There is no doubt that the water crisis in Flint, Michigan was the doing of an incompetent and mean-spirited GOP governor trying to save a few dollars on the backs of a minority community. But that’s just the tip of a carcinogenic iceberg whose magnitude is being revealed day by day. Even here in New Jersey.
In a front-page story in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer, it was noted that high levels of lead contamination have been discovered in the drinking water at Rowan University. Kudos go to Rowan President Ali Houshamand for taking swift action to shut down water fountains and distribute bottled water to the dorms. But damage has been done, and like in most communities, years of neglect will require costly remediation and reconstruction efforts.
Rowan’s travails follow on the heels of the discovery of brown tap water in Maple Shade and carcinogens in the drinking water in Moorestown. Our aging water infrastructure doesn’t care whether you’re well off or living in poverty; it seems like every day there’s another “discovery” of a water system with lead or other poisons in it.
Don’t expect a proactive response to this crisis from the Christie administration. As with most other issues, Christie no longer cares about the people of New Jersey (as if he ever did), and the state legislature is mostly impotent when it comes to challenging Christie’s Orwellian-named Department of Environmental Protection.
Like our transportation infrastructure, our water system needs continuous monitoring, maintenance, and upgrades. Spending on these system is not as flashy as diverting taxpayer dollars to fancy malls or gambling casinos. But every citizen needs clean water and this should be a front-and-center issue in the upcoming gubernatorial campaign.
Meanwhile, until we get leaders who decide that serving the people is more important than their self-interest, your best bet is to invest in companies that sell bottled water.