Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Getting the Lead Out

Yes, we’ve all seen all the stuff about Flint, Michigan with toxic problem of lead in the water. Do we ever think about what is coming out of our taps?
The president has been talking about fixing the failing infrastructures of the nation for years, but it will require money. Of course no one wants to spend more money in taxes or fees but we are the first to complain when a pipe breaks and the city or county or public utility has to turn off the water and dig up the street to patch an old pipe.
We somehow forget pipes and wires and concrete paving connect our lives. All of this runs in the background and unless there is a disturbance in the force, we ignore it.
How we fuss when there are potholes but do we think of the structural stability of that bridge over the river? How we get so annoyed when a tree takes down an electrical line unless it catches our house on fire for it is full of power. How we continue to purchase cans and plastic containers of liquid but bath in whatever comes out of the shower.
Now we all depend on a satellite floating up in heaven to keep our Internet running but forget there is a fiber line running to our router. If one of them silver globes fail, I’m sure there is a bunch of redundancy to backup your entire precious emails and photos. If not, you can put your spot on a bench for a guy with a wrench.
This country moved from rural to urban with the connection of highways and byways. President Ike did that to connect areas of the country so the military could get quickly from place-to-place and as the American spirit and the economy was doing well, we paid for it. As the use of telephones and televisions grew, more wires appeared on poles and more towers and the sky was a weave of black lines.
Water was underground. Pipes that brought water in and out, thanks to indoor plumbing, were out-of-sight and out-of-mind. Plumbing, like everything else, changed from heavy lead to plastics in new installations, but what about the old stuff?
I live in an old city. Much of the downtown infrastructure was done just after the civil war. Another expansion was done in the 1920’s. My particular neighborhood was built in the 1950’s after the war and the first suburbia. I’m sure the engineers used the latest materials and techniques of the time, but time marches on.
So I empathize with those in Flint and Chicago and New York and Richmond for we all have old infrastructures and what will it cost to replace it all? I’m a sure politicians and utility corporations and technical engineering minds are having committee meetings and discussing various solutions to getting old and the cost and who will pay and all that stuff. Good luck to all of them I say.
Just like new pharmaceutical solutions to new definitions to diseases and ailments and maladies of our failing health, we are paying for the discoveries.
I have been living in a house with lead pipes and asbestos siding for over 30 years. It is too late for me.
I glow in the dark.

1 comment:

TheOtherBrother said...

You probably have galvanized pipes which would have been standard for that time period. There might be lead in the cast iron drain pipes, but you don't drink from those (I hope). The asbestos siding is fine as long as you don't cut it.