IT’S THE LEAD…STUPID!
Chicago’s latest report about the levels and number of pipes remaining that supply drinking water to all of its citizens became available last Sunday, published by the Chicago Tribune. There are just short of 400,000 homes still served with lead pipes, both those that are trunked in by the city and those that lead from the city pipes into private homes. Milwaukee has about 199,000. Madison 40,000. And so on.
Why have these pipes not been replaced? The dangers of lead poisoning, brought about by drinking liquids served in lead containers (like was learned so many centuries ago about one of the real vital reasons Rome fell…which was because the population drank wine from lead containers), and delivered by lead pipes is right in front of us all and has been for some years. People who imbibe lead-tainted water have intellectual results lower, by direct proportion to how much and how regularly they consume than those who do not drink such poisoned water. The effect is particularly evident in children.
What is Lake Geneva doing about its 1700 lead pipes and feeders managed by the Water Department? Nothing.
The City of Lake Geneva’s Water department has been in violation of federal laws and guidelines since 2016 and that fact is published by the state’s DNR. Lake Geneva’s not alone. Green Bay, Lacrosse, Madison…and almost all other cities in Wisconsin are in the same situation. Why does this work not get done? It’s expensive and time-consuming. Chicago replaced three lead lines last week. The city passed a law, the one mandating that all city lead pipes be switched out with copper pipes, and then gave the city 50 years to do the job. Fifty years!
Today, nobody can seem to figure out why the public seems so much dumber than it used to be. Duh! With this burning beacon sitting right in front of us, not to be extinguished with the water we are all drinking, why can the danger and the results not be seen and then acted upon? This lead problem was created by our own system of capitalism and lobbying when the lead-producing companies in the early 1900s got together and had legislatures across the nation create and pass laws that required that water pipes be made from lead. The big benefit was that this lead element does not rust or degrade over time. That big benefit was portrayed as an expense-saving benefit but the downside, that the lead poisoning would start and continue on into a very long future, was never allowed to see the light of day.
According to the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit outfit that tests waters systems nationwide, Wisconsin has 80 cities that exceed federal allowable standards for lead in drinking water delivery systems. Lake Geneva is one of those cities. Incidentally, Lake Geneva is in federal violation of eleven other substances that are considered unhealthy or poisonous by the feds. Why is this problem continuing to plague our country, our state, and our own towns and cities located around Geneva Lake? Where is the leadership? They, of course, have been drinking the water all of these years so maybe they have a great excuse. What about the kids? What about our kids? How can we have known about this problem so long and have done nothing?
The fifty years the City of Chicago gave itself to take care of removing all the pipes is not uncommon across the land. Go invest pennies in a lead testing kit. Speaking of tests, some places (like Chicago) also use income-verification tests to make sure that those who get their private property lead lines replaced aren’t poor or without means. What is that supposed to represent? Prejudice, outright racism, and anti-women initiatives seem to be all the rage these days. How is it that our culture so rejects everything the Taliban in Afghanistan stands for but, at home, follows many of the same rules and laws of intolerance and stupidity that the Taliban apply?
It’s the water…stupid.