The Stream, October 31, 2019: Several Michigan Communities Detect Lead Levels in Water Above New State Standards

The Global Rundown

Lead levels exceeding new state standards have been found in the water of five communities in Oakland County, Michigan. Wildfires continue to spread in California, with power now shut off for about 1 million residents. Farmers in South Africa say they are experiencing the driest season in years. Lawmakers in Australia spar over a release of freshwater into the sea. A new study analyzes the role of mangroves in flood prevention along the Florida coast. 

“Michigan adopted this model lead and copper rule that’s really allowing us to better see what’s in our water. The testing in the past never adequately captured the reality of lead in water.” —Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, a public health advocate and pediatrician who helped expose the Flint water crisis, in reference to new, stricter state regulations on lead and copper in drinking water. This week, Royal Oak, Michigan, became the fifth community in Oakland County to detect lead levels exceeding the revised standards. Detroit Free Press

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By The Numbers

400 megaliters Freshwater that is being released from Australia’s Paradise Dam into the sea daily. Over a 10-week period, Queensland released 100,000 megaliters from the dam due to structural integrity concerns. After reaching a goal of 42 percent capacity, however, the operator of the dam has continued to release 400 megaliters a day to “improve the dam’s stability during extreme rain events.” The decision has angered federal lawmakers, who say the release of freshwater amid severe drought could further threaten the country’s water security. The Guardian

In context: In Australia, Echoes of Past, Glimpses of Future As Country Braces for Hot, Dry Summer.

Science, Studies, and Reports

A new study by UC Santa Cruz, the Nature Conservancy, and RMS analyzed the effect of mangrove trees on preventing coastal flooding in Florida. The researchers found that counties with mangroves sustained 25 percent less damage during 2017’s Hurricane Irma, ultimately saving an estimated $1.5 billion.

On the Radar

Several wildfires continue to spread in California, including a new blaze north of Malibu. Power is shut off for about 1 million people, and several thousand people are under evacuation orders. The Guardian

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Many farmers in South Africa say this is the driest season in recent memory, and several are selling their cattle and other livestock due to the dry conditions. The government imposed emergency water restrictions across the country earlier this week. Al Jazeera

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