Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Water: Flint vs. Clinton


If you’ve watched the news, read a newspaper, or looked at a news website lately then you’ve likely heard of a city in Michigan that has a water problem. Flint, Michigan, was founded in 1855, three years after the City of Clinton was incorporated for the first time. A city of over 100,000 citizens, with a motto of “Strong, Proud”, and the original home of General Motors, it has been in the news over the past decades due to economic hardship, financial failure, high crime, and now the water is poison.

The government of the City of Flint was trying to do a good thing and save its citizens money by switching from receiving its water from the City of Detroit to treating its own water drawn from the Flint River. The Flint River, like many rivers in our country, contains chemicals that if not treated correctly can become corrosive. In Flint, the corrosive agents in the water caused lead in old water pipes to leach out into the water. If proper anticorrosive agents had been used, the problem may never have occurred.

There are certain services that we, as a city, provide, that are basic promises to you that we have an obligation to keep. One of those promises is that when the water leaves our system and enters your home it will be safe. You should be able to trust the tap.

It’s natural, after seeing the news stories, to wonder about your tap water. Is it safe? Should my children drink it? What’s really in my water? Could what’s happening in Flint happen here?

If you are a City of Clinton water customer then your drinking water comes from the Enoree River. Before the water comes out of your faucet, it goes through a process that is designed specifically to filter the water, treat it, and make it safe to drink. Each day, our Department of Public Works treats up to three million gallons of water from the Enoree River and sends it out into the distribution system where it is used in businesses, restaurants, and homes for cleaning, cooking, and drinking.

Twenty-four hours a day every day certified water treatment plant operators on the city staff monitor the water quality and distribution system in a lab located inside our treatment plant. The water is tested at every step in the treatment process to make sure that the treatment effort is making water that is clean and pure for your use. Our treatment process is also adjusted as needed to make sure that no matter what happens to the water coming into the plant it leaves the plant crystal clear.

As part of our ongoing commitment to you, the results of our water tests are published each year and you can find them on our website. If you take the time to review the water quality report, you’ll see that the City of Clinton is required to test for a variety of possible contaminates in the water and that the city’s water hasn’t violated any of the state or federal requirements for water quality. In fact, most tests show that our water is cleaner than required by the state and federal regulatory agencies.

We are committed to providing the best water possible to you and your family. That’s why we monitor it around the clock. However, the challenges that we face in providing quality water to you are growing. Ageing infrastructure and old pipes can sometimes result in cloudy water, but a new unidirectional flushing system being employed by the Department of Public Works & Utilities should help alleviate that problem in areas where it occurs. The exploding growth in the upstate increases the amount of runoff and contaminates that can be found in the Enoree River. The river may not be able to provide enough water to our community when our community grows.

Rest assured however, that as we continue to look for solutions to those challenges, we will continue to make providing water that meets or exceeds health requirements a top priority. It’s a promise we make to you, and one that we intend to keep.