lead

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.

 

George Thomas/Flickr

Detroit-based journalist Anna Clark's recently-published book The Poisoned City: Flint’s Water and the American Urban Tragedy is a a deep dive into the public health crisis that continues to reverberate in Flint, Mich.

Clark was in Milwaukee Wednesday talking about her research at Marquette University. She hopes other communities can avoid the tragedy that struck Flint where children's health had already been permanently impacted before the city took action.

Susan Bence

Environmental issues cascaded throughout the last year. Scientific updates about climate change and issues around safe drinking water barely scratch the surface of concerns affecting people’s lives and health. So, let’s review some of the complex environmental issues that fueled debate in 2018.

READ: How Did Wisconsin's Waters Fare In 2018

Among the environmental issues cascading throughout the last year in the Milwaukee area, the issue of lead was inescapable.

Hunger Task Force

Long before Bevan Baker resigned as public health commissioner in January, the agency said it was taking appropriate steps to educate families how to protect themselves from lead in paint, soil and water. While the city of Milwaukee posted information on its website, placed ads on buses, and mailed leaflets with water bills, some community groups worried word wasn’t getting out to families.

Susan Bence

Update 3:15 P.M.

Bevan Baker did not appear before the Steering & Rules Committee meeting Thursday, but committee chair Ashanti Hamilton said the former health commissioner will participate in a public hearing. Hamilton didn't announce the hearing date. He said council members needed to be briefed by the city attorney.

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