Milwaukee Alderman Bob Donovan wants for any employee or former employee that might have known of an alleged lead lateral cover-up at the City of Milwaukee Health Department to come forward.
By H. Nelson Goodson
Hispanic News Network U.S.A.
January 16, 2018
Milwaukee, WI – On Tuesday, Robert Miranda from Freshwater for Life Action Coalition (FLAC), Earl Ingram Jr. and other members of the Black Community held a press conference to call for City of Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barret to step down/resign over an alleged cover-up of not releasing data of tests conducted at more than 70K to 90K homes with toxic lead laterals connected to the water main. Mayor Barrett says that water tests were conducted, but the Mayor’s Office and the City of Milwaukee Health Department (MHD) have not released any data. Miranda alleged that the City and Mayor Barrett have failed to release any data of homes tested with lead laterals.
Baven Baker, the Milwaukee Health Department Commissioner abruptly resigned after Mayor Barrett learned that 26K children were tested for elevated lead levels and 3K of those children tested positive per year. Some of the parents whose children tested positive were sent letters by the MHD and thousands were not notified, according to Barrett.
Milwaukee tested twice as much in lead poisoning in 2014 than Flint, Michigan in 2015. In 2014, 8.6 percent of children tested in Milwaukee for lead poisoning were diagnosed positive compared to 4.9 percent of children tested that were diagnosed for lead poisoning in Flint, Michigan in 2015.
Milwaukee Alderman Bob Donovan wants former employees or current employees from the MHD to come forward, of they know of any activity that led to a cover-up in MHD. A whistle-blower sent an email to the members of the Milwaukee Common Council exposing unfriendly working conditions at MHD and restrictions set for not cooperating or participating at any public or organization meeting inquirin about data concerning the lead lateral issue.
Donovan wants to know when did Mayor Barrett learn about the lead lateral issue and the failure by the MHD to test children and provide data.
Alderman Mark A. Borkowski says that the mandate to stop using lead laterals began in 1986 and it wasn’t until 2004 that City Aldermen became aware that they had an issue with lead laterals. Borkowski now says, that at least 90% of all Milwaukee homes could have lead lateral connections than previously reported. Aldermen couldn’t confirm, if in fact the City stopped mandating the use of residential lead laterals connections to the water main in 1951.
According to a June 16, 2016 memorandum from Kate Pawasarat, Community Analytics Analyst for the City of Milwaukee Department of Administration Budget and Management Division, she reported the following information.
There are approximately 74,600 properties with lead service lines in the City of Milwaukee.
• Based on property assessment class information, 91.5% of properties with lead service lines are residential.
• Approximately 68,300 residential properties or 54.2% of all residential properties in the City of Milwaukee have lead service lines.
For over twenty years Milwaukee has added a phosphorous compound to its drinking water. The compound coats pipes to control lead corrosion, but recent concerns regarding heavy construction around the city has brought to light that this protective phosphorous compound is being loosened by the pounding of machines breaking apart sidewalks and streets in which many of these toxic lead pipes are located.
The following Milwaukee Southside Aldermanic Districts are among seven with the most toxic lead laterals in homes.
• Aldermanic District 15 – Alderman Tony Zielinski, toxic lead laterals in district 6,089
• Aldermanic District 12 – Alderman José G. Pérez, toxic lead laterals in district 5,585
• Aldermanic District 10 – Alderman Michael Murphy, toxic lead laterals in district 9,166
• Aldermanic District 8 – Alderman Bob Donovan, toxic lead laterals in district 6,361
Total toxic lead laterals located in Milwaukee’s Southside 27,201
Find City of Milwaukee properties with lead pipe laterals by address at http://goo.gl/poY5yv
robert miramda from flac
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