Freshwater for Life Coalition says lead in Milwaukee’s water comparable to Flint crisis

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MILWAUKEE -- Lead in the water of Flint, Michigan exposed just how hazardous a problem it can be. A Milwaukee coalition says the problem is reaching the same level of urgency in Milwaukee for 70,000 properties.

"We got kids walking around with lead in their bodies all over the place so how high does it have to get for somebody to do something," said Dr. Pat McManus, CEO of the Wisconsin Black Health Coalition.

Freshwater for Life Action Coalition

Freshwater for Life Action Coalition

The Freshwater for Life Action Coalition (FLAC) held a news conference Thursday, to sound the alarm about lead in the water -- not the water from the water mains -- but from 70,000 connecting lead water laterals that send the water into homes. Those homes concentrated in areas of poverty.

In January, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett explained how the city has dealt with this.

"We put phosphorous in the water to help create this film so that the lead doesn't break off and go into the water supply," said Mayor Barrett.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett

But the coalition believes the protective phosphorous compound is being loosened by the pounding from ripping up streets, tearing out sidewalks and breaking thick concrete slabs.

The potential result: a lead spike in the water.

water3The coalition wants the mayor to suspend work in areas with concentrated lead laterals and more.

"Needs to start directing the bureaucrats in his administration to start developing the strategic planning that is needed in order to remove these pipes," said Robert Miranda of the Freshwater for Life Action Coalition.

The coalition fears we may be already seeing the ramifications of water with high levels of lead.

"It causes cognitive delays. I mentioned that it causes some violent behaviors, really causes educational retardation," said Dr. McManus.

The group wants testing for lead spiking in the areas with a concentration of lead laterals and construction.

Barrett is currently out of town, but his office says to expect a statement from the Department of Public Works.


  • Truth

    A coalition of idiots with a combined iq of 50. This so called DOCTOR speaks like a moronic street thug.

    More whining and scare tactics from pathetic societal leaches who don’t work or produce… They only cry and play the victim. DOCTOR my arse.

    • Michael Neils

      Mo money mo money mo money That will be the next excuse for all the crime-my baby didn’t know any better. He’s got that lead in him. Can’t blame him.

    • John H

      Your combined classism and racism are disgusting. If you have counterpoints to the concerns raised, like studies showing that vibrations from heavy construction do not disrupt the pipe coatings, go ahead and share those, but if all you have are insults related to things that have nothing to do with the actual topic, you should keep those to yourself. Your hate speech is far more excoriable that the grammar of anyone interviewed in the article.

    • Michael Neils

      Truth-there’s a new article that says lead may lead to crime!!! I wonder if it’s true or if they read my sarcastic post and went from there?! So all the lead paint, lead pipes, paraquat, agar, red dye etc the kids grew up exposed to thru from the 1950’s to 1980’s or later-should all be criminals then. No personal responsibility. Always almost always someone else’s fault or something else’s fault.

  • Cyndie Miller

    Cryptoporidium killed mymother who had cancer. I have kidney disease and worry about our water supply. I have been using bottled water for a long time, but who knows where that is truly from?

    • Michael Neils

      Cyndie, sorry for your loss. That crypto is nasty. I think it’s more prominent when water is high-snow melt and spring rains. The run off, sewer and drinking water get together with horrid results. I think bottled water is safe. I don’t remember there ever being a recall for it.

  • KSpencer

    It’s well documented in the scientific literature that fluoridation increases lead poisoning and infrastructure failure. However, business plans, prestige, and paychecks are connected to the fluoridation industry, hence the well financed promotion of fluoridation that emphasizes endorsements and denigrates oppositions. See Fluoride, Chloramine & Lead Resource Sheet (bad for people, pipes, and planet):

    I especially like the title of the 2009 item by the senior scientist at the EWG, “Chloramine + Lead Pipes + Fluoride = Contaminated Tap Water.”

    • J

      Get the heck out of here with that conspiracy nonsense ! (though considering the other comments here, you might find a gullible fool or two for your cause…hey, maybe you’e smarter than it seems !)

  • Rhonda Now

    We lived in Riverwest for 28 yrs and as children my daughter both had dangerously high lead levels. It was the common consensus that it was the fault of lead in the paint and that the pipes to our properties had been changed. No one seemed to questons the pipes that ran to all the ptoperties

  • Ri Ra

    There is another culprit in the story of lead in our water: the lead industry. For decades after the lead companies – including NL Industries, ASARCO and Eagle Picher – knew that lead pipes could cause lead poisoning they continued to sell and promote lead pipes. (see The Lead Industry and Lead Water Pipes: “A Modest Campaign”; Am J Public Health. 2008;98:1584–1592)

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