Saturday, August 14, 2010

Albany Water Fears

It makes me uneasy to drink Albany water. Why? Because of the open canals it comes through, from the Santiam River---many many miles of open slow moving canals.

It's bad enough that Foster Reservoir sometimes has a sheen of gas on the surface from jet skiis and motor boats. Foster holds water from the Santiam at Sweet Home. Albany water is funneled through canals from the Santiam near Lebanon.

These canals travel through farm fields that are heavily sprayed and fertilized. They travel through fields heavly used by farm animals. The canals are infested with nutria, too.

When a young couple jumped a fence and went for a swim in Portland's reservoir, it made the news, and the talk was if the water was safe. But it barely makes news here when a dead body was found in the water canal in Lebanon, a very dead body.

I don't trust their testing either. I don't believe they test for the highly used farm pesticides, insecticides and fertlizers, and if they do test, I believe they make sure they do so at a time when there has been no spraying for awhile.

I am really getting paranoid. Or am I? Dishonesty is now a family value, getting by with the least possible standards and effort, duping people, lying, cooking the books, knocking off early, fudging results--these practises are commonplace in America. And unions don't help much, by making it difficult to fire incompetent or lazy people. Public employee unions and their ways (protecting incompetence...ooops, make that celebrating incompetence) are just another reason I feel uneasy drinking Albany water.

I believe this because the last report out on Albany water showed the chlorine levels of Albany water at the exact highest allowed level, to the second decimal. That's too close to be believable. I believe the usual test values are far far higher than the allowed level.

Albany water is highly chlorinated. I was told by the water department that's because they have to pump it clear to N. Albany so they have to highly dose it with chlorine levels at the plant, so it remains at acceptable levels for the long pump to N. Albany, leaving city residents with water that often reeks of chlorine. It might have something also to do with open canal systems and dead bodies in the water.

I have a severe chlorine sensitivity.

Anyhow, it makes me very uneasy to drink the stuff. I have no faith in it as safe. This town is surrounded by grass seed farms and those fields are sprayed with all sorts of things I don't want to think about, let alone drink.

I don't have anything against grass seed farmers. I consider grass seed a product, like mattresses or basketballs. I can live without grass seed and so could most of the world. Sports fields are luxury products and so are manicured grass parks. Luxury items. The rest of us live with the consequences of this product production and we listen to those seed manufacturers scream about this or that regulation rather chronically in letters to the editor.

They seem to have no respect for others living in this valley who must live with the consequences of their actions but have no benefit from their actions. If any other manufacturer produced the misery the grass seed industry produces for others, there would be bloody hell to pay. They get away with it because of one magic word they tag to their industry: "farmer". Whatever.

My idea of a farmer is somebody producing food. Real food that local people eat. Maybe I'm screwed up in the head to think that. But I don't consider grass seed production farming in my own long standing definition of farming as producing food that your family and community eats. I've always had that as my definition of farming. I'm too old to create new meanings for common words.

If you can add that tag to your industry around here, you're considered god in heaven, untouchable, even if it has nothing at all whatsoever to do with raising food local people eat.

The particulate matter, from grass seed pollen and dust this summer, is driving me nuts with allergies. Those seed farmers who own most of the available land around here affect both air and water quality. They affect every aspect of the lives of local people. It is a grave responsibility to be directly affecting the air everyone breathes and the water everyone drinks. I am unconvinced they give a crap.

I want out of Albany. I don't know how to get out of here though.

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