It is a deeply ironic tragedy, but sometimes people in the most polluted areas know very little about what is going on in the groundwater. I grew up in a farming community, but none of us knew about water pollution until it was too late.
It wasn’t one of those places that you hear about, the cities where half the population is born with serious birth defects and most kids don’t live past the age of five. The effects were subtle, and they took a long time to notice. That is why it took us so long to do anything about the water pollution.
I am sure that some of the big farms on the edge of town knew something about water runoff pollution. After all, they were the main culprits, and they were the ones using huge amounts of artificial fertilizers and pesticides.
By the time we found out about it, however, our kids had been exposed to it for years. A water quality laboratory came into town one day, tested the groundwater, and found out that our aquifer was hopelessly contaminated.
There was arsenic, lead, trace sewage, various pesticides, and countless other environmental pollutants. If you have never been in the position of knowing that your water is polluted, you can not imagine what it is like. Water air pollution problems are really devastating. Suddenly, you can’t even trust the water you drink or the food you eat. It really shakes your confidence in your own safety.
Most of the people in town had to pay for expensive water filtration, however that wasn’t enough. Water pollution from fertilizers can be easily filtered out, but trace element pollution is a lot more difficult. Although we knew our water quality was better, no one was saying exactly how much better. Was it safe to drink, or would it still cause our children to develop developmental disabilities and learning problems?
Rather than sit back and watch the government do nothing, we got involved in clean water activism. We may be a very rural town, somewhat isolated from the rest of the world, but we are not passive people. We care deeply about our community, and we wanted to see it protected from the effects of environmental pollution. Although it took awhile, we made sure that the big polluters paid for cleanup of the aquifers. These days, we don’t have to worry about water pollution anymore. We’ve made sure that you can’t get away with polluting our water!