Letter – Go slow  on SWIFT

Published 6:05 pm Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

Ah, well water. Delicious, clean, pure, natural well water.

That’s about to change.

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County by county, our region is leaning into a massive project to treat our wastewater, ultra-purify it using “advanced” methods, and inject the end-product into the Potomac Aquifer – the primary source of groundwater throughout eastern Virginia. That sounds more than a bit risky.

The SWIFT (Sustainable Water Initiative for Tomorrow) goals sound exciting: “protect the region’s environment, enhance the sustainability of the region’s long-term groundwater supply and help address environmental pressures such as Chesapeake Bay restoration, sea level rise and saltwater intrusion.”

Even if scientists and engineers can pull this off and not have a single contamination event, well water purified by nature will never be the same again. Forevermore, it will be a mix of naturally (injected microorganisms, oxygenation, UV light) and chemically (chlorine and “additional chemicals”) purified water.

We tamper with nature at our own peril. When I lived along the Mississippi, I saw the Army Corps of Engineers’ attempts to control water with sandbags — with predictable results. If you’ve ever heard of Thalidomide, Vioxx, DDT (“Silent Spring”), or simply watched “I Am Legend,” maybe you too will question the safety and wisdom of thinking we are smarter than nature.

Please ask your city and county officials to fully vet SWIFT before it’s too late.

For more information on SWIFT, visit https://www.hrsd.com/swift


Dr. Daniel A. Shaye