Burton never burdened their taxpayers for the switch over to PVC pipe, and in fact is saving local taxpayers $651,000 by switching over to water delivered by lead-free PVC pipes

Flint should look to the city next door for the solution to safe drinking water

By —— Bio and Archives--March 13, 2016

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Purposely held back from the good residents of Flint, Michigan by Democratic Party politicians landing like crows to carrion on their city before Tuesday’s Michigan primary seeking to turn public anger to Democrat votes, this little gem: it’s not the water that’s the problem, but the archaic, rusted, lead-letting iron pipes carrying water into Flint homes that is.

Nor did any rumpled-coat Detective Columbo have to go all the way to Washington, DC to find the solution for Flint’s water crisis. They only had to just go a stone’s throw away to the nearby City of Burton, whose citizens only seven miles away from Flint have an ongoing supply of healthy drinking water.

As the Flint water crisis hit, Burton Mayor Paula Zelenko, recognizing that rotting iron pipes, far behind their past due date, are a looming threat to the delivery of safe drinking water most anywhere in America, switched Burton’s aging iron pipes over to lead-free PVC ones, whose safe water delivery has proven to be dependable.

How could this have remained for so long a secret when the likes of a bellowing Michael Moore, keeps pointing his finger at Republican Michigan Governor Rick Snyder?

The City of Burton’s drinking water was recognized with an award, the 2015 Innovation and Infrastructure Award from the Genesee County Metropolitan Planning Commission.

Surely Flint officials responsible for their residents’ drinking water knew that the City of Burton, only 7 miles away, had come up with the solution for drinking water at risk, with a project started by Mayor Zelenko in 2014?

Why wasn’t the same switch attempted in nearby Flint?

“Providing safe drinking water is a top priority for my administration,” Zelenko said. “Residents and businesses should feel comfortable knowing they have access to clean and safe drinking water every time they turn on the faucet.”

“The project, which began in June 2014 will, when completed in 2019, have replaced over 19 miles of corroded, dilapidated cast iron pipe with high quality, healthy, low cost PVC pipe—benefitting the residents of the City of Burton in many ways for decades to come.”

A bottom-line statement of what should matter most that is so much more effective than the finger pointing still going on in Flint.

“The county Health Department, two state agencies, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have offered a variety of reasons why Flint’s water has not been tested, at times pointing fingers at one another. A state Health Department spokeswoman noted that chlorine is being added to the water to kill bacteria, including Legionella. (Washington Post, Feb. 27, 2016)

“But experts in the control of Legionnaires’ disease expressed varying degrees of surprise and dismay that testing still has not been done.”

Today the City of Flint is working to apply credits to residents during the crisis over their contaminated water supply.

“Flint Mayor Karen Weaver on Wednesday ordered the city to stop mailing out water bills until credits can be applied to the city’s customers. (TIME, March 10, 2016)

“Weaver said that the Michigan city’s employees “are doing everything they can” to get Flint utility customers accounts in order, according to the Detroit News. The process includes applying adjustments to the city’s more than 85,000 active and inactive utility accounts. The city became famous after it switched to using the Flint River as its water source, which caused high levels of lead contamination in drinking water.

“The credits are coming,” Weaver said in a statement. “Flint residents need and deserve this relief. I’ve said from Day One, Flint residents should not have to pay for water they can not and are not using.”

Burton never burdened their taxpayers for the switch over to PVC pipe, and in fact is saving local taxpayers $651,000 by switching over to water delivered by lead-free PVC pipes.

The use of PVC will also allow the City to increase water pressure to the residents by an average of 25 lbs., further improving quality of life and increasing fire-fighting safety. The quality of the pipe and the expected longevity (a conservative life expectancy of at least 100 years) will also result in fewer interruptions in service.

Some secrets aren’t worth keeping:

The story of endangered drinking water in North America is destined to keep cropping up as time goes by.

Because we only see the results of aging pipes made manifest in multiple broken water mains, we have come to take safe drinking water for granted.

But our water supply delivered, by aging, rusty and lead-laden iron pipes, many of them buried under ground back in the days when Stalin still ruled Russia, and which are increasingly exposed to corrosive soils, can no longer be guaranteed to bring safe drinking water into our homes.

Meanwhile, sometimes the solution for safe drinking water can be found right in the backyard next door.

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Judi McLeod -- Bio and Archives | Comments

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Judi McLeod is an award-winning journalist with 30 years’ experience in the print media. A former Toronto Sun columnist, she also worked for the Kingston Whig Standard. Her work has appeared on Rush Limbaugh, Newsmax.com, Drudge Report, Foxnews.com.

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