Inquiries about Skils--USA and the safety of well water that has been plastered are this month's letters ...

Close to the source

I just read your "Up Front" message. Your thoughts are well received. As New Yorkers, we are brought up keeping a safe distance from our fellow New Yorkers. It's survival. What took place was shocking to all of us. Now our personal radar is at its peak. Being so close to ground zero you wake every morning with a little bit of anger that will never go away. Your position on e-mails and rumors of mall attacks is on the money. The last thing we need in our current lives is unnecessary stress in an already stressful world.

Thanks for trying to point people in the proper direction.

Glenn Pergament

Vitricon Inc.--Energex

Hauppauge, N.Y.

We don't mind at all

I enjoy your magazine very much. The articles cover a wide range of topics and opinions. They also address many of the challenges facing contractors today in a realistic fashion that is easily related to. Hope you don't mind (let me know if you do!), sometimes I copy articles fromW&Cand insert them into employee paychecks.

As a drywall/acoustical ceiling contractor in New Orleans, I enjoyed reading the August 2001 "Up Front"! Also, where can more info on SkillsUSA be obtained? I am on the task force of a local non-profit that is developing construction training programs aimed at providing an opportunity for those whom might not otherwise get the chance to learn a trade.

Christine Barnhill

President, BillBar Construction Inc.

SkillsUSA--VICA can be reached at P.O. Box 3000, Leesburg, Va. 20177-0300; Voice: (703) 777-8810, Fax: (703) 777-8999;

Safe to drink?

As a waterproofing contractor who has waterproofed city concrete water tanks, I read Robin Raymer's article on coating the inside of a cistern. If this is used for drinking water, a NSF potable-water-approved product should have been used. Otherwise, you will have lime and calcium in your drinking water.

John Campbell

Equipment Associates Inc.

Woodstock, Ga.

Robin Raymer replies:

I have never heard of this type of plastering causing a problem before. In checking with several plastering contractors, they agree that this should pose no problem to the drinking water.

To clarify the process, a lime, Portland cement and sand mixture was used for the scratch coat. This was covered by a 1/2-inch-thick finish coat made up of Portland and masonry cement. I do not see any danger of lime leaking or seeping through the waterproof finish coat. This finish will only get harder with time and as it has contact with water.

As a side note, there are many, many limestone-rock-lined wells across the country that have been used for generations. To my knowledge, these did not pose a threat to anyone's health.

Photo credit

Walls & Ceilingsfailed to give credit for the photos on the cover and pages 20 and 21 of the November 2001 issue. They were taken by photographer Alan Zimmerman, of Witchita, Kan.