Freshwater Future Weekly: October 13, 2023
This Week: Agencies Discuss Condemning And Cleaning Up The Erie Coke Site; All About Water Convening Key Takeaways; New York City’s Lead Service Lines Impact Hispanic/Latino Communities; Biden Administration’s Report Recommends Privatization Of U.S. Water Systems; Lake Erie’s World Water Spout Record
Agencies Discuss Condemning and Cleaning Up the Erie Coke Site
Cleaning up the 194 acre, highly contaminated Erie Coke property in Erie, PA was discussed at a meeting recently hosted by the Erie-Western PA Port Authority and Erie County Redevelopment Authority. The property would likely need to be condemned and acquired first. Pat Lupo, with Hold Erie Coke Accountable (a recent Freshwater Hero) said of the condemnation effort, “We are hopeful that the Port and Redevelopment Authorities will pursue, in earnest, HECA’s recommendations for increased public transparency and engagement, informed public dialogue about state versus federal cleanup processes, and mechanisms to prevent another major permit-holding polluter from occupying the site”. Stay tuned for more information on this site.
Miss the All About Water Convening? We’ll Fill You In
On October 4th, 2023, many old and new friends joined us in making connections, learning more, and discussing the state of water justice across the Great Lakes region. Throughout the day, our speakers lent their expertise to discuss the threats of water unaffordability, loss of control over our drinking water systems, PFAS and lead poisoning, and harmful algal blooms as well as offer critical advocacy solutions. Even if you couldn’t make it to Benton Harbor, you can still learn more and take action. Check out key takeaways and next steps in our blog post and the convening recording.
Report: New York City’s Lead Service Lines Impact Hispanic/Latino Communities
A recent study by Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, revealed significant disparities in lead service line locations across New York City. Researchers determined that census tracts with Hispanic/Latino populations had an increased number of lead service lines over other demographics. Lead exposure, even at low levels, harms children’s cognitive function and academic performance. Freshwater Future urges all residents concerned about their water quality to test their water, check your water department’s consumer confidence report, and take actions to protect your family from lead exposure.
Biden Administration’s Report Recommends Privatization of U.S. Water Systems
President Biden’s National Infrastructure Advisory Council recently issued a report advocating for the privatization of the nation’s water systems. These recommendations ring alarm bells for our Great Lakes communities and beyond. Studies have shown that privately owned water systems on average charge 59 percent more than their publicly owned counterparts, making private ownership the single largest factor associated with higher water bills—more significant than aging infrastructure or drought. In response, Freshwater Future’s Executive Director, Jill Ryan released a statement calling for federal and state leaders to instead renew support for public water systems. “Rather than focusing on how to create profits, our local municipally owned water systems create value without profit, keeping water bills more affordable,” she said.
Lake Erie’s World Water Spout Record!
Lake Erie set a new record with 181 waterspouts and funnels reported in a single day on October 7th, according to the International Center for Waterspout Research. Water spouts are twirling columns of air and mist – some are even tornadoes that have strayed from land. This event is part of a waterspout outbreak in the Great Lakes. The National Weather Service explains that waterspouts typically form when cold air moves across the Great Lakes and creates a large temperature difference between the warm water and the cold air above it.