Baltimore Sun Sunday

Maryland must preserve clean drinking water

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Not long ago, the water fountains disappeare­d from my kids’ school in Baltimore. The taps had been sealed off years back and replaced with bottled water to protect young students from lead poisoning. All well and good, from a health standpoint. But like parents across the city, I couldn’t shake the notion that we were witnessing yet another example of our children suffering from systemic racism and classism manifest in chronicall­y insufficie­nt capital budgets.

Nitrate pollution in rural groundwate­r hasn’t yet been implicated in a travesty like lead water lines have in Baltimore; Newark, New Jersey; and Flint, Michigan; but the evidence of a public health crisis is growing from the Eastern Shore of Maryland to the Upper Midwest (“Legislatio­n needed to protect Maryland well owners,” Feb. 8). Montgomery County Del. Vaughn Stewart should be praised for his effort to create a new program that might harness the technologi­cal and fiscal power of the state to protect public health, especially for rural residents who are not often recognized as being victims of environmen­tal injustice.

In the end, access to clean water should be a right — to protect us as individual­s and to ensure we can thrive as a population.

Matthew Shudtz, Baltimore

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