Posts Tagged ‘tapwater’

posted by | on , , , , , , | Comments Off on What Every EcoWoman Should Know About the Water Crisis in Flint, Michigan

By Sonia Abdulbaki

I recently wrote an article on the DC EcoWomen blog regarding the global concern of water shortage. I quote myself saying, “Luckily for us, water is a luxury available with a turn of a faucet.” Suffice to stay, I stand corrected, and have the account of the 100,000 Flint, Michigan residents to back up my claim.

You also might be wondering, where is Erin Brockovich when you need her? Well, she was right there, raising awareness on several cases of water contamination, including the recent water pollution crisis in Flint. She also brought it to the attention of President Obama, who then declared the issue a state of emergency.

According to MLive, on January 18, 2016 about 100 protesters in Ann Arbor called for the arrest of Michigan Governor Rick Snyder over the state's handling of the lead poisoning of Flint residents. Snyder lives in Ann Arbor.

According to MLive, on January 18, 2016 about 100 protesters in Ann Arbor called for the arrest of Michigan Governor Rick Snyder over the state’s handling of the lead poisoning of Flint residents. Snyder lives in Ann Arbor.

The gist of it

Before the President had a hand in the matter, Flint’s mayor, Karen Weaver, declared a state of emergency in December 2015. What started two years ago as a pursuit to supply water independent of Detroit to save money transpired into a water pollution crisis.

Lead from the old pipes seeped into the Flint River and citizens knew that if the water looked, smelled and tasted wrong, then something was wrong. Although the move to locally sourced water was planned as a temporary one, its expiration date came earlier than anticipated.

The event was accompanied by longer lasting effects, including the rising lead levels shown in children’s blood tests. Increased levels of lead can result in behavioral changes and negatively influence neurological development. Brockovich pleaded for action, with claims that the legionnaire’s disease was another outcome of the crisis.

Damage control

Once the news was out, the city turned back to Detroit’s water system to put things back on track. Regardless, officials responded slowly. Accountability, as well as the damage that remained, needed to be acknowledged.

Flint’s mayor set out to replace the pipes with a $55 million plan. Michigan’s governor, Rick Snyder, turned to the National Guard for help in giving Flint citizens clean water. The time it will take to achieve this goal is unknown. President Obama aided with $5 million and authorized the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to cover 75% of water related costs.

In the meantime, residents were taking action, obtaining water through filters and bottles and more seriously, filing a class-action lawsuit against political officials. The crisis was reported to have lasted for months, yet lawsuits are claiming that the state knew about the contamination for about one year.

Lawsuits may address accountability but major concerns remain, such as improving infrastructure and the accompanying cost, serious health risks and thorough investigation in order to stop it from happening in the future.

Erin Brockovich, an Eco-woman to be reckoned with

Erin BrockovichYou might remember her from the movie, starring Julia Roberts, as a single mother struggling to find a job, which led her to investigate a case involving the Pacific Gas & Electric Company. She discovered that land in the area was poisoning the residents, contaminated by a deadly toxic waste that the company was illegally dumping. She led her law firm into one of the largest class action lawsuits in the country’s history, one involving a multi-billion dollar corporation.

Yes, real woman, real story.

That was a couple of decades ago, and Brockovich is still on the move. She continues to fight for residents nationwide against toxic environments through her influence. Her voice resonates with the half a million followers on her social media, a platform that brought the Flint crisis to the media and government officials’ attention. Brockovich spoke out for Flint by calling out businesses, councils and the slow government response.

And yet, it is merely one of the hundreds of others in the nation whose water systems also are failing.

Sonia Abdulbaki is a freelance writer and the vice president at Daly Gray Public Relations, a firm specializing in hospitality. Sonia has extensive experience in the field of communications that includes her work at Green America. She is a contributing writer for Business Traveler magazine and

posted by | on , , , , , | Comments Off on Water in Washington: At Risk from Fracking?

A miracle happens several times a day. You walk to your kitchen sink, twist a knob, and clean, drinkable water cascades down from the faucet and into your hands.

This water has weathered miles of travel. It may have been recycled and treated hundreds of times over; from a sink in New York City, down a river to a well in Delaware, through a drainpipe and to a spring in Maryland, to be treated and cycled until it finally reaches your faucet.

Most of the time, you drink clean water without a moment’s thought. But it takes an incredible amount of work, upkeep, and regulation to ensure that the water you drink won’t make you sick.

A potential threat to our water safety has unsurfaced. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is suspected of contaminating the water supplies of several states across the country. As fracking continues to expand, this threat grows as well.

How dangerous is fracking for our water?

Hydraulic fracturing is the use of chemicals and materials to create horizontal fractures to stimulate production from gas and oil wells. Scientists worry that these chemicals may threaten groundwater either when underground or during the waste removal process.

Whether or not fracking actually contaminates groundwater has caused a lot of controversy. Though there have been over 1,000 reported cases of contamination related to fracking, many scientific studies remain inconclusive.

That’s not for lack of trying. The Governor of Maryland has recently proposed spending $1.5 million to research the dangers of fracking in the state. And the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently working on a study on “the dangers posed to drinking water sources by hydraulic fracturing,” due in 2016.

Could fracking affect the water in DC?

Currently, there is no hydraulic fracturing taking place in or around the District of Columbia. However, this might soon change, as Maryland opens up for fracking (amid protests from environmental groups). And extensive fracking in West Virginia may have even caused the earthquake that cracked the Washington Monument.

As fracking threatens to become a considerable part of our energy landscape, water safety is increasingly important.

Learn More at EcoHour!

Is fracking safe or unsafe? We’ll leave it up to you to decide. But before you do, you might want to learn more.

The task of protecting our water falls at the federal level to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). There are a surprising amount of complications surrounding something as simple and pure as water. We EcoWomen are lucky enough to hear from Nancy Stoner, EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Water, at our July EcoHour.

Nancy Stoner is a woman who lives and breathes water safety, and surely knows both sides of the argument. There are millions of websites giving one opinion or another about fracking, but sometimes it’s best to hear from the person working in the middle of it all.

Reserve your seat at EcoHour today!