Don’t Poison our Children- Is Westminster’s Water Safe? 1

Flint

Leandra Gimenez

In Flint, Michigan there has been an ongoing crisis of lead poisoning people’s water. This has gone on since April of 2014. Lead poisoning has been said to have many serious effects on the human body. The lead infected water has been coming out of the people’s faucets, refrigerators, and even the hose!

The lead in Flint’s water is very serious because when lead is consumed it can cause serious issues such as developmental delay, irritability, loss of appetite, weight loss, sluggishness, abdominal pain, vomiting, constipation, hearing loss and possible death. Many people are worried about raising their children in such a hazardous environment.

People have protested against the government saying that they have done nothing to help the citizens of Flint with the water crisis. Governor Rick Snyder made it official last Friday that the city of Flint would be getting a $28 million dollars to help with the water issue. Before signing off the money he said, “Let’s stand up together as Michiganders to say mistakes were made, problems happened, we’re going to solve them, we’re going to fix them, and we’re going to (be) stronger.”

Although citizens of Flint are grateful for the money, they can’t help but be upset about the fact that it took two years for someone to do something. For those two years families had to live out of water bottles. Water bottles were used to take showers, cook, clean, to drink and even to flush the toilet. Hopefully, now that the government has acknowledged the problem Flint will soon be able to move past it and become stronger.

As of today, many homes in Flint are testing at lower lead levels, but too many still had levels considered too high. Additionally, the levels continue to be “highly variable” throughout the city’s water system.

Fortunately for us our water is clean and drinkable. In Westminster, our water comes from the water in the Continental Divide. We don’t have to worry about lead in our water, but there are other dangerous things that we need to be aware of in our water.

Sometimes there can be hazardous waste that gets into the system such as; pesticides, bacteria, and dangerous metals.

The city goes through an extensive purification process to make sure none of those horrible things end up in our water. The process starts with coagulation which is mixing in ferric sulfate and polyelectrolyte to the rushing water to kill bad bacteria. Next is the flocculation when the rushing water is mixed with large paddles to get the chemicals mixed well. The third step to clean water is sedimentation. Sedimentation is when the water is place in large containers so that the water can settle down and become clear. Disinfection is another step that is needed for pure water. Chemicals such as chlorine are put into the water which goes through the large containers again. PH is tested and adjusted. Fluoridation is another step to the process of clean water. This is when they add in fluoride to aid in the prevention of dental cavities. Lastly is the filtration process. Filtration is the last step, but it is also extremely important to the system. Basically, in this step, water is pushed through a filter where small particles are cleaned out. This system is handled with extreme care and caution, to insure the citizens,us, have safe drinking water.  

Hopefully, Westminster’s citizens never have to face the kind of disaster as those in Flint.

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