Target: Matt Rodriquez, Secretary for Environmental Protection, California
Goal: Punish officials who allegedly failed to warn residents of potentially hazardous drinking water.
Drinking water in Sacramento was contaminated with higher than acceptable levels of contaminants in 2013 and 2014 and city officials failed to notify residents. The contaminants, byproducts of the water disinfection process, were the result of the city trying out a new chemical in its treatment facilities. According to an investigation, the city was made aware of high levels of potentially hazardous carcinogens three days into trying out the new chemical but continued to use it for a full year afterward.
The new chemical, aluminum chlorohydrate, reacted with the chlorine in the water to create trihalomathanes, compounds used as industrial solvents and refrigerants. Many trihalomathanes are classified as carcinogens and have been linked to early miscarriage and low birth weight. While in the United States, these types of chemicals are required to be under 80 parts per million (PPM) by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Sacramento’s water has tested as high as 130 PPM.
On the third day of the trial, a city chemist emailed the appropriate officials to report higher than acceptable levels of trihalomathanes. Several more times throughout the year, the water failed to meet EPA standards with 11 out of 13 tests failing to pass in a two-month span. While municipalities are required to warn their residents about water quality in situations such as these, Sacramento apparently allowed the contaminants to remain in the water for a year without a single advisory issued.
This blatant misconduct put hundreds of thousands of residents at risk of adverse health effects, particularly children, pregnant women, and the elderly. While the damage cannot be undone, it is imperative that the officials responsible are punished for their reckless conduct. Sign the petition below to demand that the EPA seek serious disciplinary action against those responsible.
Dear Secretary Rodriquez,
The city of Sacramento reportedly failed repeatedly to warn residents of higher than acceptable levels of harmful chemicals in drinking water. The contaminants, trihalomathanes, which are known to cause cancer, miscarriage, and low birth weight, were consistently above EPA maximums for an entire year.
This negligence put hundreds of thousands of residents at risk of serious health issues. Those responsible must be punished to the fullest extent of the law. We, the undersigned, demand that harsh actions are taken against Sacramento officials in order to prevent similar misconduct in the future.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Juandev