Why Water First?by E.B.

I want you to head to your kitchen and grab a clean glass. Now head over to the sink and fill up that glass and chug it on down.


Many won’t or, many more sadly, can’t.

Don’t like the taste? That’s fine, but for many, it’s a safety issue more than a taste issue.

Flint, Michigan and its water crisis were lucky enough to at least eventually make the news (for all the good it did them as a good deal of damage was done long before stories broke into mainstream media. Let’s be frankly honest, unless you were directly affected, for the average person how long until you forgot all about it? For all the good that it has (or in this case, like many others, hasn’t) done.

Even worse Flint is not alone, nor is it new. For younger generations, the name Erin Brockovich may not mean anything. Thanks to the powers of search engines (I prefer Google myself, but if you are a Bing fan, by all means, search a little bit more for it) one can verify this woman exists. You'll also discover that she had to fight large corporations regarding (wait for it) contaminated water. She later went on to fight other battles as well, but the point is contaminated water is not new or isolated to specific areas. The problem is that it is more common than we think, mainly as many fields/interest groups/government agencies work so hard to keep this stuff under wraps.

Right; Department of Defense!? Your March 2018 report is finally making it to the public so that we can all learn that in the 1970s there were certain chemicals in use in items such as firefighting foam that was progressively phased out starting in 2000 by many American manufacturers. The EPA set some provisional exposure limits in 2009, and this goes on and on. It’s a 61-page powerpoint to recap the highlights of this report.​

Long story short, it looks suspicious that the government was aware of military installations with unsafe levels of cancer-causing chemicals (and groundwater in areas adjacent to facilities that have been affected) in the drinking water.


It is alleged that instead of admitting it, a good deal of time was spent trying to figure out how to buffer this “PR nightmare.” Waiting a couple of years then putting out that DoD is highly concerned with safety doesn’t quite match up to me. ​

Waukesha, Wisconsin needed to get water from another source due to radium contamination from the city’s underground aquifer. 

One can easily find places (usually poor or rural areas) where groundwater containing contaminant chemicals supplied people for years before agencies admitting to it. Unfortunately, even when these are called out, we get no guarantees that the issue will be fixed (unless you are willing to wait until 2023 or maybe 2030).​

You can search and find stories of water with levels of arsenic, fluoride, radium, parasites, and with levels exceeding anything that could be considered safe.  Though you can also find some areas, who can happily report that high levels of dangerous contaminants are not a problem, well as long as you are ok with the fact that they have failed to test for them for years. Ignorance is bliss after all, right?


Don’t worry small and poor cities, large cities and suburbs also disregard safety for drinking water too. They have better lawyers to clean up their mess is all. One can easily find articles discussing the failure of significant U.S. cities efforts to update infrastructure, protect the water supply from bacteria and viruses.


We've seen treatment plant measures installed to kill certain parasites, failures to cover reservoirs, and all the while they make up excuses (the levels aren’t all that high, there haven’t been any significant illnesses associated with this lapse in safety) instead of working diligently to address the problem.  

No, these problems aren’t new, they aren’t isolated, and for a large percentage of those affected, they aren’t getting fixed. Thanks to social media we can learn about the water with lead in East Chicago in Indiana;  


We know about the hazardous chemicals in Tallulah, Louisiana. Some have heard about the sudden stoppage of all maintenance and treatment by officials - leaving public maintenance work to residents in multiple areas of West Virginia (as well as other rural areas in the U.S.) such as Kanawha Falls, Pierpont, Garwood and numerous other locations.

Author E.B. is retired USAF, currently works in the private sector, and wishes to remain anonymous.

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