Letter: Contaminants in city’s water

Published 8:30 pm Friday, November 19, 2021

The City Council of Albert Lea, the mayor and city staff are quite pleased with themselves after spending $7 million of our taxpayer dollars to build a new, one-million-gallon water tower for the city. City Manager Ian Rigg has said the project will be paid for with water utility rates, which means our water bills are increasing to pay for the cost of this $7 million water tower. According to Mr. Rigg, rates will go up and the tower in total will add about 2% a year for five years and will trail off at that point.

It’s seemingly a matter of importance and pride for the council, the mayor, and the city staff that they approved this new water tower. However, the most recent report by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) shows that as of March 2021, the drinking water in the city of Albert Lea may not be as safe as you think.

It is important to note that just because the city follows federal laws/mandates surrounding health-based drinking water standards does not mean that our water is safe to drink. Tap water quality standards haven’t been updated by the EPA in at least 20 years and in some cases, 40 years.

Albert Lea had a total of 15 contaminants found in our drinking water. Eight of those contaminants detected exceed EWG health guidelines, and all eight contaminants are known to correlate with increased risk of cancer:

Bromodichloromethane: 5.4x higher than the EWG health guideline

Chloroform: 5.7x higher than EWG health guideline

Haloacetic acids HAA5: 8.8x higher than EWG health guideline

Haloacetic Acids HAA9: 44x higher than EWG health guideline

Nitrate: 2.1x higher than EWG health guideline

Radium: 66x higher than EWG health guideline

Trichloroacetic Acid: 6.2x higher than EWG health guideline

Trihalomethanes: 19x higher than EWG health guideline

Why are, we the people, paying for a new $7 million water tower? To store our drinking water that is full of cancerous contaminants? That just doesn’t make sense. It’s almost like the City Council, the mayor and city staff are more concerned with the “appearance” of the city of Albert Lea than they are the people who live and work and shop here.

The City Council, the mayor and city staff have a certain history when it comes to, we the people. They went to great lengths to destroy a local business in town, (The Interchange) and they have now gone after Trails Travel Plaza, force-annexing them into the city and obligating them to bear the burden of a series of outrageous fees. They don’t care about our businesses, about our drinking water, our health or our lives. Each one of them needs to be replaced with Americans who will abide by the U.S. Constitution, which limits government and not, we the people.

Allowing self-serving crooks to run our city must come to an end.

Christopher Penrod

Albert Lea