The water crisis in Flint, Mich., has spurred a national debate about the tremendous disparities in water quality across the United States. National coverage of the issue has also driven many communities to speak out about their own water crises.
While problems in Minnesota certainly haven’t been comparable to the situation in Michigan, it has nevertheless become evident that our state is long overdue to remodel its pipes systems and restructure its sewage systems.
Recently, Gov. Mark Dayton put forth a plan that would focus efforts on sewage and water projects, especially the protection of groundwater and lakes. Dayton pleaded for the state Legislature to allocate a substantial portion of the budget to execute his plan. He argued that in many rural areas of Minnesota, small towns do not have the capacity to restructure their water systems themselves. State aid would provide resources to address some of these concerns.
We believe the Legislature ought to support Dayton’s work. In order to ensure safe public access to clean water, it is essential that Minnesota’s government provide adequate resources to support repair and renovation initiatives.
Furthermore, we also urge homeowners with homes built before 1986 to independently check the quality of the water they receive. The Minnesota Department of Health recently published a statement saying that although municipal water tests rarely show signs of heavy metals like lead and arsenic, the pipes of many houses have nonetheless shown strong levels of decay, sometimes resulting in lead-positive tests.