WUWM recently explored the challenges southeastern Wisconsin experiences in ensuring clean water to its citizens. Project Milwaukee: Great Lakes, Troubled Waters asked: with so much of the world’s freshwater right next to us, why is access such an issue?
One problem has been lead in the water supply of many old homes, which have lead lateral lines. Lead is also a problem in old paint in homes and the soil around houses.
The nonpartisan League of Women Voters is also focusing attention on lead in May. The League will host a community conversation on Saturday that examines the challenges of lead, specifically about testing children for lead poisoning. The program is a follow up to a panel the League held last November.
Ann Batiza and Louise Petering are two League members instrumental to the project. Petering says focusing on lead was a natural decision given the position the League is in to use its resources to establish an environment beneficial to the health of people and natural resources.
Petering also notes that lead is not an issue confined to Milwaukee — it's statewide.
"People in all communities where there is old housing need to understand this is their problem, too. Whether it’s here, whether it’s Green Bay, whether it’s La Crosse, whether it’s Racine — wherever it is," she says.
There are so many moving parts around the issue of lead, according to Batiza, that the key ways voters can be empowered is through education. Bringing together community leaders, scientists, government officials, and practitioners will help foster the "citizen component" to lead.
"Our goal is that hopefully by providing a platform for conversation, and also for sharing of resources, that we can prevent an unnecessary poisoning of a child in Milwaukee and move this issue forward," says Batiza.