The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Contaminated Drinking Water

Oct 16, 2023

On September 28, the Baltimore City Department of Public Works (DPW) announced that on September 26, drinking water in one of the city’s reservoirs had tested positive for a microscopic bacterial parasite that can sicken people and even kill them. Older people, children, and those with compromised immune systems (such as people with HIV) were particularly at risk. They were advised to either drink bottled water or to boil tap water for at least one minute before drinking it. This warning applied to hundreds of thousands of people in parts of Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Howard County.

On October 3, DPW announced that new test results showed no contamination in the water.

The parasite that has caused this problem is a common one throughout the world. Experts say it probably got into Baltimore’s treated water supply from bird or deer droppings. But the reason it was able to do this is because some of the city’s treated drinking water is stored in uncovered reservoirs.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ordered that all such reservoirs be covered years ago. They even issued an order just this past May predicting much of what has now happened in Baltimore. But the city has lagged and repeatedly extended the date when this will be accomplished. They are now saying that this will finally happen by the end of this year.

The obvious irresponsibility of city officials in this fiasco has caused many people to distrust what they say. Is the drinking water supply now really O.K? Are the open drinking water reservoirs really going to be finally covered by the end of this year?

People want to know.