Thursday, January 13, 2011

Alderman Wants Brockovich at Water Testing

Well, I'll be. Alderman Ed Burke has invited renowned environmental lawyer, Erin Brockovich, to the soon-to-be-held public hearings on the level of hexavalent chromium recently discovered in the city's water supply from Lake Michigan. This is the same pollutant found in the now groundbreaking case of the residents of Hinkley, California, vs. the Pacific Gas and Energy company, a case that Brockovich researched, launched, and championed all the way up to the highest courts, which ended in a $330 million victory for the plaintiffs and fame and good fortune for Brockovich. What's more, according to Burke, Brockovich's people say she is "available". So an environmental rock star may be coming to Chicago! I am beyond excited about this.

The level of chromium-6 found in Chicago's water supply last month was 0.18 parts per billion, which is now nine times higher than the acceptable 0.02 ppb adopted by California officials just this month. Although nothing has been said about limiting the amount of Cr-6 in our local water supply, officials vow to begin quarterly testing for the substance, and to report their findings online. The EPA has also agreed to review it's current chromium limits, and to consider separating the villified chromium-6 from its cousin chromium-3, which is an essential nutrient.

While chromium levels can knowingly be reduced through fancy water filtration systems, carbon filters (like the one in my fridge) have not yet been proven to separate this chemical out of the tap water (yikes!)

No comments: