Committee Approves Zielinski/Bohl/Lewis Lead Resolution

Milwaukee – After months of pointing out that Milwaukee residents don’t understand the danger they face from lead service lines, Alderman Tony Zielinski of Bay View was finally able to get a resolution passed this week designed to help residents living in older homes with lead pipes to avoid exposure to lead in water through intense information campaign.

Tens of thousands of the households get their drinking water delivered through old pipes made of lead. It can damage the brain and nervous systems, especially of young children.

“They don’t go far enough to let the public know that water filtration devices are the better option than running cold water,” Zielinksi said at a July 2017 meeting of the city’s public safety & health committee.

Since last May, Alderman Zielinski has been trying to convince the Common Council to support a resolution that would require the health department to modify its messaging to emphasize the use of certified water filters.

Zielinski’s resolution was held over by the Public Safety and Health Committee four times because there was no consensus reached between officials of the health department and community leaders demanding policy changes regarding lead awareness.

To help the resolution move forward Alderpersons Jim Bohl and Chantia Lewis became sponsors of the resolution in order to secure consensus among all stakeholders.

On November 20 the Public Safety and Health Committee approved the resolution without debate at its Monday morning meeting.

The measure now moves to the full Common Council for a vote in December. If the measure is passed by the Common Council it will be sent to Mayor Barrett for his signature.

The City of Milwaukee Health Department contacted WUWM News recently to share the department’s past lead education efforts:

Among local communities with lead service lines, Milwaukee is the only one toinitiate a filter distribution program.

The City of Milwaukee Health Department promotes, communicates, and educates the community about filter use, including the use of NSF/ANSI Standard 53 certified filters. This information is on the department’s website and in print materials. See website and the Milwaukee Water Works website and print materials.

The City’s public awareness efforts surrounding lead in lateral water pipes that lead to the city’s older homes already state that people should run their faucet for at least three minutes before using the water, in order to reduce the chance of lead ending up in water used for drinking or cooking.

The City’s messaging and materials already inform at-risk populations to drink and cook only with water that has been filtered. In addition, the City’s lead testing recommendations are the same as those that appear in the resolution that aldermen will consider.

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