A water treatment plant operator in Sebring, Ohio is alleged to have falsified reports that hid the elevated lead levels in 28 homes and one school in a village population estimated at 4,400. It is the second recent lead poisoning case to surface in the US, with the first coming out of Michigan and prompting President Obama to weigh in on the crisis.
Via MSN, the AFP reports on Tuesday, January 26 that “the Ohio case comes as a special prosecutor was appointed to investigate how the city of Flint, Michigan exposed 100,000 residents to lead poisoning after cutting water treatment costs.”
According to a Facebook post by Erin Brokovich, a legal clerk and environmental activist who took on the Pacific Gas and Electric Company in California in 1993 and won–inspiring a movie about her with Julia Roberts cast to play her, all anyone is getting in the Flint, Michigan case is:
Excuses, excuses, excuses.”
And that is said to be in large part due to the concerns that the wrongdoers in that pipe rust corrosion case are the officials of the state, city and local governmental who knew about the rust corrosion and did not address it. They are shielded from responsibility legally due to the special legal protections afforded them and known as sovereign immunity. But some law firms are still trying to find a way around the laws that protect governmental officials from responsibility in such cases, but those law firms are few. And that has led to the appointment of a special prosecutor, to ensure that justice is done.
In the Ohio case, however, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has come out in full force to initiate a criminal investigation into the leak that harmed people in Sebring, as that particular leak is alleged to have fallen under the authority of a water treatment plant operator, who is not shielded from governmental sovereign immunity. And to that Erin Brokovich had this to say on her Facebook account:
Until the Safe Drinking Water Act is really enforced…Drinking Water if [sic] the United States will be equal to a third world country.”
Many people think that because the government is in control over the day-to-day operations of many water treatment facilities within their local towns that they can count on clean tap water to drink rather than needing to purchase bottled water for such purposes. That could not be further from the truth in many cases, like the Michigan and Ohio states that have recently been outed in the news. But just because there exists the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974 does not mean that contaminated water–even water supervised by city officials–is guaranteed to be safe to drink.
Thus, if you are concerned about your children and family members ingesting corrosive lead from water pipes operated by your local officials, then bottled water is a better alternative choice, since lead poisoning can have very detrimental side effects, like causing brain development issues, lowering intelligence levels and stunting growth in your children.
Foul-smelling water can also make you and your family sick, as citizens in Michigan stated they were experiencing, as it can indicate something is wrong with the water. But sometimes you will not smell anything bad, even though the water could still be contaminated in some way. Thus, it is imperative that those who are concerned about water purity to know for sure that public officials (and others tasked with operating the water treatment facility in their town) are doing their jobs properly and not cutting corners like has happened in Flint, Michigan.
Cutting corners due to cost factors is why the Safe Drinking Water Act almost did not get passed, as even though President Nixon sent the legislation to Congress for action he actually balked at signing it, initially, choosing to veto it due to the price tag it was going to cost the American taxpayer. Fortunately, however, it was eventually made into law, but that historical fact raises this same issue now: How to protect the American water supply for the consumer without asking the taxpayer to pay more in order to do it?
Concerned parents and citizens must insist that officials operating water treatment centers in their towns be held accountable for their decisions regarding operation of such facilities and be vigilant in making sure that no one allows pipes to corrode with rust in efforts to save the town money. But those same citizens have to be willing to pay for that decision with their tax dollars. The other alternative is to purchase bottled water to drink instead, since then you are more likely to have peace of mind about the issue. And that is what this writer does–and why.