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Learn about how experts work to keep water infrastructure safe

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published March 11, 2020

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TROY — The Great Lakes that surround us comprise 84% to 87% of the United States’ fresh water.

Two experts from the Great Lakes Water Authority will discuss ways they are keeping water operations secure at the Troy Public Library at 7 p.m. March 19.

W. Barnett Jones, the GLWA’s chief security and integrity officer, and Lt. Walter E. Davis III, the critical infrastructure manager of the GLWA, will speak.

The Great Lakes Water Authority board approved a 40-year deal between Detroit and Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties in 2016 under which county municipal water customers became customers of the GLWA.

“I am excited that we are able to have Chief Jones and Lt. Davis to talk to us about this vitally important topic,” Troy Public Library Director Cathy Russ said in an email. “Both are experts in their field, and to have them come to Troy is a great opportunity for residents to learn about how GLWA keeps the region’s water safe.”

Jones told C & G Newspapers that they’ve given the talk to industry professionals and elected officials, and this is the first time they will talk directly to residents.

He cautioned that there are some things they may not address and some questions they cannot answer because of security reasons.

“We can’t publicize what we do to harden the facilities,” Jones said.

He said that others who have heard the program are surprised to learn how large the GLWA infrastructure system is.

Jones said the most important thing he hopes those who attend take away from the program is “how serious GLWA is about protecting our water source, drinking water and even our dirty water,”  or wastewater, he said.

He said the Detroit area has a “fantastic system.”

One thing everybody should know is that drugs and wipes should never be flushed down the toilet, Jones said.

“Wipes are not biodegradable,” he said.

Peels of fruits and vegetables, put down the garbage disposal, won’t harm the water supply. “It’s an organic material, so there’s no impact,” Jones said.

Register for the Troy Public Library program at troypl.org or by calling (248) 524-3534.