Water Contamination On The Rise Across USUSA TODAY
This never ending crisis is affecting residents all over the nation not just in New York. Earlier this year President Donald Trump’s former top environmental adviser Scott Pruitt declared a war on LED before resigning now after leaving amid corruption allegations. EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler has continued his work, however as water contamination cases continue to increase across the country, many are questioning what is really being accomplished.
Lead is poisoning our kids
Now in Baltimore City for at least a decade the majority of its public schools have relied on bottled water. This came into play after the city detected lead in its schools water fountains and in Howard County Maryland just south of Baltimore City ,lead levels are exceeding federal health standards. Between September 13th and October 16th water samples were taken from nine schools in the county.
The EPA says immediate action is required if lead level reaches 15 parts per billion now according to Howard County School data , the samples tested positive for lead at an alarming rate – ranging from 22 to 288 parts per billion .
By the year 2020, the state is requiring all of its Howard County schools to be tested for lead. In Syracuse New York, at least 600 kids were poisoned by lead paint last year .
In 2016, Syracuse had the nation’s highest lead poisoning rate .Many of the kids diagnosed with lead poisoning last year were one and two years old .
Crisis deepened by bureaucracy
Experts say this crisis is caused by a lack of money, weak laws and roadblocks and government coordination . Now the department says no one knows the true level of lead poisoning as not everyone has been tested. For all the cities and counties battling this crisis, officials say in time that service lines will have to be replaced but this could fall on the homeowner .
Unfortunately lower income owners just can’t afford to take on the costs . So in the long run , many more individuals could be in harm’s away . The mayor put the blame back on the parents saying they’re the ones that’s basically poisoning their children and that it is not their problem !
According to Attorney Cory M Stern, who is very familiar with this issue, represents people who have been hurt by lead poisoning including twenty five hundred children in Flint Michigan and who sued numerous agencies and political figures, says that unfortunately this is extremely typical if you look at Flint Michigan, if you look at the New York City Housing Authority and now if you look at Newark ,the initial response by officials who are primarily responsible or oversee those who are responsible for, either the water or the paint and buildings, they generally start out by saying there’s nothing wrong there’s secondary responses perhaps there’s something wrong but it’s not our fault then it goes to there’s something wrong but it’s your fault and there’s normally a fourth stage where they finally come around to concede some responsibility.
So it’s not uncommon that just Newark is in the first stage, whereas flint is a little bit further along well . One would think these cities would learn their lesson after watching Flint but unfortunately there is still no long-term solution in Flint Michigan and other cities that have been brought to the national spotlight. They’re still dealing with the issue even if the cameras have gone away.
An aging infrastructure
Attorney Stern, thinks that the answer to most questions that nobody knows the answer to is usually money and it’s not as easy as just passing a bill. In the US, a significant number of homes that were built many years ago, have an infrastructure that’s comprised of pipes that are old and worn down and when it comes to water, the issue is not normally the water itself but rather the pipes that the water flows through, and if it was as easy as just changing a water source, governments would do it all the time.
Who should pay ?
The problem is that you’ve got pipes both outside of the home and inside of the home that need to be replaced and that comes with a pretty heavy price tag. So the reason why folks are not as proactive about it as most citizens would like for them to be is because the cost associated with it . Where does the cost burden actually fall on ? is it something that’s the personal homeowners responsibility even if they did not build the home themselves.
Is there any sort of conversation that’s going on with these pipe manufacturers ? Granted some have gone out of business but is there any sort of anybody else that can bear the brunt of this cost rather than just these homeowners who already probably don’t have enough or living paycheck-to-paycheck ?
According to Attorney Stern, many of the issues are from common pipes and so the water that flows from say Lake Huron in Michigan or outside of Detroit to Flint, there’s pipes from which the water flows through that starts out, not the the personal property of the individuals who own the homes . So issue number one is fixing the pipes that are the responsibility of the government without any real fight . It’s not that the government claims in Michigan or even in Newark ultimately, that the pipes outside of folks’ homes need to be replaced and it’s their responsibility to fix them .
Where the cost comes in and where the dispute comes in is that for a homeowner or for a renter , whose responsibility is it in that instance, once you get beyond the street level and now you’re in the level of the home and in most instances it is the homeowners responsibility , but where Flint went wrong and where Newark is likely going wrong, is that the pipes themselves may be okay if you use the proper corrosion control for the water .
What happened in Flint was because there wasn’t proper corrosion control , the water flowed through the pipes and seeped the bad lead or the copper or the iron from the pipes, not because the pipes were bad but because the water wasn’t treated properly .
In that instance it’s the responsibility of the folks who didn’t properly treat the water, more so than it is the homeowner because but for the water not being treated properly ,their pipes would have been fine .
Either homeless or a lead victim
From experience and from history the same is going to be true in Newark and ultimately the responsibilities is going to land on the city in the state. If we use Flint as sort of the bellwether for all of these these situations, most folks in Flint and frankly most people who are affected by lead whether it’s in the water or if it’s in the paint, they live in communities that are overpopulated that have very low-income populations such that it’s not as easy just to up and move .
Many of the homes associated with the New York City led crisis, their public housing homes and so it’s not like folks have a ton of choices in Flint most of the folks who could leave ,have left. It’s the folks that don’t have the resources , don’t have the means to actually go anywhere else , that are stuck there . For a lot of folks in the United States looking at these crises , it’s easy from 30,000 feet for anybody to say, well just go . But if the choice is between living in a home where there’s lead and potential lead hazards, or being out on the street and homeless , most folks are going to choose the warm place rather than being homeless.