During this month’s Town Council Regular Meeting, Public Works Director Dave Fauber reported to the Mayor and Council that ‘everything thing is fine; life is good.’ The Mayor and Councilman Chris Bannon agreed. However, a review of the actual report is not so upbeat:
Task Order No. 2
Construction of pipeline for Keck Wells $500k
Received Final copy of PER
Will move forward when financing is in place
Task Order No. 4
Addition of chloramines to drinking water to reduce THMs
Received final copy of PER
With the improved quality the Keck Wells will bring to our drinking water, the addition of chloramines should not be necessary. If the Keck Wells are delayed, the Department of Health may require us to move forward if we are unable to remain compliant. Will implement when/if needed $33k.
Once again, the drinking water in Cape Charles has reached unsafe levels, requiring intervention to bring it into compliance. Is life really that good in Cape Charles? Did the Mayor and Councilman Bannon even read this report? How safe is the water? We know it poses a serious threat to older citizens, but what about for children? Are people that vacation here aware of the possible health ramifications? Has the Town done due diligence in warning visitors?
Trihalomethanes, or THMs are formed as a result from the reaction of chlorine or bromine with organic matter present in the water. The THMs produced have been associated through epidemiological studies with some adverse health effects. THMs are considered environmental pollutants, and many are considered carcinogenic. Many governments set limits on the amount permissible in drinking water.
While drinking the water is a cause for concern, Mr. Fauber notes that by bringing the Keck Wells online, this may alleviate some of the problem.
Several years ago, the Town received grant funds which were earmarked to bring the Keck Wells online. However, Councilman Chris Bannon, Councilwoman Joan Natali, and then Mayor Dora Sullivan diverted those funds to purchase the vacant Bank of America building on Mason Avenue. While several businesses, including a bank from the Midwest expressed interest in the property, the Town aggressively moved to close the deal. This property is now the location of the library. In essence, the Town forgoes health and drinking water safety in order to remove a viable structure from the business tax rolls, at the same time doubling the cost of maintaining the town library, whose main function appears to be providing a place for parents of vacationing toddlers to come in off the beach and cool off.
Bannon and Natali are quick to point out that they are ‘Friends of the Library’—but are they friends of the ordinary people of Cape Charles? Why would they place their bibliothèque obsessions ahead of the health and safety of the people?
This shouldn’t come as anything new. During the last election, only one candidate, Dan Burke even mentioned the issue of drinking water safety. As Burke noted then, the town has been laissez-faire in its approach to the health and safety of not just full-time residents, but also visitors and tourists. The election results speak for themselves.
With the Town devoting time, money and resources towards other priorities, such as becoming a Virginia Main Street affiliate, it is not likely they will be all that aggressive in addressing this issue. In the meantime, as Dos Equis’ Most Interesting Man in the World says, “Stay thirsty my friends.”