By Stephanie Akin Posted at 5 a.m. on Feb. 9 – Roll Call
A single serving of pasta cooked with North Carolina tap water in the home of a sick baby contained more lead than a dime-sized paint chip. An increase in spontaneous abortions and miscarriages was tied to undisclosed lead in the Washington, D.C.’s drinking water. And tap water at an Ohio mobile home community was found to have three times the allowable lead levels for months before residents were informed.
As members of Congress scramble to address the lead-tainted water in Flint, Mich., the nation’s sprawling and aging water delivery system faces broader problems than one community’s crisis. Deteriorating infrastructure, combined with outdated government regulations, have left many places vulnerable to contaminated drinking water.
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates it will cost $384 billion over the next 20 years to address the country’s “drinking water and infrastructure needs,” according to a statement from an agency spokesperson. The task is complicated by the small size of most water utilities, which are tasked with treating water from a variety of sources with shrinking budgets, aging equipment and frequent staff turnover. Climate change and newly identified pollutants pose additional challenges, the spokesperson said.
Recognizing the scope of the problem, lawmakers have developed a range of proposals and funding requests… read more here
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