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Hosted by: Scott LaMar



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Smart Talk: Many wonder about drinking water protections after West Virginia spill

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Jan 22, 2014 3:41 PM

What to look for on Smart Talk Thursday, January 23, 2014:

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Every single day of our lives we walk to the sink in the kitchen or bathroom and turn on the water faucet.  Immediately, we hear and see the clear stream of water.  We take it for granted.  We'll always have clean water in our homes.

But what happens when you don't?  Some 300,000 people in West Virginia found out the hard way earlier this month.

An industrial chemical leak into the Elk River in Charleston left residents of nine West Virginia counties without safe water for days.  They weren't able to drink it, cook with it, bath in it or do anything else with the water and had to rely on bottled water or water that was trucked in.

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A West Virginia resident posted this photo on Twitter after the water was deemed safe to drink.

The West Virginia incident left many Americans asking whether it was an isolated incident or could it happen again?  How vulnerable are the nation's and Pennsylvania's public water supplies?  What safeguards are in place to protect water?  Were there lessons learned from West Virginia?

Those are questions we'll pose on Thursday's Smart Talk to Jeff Hines, the President and CEO of the York Water Company, John Poister, a media spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's Southwest Region and Andrew Dehoff, Executive Director of the Susquehanna River Basin Commission.

 

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Jeff Hines, President and CEO of the York Water Company

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Comments: 10

  • Lisa img 2014-01-23 09:48

    The caller who noted the landfill liner that was failing and contaminating the groundwater pointed out a problem with all of our landfills. Eventually, those liners will leak. There is an old landfill in Lancaster County Central Park that is leaking. Water flowing through this old landfill has a distinct sickly sweet odor and an oily appearance. It flows across a hiking trail and directly into the Conestoga. It seems that with all the focus on the Conestoga being a prime contaminator of the Susquehanna something could be done about this particular site.

  • tomandlisa0613 img 2014-01-23 09:55

    Well, Durand Little, DEP worker in the So Central Region for many years logged violation after violation, one was 195,000 ppm Fecal Coliform Bacteria at Adams Cty STP outflow-regulations exist ---they are not enforced-Lancaster Cty as well---private airplane owners, farmers, township buildings, all have tanks .....some monitored, some not-wells are contaminated-and York Water wants Gettysburg to drink the Susquehanna---no thank you-----who could we trust to keep it clean enough? DEP nope, York Water-nope

  • tomandlisa0613 img 2014-01-23 09:56

    Well, Durand Little, DEP worker in the So Central Region for many years logged violation after violation, one was 195,000 ppm Fecal Coliform Bacteria at Adams Cty STP outflow ***(in the DEP archives)-regulations exist ---they are not enforced-Lancaster Cty as well---private airplane owners, farmers, township buildings, all have tanks .....some monitored, some not-wells are contaminated-and York Water wants Gettysburg to drink the Susquehanna---no thank you-----who could we trust to keep it clean enough? DEP-nope, York Water-nope!

  • tomandlisa0613 img 2014-01-23 09:58

    THE DEP ARCHIVES ARE FULL OF DOCUMENTED VIOLATIONS....just no enforcement.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-01-23 10:00

    Onl emails:

    Let's face it,we have a state government that is backed by these industries(campaign contributions and post government jobs).
    Our state level EPA laws are being subverted by these corporate backed politicians.
    Water quality and reliability is being taken advantage of and neglected by these industries and politicians.
    Also just like Virginia,we are not told what is being used,or what to test for, one great example are the "fracking chemicals".
    There is a rush from fracking,petro chemicals and any other industry related businesses that cannot be kept up by our environmental controls.
    But is PA waking up and doing a top end down inspection of any type of industry near our water ways,no,and if we did it would be blocked by those whom are elected to supposedly serve and protect us.
    Just lately at the Schukill expressway area when RR cars could have leaked tar sands oil into the river itself is also proof that these industries are using our all ready over used and stressed infrastructure.
    When time is a factor to keep this money machine rolling,people are going to push the system to the breaking point to stay on time,it's human,it's going to happen.
    It's a matter of time.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-01-23 10:04

    Question from Lisa:

    A neighbor told me of a business that he is pretty sure is dumping diesel oil on the ground right next to the Conestoga River. How would he go about reporting that so that it is investigated and stopped?

    • tomandlisa0613 img 2014-01-23 10:28

      video is always hard to argue with-----DEP is go to dept...but again they are slow ----and ground level staff are "over-ruled" and told to keep quiet---there is nothing more troubling than to show a man from the DEP - in a plaid shirt, jeans and boots, ---show him files and files of violations tracked by Durand Little, another DEP person just doing his job----and after you go into this quiet conference room and show this guy all your research------he takes off his glasses and says....""it's not supposed to be like this....this is bad, very bad..."-----then he says- I can't do anything about it, sorry....and says he has to go---so he walks out, shaking....

      DEP
      Southcentral 877-333-1904

      909 Elmerton Avenue
      Harrisburg, PA 17110
      Phone: 717-705-4700

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-01-23 10:04

    Question from Flora in Lewisburg:

    How can you monitor water discharge and removal when any company (of varying sizes) can literally pull up and fill from local streams and waterways?

  • Scott LaMar img 2014-01-23 10:34

    Amy tweeted about the West Virginia incident:
    They were able to flush toilets with the water else would have been even worse public health crisis.

  • Scott LaMar img 2014-01-23 10:36

    Thank you everyone for your comments and keep them coming. We had an issue on our end this morning that kept me from seeing your comments and reading them on-the-air.

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