City Council President Jim Graham confidently assured Warren residents that their water is safe from high atop his majestic perch in Council chambers this past Wednesday, and this morning the Tribune echoed that point-of-view on the front page.
I can’t know for sure, but most likely neither were lying. I suspect they just took the word of someone they thought should know the truth and passed it on without asking any (or at least the right) questions.
We’re lucky that Vindicator reporter Ed Runyan did what real reporters do, he did ask the tough questions, and when he got the stalling and stonewalling that one usually gets from the Warren city government, he found other sources. So read this, not that.
If you have any concerns about the safety of your drinking water, or just an interest in the issue, I strongly urge you to skip the Tribune’s coverage and go straight to today’s Vindy article which demonstrates, with facts and data, that in some cases Warren’s water has had lead levels up to four times the allowed level.
[Added 1/31/16: Here is a PDF file the Vindy posted on their site with raw data from their reporting including reports from the Ohio EPA: Warren_Water_Files]
I don’t want to be an alarmist; I live in Warren and I don’t plan on running out to get my water tested tomorrow. Of course I don’t have young children living with me; if I did I might have a greater sense of urgency.
To me the real story here is how the Warren city government’s first rule for every piece of information is to keep it secret; treat it like the formula for Coca-Cola. Their first instinct isn’t to worry about what is best for you, it’s to worry about covering their own behinds.
I urge you to read Runyon’s article and listen to the rationale from those involved in testing and evaluating the importance of the test results. They don’t want to tell you the full truth because it might upset you, and in their view the data isn’t significant.
But what about the public’s right to know? Isn’t it up to you to decide what’s significant to you?
If you lived next door to someone whose water tested unsafe, wouldn’t you want to know? And how would you feel if you found out that the high lead level reading was taken at the home of a Warren Water Department employee? A little angry, perhaps?
Well, take a deep breath and wait for an apology or any kind of plan to deal with the situation from Graham, Enzo or Doug (GED).