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October 12, 2013 at 7:35 AM
We must prepare now to avoid cost later
The recent water main break in Monroe should serve as a wake-up call. [“Broken water main fixed, Monroe schools to reopen,” online, Oct. 1].
If taxpayers and ratepayers want to avoid unaffordable utility bills and huge liabilities in the future, they must insist now on more competition in the way public officials manage the water systems.
According to a study released by the National Taxpayers Union, roughly half a trillion dollars in government expenditures could be saved over the next four decades by adopting techniques such as open procurement for pipe materials and better asset management. The Mayors Water Council of the U.S. Conference of Mayors has also voiced support for such processes.
It’s time for community leaders here and across the nation to be more proactive in embracing fiscally responsible approaches to water policy.
Pete Sepp, executive vice president of the National Taxpayers Union
September 23, 2013 at 4:24 PM
Column misrepresents cruise ships
Peter Goldmark’s column inaccurately represents the cruise industry and does not make mention of our world-class environmental practice or the regulatory controls and oversight we have in place. [“Guest column: We must keep boat sewage out of Puget Sound,” Opinion, Sept. 18.]First, cruise ships are not discharging in Puget Sound, and have not in years, as per our Memorandum of Understanding with the Washington Department of Ecology.
Beyond that, the member lines of Cruise Lines International Association — North West & Canada (CLIA — NWC) have invested more than $60 million on wastewater-purification systems that treat water to standards higher than most land-based operations. The practices deployed by CLIA — NWC members serve as a model of environmental stewardship for cruise ships everywhere.
In addition, Goldmark’s column does not distinguish between different regions of the Sound, treating it as one homogeneous body of water. Most of the effects described by Goldmark are localized. Sewer overflows and suburban runoff are prime contributors to water-quality issues in South Puget Sound and South Hood Canal, where cruise ships do not operate.
As an industry, we support the goal of protecting Puget Sound and have adopted the appropriate technology and practices to be sure we do our part.
Greg Wirtz, president of Cruise Lines International Association — North West & Canada, Vancouver, B.C.
May 23, 2013 at 6:03 AM
The real impacts of fluoride
The story about Portland’s vote on water fluoridation included the unsupported claim that Seattle, with fluoridated water, has half the number of cavities in children than does unfluoridated Portland [“Fluoridated water? Not all Portlanders will drink to that,” NWMonday, May 20].
In fact, studies around the world have shown that fluoridation of water makes no significant difference at all in cavity rates. What has also been learned is that fluoridation is linked to increased rates of numerous health problems, from brittle bones to thyroid disorders to stroke and diabetes.
Recent studies from China have shown a direct link between fluoride in the water and reduced IQ in children.
These are among the reasons why most of the world has now ended the practice of adding fluoride to their water. When is Seattle going to wake up?
Ben Collet, Seattle
May 21, 2013 at 7:36 AM
May 13, 2013 at 7:33 AM
Do not filter stormwater into soil above aquifer
Eighteen years ago, Issaquah and Port Blakley communities spent a lot of political and financial capital to assure the local community, King County and state regulators, skeptical groundwater advisory committee members, and concerned citizens that they could be trusted to build a well-planned development over the recharge area of the Issaquah aquifer [“Plan for Issaquah stormwater angers water district,” seattletimes.com, May 6].
I was reminded of that arduous process recently as I walked past the sign for a new Issaquah Highlands gas station. At meetings I attended in 1995, the city and Port Blakley planners promised activities that put the aquifer at risk — like underground gasoline storage tanks, garden pesticides and other contaminants — would not be allowed in this “visionary model environmental community.”
We have deviated far from those earlier promises, groundwater plans and protective ordinances. Issaquah now proposes to inject stormwater with all its contaminants into the ground above that regional aquifer. I could not have even imagined this level of hubris when I testified in 1995 that to take a chance with our aquifer because we are sure we have an engineering solution to any problem is akin to haphazardly removing kidneys because we are sure we have the very best dialysis machines.
It was shortsighted and foolhardy then and it is shortsighted and foolhardy now.
Denise Smith, Issaquah
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