Event Title

Little Did We Know – Charlotte Water Data Show June Lead Contamination

Poster Number

34

Faculty Mentor

William Schulte Ph.D.

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Department of Mass Communication

Location

Richardson Ballroom

Start Date

21-4-2017 2:15 PM

Description

This report seeks to challenge the safety of municipal water in North Carolina – specifically, the city of Charlotte – under the current regulations set by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). The NC DEQ provided nearly 10,000 individual organic and inorganic water samples taken over 12 months for this investigation. The data – recorded by all of Charlotte’s municipal water systems – showed an isolated event in which lead concentrations in Charlotte’s largest water system exceeded the EPA limitation by 360 percent. It is unclear how many of the 960,000 recipients of Charlotte Water may have been exposed to lead-tainted water; the EPA does not require officials to notify the public of compromised standards as long as toxic samples do not exceed ten-percent of the sampling pool. Furthermore, the causation of lead contamination remains unknown, although past studies in hydrogeology narrow the possibilities. This study attempts to decide whether this contamination event is a matter of public concern, especially if the likelihood of reoccurrence is likely. If ten-percent of North Carolina public water is unsafe to consume and permitted to reach the public without warning, the question remains: Are the current EPA and DEQ regulations in the best interest of the public?

Course Assignment

MCOM 441 – Schulte

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Apr 21st, 2:15 PM

Little Did We Know – Charlotte Water Data Show June Lead Contamination

Richardson Ballroom

This report seeks to challenge the safety of municipal water in North Carolina – specifically, the city of Charlotte – under the current regulations set by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). The NC DEQ provided nearly 10,000 individual organic and inorganic water samples taken over 12 months for this investigation. The data – recorded by all of Charlotte’s municipal water systems – showed an isolated event in which lead concentrations in Charlotte’s largest water system exceeded the EPA limitation by 360 percent. It is unclear how many of the 960,000 recipients of Charlotte Water may have been exposed to lead-tainted water; the EPA does not require officials to notify the public of compromised standards as long as toxic samples do not exceed ten-percent of the sampling pool. Furthermore, the causation of lead contamination remains unknown, although past studies in hydrogeology narrow the possibilities. This study attempts to decide whether this contamination event is a matter of public concern, especially if the likelihood of reoccurrence is likely. If ten-percent of North Carolina public water is unsafe to consume and permitted to reach the public without warning, the question remains: Are the current EPA and DEQ regulations in the best interest of the public?