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Citizens Environment Alliance 1997 Enviro-Achievers Award

>From FLIPSIDE  http://www.uwindsor.ca/newsstnd/flipside/high.htm

You don't know what you are missing!!!  Check it out now!!

Winners of the Citizens Environment Alliance  1997 Enviro-Achievers
for the best investigative alternative electronic journalism in media,
politics, economics, and environment,  and just about anything else you
the real story on.  FLIPSIDE is sarcastic, witty and hard hitting.  Does
Conrad Black want to horse whip FLIPSIDE?  You bet he does.  

PS Check out the contest to name Conrad's new national newspaper.
Here is a local taste of FLIPSIDE:


by Sherri Minto 

Cryptosporidium is found in wastewater. Windsor is the
only water plant in the county located downstream from
wastewater discharges. Two areas in the city of
Windsor, the combined sewer at Pillette Road and the
East end sewage plant, expel wastewater discharges
into the water system directly upstream from drinking
water plant intake systems. 

Jim Fraser, former chief engineer of water management
at the Windsor Public Utilities Commission (PUC), says
that, "since Windsor has a raw water supply source
influenced by wastewater discharges, it is highly
vulnerable to cryptosporidium occurrence." 

A study by the University of Windsor in October 1995
discovered cryptosporidium in the final water supply. 

Cryptosporidium is fatal when the parasite enters the
bodies of those with lowered immune systems such as
the elderly, the very young, and the sick. 

Generally, those who are in good physical condition will
suffer cramps, nausea, and diarrhea after coming into
contact with cryptosporidium, but will ultimately be able
to expel the parasite from their bodies with no lasting

In the spring of 1993, the largest documented
waterborne disease outbreak in history occurred in
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and cryptosporidium was
identified as the agent. 

The parasite has been recognized as a cause of
disease in humans since 1980. During the outbreak,
more than 400,000 residents became infected, 1,000
more were hospitalized and, in the end, 40 people died.
Preliminary cost impacts - government, private industry,
and legal costs - directly related to the outbreak, as
reported by the local media, exceeded $100 million. 

Existing regulated water quality standards used in
Milwaukee and many other utilities and water treatment
plants, including Windsor, are inadequate to prevent
similar outbreaks. 

The PUC, according to Fraser, practices none of the
recommendations for removal of the cryptosporidium
parasite as outlined by the American Water Works
Association. "The attitude of the commission is reactive
and a disaster or an epidemic will be required to
promote some action," says Fraser. 

In the past, there has been evidence of the parasite in
the drinking water that should have prompted the PUC
to issue a warning to the public regarding the tap water.
At a meeting in late November, 1997, Dr. Allen
Heimann, Medical Officer of Health, agreed with Fraser
in his recommendation that a directive be issued for
young, elderly, and immunocompromised people to boil
their drinking water so as to avoid coming into contact
with cryptosporidium. No warning was ever issued by
the PUC. 

The PUC wants area residents to feel 'safe' about their
drinking water. An opinion article written by the chief
engineer of the water division, Wane Miller, appeared in
a recent edition of the Windsor Star. Miller, who is an
electrical engineer rather than a chemical engineer
(who would presumably know more about water quality),
wrote a lovely little 'pat-on-the-back' piece about all the
wonderful things the PUC has been doing to improve
water quality. 

Miller's response to the 'is our drinking water safe'
question was this: "Hand me a glass and show me the
tap, I need a drink of thirst-quenching, very safe
Windsor tap water." 

In order to prove to the public exactly how dedicated
they are to maintaining the quality of our tap water, the
PUC has begun a study of bottled water from area
stores and will be comparing the quality to local tap

Rest assured that the study will be objective. Says
Miller, "we won't pass judgement, we'll just show you
what's there." 

Elizabeth Griswold-Woodworth, executive director of
the Canadian Bottled Water Association, says that,
"having municipal water authorities compare their water
to the competition's is kind of like having the fox watch
the henhouse." 

Perhaps if the PUC was really as interested as they say
they are in making people realize that the water supply
is indeed safe, they would have an independent agency
conduct the tests between their water and that offered
by the bottled water companies. 

Like, the Great Lakes Institute at the University of
Windsor, say? 
Windsor & Area Social Justice & Ecological Network
PO Box 548, Windsor, ON  N9A 6M6
Voice:  519-973-1116  Fax 519-255-7361
E-mail:  riccawu@mnsi  (GreenPlanet)
web page (under construction) http://www.mnsi.net/~cea