lead

When Lori Lightfoot became the mayor of Chicago this year, it marked a lot of "firsts."

Lightfoot is, of course, Chicago's first African American woman, and openly gay mayor.

But she is also the city's first chief executive to acknowledge that the hundreds of thousands of lead pipes that deliver water to Chicago homes — called lead service lines — are a problem.

Susan Bence

More and more people appear concerned about the public health dangers posed by lead – especially to young children and pregnant women. Among the groups trying to move from conversation to action is the League of Women Voters of Milwaukee County. The group convened a roundtable discussion Tuesday in West Allis.

Dmitry Naumov / stock.adobe.com

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) thinks it's come up with a good formula to better protect Americans from lead in drinking water, calling it a major and much-needed overhaul. Officials unveiled the proposal Thursday in Green Bay. But concern is already bubbling up among those who feel the EPA changes aren't stringent enough.

Susan Bence

There's been a lot of talk about Milwaukee efforts to shore up its childhood lead program and remove old lead pipes that feeds drinking water to tens of thousands of homes in the city.

Now, Milwaukee County hopes a proposed initiative will help risks found in foreclosed homes. 

The idea is to create a small, revolving loan fund to help county residents remove lead hazards — both paint and old lead service lines – when they buy a foreclosed home from the county.

Susan Bence

Preston Cole is one step away from officially heading the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

While he awaits a State Senate vote on his assignment, the secretary-designee says there’s no time to waste when it comes to addressing Wisconsin’s drinking water concerns. Cole is optimistic solutions will be found. 

Momentum began when Gov. Tony Evers declared 2019 the year of clean drinking water.

Susan Bence

When a child tests high for lead, Milwaukee’s health department mobilizes. A nurse begins conferring with the family while an inspector looks for sources of lead in the home.

Thursday during the Public Safety and Health Committee meeting, Alderman Jose Perez said he wants to make sure that those families living in rental properties can’t be evicted by their landlords.

Perez says he and his colleagues have been hearing from concerned Milwaukee residents.

Emily Files

In what's being called the first verdict of its kind, a federal jury Friday awarded $2 million each to three young Milwaukee men who suffered severe lead contamination.

The plaintiffs range in age from 18 to 28, but the poisoning occurred when they were toddlers. They ingested lead paint and today the men have trouble with reading comprehension, their lawyer says.

katie wheeler / Flickr

The battle between Democrats and Republicans over the next two-year state budget is in full swing.

Tuesday, members of the Joint Committee on Finance voted unanimously on several measures meant to improve water quality. They included Gov. Tony Evers' plan to borrow $13.5 million for the clean water program and $3.6 million for the safe drinking water loan program.

» Tony Evers Chats About Wisconsin's 'Year Of Clean Drinking Water'

Susan Bence

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.

Emily Files

In Milwaukee, more than 10% of children test positive for dangerous lead levels in their blood.

Health experts say the most common culprit is lead paint in old homes. But water that travels through lead pipes also poses some risk. Lead lateral pipes connect at least 70,000 older homes in Milwaukee to the city's water mains.

Susan Bence

For months Milwaukee’s health department has been trying to dig itself out of a muddle, while city leaders continue to try to figure out what went wrong.

Problems became public in early 2018 when health commissioner Bevan Baker resigned. At the same time, the community learned that the childhood lead program – long a source of pride among city leaders – was in disarray.

Susan Bence

What was different about Friday’s meeting than the many before it was that community members and city department leaders were equal participants at the Public Safety and Health Committee session.

Chairman Bob Donovan said he was hoping for some resolution. The city has been at odds with activists for several years over the city’s response to the risks of lead in lateral pipes that carry city water into private property.

HEMVALA40/FOTOLIA

It’s been more than two years since Milwaukee’s lead service line replacement mandate went into effect. Yet questions persist and priorities are questioned.

READ: Milwaukee Common Council approves Lead Water Pipe Replacement Ordinance

Wednesday during the city’s Public Works Committee, Ald. Bob Bauman was looking for answers.

Susan Bence

The Get The Lead Out Coalition and the Freshwater For Life Action Coalition had been looking forward to formally sharing what they consider compelling evidence to Milwaukee city leaders for weeks. They insist contamination caused lead pipes through which more than 70,000 homes receive city water is as important a threat to public health as lead in paint.

Screenshot/YouTube/Milwaukee Water Works

Clean drinking water has become a topic of conversation throughout the U.S. - from arid states worrying about sufficient quantities, to rust belt cities grappling with failing infrastructure and old lead pipes.

While the Great Lakes represent one of the world’s largest freshwater systems, its cities are not immune from concerns about drinking water.

 

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