Yes, we have a reason to be frustrated at how vulnerable our health and safety actually is. I've been following this issue since my first campaign for City Council in 2015. Before I delve into the depths of emotion I'm having right now, I'm devoted to informing my neighbors that the current City of LB situation is that our municipal Dept. of Water is increasing the levels of chlorine to fight the coliform bacteria known as E Coli. The source is likely to not reside inside the aquifer, and most likely from a broken sewage pipe and a broken water main that are close together in a narrow street, and flooding mixes and sucks it back into the pipe, or inside our infrastructure; ie. stagnant water that hasn't circulated in our water mains behind a fire hydrant, unoccupied dwellings, possibly even inside the water department plant. You will smell the high levels of chlorine if you put your nose to the water fyi. Circulating water of high chlorination levels is a process which will take two to three days to properly neutralize the bacteria. I'm not aware of what levels the Water Department is undertaken, because that information, to my knowledge, wasn't shared during today's press conference. My son is one year old, is teething, and we enjoy the beach. Not being able to wash his hands after he picks up something he shouldn't and wants to put his hands in his mouth immediately afterwards, let alone bathing him without boiling water, not being able to immediately sooth him with ice, and water when he's struggling with his teething, food prep, is an inconvenience I was not counting on. It's going to be manageable. The friends, families, and businesses that have to facilitate preparing food for the 20,000+ visitors for our Pride weekend, and parade- all the while trying to not strain our ground water- is going to be a much greater challenge. The City of Long Beach's water treatment, water storage, and infrastructure is ultimately outdated. I Co-Chaired a Drinking Water Forum for the Beach To Bay Civic Association one month ago. Granted the topic of that forum focused primarily on salt water intrusion, which should be as concerning as ECOLI in the City of Long Beach but to the entire barrier islands' water source. Our ground water, sourced from Lloyd Aquifer, has seen better days. As discussed in the Drinking water forum, what we are taking out from the Aquifer is significantly greater than what is being put back. We take water from our precious aquifer for golf courses, sports fields, swimming pools, lawns, washing of cars, washing of boats, washing ourselves, ornamental gardens, vegetable gardens, and there are approximately 45,000 residents inhabiting this small barrier island unsustainable. There will likely be more water forums to come in the future.
Aside from the critical state our aquifer currently is in, the main take away from our water forum even was that of the 45,000 inhabitants, only 45 people thought it was worth their time for two hours to listen learn, and possibly participate in improving our deteriorating surface water and ground water systems. I urge everyone who's interested in our water quality to not feel so entitled to water. tapping into an underground source is not a right, it's a privilege. A privilege that we typically only complain about when the taxes increase. The guests of our city, and especially the residents should take pride in preventing hazards from inflicting suffering to our collective health from taking place. We advertised our forum, with guest speaker Dr. Sara Meyland, for a month, it was advertised on social media, and in the Long Beach Herald. And of all the candidates running for local office (Ten the last time I counted), there were only two candidates who attended, Liz Treston, and Karen McInnis. If there was a Green slate of candidates running, I would bet the whole slate would have been present. I guess the others had more important things to do. But unfortunately, as evident from the water forum, proactive management is out of style, and reactive anxious triggers are very much in. I don't really feel comfortable with leadership in the county legislation. This past year, Legislator Denise Ford refused to stand up for the people with halting a huge for profit committee from overseeing Long Island's water management, and dissolved ALL VOTING AUTHORITY FROM CITIZEN MEMBERS. I hear only how Denise is strong arming communities to conserve water in their spray parks, which is focusing effort on only a scintilla of our problem. The remedy to fix our natural waterways (Surface Water), and our drinking water (Ground Water) is a feasible Reuse and Recharge program. Instead of only treating our wastewater for nitrogen removal (currently only a percentage of nitrogen levels are removed from our waste water, and pharmaceuticals, dioxins, household cleaners, industrial cleaners, and micro plastics are going back into our water untreated), develop a tertiary treatment plant onto Cedar Creek (Like it was specked/intended to have), incorporate a reverse osmosis process like in Orange County California, and pump that perfectly potable drinking water into our aquifer to stabilize it. Thanks for your time reading this, and yes, even though right now our emotions are triggered by a water plant/infrastructure situation, and we can't use un-boiled water for two to three days. But when the source of water from underneath us, and the body of water surrounding us are completely contaminated, what will you do then? I'm devoted into demanding more health and safety now, so that our children won't have to in the future.