There are some things citizens of this country take for granted, a good water supply is definitely one of them. However, when things go wrong, the expectation is that our government will be there to help us through any issues. After all, we do pay for water, and for everything else that allows us the ability to sustain our lives. Yet for some reason, citizens in many states do not get the warnings needed about water until it is almost too late or the citizens find out first.
It has been in the news frequently that the water in Flint, Michigan has been undrinkable. The media has covered the widespread news of the brown colored water, spurning outrage as to how leadership in the state and city have allowed the water to get that way without proper warnings or help. Now, in Ohio, a similar story is brewing about water:
Residents who use the water in ten of the 14 water systems in Ohio that had lead in the system had not been notified until recently, while the officials in the state had known about the issue since November of last year. The water systems affected are small and provide drinking water to people of less than 100 where it isn’t heavily relied on. Luckily though, the EPA had issued violations to the state. This is because the EPA categorizes a water system as a system that connects to 15 connections or that serves water to 25 individuals on a regular basis.
The astonishing part of all this is that the EPA, knowing the lead levels could be a risk, warned each water system and told them to reach out to their customers about the issue. However, one water system administrator said that an email glitch prevented them from relaying the message to their customers. In the state’s capitol, as well as in Washington, legislation is being put together to prevent something like this from happening again. According to reports, the lead levels are virtually gone and the water is drinkable again.
There has to be a better way for the local water systems to notify their customers of anything going wrong with a resident’s water supply. A few ways to do this could include sending a representative or multiple representatives to each home or building to either talk to someone or leave a flyer explaining the situation. Emails are great, but not everyone checks them or has their current email attached to a potential email list a company may have. Another potential option would be the local water systems stimulating the economy by hiring temporary employees to call each resident to notify them.
It is a real serious issue when you look at the water situations facing communities like Flint and rural Ohio. In both of these scenarios, the communities were essentially overlooked because of the areas affected. It should not matter where the water is a potential hazard, all residents should be notified no matter where they live or by their economic status.