The USA Today published a nice article about lead contamination in municipal drinking water systems all across the nation. In the article link at the end of my article you will read about an unfortunate young boy who has unknowingly been bathing in, drinking, and eating food prepared in water that is contaminated with lead.
As I have pointed out before, the danger we face of drinking contaminated water comes to us on several fronts:
- Civilization creates pollution sources that are gradually degrading our source water. There is no fix for this
- Our treatment plants are antiquated and were designed on water sources that no longer have the same purity level
- Many smaller municipalities cannot afford proper testing technology and staffing.
- The manual art of yesterday’s water treater has been replaced by computer programs and rote methodology.
I commend the USA today for addressing the nation’s lead problem in our drinking water, but again throw up a red flag any time people with no water treatment experience lead the charge in fixing our water. The points that the USA today is overlooking, will have dire consequences to drinking water customers 25 years from now. If we continue on with this emotional activism, I promise you, one day soon more of our municipalities will deliver dangerous water than those who deliver safe water.
Lead is toxic, and it must be kept our of our drinking water. But lead is also like the scantily clad magicians assistant that diverts the audiences attention while the trick is being performed. Here is the problem. There are countless dangerous toxins in our raw water supplies. Those contaminants, while below action limits are nonetheless creeping up in concentration all around the globe.
So, if we jump on the lead bandwagon today, we will guarantee ourselves that before we get a chance to celebrate our new lead-free infrastructure, there will be more harmful contaminants threatening our health. I have said it before and will so again, our water treatment plants need to be upgraded to handle what will unavoidably be much more contaminated lakes, rivers, streams and groundwater in the coming decades.