When I was off work with my dislocated shoulder, I had a lot of time on my hands. One day in the kitchen, I noticed that the ice cubes in my refrigerator freezer were stale. Normally, I toss the old ice in the kitchen sink, wash the trays, refill with fresh water from my Brita, and freeze. But since I had already moved a container of homemade stew from the freezer to the fridge for thawing, I had an idea: put the ice cubes in the fridge, and let them melt there.
Since I pay for the electricity in my apartment, I thought this made sense: try and recapture some of the energy that went into freezing the water. (Again, I was off work for five days, stuck in my apartment with the kind of sling that's not fun. The mind tends to wander.)
I got a bowl, put the ice cubes in, and placed it in the fridge.
The next day, my stew had thawed. But the ice cubes were still there. Slightly melted and 'glommed' together, but still ice.
They didn't melt for four days. I took the bowl out and investigated. The cubes had melted a bit around the bottom, taking the shape of the bowl. There was a bit of water. I put the ice in the sink and washed the bowl. Experiment over.
Although I don't have a fridge thermometer, the temperature setting must be about right. Even in the back of the fridge, items don't freeze. Why didn't the ice cubes melt? Maybe I should be scared of Toronto's water.
Sometimes, I think of the cities "upriver" from Toronto in the Great Lakes watershed: Chicago*, Milwaukee, Detroit, Windsor, Cleveland, Buffalo. Add to that list the smaller cities--many with manufacturing/petrochemical refining/paper mill concerns (Duluth/Superior, Thunder Bay, Green Bay, Escanaba, Sault Ste. Marie, Sarnia, Toledo, Erie, Hamilton). A lot of wastewater is heading down to Lake Ontario, Toronto's water source.
*Chicago diverts its wastewater out of the Great Lakes basin, and into the Mississippi watershed. I don't know whether to be relieved or concerned about this.
Why didn't the ice cubes melt?
links and resources:
diversions from the Great Lakes watershed
shhh everything is fine!
CBC series on the health of the lakes