The drinking water in Wisconsin’s capital city will be tested for a deadly chemical.
Lab tests show the country’s drinking water is contaminated with chromium-6. According to the Environmental Working Group, Madison had the fourth-highest level of the cancer-causing chemical among 35 U.S. cities the group studied. Should Wisconsin residents be worried?
“Well no, I mean, certainly I wouldn’t worry about it. I drink water as a Madison resident.” Tom Heikkinen is general manager of Madison Water Utility. He says the EPA does not require utilities to test for chromium-6, but officials do test the drinking water for the less-toxic parent compound chromium.
Heikkinen welcomes this new information, and will seek more scientific data. “It’s obviously an issue now for the industry,” he says, “certainly it can do no harm to do a little testing.”
The Environmental Group is urging the EPA to regulate testing for the so-called Erin Brockovich chemical, which gained national attention in the 2000 feature film. This finding was based on a sample taken from the kitchen tap of one household in the Capital City.
Heikkinen is taking this seriously, but one step at a time. “There are legions of scientists working in the drinking water field and public health and there are toxicological studies that they do and we’re not going to jump out and say that we know more than they do.”
Chromium a metal that is naturally present in the earth’s crust and is found ground water supplies. Heikkinen says chromium-6 has never been listed on the EPA’s “Containment Candidate List,” which seeks to determine whether chemicals warrant regulation.
The Madison Water Utility Board meets once a month; coincidentally December’s meeting is Tuesday afternoon. Heikkinen says they plan on discussing this issue.