The same mayor who is insistent that taxpayers spend hundreds of millions of dollars on a street car as a novelty attraction for his wealthy downtown patrons is telling the citizens that their water might be contaminated with lead. Mayor Barrett’s priorities are so inverted that he has failed to fulfill one of his most basic responsibilities as a mayor – maintaining a safe and reliable primary infrastructure.
Owners and residents of tens of thousands of City of Milwaukee homes built before 1951 should install faucet filters capable of removing lead from drinking water, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said Wednesday.
“I strongly urge anyone who lives in a home built before 1950-’51 to get a filter,” Barrett said at a public forum on drinking water held at Marquette University Law School.
About 70,000 city residences, including duplexes, or nearly 45%, of the total, receive water from street mains through a lead pipe known as a lateral.
Although Milwaukee treats Lake Michigan water to control corrosion of lead from those pipes and prevent contamination of drinking water, this step is not a 100% guarantee of clean water, a drinking water treatment scientist said Wednesday.
“As long as the lead pipe is there, no one should consider the water safe” to drink, said Marc Edwards, a professor of environmental and civil engineering at Virginia Tech. Edwards has led independent investigations of lead contamination of drinking water in Flint, Mich., and Washington, D.C.