked up some new and interesting facts. The answers are clearly and factually stated in layperson's language and all technical terms are defined and spelled phonetically.

This book would also be a useful source book in secondary school science classes and undergraduate introductory courses in environmental engineering or science. There are many public misconceptions about the safety of drinking water supplied to our homes. Dr. Symons' book provides a quick and easy source to answer those misconceptions. The organization of the book, with chapters on major water use issues like Health, Aesthetics, Home facts, Conservation, etc. along with a Table of Contents and detailed Index makes finding the desired question easy."*

John L. Cleasby, Ph. D., P.E.,
Anson Marston Distinguished Professor in Engineering Emeritus, Civil and Construction Engineering, Iowa State University

* Review based on the out-of-print sister publication "Drinking Water-Refreshing Answers to All Your Questions".

"Drinking Water is a superb book for citizens of the US (and elsewhere). As the subtitle says, it gives 'refreshing answers to all your questions.' Here, 128 questions are posed and simple, easily understandable answers are given. Questions range from interesting trivia (e.g., What water does the President drink? Why are fire hydrants called fire plugs?) to serious questions that should interest everyone (e.g., How much does my water cost? Is it safe to drink for public fountains? Is my water safe to drink?). Symons discusses health, aesthetics, home water facts, conservation, sources, suppliers, distribution, regulations, testing, and fantastic water facts. There is an appendix that provides sources for more information; there is a useful index. Although this book meets the needs of the general public for information, it will also be useful to students at all levels and professionals in the field. Because the questions and answers are very general, the book should be useful for years to come.*

J. M. Sharp, Jr., University of Texas at Austin

* Review based on the out-of-print sister publication "Drinking Water-Refreshing Answers to All Your Questions".

"This is an enlightening book for something we so often take for granted&emdash;the safeness of our drinking water. Dr. Symons presents all the important facts, defining precisely what constitutes safe drinking water and why. Written in non-technical language, this book is ideal for the average reader who can quickly become an informed 'waterologist.' To aid the reader still further, the author provides for all scientific terms both clear phonetic pronunciations and clear definitions. Topics range from E.P.A. standards to healthy water, aesthetics, bottled water, sources, distribution, regulations, and testing. The question and answer form is a refreshing change for presenting this type of subject matter, and the clever and witty illustrations will delight the reader. Each chapter begins with a thought-provoking and insightful quotation, e.g., 'having an obedient spring in the kitchen is really among life's necessities.' Dr. Symons is an active researcher in his field, a member of several prestigious national organizations, and the Cullen Distinguished Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Houston.*

From Review of Texas Books, Fall, 1995

* Review based on the out-of-print sister publication "Drinking Water-Refreshing Answers to All Your Questions".