Latest from Emerald Coastkeeper

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Please see the latest from Emerald Coastkeeper:

As many of you have read in both the Pensacola News Journal as well as the New York Times, Pensacola's drinking water is ranked the lowest in the country. Emerald Coastkeeper is appalled by this report, but wants you to know there are many ways to read these types of reports. Our Emerald Coastkeeper, Chasidy Hobbs, has written a viewpoint that we have included at the bottom of this email for those of you who are interested in Emerald Coastkeeper's position.

It is incredibly important that Pensacola's citizens and those of us served by E.C.U.A. take the time to make our concerns and thoughts known. One way to do this is to take a few minutes of your time and write an email or write a letter to your City Council, E.C.U.A., Escambia County Commissioners and other elected officials expressing your concerns. We have all the email addresses listed at the bottom of this email for those of you who would like to take a more active role in this issue.

Emerald Coastkeeper is hosting a Member Meeting on Wednesday, January 13th at Dharma Blue at 5:30. Though we had planned to focus on the issue of offshore drilling at this meeting, we are prepared to discuss any issues or concerns you may have about our water quality in Northwest Florida. Chasidy is excited to meet our members, and to learn what ways we can best serve you! Dharma Blue is located at 300 S. Alcaniz St. in downtown Pensacola.

If you have any last minute stocking stuffer needs, please consider giving the gift of water advocacy to your friends and family this year. Emerald Coastkeeper memberships start as low as $25. Please email us at to ask us about this special offer. We can send out our brochure and a welcome note to anyone you choose, and you can send the check in at your convenience.

Emerald Coastkeeper's 2010 Gala is coming up on Saturday, February 20th, from 6:30-9. We will have auctions, music, food, a cash bar- the works! Tickets will be $30 per person, $50 per couple. By purchasing a ticket, you are supporting Emerald Coastkeeper's fight for cleaner water. Last year we had over 300 attendees, it is always a great party for a wonderful cause! The Gala will be at the Sanders Beach Community Center in Pensacola located at 913 South I. Street in Pensacola. If you are interested in volunteering your time, please email us at

Another fabulous upcoming event is Hands Across the Sand. This event is free and open to the public. Bring your friends, family and neighbors. Come show you do not support offshore drilling. We will all join on Pensacola Beach at the pier and hold hands across the sand showing we want to keep our beaches oil-free! Hands Across the Sand is on Saturday, February 13th, 2010. We will be at the pier starting at 11:00 a.m. and will leave at 1:00 p.m. The official time to hold hands is 12:30 CST.


I drink filtered tap water; I am not fooled by the myth that bottled water is safer (in fact it is far less regulated than tap water!) I was, therefore, disturbed to read a report which ranked our drinking water at the very bottom of a national list for drinking water quality.
The Environmental Working Group recently analyzed nearly 20 million water quality records obtained from 45 states and the District of Columbia over a three year period. They found 316 pollutants in tap water throughout the United States; over half of these pollutants are not regulated by the EPA. What this means is that these unregulated chemicals can legally be present at any amounts in our drinking water.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a non-profit, non-partisan team of scientists, engineers, policy experts, lawyers and computer programmers whose sole mission is to shed light on environmental and human health issues. EWG rated "big city (population over 250,000)" water utilities based on three factors: 1. the total number of chemicals found between 2004 and 2008; 2. the percentage of chemicals found of those tested; and 3. the highest average level for an individual pollutant.

Our water ranked 100th on the list of 100 largest utilities rated; that is dead last. EWG found 45 chemicals in ECUA provided drinking water (the national average was 8!); only 13 of those 45 pollutants are naturally occurring; the others are from industry, agriculture, urbanism, etc.
This information has confused many ECUA customers. Didn't they just win an award for their water quality? Actually, yes, they did. ECUA won "Best Tasting Water", three times actually. And, ECUA did not have a single drinking water quality standard violation during the period of the EWG study.

In fact, ECUA has done an excellent job as stewards of our water resources including being a big proponent of moving the Main Street wastewater treatment plant away from Pensacola Bay. They have diligently provided what EPA deems to be safe and healthy drinking water to their customers.

So, why the contradiction between ECUA reports and the EWG report? Frankly, there isn't one. ECUA's response to the EWG report is like saying the sky is blue because birds fly. Both are true.

The purpose of EWG's study was not to panic communities into thinking their drinking water was poisoned. The point was to shed light on the following facts: 1. there are hundreds of chemicals being discharged into the environmental which did not exist when EPA created drinking water standards; 2. there are dozens of chemicals in our drinking water which we have no idea what the safe limits are; 3. these chemicals are in our water legally and utilities are under no obligation to report them to us; and, most importantly 4. EPA must do a better job at protecting and regulating our drinking water, period.

If there are no health limits for particular chemicals found in drinking water then there are no legal standards for them either. This means that utilities can legally call the water they deliver safe and healthy regardless of how much of each unregulated chemical is delivered along with that water. The state of Florida and ECUA are under no legal obligation to remove these chemicals from our water or even to tell us they present. They also are under no obligation to wait for the EPA to begin removing these chemicals from our water; of course then you would have resist complaining about paying more for the only thing you cannot live without for more than a week. Remember, you get what you pay for.


  © Blogger templates Newspaper II by 2008

Back to TOP