Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Clean Water?

A few quick updates.

Smoke from a forest fire in the Outer Banks is settling over Greenville this morning giving the city the unmistakeable scent of a camp fire, which isn't so bad, I just hope there is minimal damage to Outer Banks communities from the actual fire. 

While I was thinking about camping, roasting marshmallows, and traveling to Wisconsin tomorrow I came across this article regarding my second (maybe third) favorite state.  The article is about the Wisconsin assembly rejecting requirements for communities to disinfect drinking water. 

I'm not sure how to feel about this.

At first I was shocked, I thought most tap water was disinfected.  Then I remembered growing up with  people who used well water, which was definitely untreated.  Also, the city of Syracuse (where I lived for 4 years as an undergraduate) does disinfect the water it obtains from Skaneateles Lake with chlorine, but because Skaneateles Lake is one of the cleanest lakes in the world the city is not required to filter the water.  

According to the article untreated water in Wisconsin was found to contain viruses and communities with high concentrations of viruses in their water have high rates of illness.  Of course the bill was rejected by republicans who felt that treating water would be to costly.  But, while initial costs of treatment would be high there would be long term healthcare savings according to researcher Mark Borchardt.

I'm torn.  I believe that EVERYONE has the right to clean water.  However, I think if water has been rigorously tested and it's clean why treat it?  The only solution is probably long term monitoring of water quality, which may be more costly and at some point it may be cheaper just to treat the water.  I do think it's shocking that clean water and the health of the states citizens would even be debated, especially with strong evidence demonstrating the risks of untreated water.  It seems like a question with a clear, obvious answer.  Doesn't it?

As far as otoliths are concerned, I am attempting to grind and polish juvenile river herring otoliths in hopes of counting daily growth rings.  Hopefully there will be pictures to come...

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