Shocking Report: Over 5,300 U.S. Water Systems are in Violation of the Law — Poisoning Millions

poison-waterBy Claire Bernish

According to a new report, some 18 million Americans “live in communities where the water systems are in violation of the law.”

Flint apparently marked the tip of a nefarious iceberg, and lead isn’t the only contaminant polluting drinking water for millions in the United States.

“Imagine a cop sitting, watching people run stop signs, and speed at 90 miles per hour in small communities and still doing absolutely nothing about it — knowing the people who are violating the law. And doing nothing,” illustrated Erik Olsen, health program director at the Natural Resources Defense Council, which analyzed EPA data for the report. “That’s unfortunately what we have now.”

According to the NRDC’s scathing report, “What’s In Your Water? Flint and Beyond,” lead contamination in Flint — the subject of national outrage and scandal — is “not anomalous.”

In fact, 5,363 water systems in the U.S. in 2015 violated the federal Lead and Copper Rule — putting around 18 million people at risk of consuming those contaminants — and virtually none of those responsible faced any penalties, much less criminal charges.

“For more than a year, government officials callously downplayed or ignored Flint’s toxic water and the majority-black community’s cries for help,” the report asserts. “Federal EPA, state, and state-appointed local environmental officials belittled and refused to listen to Flint residents and their advocates.”

Startlingly, Flint was not listed among the communities with lead-tainted water despite ongoing contention, scandal, and controversy, a responsibility of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality — itself directly involved in the scandal.

In addition to an acerbic critique of the Flint water crisis — blamed partially on inadequate guidelines and regulatory rules — the NRDC study found over 1,000 community water utilities exceeded ‘actionable’ lead levels set forth by the EPA. According to the report:

These violations included failures to properly test the water for lead or conditions that could result in lead contamination, failures to report contamination to state officials or the public, and failures to treat the water appropriately to reduce corrosion.

Some 3.9 million people were subjected to the water with levels above 15 parts per billion (ppb) — at least 10 percent of homes tested — in 1,110 community supplies.

Rather alarmingly, the true extent of the contamination of water supplies in the U.S. might not be fully understood. According to the NRDC, underreporting — an issue known to the EPA — is endemic for several reasons.

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Improper monitoring, “using testing methods or strategies that avoid detecting contamination,” prevents violations from being accurately recorded or reported, while incorrect documentation and simple failures in reporting violations to the EPA for its database are all common.

As in the case of Flint, these failings around the country “may hide serious health threats.” The report continues:

NRDC has documented underreporting problems in the EPA’s drinking water database for 25 years; the EPA itself admits that ‘audits and assessments have shown that violation data are substantially incomplete.

Despite the astronomical number of violations — and public at risk because of them — lack of enforcement and penalty run rampant.

[A]ccording to the EPA’s data, states and the EPA took formal enforcement action against just 11.2 percent of the over 8,000 violations that occurred in 2015 — leaving 88.8 percent free from any formal enforcement action. Formal enforcement actions were taken against less than one in five health-based violations (17.6 percent). Furthermore, penalties were sought or assessed for only a tiny fraction (3 percent) of violations.

To resolve or alleviate the issue of widespread contamination, NRDC recommends “significant investment” in water infrastructure nationwide, including the replacement of over 6 million lead service lines, replacing aging or decaying portions of distribution systems, and improvements at treatment plants.

Further recommendations include necessary clarification and updating of regulations and rules surrounding acceptable levels of various contaminants, including the go-to but oft-violated EPA Lead and Copper Rule.

While Flint marked a departure from the norm, or an outright shift in roles, with dedicated citizens and scientists committed to exposing lead contamination, the report notes, but,

We cannot expect such an unlikely set of watchdogs to emerge in the face of every lead crisis.

Indeed, NRDC cautioned, “As long as we have this culture of hiding violations and attacking staff members who do their jobs, more Flints can be expected.”

Claire Bernish writes for, where this article first appeared.

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16 Comments on "Shocking Report: Over 5,300 U.S. Water Systems are in Violation of the Law — Poisoning Millions"

  1. berrybestfarm | June 30, 2016 at 9:10 am | Reply

    Is it the infrastructure that is causing the contamination or is it in the water itself from…Take your pick, chem trails, fracking, air pollution, industrial contaminents…

    • Chem trails – really – you have no credibility when you throw that into the mix.

      Tell me about fracking too.

  2. y3shuA imMANu3l | June 30, 2016 at 9:55 am | Reply

    “The foundation of the Egyptian Mysteries was based on the knowledge of those who instituted the Mysteries. They taught that the Soul had originally existed in a pure, sinless state, that it then fell from its original purity and innocence, and gravitated from the form of a spiritual essence into a material body. Realizing its reduced status, its chief concern, the aim and scope of all earthly creatures (man), was to pass through successive states of experiences — sufferings and joys — purifications and exaltations — back to the original fellowship with Deity.”
    Matthew 13:
    6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.
    7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:
    8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.
    9 Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

  3. y3shuA imMANu3l | June 30, 2016 at 9:57 am | Reply

    “No one religion is either better or more Divine than the other, except in the degree that it teaches purity of life, devotion to duty, faith in humanity, love for one’s fellow man, helpfulness to one another and commands man to search for his own Soul WITHIN HIMSELF.
    Religion, regardless of name or sect, must teach man the spiritual meaning of purity of life, and through his OWN efforts, he must succeed in bringing forth the Soul ,hidden, deeply buried by his carnal nature, within himself.
    The Goal of man is to achieve perfection by developing purity and uprightness in his daily life. Man’s WORK is to find and bring into manifestation the Soul; the God asleep within; this is the crucifixion of the carnal through its sacrifice upon the altar of purification or elevation.”
    Genesis 3:22
    And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever.

  4. And people think I’m strange because I carry my own distilled water around in a stainless steel thermos.

  5. this is not about religions, this about abuse of the state against it’s people, and yes we know who is doing it, all the companies like Monsanto big pharma you name it, but it is the government that implements it, the elite families of the Rothschilds and the Rockerfellers who fund the president are they untouchable they are not beyond the law,` they should be brought to book for all their crimes against humanity, they maybe part of the ZIONIST KHAZARIAN MAFIA, but it is time to pay the piper.

  6. How’s that whole greatest country in the world thing workin’ out for ya? Hmmm?

  7. Man! Ain’t that livin’!!!

  8. hahaha….NRDC is just another government lackie spreading propaganda and fear. Even the author failed to establish relevance by not publishing any water concentrations, mean values, min and max, etc. More fear mongering to get the sheep in order for the next shearing. They’ll be asking you to pay out the ying yang soon to refurbish the entire system, even though you thought you had been paying for it all the while.

    Expect the utility industry to enhance their profits. They will be turning up the heat on your bills to supposedly pay for infrastructure repair. Of course, they only wish to enrich themselves (CEOs, bondholders, etc) at your expense and stupidity.

  9. Kill the waste in military spending and no more foreign aid until things are up to snuff back home. The whole infrastructure is falling apart and it’s not much better up here in Canada. We all have to hold our governments much more accountable for the money they waste/spend like there’s no tomorrow. Tomorrow is here and it’s not looking good.

  10. I have long thought that the water supply folks should offer a filter at the house side.
    I have a gravity filter, keeps most everything out.

  11. So how can water in our towns keep passing the tests by state regulators?

    • I would never trust any government entity to be honest with the results, especially with lead levels that are being found around the States. Getting your water tested independent of what the government does is vital to the health of our families. Back when I was plumbing we sent new water well samples to a company called ALS, I believe. It was a long time ago but I think it was around 50-100 bucks, which isn’t too bad. I am sure that with the crap going on right now it wouldn’t be hard to find someone that can test your water. Take the results and compare them against the regulators results to see how they compare.
      Regardless, I would install a good quality reverse osmosis filter for drinking and cooking water… they are inexpensive and very easy to install and maintain. There are also places like Culligan that rent units by the month if you don’t want to buy a system.

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