Beaver Fever Fanaticism: EPA Eco-Radicals Are Hurting Families at the Tap

If your water bill increased recently, you might want to call the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The EPA has driven up the cost of water by cracking down on localities, forcing cities to borrow money to fulfill costly mandates, and in some cases forcing localities to clean water that is already safe to drink.

Just look at what the EPA is doing to New York City’s otherwise excellent water system.

New York City’s water is outstanding. Mayor Bloomberg claims that it is among the best in the world, a boast he can easily support.

The city has protected over 161,000 acres of land (251 square miles, or over half the size of Hong Kong) in its watershed to prevent contamination, and is planning on adding more. It also adds chlorine, phosphoric acid, and sodium hydroxide to disinfect the water and keep it free from lead.

City drinkers can count on their water being tested over a half million times a year. First at the watershed, which is tested 230,000 times a year, then over 300,000 times before the water hits the taps. In fact, city water drinkers can count on their water being tested 900 times a day after it leaves the watershed.

It is so clean that it does not need to be filtered. But clean is not good enough for the fanatics at the EPA, whose bureaucrats still worry about the infinitesimal risk of diarrhea caused by pathogens like cryptosporidium and giardia.

While over 9 million customers depend on NYC water, roughly 100 people a year become infected by cryptosporidium, and even then, New York disputes whether this diarrhea is caused by the water. New York City almost never finds crypto in its watershed, and when it does, results indicate it comes from wildlife sources that “are unlikely to infect humans.”

And those consumers truly worried about crypto can boil their water for a minute. There are even low cost water filters that claim to remove crypto from water.

The city also dismisses the threat of giardia, another waterborne pathogen known as Beaver Fever.  Though Beaver Fever occurs more often than crypto, this is another red herring swimming in the New York City reservoir.

People do get Beaver Fever in New York City. While one can get it from drinking contaminated water (such as a lake or a stream), one is more likely to get it from diaper-aged children or from traveling abroad.

Health officials also warn that certain sexual practices can lead to Beaver Fever.  New York City is adamant that none of its outbreaks can be attributed to the consumption of tap water.

In other words, waterborne pathogen-caused diarrhea in New York City is rare. Sickness from crypto in the city is about as common as breast cancer in men.

It is so uncommon that New Yorkers, with their very low murder rate, find themselves the victims of slayings at five times the rate that they find themselves the victims of crypto-induced diarrhea.

Notwithstanding this very low likelihood of getting sick from NYC water, the EPA has ordered the city to build a new Star Wars-style facility that will blast its water with ultra-violet (UV) rays. Like the Death Star, it will be the largest facility of its kind in the known universe (no joke!).

The EPA has even gone so far as to order New York to build a roof over one of its reservoirs to prevent the unlikely contamination by crypto.

Sounds reasonable until you realize that this is no ordinary roof: it will be the largest roof of its kind in the world; a mighty "eco-dome" that will cover what is essentially a 90-acre lake. It would be like building a roof over much of the Vatican City, and it will cost a small fortune.

The costs of this eco-fanaticism are extraordinary: The UV facility has an estimated cost of $1.42 billion, while the eco-dome will cost $1.6 billion.

And who pays for this? Not Obama’s EPA. Not Congress. New York City water customers -- and in some cases taxpayers -- pay for the costs of these enviro-boondoggles.