Local water official: ‘We are not Flint’

Officials on March 16 told the San Dieguito Water District board that local water supplies are safe and the area won’t experience a crisis like the one in Flint, Mich.

Flint residents were exposed to unsafe levels of lead following a cost-cutting move to switch to a new water source. The corrosive water was improperly treated and tested, putting children at risk of developmental and behavioral health issues.

“We are not Flint,” said Cor Shaffer, operations manager of the R.E. Badger Filtration Plant, which treats and supplies tap water for the San Dieguito district. It serves the western half of Encinitas.

Shaffer said this area doesn’t have any lead service lines, which are more common in the Midwest and on the East Coast. In Flint, pipes connecting water mains to homes are made of lead, and due to the corrosive water, some lead dissolved into the drinking water.

Also, Shaffer said local water is treated with the latest technology, while Flint failed to implement measures to control corrosive water. He added officials regularly test tap water at older homes in the area to make sure it’s OK.

Last month, board member Tony Kranz requested the agenda item to see whether there’s any possibility that lead could taint the local water supply. At the March 16 meeting, Kranz said he was shocked to recently read that lead issues aren’t limited to Flint, but added he was reassured there isn’t a risk locally.

“That was my goal — to be able to assure the public that we’re providing safe water,” Kranz said.

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