Starting Memorial Day 2016 (though there were a few occurrences in April 2016) I have had brown water in my home (At the time of this writing it is July 24, 2016). It was happening 3-4 times a week. In the past few weeks, however, it has been a daily occurrence. The color brown will dissipate after an hour or so and then return. Sometimes returning within the same day. Our local water treatment source (PWSA ) has assured our small community the brown color has to do with excess manganese in the water while they change a filter at their facility and that it is safe to drink, even though excess manganese can still cause neurotoxicity and can lead to diseases such as Parkinson’s disease .I do not believe our water is safe as they (PWSA) have very recently been in violation for using caustic soda from April 2014 until January 2016 without ever having informed the public.
I am a single mother of four my youngest is one-year-old, which is a very big concern for me. Drinking and bathing are my main issues but I also use this water to wash her cloth diapers. I worry about lead , high levels of manganese and other chemicals that are not being disclosed causing problems now and much further down the road.
PWSA was recently found in violation of the treatment of the water served in my community. From April 2014 to January 2016 PWSA used caustic soda instead of soda ash in our water. Caustic soda can destroy pipes and they never collected any samples of water being served in the areas in which they served to notice whether the change affected lead levels. Even when an Allegheny County Health Inspector inspected the plant in October 2015, and discovered the chemical switch they never reported it. PWSA only had a permit to use the caustic soda as a backup, not a replacement. We, the public, were not told any of this until after the fact. Now they only way to know if any harm was caused during that time period is for the health department to monitor lead levels in blood samples from residents in the area in which the water was served.
Needless to say, I do not trust the word of PWSA * (Here's another reason why PWSA can't be trusted. Who they hire lies and those who have worked for them in the past have lied.). I want to have the water samples I have collected tested for substances that may be toxic to me (a mother almost exclusively breastfeeding my youngest) and my children. I have been in touch with the research group at Virginia Tech who sampled the water samples sent in by the residents of Flint, Michigan, as well agencies helping behind the scenes to take the necessary steps to find out what can be done, as PWSA has yet to publicly submit the lab results of water testing currently being conducted at their treatment facility for lead. PA DEP will have copies of this test and it can be obtained through a Right To Know Law . I have saved samples of the brown water from my home (along with videos) and brown particles are settling to the bottom.
Environmental and Human Rights Issues are heavy in our hearts these days but if we collectively unite we can make a positive change and impact on our planet, lessening the burden for just one.
...Starting with our community of Aspinwall.
I have created a FaceBook Community page where we can gather and communicate with information, updates, videos, photos, support and concerns.
I am in communication with PennFuture about further steps to be taken and have reached out the Research Team at Va Tech and Hero Town Geelong, both who were involved with the Flint, Michigan Water Crisis.
Below are more articles that I have found in my research along the way.
Many Thanks and Much Love,
ASPINWALL FACEBOOK COMMUNITY PAGE FOR CLEAN WATER
1. FaceBook Community Page
ARTICLES ABOUT PWSA VIOLATION
1. Trib Live Article
VIDEOS OF WATER IN MY HOME AND NEWS STATION INTERVIEWS
1. WPXI July 2016 Interview
2. Video 1 of Brown Water in My Aspinwall Home
3. Video 2 of Brown Water in My Aspinwall Home
VIDEOS OF WATER FROM OTHERS IN PITTSBURGH NEWS STATION INTERVIEWS
1. WPXI August 2016 Lead Levels in Water Compared to Flint
2. WPXI August 2016 Brown Water in Homewood (Pittsburgh, PA)
1. Pub Med Article about Manganese Toxicity Upon Overexposure
2. NPR's Step-By-Step Water Crisis in Flint, Michigan
3. Environmental Toxins in Water
4. Lead and Manganese in Water
5. Don't Boil Water with Maganese
PEOPLE THAT CAN HELP
2. The VA Tech Research Team for Flint Study
3. Hero Town Geelong
4. The Right To Know Law
PRIVATE WATER TESTS
2. DRINKING WATER SPECIALISTS
1. Katadyn Gravidyn Water Filter
2. Big Berkey Water Filter
CATCHING RAIN WATER AS BACK-UP WATER
1. Legality of Catching Rain Water in Pennsylvania
2. RainBarrel Kit without Lead
3. How to Filter Rain Water for Drinking *You Must Filter It!*
SUGGESTIONS FROM HERO TOWN GEELONG
I wanted to share information/suggestions I received from Sylvia Gray, President of Hero Town Geelong, based in Austrailia, but who worked closely with the Flint, Michigan Water Crisis. Sylvia and all of Hero Town Geelong have been my biggest supporters since I reached out to them a few weeks ago. Here are some of her suggestions from her and her team about Aspinwall's Water Crisis...
1. Get charcoal filters on the taps (or any other filtering). Things like baths and showers should not make much of an impact, health wise, it is the drinking water that is the main concern. Buying bottled water is obviously an option, but I appreciate that is costly over time. With showers, the less time spent under the water the better. A filter can be put into the shower.
2. Brown water can usually be sediment from the pipes settling down the bottom - sometimes brown water can be healthier than crystal clear water, however, that all depends on the chemicals used to clean the water. You are only going to know that if you have it scientifically tested.
3. Have the water tested at a local university due to the low cost, and have the water tested for the things that concerned about - or perhaps a local university might be willing to do this for free (e.g. by lab students). Replacement of pipes can take a long time and millions of dollars, but in the interim what a legal consultant may suggest is to have the water company pay for the filters that will be put to the house. That way there is clean drinking water until the pipes get replaced or the problem is solved.
4. Until there is a huge public outcry the water company is not likely to do anything about this.
5. The point is to contact local or interstate professionals who are passionate about these causes and making a difference (even if they don't live in your community). There is a national crisis happening on this matter for goodness sake, so there must be some conscientious and dedicated lawyers, health professionals etc. who are bound to be wanting to make a difference here. Find someone who cares, a professional who has the know-how and who can help, seek them out. This is your own hero's journey, and the point is to not give up and keep fighting until you see it through.
6. Jeffrey Parks from Virginia Tech will be in touch regarding samples of the water for testing.
"From absolutely everyone on our team: we're in your corner. We do hope for the best possible outcomes and we're here in whatever capacity we can support you."