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Remember: The Regional Water Council

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Regional Water Council

I had the chance to take in the press conference at Illick's Mill Park this afternoon in Bethlehem. The gist of the press conference was that a Regional Water Council should be created in order to deal with the ever expanding cost of water and waste water management. Numerous city, county and township officials were present to express their support. Ed Rendell, our governor, made an appearance as well.

The need for this new Regional Water Council was expressed in a recent study conducted regarding the water and waste water management in the Lehigh Valley. Speaker Cindy Feinberg reminded the gathered crowd that cooperation was necessary and highlighted a recent deal between the city of Allentown and Lehigh County.

Northampton County Executive John Stoffa warned that in addition to current water management that something had to be done to protect and clean our local water resources. He said that we need to “be careful of what is happening in some of our streams.”

Governor Rendell said that costs of water and waste water management were going to skyrocket by 2020. He advised that not only would a Regional Water Council help save millions of dollars but that the presence of this council would help supply water in case of a natural disaster or terrorist attack.

Charles Marcon offered a summary near the end of the press conference. He said that the R.W.C would “work regionally, consolidate and make wise decisions.” He said that the R.W.C would use “regional approaches that are viable, sustainable and lead to smarter growth.”

There was a brief Q+A session at the end where Marcon, Steven Bliss and Micheal Drabenstott fielded a few questions from the audience.

All in all, the event got me curious to see what will come from a Regional Water Council. More than one speaker warned of the dangers of a water monopoly and the price gauging that could affect taxpayers as a result of such a thing.

All the specific facts are available for viewing at

What do you think?

(For the record, the park was beautiful. After visiting, I think I may have to do some Bethlehem Park Logs when I am finished with Allentown.)



Blogger michael molovinsky said...

at the risk of appearing to be a lurker, waiting to say something negative, consider this. the fluoride they put into your water stopped doing you any good by the time you reached 8 years old, do you know what it is doing to you now and for the next 60 years?

June 9, 2009 at 3:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What this is all about is taking very precious water and waste water capacity from Allentown and Bethlehem and giving it to the suburban townships to facilitate more sprawl.

If the cities are smart they will resist these efforts and save these resources to facilitate growth withing their own borders.

June 9, 2009 at 3:27 PM  
Blogger Andrew Kleiner said...

Anonymous 3:27, Do you think it is a good thing to sell these resources if the money earned goes into spurring city development?

June 9, 2009 at 3:34 PM  
Blogger Andrew Kleiner said...

Micheal, I didn't think there was fluoride in Allentown water? Isn't it just Bethlehem?

June 9, 2009 at 3:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Water will become almost as expensive as gas, one day in the future. What a future.

June 9, 2009 at 4:09 PM  
Blogger michael molovinsky said...

yes, andrew, there is fluoride in allentown water. we were one of the last communities in united states to add it, about 14 years ago, by that time communities were already starting to take it out. lucent had to spend $4mil. for a custom filter to remove it from the allentown water, because silicon chips required pure water. since they closed(lucent) allentown has a water surplus which it recently sold to lehigh county. with our industry gone forever, allentown will never again need the water and sewage capacity we have. however, i do agree with anon 3:27 that regionalism isn't necessarily good. cunningham should insist that allentown stop adding the fluoride. excuse my politico, but you really were with the best BS'ers in pa. today, real pro's.

June 9, 2009 at 4:21 PM  
Blogger Andrew Kleiner said...

In their defense, Renew LV has pledged against Urban Sprawl. Now, whether or not they have been active with their promise, I do not know.

We should remove the fluoride. I would imagine they could just turn it off? I do not know how fluoridation works.

June 9, 2009 at 4:30 PM  
Anonymous Capri said...

Okay honestly - MM, this kind of commenting is why so many people get frustrated with your approach to voicing your opinion - yes, it is remarkably dumb that the city flouridates the water. That has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not a regional water council would benefit the residents of the Lehigh Valley in the coming years.

June 9, 2009 at 7:31 PM  
Blogger Michael Drabenstott said...

As a RenewLV board member, I'm one of the advocates for the regional water approach. One of the benefits of RenewLV spearheading and stewarding the effort is our focus on rebuilding our core cities in the Lehigh Valley. (Check out if you want to read about our positions.) Does that mean we can eliminate sprawl? Unlikely. But we will advocate and push for a regional approach that prioritizes use of existing infrastructure over build out of new infrastructure, which will ultimately help limit sprawl. Left unchecked, water will flow not downhill, but to where the money is. With a regional approach to planning and capital deployment, we can look to the needs of the entire region.

June 9, 2009 at 9:08 PM  
Blogger Andrew Kleiner said...

Thanks Mike. D. I agree.

June 9, 2009 at 9:16 PM  
Blogger michael molovinsky said...

capri, sorry your pro-bureaucratic inclination can't see that as the 800 lb. gorilla it is. if you live in trexlertown and now have pure water, is this spreading regionalism which gives you fluoride doing you a favor? if you're also against fluoride when and where are you going to speak up? no one ever claimed regionalism would save water, of course it won't, it's not even clear it will save money. rendell talks about the repetition of water systems, so what, years ago every one had their own well. during 9-11 everybody was in a panic about the safety of water supplies, does it really serve us to have less sources? at the end of the day or pipe, nothing is more important than the purity of the water. to use your words, " yes, it is remarkably dumb that the city flouridates the water''

June 9, 2009 at 9:18 PM  
Blogger michael molovinsky said...

mr. drabenstott, in normal times the biggest obstacle to real estate development is the cost of water and sewage infrastructure. development tends to follow the pipes. almost by definition water regionalism will connect the dots or increase sprawl. courts have frowned on excluding or favoring one owners access over another.

June 9, 2009 at 9:50 PM  
Anonymous Capri said...

The reason I don't voice my opposition is that at the end of the day, I can think of about 9 gazillion things more important to me than the flouridation of municipal water.

Do I think its a good idea? no. Do I think they should stop doing it? yes.

Is the time I've spent responding to this blog post today more than the total amount of time I've spent thinking about water flouridation over the course of the last oh... ten years? Yes, by a factor of at least 10.

If I were a resident of Trexlertown, I would be considerably more concerned about the fact that my municipal government can't plan worth a lick for the kinds of services required to support me and my neighbors than I would be concerned about whether my water was flouridated.

Saying that water flouridation is an 800 lb gorilla in the room of water distribution in the Lehigh Valley is sort of like when Emma Tropiano looked at the many problems of the city of Allentown and decided that couches on people's porches were the culprits. Water flouridation is an 800 lb gorilla? what does a pink elephant look like?

June 9, 2009 at 10:01 PM  
Blogger michael molovinsky said...

capri, if you think the quality of life in allentown, with city planners, is better than in trexlertown or hamburg, without such bureaucracy, that's news to me and them. i think they would say no thank you. i visit your healthy food blog, if i were you, i would spend more time thinking about fluoride. i will refrain from further comment

June 9, 2009 at 10:24 PM  
Anonymous Capri said...

Well, I took your suggestion and looked it up. The first thing I learned was that I was misspelling fluoridation. Beyond that, from the consumer standpoint, it appears to me that the danger of water fluoridation is probably on par with the danger of living near a power line.

That's not to say that it isn't dangerous. Just that there are many things in the world which are killing us, or making us less healthy, I'll add this one to the list. But I don't spend all my time advocating for power lines to be torn down, and I'm not going to spend my time advocating for de-fluoridation, either.

June 10, 2009 at 6:34 AM  
Blogger michael molovinsky said...

capri, let me apologize for coming back, after i said i would refrain. you have much more choice, and much less chance, of living under a high voltage transmission line. meanwhile, you bathe and boil your pasta in fluoride, even if you buy bottled water. i also did some research, and found that renew lv is led by your former mentor. small world

June 10, 2009 at 8:44 AM  
Anonymous Capri said...

my former mentor? I unabashedly admire and look up to Steven Bliss, Executive Director of Renew LV, but I wouldn't call him my former mentor.

I also volunteer my time occasionally to participate in Renew activities - I am very much in support of their efforts.

June 10, 2009 at 9:39 AM  
Blogger michael molovinsky said...

capri, sorry for the misunderstanding. i was referring to alan jennings, but trying not to be so specific. jennings says "keeping our little fiefdoms will create a less efficient...."(in regard to water companies) but at the same time, his fiefdom is everywhere and everything.

June 10, 2009 at 10:41 AM  
Blogger michael molovinsky said...

capri, let me elaborate; the morning call today credits alan jennings with being the founder of lv renew, and quotes him in the article.

June 10, 2009 at 11:02 AM  
Anonymous Capri said...

oh I didn't see that. I wouldn't call him a mentor either but I know that we do see him in a different light.

June 10, 2009 at 11:40 AM  

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