Clean Water

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The EPA seeks to undo clean water rule, putting 117 million Americans’ water at risk

  • On Tuesday, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers released a joint proposal to repeal the 2015 Clean Water Rule, an environmental protection law originally put in place in 1972 as the Clean Water Act, but codified by Obama in his second term.
  • The potential repeal could mark a success for President Donald Trump, who promised to repeal the rule during the 2016 presidential campaign.
  • However, it could also spell disaster for all Americans who enjoy drinkable tap water.
  • “If you don’t think twice about drinking water from the tap, you’re benefiting from the clean water rule,” Jamie Henn, cofounder of 350.org, a nonprofit fighting climate change, said in an interview. Read more (6/28/17)

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Scientists can use the sun to make seawater safe to drink

  • While access to clean drinking water remains an issue in many parts of the world, there’s no shortage of water on the planet: 97% of Earth’s water can be found in our oceans.
  • Turning the ocean’s saltwater into freshwater is generally an elaborate process that requires a lot of energy, but a team of scientists at Rice University’s Center for Nanotechnology Enabled Water Treatment (NEWT) have created a new method using nothing but sunlight.
  • Now, thanks to researchers at Rice University, an off-grid desalination technology is available requiring only solar energy.
  • The federally funded study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, developed the “nanophotonics-enabled solar membrane distillation” technology, or NESMD. Read more (6/20/17)

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Flint residents to pay full price for water that’s still undrinkable without filtering

  • On Wednesday, the people of Flint, Michigan, will resume paying the full cost of their water bills for the first time since 2014, despite the fact that the city water is still not safe to drink unless it’s been filtered.  
  • For the past three years, state credits to the tune of roughly $40 million have assisted residents by covering 65% of their water usage. 
  • But according to the Washington Post, Anna Heaton, a spokeswoman for Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, said the state assistance will now cease “because the city’s water meets all federal water quality standards under the Lead and Copper Rule and Safe Drinking Water Act, the same standards as other cities.”
  • But Flint residents have been burned by government officials before — and they’re not buying it. Read more (3/1/17 1:59)

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On the Navajo Nation, kids with the most severe developmental disabilities attend a school called Saint Michael’s Association for Special Education.

Dameon David, 8, is waking up from a nap in his classroom. He has come to the school in northeastern Arizona for four years. He has cerebral palsy, seizures and scoliosis. His mom, Felencia Woodie, picks him up from a bed with Superman sheets.

“Other schools that he was going to go to, they didn’t have the nursing staff or the equipment he goes in, or the trained staff that they have here to do his suctioning, his feeding and his medications daily,” she says.

Woodie, who also works at Saint Michael’s, says the only problem with the school is its water.

“It has a certain stench to it. Sometimes you’ll smell … kinda like a egg smell,” Woodie says. “Sometimes it’s yellow, brown, or even we’ve seen black.”

On The Navajo Nation, Special Ed Students Await Water That Doesn’t Stink

Photo: Sami Rapp/Courtesy of Saint Michael’s Association for Special Education

npr.org
On The Navajo Nation, Special Ed Students Await Water That Doesn't Stink
Fundraising is underway for a new filtration system at an Arizona school for Navajo children with disabilities. Now, the water runs black and smells like rotten eggs, but is technically safe to drink.

More than one-third of the Navajo Nation — which is the size of West Virginia — doesn’t have running water. And at some of the places that do, like Saint Michael’s, people don’t want to drink it because it smells, tastes funny and looks bad.

So let me tell y'all about the young generation.

Background: My church partners with a group that builds small sustainable filters that can take the nastiest water and make it safe to drink. These filters are used all over the world. We usually send groups to places like Haiti or the Dominican Republic since some of the church leaders came from there and have people they partner with. The church pays for as many as they can at a time and send people with them to install and teach maintenance to families without clean water.

A class of first graders heard about this project and they wanted to help. So without telling their teachers these six and seven year olds talked it over and brought their piggie banks in one Sunday to put together. All told they had enough to buy one family’s water filter and send it to an area recently devastated by hurricane Matthew.

Then, a girl in our youth group asked to meet with the leaders of the project. This seventeen year old gave them three thousand dollars, probably her life savings. This kid probably could have used that money for a car or college but she was insistent on helping make as many sources of drinking water safe as possible.

These are the young people that are going to inherit the world we live in: young people that care about people and about the environment. Kids that don’t care about borders, politics. They want to use the privileges they’ve been given to build others up. Guys that makes me so happy to see.

Basically, the fossil fuel industry has sent a raiding party into EPA and taken it over… I think he feels a kind of immunity from any kind of accountability because the fossil fuel industry so owns the Republican Party and so owns him.
—  Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, on EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. From @politico Morning Energy.
Clean water is essential to life – and the people of our states and the nation deserve the basic protections established by the Clean Water Rule, to ensure that the benefits of clean water are shared equally, regardless of state lines.

We won’t hesitate to protect our people and our environment—including by aggressively opposing in court President Trump’s actions that ignore both the law and the public’s paramount need for clean water.
—  New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and a coalition of attorneys general from the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Vermont, in response to Donald Trump’s executive order to start eliminating the Clean Water Rule (also known as the Waters of the United States Rule).

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