Last week the Trump administration rolled-back another piece of Obama-era legislation. Specifically, the 2015 Waters of the United States rule, further weakening the environmental regulations that the previous administration had sought to build up. One immediate effect of this repeal bill is that permits are no longer required in order to discharge potentially polluting substances into streams, rivers, and wetlands.
This repeal bill gives water utilities a major headache. Previously they had a reasonable baseline that defined how clean the waterways and reservoirs were likely to be as a minimum; thereby making their job of supplying clean and safe drinking water to the population a manageable task. From now on, that level of surety will erode – making it a much tougher proposition to guarantee – and in some cases, completely impossible.
For example, if a water company knows that there’s high heavy-metal content in a particular water source they could take steps to mitigate it by putting an appropriate treatment plant in place. This, however, takes time to do. There’s now nothing to stop an upstream chemical plant from – completely legally – depositing certain pollutants into the water. It may be years before the local water company becomes aware of the problem, let alone can do something to contain it.
Equally, farmers using land near streams, rivers, etc. are now free to use chemical fertilizers and pesticides without permits. These pollutants will, at some point, run into those water supplies.
The upshot of all this is that the American publics’ health could suffer.
This isn’t some nebulously altruistic or humanitarian concern. One only has to think about the Pacific Gas & Electric Company of California case in 1993-6 (championed by Erin Brockovich) – or perhaps the still embattled Flint Water crisis – to realize that vast sums of money are at stake. The former was settled in 1996 for US$333 million. The latter is still being resolved but the sums already discussed dwarf the other.
Hence, it now becomes critical that the water companies find an easy way to monitor their water sources on a highly regular basis over potentially very large areas. Rezatec offers the ability to monitor water sources for pollution using satellite over city, county, and/or state-wide areas on a frequent and ongoing basis, thereby identifying potential problems at a far earlier stage than had previously been practicable.
See how we’re already doing this elsewhere in the US and beyond: