I'm not boiling water
A city-wide alert on ambiguous grounds
Portland residents have been fighting scare tactics about the water supply from corporate-owned government, for several years now. We are supposed to believe that, since some East Coast buildings fell down in September 2001, some massive horde of evil saboteurs is likely to sneak into lil' ol' Portland's water supply, and contaminate it. This has always been just as bogus as the Amerithrax "investigation."
I just had a nice long drink of pure tap water.
Naomi Klein warned us against the "Shock Doctrine." When a population is manipulated into fearfulness, it is easy to get them to abandon rationality (most certainly including physics and biology) and comply with Authority. Right now, the Authorities want very much for Portlanders to pay for an extensive retrofit of the water supply. Never mind that it's the same water supply that has been perfectly safe--indeed, remarkably pure--for decade on decade; there are government-dependent corporations to pay. (Notably, there is Ch2MHill.)
Dramatically, most of the city has been told to boil its water, and to call the Water Department with reports of gastrointestinal upset. Gastrointestinal upset is a normal human reaction to stress, and an easy target for suggestion. Most people who even suspect that something they just ate or drank was "off" will immediately focus their attention to their guts, and the resultant stress will almost instantly produce "gastrointestinal stress" from gas to diarrhea. These people are now hysterically calling the Water Bureau, "proving" by sheer numbers that there is a terrible, terrible contamination of the water supply.
The health authorities are stating that the contamination is fecal coliform. Eww, poop bacteria! And they're saying that it includes e.coli. Omigawd! But there has always been some fecal coliform in the water (see below), and it's not necessarily a bad thing--your gut would not function correctly without it--and e. coli is a general term, and doesn't mean the deadly H57:0157 strain. If THAT were in the water, the authorities would say so, and loudly.
I'm sure the conformist pundits are on the air this moment saying, "Oh, why did we listen to those (liberal, moonbat, Democrat, Communist, ungrateful) activists who prevented the (jobs-producing, rational, patriotic) coverup of the Mount Tabor Water supply? Meanwhile, I note with suspicioun that, according to Portland Water Bureau Administrator David Shaff, the order to issue an alert came from "the state" as opposed to normal channels.
From Wikipedia's article on the Portland water supply:
"Long protected by land-use controls, the watershed is free of contaminants of concern except for naturally occurring microbes such as Giardia lamblia, Cryptosporidium, fecal coliform bacteria and total coliform bacteria, which are found in virtually all freshwater ecosystems. In the Bull Run watershed, sources of giardia and fecal coliform bacteria are limited to wildlife such as deer, Elk, Cougar, and North American Beaver. Sources of Cryptosporidium include most species of wild mammals and several bird species. A fence around the diversion pool at the headworks prevents direct animal contact with water near the system intake.
"All water supplied by Portland's public water system meets or surpasses federal and state drinking water standards. Each year, the water bureau analyzes more than 10,000 water samples from reservoirs in the watershed and in the city, from groundwater, and from the distribution system and consumers' taps. The monitoring schedules comply with federal and state regulations, and records of the analyses are available to the public.
"To comply with the EPA's Total Coliform Rule of 1990, the water bureau must collect and analyze at least 210 water samples each month from its distribution system. The rule requires that total coliform bacteria be absent in 95 percent of the samples; if a positive sample is found, three more samples must be collected and analyzed within 24 hours. Any positive Escherichia coli (E. coli) sample followed by a positive total coliform sample, or a positive total coliform sample followed by a positive E. coli sample is a violation of the Total Coliform Rule. In practice, following guidelines approved by the State of Oregon in 2005, the water bureau analyzes between 250 and 350 samples each month. Between 1990 and late November 2009, a total of 14 water samples tested positive for E. coli but all follow-up samples tested negative.
"However, routine water samples collected beginning November 25, 2009, from Reservoir 3 in Washington Park indicated the presence of E. coli in the follow-up test as well as the first test. The water bureau issued a boil-water advisory to its customers west of the Willamette River on November 28, 2009, as well as customers of the Valley View, Burlington and Palatine Hill water districts. The advisory was lifted on November 29, 2009.
"Another EPA rule, the Long Term 2 Surface Water Treatment Rule (LT2) of 2000, has been the subject of controversy between the EPA and the City of Portland. This supplement to the Clean Water Act of 1996 was designed to reduce illness linked to Cryptosporidium and other microbes in drinking-water systems. The rule, which applies to any drinking-water system in the U.S. that uses surface water or groundwater, is relevant to about 14,000 systems. The City of Portland has argued that the Cryptosporidium threat to the city's water is so low that the EPA rule should not apply to Portland, but its efforts to seek legal or legislative relief have been unsuccessful. A legal challenge was denied in 2007, and Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley informed the water bureau in June 2009 that a legislative approach had little chance of success. Meanwhile, the bureau is pursuing "multiple and simultaneous paths to comply with LT2". On January 13, 2010, the EPA rejected the city's request for a variance from LT2 that would have allowed it to continue to use open reservoirs. The city is building new underground reservoirs to replace the open reservoirs, and it plans to treat the source water with ultraviolet UV light unless the EPA grants a variance or an acceptable alternative can be found. The EPA deadline for compliance is April 2014."
I ain't boiling my water.
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