Saturday, June 16, 2012

Water - Taken for Granted? (Part 3)

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The Hidden "Cancer-Trigger" You Probably Swallow Every Day
Dr. Mercola
August 23 2012
It's estimated that half of all hospital beds in the world are occupied by people who have become sick from drinking contaminated water. In fact, over 1 billion people (or about one-sixth of the world's population) do not have access to safe drinking water, and millions in developing countries die each year from water-related diseases.1
In third-world countries, sunlight exposure is often used to help make water safer, but this natural disinfection process can take anywhere from six to 48 hours (depending on cloud cover and so on).
Now researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine have found a simple twist to make this disinfection method even more powerful, not to mention much faster …
Lime Juice and Sunlight Can Help Make Water Safer
When researchers added lime juice or lime slurry to water that had been contaminated with various types of bacteria and viruses, then exposed it to sunlight, levels of both E. coli and MS2 bacteriophage virus were significantly lower than when compared to solar disinfection alone.2 Kellogg Schwab, PhD, MS, senior author of the study, said:3
"The preliminary results of this study show solar disinfection of water combined with citrus could be effective at greatly reducing E. coli levels in just 30 minutes, a treatment time on par with boiling and other household water treatment methods. In addition, the 30 milliliters of juice per 2 liters of water amounts to about one-half Persian lime per bottle, a quantity that will likely not be prohibitively expensive or create an unpleasant flavor."
Noroviruses in the drinking water were not significantly reduced using the lime juice/sunlight technique, so unfortunately it is not a perfect solution. However, limes are readily available in most tropical countries, as is steady sunlight, so this finding could still have an extremely beneficial impact in countries that don't have ready access to clean drinking water.
You may be surprised to learn, however, that your drinking water may still be contaminated even if you live in the developed world. Further, many of the "modern" disinfection processes used in the United States and other developed countries create their own set of issues …
Have You Heard of Disinfection Byproducts?
Part of the allure of natural disinfection processes like exposure to sunlight and lime juice is that they have no harmful side effects – unlike the chlorination process used by most U.S. municipalities.
If you receive municipal water, the main chemical used to disinfect the tap water in your house is chlorine. While your local government is quick to assure you that there is relatively no danger from drinking chlorinated water, that simply is not the case, because the levels of chlorine disinfection byproducts (DBPs) that are produced by this process are both dangerous and alarming.
There is actually no safe level for many contaminants found in drinking water, including heavy metals, pesticides, herbicides, hormones and DBPs, but they persist nonetheless, in varying quantities.
The government is much more concerned with providing water that doesn't kill you by causing diarrhea (the way it does in many third-world countries) and it does a good job at that, although some microorganisms (cysts and parasites) do survive the chlorination process (cryptosporidium, Giardia, for instance) and can lead to isolated outbreaks of disease and even death to those with compromised immune systems.
If you have not heard of DBPs before, you need to pay close attention as it turns out that DBPs, not chlorine, are responsible for nearly all the toxic effects of chlorinated water. Chlorine by itself is relatively harmless, but its side effects, by producing DBPs, are what cause nearly all of the problems.
As it turns out, DBPs are over 10,000 times more toxic than chlorine, and out of all the other toxins and contaminants present in your water, such as fluoride and miscellaneous pharmaceutical drugs, DBPs may be the absolute worst of the bunch.
The most common disinfectant byproducts formed when chlorine is used are:
Trihalomethanes (THMs)
Haloacetic acids (HAAs)
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) takes the dangers of THMs -- which are measured in parts per billion (ppb) -- very seriously and regulates these compounds. The maximum annual average of THMs in your local water supply cannot exceed 80 ppb, and the maximum annual average of HAAs permitted by EPA regulations is 60 ppb.
However even though these are allowed, ideally it would be best to have zero. These levels have been regularly adjusted downwards over the years as science progresses and gains a deeper appreciation of their true toxicity. What makes DBPs so toxic?
Disinfection Byproducts May Cause Cancer, Reproductive Problems and More
THMs are Cancer Group B carcinogens, meaning they've been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals. DBPs have also been linked to reproductive problems in both animals and humans, and human studies suggest that lifetime consumption of chlorine-treated water can more than double the risk of bladder and rectal cancers in certain individuals.
One such study found that men who smoked and drank chlorinated tap water for more than 40 years faced double the risk of bladder cancer compared with smoking men who drank non-chlorinated water.4 A second study found that rates for rectal cancers for both sexes escalated with duration of consumption of chlorinated water.5 Individuals on low-fiber diets who also drank chlorinated water for over 40 years more than doubled their risk for rectal cancer, compared with lifetime drinkers of non-chlorinated water.
As the vast majority of the U.S. population continues to receive and consume disinfected or chlorinated drinking water, we can assume that Americans are consuming disinfection byproducts every single day, and the number of related cancer cases could be substantial. And, you're exposed not only when you drink chlorinated water but also, and even more significantly, when you shower or bathe, as well as when you breathe in the chemicals from the air.
The chlorine that enters your lungs is in the form of chloroform, a carcinogen, and chlorite, a byproduct of chlorine dioxide. These forms of chlorine hit your bloodstream instantly before they have a chance to be removed by your organs of detoxification. The DBPs that enter your body through your skin during showering or bathing also go directly into your bloodstream. And the warm or hot water maximizes absorption by your skin. So unless you are regularly taking one-minute long cold showers, your body is like a sponge for these airborne toxins every second you spend in a shower.
If you are like me and obtain your water from a private well, then DBPs are a non-issue as they are only produced when chlorine is added, and it's highly unusual to add chlorine to most private well water systems. However, well water has its own set of potential hazards as well.
Is Well Water Safe?
Unless you are getting your water from a well that is located 800 feet or more below the ground surface, chances are your well water has been contaminated by some if not many toxic substances that have been dumped into the ground soil over past decades. Some common toxins that are dumped by the millions of pounds into soil every year are:
Herbicides
Pesticides
Estrogen-mimicking hormones
Drug residues
Heavy metals
Many private wells in the United States have been affected by these types of chemical or heavy metal runoff from the surrounding ground soil, and this is to say nothing of the microorganisms living in well water as well. No matter how clean or pure your natural ground water looks, this has nothing to do with potential bacterial contamination or toxic pollution in the water. Many of the offenders in well water are just much too small to be seen with the naked eye.
So if your home uses well water, you really need to test to see what unwanted contaminants you're piping into your house, and then filter it accordingly. And if you get municipal water, you should have that tested too, as Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J. told ABC News that there are more than 140 chemicals in U.S. drinking water supplies that are not regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).6 This includes gasoline, pesticides, rocket fuel, prescription drugs and more. Furthermore, more than 20 percent of U.S. water treatment systems have violated key provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act over the last six years!
You Can Get Chlorine (and Other Toxins) Out of Your Drinking Water
Most people in the United States are not going to take the time to expose their drinking water and bathwater to sunlight, then add lime juice, to help make it more pure – and this wouldn't do anything to eliminate the chlorine or fluoride it contains anyway.
Fortunately, there are other options at your disposal.
If you can only afford one filter there is no question in most experts' minds that the shower filter is the most important product to buy for water filtration, even more important than filtering your tap water. This is because the damage you incur through your skin and lungs far surpasses the damage done by drinking water (which at least gives your body a fighting chance to eliminate the toxins through your organs of elimination).
An even better solution to the problem of harsh chemicals and toxins in your home's water supply is to install a whole house water filtration system. This not only protects your body, but also your appliances as well. There's just one water line coming into your house. Putting a filter on this is the easiest and simplest strategy you can implement to take control of your health by ensuring the water and, subsequently, the air in your house is as clean as possible.
Remember, if you are getting your water from a municipal source your indoor air quality, especially in the winter when your windows are closed, is likely atrocious. This is related to the chlorine and other toxins evaporating from all your toilet bowls, showers, baths, dishwashers and washing machines.
My advice for whole house filtration systems is as follows: Find a system that uses at least 60 pounds of filter media and can produce eight or more gallons a minute. When you are running two different showers, the dishwasher and the kitchen sink at the same time, you'll find out why these minimum levels are so important. This recommendation covers a home or apartment up to 3200 sq./ft, or in other words, a residence with about three and a half bathrooms. For more than that you will probably require two whole house water filtration systems.
You also need to look for a whole house water filter that has three separate stages of contamination removal:
Stage one removes sediment
Stage two removes chlorine and heavy metals
Stage three should be a heavy-duty carbon filter for removing hormones, drug residues, chemicals, pesticides, and herbicides
You want to look for granular carbon in the carbon filter, not a solid block of carbon. The granular carbon allows for better water flow, which translates to more water pressure and better filtering properties as well.
You also want to look for NSF certification, which ensures your water filter is meeting national standards. NSF certification is only granted when a product is proven to remove everything it claims to. It's also good to makes sure all particles under .8 microns are being filtered out of the water. A lower number is actually better, but .8 microns is the standard I recommend because that covers most bacteria, viruses and VOCs.
Your body requires a constant daily supply of water to fuel all the various waste filtration systems nature has designed to keep you healthy and free of toxins. Your blood, your kidneys, and your liver all require a source of good clean water to detoxify your body from the toxic exposures you come into contact with every day.
When you give your body water that is filled with by-products from chlorination, or with volatile organic compounds, or water that is contaminated by pesticides or hormones, you are asking your body to work twice as hard at detoxification, because it must first detoxify the water you are drinking, before that water can be used to fuel your organs of detoxification! Clearly, one of the most efficient ways to help your body both avoid and eliminate toxins, and reach optimal health, is to provide it with the cleanest, purest water you can find.
Also See:
Chlorine in NYC Tap Water Increases Cancer Risk For Residents
Research has shown an increase in cancer incidence related to consumption of chlorinated water
PRLog (Press Release)
Mar 01, 2011
About three quarters of the drinking water in America is chlorinated, including the NYC tap water supply. While the chlorination process serves to disinfect the water, chlorine also reacts with the organic material in the water to form byproducts such as trihalomethanes like chloroform that are toxic in large amounts. Studies at the Harvard University School of Public Health, the Medical College of Wisconsin, and the National Cancer Institute have linked chlorinated drinking water to bladder and rectal cancers in humans (Chlorine and cancer 1993).
Chlorine free water - http://www.pureplanetwaters.com
The study conducted by Harvard and The Medical College of Wisconsin found that chlorinated water accounts for 6,500 cases of rectal cancer and 4,200 cases of bladder cancer in the United States each year. While these numbers may seem small in relation to the amount of new cases of cancer each year overall... Over 10,000 Americans needlessly afflicted with cancer is nothing to scoff at.
Many NYC residents are unaware of the chlorine levels in their tap water, and unfortunately unfamiliar with the research and facts. In addition to the increased risk or cancer from the chlorine, NYC water straight from the tap contains a whole slew of other chemicals and contaminants. The NYC tap water supply is also Fluoridated. This controversal chemical is added under the disguise of promoting healthy teeth, meanwhile research has shown that over exposure to fluoride can cause dental fluorosis, as well as many serious health problems. Other chemicals and contaminants in the NYC water include pharmaceuticals, Lead, and Bacteria (giardi and cryptosporidium).
Looking for Pure Water? Look no further: http://www.pureplanetwaters.com
"What many people fail to realize is that there is an alternative" Said Gary Cucuzza of Pure Planet Waters "A good multi-stage reverse osmosis filtration system will remove all of the impurities and deliver nothing but pure water". Pure Planet Waters is a company based out of Brooklyn that provides residential and commercial filtration services. "We've seen a huge increase in the amount of New Yorkers who call us concerned about what is in the water" Gary went on to say. The EPA went public with concerns about increased lead findings in NYC tap water samples in November 2010, Gary feels that this warning prompted New Yorkers to research what is in the tap water and find alternatives to drinking and cooking with water straight from the tap. "Our systems are affordable, they are top of the line, the water tests absolutely pure" Said Gary.
Pure Planet Waters can be reached toll free at 1-888-NO BOTTLES (888-662-6885) or on the web at http://www.pureplanetwaters.com
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Oil slick threatens drinking water supply
AFP
13 June 2012
A PIPELINE in western Canada has leaked crude oil into a local river, its operator said yesterday amid fears the drinking water supply of 90,000 people could become contaminated.
The 50-year-old Rangeland Pipeline gave way Thursday night, releasing between 1,000 and 3,000 barrels (160,000 to 480,000 litres) into a tributary of the Red Deer river in Alberta province, Plains Midstream Canada said.
The flow of oil through the pipeline was cut upon discovery of the leak and a crew of more than 180 people has been deployed to clean up the contaminated sections of the waterway, it added.
Still, fears have spread that the drinking water supply of the city of Red Deer, which has a population of 90,000 and is located 100 kilometres (62 miles) from the slick, could become contaminated if the oil seeped into the Red Deer river.
In an attempt to allay concerns, Plains Midstream said water quality was being tested twice a day at 18 different sections of the affected area and that the strong smell of oil did not pose a health risk.
In addition, bottled water had been delivered to hotels in the area, according to company official Stephen Bart.
Meanwhile, Greenpeace warned that the Canadian government was not doing enough to stop such environmental hazards from happening.
"Once again we have a major spill go unnoticed by a pipeline company, this time flowing directly into a major waterway," said Mike Hudema, a Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner.
The leak occurred as Plains Midstream Canada was cleaning up the remnants of another leak dating back to April 2011. At that time, 4.5 million litres (1.2 million gallons) were released into the Peace River.
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Drug Contaminants, Chemicals in Tap Water Among Possible Causes of Autism
Mike Barrett
NaturalSociety
June 11, 2012
http://naturalsociety.com/drug-contaminants-chemicals-tap-water-possible-causes-of-autism/#ixzz1xVMsvE98
Autism has been and will continue to be a controversial issue, with the possible causes of autism being at the center of the discussion. While there are a number of possible causes of autism, some research has shown that anti-depressants and other chemicals found in the water supply could be helping to surge autism rates, specifically ‘idiopathic’ autism spectrum disorders.
Drugs in Water Leading to Autism
After exposing fish to two different anti-depressant drugs, Prozac and venlafaxine, and a seizure-controlling drug called carbamazepine, experts from the University of Idaho were ‘astonished’ after observing changes in the genetic pathways of the fish. They found that just traces of common medications and other chemicals in the water were enough to bring about autism. What’s more, the drug concentrations were comparable with the highest estimated environmental levels.
“While others have envisioned a causal role for psychotropic drugs in idiopathic autism, we were astonished to find evidence that this might occur at very low dosages, such as those found in aquatic systems,” said lead scientist Dr Michael Thomas.
This research lends even more concern for pregnant mothers who drink water with trace concentrations, who run the risk of passing along these drugs and other chemicals in the water to their unborn children.
Other Likely, and Possible Causes of Autism
In addition to research pinpointing anti-depressants and other chemicals in the water as possible causes of autism, there are a number of other likely and possible causes. Among the most controversial and the most researched causes of autism are vaccines. As children receive more and more vaccines at extremely young ages, mercury and other heavy metals are also being injected into these underdeveloped bodies. The mercury and other heavy metals cause extreme amounts of toxicity, shown to contribute to neurological disorders and the development of autism. In one survey involving 7,600 people, only four children reported having severe autism – the mother’s tested very high in mercury in all four cases.
In other research, scientists found that overweight pregnant women have a startling 67% increased chance of having an autistic child than mother’s who are a healthy weight.
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Forget peak oil, the global water crisis will shake humanity to its core
Gus Lubin, Business Insider
Jun 7, 2012
You don’t hear much about the water crisis in the United States. Water is still cheap here and our borders contain a relatively large freshwater supply.
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But in some places the crisis is in flames.
1.6 billion people live in regions with absolute water scarcity and by 2025 two-thirds of the world’s population could be living under water stressed conditions.
Late energy analyst Matthew Simmons warned this was scarier than peak oil: “As global population grows, water usage has to rise for sanitation, food production and modern energy creation. It is unclear whether this can happen.”
The following pictures contain alarming charts and maps. You can also check out guides from Citi and Jefferies on how to invest in water scarcity.
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"A shortage of water resources could spell increased conflicts in the future. Population growth will make the problem worse. So will climate change. As the global economy grows, so will its thirst. Many more conflicts lie just over the horizon." -- Ban Ki-moon
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Carcinogenic Chemicals Contaminating Water Supply Through Fracking
Mike Barrett
NaturalSociety
March 10, 2012
Fracking has been known to be cause environmental and health damage. Doctors have begun warning the United States government along with gas and oil producers of the dangers revolving around fracking, with many on a quest to end fracking completely.
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Carcinogenic Chemicals Contaminating Water Supply Through Fracking
Fracking, or the act of pumping water and chemicals underground in order to facilitate the flow of oil or gas, is resulting in contaminated and polluted groundwater. Environmentalists and activists alike have long been trying to force oil and gas companies to disclose which chemicals are being used for their drilling and fracking process, but efforts have been less than successful. A 2011 congressional report states that many of the chemicals being used in the fracking process do pose a health risk, and so individuals should know exactly what chemicals are being used. Another report released by the Food & Water Watch states that the process of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is to become a global and environmental health threat.
Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director of Food & Water Watch, states:
“Fracking is a dangerous American export that should be viewed critically by countries just starting to engage in the practice. Modern drilling and fracking have caused widespread environmental and public health problems, as well as posed serious, long-term risks to vital water resources…while the oil and gas industry is profiting off of this technology, it has been a disaster for Americans exposed to its pollution.”
Although the full list of ingredients used in fracking is not known, we do have a partial list. Here are some of the known ingredients and chemicals used in the fracking process:
· Water – Making up approximately 99 percent of fracking fluid.
· Methanol – A chemical used in antifreeze, pain solvent, and vehicle fluid, methanol can cause headaches, fatigue, eye irritation and can be fatal at high doses. Swallowing methanol could cause eye damage or even death.
· Benzene – Found in gasoline, benzene has been shown to cause dizziness, weakness, and chest constriction at short-term exposure while being a major contributor to lifetime excess cancer risk. Benzene is a known carcinogen.
· Crystalline silica – A known carcinogen, crystalline silica is harmful when inhaled over a long period of time, leading to silicosis or cancer. It can be found in concrete, brick mortar, and construction sands.
· Naphthalene – Naphthalene is found in mothballs, can cause respiratory tract irritation, nausea, vomiting, fever, death, and is carcinogenic.
· Diesel – Another carcinogen, diesel is known to cause redness, burning, severe skin damage, and cancer.
· Formaldehyde – Ingesting one ounce of formaldehyde can cause death, while exposure over time can cause lung damage, nervous system disorders, and reproductive problems in women. The chemical is also a carcinogen.
· Lead – Previously found in 500 popular lipstick shades, and known to contaminate the water supply, lead is a carcinogenic heavy metal found in paint and building construction materials. It leads to nervous system damage, fertility problems, and brain disorders.
· Sulfuric acid – Found in lead-acid batteries for cars, sulfuric acid is corrosive to all body tissues. At a lethal dose of between 1 teaspoonful and 1.5 ounce, it is classified as a probable carcinogen.
Many more chemicals can be found in the fracking process such as fuel oil #2, kerosene, hydrofluoric acid, and boric acid. With mainstream doctors, the EPA, and countless activists around the nation protesting the health-threatening nature of hydraulic fracking, isn’t it time that an independent investigation was conducted?
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How safe is Canada's drinking water? It's tough to know
Andre Picard
The Globe and Mail
Last updated Thursday, Jun. 30 2011
If there's one thing we can take for granted in Canada it's that the water coming out of our taps is clean and pure.
Right?
Well, we may well be deluding ourselves.
Every day in this country there are roughly 1,000 boil-water advisories - warnings from public health authorities that tap water is unsafe to drink, that it poses a risk to cause illness or transmit disease.
Today, there are at least 486 community-wide drinking water advisories in places such as Sedley, Sask., and Cox's Cove, Nfld.
Some of these warnings are new and temporary, but others have been in place for decades. Portugal Cove, Nfld., for example, has had a boil-water advisory since 1984.
The other 500 or so active advisories are in more contained but no less worrisome areas like nursing homes, provincial parks, schools, summer camps and so on - places where people are particularly vulnerable.
If the numbers are prefaced with terms like "approximately" and "at least" it is because there is no central repository for this information. In fact, there is not even a standard way of conveying warnings about drinking water safety. The terminology and the availability of information varies considerably between provinces, regions and even local health units.
Jeff Aramini is trying to change that troubling state of affairs with an initiative called Health and Safety Watch. (www.healthandsafetywatch.com) "We think information is a key part of the safety net and our goal is to make it as easy as possible to get hold of this information," he said.
Dr. Aramini, an epidemiologist who formerly worked at the Public Health Agency of Canada and Health Canada, has a bare-bones operation. It is essentially a website. "We got some start-up funding from Industry Canada but we're currently unfunded," he said.
Nonetheless, the site has a wealth of information on food recalls, drug safety warnings, infectious disease outbreaks and, of course, drinking water advisories.
Dr. Aramini is, like many scientists, pragmatic. "Having advisories that aren't available or understandable is not very useful," he said, with typical understatement.
Yet, while he tacitly recognizes that the way governments communicate public health information is often abysmal, he is careful not to point fingers. "It's not really anybody's fault. It's just the way things have evolved over time," he said.
But he hopes the next step in the evolution will be "making this information as easy to find as the weather report."
There is a long way to go. Some governments don't even publish boil-water advisories - meaning they make no effort to have information available beyond affected communities, often through an ad in a community newspaper. This 19th-century way of doing things puts travellers and visitors at risk and hides some important policy matters from the public eye.
The situation is particularly gruesome on native reserves, too many of which have Third World sewage and water. Unfortunately, information on the problem spots is not available on the Health and Safety Watch website because it is not released in a meaningful form by Health Canada.
With some digging on Health Canada's website, you can learn that there are currently 111 drinking water advisories in the 600-odd first nations communities but not the names of specific reserves that are affected.
Some of these problems are not trivial. The Six Nations of Grand River, a burgeoning community of 17,000 in the heart of Southern Ontario, has struggled for decades with poor water quality but it is currently building a larger water filtration plant that should be up and running by year's end. "In today's world, we seem to forget the importance of the value of water in everyday lives," said Chief William Montour.
We in the media - firmly rooted in big cities - also tend to ignore problems that bedevil rural and remote communities unless they reach dramatic proportions: Walkerton, Ont., where E. coli contaminated water killed seven people in 2000; North Battleford, Sask., where 7,000 residents fell ill when the water supply was tainted with cryptosporidium parasite in 2001 or; the Kashechewan reserve in Northern Ontario evacuation of 800 residents because of E. coli contamination of the water supply in 2005.
Of course, we need to maintain some perspective. Globally, about 885 million people live without any access to clean water. It is a major source of death, illness and economic burden. In Canada our water woes pale in comparison.
Still, there is a health impact from poor quality water, though determining the levels of gastroenteritis and diarrhea with any precision is near-impossible.
The reality is that it's virtually impossible to adequately filter and treat everyone's water, particularly in sparsely populated regions, even in a wealthy country like Canada.
Presumably, boil-water advisories are issued for a reason, because there is a real potential risk. As the population ages and increasing numbers of people live with immune deficiencies related to cancer and other chronic illnesses, these risks become all the greater.
Do public health officials - and governments more broadly - not have an obligation to ensure the public has safe drinking water?
Or, at the very least, do they not have an obligation to make information about unsafe water available to the public so they can protect themselves?
If they are incapable of transparency and effective communication, then the least they can do is to make information more readily available to those who can translate and package it, like such as Health and Safety Watch.
Investing in the timely dissemination of health information is certainly cheaper than mopping up after another Walkerton.
Also See:
First Nations’ drinking-water ‘high risk’: report
The Canadian Press
Tuesday July 19, 2011
OTTAWA — First Nations need cash, not just legislation, if they’re going to fix their drinking-water and sewage systems, the federal Liberals say.
A recent independent assessment of water quality on reserves found that 39 per cent of First Nations drinking-water systems are at high risk of being unsafe, while another 34 per cent are at moderate risk.
The report concluded that in order to bring the water systems up to par, the Department of Aboriginal Affairs would need to spend $6 billion on infrastructure upgrades and training over the next 10 years.
But Liberal critic Carolyn Bennett says the federal Conservatives are simply preparing legislation on water quality and are not matching the new rules with adequate funding.
“They cannot table legislation this fall on water safety without putting in place the resources necessary to do this properly, but also to be working with First Nations in terms of designing this legislation,” Bennett said at a news conference.
“The government has been clear that it is not going to be supplying additional funds outside the regular capital budget.”
Aboriginal Affairs noted that in May alone, 223 advisories or notices about water quality were issued to First Nations communities. The information was obtained by The Canadian Press through the Access to Information Act.
Legislation that would have required First Nations to meet certain water- quality standards died last spring with the federal election call.
While the aim of the legislation — clean water — was widely supported by politicians and First Nations alike, there was much criticism about how the rules would be implemented.
First Nations argued that the legislation did not take into account the extra costs and training that would be required for communities to meet the requirements.
At the time, Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan indicated that he was open to adjusting the legislation. And indeed, the next version of the bill will not be a carbon copy, his spokeswoman Michelle Yao said on Tuesday.
But any funds for improvements to training and water-quality infrastructure will come from the existing base, Yao confirmed.
“At first blush, it’s easy to say we need more money,” she said. “But things need to be done differently.”
Lack of training for operators and maintenance staff is the source of many First Nations water problems, she said and the government is working hard on that front.
Plus, she argued that the independent assessment of the scope of the problem inflated costs by assuming a high rate of population growth and a large sum of money for each new household.
The federal government has already invested $2.5 billion for drinking-water and waste-water infrastructure and resources between the 2006-07 fiscal year and 2012-13, she added.
“To say we’re not investing is incorrect on the Liberals’ part.
Former auditor general Sheila Fraser has repeatedly criticized the federal government for its mishandling of water quality problems on reserves.
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Also See:
Water - Taken for Granted?
(Part 1)
24 September 2008
and
(Part 2)
02 August 2010
and
When the Absurd Becomes Reality
(Part 4)
21 November 2011
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