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Ignorant as a Miner

by art holscher

There is some cantankerous sediment mingling with our water supply, say four organizations. Evidently, when water stays in contact with this sediment, lead leaves the sediment and is carried away by the water.

If you ingest lead as a child or fetus, physical and mental development may be delayed. Slight deficits in attention span and learning abilities might be noticed, and over time kidney dysfunction or high blood pressure may result.

Well, I guess we weren't made to ingest heavy metals.

Today, December 2nd, the Park City Public Works notice on my door reads, "in August 2000, preliminary sampling indicated that disturbances in the system resulted in some tap water samples with concentrations of lead above EPA's "Level of Concern" (15 parts per billion). Park City's water system has remained in compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act."

Well, I guess I should maintain a level of concern, but at least we've been in compliance with a government act. I'm forced to base my fear or disinterest on terms with little tangible connection to quantifiable reality.

So what should we do? Considering that the carrier of the pathogen is water in my town, I have been exposed often and for many years. Heck, for the first three years that I lived in Old Town, I didn't even have bottled water.

Gallons and gallons I've drunk. Scraping up the trails in Daily Canyon, chewing on the contaminated dust from my buddies back tire, I learned that a camel back is the key to high performance.

The Romans were proud of their water as can be seen in the thousands of fountains that to this day exist within the city walls. Supposedly, they are all pure enough to drink.

I like the feel of free water for everyone, constantly pouring out into the streets. It seems like democracy flowing. Water is something that we all need equally. Despite their savage nature, Romans could understand the importance of clean and plentiful water.

Some historians think that lead in Roman water created a slow degeneration of the people, contributing to the demise of their empire.

Could the rising ski empire of Utah crumble because of degenerated people? It's not our fault that millions of dollars incited indiscriminate pollution in every direction from Old Town. The miners were but slaves to the demand.

Does a class action sound good to anyone?

There is nothing more fundamental than water. Science guys say that I'm eighty percent water. Clean water should have been protected in the Bill of Rights, but who could have imagined polluting an entire water table. Thanks, United Park Mines, for taking 80% of me and filling me full of crap.

Do we treat open space and air quality as recklessly as our predecessors did the water table? Will our real estate commodity disappear like silver, leaving car exhaust dripping out of the sky back into our water?

Is one bottled water company better than another? Is the label on my cereal box accurate? Should I avoid food that contains recombined bacterial DNA?

Am I as ignorant as a miner?