11th March 1864. A Drink of Dihydrogen Monoxide.

In the 1973 Water Act, Prime Minister, Edward Heath nationalized water from local authority control into ten companies serving major river basins. These were charged with water, sewage environmental and nature preservation.

Water H2O is the only state of matter in three modes: solid, liquid and gas and is the most abundant compound, and tasteless and colourless. It is also called hydrogen oxide, dihydrogen monoxide and hydrogen monoxide.(1)

The supply of water comes at a price as seen at the collapse of the Dale Dyke Reservoir at Bradfield, Yorkshire, when an embankment burst Today in 1864 causing the death of 250, and the flooding of large areas of Sheffield.

Illustration by local artist

Illustration by local artist of Dale Dyke disaster.

The reservoir had been built under Power of Water Companies Act of 1853 after the diverting of the Rivers Loxley and Rivelin.

Fast-forward to the evening of 23rd May 1984, when a group of forty-four people, including eight employees of the North West Water Authority, were assembled in a valve-house at the outfall of the Lune-Wyre Transfer Scheme at Abbeystead.

At 7.30 pm a massive explosion ripped through the building, killing sixteen and seriously injuring twenty eight.

Four years later in 1988 at Camelford Devon, a delivery driver accidently poured 20 tonnes of the flocculating agent aluminium sulphate Al2 (SO4)3 into the wrong tank, which in fact held water ready for distribution.

The chemical is used as a purificant in water treatment processes and among many other names is known as cake or filter alum.

As a consequence an amount of the chemical, 3,000 times greater than was admissible, was added to drinking water, the human ill-effects of which, are still experienced today.

Tap water can carry all manner of problems including many corrosive minerals (ions), which deplete anti corrosion additives. The majority of impurities in water are dissolved salts which furr-up pipes and kettles.

Deionised water which is used in electric irons and cars as a coolant, is filtered or treated to remove these.

However the deionisation process doesn’t remove the alkali hydroxide or acid hydronium, which ensures the water’s neutral balance, nor uncharged organic molecules, viruses and bacteria.(2)

(1) The chemistry of water  results from the fact that bonding of oxygen atoms which now has a full valence shell of eight (fulfilling the octet rule) with hydrogen which now has a full valence shell of  two (fulfilling the duet rule). Both elements are now stable.

(2a) The neutral balance of  water is determined by the presence of hydronium ions relative to hydroxide ions which determines the acidity or alkalinity (pH).


Water treatment uses Potassium Permanganate KMnO4, which has a salt K+MnO-4 and once known as permanganate of potash or Condys Crystals. It is a strong oxidizing agent as Manganese in this compound has an oxidation number/state of +7.

Hydronium is the conjugate acid to the base of Hydroxide. H2O>H+ OH-

Hydronium H+(proton), the more H+ the more acid. The more Hydroxide (OH-), the stronger the base.

Ref: wikipedia.org/Water_Facts.

Ref: mick-armitage staff.sheffield.ac.uk/sheffield/flood. Pic. Ref.

Ref: answers.yahoo.com/hydronium and Hydroxide.

Ref: wikipedia.org/chemistry facts.



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About colindunkerley

My name is Colin Dunkerley who having spent two years in the Royal Army Pay Corps ploughed many a barren industrial furrow until drawn to the 'chalk-face' as a teacher, now retired. I have spent the last 15 years researching all aspects of life in Britain since Roman times.

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