MERIDEN — Local organizers and company owners have collected gallons of water for residents of Flint, Michigan, and plan to deliver it soon.
Flint made national headlines following the discovery of dangerously high levels of lead in the drinking water. The issue has left residents without safe water, and in January, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder activated the Michigan National Guard to help distribute bottled water and filters.
By mid-January, President Barack Obama signed an emergency declaration, ordering federal aid for Flint.
Seeing the reports spurred local resident Dwain Harry into action. Harry heads the Stallions AAU basketball team in the city.
“I do a lot of community work with basketball and whatnot, and I’ve seen the amount of times we needed help ourselves, so to see people worse off than we are, I felt like we needed to reach out,” he said Wednesday.
Harry pitched the idea to a motorcycle group he belongs to, Sat It Off, and soon they teamed up with other motorcycle groups, including Capitol City Riders in Hartford, to spread the word and gather donations.
Among those Harry reached out to was Darren Yovan, owner of Krystal Kleer water filtration company on Pomeroy Avenue.
Erik Kukanskis, service manager at Krystal Kleer, said that the group donated two pallets of bottled water to send to residents in Flint.
“This is a great cause, and so important because these people need this water so bad,” Kukanskis said.
The operation on Pomeroy Avenue is a point-of-use water purification center, meaning the company doesn’t have bottles of water on hand, nor does it produce any.
Instead, the company purchased roughly $400 worth of bottled water to send off, Kukanskis said.
In total, two 53-foot trailers worth of water have been collected for residents in Flint.
Local residents need not worry about a similar situation in Meriden, according to Public Utilities Director Dennis Waz.
Waz explained that the issues in Flint stem from two problems. The city began drawing its water supply from the Flint River in 2014, a source that provided much more corrosive water. In addition, the city also uses full lead services from source to homes, and didn’t use corrosion control.
The combination resulted in lead leeching into the water at dangerous levels.
Waz said the city has used corrosion control within its system since the 1970s and utilizes iron or brass service pipes.
“We’ve had very good test results for lead and copper, year after year,” Waz said.
Occasionally, crews will discover a lead goose-neck, or curved pipe within the system, which they’ll replace with either iron or brass.
Waz noted however in that in older homes, there’s more likely to be lead in the solder holding together pipe joints. Sitting water can cause the lead to leech out, so Waz recommended homeowners let their water run for some time to flush that out, especially if a particular faucet hasn’t been used in a year or so.
And if there’s a question, Waz recommends homeowners have their water tested for lead or copper levels.
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