Stockton’s water controversy came to campus on Monday, Feb. 1.
Once a widely unknown and common practice of cities municipalities’ water treatment has sparked a citywide debate of the decisions local government is making in regards to citizen health.
The debate is centered around the addition of chloramines – chlorine and ammonia – as a secondary disinfectant to Stockton’s drinking water.
More than 1,200 citizens attended the Town Hall held at Atherton Auditorium, featuring known activist Erin Brokovich and Stockton Mayor Anthony Silva.
In recent months, residents have expressed concern about chloramine being more harmful than tests are showing.
Included on the panel were Vice Mayor Christina Fugazi, water treatment expert Robert Bowcock, Executive Director to Restore the Delta Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla and Director of the California Sportsfishing Protection Alliance Bill Jennings.
Water is a hot issue in the country right now, especially with the Flint, Michigan water crisis and a dozen other cities dealing with toxic lead pollution.
“Stockton is not Flint,” said Fugazi, who had a slide that said the same.
Fugazi explained the city’s position.
“There are no lead pipes in Stockton,” she said, explaining why the Stockton City Council believes chloramines are harmless to the water-treatment process.
Fugazi described the difference between chlorine treatment and chloramine treatment.
“It’s stable and persistent. I liken it an Aleve or maybe an Ibuprofen,” she said.
The Vice Mayor also said the City of Stockton will become transparent by weekly updting the water levels and chemicals and byproducts tested in the water.
Brokovich’s leading water treatment expert Bob Bowcock said “we’ve seen what’s coming … it’s a one-way collision course with disaster.”
Bowcock described the process as “duct tape” that it will only be a temporary, cheap and quick fix.
“[Stockton] is like Flint” due to the chlorine burnouts required to cleanout the water from the chemical byproduct of chloramine use, and also the byproducts damage to the brass water main (which are 17% lead) in every pipe that have potential of leaching lead into peoples water, Bowcock said to the audience.
Bowcock said his greatest fear is for pregnant woman.
Brockovich encouraged the citizens to take action: “Superman is not coming, it is going to be up to us to save ourselves.”
The town hall ended with questions from the audience led by Silva.
Silva had a question for Brockovich: “If the public decided we don’t want this, what is the next step?”
After her response, Silva reassured those in attendance.
“I represent the public. Period. What they feel, I feel,” he said.