Tuesday, June 23, 2015

June 23, 2015 Update on Arsenic and other thoughts for the week!

Update on What is Happening on the Arsenic question in our community!

Our community has an arsenic problem and the State of Arizona ADEQ Department is doing a fine job of addressing the issues.  Problem is that it just is taking too long.  In 2006 the standards were changed by the Federal EPA from 50 PPB to 10 PPB and this was a shock to the water systems everywhere since they had to adjust and drop their levels quickly.

What did that mean?     Local water systems had to put in place equipment that could take the arsenic levels down.  Some of the communities chose to blend their water supplies with water that had lower levels with those waters which had higher levels to achieve a balanced drinking supply that would fit within the guidelines.  The EPA was funded with special loan supplies made possible by the Federal Government to assist in the transition.  Was this good enough?  Yes, but the questions remains, why didn't all those communities which had problems partake in the dole out?  Well, what was obvious is that the money had to be paid back.  Greed in trying to get more than what was needed is also a concern.

How can this be that 9 years later communities are still dawdling! In a small community like the one in which I live the water company has been procrastinating in putting in the water program which would be beneficial to the residents.  The water supply is over the Federal EPA guides.  Measurement of the level of arsenic in the water is done by both the state and the water company.  It seems there is a discrepancy in their numbers. No one seems to respond directly to the variation, but each point of variance means a question as to the risk factors in play.

Illness is caused by AR III and AR V:  The water in our community has AR III and AR V.  Testing done by a supplier of filters in a reverse osmosis system was for the purpose of determining which filter was needed to remove the type of arsenic.  Illness is cancer in humans, death in pets, and a variety of other illness factors which build up since the body absorbs arsenic and retains it.

Where do we go from here?  Is it acceptable to wait until the court ordered time of May 2016 or should the remediation of the water take place now?  It is not rocket science to have a company come in and advise what should be done to reduce the level of arsenic in the water.  Also, how long should it take to put the system in place?  Answers by the water company have not been forth coming, have they done anything to provide them?  It does not appear so!  They keep procrastinating and it has been 9 years from the issuance of the mandate by the EPA.  Problems in the water supply were present since 1980, isn't that nice! One of the legislators from our district has stepped up and had those involved at the state level report where and what things were being done. 

Many residents have come forward:  A meeting of the residents of my community was held a week ago.  We had a county supervisor present and he assured he would look into the matter as he was unaware of the problem.  We asked that water be tested by the community health service since it was a matter of health and safety.  He assured he would get them into the matter of testing.  I estimate that about 75 residents were at the meeting, a very good turnout on short notice.

We need to have more residents get into the fray!  Write to the HOA Board, your Board of Supervisors, your legislators, and the state people at the EPA.

What can you do to protect yourself?

I have installed a filter system for water which we drink and for cooking.  It is installed under the sink and works well to remove the arsenic III and V from our water.  This is short term, but the filter will last for 1000 gallons which is about a year's supply.  That will take us through the court ordered May 2016 date when the water company is supposed to have their reduction in place.  If not?  Well, we will buy another arsenic filter (Cost $89) to go another year.  The water company offers a gallon of water per day per person, but their source is inadequate and when people have shown up to get 2 gallons of water, were given one plus a small amount in another gallon as they had run out.  Another option is to purchase water from local stores in larger quantities (5 gallon).

Personal Note:

In 2004 my brother Leslie Alfred Isaacs died.  He was 72.  Today is June 23rd, the date he was born!  I surely miss him as we used to talk everyday about the events that were going on in our lives and our children.  He was a good man who cared so much about others and their needs.  We all should care and do something about it.  That is one of the reasons that I am so interested in community affairs and those who live around us.

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