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Archive for October, 2022

The EPA Water Quality Standards

Posted by Rayne Water

 

*Reviewed by Ken Christopher, Senior Vice President at Rayne Dealership Corporation

Between the free-flowing water from our faucets, the Hydro Flask we keep perpetually filled on our desks, and the vast selection of bottled water we encounter every time we go to the market, it may seem like clean, safe water is as abundant as air.

But climate change and the Flint, Michigan water crisis of 2014 have exposed and underscored the fact that water is a precious resource—and that not all water is created equal.1

EPA water quality standards were put into place to combat this, even if recent events have revealed the challenges in enforcing it. What are these standards, though? And why must they be adhered to? Read on as we unpack it for you.

What is the EPA?

We come across “EPA” frequently but some of us may have only a vague understanding of it.

EPA is the acronym for the Environmental Protection Agency, an independent agency of the U.S. federal government that’s responsible for overseeing and shielding environmental and human health.2 Established by President Nixon in the 1970s, one of its primary obligations is ensuring that we have clean land, air, and water.

What are the EPA Water Quality Standards?

The Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendment of 1972, which is more commonly known as the Clean Water Act of 1972, was established by Congress in response to growing, country-wide concerns about the health of water across the States.3 Created to mitigate the contamination of water and stop water pollution, it’s faced several amendments over the decades but the core of its mission remains the same: To help ensure the water we drink and use is safe.

To this end, the EPA assesses water for a variety of contaminants.

Contaminant Classifications

The EPA tests and monitors for the presence of substances that could be detrimental to environmental and/or human health.4 The agency has two classifications for analyzing and regulating the safety and aesthetics of water received or used by humans:

The EPA has listed 90 contaminants that have been shown to pose a threat to human health, potentially causing gastrointestinal issues, an increased risk for cancer, anemia, kidney, liver, and nervous system complications, and more, an issue we’ll look at more in-depth in just a moment.

These contaminants are broken down into the following 6 categories.

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#1 Micro-organisms

Micro-organisms such as e. Coli, pathogens, and bacteria can have a grave impact on human health; e. Coli infects roughly 73,000 people per year.5> These parasites, bacteria, and viruses can also be transported from humans and animals into and from bodies of water.

#2 Disinfectants

The EPA also assesses water supply for the presence of disinfectants, which include chloramines, chlorine, and chlorine dioxide. That said, some of these disinfectants are also useful in safeguarding the cleanliness of water—just think of the chlorine found in public and private pools. This disinfectant, among others, can be useful in preventing illnesses.

However, there are permitted and prohibited types and levels of disinfectants as set by the EPA, and those that are allowed must comply with the EPA’s maximum contaminant levels (MCLs).6

#3 Disinfection Byproducts (DBPS)

Chloroform, chlorite, and bromate are three of the most commonly known disinfection byproducts. Ultimately, unsafe levels of these byproducts can be carcinogenic.

#4 Inorganic Chemicals

Some inorganic chemicals found in water are toxins and pollutants, such as:

These chemicals can contaminate water supply and also cause health concerns.

Other inorganic chemicals, like fluoride, are believed to foster human health (just think of the fluoride our teeth require).

#5 Organic Chemicals

Tetrachloride and benzene are two organic chemicals that can contaminate water. These organic chemicals typically occur from the improper disposal of things like fuel, pesticides, and paint, or from run-off agricultural sites.

#6 Radionuclides

Man-made and natural radioactive mineral deposits can lead to the presence of radionuclides in water, which can elevate the risk of cancer. The most well-known radionuclide is uranium.

This may seem like a great deal to digest. However, this list highlights the importance of ensuring the water you consume and use—in your residence and business—is safe from detrimental levels of these contaminants.

What Are the Risks and Consequences of Not Adhering to EPA Water Quality Water Standards?

Whatever the designated uses for a water supply is, it’s essential to adhere to water quality criteria and regulations set by the Environmental Protection Agency, especially drinking water quality. The water crisis in Flint highlighted the fallibility of water, but it wasn’t an isolated problem.

Between 1982 and 2018, one in four U.S. residents used water that was either contaminated, undertested, or untested.7 Unclean water impacts nearly every region of the country, but rural and economically fragile communities are disproportionately affected. The affordability of water, coupled with faulty infrastructure, has turned unsafe water into one of our largest public health concerns today.8

Curious as to why are water quality standards important? Here are some of the biggest consequences of failing to follow EPA water quality standards.

Human Health

Unsafe, contaminated water that’s consumed and/or used for bathing, brushing your teeth, and cooking can have dire effects on human health. One of the biggest concerns is that contaminated water may increase the risk for lead exposure.

Ongoing exposure to lead, as we saw in Flint, can lead to a host of health complications. And while all humans are susceptible to experiencing the effects of lead exposure, children, the elderly, and pregnant women are impacted the most.

Some of the most pressing health concerns of contaminated water include:9

Lead exposure can also cause fertility issues, kidney problems, and chronic conditions such as cancer.

Violations and Penalties

Businesses that fail to comply with the standards set forth by the Clean Water Act of 1972 may encounter:12

Typically, large businesses with a fair amount of discharge (or wastewater) potentially face these violations and penalties. Still, it’s important to be aware of the consequences one could face from knowingly or inadvertently discharging polluted water waste into the environment.

Moreover, it heightens the need to safeguard the purity of the water you consume and use.

Is Your Water Safe?

One of your biggest questions within this may be, is my water safe for use and consumption?

This depends on where your water is sourced. People who live in large cities and other urban areas are generally served by municipal water systems. The EPA aims to ensure that community water systems are compliant for 91% of the people they serve, which leaves room for error.11

Roughly 7-8% of community water systems are marked for a health-based violation per year.

If your water is sourced from your own well, it’s not monitored by the EPA and it’s your task to:

Find Peace of Mind with Rayne Water

EPA Water Quality Standards ensure the safety and cleanliness of water by assessing the level of contaminants and pollutants in recreational, agricultural, industrial, and drinking water. To preserve the health of all life, it’s critical that businesses and individuals comply with EPA standards and regularly monitor their water.

However, despite the EPA’s best efforts to ensure clean, safe water, the possibility of receiving contaminated water isn’t out of the question, which can potentially put you, your family, or your business at risk.

Don’t know how to test water quality? Fortunately, Rayne Water can offer a few solutions that may minimize water contamination and provide you and your family with clean drinking water that meets both commercial and industrial water quality requirements.

To help you manage residential and commercial water issues, we offer a range of products, from water filtration systems to reverse osmosis systems. In turn, we give you the gift of life: Pure, healthy water.

 

Sources:

  1. NRDC. Flint water crisis: everything you need to know. https://www.nrdc.org/stories/flint-water-crisis-everything-you-need-know
  2. EPA. Our mission and what we do. https://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/our-mission-and-what-we-do
  3. EPA. Introduction to water quality standards. https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/tmdl/docs/303d_policydocs/414.pdf
  4. EPA. National primary drinking water regulations. https://www.epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water/national-primary-drinking-water-regulations
  5. CDC. Epidemiology of Escherichia coli O157:H7 Outbreaks, United States, 1982–2002. https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/11/4/04-0739_article
  6. EPA. Stage 1 disinfectants and disinfection byproducts rule: a quick reference guide. https://nepis.epa.gov/Exe/ZyPDF.cgi?Dockey=P100C8XW.txt
  7. NRDC. Report: nearly one in four Americans’ drinking water comes from untested or contaminated systems. https://www.nrdc.org/media/2017/170502
  8. PLOS One. A burgeoning crisis? A nationwide assessment of the geography of water affordability in the United states. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0169488
  9. Healthline. Water quality and public health. https://www.healthline.com/health-news/water-crisis-could-affect-your-health
  10. Mayo Clinic. High blood pressure (hypertension)–symptoms and causes. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/symptoms-causes/syc-20373410
  11. PNAS. National trends in drinking water quality violations. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5834717/
  12. GPO. Federal register. https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2022-01-12/pdf/2022-00349.pdf
  13. EPA. Enforcement under cwa section 404. https://www.epa.gov/cwa-404/enforcement-under-cwa-section-404

Expert Reviewer – Ken Christopher

Why Are Water Quality Standards Important?

Posted by Rayne Water

 

*Reviewed by Ken Christopher, Senior Vice President at Rayne Dealership Corporation

We all depend on water. From the water that flows through our own homes to the water used by industries like petroleum refineries, smelting facilities, and the production of food, paper, and chemical products, high quality water improves our lives in many ways.1

But what is high quality water exactly? And why are water quality standards important?

At the most basic level, American water quality standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maintain a healthy water supply and help promote better tasting drinking water quality. That said, businesses and homeowners can take additional steps to improve the quality of their water no matter the designated uses.

Benefits of High-Quality Water

Per the 1972 Clean Water Act, the EPA follows a set of standards that aim to reduce contamination of drinking, recreational, agricultural, and industrial water. More specifically, water is monitored for a variety of contaminants, including microorganisms, disinfectants, chemicals, and radionuclide mineral deposits.2

Clean water serves numerous benefits and is critical to the health of plants, animals, and humans. These advantages include:

The Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, also requires bodies of water designated for specific uses to remain at a certain quality level. For example, water officially designated for recreation, drinking, agriculture, industry, and the protection of fish and wildlife must all have sufficiently low levels of pollutants.4

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How Pollutant Levels Are Determined

In the U.S., water is considered safe to drink if it meets certain EPA water quality standards. Since 1974, the EPA has required public water suppliers to ensure their water is sufficiently free of certain chemicals, germs, and other pollutants.3

These regulations fall into two categories:

If you drink water from a private commercial source, such as a company that sells bottled water, that water falls under the regulation of the Food and Drug Administration, not the EPA.

The EPA has more stringent reporting and disclosure requirements, making tap water generally safer than bottled water.

Protecting Natural Water Sources

Protecting water sources is critical to maintaining water quality and starts with understanding where the most common pollutants come from.

Water Sources In Need of Restoration

Every two years the EPA requires states to submit a report on the quality of their waters, including information about any significant sources of pollution, which are then compiled in the National Water Quality Inventory Report to Congress.6

The report evaluates, among other things, the overall biological health of the nation’s rivers and streams. According to the 2017 report:7

While over half of the nation’s streams and rivers have good or fair conditions, a significant portion of them have problematic levels of pollutants. That’s a trend that continues, albeit at lower levels, in both lakes and coastal waters.7

Luckily we can take clear steps to protect our water sources, both immediately and in the long run.

How to Protect Water Sources

Instead of just learning how to test water quality, it’s important to also know how to help protect water sources through two tactics: protection and treatment. That said, pollutants most often come from:7

Businesses and communities can help reduce pollutants in their water by reducing the primary sources of pollution in their water sources.

This might include:

It’s also possible for a water source to receive pollution from more than one source. As such, communities must conduct regular analysis of pollution sources to mitigate contamination and keep their water source safe and clean for residents

When we can’t prevent contaminants from reaching our water sources, public water sources can typically treat the water to address those contaminants and make it safe for human consumption by following the EPA’s National Primary Drinking Water Regulations.3

Private citizens also have additional options to improve the quality of their water at their home or business.

How to Improve the Quality of Your Water

Adhering to water quality standard is essential for human health, so it’s important that your water supply quality is at its best. One way to adhere to water standards is to get a water treatment. A water treatment specialist can visit your home or business to evaluate your current water quality and determine if certain water treatment systems or alternative options could improve the caliber of your water.

Possible ways of improving your water include:

These are some of the most effective and popular methods to improve the quality of water in your home or business. If the variety seems overwhelming, don’t worry. A water treatment specialist can guide you to the best solution for you based on your current water quality, overall water needs, and energy use preferences.

Taking the time to learn about and invest in your water quality can help you improve your life and your business—one drop of water at a time.

Improve Your Water Quality with Rayne Water

Water quality standards set by the EPA ensure that the water we drink and use is safe and free from contaminants that may harm our health and homes.

At Rayne Water, we’ve been helping folks improve their water quality since 1928. Today, we provide homes, businesses, and commercial industries with high quality water using a range of water treatment systems. Our equally high standards for each of our products means we can offer our customers some of the best warranties in the industry.

From the office water cooler to the first glass of water you drink in the morning, we’re in the business of improving every drop of water to meet industrial water quality requirements.

 

Sources:

  1. Scientific American. Should You Drink Tap or Bottled Water? https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/should-you-drink-tap-or-bottled-water/
  2. EPA. Stage 1 disinfectants and disinfection byproducts rule: a quick reference guide. https://nepis.epa.gov/Exe/ZyPDF.cgi?Dockey=P100C8XW.txt
  3. CDC. Regulations. https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/public/regulations.html
  4. EPA. What are Water Quality Standards? https://www.epa.gov/standards-water-body-health/what-are-water-quality-standards
  5. EPA. National Primary Drinking Water Regulations. https://www.epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water/national-primary-drinking-water-regulations#Disinfectants
  6. Source Water Protection Initiative. Source Water Stewardship: A Guide to Protecting and Restoring Your Drinking Water. https://www.cleanwateraction.org/files/publications/national/sourcewater-stewardship-guide.pdf
  7. EPA. National Water Quality Inventory Report to Congress. https://www.epa.gov/sites/default/files/2017-12/documents/305brtc_finalowow_08302017.pdf
  8. CDC. Uses in Manufacturing and Industry. https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/other/industrial/index.html

Ways to Pass Commercial and Industrial Water Quality Requirements

Posted by Rayne Water

 

*Reviewed by Ken Christopher, Senior Vice President at Rayne Dealership Corporation

From oil refineries to paper-making companies, manufacturers and businesses account for 22% of global water usage.1

Depending on your trade, you may already know how integral water systems are to business (hydroelectric power engineer? You’re on it). Or, it may not enter your mind until you go for a glass of tap in the lounge, take a sip, and wonder if you should’ve brought a bottle from home instead.

Regardless of how often you think about it, every business is subject to industrial water quality requirements to ensure the safety and quality of their water. The water quality standard applies to the entire water supply no matter the designated uses. If you aren’t sure how to ensure compliance with federal, state, and local regulations, this guide will show you what you need to know, and where to start.

What Should Businesses Know About Industrial Water Requirements?

Modern industrial water requirements date back to the Clean Water Act of 1972. This legislation was passed to shield the environment and humans against toxic or otherwise unsafe chemicals, whether naturally arising or caused by industrial waste.

Today, the Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, requires businesses to perform several or all of the following functions related to water quality, depending on the nature of their operations:2

Additionally, certain businesses—particularly those in the agriculture sector or energy industry—must comply with local and federal standards for environmental welfare. All of the following can help protect the quality of water:

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5 Ways to Pass Commercial and Industrial Water Requirements

Whether you’re a new business or an established manufacturer thousands of customers trust, staying up to code and adhering to EPA water quality standards can seem like a tall order. Fortunately, these 6 methods can help you pass the inspections every business can expect to endure:

  1. Stay on top of new mandates – Regulations are continually updated or introduced, as industrial water requirements are constantly changing. Moreover, if you operate in several states or local regions, you’ll need to stay apprised of their individual regulations. You may find that some states exempt you from certain permits, while others require you to secure and renew them to stay compliant.
  2. Partner with a Rayne Water quality consultant – If you don’t have the bandwidth to stay on top of local and federal regulations, work with an expert. A water quality consulting service can provide you with safe, current solutions specified to your facility and your industry, ensuring you’ll pass local inspections.
  3. Prioritize water quality monitoring – Water quality monitoring and testing can help you meet compliance mandates and protect your employees. Once you learn how to test water quality, it should be conducted regularly, as changes in both your facilities’ conduct and the environment can cause water quality to change often.
  4. Invest in a commercial water filtration system – Everyone from local wineries to sprawling agricultural firms can benefit from an industrial filtration system. These will mechanically remove the impurities and potential contaminants from water, including:
    • Common chemicals like chlorine
    • Heavy metals like arsenic, copper, and iron
    • Bacteria
    • Lead
  5. Use an industrial water softener – Also called commercial water softeners, these systems remove “hard water” minerals like magnesium and calcium, which are known to damage pipes and threaten your infrastructure. While the EPA doesn’t test for the hardness of water, water softener can save money by helping to protect your facility’s machinery.4

What Happens If These Requirements Aren’t Met?

Curious as to why water quality standards important? If a commercial facility is found in violation of the Clean Water Act, it may face several consequences. These could be minor, like a notice requiring them to update their quality control, but depending on severity they could be fatal to a business.

In order of escalating severity, these are the most common penalties:5

If protecting your employees, your business’ reputation, and your bottom line is important to you, one of the best things you can do is start with the fundamentals. And when you can find a trustworthy partner who understands modern water conditioning systems, you’ll earn the trust of your customers, employees, peers, and local community.

Rayne Water: Control Water Quality with Quality Service

Keeping up with water quality standards and Passing your next water inspection can feel daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. When you work with Rayne Water, you’ll receive expert guidance from professionals who’ve been improving commercial water quality for nearly a century.

Whether you’re a retreat center looking to abolish hard water chemicals or a local farm in Bakersfield aiming to keep animal waste out of local water systems, our consultants want to help you find the best solution with a commercial water softener or a commercial reverse osmosis system. Let us steer you and your business in the right direction by contacting us today.

 

Sources:

  1. ScienceDirect. Industrial water use–an overview. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/industrial-water-use
  2. EPA. Water enforcement. https://www.epa.gov/enforcement/water-enforcement
  3. MATEC Web of Conferences. Major Contaminants in Industrial and Domestic Wastewater. https://www.matec-conferences.org/articles/matecconf/pdf/2015/04/matecconf_tsotr2015_01041.pdf
  4. USGS. Do you have information about water hardness in the United States? https://www.usgs.gov/faqs/do-you-have-information-about-water-hardness-united-states
  5. Clean Water Services. Enforcement response plan. https://cleanwaterservices.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/enforcement-response-plan-for-sius.pdf
  6. CDC. Industrial water: other uses of water, healthy water. https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/other/industrial/index.html
  7. EPA. Industrial wastewater. https://www.epa.gov/npdes/industrial-wastewater
  8. Medical News Today. Water pollution and human health. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/water-pollution-and-human-health
  9. Environmental Protection Agency. National Pretreatment Program. https://www.epa.gov/npdes/national-pretreatment-program
  10. EPA. Water enforcement. https://www.epa.gov/enforcement/water-enforcement

Expert Reviewer – Ken Christopher

 

How to Test Water Quality

Posted by Rayne Water

 

*Reviewed by Ken Christopher, Senior Vice President at Rayne Dealership Corporation

There’s no doubting the phrase, water is life. As with sunlight, no life could subsist without water.1 It was this microscopic molecular bond of hydrogen and oxygen that led Leonardo da Vinci to claim that water serves as the ultimate driving force of nature.2

Although da Vinci recognized this truth eight centuries ago, water’s precious status has only intensified since then, making pure, clean water ever more a rarity.

As such, it’s critically important to know how to test water quality to ensure the health and safety of you and your home, whether that’s testing your drinking water quality or overall supply. Fortunately, there are a variety of home tests and water filtration systems that you can utilize to keep your water quality up to EPA water quality standards.

What Is Water Quality Testing?

To start, there is no one type of water testing—a variety of gadgets and kits exist to gauge the quality of your water. Their mission is singular: to detect the presence of certain particles (chemicals or bacteria) in water. This can include testing for dissolved solids and total hardness.

What to Test For

If you’re going to be testing your water, you’ll need to know what to look for. These kits typically detect a variety of contaminants, including:

Based on the water source, you may need to do more specific testing. If you live rurally and get your water locally, like from a well, it’s a good idea to test it for pesticides and any other common agricultural and outdoor toxins. That said, city dwellers should carry out additional checks for levels of radon, copper, fluoride, and arsenic in their urban water supply.3

Drinking Water Systems

3 Ways to Properly Test Your Water Quality

Listed below are a few of the most common ways to conduct a water quality test, some of which you can use in the comfort of your own home.

#1 Water Quality Test Strips

Commonly used for checking the chlorination of home swimming pools, test strips are an extremely swift and simple way to measure water quality using an easy-to-read visual cue. Just follow these simple steps:

  1. Fill a clean container (could be a jar, or small bowl) with nothing but the test water.
  2. Dip the opened testing strip into the container of water.
  3. Immediately remove the testing strip, and gently shake off any excess water.
  4. Wait the appropriate time as designated by your kit (usually no more than a minute).
  5. Use the included color chart to locate the match to your strip’s color.

Using this matched color—which indicates the level of potency of the particulate you are testing for—you’re able to complete water quality testing in a matter of seconds.

#2 Utilize A Qualified Rayne Water Representative

You can also conduct a water purity test at home with a qualified Rayne Water representative. We can come to your home and test your water for a variety of contaminants.

#3 Powder Kits

Powder-based testing kits serve the unique purpose of detecting bacteria in the water. When using powder kits, you will:4

  1. Add the appropriate amount of water as designated by your kit to your provided container. Double-check to ensure the powder agent is already included in the container.
  2. Replace the container’s lid and shake vigorously until the powder has fully dissolved. The color should have changed into a newly colored shade from its original translucency.5

Some powder kits allow you to send the resulting sample to a lab for bacterial testing. Otherwise, there will be resources on the kit’s container to guide you through translating each shade into a properly legible gauge of bacterial presence.

The Importance of Water Quality Testing

Fresh, potable water on Earth makes up only a mere 0.5% of all water—which is absolutely shocking when considering that water constitutes about three-quarters of our planet’s surface.6

Combined with the knowledge that our global water supply flows thick with pollutants (80% of wastewater on Earth returns, often untreated, to pristine bodies of water),7 it’s more important than ever to know the composition of what’s flowing out of your tap.

Still curious as to why are water quality standards important? By learning how to test water quality and putting that knowledge into action, you can prevent certain illnesses, stay aware of contaminants in your water, and safeguard your pipes.

Prevent Pollutants in Your Water: Filter With Rayne Water

Testing your water quality is critical to the safety of you and your home. In addition to regularly testing your water, you can also add water filtration systems to your home that mitigate harmful toxins and contaminants in your water.

For fresh, clean water, look to Rayne Water.

Our cutting-edge products feature water treatment systems ranging from the latest salt-free water softener to a reverse osmosis water filter that may eliminate over 95% of pollutants.8 With Rayne Water, you can rest assured that your water meets residential or industrial water quality requirements —making for a healthier you and a healthier planet.8

Sources:

  1. Water New South Wales. Water is Life. https://www.waternsw.com.au/water-quality/education/exhibitions/water-for-life-exhibition/timeline2/water-is-life
  2. New York Rural Water Association. Leonardo da Vinci Water Quotes. https://www.nyruralwater.org/news/leonardo-da-vinci-water-quotes
  3. Center for Disease Control. Chemicals That Can Contaminate Tap Water. https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/contamination/chemicals.html
  4. Safewise. Best Water Testing Kits. https://www.safewise.com/best-water-testing-kits/
  5. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Coliform Bacteria Sampling Instructions and Best Practices. https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/sites/default/files/topic/DrinkingWater/TN/CollectColiformSample.pdf
  6. Bureau of Reclamation California Great Basin. Water Facts – Worldwide Water Supply. https://www.usbr.gov/mp/arwec/water-facts-ww-water-sup.html
  7. UNESCO. The United Nations World Water Development Report: Wastewater, the Untapped Resource, https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000247553
  8. Rayne Water. Our History. https://www.raynewater.com/our-history
  9. Hach. Color Disc Test Kits. https://www.hach.com/single-parameter-test-kits/color-disc-test-kits/family?productCategoryId=35547009718
  10. Thurston Public Utility District.http://www.thurstonpud.org/tester-instructions-color-wheel.htm

 

Expert Reviewer – Ken Christopher