Tag: water

Madison, Wisconsin replaces every single lead pipe in the city

Madison, Wisconsin, the second-largest city in Wisconsin, did something incredible with their water supply. They replaced every single lead pipe in the city’s water system in response to the lead concentration in the water supply being one part per billion over the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) limit for lead concentration in the water:

Long before Flint, Mich., faced a water-contamination crisis, this city dealt with one of its own. The local utility had sampled residents’ tap water in accordance with the federal government’s new Lead and Copper Rule and discovered unacceptable levels of lead.

But Madison’s response was like hitting a gnat with a sledgehammer. It was so aggressive that only one other major municipality in the United States has followed its approach so far. It’s also why some people now call Madison the anti-Flint, a place where water problems linked to the toxic substance simply couldn’t happen today.

Madison residents and businesses dug out and replaced their lead pipes — 8,000 of them. All because lead in their water had been measured at 16 parts per billion — one part per billion over the Environmental Protection Agency’s standard.

Although the federal government defines lead contamination of water as the lead concentration level in water being over 15 parts per billion, no level of lead in water is safe. Madison has proved yet again why it’s America’s most forward-thinking city.

Rick Synder administration provided clean water to state employees long before they did to Flint residents

Michigan state government officials based in state government offices in Flint, Michigan knew about and complained about the lead contamination in the Flint water supply in January 2015, and the state government sent bottled water to the state government offices over a year before Gov. Rick Snyder (R-MI) activated the Michigan National Guard to provide bottled water to Flint residents:

The Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget decided to haul water coolers into the Flint state building in January of 2015 out of concern over the city’s water quality, a year before bottled water was being made available to residents, according to documents obtained by Progress Michigan.

…concerns raised over water quality were enough for officials in the state’s capitol of Lansing to decide to give state employees the option to drink bottled water from coolers, rather than from water fountains. Coolers were placed next to the fountains on each occupied floor, according to the documents, and were to be provided “as long as the public water does not meet treatment requirements.”

You can view the proof here. The Michigan Department of Technology, Management, and Budget (MI DTMB) issued the notice that water coolers were going to be distributed to the state government building in Flint on January 7, 2015. Synder activated the Michigan National Guard to distribute bottled water to Flint residents on January 13, 2016.

The Flint Water Crisis is something that one would expect in a third-world country, not right here in America. People in Flint are being sickened by contaminated tap water, and that, as well as the months and months of inaction from Rick Synder, is highly unacceptable.

Cool invention: A new kind of water quality monitoring device

Eric Compas, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, and his wife, Lori Compas, have developed Current, a water quality data gathering device that the Compases bill as less expensive and easier to use than other types of water monitoring devices designed for use in lakes, rivers, and other bodies of water that are currently on the market:

While Eric is the only one who speaks on camera, it sounds to me that the narrator whose voice is heard at the beginning and end of the video is Lori, but I’ve not been able to confirm that. Additionally, where Eric is clearly the primary inventor of the device, both Eric and Lori have been actively involved with its development, so I’m going to credit both of them for their invention.

The Compases have recognized three main problems that they see with current water quality monitoring devices: First, water quality monitoring devices currently on the market are overly expensive. Second, the data that water quality monitoring devices currently on the market provide are not easy for even some experts to interpret. Third, with water quality monitoring devices currently on the market, it takes a lot of effort to gather data.

With Current, water quality data can be gathered from a canoe, kayak, or other similar type of boat, or, alternatively, from a fixed location in a body of water. A mobile phone app is used to guide the user of the device through the data-gathering process and upload the data to a server. Current maintains a cloud service that people can subscribe to and access data that has been gathered by users of the device, state government agencies, and federal government agencies. The data also includes maps and charts that illustrate the water quality data gathered.

I hope that this new water quality data gathering device is used widely and makes it easier to monitor the quality of the sources of water that we use to drink, bathe with, swim in, clean with, and so on. More importantly, I’d love to see federal, state, and local government agencies start using this device on a large scale, especially if it saves taxpayers money and makes it easier for public officials and the general public to understand water quality better.