By now we are all familiar with the various water crises unfolding in multiple cities and towns around the U.S. Of course everyone knows about the problem in Flint, MI, but there are many more towns in this country that are suffering from massive water contamination. Let’s take a moment to put all of these cases together and form a larger, and far more disturbing, picture. Links will be posted at the bottom of this article. Prepare yourselves, dearies, I predict this will be a long one.
Two years ago, city officials in Flint decided to switch water sources for the city. While they were getting their water from Lake Huron and paying the City of Detroit before, the officials decided instead to get the city’s water from the Flint River. The residents of Flint thought at first that the switch was a joke since most people in town knew the river as a filthy one. But it was not a joke. It was also not meant to permanent. A project by the city to install a knew water line to Lake Huron was supposed to take approximately two years to complete.
It was not long after the switch was made until the people of Flint noticed that the water coming from there faucets looked dirty, brown and smelled bad. Some even thought that it might have been sewage contamination. Turns out it was iron. The water from the Flint River is 19 more times corrosive than the water from Lake Huron. On top of that, most of the water lines in Flint are made of lead, and since the more corrosive water was not treated with an anti-corrosion agent, it began leaching lead from the pipes.
For two years the city residents have been paying their local water companies for water that is contaminated with iron and lead. This does not even begin to cover the issue of all of the people who have been exposed to lead and even been diagnosed with lead poisoning in Flint because of this crisis. I will not go into that right now, this article is about the water itself and that is a post for another day.
Months ago the Ohio EPA excessive levels of lead in the public water system for Sebring, OH. This came only days after a state of emergency was declared in Flint, and the Ohio town did not take it lightly. Jim Bates, Sebring Water Superintendent, was suspended while a criminal investigation was undertaken to determine if he lied about the city’s lead levels.
Crystal City, Texas
This is a good one. I first saw this story on Facebook and it just blew my mind. Not only do we have some kind of contamination of the water but we have a situation where the city officials are already in jail for something else…pretty much all of them.
With the entire city council in jail and under federal investigation, the city was already in a pretty bad way. But then the residents noticed their water was smelly and in some cases coming out of the faucet looking like black sludge. This is apparently because of a water tank that was recently drained for the first time in 20 or 30 years, allowing sediment to get into the water pipes, turning the water for the entire city black. Whether or not the water is safe apparently depends on who you ask.
Crystal City is not the only one with a black sludge problem. In Gardena at a recent city council meeting residents gathered to voice their complaints about the stinky, dark water they were getting from their taps. Many residents had brought bottles or jars of their tap water to the meeting, asking that the city officials drink it.
Gardena utility officials are allegedly working on the problem and assure residents that the water is safe to drink, but that if the citizenry feel it necessary they can feel free to boil it. Hm. It is being blamed on old pipes and natural minerals being leached into the water from those old pipes. There are plans to replace miles of pipes in Gardena while residents deal with smelly and discolored water.
Not to be outdone by all of these smaller towns and cities crises, the Windy City also has a lead contamination problem in their public water system. City residents recently filed a class-action lawsuit against the city claiming that the city’s lead pipes has caused contamination of their public water for years. The lawsuit is demanding that the city remove the lead pipes.
Fox News reports:
The Chicago Tribune reported that the lawsuit quotes a 2013 EPA study that found elevated lead in homes’ drinking water after city construction disrupted lead service lines and they failed to warn residents about the risk.
The EPA report warned that Chicago’s attempts to upgrade the city’s water system might pose health risks from toxic metal poisoning. The Guardian reported that city officials have scrutinized the report, saying that the city’s water is safe from lead contamination.
Chicago has been struggling to replace the lead service lines since the Federal Government banned the use of them in 1986 and nearly 80% of the city residents get their drinking water from lead water pipes.
Water Contamination Across the Country
There are more than 200 unregulated chemicals present in the tap water in 45 states, according to a three year study of the nation’s drinking water. Tap water is being contaminated with things like weed killer, refrigerants, industrial solvents and other terrible things that are definitely not for human consumption.
Many cities around the country use outdated, pre-WW1 water treatment and delivery systems. These old pipes, often made of lead, can break, leach contaminants and breed bacteria in the water that is being delivered.
Of course, so far I have only covered man made contaminants. There are many areas around the nation with natural bodies of water full of natural pollutants that make the water unsafe to drink or even swim in in many cases. Natural but still harmful contaminants like arsenic, manganese, uranium, radon and other substances have all been found in groundwater.
This is a nasty algae that grows in many bodies of water naturally, and growth increases exponentially during warm weather. It makes the water stink to high heaven, it literally smells like human feces or raw sewage or something equally disgusting and horrifically pungent.
Also called Blue Green Algae, this stuff is just gross. I know, because I live just blocks from a lake affected by this horrendous crap. Every summer, when the temperature really starts to rise (and it gets hot here, triple digits by July) you can smell the lake from practically anywhere in town by midday. The main street is the worst, as it runs directly parallel to the lake in several spots. Just driving to the grocery store in August is enough to make you vomit unless you can manage to drive while holding your breath through the worst spots.
But it doesn’t just stink up the place. It also releases toxins while in bloom. There are two types of toxins than can be released by this algae into the water. The first kind are called Hepatotoxins and Nephrotoxins and mainly damage the liver. There are tests to determine if these toxins are present. Symptoms include jaundice, fever, and nausea but these toxins can be treated.
The second set of toxins released by cyanobacteria/blue green algae are Neurotoxins. These are difficult to trace and impossible to treat. Symptoms have been recorded as a progression of muscle twitches and failure to render the esophagus still, causing asphyxiation. It is more typical for livestock, wildlife and pets to die this way as they are more likely to drink from natural, unfiltered water sources.
In my local area, many residents take their dogs to various spots around the lake for a day of waterside fun. Some brave souls even swim in the water still. I used to as a kid, when I did not know any better about the slimy green film that would coat my body once I got out of the water. It just went without saying that after a day at the lake a nice long bath was in order, but it was literally a requirement after swimming in this lake.
In recent years many people around this lake have lost their pets to what they believe is the contaminated lake water being ingested. Officials have advised people to keep their dogs out of the water as well as to keep them from drinking the water. Basically, don’t take your dogs anywhere near this water, although they are not outright admitting that this is what has been responsible for pet deaths.
This bacteria is all over the country in lakes and ponds and streams. One family in Utah is convinced that their son, Jimmy Davis, along with two dogs in the same day in 2014 at Utah Lake. It can also be found in the Charles River in Massachusetts and lakes in Vermont as well.
This stuff can cause skin rashes, stomach illness and is just all around unpleasant as well as potentially deadly. New studies are questioning whether there is even a link between cyanotoxins and diseases like Alzheimer’s and ALS.
I am sure you notice that in every place that there is a water crisis the residents are buying bottled water, or having it donated, or both. I am not saying that all of this contamination of water was done maliciously or on purpose. I am just saying that it is a magnificent opportunity for the bottled water industry.
The money hungry industry that was draining California lakes and springs quicker than the drought could manage to the last couple of years. The greedy corporations like Nestle, whose CEO does not believe that people have a right to water, that it should be privatized like any other foodstuff. Check out the video posted below.
Yea, that guy is a total pig. But doesn’t contaminated, toxic public water supplies present a grand opportunity for scumbags like that rich asshole to profit massively and possibly even accomplish privatizing water for everyone. Imagine only being able to get clean drinking water from some bottling company run by some corporate pig like this guy.
Algal Toxins Detected in One-Third of Streams Assessed in Southeastern United States | U.S. Geological Survey