Escambia County

ECUA continues to attack EWG

March 14, 2010

While the community is seeking more unfiltered information on its drinking water, ECUA officials continue to attack the Environmental Working Group, which published last December a study that ranked ECUA’s water as the worse in the nation.

ECUA is still claiming that EWG published the report to simply sell water filters. On its website, EWG lists its funding. None of it is from water filter sales. The Environmental Working Group is a non-profit, non-partisan organization.

Funding breakdown:
Grants, foundations 71%
Individuals 19%
In-Kind 5%
Consulting 3%
Corporations 1%
Interest 1%

Who are some of the foundations?
* Alida R. Messinger Trust
* Agua Fund
* Beldon Fund
* Blaustein fund
* California Wellness Foundation
* Campbell Foundation
* Environment Now
* Gold Foundation
* Hewlett Foundation
* Johnson Family Foundation
* John Merck Fund
* Joyce Foundation
* McKnight Foundation
* Nathan Cummings Foundation
* New York Community Trust
* Popplestone Foundation
* Park Foundation
* Packard Foundation
* Rachel’s Network
* Richard & Rhoda Goldman Fund
* San Francisco Foundation
* Streisand Foundation
* Turner Foundation
* Wilburforce Foundation
* Wallace Global Fund

There is page on safe drinking water that mentions filters, but it doesn’t offer to sell them.

The next forum of the drinking water will be sponsored by League of Women Voters.

Saturday, March 20, 9:30 am
University of West Florida, Bldg 13, Room 230
Topic: Is Our Drinking Water Safe?

There will be a panel discussion of important drinking water issues that impact our everyday lives.

The panel will include a representative of the Environmental Working Group (EWG). EWG is the organization that rated ECUA as the lowest rated water utility of the 100 big city (populations over 250,000) that they rated.

The League is the only organization to bring EWG to Pensacola of the recent forums held as a reaction to the EWG rating.

Other panel members are John Pope of Florida’s DEP; Richard Snyder, Professor and Director of the Center for Environmental Diagnostics and Bioremediation (CEDB) at UWF; and Christy Draper of Pace Laboratories.

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  • Brian Abrams March 18, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    I do not give a rats azz how the water was tested nor how finite other water systems test nor how ECUA water compares to other water systems.
    As long as the testings are accurate.
    The fact remains that there are at least 45 different chemicals found in our drinking water.
    Confirmed, month after month by in house ECUA testing results.
    To say the tests are flawed because the ECUA is testing for more chemicals than another water system is just more ECUA CYA excuse generation.

  • Chasidy Hobbs March 18, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    It is a shame that the community is STILL debating the results of the ranking system that EWG used rather than discussing the REAL issues:

    1. There are at least 45 different chemicals found in our drinking water.

    2. We have one of the most vulnerable drinking water aquifers in all of Florida, it MUST be protected

    Speaking of protecting our vulnerable aquifer, Escambia County is getting ready to amend our Land Development Code. If you truly want to help protect water quality you will monitor this process and speak up when resource protection takes a back burner to the ease of development.

  • Mark Clabaugh March 15, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    Courtney,
    the theory is if you test for a higher number of chemicals outside the government’s mimimum and another board does not.

    Then you do not know if the other water is equally contaminated or worse. Therefore, to draw conclusions on our water without knowing the numbers on competitors numbers would not be statisticaly sound.

    Now, trust me that I feel that we should know ALL about the water we drink and serve up to our children. I for one cannot stand someone to tell me, “it meets government guidelines”. There are a lot of things that we do not even test for and the only way you will ever know is to get your own analysis.

  • Courtney Peterson March 15, 2010 at 11:02 am

    Mark, you are correct about the discrepancy in the number of tests performed among the water districts what were named in their study. I do agree that the citizens should always pay attention to ECUA’s reports and demand that every chemical found be addressed immediately. In my opinion, EWG’s report has done a lot of harm to our community from a public relations standpoint. Most of which is not merited. I don’t follow the logic of comparing water districts that complete the bare minimum testing required by the DEP and other agencies with districts that complete a disproportianately higher number of tests. That’s the equivalent of saying someone who goes to the doctor once a month and records everything from a minor cold to a hangnail on his medical records is less healthy than someone who goes once a year and didn’t tell the doctor he had chest pains a few months ago.

  • Mark Clabaugh March 14, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    Here is the bummer, as a service to the customers of ECUA, they test for a greater number of chemicals than required by the Government.

    EWG has never tested not one water sample on their own. They have never done an analysis of water other than take the public records data that was published by the ECUA (which is above guidelines) and drew their conclusions from that.

    The suspicious issue is that I cannot find anywhere how they drew this conclusion. Did our additional testing which may or may not have been done by competitor water boards server to harm our numbers? Did they weight certain qualities over others?

    Is there an example and a formula for which they drew these conclusions so that we might understand exactly what component of their testing caused our results to suffer? I can think of 1000’s of things that they could have done which would allow our sample data not to compete well with other sample data.

    I can tell you this, NOT all water boards test the same, same frequency or using the same methods. With that being said, it is impossible to get a comparative control, therefore, it would be impossible to get a fair comparative analysis.

  • Travis Peterson March 14, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    “unfiltered information”

    HA! nicely done.

    What a PR disaster for ECUA. In ten years I’ve never had anyone ever say, “Boy, that water sure tastes great here.”

    Not sure what ECUA is trying to prove by this “vast water filter conspiracy” they’re pushing.

    They’d be better off just shutting up. Every time they try to beat up this EWG group they get another story written about how dirty our water is.

    I bet the folks at EWG are LOVING all the free press they’re getting here- all thanks to ECUA.