How a Paradigm Change Could Resolve the Lead and Copper Drinking Water Crisis
By Robert J. Ferguson
A paradigm shift is needed to resolve the lead (Pb) and copper (Cu) potable water hazardous metal crisis in the United States. This commentary proposes a shift towards an industrial water treatment evaluation approach rather than a governmental compliance-centered evaluation. Industry represents technology, economics, results, and safety driven in its approach to tackling water challenges. Government represents laws, regulation, and compliance-driven approaches, and rarely shall the twain meet.
It should be noted that this problem not only affects drinking water, but touches industries that use municipal drinking supplies in their applications—particularly those whose products are used by humans, of which the food and beverage, and life sciences would be two examples.
Two situations contrast the approaches: water changes in Flint, MI, and Savannah, GA:
- In Flint, government-mandated chemistry targets would not indicate a major problem. State-of-the-art technology driven evaluations predict the crisis.
- In Savannah, a technology driven study evaluated the change in water chemistry, allowing for a successful change. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and major consulting firms handled the actual evaluations in the manner industry addresses a potential water challenge or opportunity.
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